Picasso’s Picassos

Pablo Picasso Marie-Thérèse, face et profil, 1931 Oil and charcoal on canvas

Pablo Picasso
Marie-Thérèse, face et profil, 1931
Oil and charcoal on canvas

These aren’t my favorites, but the paintings in Picasso’s Picassos offer a unique glimpse into Picasso’s personal life. On view at the Gagosian Gallery on the Upper Eastside, the exhibit features works from the collection of Maya Ruiz-Picasso,and organized by Diana Widmaier Picasso.

Pablo Picasso Maya à la poupée et au cheval, 1938 Oil on canvas

Pablo Picasso
Maya à la poupée et au cheval, 1938
Oil on canvas

Maya Ruiz-Picasso is the daughter of Pablo Picasso and Marie-Thérèse Walter. Her personal collection is the part of the legacy Picasso left when he died in 1973. The work on view at the gallery is drawn from the period between 1931 and 1971, and includes several portraits of Marie-Thérèse Walter and a well-known portrait of Maya as a child.

The exhibition was initially going to close at the end of January but has been extended to February 18th.

Marisa Merz, Living Sculpture, 1966 Strips of aluminum

Marisa Merz, Living Sculpture, 1966
Strips of aluminum

If you go, be sure to also visit Marisa Merz: The Sky is a Great Space on view at the Met Breuer, across the street. The exhibition is the first major retrospective in the United States of works by this Italian painter, sculptor, and installation artist, the sole female protagonist of the Arte Povera movement.

Master Drawings New York Week


If you are a fan of drawings — as a viewer or a collector — then you can’t miss The tenth annual MASTER DRAWINGS NEW YORK show which will take place January 23 through January 30 at 30 leading art galleries on the Upper East Side.

The concept for the event originated in 2006 as a way to draw upon and reinforce the presence of collectors and museum officials during the January art-buying events, like the “Old Master” auctions and The Winter Antiques Show. But now MASTER DRAWINGS NEW YORK has become an important event in its own right, attracting  influential dealers from around the world.

Exhibitors at galleries from East 63rd-East 86th Streets will showcase important pencil, pen and ink, chalk and charcoal drawings, as well as oil on paper sketches and watercolors by artists from the 16th to 21st centuries.  Each exhibition is hosted by an expert specialist and many works on offer are newly discovered or have not been seen on the market in decades, if at all, according to the event catalog.

New exhibitors this year include:

Allan Stone Projects — with an exhibition entitled “Process and Presence: Mastery in Drawing” and includes figurative, landscape, still life and abstract works by prominent artists such as Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, Wayne Thiebaud, Franz Kline, and Gaston Lachaise.

Kraushaar Galleries — featuring works by Marsden Hartley as well as Dorothy Dehner, among several important American artists.

Découvert Fine Art gallery of Rockport, MA — with an exhibition entitled “The Feminine Observed, 16th to 20th century, and New Acquisitions.”

Westbeth Annual 2015

show poster

The Westbeth Annual 2015 is a curated exhibition featuring 62 emerging and established artists who make the Westbeth Artists’ Housing  their home. The complex of 13 buildings, formerly the site of Bell Laboratories, was conceived in the 1960’s as a partial solution to the acute need to provide affordable housing and studios for artists and their families. It became one of the first examples  of industrial buildings being reused for artistic and residential purposes.

Westbeth Building on the corner of Bethune Street

Westbeth Building on the corner of Bethune Street

In addition to its residential component, Westbeth also contains large and small commercial spaces, performance and rehearsal spaces and artists studios both individual and communal, such as the Westbeth Sculptors’ Studio and the Westbeth Graphics Studio.

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The 2015 Westbeth Annual features an eclectic group of art from paintings and drawings to photography and sculpture. It’s an opportunity to see work from both well-known artists and those who are still trying to make a name for themselves. Many of the pieces are for sale.  Westbeth is not too far from the Whitney Museum and the neighborhood is charming. The exhibit is on view until January 2nd and the gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday from 1pm – 6pm. It’s closed Christmas weekend and New Years Day.

