CAA, New York 2011

So a few weeks ago I traveled to the Big Apple to check out some art and listen to a few lectures at the College Arts Association (Feb. 11-13th).  While the conference was interesting and had a few great lectures such as the “Designing a New Joint Studio, Art History, and Theory Program: A Gedanken Art/Science Experiment” lecture featuring faculty from NYU, Wash U, and U Cal, the rest of the events seemed geared towards art historians.

This visit, however, presented a wonderful opportunity to visit New York’s many galleries and museums.  Among my favorite was the New Museum’s Lynda Benglis sculpture exhibit, Damian Hurst at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Ave, and this sweet store in Soho called Evolution, Art and Science.

Stacked between average rectangle boxed buildings in the Bowery District, I found the New Museum.  The galvanized metal surface stands out among its surrounding cityscape.  While this building’s height adds to its splendor, the current Facade Sculpture Program work, Rose II, attempts to make the place a bit more menorable.  This 28 foot tall rose, the work of German artist Isa Genzken, is perched off the second floor balcony.  While the rose adds variety to this space, I have to say it was not a very interesting work.  Well crafted, yes, but it doesn’t do much else for me.  New York is filled with public works and amazing architecture so something has to be really unique to draw viewers attention.

A building with a boutonniere isn’t found anywhere else on the Island, however its viewing distance makes it extremely hard to truly analyze the work and see it as something more than decoration.


On another note, I was extremely impressed with Lynda Benglis’s exhibit.  Having only seen her work through books and show catalogs, I was taken aback by her use of scale and texture.  I mean the works are huge!  And made from various materials from metals to plastics.  I wanted to knock on a few to see if they were hollow.  The work shown above, Wing from 1970, hung from the gallery wall as a three-dimensional painting.  While this work is aluminum other pieces similar to Wing were made of more dense materials such as bronze and lead.  Surprised by the size and display of these works, I decided to chat with a gallery guard.  Apparently some of the works weigh more than a ton and actually broke the freight elevator during installation.


By far my favorite work was Phantom.  These cast polyurethane forms float off the gallery wall as you enter from the elevator.  They pulse with a fluorescent breath that emanates throughout the space, breathing life into the stale era of Abstract Expressionism.


I would have to say a trip to New York is worth it, if all you see is this show.

If you’re interested in the other place mentioned above please see the Gagosian and Evolution websites.




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