Sunday, 10 February 2008

Gallery Hopping

So far I am having an absolutely lovely weekend. I managed to catch up on my sleep on Friday night and felt unusually well rested on Saturday despite being woken around 3am by my new upstairs neighbour arriving home from her night out. She moved in about a week ago and she’s very noisy when she walks around the apartment. She’s one of those heavy walker types – fairy elephants as we call them in England, which means a person who looks as if she should be light on her feet, but is nothing of the sort. She often wears shoes while walking around on uncarpeted wooden floors, so there are times when it sounds as if a family of elephants wearing clogs has moved in above me.

Anyway, despite the noise, the weekend has been smashing. I went on another of Rafael Risemberg’s gallery tours on Saturday which was great as usual. I swear if you are ever in New York and are an art lover you really should take advantage of these tours. Rafael does a best exhibits tour every month and while you won’t necessarily like all the art he’s chosen, it always makes for great conversation. In fact, don’t be shy; come with me while I take you on yesterday’s tour…

First stop on the tour of eight exhibits was Daniella Dooling, showing at the
Michael Steinberg gallery, or should I say *was* showing as this exhibit ended yesterday, so apologies if you wanted to see it.

By the way, all the photos of the exhibits are courtesy of the gallery websites. Unfortunately I couldn’t find photos that completely reflected the first exhibit which took up the entire gallery. I have 2 digital cameras and none of them work properly, I need to get them sorted and stop relying on the likes of Flickr, but here you go...

A little freaky right??? It's art that I can appreciate in terms of the work that's gone into it, but I can't say I particularly like it. The artist – Daniella Dooling – apparently uses taxidermy animal forms, wraps them in tin foil, covers them in hot glue and leaves that to dry before sticking pushpins into the forms. What you can't see so well from the photos, except perhaps the one of the baboon on the bottom left, is that the animals are suspended on rods, some rise from the floor, some hang from a grid that's attached to the ceiling. In the back room of the gallery was the piece shown on the bottom right; the entire thing is made up of 16,000 pushpins. I quite liked the effect of this one and it struck me as something that, no disrespect to the artist, could be reasonably easily replicated in my own apartment, although I am sure my landlord would not thank me for putting 16,000 tiny holes in the wall. Overall I thought this exhibit was kind of bizarre, but interesting. One thing I love about Rafael’s tours is that the art is never boring.

Next up…Harun Farocki at the
Greene Naftali gallery.

This was probably my least favourite of the eight exhibits on the tour, although as a European I couldn't help but feel a pang of excitement about the World Cup theme. It's a video installation by Harun Farocki, a Czech artist and is a difficult piece to replicate in photos, you really have to see it, except you can't as this also ended yesterday. Sorry kids.

I was divided on this piece as it was a lot of big screens showing the analysis of the game that the likes of the coaches get to see. It was definitely impactful though.

The next 3 pieces were my favourites....

The husband and wife team of Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz were showing at the PPOW gallery. I loved this exhibit. Initially all we saw were the photos, but what this couple actually do is create snow globes and then photograph the scenes within. The snowglobes seem cute on first glance, but when you really look at them they're quite often a bit macabre. If I were able to buy one piece from the exhibits I saw today a snowglobe by Martin and Munoz would have been a front runner. I really liked 'Jumping' on the bottom right of the photos below, even the figures are actually jumping to their deaths, it almost looks as if they're dancing on air, which makes it more uplifting than depressing, well, except for the poor chap mangled on the rocks below. He's not going to be doing any more dancing. Both the globes and the prints were on sale by the gallery. We didn't get to find out the price, but I'm pretty sure I didn't have enough cash on me.

The 4th stop on the tour was the Stefan Stux gallery which was showing works by the German artist Kuno Gonschior.

