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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't blink or you'll miss five galleries!

They say that a visit to any major museum is at least a 3 day event - if done correctly.  Well, okay... a museum takes 3 days but the galleries of New York take a lifetime.  I once heard that the Golden Gate Bridge is constantly being worked on - that the minute they finish painting it they must begin again just due to the sheer size of the thing.  This is how I feel the New York Gallery scene is - and following it is as though you're chasing your own tail - it's always two steps ahead.

Yesterday was a simple day with weather you couldn't customize to be any better.  My "SuperPhone" told me it maxed out at 78 degrees - scarcely a cloud in the sky and a breeze that blew softly through the afternoon.  So it was a day that I was happy to be out and about with a Jamba Juice in hand ready to put an ever so small dent into the district located in Chelsea.  20 plus galleries later and I didn't even scratch the surface on anything but the soles of my feet.  That said I was able to see a mixture of art which I loved, art that I questioned and art that I simply found myself staring at with tilted head and what I'm sure was a huge question mark looming over my head. 
Omar Chacon - "Untitled #209"

I won't walk you through every gallery but I can give you a few highlights that I truly enjoyed.  The day started in the abstract and grew more figurative into the afternoon.  I won't lie, I did see two massive white canvas' bolted together and on display.  Yep, bet that took a really long to conceptualize and realize.... or not.   But then I found this piece (pictured to the left) in the back nook of a smallish gallery and it drew me right in.  The artist's name is Omar Chacon and this piece is entitled "Untitled #209" and is a mix of resin and pigment on canvas that measures 11" x 7.5" - so it's on the smaller side - and it has this complex layering of colors that bring you right back to childhood.  To me it gave new meaning to the term "eye candy".
Daniel Ochoa - "Lados of Cuerto"

Later in the day I stopped by a gallery that seemed almost a sister to Evan's space and asthetic.  Every single piece of art in there was something that I could see hanging in Carmel but one of my favorite's was Daniel Ochoa pictured to the right.   This piece, entitled "Lados of Cuerto" and measuring 48 x 36, is figurative oil on canvas and used incredible brush work (and some palette knife work perhaps) to create a certain kind of humanity I found engrossing. 

Michael Fitts - "Operation"

After a dinner with my family, I was able to meet up with Michael Fitts late into the night for a cocktail and discussion about his newest work which I'm very excited to see today.  On today's agenda is The Affordable Art Fair - an event that I've never been to but am quite anxious to see. As for last night - Michael and I sat in a lovely little Irish bar near the Empire State Building with a wonderfully pleasant bartender who could easily get a job as an Edward Norton body double.  What I enjoy most about my job, aside from the subject matter obviously, is the people.  I love being with the people in my industry. What makes an artist particularly enjoyable company is their nature of observation.  They listen, they engage, they smile and for the most part they banter.  They are a breed of human being that works from a passion to create beauty. It's an unselfish quality and truly one of the most pleasant aspects a human being can have.  Michael is very much like this. (If you've been in our gallery you've likely seen his work but I'm posting a picture of it to the left here.)  I don't know - perhaps it was growing up in a family of artist's that makes me feel so at home among them - but whatever it is, whoever the artist and whatever their medium, I know that when you see a piece of their work or hear a chord of their solo or experience a minute of their film - any kind of artist is showing you a small piece of their soul.  Being immersed in so much art this week I feel as though along with my wonderful discussions with folks like Mr. Fitts,  I'm also meeting hundreds of new people and I have to say, I'm honored.

Until my next post - I hope all is well in your "neck of the woods" - have a great day!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On The Streets of New York...

Jay-Z's recently "covered" song (on the hit show Glee which I'm only slightly addicted to) "Empire State of Mind" opens with the following lyrics:

Yeah, Imma up at Brooklyn,
Now Im down in Tribeca

I will never again be able to listen to this song without thinking about today.   I began with a wonderful morning in Brooklyn with Oriano  (pictured to the left) and ended with a great visit in Tribeca with Peter Drake.  It has been one of those days in New York that makes you want to move here - at least for me.  Surrounded by artists, great food, leisurely strolls down busy Avenues and people watching.  Before you ask, yes... I am working.  In fact, not only am I working but I'm soaking, nope, basking in some of the freshest - and strangest - culture of fine art.  There is only a sliver of what I'm seeing that would even be considered appropriate for my home state of Indiana but that's what's so great about venturing out of what you find in the day-to-day...  life is very much like air travel in this respect - abrupt changes in altitude might cause some things to shift during flight - and often that shift alone uncovers more than your imagination ever thought possible.

I did not have a chance today to see Oriano's studio but I do hope to make it there tomorrow.  But then I'd also like to have lunch with Michael and Peter tomorrow - see what's new in their worlds and what new material they can perhaps show at our space in the Midwest.  I did meet an artist, Will Kurtz, today (while visiting Peter Drake) in Tribeca (New York Academy of Art) who makes these amazing sculptures out of paper maché.  (See photo to the right) While I enjoyed the portrait work (which is apparently of his family members) - I found the dogs to be exquisite! If you're reading this and would like to commission this man to sculpt your "Best Friend" - we can certainly arrange that.  

