As the summer has officially concluded, the fall season formally begins in New York for amazing art exhibitions and openings. The summer is typically a time of rest and regrouping in the New York City art scene: galleries tend to exhibit unenthusiastic group shows, the auction houses go into hibernation to gear up for the major fall sales, and museums typically hold off on blockbuster exhibitions. Labor Day in the beginning of September not only declares the end of summer but the exciting and long awaited start of the new season for great art exhibitions around the city.
As there are an infinite number of exhibition openings, public art displays and permanent collections to visit throughout New York City, there are, in my opinion, a handful that are not to be missed. With only a brief time left before it comes down on October 31st, if you have not yet viewed this incredible work, hurry over to the ever-breathtaking Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop and check out Mike and Doug Starn’s site-specific installation Big Bamboo. As described by the Met’s official website, “The monumental bamboo structure takes the form of a cresting wave that bridges realms of sculpture, architecture, and performance.” Visitors can witness the continuing evolution of the massive work as it is continuously built upon by the artists and a team of rock climbers (including a friend of mine whom I work with at Marlborough Gallery). The installation is really quite astounding to take in and is very much worth a visit to the Met, as if you needed any other reason.
Like a visit to the Met, an excursion to the Museum of Modern Art is always a thrill for the senses. Up through April of 2011, Abstract Expressionist New York, exhibits works from one of my favorite periods in Post-War art. Drawn from the MoMA’s vast collection of Abstract Expressionist works, the exhibit displays exemplary pieces by Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, among others legends from the movement. If you are a fan of Abstract Expressionism, it is a show not to skip.
Furthert north on Fifth Avenue, The Guggenheim Museum’sexhibition, Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936, up through January of 2011, is one that I also highly recommend. The exhibit shows examples of European artists, architects and designers returning to Classical motifs and imagery after the chaos of the First World War. Works by such acclaimed artists as Balthus, de Chirico, Matisse, Léger and Picasso illustrate Classical themes such as chiseled bodies, columns and clean lines as an artistic way of returning to order between wars. It is indeed a very interesting exhibition which displays works by major artists during a very difficult time in history.
Being a tremendous fan of Roy Lichtenstein, an iconic Pop artist I have written about extensively, I very much enjoyed the exhibit at the J.P. Morgan Library, Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961-1968, featuring some of the artist’s works on paper. Though the exhibition, up through January of 2011, does not include Lichtenstein’s brightly colored and highly stylized comic book paintings, for which he is best known and appreciated, and is solely a black and white drawing show, it is still a great collection of the artist’s work. Definitely pop in if you’re a Lichtenstein lover like I am.
Being a major shopper and a huge fan of fashion, the museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) has come up with an exhibition I found very worthwhile and relevant. Eco-Fashion: Going Green is an exhibition on display through November which explores the evolution of the fashion industry's relationship with the environment. By examining the history of fashion’s practices throughout time, the exhibit at FIT provides a historical context for today’s eco-fashion movement, a topic more and more in fashion news as going green has become such an important issue around the globe.
The James Cohan Gallery in Chelsea is another institution displaying one of my favorite contemporary artists. On exhibition through December, Distillation is an amazing installation by artist Roxy Paine. Paine is best known for juxtaposing themes of nature and industrialism, and similar to his extraordinary past installation on the rooftop of the Met, Paine creates a single continuous piece that engulfs the gallery. This artist’s work is always a thrill for me to view; his site specific installations never cease to impress and if possible, seem to get better with every new exhibition.
An exhibition not suitable for children, Jeff Koons Made in Heaven Paintings, featured at Luxembourg and Dayan Gallery on the Upper East Side, contains large scale paintings in a small scale town house with images of sexual intercourse between the artist and his Italian porn-star ex-wife. The show has received mixed reviews as it contains strong sexual content and graphic, controversial imagery. I happen to really like the work of Jeff Koons, who is mostly known for eternalizing transient objects like bronzing giant balloon animals for example. But even though this show, up through January of 2011, is clearly much more sexually explicit, I am always a fan of pushing the envelope and a big believer in the motto, “sex sells.”