Let’s not sugarcoat this: Chelsea has become a glittering straight jacket for any artist who actually wants to experiment. The collector market tethers these artists to calculated production where artistic value and cost never seem to go hand in hand. This makes it hard to get too excited about opening night in Chelsea this Thursday, and in fact, but for a handful of openings, we’re not. This is what we recommend:
Chelsea24th Street between 10th and 11th
6-9 PM Website
Jen and Paul’s One Stop Shopping Souvenir City and Chelsea Bus Tours
Has Chelsea become such a spectacle of the rich that a bus tour and souvenir shop is needed? Abso-fucking-lutely. Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw are offering insider access to this mysterious world. They guarantee celebrity sightings and will be offering guest tour guides and experts from the art world to guide your Chelsea Experience. (AFC’s Paddy Johnson will be giving a tour—expect opinions.)
No Chelsea experience is complete without a souvenir. While the rich folk amongst us may simply take home a $200,000 painting, those of us working with a smaller budget may choose to visit Jen and Paul’s shop. In it, you can purchase such wonders as a Damien Hirst Shark approximation—a dead goldfish with a putty shark face and fin attached to its body; a Richard Serra mug adorned with his preferred nickname, Dick; and an I <3 Art t-shirt, with the head of PS1 Curator Klaus Beisenbach obscuring the <3.
No prices for these objects on the website. Like a lot of art in Chelsea, you’re best served by swinging by in person if you want a price list.
El Museo del Barrio1230 5th Avenue
11 AM - 6 PMWebsite
Playing With Fire: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions
We recommend with reservations. The press release doesn’t list the artists, but some graffiti, a balaclava, and vague promises of “mischief” automatically puts this on our list. Make no mistake: this bodes poorly for the fall season.
The show opens on Thursday, but we won’t be going to the opening because we’ll be in Chelsea.
James Cohan Gallery533 West 26th Street
NEW YORK NY
“My work is not so much about pretending the real thing is there, but more about the presence of the subject, as well as the presence of the painting in space.” Helene Appel has said about her work. You can actually see this in the work—in one piece an encaustic and oil painting of a steak covers her stretched linen so boldly, it’s hard to think about much other than the painting and the steak. When rendering plastic, the watercolor on linen feels a little more delicate. This is work to see in person.
Petzel Gallery456 West 18th Street
New York, NY
Walead Beshty "Performances Under Working Conditions"
This here is some serious bullshit. Walead Beshty replaced the tops of the gallery’s desks with copper this summer and now those copper table tops are on view complete with gallerina mouse tracings and elbow sweat. It’s a document of use and weather patterns. So too are the potholes on the BQE and we know how much value those have.
Marianne Boesky Gallery509 West 24 street
New York, NY
Roxy Paine: Denuded Lens
Exactly what all the Roxy Paine hype is about remains a mystery to us, but for those who want to see hyperrealistic wood renderings of machinery Paine’s your go-to artist. For this show’s centerpiece, Paine has created an airport security stop entirely out of maple. Expect other, smaller, wood sculptures of hybrid machine-like objects too.
American Medium424 Gates Avenue
Brian Kokoska and Debo Eilers, Rare Angels
A blue coffin may be on display for this, but even that’s unclear. The press release mostly expounds on the networked soul and its relationship to the body, technology and western power relations. Humorously, after several paragraphs of dense prose on the subject, the piece closes with the following quote:
Got tortilla with butter on phone
Think it’s the end?
So, we’ll go to this.
Adventureland Gallery1513 North Western Avenue
Poetry is Practical
AFC’s Chicago guest critic Robin Dluzen also makes art, like critic-artist Pedro Velez who wrote the catalogue essay for her show “Poetry is Practical”. Dluzen creates a picture of home in the Midwest through transmission towers, waste bags enamel, nuts and bolts. She’s a kindred spirit with Gerald Ferguson’s blue collar conceptualism.
Postmasters Gallery54 Franklin Street
New York, NY
Daria Irincheeva, Circadian Rhythm
An exhibition of balanced arrangements of painting, sculpture and installation that reflect Daria Irincheeva’s childhood growing up in a post-Soviet Russia. Given the instability and change at that time, it’s perhaps no surprise that works imply instability, impermanence and dysfunction. The one image we’re offered looks carefully constructed and assembled, but mostly we’re excited about a show that at least attempts to address Russian politics given the current unrest in the Ukraine and Russia’s demands on the country.
Transfer Gallery1030 Metropolitan Avenue
Ways of Something
See what happens when Lorna Mills asks nearly 90 artists to remake a minute each of John Berger’s BBC revolutionary documentary “Ways of Seeing”. Retaining only the text and audio, Mills threads together each artist’s submission, complete with new visuals. The result is extraordinary. In place of the documentary’s black and white footage of machinery, we watch 3-D rendered walls smoothly rotate. “I am an eye, the mechanical eye,” we hear, the 40 year old narration, completely in sync with the images we see. In another frame, we see digital editing software adding Santa to a Bruegel painting, while Berger explains that “the meaning of a painting shown on film or television can be changed even more radically.”
In short, this is a series about how digital tools have once more transformed how we view and interpret art. TRANSFER artist Lorna Mills will lead a discussion of the work at 9 pm with Julia van Mourik of The One Minutes at Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, and AFC’s own Paddy Johnson. Can. Not. Wait.
House, What is Your Crime?
James Cordas, Leeza Meksin and Jeff Williams make new work in response to the Knockdown’s space. You’ll be looking at Meksin’s fabric stretched across swaths of space, a fifty foot wall piece made from metal flocked with nylon fibers, and what’s described as an “unpredictable” fan powered art work.