Saturday, November 25, 2017

Exhibitions | New York, November 2017

Perhaps the most outstanding November exhibition in New York, was 'Geta Brătescu. The Leaps of Aesop’, a comprehensive series of works by to the 91 year-old Romanian conceptual artist–presented in the Chelsea space of the Hauser & Wirth Gallery. Brătescu works spans in multiple forms– from two-dimensional media (drawing, collage, engraving, textiles, photography) to film, video, performance and artist books and "mines themes of identity, gender, and dematerialization, often drawing from the stories of literary figures and addressing the symbiotic relationship between art making and working environments.  From Magda Radu's essay:
The exhibition ‘The Leaps of Aesop’ tracks the many implications generated by Aesop, the writer of the ancient fables, who, in Geta Brătescu’s system of thinking, becomes a playful and mischievous character and can be regarded as a metaphor for the condition of the artist. Right after the fall of the Communist regime in Romania, Geta Brătescu declared Aesop a symbol of ‘everything that stood against totalitarianism.’ But Aesop, like Medea, is a sign encompassing so many overlapping meanings that his literary embodiment is transcended and endlessly modulated in the artist’s practice. Aesop is, above all, an agent of freedom, the entity responsible for sparking the creative process in the studio. His leaps are so many movements of the mind, while his undisciplined nature channels the creative energy in countless directions. Aesop is a catalyst of ideas, rejecting the barriers between genres. His characteristic irreverence constitutes the ferment that pushes the artist to experiment in a plethora of forms of expression: drawing, collage, object, printing techniques, experimental film, performance, and animation.

On view at the first floor of the 22 Street building of Hauser & Wirth (former home of the Dia Foundation) were sculptures and drawings by David Smith (1909-1965) presented in an exhibition titled 'Origin & Innovations' focusing mainly on works creating around the 1930s.

Another remarkable exhibition was at the Lévy Gorvy Gallery: 'Ileana Sonnabend and Arte Povera' presenting other outstanding examples of the Italian movement, curated by Germano Celant. The exhibition included works by Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Giovanni Anselmo, Pierpaolo Calzolari, Gilberto Zorio and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Exhibitions | Jewish Museum, November 2017

Two remarkable exhibits, quite different, are currently on view at the New York Jewish Museum. "MODIGLIANI unmasked" includes early drawings of the Italian born artist Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). The exhibition highlights the work of the artist, of Italian-Sephardic background, at the beginning of his arrival in Paris in 1906, coincident with the wave of anti-Semitism.  The work on view includes about 150 drawings from the collection of Dr. Paul Alexandre, Modigliani's patron and personal friends

"Veiled Meaning" includes over 100 articles of clothing from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, belonging to The Israel Museum’s collection of Jewish costumes. The multiplicity of styles in costumes on display is a visible expression of the diversity of Jewish communities. As mentioned in the catalog "This exhibition invites viewers to consider the language of clothing in all its complexity. Though this language can disclose information about gender, age, background, and custom, some important meanings remain vague and fluid. Clothing may accentuate or conceal; it may be transitory, but it may also be ageless and universal. These garments, dating primarily to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, are drawn from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the repository of the most comprehensive collection of Jewish costume in the world. Its holdings provide a unique testimony to bygone communities, to forms of dress and craft that no longer exist, and to a sense of beauty that still has the power to enthrall."

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Arte Povera | The "Walking Sculpture" from the Streets to the Museum in Cold Spring

Arte Povera is definitely going through a renaissance. In the past three months there have been several exhibitions in New York and surrounding celebrating the Italian born art movement, coincidentally with its 50th anniversary—although it is difficult to pinpoint a birthday for something so fluid such a major art movement. In addition to the several major exhibitions in New York galleries,  yesterday Arte Povera has been celebrated in the quaint Hudson Valley village of Cold Springs (Putman County, NY) with the participatory performance "Walking Sculpture by Michelangelo Pistoletto.
     The "Walking Sculpture" is a sphere made of newspaper clips of current events and has been re-enacted for five decades worldwide, starting in 1967 with the sphere rolling through the streets of Turin. In Cold Springs the "Walking Sculpture" was transported by a red FIAT roadster and then rolled through the streets of the village by the artist, who was  joined by an enthusiastic crowd. Finally the sphere returned to its home at "Magazzino Italian Art" a small private museum near Cold Springs, founded by the collectors Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu.

"Walking Sculpture" in Cold Springs
"Walking Sculpture" at Magazzino Italian Art

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Magazzino Italian Art, November 4 2017