Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dramatic Monochromatic - New York Gallery Week 2011

Tobias Putrih at Muelensteen Gallery http://www.meulensteen.com/
Maybe it's a reaction to all the colorful tulips and daffodils blooming in pots around the city, but I'm in a decidedly monochromatic, minimalist frame of mind.

Today, during New York Gallery Week I was taken by black and white. Well, that's what seemed to dominate when I looked over the shots I'd captured.

For example, I loved the menacing Meccano-like powdercoated, perforated panels bolted together by Czech artist Tobias Putrih in his show When Language Goes on Holiday at Muelensteen Gallery, above. Architecty and hard edge, it made me jones for an IKEA-antidote kitchen and bathroom made of it - dammit, make that the whole apartment. Check out the website of this Dutch-owned gallery (formerly Max Protech) and you'll see a special link for Architecture with all the great names - Frank Gehry doodles, Louis Khan scribbles ... and we know how much the Dutch love architecture. Read more about this show here.

Fab floorlamp by Tobias Putrih. I want one! 
Moving right around the corner, the slightly scruffy, underground parking station-like Cueto Projects featured some arresting black and white work by French multimedia and public space artist Tania Mouraud. The show is called I Haven't seen a Butterfly Here. Clearly Damien Hirst hasn't hit this spot with his money-printing, crowd-pleasing foil butterflies which flew off the prefab walls at the Armory Show and remind me of very nice, very large Hallmark gift cards.  My distant cellphone shot doesn't do it justice, but Mourad's "alphabet" (according to the young French gallerista behind the counter) protruded about 6 inches or more from the wall, like mini monoliths a la 2001 Space Odyssey.

Tania Mouraud "alphabet" at Cueto Projects
An entire wall of Cueto was painted thus:


And I went to Mouraud's site for an even more arresting monochromatic moment:

Tania Mouraud, IHAD, 2005, Espace de l'art concret, Mouans Sartoux
exposition: Arts de l'Islam et abstractions: Le chant rythmique de l'esprit
Side trivia - I rather like Cuerto's no-frills entrance consisting of three roughly hewn and painted concrete steps with no handrail, so watch your step. It's minimalism at it's meanest - just what you need to get from one altitude to another, and with a name like Cueto, reminds me of the ramshackle environs of Cuba and Latin America...

I then popped over to the ever-chic Phillips de Pury auction preview in Chelsea (by way of Gagosian's Picasso show, but you're not allowed to take pictures there or risk being "iced.") Here, we saw another batch of "relatively affordable" art ($5000 and up) by relative up and comers. Why, there was even a "BUY IT NOW" section by "groundbreakers" from the Whitney Art Party project, with some works starting from around $3000. 

Harping on my B&W theme, this Jeff Elrod caught my monochromatic gaze: 

Jeff Elrod, Tie Breaker, 2002 .

I am a bit of an Elrod fancier, having coveted some of his work in a previous de Pury auction. Of course this may well rankle the "my 6-year old kid could do that" crowd. Can't seem to find his website, but there's a bio here, thanks to Marty Walker gallery, and pasted this handy dandy Elrod elevator speech courtesy of P.R.I.N.T.'s Facebook page.

What else? Ah, at the risk of offending someone, a couple of "Robert Motherwellesque" works:

Jack Tworkov, Untitled

Bernar Venet, Three Intermediate Lines
And how about a B&W moment in the genre that invented it, photography.  Perhaps because Warhol's Liz #5 is about to go under the hammer at de Pury for around $30M, we've seen all kind of Warhol doodles pop up for sale - shoes, cats, probably screwed up chewing gum wrappers ... I swear if someone managed to souvenir a shard of his toilet paper complete with 15 minutes of skidmarks (on a constipated day)  I bet it'd be up here in matted and framed lights. Witness his odious urine paintings, for example!

But I digress - Warhol's stitched pictures are basically 6 dupes of his selected black and whites stitched together like so. The estimate for "Sweaters", a crowd-pleaser if there ever was one, is around $20,000-$30,000. Individually, these shots tend to go for $6000+.
Andy Warhol, Sweaters
Well, given it's Spring, I should try and finish on a slightly more colorful note. At 303 Gallery, established out-there artist Florian Marier-Aichen apparently waited for just the right moment for the flowers to bloom on Ven, a tiny Swedish island between Denmark and Sweden. No Photoshop here, sir! This baby will set you back around $100K+ I believe. 

Florian Maier-Aichen Aus Ven [From Hven], 2011

Happy Spring!  View all New York Gallery Week photos (a few more) on the ChelseaGallerista Facebook page








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