I have compiled a list of recommendations for shows in Chelsea right now. These are all exhibitions I have seen in the last two weeks. While this is in no way a complete list of the best in Chelsea it is a snapshot of what I have seen and enjoyed.
Quick Note: I often use Artcards as a resource for what is open and opening before I head to Chelsea or the LES. It can be incomplete, but it is the best of it’s kind.
Ai Weiwei at Chambers Fine Art (522 W 19th)
Chambers has a beautiful small show of the artists sculptures. The main space is showing luxurious wood coffins for twisted metal rebar painted white. There is a complex, sad history here told not with bodies but with the failed building material. In another space, the artist has created jade facsimiles of two types of objects: cosmetics and sex toys. These small unbranded objects are jewel-like. The three sex toys all have Brancusi curves and the cosmetics pieces make me think of the snuff bottles I pine for every time I see them at the Met. A porcelain block of Tofu finishes this small space. It sits on a small plinth on the floor, awaiting the next life as one hundred meals for five hundred mouths. Of course this will never be. It feels like the opposite or antidote to his Tate Modern installation: Sunflower Seeds.
James Bishop at David Zwirner (20th)
This is a beautiful show. I cannot recommend it highly enough. John Yau’s review says what needs to be said: James Bishop’s Incommodious Beauty
Nicholas Krushenick at Garth Greenan (529 W 20th, 10th Flr)
Krushenick’s massive early paintings reveal a rich history beneath their shiny pop abstraction. One can see layers of work beneath, evident under ridges of masked areas and pockmarked fields of black. This artist, once a star, now considered an also-ran, is ready for a proper comeback. Gary Snyder before and Garth Greenan now are doing yeoman’s work to make sure this happens.
Phillippe Weisbecker at Zieher Smith & Horton (516 W 20th)
This show of drawings and objects is the place where insider and outsider can stop being different things. The artist, trained and with a full exhibition history, uses the forms of minimalism and the varied line of untrained artists There is no high or low here. There is worn paper with straight forward drawings which barely fill the space, but provide a great insight into a lesser known artist.
Nick Cave at Jack Shainman (513 W 20th Street)
This is a beautiful and challenging show. Rather than review, let me recommend it and not tell you what you will see. Do yourself a favor and don’t research it first. Just go look.
Roxy Paine at Marianne Boesky (509 W 24th)
Many of the reviews have taken this work to be cold and unmoving and stating this as a detriment. I disagree. The quirk of the main installation is not its technical prowess but the loneliness it provokes. I look at Checkpoint, 2014 as a beautifully crafted diorama that reminds us to look at the situations we subject ourselves to daily. We are in a world of blank, uniform places. How else can we recognize that without seeing things anew and askew?
Kate Shepherd at Galerie Lelong (528 W 26th)
Kate Shepherd has long made sparse images of form, structure, and open space that owe much to forbearers such as Josef Albers and Fred Sandback. In Fwd: The Telephone Game the artist is using augmented digital lines that often refer to the human form. 3D rendered images that are manipulated become the drawings for the paintings. In womantorse daz3d2 Draw-On-1.s20.lrfr, 2014 a form either disintegrates or mutates to become a sculptural movement recalling the aim, but not the style, of the Futurists. Shepherd makes us reconsider the “drawn” line, warts and all.
-Jeff Bergman September 2014