New York Art Diary

7.26.07 Neo Rauch at the Met. First zipped through the new Greek and Roman galleries. Thank goodness the hospital cafeteria is gone from this glorious space. Had trouble finding the exhibit I was looking for. I had never been in this obscure gallery before, hidden in the SW corner of the museum on the second floor. Rauch didn’t like the space much either which I know because the museum listed this piece of info in the introduction essay. I liked the show a lot. The invented iconography (with no legend for translation) reminded me of Matthew Barney. The primary color palette glows with an otherworldliness (the word “para” for paranormal etc shows up repeatedly). Fun to invent stories to go with the outlandish narratives.

Afternoon visit to Jeff Koons studio in Chelsea thanks to my new friend who is Koons assistant, realist painter James Seward.
Walk in to this brightly lit space and see dozens of assistants buzzing to complete sales from the Gagosian “Hulk Elvis” show in London.

At night, Grey Gardens the musical with tix bought at the half price booth at 6pm. Both Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson won tony awards for their roles. The 1975 movie of the same name revolutionized the genre of documentary film making.

7.25.07 First a quick visit to the Frick to see my favorite painting there, Manet's Bullfighters, but it was not on view! The Fragonard Room is being updated with a new state of the art lighting system so the East Gallery tenants have been moved into storage to accommodate the houseguest Progress of Love panels.

And finally... Richard Serra at MOMA! Not crowded on a Wed. afternoon. We felt dizzy walking through the curved labyrinths and involuntarily leaned to the side as the steel walls loomed over us at 60 degree angles. Definitely worth the trip! On display through September 10th if you are in town.

Last today saw Louise Nevelson at The Jewish Museum. This poignant show is coming to the DeYoung in October (10/27/07-1/13/08) so you'll be able to see it too. Nevelson (1899-1988) made totemic sculpture of found wood objects painted uniformly with a matte coating of black or white paint (never mixing the two in the same piece). After making art for forty years she was "discovered" in 1969 when she was selected to participate in a MOMA show called Sixteen Americans. Her first white piece, Dawn's Wedding Feast, was featured along side work by youngsters Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenburg and Frank Stella (whose show of recent work is down the block at the Metropolitan right now).

Nevelson's work is heavily influenced by her identity as an Eastern European Jewish immigrant and a dissatisfied society housewife who left her husband in order to pursue her art. Her delicate minimalist Holocaust memorial pieces from the end of her career were my favorite. We are lucky to have a piece of public art by Nevelson in San Francisco. On your next lunch hour take a walk to Three Embarcadero Center to see Sky Tree, a soaring structure of black Corten steel set in a reflecting pool.

7.24.07 Museums closed on Tuesday. Dinner at Lever House Restaurant in the famed Gordon Bunshaft/Skidmore, Owings and Merrill building: Evening performance of Nixon/Frost with Best Actor Tony Award winner Frank Langella as Nixon.

7.23.07 Monsoon. Today because of the deluge all we could handle was one museum and chose to see Klimt's Adele Bloche Bauer at the Neue Gallery. Much different in person than we expected. The gold is softer. We think she has a resigned look in her eye that indicates she knows what's in store for Austria. Tonight we met a friend of a friend, Suzi Matthews, at her studio in Greenwich Village. She does collage landscapes that look alternatively terrestrial or underwater. Letters and numbers of varying size and shape and color create that patterns that form her compositions.