Art Galleries of the Lower East Side map map

If you are a NYC art lover then chances are you’ve been to the galleries in Chelsea. Less popular, and not as well known, are the galleries on the Lower East Side.  The art you’ll find there is very contemporary; sometimes edgy; and often just recently completed. A reason to visit may be tied to a specific show. But even more fun is to head down there and just wander in and out of galleries. You’ll be surprised at the unusual and interesting art you’ll uncover. Start by just walking up and down Orchard Street.

Jean Kawecki

Jean Kawecki, The Past Is Always Present


One gallery I dropped into was The 155 Project. A group show called A Conversation in Approaches featured eight artists working in a variety of media. Among them was 89 year old Jean Kawecki, who creates large scale, evocative sculptures from found stone and found wood combined with other natural materials such as bones, coral and bark, Many of the pieces are carved from one continuous found object. Says Kawecki, “Nature provides my medium.  I spend a lot of time wandering through the woods, the quarry or the stone yard. There, I find an abundance of form, color and texture that I can use to express my responses to the many aspects of the human scene.”

Campbell la Pun, Kreme Glaze, Aerosol on Panle

Campbell la Pun, Kreme Glaze, Aerosol on Panel

The Krause Gallery offered a completely different art experience. Campbell La Pun – “Excess Fumes” features 15 aerosol can “portraits” with brand images like Hermes, Nike, Pringles and Lucky Strike.  La Pun, a Melbourne-born, Tokyo-based artist, uses pop culture for much of his work. The show, on view until December 1st, is reminiscent of works by Andy Warhol.

At the Denny Gallery I saw Emily Noelle Lambert’s colorful abstractions  which were engaging and full of energy. The exhibition features paintings and sculptures  that are “in dialogue with each other, exploring dimensional and pictorial space,” according to the gallery notes. Lambert’s sculptures are made mostly from found or discarded wood, foam, steel, and other objects. This exhibit is on until December 1st.

Ofri Cnaani: Wrong Tools

front window

It’s hard to categorize Wrong Tools, the  Ofri Cnanni show at the Andrea Meislin Gallery. The exhibit includes a participatory performance piece as well as a series of cyanotypes —  a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print.


My "reading"

My “reading”

The Cnnani performance is like a spiritual “reading.” It “expands on the idea of visuality, visibility and vulnerability in the image-saturated digital culture, highlighting fundamental paradoxes of the media era,” according to the exhibition notes.

For my reading, I selected two items from a collection of objects in Cnnani’s window “office.” Then I chose a Tarot card – mine read “unlimited,” and contributed a personal item — a red pen. Cnanni added other objects and composed my “reading.” You could watch her on a large screen projected in the gallery and outside. A photo copy was printed and signed, providing a very personal involvement with the artist and her art.

Ofri Cnaani Blue Print (OC real and fake hands) #1, 2015 Cyanotype

Ofri Cnaani
Blue Print (OC real and fake hands) #1, 2015

Also on view at the gallery are a series of cyanotypes Cnnani created using real and fake hands, as well as other objects. This form of “photography” is typically used by engineers as a simple and low-cost process to produce blueprints. In Cnani’s hands, the photos created are reminiscent of Matisse’s blue cut-outs

The title of the show — Wrong Tools — underscores Cnaani’s working methods. She deliberately misuses technologies, and chooses low-tech, imprecise techniques to create distinct visual stories.

Cnnani, an Israeli born artist and educator, has had solo exhibitions and performances around the world including:  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, PS1/MoMA, The Fisher Museum of Art in L.A., and the Haifa Museum of Art in Israel. Wrong Tools will be on view through October 24.


Visit Alice, Emmet and William at the Morgan

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Four new and very different exhibits should entice you to visit the Morgan Library and Museum this summer, including Alice:150 Years of Wonderland, opening this Friday, June 26th. The exhibit will feature the original manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland which, for the first time in three decades,  will travel from the British Library in London to New York. It will be joined by original drawings and letters, rare editions, vintage photographs, and fascinating objects—many never before exhibited. While this exhibit will surely draw the crowds, there are three other fascinating exhibitions that shouldn’t be missed.

