Wendell Castle and the ‘Quiet Revolution’ – R & Company
This selection of early pieces from Wendell Castle, part of the American craft art movement in the post-war period, combined with examples of his life-long influences, creates a level of context not often seen in gallery shows. Visitors will see how Castle’s use of wood lamination, exaggerated natural forms, and innovative technique elevated his work in the fields of design, furniture making, and art. Wendell Castle and the ‘Quiet Revolution’ situates his creations alongside Aalto, Arp, Esherick, Noguchi, and Sugarman; establishing his debt to these artists as well as his skill in moving the ideas into new forms and technologies.
Along with the objects, there is a scrapbook of contemporary reviews, photos, and ephemera from 1959-80 that gives insight into the working life of this ground-breaking artist and designer. Although most people today wouldn’t think twice about accepting his work as artistic and as furniture, when it was first made there was some difficulty in understanding how and why these pieces could be both. It’s helpful to read material from the time and marvel at how far public taste has come in just 50-odd years. As part of the show (and with special permission from Nancy Jurs and Alison Castle), R & Company have now published a facsimile of this book, on sale at the gallery. Buy a copy for the struggling artist in your life: it will reassure them that if they can wait it out, styles and tastes do change over time.
On view January 13 – February 26
R & Company, 64 White Street, Hours: Mon – Fri: 11-6, Sat: 12-6, Admission: Free
Janet Sobel and Pearl Blauvelt – Andrew Edlin Gallery
The parallel solo shows Janet Sobel and Pearl Blauvelt highlight works from the 1940s, when each artist was observing with verve and imagination aspects of daily life. Sobel’s art from this time is the more sophisticated of the two, showing figures painted in oils or gouache in a folkloric style, often set in a landscape or partially abstract space. Later, she moved into an abstract style, to better represent emotional concepts. Sobel is now fully credited with an early development of the drip painting technique, first presented at a group show at the Art of This Century gallery, seen by Jackson Pollock, and inspiring him to alter his method of painting.
Blauvelt’s work takes a simpler approach by using a combination of delicate and heavy pencil marks, recording aspects of local life, people inhabiting an ideal world inspired by Bible stories, or copying images from mail-order catalogs. She often tried to draw the exterior and interior shapes of objects, highlighting or exaggerating sections, almost as though she was seeing in multiple dimensions of time and space.
On view January 11 – February 22
Andrew Edlin Gallery, 212 Bowery (between Prince and Spring Streets), Hours: Tue – Sat: 10-6, Admission: Free
Olivia Booth: Drawing Out Time – UrbanGlass
It’s possible you’ve never seen contemporary glass artwork in person – it’s not all that common for galleries to showcase the medium, probably because it can be a challenging sell, both in form and material. After all, when you own a glass piece, your role as a custodian is a little greater than if you have a painting or photograph (although you need to be careful with those too, given the worries about light, dust, etc.) – and if someone knocks it over, it would be difficult or impossible to restore it That being said, the works in Olivia Booth: Drawing Out Time are so fascinating in their use of material and color, we’d be willing to take the risk. Some of the most interesting pieces use fused mirrors with color, creating swirling shapes that mimic portholes to another dimension. Another work to enjoy is a vibraphone that visitors are welcome to play, proving glass is much tougher than it appears, as well as adding a touch of whimsy to this captivating gallery show.
On view November 13, 2019 – January 31, 2020
UrbanGlass, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, Hours: Mon – Fri: 11:30-7:30, Sat: 11-8, Sun: 11-7, Admission: Free
Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020 – Japan Society Gallery
The Olympics are famous for many things: sportsmanship, thrilling acts of physical prowess, and major physical changes within their host cities. The exhibit Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020 (curated and designed by architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wow) shows architectural renderings, models, photographs, and video illustrating aspects of urban life touched by this global event in the past and present. There are six sections to the show: Stadium, Station, Retail, Office, Capsule, and Home, each discussing needs and physical settings unique to Tokyo and Japanese culture. Aspects of life before and after the 1964 Olympics are compared to today’s concerns and issues regarding the upcoming 2020 sporting event, and visitors will find many parallels to NYC’s current social situation regarding housing, construction, and how to shape the future identity of a world-famous city.