The photo really doesn't do it justice as these pieces were really impressive. You need to see these pieces in person, and if you happen to live in New York then you are in luck as the exhibit doesn't close until the 8th March. Apparently Kuno starts by putting a dawb of paint on a raw canvas, moves back to cast a critical eye over the effect from a distance and then returns to the canvas to add another dab of paint, repeating the process over and over until the work is completed. It must take him forever. The smaller of the pieces - which are about 4ft by 3ft - will set you back a bargain $32,000. The larger ones - like the one shown below - are closer to $70,000.

The next stop on the tour impressed me the most, and - eeek - the artist happened to be visiting the gallery at the time we all piled in, and he very kindly talked to us about his inspiration and we got to ask him a few questions. I have only one word for the work of this artist, and that is PHENOMENAL!!! They're paintings, not photographs. There are a couple that, even when you're only a foot away from them, you'd swear were photographs at first glance; the work is so detailed and precise that if you didn't know it was painted you might assume it's photo-realism. It's at the Mike Weiss gallery and is by an Israeli artist, Yigal Ozeri, and closes on the 23rd February. See it if you can, Yigal's work is absolutely breathtaking in person.

Doesn't it look like a photograph? I promise you, when you get up close you can see it's a painting. The artist takes a photo of the scene using a high quality camera, I don't know anything about photograpy to be honest, but the artist said he used the highest quality camera money can buy, a movie camera I think he said, to photo the scene and then he replicates it in oils. Apparently a big trend among artists these days is to try and make photography look like paintings whereas Yigal tries to make paintings look like photography. The painting above kind of reminds me of the pre-Raphaelite paintings of John William Waterhouse, such as the Lady Of Shalott.

The original photo of the above painting was taken in Central Park in New York. The model, Priscilla, lives in a commune in Maine and is apparently "very at one with nature". She's stunning isn't she? The artist said he didn't direct her, but just let her do her own thing and then he photographed her from a distance, before gradually coming closer and closer. I love the way her dreadlocks blend in to the surrounding trees. She's perfect for these paintings. Even though I've seen these up close I still have a hard time believing they're not photos.

Here's a photo of the artist at work. He works on approximately 15 paintings at any given time, with the help of 6 assistants. He told us that the current series of paintings took him 18-24months to complete.

I love his waistcoat. I have to say Yigal was a hard act to follow.

Sixth on the tour was the Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota who is at the Goff & Rosenthal gallery until the 10th March. I appreciated this work, but didn't love it, although I think it would be very impactful if purchased as an entrance way to a restaurant or bar, what you don't see clearly is the way it arches over the doorway to the office next door. The pieces are made from wool.
I kind of like these light bulbs suspended in wool...

The last piece I saw was Christy Rupp at the Frederieke Taylor gallery, which was titled 'Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans' and was "constructed with the assistance of numerous scientists and University Websites, a visit to the American Museum of Natural History's dark lockers, and many friends who have donated the remains of barbecues and holiday dinners."

She created these skeletons of extinct birds using the remains of her friends' Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners. It's certainly an interesting way to recycle.

I had to leave before we visited the eighth piece as I had an appointment to wax my eyebrows and unmentionables, however I didn't leave without exchanging numbers with art lover Bill who I'd been chatting to on the tour and who asked me if I was interested in going for a coffee or a bite to eat after the tour. I couldn't, but he and I have a date today. I also swapped info with Betsy who I got chatting to while peering into the snowglobes and found out she lives in my building. Can you believe that? I go all the way down to Chelsea and meet someone who lives in the same building as me on the Upper East Side. I don't live in a big building either so it's amazing we haven't run into each other in the halls since she's lived there for 3years and I've been there for 7, but now that I have her number I'll be inviting her for brunch.