Left: Emmet Gowin (American, b. 1941), Edith in Panama, Flight Inside, 2003. Unique gold toned salt print on Twin Rocker handmade paper. Right: Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), The Spider, 1902. Charcoal and black chalk.

Left: Emmet Gowin (American, b. 1941), Edith in Panama, Flight Inside, 2003. Unique gold toned salt print on Twin Rocker handmade paper. Right: Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), The Spider, 1902. Charcoal and black chalk.

Hidden Likeness: Photographer Emmet Gowin at the Morgan is the most provocative, and requires a slow viewing to really appreciate its impact. For the exhibition, Gowin (b. 1941) has combined favorites from five decades of his work with objects drawn from the collections of the Morgan. Gowin’s photographs include portraits of his wife, Edith, and their extended family,  landscapes, and aerial views of sites shaped by modern-era catastrophes ranging from volcanic activity to nuclear testing. If you can, I’d recommend taking the free guided tour of the exhibit which is scheduled for Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:00pm during July and August.  The exhibit will be on view until September 20th.

Sir Thomas Malory (fl. 1470) Thys noble and joyous book entitled le morte Darthur… Westminster: William Caxton, 31 July 1485

Sir Thomas Malory
(fl. 1470)
Thys noble and joyous book entitled le morte Darthur…
Westminster: William Caxton, 31 July 1485

For something completely different, stop in to see William Caxton and the Birth of English Printing.  This small exhibits celebrates the first books printed in English, beginning in 1474, by William Caxton. He was an English merchant and diplomat, who capitalized on the commercial opportunity offered by  print technology invented by Johann Gutenberg twenty years before. Caxton published key works of English literature, such as Chaucer and Malory, (on display) as well as short religious texts, many of which he translated from French or Latin. The Morgan has the third largest collection of Caxtons in the world. The exhibit is on view until September 25th.

Henri Matisse, Self-Portrait 1945 Conté crayon on wove paper.

Henri Matisse, Self-Portrait
Conté crayon on wove paper.

For a more traditional art exhibit, visit Life Lines: Portrait Drawings From Durer To Picasso, on view through September 8th.  Life Lines includes self-portraits, like one by Henri Matisse, to portraits of family and friends, such as a portrait by Picasso of the actress Marie Derval.  There are formal portraits, commissioned by wealthy families as well as preparatory studies for paintings or sculptures.  If you not only enjoy viewing portraits, but also enjoy creating them, stop by the Morgan on Saturday, July 18th when you can sketch in the gallery.

The Drawing Center: Contemporary and Historical Art in SoHO

Facade_Home_MAIN1Located at the southern end of SoHo, The Drawing Center is a non-profit gallery/museum devoted to the medium of drawing — both historical and contemporary.  Since its founding in 1977, The Drawing Center has spotlighted drawing connected with science, literature, architecture and political movements. There are also lectures, gallery talks, family workshops and literary programs that enhance the exhibitions. Like the Chelsea galleries, The Drawing Center gives you an opportunity to see the work from both new artists and older masters in an intimate setting.

There are two very different shows on view at The Drawing Center right now — both worth visiting. In the main gallery is “Portraits from the École des Beaux-Arts Paris.” The exhibition explores four hundred years of portrait drawings, emphasizing work from live models. Forty portraits have been chosen from the Beaux-Arts de Paris’ collection based on “diverse criteria such as the male and female gestures, caricature, frontal gaze, social class, and profession of the model.” The portraits range from seventeenth-century to the present and include never-before-exhibited drawings by nineteenth-century artists Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Charles Garnier to the work of modern and contemporary artists like Henri Matisse and Georg Baselitz.

In the lower level gallery is a completely different kind of drawing exhibit – “Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm.”  Frank, a 35-year-old, contemporary artist, has brought to life the “unsanitized” versions of the fairy tales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Using bold colors in gouache and pastel, Frank focuses on the dynamics between flesh and spirit. According to the artist, she is exploring, “the parallel poles of longing and desire but also disgust and fascination that constitute humanity.”  From afar, the scenes are both alluring and grotesque. Up close, you can appreciate the richness in detail and will be drawn in by the energy emanating from the colors.

