Artweek Highlights

ok, better late than never…

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This was one of those weeks that remind me why I live in New York. As an artist, or almost anything, it’s easier and cheaper to live almost anywhere else in the country. You certainly get more space, but you sacrifice the types of regular events that occur to encourage and enlighten one’s creativity. Unfortunately, our next favorite place, San Francisco, is actually more expensive than New York.

The highlights for this week, for me were three-fold:

1) Tim Hawkinson’s opening at Pace Wildenstein Gallery in Chelsea. This was the first show of Hawkinson’s sinse his Whitney retrospective and really showed off a new direction that seemed more nuanced and less grandiose. The show consisted mostly of wall-mounted pieces – ranging from a giant quilt whose pattern was based on Hawkinson’s footprint to a series of collages that had the five senses for a theme. Among the hangings were interspersed a few signature quirky and noisy sculptures. One, a tree-like branch, stripped of its bark, had an ant-line of beads marching up it’s trunk to trigger pulls on a plastic flute at the end. The resulting noise sounded like the background effects to a slapstick cartoon. Overall, Hawkinson was in top form with a strong, cohesive show revolving around the theme of humanity.

2) Nyehaus gallery – This Gramercy Park establishment exhibits the collection of collector, philanthropist, Tim Nye. Running concurrent to the Pace opening, the Nyehaus Gallery presented several works from Nye’s private collection of Hawkinson’s artwork. First-hand accounts revealed the space (which occupies several floors of a brownstone building on the park) to also be home to a private, invite-only, art club, whose elaborate bar overlooks the park on the second floor. Visitors enter to a glimpse of a social club for the art and fashion-conscious scenesters that Williamsburg hipsters can only aspire to. Having never been there before, it was interesting to see Hawkinson’s work in a smaller, more intimate space and experience the strange uber-hipness of Nye’s mailing list.

3) Lisa Yuskavage lecture – The next day (Thursday), there was the final lecture in the spring series sponsored by the Public Art Fund. Lisa Yuskavage gave a great talk about her work – from her undergraduate years through Yale and up to the present. What was so great was her candid delivery and open honesty about her thought process and methods. The point that struck me, personally, was her story of realizing what she liked and found frustrating about her own paintings and how she changed her process in order to keep them fresh and interesting. It was tremendously inspiring. I found myself making observations and decisions about my work that have been lurking in my thoughts for a while.

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All-in-all, it was an inspiring week. Maybe it’s also the coming on of truly spring-like weather, but I think that was just the frosting on the cake.

-W

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