I had to make a mad dash to be on time for my appointment with Alicja. I've been going to her for a years now and about 18months ago she set up her own spa on 31st street with her friend Christina. Unfortunately after a year of being there the building was purchased and she and Christina had to look for new premises. These will be ready in March but for the time being she's seeing her regulars out of a client's apartment on Sullivan St. It was interesting to see someone else's apartment, the place was tiny, a long, skinny railroad studio, but it was decorated beautifully. I loved the way she used a fire surround, which she'd hung white pillows across, as a headboard for her bed. It was inventive and really effective. Alicja was telling me that she works in advertising and is looking for a job, having just recently been let go from her last position, so I left her my email address so she could send me her resume to pass on to my account teams. I wasn't sure if any of them are looking, but it's worth a try.

It had been several hours since I'd eaten, so I made a quick pit stop at the Hampton Chutney Co. on Prince St in SoHo for a delicious dosa and a revitalising cardamom coffee before heading home. I love that place, but so it seems does everyone else as it's permanently packed and you can rarely get a seat, but for once I was lucky and a couple of people were leaving as I ordered, so I got to sit down and enjoy my food instead of getting it to go, before heading home to run errands.

As I was heading back from the laundry a few hours later I ran into Allison, a colleague who's lived 2 blocks from me for a few years now, but who I never see. I suppose if I don't even run into people like Betsy who lives in the same building I can hardly expect to run into people 2blocks over. Allison told me how she's been working 80+hour weeks and if they don't hire someone to help her soon she's offski. I told her about Alicja's client and she sounded very interested in seeing her resume, so with any luck it could work out well for the both of them.

All in all it felt like a serendipitous sort of day, what with meeting Bill and Betsy on the gallery tour, getting a rare seat in Hampton Chutney Co; Alicja telling me her client is looking for a job and then running into Allison who needs someone. It was fab!!

After cleaning my apartment I cracked open a nice bottle of burgundy and enjoyed a glass of wine whilst IMing with my sister in Australia. It was great to catch up with her, it's been a couple of weeks since we've had a proper catch up. She was telling me that my nephew started school a week or two ago and has been fitting in really well due to being a bit of a star on the cricket team, well that of course and the devastating good looks he so clearly gets from his aunt hee hee. His father's a semi-professional cricket player, so my nephew's been playing since he was big enough to hold a bat.

Yes, Saturday was a great day. The only low point to my weekend was hearing the news that a massive fire has swept Camden town in North London, devastating the Hawley Arms and much of the market. There were a 100 firefighers tackling the blaze. I haven't heard any news of fatalities though so fingers crossed no-one was hurt.

Photo courtesy of the BBC.


Sister Sassy said...

Hope all in London are ok

Fairy Elephant, I loved that. So funny! I had a neighbor, she was downstairs though and I would hear her having sex or her screaming at her boyfriend. That really sucked!

Yigal Ozeri was amazing!! Thanks for turning me on to him. I love John William Waterhouse too!
Happy Weekend!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Sassy,

As far as I can tell from the BBC news site there were no casualties from the fire, a lot of the market traders lost merchandise, but thankfully no injuries.

Ewww, I would hate to hear that. I had a guy living above me for a while and I would occasionally hear the bed rocking. Fortunately for me, he was always quite quick, although I bet his girlfriends weren't so happy hee hee!!

Glad you liked Yigal's work. It's beautiful isn't it? Happy weekend to you too. Thanks for stopping by, I'll have to link you, I've been meaning to. Best Fish

Ha Ha Sound said...

Yeah, sorry to hear about the girl upstairs. Have you tried to talking to her? There was a woman living above me who used to do that. Every Friday and Saturday night, I'd get woken up by her at 3:00am or 4:00am when she'd stumble in drunk in her high heels. I actually knocked on her door and politely mentioned it to her, and it wasn't much of a problem after that.

And good luck on your date with Bill!! Keep us posted.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Ha Ha, I haven't tried talking to her yet, I'm a little cranky about it just now, so I'm waiting until I'm feeling more diplomatic. I've had this problem with neighbors a few years ago and being polite didn't work well.

