Picture this: thousands of people flooding the galleries in Chelsea, streaming into to the streets. Crowded galleries are filled with blossoming artists, visionary gallerists, and passionate collectors. All are there with the same intention: to witness the rebirth of the New York art season.
In Chelsea, David Zwirner opened the fall calendar with three truly amazing artists. First, Chris Ofili created a beautifully unique space, in “Paradise Lost,” with a large metal gate caging the four primary paintings inside the center of the monochromatic room. The cage distorts the viewer’s perception of the work, creating as unique a sensation as the distinctive gray patterns of the room interact. Additionally, Suzan Frecon’s paintings must be viewed in person. No photograph can do justice to how the consistency changes from matte to sheen as you walk about the gallery. The real novelty of these abstractions is in the texture. In particular, Ad Reinhardt’s show, “Blue Paintings,” is incredibly spiritual in its abstract understanding of the depth a singular color can create. This is the first exhibition since 1965 devoted to Reinhardt’s blue paintings. Through blocks of various shades of blue on diverse sizes of canvas, each painting is elegant in its individual identity. Simply being in the presence of such profound blues is remarkable.
Amanda Ross-Ho’s show, “My Pen is Huge,” is like jumping through a rabbit hole and into a world where the gallery, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, has become a mad theater. The oversized wine glasses, blown-up hands of grandfather clocks, and other random objects are feel somehow completely necessary in the room. Coffee stains and pen scribbles cover the canvas and tables in the middle of the gallery. This show completely captures chaos in its most whimsical form.
Tom Friedman’s “Ghosts and UFOs: Projections for Well-Lit Spaces” at Luhring Augustine displays truly humorous projections. Look out for a tiny figure walking along the “EXIT” sign.
Kara Walker’s exhibit at Sikkema Jenkins & Co will stop you in your tracks. The wide array of characters and mediums on display is simply brilliant. There is a reason for this being one of the most talked about openings of September. And it fully lives up to the hype.
Polly Apfelbaum’s “The Potential of Women” at Alexander Gray Associates is a must-see. On the second floor, Apfelbaum creates a pink and orange space of woven rugs and distinct ceramics to present her feminist message. Apfelbaum distorts the female head through stylization, repetition, and intense color in order for the viewer to thoughtfully examine the lack of appreciation for women’s contribution to society.