The coming of summer always bring a false sense of initial mental ease, the idea that things will inevitably slow down. Engagements may have dwindled but the multiplicity of things to see certainly has not which in return only ups the ante of going out and doing everything you set aside these quieter months for. If August is perhaps the month of real vacations, July is the month to pack it all in. With that said, it has been one of the shortest Julys I can remember in a long time, but here is some of what I tried to get done and more than a few things will be around for a little while longer!
I ran off to see Rineke Dijkstra’s mid-career retrospective at the Guggenheim as soon as I could (which was basically the second or third day it was open). Initially I was a little disappointed it was not in the rotunda, but the exhibit filled nearly every extended gallery on each floor and was packed with work. Even the photographs she is best known for (the beach portraits, new mothers) seemed fresh and new. Dijkstra produces in series so not all of the works directly relate to one another. There is, however, a beautiful consistency in the way she approaches her subjects that makes this large exhibit seem like a body of work that is at once intuitive to the artist while also well thought out and constructed. Her latest shift into the world of moving image proved mesmerizing with her mutli-screen videos of club goers. Later in the month I returned to the Guggenheim for their Conversations with Contemporary Artists Series to hear a very entertaining Paul Graham talk to Dijkstra about photography and the work which was a great addendum to seeing the show.
Several Lower East Side Galleries worth checking out include the lovely group show Flowers For You at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, the multi-faceted installation and performance based exhibition at On Stella Rays JAŠA’s Apnea’s Rhapsody, photographer Ryan James MacFarland’s beautiful and serene photographs at Charles Bank Gallery, and of course as summer brings us, a great group show at Lehman Maupin, Friends With Benefits.
Several other worthy summer group shows are scattered throughout Chelsea. At David Zwirner two shows take over the 19th street spaces. People Who Work Here curated by Rawson Projects, is exactly what it says, a show, spanning a wide range of mediums, by the people who work at the gallery, including the curators and co-directors. Also at Zwirner is Stand still like the hummingbird, curated by Bellatrix Hubert, which deals with works that are at once understated and loaded with notions of the absurd. Iconic works like Marcel Duchamp’s Comb and Ed Ruscha’s books Real Estate Opportunities and The Sunset Strip are on view along with Rodney Graham’s large black and white photographs and Retoque/Painting, a video by Francis Alÿs where he hand paints a median on a road stretching across the Panama Canal.
The impressive Painting in Space at Luhring Augustine organized by CCS Bard’s Tom Eccles and Johanna Burton is compromised of a dream list of leading working artists including Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Glen Ligon, Amy Sillman, Lawrence Weiner and Rachel Whiteread. All proceeds from sales will be donated to CCS Bard. Andrea Rosen’s summer group show is also somewhat open thematically with work by younger artists. The main theme here seems to be a relationship between two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. Lizzie Bougatsos has quite a few works spanning the walls and the floors. L.A. based photographer David Gilbert has several large vibrant colored photographs hung unframed and Lizzie Fitch, who as part of her collaborative practice with Ryan Trecartin is one of the newest additions to the gallery’s roster, shows off some solo work. At Gladstone Gallery the exhibition Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha looks at post-war Japanese art. There is a beautiful divide here between the calm sanctity of these works and their industrial roots that fittingly requires every ounce of restraint to not touch. When I visited the gallery I was in the company of a school trip whose students seemed less prudent then I to adhere to typical ‘how to behave around the art’ rules of which I was secretly jealous.
Also in Chelsea is Israeli photographer Adi Nes’ The Village at Jack Shainman Gallery featuring large-scale photographs of a fictional village, Matthew Brandt’s also (even) larger photographs of lakes that he soaks in water for extended periods of times creating surreal and beautiful landscapes, and if you have yet to make it to the roof of the Met to see Tomas Saranceno’s installation you can get a sneak peak at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery.
Elsewhere, Christian Marclay’s much talked about The Clock is at Lincoln Center for just a few weeks and is a great break from the heat! The Public Art Fund’s three summer installations are now all up, Common Ground at City Hall Park, Paola Pivi’s How I Roll at Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park and Oscar Tuazon’s People in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They will not keep you from the heat but are all in parks so that’s a bonus!
Rineke Dijkstra: A Retrospective at The Guggenheim through October 8th
Flowers For You at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery through August 12th
JAŠA Apnea’s Rhapsody at On Stellar Rays through July 27th
Ryan James MacFarland Tide Study at Charles Bank Gallery through August 19th
Friends With Benefits at Lehman Maupin through August 10th
People Who Work Here at David Zwirner through August 10th
Stand still like the hummingbird at David Zwirner through August 3rd
Painting in Space at Luhring Augustine through August 17th
Andrea Rosen’s summer group show through August 31st
Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha at Gladstone Gallery through August 3rd
Adi Nes’ The Village at Jack Shainman Gallery though July 28th
Christian Marclay’s The Clock at Lincoln Center through August 1st
Common Ground at City Hall Park through November 30th
Paola Pivi How I Roll at Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park through August 26th
Oscar Tuazon People in Brooklyn Bridge Park through April 26th, 2013
Rebecca Roberts is the founder of November Projects, an arts production and consultancy firm based in New York focusing on creative partnerships, special projects and events. Prior to starting November Projects, Roberts was a photographic agent at Management & Production Inc., working with some of the most sought out talent in fashion and fine art photography. Clients, past and present, include, The Public Art Fund, Planned Parenthood, The Noguchi Museum, No.10 Gallery, Calvin Klein, Barney’s, Elle Magazine and W. Rebecca is also a freelance writer contributing to several publications on art and photography including the blog ‘On Pictures’ on Artinfo, Acne Paper and vmagazine.com. Roberts also teaches at the School of Visual Arts.