The Met, Volta, and Scope Wrap Up the Week

I’ve been so busy getting things ready for my upcoming show in April that I haven’t had time to finish writing about last week’s art fairs.  But I did want to mention a few things about my second day in Manhattan last week.

I started the day at 9:30 up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, since none of the art fairs open that early.  At first, as I was waiting outside with a bunch of people for the museum to open, I thought I was making a mistake.  But once I got in and quickly made for the Steiglitz, Steichen, Strand show, the early hour made for a nice, quite and completely private stroll through this fantastic show.  You never know if an old photography show will do much for you since we’re so overwhelmed with photographic images, but I found the show to be fascinating, comparing Steiglitz’ work with Steichen’s soft-focus drawing-like photos and Strand’s later graphic, straight-ahead images.

From there I headed downstairs to the Cezanne “Card Players” exhibition which highlights the famous Cezanne painting, a number of his studies and subsequent treatments of the subject, and a history of earlier card imagery — primarily etchings — from other artists.  It’s a nice little show because, well, it’s Cezanne, though I wasn’t as interested in the etchings, and you can see how the artist progressed from his initial sketches and oil studies to the final painting.

A reasonably quick bus ride to 34th Street brought me to Volta .  The 11th floor space has been the home of many art shows, but I always find it a somewhat awkward layout with no good path through the place.  One gallery had some insanely annoying audio playing over and over that was loud enough to hear quite a ways away.  One show that stood out was Jill Sylvia‘s at Magrorocca: the artist begins with ledger paper and then uses a drafting knife to cut out all of the little boxes in the sheet of paper, leaving a skeleton of just the lines on the page left over!  These remaining artifacts gently float off the wall, held in place by a few mere pins at the corners.  Lined up by the dozens, it makes for a striking exhibition of surprising beauty.

I had a quick lunch at “508“, a nifty little restaurant by the Holland Tunnel that stated off nearly empty but by the time I left had almost a full house.  A few blocks away, Scope NYC was my final art destination of the week.  I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the extra mileage on my feet but it turned out to be a fun show filled with creative artworks.  I enjoyed Federico Uribe’s playful sculptures that I’m calling “Roses with Hoses”, though I don’t know their real title.

Federico Uribe sculpture, petals from hoses, flowers from knobs

I loved Charles Pfahl’s “Revolution” at 101/exhibit, a large painting of metal parts that completely “pops” through its contrasting orange and blue colors.

For video, the artist known as “Marck” at Lichtfeld gallery displayed a few funky “video sculpture” pieces, including one showing a woman squirming around on video with a few spiked spheres rolling on top of the video screen, presumably attached and being driven by magnets underneath.  In another piece, a woman squirming her way through a series of pegs in a video is lined up nearly perfectly with actual pegs on the sculpture to make for an interesting construction.

Two amazing sculptures by Shi Jindian at Contemporary by Angela Li drew crowds.  In one, a full size motorcycle is crafted out of thousands of strands of wire to make a very substantial looking, free-standing object.  In the other, thousands of wispy strands of wire hang from supports above and form a cloudy, ghostly box in which a more densely wired bicycle floats within.  It’s hard to fathom how such a thing comes into being but it is fun to look at!

And now, back to getting ready for April’s show in Lambertville!

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