I haven't had a good internet connection since the move, so I am posting this from my phone (kinda techweenie). Couple that with the fact that I didn't get much sleep thanks to the highly volatile but at times quite interesting and insightful argument about race that was going on outside my window at 4 am... Let's just say I can't guarantee a fully formed post. I will update with links and more pictures when I get my connection back.
I'm not going to write the whole list of things I saw, just those i liked.
I have found a few galleries that seem to always have a good show. Top of that list is Morgan Lehman. I have raved about previous shows and had once again noted that I wanted to see the show but couldn't remember why. To my very pleasant surprise they were showing works by my favorite San Francisco street muralist, Andrew Schoultz. His work has always had a great deal of energy which he balances with a studied attention to line. His new drawings showed an increased intensity that shone through the work. The drawings still contain many of his archetypal images - birds in flight, wide eyed elephants, birdhouses, and trees and piles of logs. In this series he has introduced the imagery of the armored horse. He has also brought in jolts of color bursting forth in radiant lines from the various objects. The energy and excitement (and fun) that he had in making these is apparent. I am really glad that Morgan Lehman has brought Schoultz's work to new york. I also enjoyed a really pleasant conversation with the gallerist regarding Schoultz's work and that of some of the other artists they represent. He had hoped to bring a larger contingent of San Francisco artists in to show, but Libby Black and Josephine Taylor didn't have any new work. It was a fun conversation which shows the keen interest which they have in finding interesting new work which fits their sensibilities (which seem to be a certain obsessive quality laced with sensuousness (is that even a word?) and playfulness (or experimentation). I also remarked on the wonderful fact that there seemed to be a real interest in drawing in Chelsea right now.
This was borne out by the strong showing of sculptures and drawings by David Opdyke at Roebling Hall (another with a run of good shows). Opdyke's work were executed with a sharp political wit, a keen eye for structure and detail and a magnificent sense of irony. The works took on various political overtones (a fractured map of the U.S., a dollar bill detail made of toy war games). He has the ability to articulate ideas poignantly through both his large "scale model" sculptures and his deft ink on paper work.
Another gallery dishing out consistently good shows is Josee Bienvenue. The current show of works of paper by Noriko Ambe was another that pandered to my love of obsessive works. Ambe creates landscapes by stacking thousands of sheets of cut paper. This practice is not so new, but the works in which she placed stacks of the paper in flat file drawers with the bottoms cut out, took the work to a more interesting level. By moving the drawers in and out to varying depths, one could create a huge variety of new landscapes.
And speaking of landscapes, I had to stop by Pace Wildenstein to see the enormous (of course) new installation by Tara Donovan. A massive rolling (and sometimes mountainous and cliffed) landscape created by stacks of paper cups. The translucency of the cups gave the piece undulating shades of light and dark, yellows and blues. Walking into the space I was taken aback by the magnitude of the work. As I walked around one side I enjoyed the shape and light. As I continued to circumambulate (yeh I did) the piece, the interest and appeal started to wear off. By the time I was done. I was done. I didn't walk out with any residual feeling of awe, interest or excitement (unlike walking out of the other shows profiled here), which is kind of a bummer because I do tend to like Donovan's works.