Category: Art News

Artful Circle’s Top Picks of the Week: Chelsea

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Hauser and Wirth, 511 W. 18th St., has a spectacular exhibition of Subodh Gupta, acclaimed as the Damian Hirst of India. Everyone has been very impressed with the first piece encountered: This is Not a Fountain (see above left) which displays a huge mound of well-used pots and pans with continuously re-circulating flow of water from pipe-mounted faucets throughout. Such cook-ware, in middle class Indian families, up until recently was likely passed from generation to generation and the wear and tear, as well as repairs attest to how essential, and valued, these may be, along with fresh water for cleaning and the renewal of life. There are also fool the eye sculptures and paintings that abound with symbolism and history which attest to the artists prodigious and diverse talents, along with the installations for which he is best known. Gupta’s rise to prominence is in keeping with India becoming a first class player in the world economy, edging up to China in rivalry, and meriting a significant market now for both its modernist and contemporary art.

At 550 W. 21st St., Skarstedt presents “Keith Haring: Heaven and Hell”, featuring giant works in fluorescent acrylics (see one example above on right). These include the artist’s boldly stylized images of televisions with the atomic symbol, vintage computers in densely populated compositions. Here, mutations of sexuality and species in an apocalyptic vision express Haring’s anguish in confronting what proved to be his ultimate demise from aids. Paradoxically, the colors couldn’t be more cheerful.

At Gagosian, at 522 W. 21st St. is the type of highest quality museum survey we have come to expect, considering the gallery’s history : John Elderfield, famed as Curator for MOMA, has put together In the Read More

A Visit to the Roth New York Bar at Hauser & Wirth in Chelsea

by Franklin Hill Perrell, Artful Circle

Our recent visit to Hauser and Wirth (511 W. 18) to see the exhibition of Sobodh Gupta yielded an unexpected surprise: the Friday and Saturday free espresso service at Roth’s New York Bar. If you didn’t know, the New York Bar is a permanent installation, in effect an art piece that does double duty as a functional bar. While in practice

this is not a liquor bar serving the public (though that would appear to be the theme, with actual liquor bottles on display) , it is a coffee bar- which purpose it certainly serves. A discrete sign indicates the availability of espresso on Fridays and Saturdays. I was able to secure a latte, and many other guests appeared in due course. Above all, however, it is a work of art and one that should be experienced as such.

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Hauser and Wirth’s Chelsea Gallery, at approximately 25,000 square feet, is a second floor space, formerly the Roxy Discotheque-Roller Skating Rink. Read More

March is Women’s History Month – “Honoring the Women of the Historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911” Lecture at the Art League of Long Island, March 15, 2015

Click here to view video clip:
TSF Lecture at Art League of Long Island

by Debbie Wells

In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Art League of Long Island (ALLI) presented a lecture, “Honoring the Women of the Historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911” in a unique way by having two speakers, both artists, describe their personal connections to this important part of American history. As the Chair of the Board of Directors of ALLI, I arranged for this dual lecture as a way of portraying my personal experience of researching the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory (TSF) tragedy and also reckoning with it as a subject for art.

About the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a company of over 500 employees (mostly hardworking young Jewish and Italian immigrant women) located in the heart of Greenwich Village, right near Washington Square Park. In typical sweatshop conditions, this company produced crisp “Gibson Girl” style blouses that were then the rage. The building, restored to its original glory, is now part of the New York University campus, but has a plaque commemorating its history that every American child learns about in school.

What happened was this: On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the TSF 8th floor at the end of the workday. Chaos ensued. It is contended that the doors were locked. There were certainly many fire hazards inside. People on the street witnessed helplessly as workers jumped out of windows to escape the flames. Fire trucks were ill equipped, lacking ladders high enough to reach the upper floors. Elevators ran as long as they could as workers pressed into
the cars, while some tumbled down the elevator shaft. All of this happened in only 18 minutes. In the end, 146 people died. Shortly after, there was a trial, but the two owners, known as the “Shirtwaist Kings”, were acquitted of wrongdoing, arousing the cry of injustice from the public. However, the lives of these workers were not sacrificed in vain because the tragedy impelled change in America – the rise of the labor union movement and fire safety regulations.

Uncovering My Family History and the Connection to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

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About 12 years ago, my son was doing his American History homework and mentioned that he was learning about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. My grandmother-in-law, Anne Nicholas-Lerman, was visiting from Florida and explained that her aunt was one of the 146 victims. The whole family immediately wanted to know more. Then she showed us a beautiful photograph of 18-year old Annie Nicholas, who was a button-maker at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. My son has the framed picture in his bedroom and we all treasure this family heirloom.