On view October 11, 2019 – January 26, 2020
Japan Society Gallery, 333 East 47th Street, Hours: Tue – Thur: 12-7, Fri: 12-9, Sat – Sun: 11-5 Admission: Adults: $12, Seniors and Students: $10
Nicolas Party: Pastel – The FLAG Art Foundation
The unusual qualities of pastel are explored in Nicolas Party: Pastel, where the artist has used the medium to create four mural backdrops for a carefully chosen selection of 18th through 21st century images. Pastel is a notoriously difficult medium to work with since it must be applied directly to the final surface without the benefit of blending colors on a palette so using it requires advanced technical drawing skill. Despite this, it remains popular because it creates a seamless transition between light and dark tones, creating a sense of realism that is unequalled. Referencing rococo themes and colors, the site-specific works compliment and highlight framed pieces from Rosalba Carriera (the artist who popularized pastel portraits in France), Mary Cassatt, Julian Martin, Chris Ofilli, Robin F. Williams, and Loie Hollowell, among others. Party’s own pieces are also on view, allowing viewers to appreciate his abilities with pastel in small and large formats.
On view October 10, 2019 – February 15, 2020
The FLAG Art Foundation, 545 West 25th Street, 9th Fl, Hours: Wed – Sat: 11-5, Admission: Free
Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan – The Morgan Library and Museum
Lately we’ve noticed a tendency in museums to bring in an artist, let them look over the permanent collection, and put together a show with the help of a professional curator (who discreetly fades into the background so the artist can claim all the credit). These exhibits aren’t particularly scholarly, in fact they often seem to be an uncomfortable Pinterest mix of ‘I like this and you should too’ and ‘I claim this as an influence but don’t realize this is far better than my own work’. In a best case scenario, audiences will see some old favorites next to pieces rarely out of storage, with a visual dialogue informed by a certain level of intellectual and artistic knowledge. In the worst case, visitors get selfie moments and leave as ignorant as when they arrived.
The Morgan Library and Museum knows these potential pitfalls, which is why when they decided to do an artist-led exhibition, they asked Duane Michals to select items from their extensive collection and link them to his own work. The result is Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan, a retrospective of the artist’s photography and other works, curated by Joel Smith, the Richard L. Menschel Curator at the Morgan. The selections on view enhance understanding of Michals’ development as well as artistic influences and references from many eras. His technique has evolved over time, and the exhibit includes examples of staged tableaus, photographs altered through painting, with captions written on the print, or images created from manipulating exposure times or light. He also has a superb understanding of art history, putting in his work details that act as Easter eggs within the larger scene. When placed next to the original inspirations/sources, his photographs are even better: enhanced, not diminished by the association. Visitors understand his thinking and use it to stimulate their own imaginations, making this the rare exhibition that is more than the sum of its parts.
On view October 25, 2019 – February 2, 2020
The Morgan Library and Museum, 225 Madison Avenue (36th Street), Hours: Tues – Thur: 10:30-5, Fri: 10:30-9, Sat: 10-6, Sun: 11-6, Mon: Closed, Admission: Adults: $22, Seniors (65 years and older): $14, visitors with disabilities: $13 (with their caregivers having free admission), Students: $13 (with valid id), Children (12 years and younger, accompanied by an adult): Free, Members: Free. On Fridays between 7pm-9pm, admission is free.