Just back from my date with Bill through sporadic blizzards and it went well, we hung out for close to 6hours so a good sign, however he doesn't live in New York, but in North Carolina, so I'm not sure, but we'll see.

Kitty said...

How awesome, Fish? NY can feel so small sometimes, which can be a nice thing.

Productive and fun weekends make the world seem wonderful. Hooray!!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, it was so cool to have all these overlapping coincidences. It was the type of thing you assume only happens in movies. The whole weekend has been really nice. Hope you had a good one. Fish x

Amel's Realm said...

Uhhhh...hope nobody got hurt in London!!!

And I also love Yigal's work. VERY VERY impressive. I'd love to be the subject of his paintings HUA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA...OK, to be honest, I want to have my own portrait made, even only in pencil he he he he...;-D

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, from the news reports there were no injuries in London, a lot of property damage but no-one was hurt, so that's something to be happy about.

Glad you like Yigal's work. I can just picture you being photographed against a snowy Finnish landscape. Btw have you ever come across the Finnish photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen? I saw his work on the last gallery tour I was on and it's really beautiful.

Amel's Realm said...

Glad to hear about the people in London. :-)))

I've never even heard of that Finnish artist. I should go look him up. THANKS for letting me know, Fish! ;-D

Amel's Realm said...

I just checked out his works...VERY VERY interesting. Black and white pictures. I've never seen these types of photography before he he he...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, his photos are great right? He's the model for many of them, although he also works with a woman too.

Blur Ting said...

I love this post! Those work, especially the one by Yigal, is amazing!

sid said...

The paintaing of the woman Priscilla ... stunning. I wish I had this much talent. Thanks for sharing this with us.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Blur Ting, so glad you like the post :-)

Hi Sid, yeah I was quite envious myself. Glad you enjoyed it :-)

patientanonymous said...

Holy Gallery Hopping, indeed! That's great, though. When I was in London three years ago I couldn't believe they were all free! Awesome! Not so here, and ours? Well not revealing where (exactly) I am, but...they can't compete.

Ooh...and the fire. Not good, but one hurt. That is...well..."good."

I too like "fairy elephant!" Oh you've given me another good one, pet.

Poppet's light on her feet--at least no one's complained about her stomping around! No...not 90lb. poppet! How much noise could I make? Well, if I jumped around a lot?

Bill? Oh. I haven't been hanging around your place lately. I haven't been reading anyone lately as both life and Blog365 have been kicking my ass.

Anonymous said...

So nice to find another ex-pat Brit in the US via LittleBritainer. I must admit though, your NY pics made me jealous, I've never been (I don't count JFK airport--although the TSA were really rude and made me feel like I REALLY was in NY) and would love to spend a few days (weeks) seeing some sights. I totally want to go to Manhattan and eat some cheesecake at Junior's.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi PA, glad you enjoyed the post, the galleries in Chelsea are great. Sorry to hear life is kicking your arse. I know what you mean about it being difficult to blog hop, I could never do the blog365.

The fairy elephant above me is teensy, she just walks VERY heavily for a little 'un. I'm very light on my feet.

Bill's a new one, but not a local one, so friends only I think.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey ABritDifferent, Blogger got a little huffy when I tried to post your comment and even though I hit Publish it isn't appearing. I'll paste it below. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I would be happy to give you tips on NYC if you ever get a chance to visit. I'll let you into a secret though, I've never been to Juniors. I know it's in Brooklyn though.

"So nice to find another ex-pat Brit in the US via LittleBritainer. I must admit though, your NY pics made me jealous, I've never been (I don't count JFK airport--although the TSA were really rude and made me feel like I REALLY was in NY) and would love to spend a few days (weeks) seeing some sights. I totally want to go to Manhattan and eat some cheesecake at Junior's."

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Duh, it did post your comment, maybe I'm just a big numpty and missed it the first time I looked.

Betty @ Purse Party said...

Whoa! That's a painting?? got me fooled! Great article! Thanks a lot.