Pablo Picasso, L’Atelier (The Studio), 1928, oil and crayon on canvas
“In the Studio: Photographs” Installation view
“In The Studio” is a pair of exhibitions, at different Gagosian galleries, that focus on images of artists’ studios. The exhibit in Chelsea,“In the Studio: Paintings,” was curated by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art.
Georges Braque, Studio with Black Vase (L’atelier au vase noir), 1938 Oil on canvas
Alberto Giacometti, L’Atelier (The Studio), 1951 Oil on canvas
Robert Rauschenberg Small Rebus, 1956 Oil, pencil, paint swatches, paper, newspaper, magazine clippings, black-and-white photograph, map fragments, fabric, and three-cent stamps on canvas
The works span from the mid-sixteenth through the late twentieth centuries. There are over 50 paintings and works on paper by nearly 40 artists including: Georges Braque, Helen Frankenthaler, Alberto Giacometti, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, and Diego Rivera. Seeing this art in the gallery setting was a particularly thrilling experience. It was interesting to see the diversity of approaches to a common subject from such influential artists. And the gallery setting provided a much more intimate engagement with the pieces then one would have had in a museum.
Thomas Eakins, Two Pupils in Greek Dress, 1880s Platinum print
Constantin Brancusi, View of the studio: Plato, Mademoiselle Pogany II, and Golden Bird, c. 1920
The second exhibit, “In the Studio: Photographs,” is on view at the Gagosian Madison Avenue gallery. It includes over 150 photographs, spanning from the beginnings of photography to the late twentieth century. Forty artists are represented, including: Richard Avedon, Walker Evans Lee Friedlander, Lucas Samaras and Cindy Sherman. It was curated by Peter Galassi, former Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern. While I enjoyed the paintings more, the photographs on view are intriguing because of the unique approaches taken by the artists.
Both shows closed April 18th.
Owned and directed by Larry Gagosian, the Gagosian Gallery began with one location, in Los Angeles, in 1979. Now, it is a global enterprise with 15 locations around the world, including 6 gallery locations in New York — in Chelsea, on the Upper East Side and at Rockefeller Center. The exhibitions you find there are diverse and the experience of visiting is museum level but more intimate.
Recently, I went to the gallery at 980 Madison Avenue to see paintings by Helen Frankenthaler (on view until October 18). I wasn’t very familiar with her work but was attracted to the abstract color images used to promote the exhibit. According to the gallery, “the exhibition focuses on a brief but critical period in Frankenthaler’s career during 1962-63, when she ‘composed with color’ rather than with line..,” Of particular interest to me were a series of paintings — “Filter, Gulf Stream and Moat (all 1963)” — that include imprints of the floorboards at Frankenthaler’s studio.
While at the gallery, I also visited an Ed Ruscha exhibit — prints and photographs of the past forty years. While more familiar with Ruscha, an American artist associated with the Pop Art movement, I had never seen an in depth look at his work. The prints were simple, elegant and playful. Among my favorites were “Bowl,” from 1974, and “Carp With Fly,” from 1969. I also enjoyed a series of 12 Los Angeles “Roof Top Views” — photographs taken by Ruscha in 1961 and then again in 2003. There are many other photographs and prints that underscore Ruscha’s diversity and creativity.
The Ruscha exhibit is only on view until September 27th.
There are two exhibits I saw recently that are worth going to before they close. Though they both are inspired by photography, the art is as different as night and day.
The first is a Jaspar Johns show at MOMA called “Regrets,” (until September 1, 2014). The exhibit is comprised of two paintings, 10 drawings, and two prints. They were created over the last year and a half and were inspired by an old photograph of the artist Lucian Freud, reproduced in an auction catalog. According to the exhibit notes, Johns was inspired not only by this scene but also by the damaged appearance of the photograph itself. The title and signature inscribed on most of the works— “Regrets/Jasper Johns”— suggest a sense of sadness or disappointment. Johns borrowed the words from a rubber stamp he had made several years ago to decline the many requests and invitations that came his way. It’s not a large exhibit but the creativity, interpretations and varied media make it a very exciting exhibit to see.
A very different exhibit, that is all photography, can be found at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in Chelsea. It is Barry Frydlender’s “Yaffo-Tel Aviv.” A native Israeli, Barry Frydlender is known for his large works that “seamlessly stitch together hundreds of photographs in a mosaic-like pattern to create large and extremely sharp color prints.”
The exhibit at the Andrea Meislin Gallery consists of 8 large-scale color photographs, taken between 1998-2014, of the view reflected from Frydlender’s studio window. Through these photographs Frydlender tells a story of a changing urban environment impacted by both natural events, like heavy rainstorms; and current events, like an army raid searching for terrorists.
The Frydlender exhibit will be there only until June 21st.