Chelsea Roundup: The End is Nigh

by Art Fag City on August 17, 2007 Events

A slew of galleries close their summer time shows today, virtually shutting down the neighborhood until the first week in September. By the time I finally finish this post I doubt anyone will be able to race out and catch those shows, though the report may still hold interest for those who have already seen the exhibitions mentioned, and those out of towners who use this blog as a means of keeping in touch with the New York art scene.


Amy Yao, Photograph AFC

Of immediate note, it took all of twenty minutes in Chelsea before I viewed two art office clocks in separate galleries. I was certain I’d see at least four by the end of the day and be able to announce “time” as a trend in art, but no such luck this year. For the record, neither piece was any good; Tanya Bonakdar featured a “whimisical” high speed spinning clock by Via Lewandowsky, a played out concept if there ever was one, and Andrew Kreps displayed an unremarkable dirty clock by Amy Yao. Incidentally, while Bonakdar’s exhibition largely comprised good work, the group show at Kreps was by far the worst in Chelsea, making this the second season in row the gallery has performed poorly. I’m rarely a fan of random objects arranged in a space since 9 times out of 10 it ends up looking like a hodge podge of crap; this show simply fell in line with that majority.


Morton Bartlett, Untitled, 1955, (p. 48, girl crying) , vintage gelatin silver print
4 1/4 x 3 inches, Photograph copyright Julie Saul

Interestingly, second only to Kreps, Julie Saul’s Morton Bartlett exhibition of dolls is in my books as the worst art in Chelsea. The artist has been branded as an outsider artist, a term that has in this case, served to give weight to work where it is unwarranted. Outsider artists do not escape the language and rules of art making just because they don’t consciously work with them, so the fact that this work looks overly staged and contrived is still actually a problem. It’s a mystery why Roberta Smith gave the photographs such a glowing review.


Jean Tinguely, Maschinenbild Haus Lange, 1960, Photograph AFC

Probably the best exhibition in Chelsea is Andrea Rosen’s 1950-s – 1960’s Kinetic Abstraction. Entirely in black and white, these works should not only demonstrate to contemporary artists questioning the creation of moving art works that electronics actually endure 60 years or more, but that they can also maintain the same visual power they had when they were made. Jean Tinguely's Malevich inspired moving white bars on top a black surface is a highlight of the show, literalizing the movement within Russian constructivist’s paintings, as is Gerhard von Graevenitz’s eggshell colored sphere with gentle moving squared edges.


Gerhard von Graevenitz, 1963, Photograph AFC

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