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Artful Observations of the Armory Show & Quiz by Debbie Wells

Armory Show at Pier 94, NYC – March 5-8, 2015 When one attends the annual Armory Show, it is easy to expect to be overwhelmed. One of the most celebrated international contemporary and modern art fairs, this show is always a whirlwind of color, media, canvases, photography, sculptures and more. Strolling through the aisles, I Read More

MOBIA: Sculpture in the Age of Donatello

by Franklin Hill Perrell

Sculpture in the Age of Donatello: Renaissance Masterpieces from Florence Cathedral.
February 20- June 14, 2015
Museum of Biblical Art. Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
1865 Broadway at 61st Street, 2d Floor, N.Y, N.Y., 10023
www.mobia.org

“Donatello in the cage of the wild beasts” was the famous line
coined by the French art critic, Louis Vauxcelles, to excoriate the Fauve artists, led by Matisse, on exhibition in 1905. The sculpture that set him off was not actually by Donatello, but that artist’s reputation for grace and classical refinement was an apt contrast to the then perceived roughness, even animality, of the Fauves (wild beasts) . To Vauxcelles, and his readers, the positive of traits of an earlier era were synonymous with the Italian master. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the real thing, that is, major works by Donatello, here in NY, on loan from their permanent home in Florence.

If you don’t know MOBIA, short for the Museum of Biblical Art, you really should, especially if your travels take you to Lincoln Center or the nearby Museum of American Folk Art. Now is a particularly good time to go. After recent exhibition successes including Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion; Objects of Devotion, masterpieces of medieval British stone carving (pieces rescued in the seventeenth century from the destructive excesses of Oliver Cromwell and his cohorts); and the ground-breaking rediscovery of Hildreth Meiere, who sculpted the numerous gilt and multi-hued art-deco reliefs of Rockefeller Center; MOBIA’s new show tops them all: an absolute “must see.” Read More

More Salmagundi Club News

           Three photographs by Artful Circle’s Debbie Wells have been accepted in two exhibitions being held at the Salmagundi Club in NY from February 9-27, 2015. These juried shows for SC’s artist members are: “SCNY Landscape  Exhibition” in the upper gallery, and “SCNY Urban Life Exhibition” in the lower gallery. The galleries are open to Read More

Matisse: Cut-Outs at MOMA – Introduction by Franklin Hill Perrell

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Remarkable about Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at MOMA is its revelation of a public artist who created many of the works shown not only as finished works but as maquettes to satisfy a demand for his productions of prints, illustrated books, book covers, theatre curtains, decorative fabrics including wearable art, a carpet, stained glass, ceramic tile, and architectural installations. We sense the practical resourcefulness of an artist who relied on an audience not only for financial reinforcement, but as an essential element in his artistic dialogue. Artistic production, was for him, part of an equation which required a receptive and appreciative viewer for completion. Read More

Matisse: Cut-Outs at MOMA – Part One by Franklin Hill Perrell

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A Sketch of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) I love the image of Matisse in the 1998 film, Surviving Picasso. He appears majestic and large: notably taller than Picasso. Dressed in white, and rising with dignity from his wheelchair, Matisse greets Picasso, who twitches in a frisson of unconcealed nervous anxiety, suddenly fearful that his mistress, Francoise Gilot, may be diverted by the elderly French artist, who though seriously compromised in health, exerts a compelling attraction. The movie setting is suitably splendid: the sun drenched double salon studio of Matisse’s residence at the Hotel Regina in Nice, affording a sumptuous atmosphere redolent of Riviera foliage and light (though most likely they met at Villa le Reve, smaller and darker). While a director’s conceit, the mood and tone are correct. Read More

Matisse: Cut-Outs at MOMA – Part Two by Franklin Hill Perrell

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A Sketch of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) Matisse’s images of Eden, which abound in his work after he moved to the Riviera in the 1920’s, are a striking contrast to his youthful surroundings in northern France near the Belgian border (later the front lines in World War I). His childhood environs were damp and cool, and its visual atmosphere was grey and green. There, industry prevailed over leisure. Matisse’s family, after over a century of striving, achieved a solid middle class status by the time of his birth in 1869.

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Matisse: Cut-Outs at MOMA – Part Three by Franklin Hill Perrell

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A Sketch of Henri Matisse (1869-1954) From that same exhibition, Matisse’s painting, Woman in a Hat, 1905, was purchased by Gertrude Stein and her family. It portrayed Amelie Parayre whom the artist had married in 1898. She is the Madame Matisse known to history. Enabling Matisse’s art by her earnings running a successful hat shop, she is regarded as integral to the artist’s enduring involvement with fashion. They became the parents of two sons, one being the illustrious art dealer, Pierre Matisse (who figures in the MOMA exhibition as arranging his father’s commissions from America).

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