Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Three shows (among hundreds) to see in Chelsea’s art galleries

These past 15 years, Chelsea has become the world’s most important center for contemporary art by being home to hundreds of art galleries mostly situated in the West part of the neighborhood. The Municipal Art society of New York recently organized a walking tour around the various galleries, allowing us to visit seven very different places with a variety of exhibitions, the aim being to explore what is new and most exciting on the current art scene.
Here are my three favorite exhibitions of the tour; this represents a very small fraction of what is available and all choices are totally personal, but hopefully it will encourage you to discover or rediscover Chelsea and its vibrant art community. As many galleries are located within just a few city blocks, it is really easy to visit numerous places in one single afternoon – but this will certainly make you want to come back for more the day after! 

Happenings New York 1958-1953 at The Pace Gallery
Happenings New York 1958-1953 documents the origins and historical development of the “Happenings” movement, an artistic movement which consisted in creating performances, events and situations and that forever changed the definition of art and its possibilities from its inception in 1958 through 1963.
The exhibition, which will be showing until March 17th at The Pace Gallery, presents more than thirty of the original Happenings; it brings together
and for the first time more than 300 photos captured by five photographers who documented these performances. It also displays a variety of artworks – including a giant pair of shoes as well as interesting video and text content.
Eric Fischl at Mary Boone Gallery

Eric Fischl, The Gang, 2006
Mary Boone Gallery has an exhibition of portrait paintings by Eric Fischl, an internationally acclaimed American painter and sculptor who was born and raised in New York City.
Dating from 1992 to 2011, the works in the exhibition are mostly portraits of couples, families, or groups. A highlight of the show is three large and intimidating group portraits that depict the Artist and his circle of friends – all renowned people - at the beach. Based on photographs, Fischl’s paintings are very realistic. But the extravagant colors and intense light effects give the works of art a little something special that, paired with the intimidating size of the canvas, makes the whole thing impressive and interesting to look at.
Eric Fischl will be showing until March 17th at Mary Boone Gallery.
Naked City at Steven Kasher Gallery
Last but not least, my favorite exhibition of the tour was Weegee: Naked City at the Steven
Kasher Gallery, a place specialized in fine art photography, contemporary and vintage.
With approximately 125 prints of Weegee, a photographer and photojournalist known for his stark black and white street photography who worked mostly in New York but also in other cities around the world, this show explore the emotional and satirical art of a man who developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity.
Among Weegee's basic subjects: Song and Dance, Drink, Party, Spectacle, Circus, Love and Sex, Crime and Disaster, Citizens and Celebrity. Pictures are highly captivating as most of them are very intimate and require a time of thinking to understand the scene.

Pictures are presented in a simple
but efficient way
Bowery Savings Bank, 1944

The exhibition, that  – unfortunately – finishes this week on February 25th, takes its cues from the title of Weegee's first book: Naked City. This book became a bestseller and made the guy famous, transforming him from a journalist into an artist.
What type of art do you enjoy seeing the most in art galleries?

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