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March 07, 2006

Chelsea Gallery Walk Part I

First off.. For all those who like to plan their Chelsea gallery walks, be sure to check out this great website : www.chelseaArtGalleries.com I never seem to have enough time when walking through the galleries.  But this website helps and it has quickly become my favorite pre-gallery time saving tool. Plus they also have maps, and now links to several of the Best NYC Art Blogs!!

So.. This Sat afternoon I got to do my regular monthly prowl around the Chelsea galleries..

First Stop.. The Aperture Foundation and Gallery on 27th between 10th/11th. They have a pretty Fontcuberta1 big show up of Joan Fontcuberta work from his new Landscape Without Memory book/project (photo #1) published by aperture.  The work is certainly beautiful.  And impressive to know that they are all computer generated using geographic rendering software, and based on input from scanned data from several famous landscape paintings. For me seeing the first one was a bit of a gee-wiz experience.. but as I looked at more of these, they quickly lost their appeal.  I actually was a bit disappointed with this show. While I've always liked Fontcuberta's work for his originality and creativity, this show, and his newest work up on 57th street at Zabrinski Gallery (also computer based images) both seemed to lack that same level of originality his past work. They all seemed a bit tired themes that we've all seen before by other artists. The works also were a bit too structured and formula based. All in all, not too interesting, and I expected more from this artist.

Second Stop - FOLEYgallery to see the first solo show of photographer Caitlin Atkinson before it Caitlin_atkinson closed (March 4th). This show was much better than I had expected. I find Caitlin's staged photo creations of everyone's little nightmare life scenarios totally funny and engaging.  Her work is very fresh and original. Each photo is named based on a date of the event. This one is Chapter 17, June, 2004.. it's that fear and sense of vulnerability everyone has when they take their clothes off at the beach for the first time in summer. In this case taken to an extreme as a nude woman charges into the surf! I look forward to seeing what this artist does next!

Picture_003Third Stop  (actually not my third stop.. but the only show I liked enough to discuss) -  Galerie Lelong to hear political activist artist Alfredo Jaar speak and give an introduction to the premiere of his first movie Muxima.  Film stills are also presented in the front gallery. (See photo # 3 & 4)

I had only known his work though the Aperture Magazine's Winter 2005 issue. Which I had found very powerful. This 36 minute film is created around 6 recordings of the Angolan folk song (Muxima) and divided into 10 cantos. I found these short films to be filled with powerful images which were both beautiful, quietly emotional.  During his brief introduction Alfredo emphasized his goal of making political art that can effect change. I think he succeeds. Seeing his movie really moved me, and made me aware of the hardship of the Angolan people.

Picture_002The haunting music (the only soundtrack) added a great narrative texture to the film. In the grand scheme of The Chelsea Art World, taking 40 minutes out to see this film, was time well spent. I really loved this one. I laughed, I cried. It's actually a heart breaker, but I'm such a sucker for this stuff!

FYI, this show is only showing at Galerie Lelong until March 18th.

Alfredo will be there again this Sat at 4pm to give an introduction.

Sebast_bremer Last Stop (for part one!) was at Roebling Hall. They have a show for Sebastiaan Bremer. This was the first time I had ever seen his work.  It's striking, the best words to describe these drawings would have to be Visual Intensity!

This new exhibition of drawings on large scale color photographs is pretty amazing.(See photo #5 Ilha Das Cobras - revisited)

I believe he's using various personal family photo's splashed with added color.  It's a little hard to make out the original image. When looking at these, I couldn't help but think.. Wow..how obsessive this guy must be much work these are to create.  These are impressive in their sheer size and insane complexity.  Instead of using normal drawn lines, Bremer mostly uses dots! Millions & Millions of tiny Dots!! Can you say obsessive??  Which he's used these dots to fill the photos with drawings of historic references to dutch paintings. This was kind of cool, but alittle forced as there wasn't a strong connection (I could figure out) between the photographic image and the context of the drawings. Still, I liked the work overall..and it's one impressive effort, but totally Obsessive!

hhmmm.. almost like a Modern Art Obsession!

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Ah, I saw the Spike Gallery on that website. Memories…da da da da da da da...

Right.. it's exactly in the old space.. But it's a bit cleaner.. But they don't serve a devil island brunch anymore on Sunday moring!!

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