New York shows
Post #1030 • July 18, 2007, 10:40 AM • 20 Comments
Manhattan - After a visit to the Teachout Museum and lunch with its gracious, brilliant director, I had a bit of time, so I walked eastward across the northern latitudes of Central Park, bursting in its green summer glory, and sauntered up to 79th Street.
Shepherd & Derom has a show of 19th Century objects, mostly drawings, with a few wonderful surprises. Chief among them were watercolors by Henri Harpignies, a buddy of Corot of whom I had never heard. Harpignies used dashing brushwork and he applied dark hues courageously, so much so in one piece that it recalled Munch. The show also featured a knockout Millet, whom, based on this piece, I nominate as having drawn fields of grass better than anyone in the history of Western Europe. Rating: 3.6. The back room of the gallery has a dozen Klimt drawings of subprime caliber but they're handsomely installed and the master didn't exactly have off days; the taut, sexy linework is in full effect. Rating: 3.5. Catalogues are digitally available: 19th C. html, 19th C. PDF, Klimt PDF.
Adam Baumgold is showing Text Messages, which focuses on artists using text in some manner or another. The show demonstrates that the genre is divided into two groups: Saul Steinberg, and everyone who is not Saul Steinberg. Steinberg's use of text, here poigniantly garbled, there turned into a landscape, exudes such poetic wit that similar attempts placed nearby wilt a little. Not suprisingly, the comics guys and quasi-illustrators run the show, with notable entries from Chris Ware, Robert Crumb, and Adam Dant. The salon hanging works against the more constructivist pieces like Ruscha's and favors fussier statements by Alexandra Grant and Marc Bell, which would probably be ideal in book form. Joe Amrhein's work might mark the first instinctively warm feelings I've had towards text-driven, signage-inspired fine art since Jenny Holzer's early oeuvre. Rating: 2.5.
The ratings bear explanation.