Artblog Celebrating 20 Years!   Support Us Today!

New York Ramble: a photo post


Steve in Manhattan
Steve at Brian Tolle’s Irish Hunger Memorial in downtown Manhattan.

One of our favorite things to do in New York is walk. We walked from our hotel at 39th and 2nd Ave to the Guggenheim (89th and 5th) and back again. We like to walk in Central Park (who doesn’t). And I love the Battery Park City walkway along the Hudson River. So when Steve said What do you want to do today I said let’s walk. We took the subway to Chambers St. and walked over to the Hudson and turned south. If you haven’t done it, it’s a great non-city-city thing to do. Smell the salt air and study the seagulls and the ferries. It’s new and old New York and like nothing else. The walkway along Battery Park City has many pieces of public art. There’s Tom Otterness, Martin Puryear, Scott Burden, Siah Armajani and Brian Tolle‘s Irish Hunger Memorial a great transplantation of Irish vegetation and rocks on a plot that rises in the air like an Irish hill and lets you think for a moment (if you look West and forget all the big buildings surrounding you) that you may actually be on a walking trail somewhere in Connemara. It’s beautiful–and this is in the winter when the grass is brown. Imagine the wonder when it’s Spring. Check out some Spring time pictures here.

World Trade Center site from the Winter Garden windows.
World Trade Center site from the Winter Garden windows.

South of Tolle’s piece we stopped at the Winter Garden, part of the World Trade Center complex that was spared by the 2001 attack. You can see the intense activity going on at the WTC site now from the Winter Garden’s second floor lookout, which of course predated the tragedy and presupposed looking out and up on the big twin towers. Now, ironically, your eye is drawn out and down on a hole and many earth moving machines.

After our walk, Steve went to the hotel to do some work and I met Cate in Chelsea to check out a few galleries. I didn’t have a game plan but had a few things I wanted to see. Below are photos with not much commentary. Mostly, things seemed a little low energy.

Pieter Hugo
Pieter Hugo photo (detail) at Yossi Milo

Pieter Hugo‘s photos of African men and their animals at Yossi Milo were perhaps the high point. They transcended the National Geographic documentary genre by suggesting a level of psychological intensity and intimacy between animals and men that verges on the perverse and unknowable.

John Morris
John Morris painting at D’Amelio Terras

John Morris‘s paintings at D’Amelio Terras are wonderful. With textures and lines and dots right out of an Aboriginal painting the small works placed on a gold strip on the wall evoke systems of nodes and wires that could be in the human body or in the cosmic architecture.

SunKoo Yuh
Sun Koo Yuh at Nancy Margolis

It was great to be reminded of Sun Koo Yuh in a show, Sculptors as Draftsmen, at Nancy Margolis Gallery. I believe we’d seen these drawings (or some like them) in his recent — and wonderful — solo show at the Art Alliance. (See Libby’s post)

Phranc at Cue Art Foundation.

There was a selection of hand-made gay-themed tchotchkes by Phranc at the Cue Foundation in a show curated by Ann Magnuson.

Dario Robleto
Dario Robleto at D’Amelio Terras.

Dario Robleto‘s rosary-entwined preserve jar at D’Amelio Terras (filled with ashes and bone and dirt from nuclear test sites in the West) was nice. The artist had flanked the piece with other works that seemed beside the point. I would have liked to see the jar alone.

Massimo Bartolini
Massimo Bartolini at D’Amelio Terras

Massimo Bartolini’s spinning praying figure (also at D’Amelio Terras) was a nice surprise, bringing in a note of humor that lightened what otherwise might be a heavy show.

Charles Ray
Charles Ray at Matthew Marks

Charles Ray‘s three new pieces at Matthew Marks disappointed. Father Figure, pictured here, is a blow up of a big Cracker Jack-type cheap toy that everyone probably knows. To see it merely blown up big didn’t have any impact beyond the one of scale. Ray’s other two pieces, Chicken (a cast steel egg shell with a porcelain chick attempting to hatch out) and The New Beetle (a white-painted cast steel nude figure of a boy child playing with a VW Beetle car) seemed to project a triangular relationship of birth, childhood (play) and adulthood (work) but the whole was less pleasing than the idea.

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw at Metro Pictures

Jim Shaw‘s Dr. Goldfoot and his Bikini Bombs at Metro Pictures was a showroom of sculptured body parts as lighting elements and furniture. The giant noses and ears were pretty silly. I liked the head on the floor — seemingly tossed there in the gallery’s lobby as an afterthought.

Magnus Plessen
Magnus Plesson at Gladstone

Magnus Plesson‘s paintings at Gladstone are so much hot air and the gallery’s description of the works as exploring “the absence that haunts structures of vision” only made me mad at its obfuscatory posturing.

Met Museum
Tara Donovan, Met Mezzanine project space
Tara Donovan at the Met

We just couldn’t keep away from the Met, one of the best places in the city (and, I just read, the number one tourist spot in the city with millions of visitors each year.) I wanted to see the Tara Donovan project in the Contemporary Art mezzanine project space. The mylar tape circlets Donovan made into bacteria-like spreads on the walls were nice but I preferred the floor piece with the plastic cups she showed last year at Pace Wildenstein (see post for picture and information).

Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor at the Met

Also in the contemporary wing, Damian Hirst’s shark in formaldahyde. I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of the shark which is on loan but the piece is reflected in this shot of Anish Kapoor‘s convex faceted mirror (the aqua in the upper right). All in all I’m sorry to see the Hirst shark at the Met since it seems not a serious piece and won’t, I believe, do much for their contemporary collection.

Gates of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghiberti's baptistry doors
Lorenzo Ghiberti’s gilt baptistry doors

On our way out we stumbled onto a show about the conservation by laser cleaning of Lorenzo Ghiberti‘s Firenze Baptistry doors. A great educational exhibit that explained how the gilt bronze doors were being saved from the grime of ages and would be stored in the Duomo soon. (Facsimiles are in place on the Baptistry.)

That’s all from my trip to New York. Back to Philly.