Also showing the same exhibit is a woman with whom I did not meet but whose name is Panni Malekzadeh.  Her work has a soft feel with, dare I say it, sexual content - somehow her sweeping brushstrokes add a level of romance to a subject matter that is all to risqué for the 46032 zip code. (To the left is pictured, "The Peep Show" which measures 62 x 89 inches).  Can you imagine the headline in the Star if we had paintings of "painted women" in our windows?  Again though - this is a different town - and being here in New York is akin to having the alarm go off without hitting snooze.  You can't snooze in The Big Apple - the city goes on with or without you and a doggy paddle won't keep you up.  That's why the art here is the way that it is - grab attention or wash out with the tide.  And let me tell you, the NYAA has some attention grabbing art - it reminds me of why I love this business that I'm in. 

The day for me has ended and I'm now nestled into a new apartment with a glass of red wine to wind down.  As promised, the blogs will continue to come and hopefully this journey can be something we can share together.  Between you and me - this city has a way of making a person truly understand what living is - and I can only hope that I pack a little of that in my suitcase to bring home. I love my state but even I can admit that Indiana could use a little of this energy every now and then. :)

Have a great night - and see you all tomorrow.

Travels, Continued.

Well readers, the small but adorable (and bare) Brooklyn apartment I'm sitting in has two noises - MacBook keys and a quiet fan.  Every once in a while there is a deep sigh or a moment of introspection but for the most part, it's an enjoyable early afternoon in with overcast skies and a coffee at my side.  Let me explain.

I arrived last night and as I neglected to explain in my 2 am post - am currently crashing in the apartment of two of our artists - Oriano Galloni and Stephen Shaheen.  They are two of the most gracious people I've ever met and such a pleasant evening all around.  After driving for such a long time it was a relief to see such happy faces.  For those of you who don't know, Oriano is Italian and while his English is ten million times the better than my Italian - there is still a bit of a language barrier left - a barrier you don't even realize exists because there is a general sense of jovial good charm that fills the void. (Also Stephen is fluent in Italian and does help translate) The two of these men together are a pair that play off each other not only in skill with marble but also in general nature.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention that in addition to being extremely talented, these two men are also extremely good looking and charming.  Add in Oriano's accent and Stephen's wit and you're pretty much feeling 100% at home before you even say hello. Within 5 minutes of my arrival they already have me laughing as they talk about women - those Italian men sure do know how to talk about women - take note American men... with sincerity flattery can still make the toughest woman in the room blush.

Currently it is 11:30 am and Steve has since left for school where he teaches.  Oriano, being such a gracious host, found me a wonderful cup of coffee from a local coffee shop and a chocolate croissant.  Needless to say - amazing breakfast.  Now there is just this lovely quiet kept in time by the pace of our typing and the hum of the ceiling fan.  Spaced about 10 feet apart, he sits on the floor answering his emails and I am perched on one of two stools the men have in the gallery, typing my blog.  I know that I need to call the car service and get my day going - but leaving this is a hard task.  But, leaving is a must - Oriano has a full day of work ahead of him and I need to get out to see Peter Drake and return a few paintings to him as well.  Also, I look forward to seeing the School where he is Dean - a very important position for a very talented man.  I only hope they aren't monopolizing all his time keeping him from the creative.  Peter's work, if you have not seen it yet in our gallery, is stunning.  The latest collection, that of over-sized lead soldiers is rich, full of character and a step backwards to your childhood.

Well, it's time.  I will continue to blog the events of the day and yes, I will take photos.  What's a story without illustration?  Well, it's not a story about artists.



To be fair, it's now Tuesday and I feel as though I've let the readers down by only just now posting an entry.  For those that don't know me, my name is Katherine and I manage the Evan Lurie Gallery.  Monday morning, at 11 am, I set out in a big white van filled with sculpture towards New York City.  The sculpture is set for return to the artist Oriano Galloni as he gears up to open a new space in Brooklyn, NY.  While our gallery in Indiana has had great luck showcasing the work of master sculptor Galloni - the pieces going East were those that either just didn't find their niche in the midwest or were needed for his new showroom opening in a matter of weeks - such is life.   For me, as I work surrounded by these "Silent Souls" on a daily basis, it is as though I'm saying goodbye to old friends but I know that they return to the loving hands that created them.  It does seem only right that I spend the last few hours with them as I drive East... and with such a delivery... begins an adventure.

As I said, it is now Tuesday - but truth be told, it's very early Tuesday - 2 am in fact.  And while I should be sleeping, the effects of massive doses of Caffiene are still working their way through my system.  Soon though I feel the onslaught of some terrific sleep following the 13 hour drive east.  Don't worry though! I've used my inner geek to tether my phone to the MacBook for an internet connection where ever I am - so blogging won't be dependant on free wi-fi hotspots around the city.  For those who have ever lived in NYC or even visited - free is not a word used with a great deal of regularity here.   So if you're reading this - please stay tuned.  There will be a new post tomorrow as the NYC adventure continues for an Art Gallery Manager stomping around a city she used to call home - ever so brief as that was... but that, well that's an entirely different story now isn't it?  Goodnight readers - and I look forward to bringing you tales of great excitement tomorrow.