As a counterpoint to my longer pieces on big shows, here’s something else- shorter looks at some especially Noteworthy Shows that I’m not going to have the time to do the full pieces on that they each deserve, but that I want to bring to your attention.
Post-Labor Day has seen things quiet down on the NYC Museum show scene, after an insanely busy summer. The action has turned to the galleries. Here are some shows I saw recently that I was especially impressed with, in no particular order-
“Ethan Murrow: Water Almanac” @Winston Wachter. A show of very large drawings(!) about the folly of man trying to control nature, many featuring water, shown in a space that was partially submerged almost 3 years ago after Hurricane Sandy, destroying some of Mr. Murrow’s work. When I pointed out the irony of it to him, he responded, “At least they weren’t people,” he said referring to his lost work. When I asked him why he draws instead of paints he spoke of the minimal amount of materials necessary. His work has wonderful elements of the Surrealism of Max Ernst and Bruce Conner that he makes seem everyday real world.
“Meleko Mokgosi: Democratic Intuition” @ Jack Shainman Gallery. I’d write something about this, if I could ever finish looking at it and thinking about it.
“Sol LeWitt” at 3 Paul Cooper Gallery Locations, Pace Prints, and The Met. Yes, no less than 5 simultaneous shows featuring Lewitt’s drawings, scultpture, photography, collages, prints and, suddenly ubiquitous wall drawings (not to mention the permanent one on view in the NYC Subway at 57th Street & Columbus Circle!).
“Alexi Torres: Sun Light” @ UNIX Gallery. No mere photo-realistic interpretations of source photos here. Visions- exquisitely executed.
Robert Currie in “Mind Storm” @ Bryce Wolkowitz. A name new to me. As close as I can gather, Robert Currie applies paint to monofilament thread in rows, which can be seen from the side, or in their reflections, below the works. The image can only really be seen from directly in front. Somehow, they still manage to evoke the sense of the place as well as the sense of a bygone era.
“Fahamu Pecou: #BlackMatterLives” @Lyons Wier Gallery. Prolific and multi-talented, this could be a breakthrough show for him. Powerful. Gorgeous rawness. Present tense.
And- “diane arbus: in the beginning” @ The Met Breuer. Memorable as much for the show’s content as for it’s innovative display, Ms. Arbus’ beginnings show the Artist’s eye fully formed. Each of the 100 plus images on view is given it’s own wall- a side of a “mini-pillar” that allows the viewer to move through the show any which way they want to. Ingenious and ground-breaking, it’s more a case of The Met showing off it’s construction capabilities and resources more than “why didn’t anyone else think of this before?”
Especially noteworthy for me was a photo of my late friend, the legendary Storme de Laverie, titled “Miss Storme de Laverie,The Lady Who Appears to be a Gentleman, NYC,” 1961. I knew Storme during the final decade of her life, and she had told me that Diane Arbus had photographed her, though I had not previously seen it. I took it with a grain of salt, given to tall tales as she was on occasion (will we ever know if she really was the “cause of,” or started, the Stonewall Uprising, nee “Riot”, which I heard her claim she was?). But, there she is, sitting elegantly on a park bench in 1961, immortalized for all time, in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and on view as part of this very good show at The Met Breuer. Diane Arbus had one of the greatest eyes in photography.
Some of these shows are still up, some have just closed. And somewhere the singer is saying…
“’cause no one knows about a good thing
Until a good thing is gone.”
R.I.P- Storme de Laverie. Get home safe, my friend.
*- Soundtrack for this Post is “No One Knows About A Good Thing” by Curtis Mayfield and Daryl Simmons, from Mayfield’s album “New World Order,” and published by Warner- Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
This Post was created by Kenn Sava for nighthawknyc.com
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