Hans Haacke: All Connected – New Museum
Conceptual art is an art movement that many people seem to misunderstand, either accidentally or deliberately. In its essence, the idea of an artist is labelled art, whether the idea has a physical form or not. Other ways to express a conceptual art piece is to use audience participation as directed by the artist, taking public information or data and organizing it for open discussion, or presenting pre-made items as worthy of aesthetic observation. It’s a difficult method but in Hans Haacke: All Connected, the New Museum shows why it’s valid and necessary aspect of contemporary art. As a pioneer in various types of contemporary art, from environmental to institutional critique, Hans Haacke has consistently questioned the relationship between money, power, corporate and arts institutions, the public, and artists for decades. His work has been held up as an example of speaking truth to power by examining connections between policies of big business and repressive regimes. But it’s also functioned as a warning to other artists not to cross the line (as institutions saw it) regarding political and social commentary the way he did, resulting in the infamous 1971 cancellation by the Guggenheim of a career retrospective, which also cost the curator his job. Even now, Haacke’s works can make corporations uncomfortable, while inspiring people to start changing the status quo – which makes this a perfect exhibition for today’s concerns.
On view October 24, 2019 – January 26, 2020
New Museum, 235 Bowery (between Stanton and Prince Streets), Hours: Tue – Wed: 11-6, Thur: 11-9 (between 7-9 pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish), Fri – Sun: 11-6, Admission: Adults: $18, Seniors: $15, People with disabilities: $15 (accompanying caregivers free admission), Students (with id): $12, Members: Free, Children 15-18 years: Free, Children under 15 years (accompanied by an adult): Free
Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art – The Jewish Museum
There are many reasons why people chose to work in the arts. Maybe they have talent in some aspect of performance or in a field that supports performance, maybe they’re just drawn to the creativity of those in that sphere. Or maybe they just think that everybody outside that world should know that some great artistic work is happening and by the way, it’s being done by people right here in the US. Edith Halpert had all these qualities: spotting artistic talent in a variety of time periods, genres, and individuals, then promoting and selling to everyone from museums to the middle class. The gallery, in operation for over 40 years, sold or represented Stuart Davis, Edward Hicks, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Raphaelle Peale, Horace Pippin, Ben Shahn, and Max Weber, among others. An early promotional brochure says it best: “The Downtown Gallery has no prejudice for any one school. Its selection is driven by quality—by what is enduring—not by what is in vogue.” In Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art, these artists, as well as unknown makers in the genre of American folk art, demonstrate the depth and breadth of a visionary, determined to show collectors and the general public the art world didn’t begin and end with European works. Her success ensured that generations of students and professionals came to value art movements and work created in the US, changing the course of art history studies across the world.
On view October 18, 2019 – February 9, 2020
The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, Hours: Thur: 11-8, Fri – Tue: 11-5:45, Wed: Closed, Admission: Adults: $18, Seniors (65 years and older): $12, Students: $8, Children (18 years and younger): Free, Members: Free. On Saturdays, admission is free. Visitors with Federal Disability identification may obtain free admission. In addition, the museum is a member of Blue Star Museums and has year-round free admission for active duty military personnel and their families.
Cutting Edges: Nordic Concrete Art from the Erling Neby Collection – Scandinavia House Gallery
From the outstanding collection of Erling Neby, a choice selection representing a Nordic take on the abstract movement known as Concrete Art, one of Abstract Art’s many branches, with paintings focused on a removal of references to representation or emotion and emphasizing formal, geometric compositions often using flat planes of color to create illusions of depth. Over time, the definition was relaxed to include works of sculpture, photography, and poetry, forms that worked well within the strictures of the theory. Cutting Edges: Nordic Concrete Art from the Erling Neby Collection brings together artists from Denmark (Richard Mortensen, Robert Jacobsen), Finland (Lars-Gunnar Nordström, Sam Vanni, Paul Osipow, Matti Kujasalo, Juhana Blomstedt), Iceland (Kristján Guðmundsson), Norway (Gunnar S. Gundersen, Arne Malmedal, Kristin Nordhøy, Aase Texmon Rygh, Bjørn Ransve), and Sweden (Olle Bærtling, Lars Erik Falk, Lars Englund) showing various interpretations on a style more commonly associated with Latin America and Italy.
On view October 12, 2019 – February 15, 2020
Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue (38th Street), Hours: Tue: 12-6, Wed: 12-7, Thur – Sat: 12-6, Admission: Free