February ended in New York with a major cold snap and some kick-ass shows. ADAA: The Art Show opened with a gala benefiting the Henry Street Settlement at the Park Avenue Armory on February 18th. It was a very dressy affair with some very dressed-up booths containing choice modern and contemporary artworks. A fresh new work by Laura Owens at GBE was a showstopper as was Peter Freeman’s booth kitted out with new blue Blah paintings by Mel Bochner.
The following evening Susan Rothenberg opened a solo show at Sperone Westwater of paintings composed of dismembered body forms, a departure for Rothenberg whose work usually deals with her natural surroundings in the New Mexico desert.
A few blocks away on 19th Street throngs of people pushed into the David Zwirner Gallery to view some 10 new paintings by Lisa Yuskavage, mostly large-scale oils. Like Rothenberg her work contains the human form though not dismembered but anatomically distorted. http://www.davidzwirner.com/exhibitions/179/selected_works.htm
Across the street at The Kitchen two-time Bessie winner Jodi Melnick presented two new works. Fanfare in collaboration with video-artist Burt Barr with a stunning cameo by former Merce Cunningham dancer, Dennis O’Connor and sound design by Joel Mellin. The second piece SuedeHead, a diaristic meander through Melnick’s recent bouts with romance and tragedy. Supported by downtown dance favorites Vicky Shick and Juliette Mapp, the work had a measured velocity that evoked passion, humor, love, fear and grief. A heart-wrenching work of art, Melnick poured out her soul to an audience that included many of her peers--some of the dance world’s finest: Elizabeth Streb, Ralph Lemon, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Trisha Brown, and Joseph Lennon. Claudia LaRocco’s stellar review in the New York Times summed it up best.
On Friday night we L-trained it to Williamsburg to catch new-comer, the Danish artist Thomas Ovlisen’s solo exhibition at Klaus Gallery. A mix of artists, fashion designers, and culture-vultures (and Ovlisen’s four young children) heaped the right dose of Friday night energy onto the space. Ovlisen showed six new works, some wall mounted and others freestanding. They were all composed of autolacquer and enamel on polystyrene and had a hip industrial vibe.
And the vibe was art world local at Rental Gallery on the Lower East Side Saturday night where Mesler&Hug + Cardenas Bellanger presented new work by LA-artist Henry Taylor. Big figurative oil paintings done in a naïve style dominated the space and a stack piece largely made-up of branded beer and liquor boxes represented hierarchy in the hood. The works are happening to quote the press release.