Both shows will be on view through June 28th.

A Curious Blindness: Artists Responding To Race and Identity Politics

a curious blindness, at Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, brings together the work of eighteen early- to mid-career artists. The thematic focus is their interpretations  of how people of color are treated and represented in today’s world.  The title of the exhibition,  “a curious blindness,” comes  from the poem, People, by Jean Toomer, a writer from the Harlem Renaissance who struggled with his mixed-race heritage.

One of the first pieces you see when entering the gallery is a giant “whitening” tube next to a small video screen. This is the work of Baltimore artist Nora Howell. In her performance and installation she created a “public intervention that animates her sculptures while drawing attention to her own relationship to whiteness as well as inciting a conversation about whitening as a social contract,” according to the exhibition catalog.

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Two large galleries and three smaller rooms are populated with videos,  performance art, photography, collage,  paintings and sculpture. The pieces are as different as the artists who created them but are all thought-provoking and engaging.

The exhibit is the the third presentation of MODA Curates. This is an annual opportunity offered by The Wallach Art Gallery and the MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies Program (MODA) for outstanding curatorial proposals related to students’ theses. a curious blindness is curated by Vivian Chui, Tara Kuruvilla, and Doris Zhao and will be on view until June 13.

Thomas Nozkowski: Colorful and Intimate Abstract Art


Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-32), oil on linen panel

Thomas Nozkowski, Untitled (9-32), oil on linen panel

I was recently struck by a Matisse-like painting used to promote a new exhibition at the The Pace Gallery. It turned out to be by American born Thomas Nozkowski. Since the 1970’s, Nozkowski has produced abstract paintings and drawings in which he experiments with a form, color, or gesture, and then reworks it repeatedly over time. My response to Nozokowski’s painting was well-founded. In a recent interview with Artspace, Nozkowski commented:

“There’s a painting in this show with some Matissean curvy shapes painted in a Matisse blue—that’s not an accident, it was a decision to draw upon that blue for that particular move.”

More than 60 paintings and drawings, most of them created in the last year, are on view at the gallery. One of the interesting aspects of Nozkowski’s art is the fact that he works on 16 x 20 inch canvases. In his Artspace interview he explained why he chose that size:

“…I decided I would paint at a size that was scaled to my friends’ apartments, that could hang in a three-room walkup tenement on 7thStreet. …Once I made that decision I discovered how easy it was to put an idea in the world, look at it, and then wipe it off and do something else if it’s no good. Suddenly, I could go through hundreds of ideas in the life of a painting. When I did large paintings like I did in art school, it could take days to change a color.”

Installation View, "Thomas Nozkowski" Pace Gallery

Installation View, “Thomas Nozkowski” Pace Gallery

The exhibit will be on view through April 25th. If you are going down to Chelsea, be sure to also see:

“Alice Neel Drawings and Watercolors 1927-1978 at David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street, on view through 4/18.

In the Studio: Paintings” at Gagosian, 522 West 21st, on view through  4/18.

Roz Chast: Drawings, Textiles and Dyed Eggs

Roz Chast Library Cover, published Oct. 18, 2010 watercolor and ink on paper 10 x 8 inches

Roz Chast
Library Cover, published Oct. 18, 2010
watercolor and ink on paper
10 x 8 inches

If you read the  New Yorker then you know the wit and wisdom of Roz Chast’s wonderful cartoons.  Something More Pleasant, at the Danese/Corey Gallery, gives you an opportunity to see Chast’s work up close, and appreciate them not only for their humor but also for their artistry.

The exhibition is a mix of Chast’s cartoons and New Yorker covers, as well as textiles and pysanka (dyed eggs) created with the same humor and flair.

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The show will be on view through April 18th. And, if you are a fan of Roz Chast, you can see more of her work at the Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA) this summer.