West Side Stories

Parking for The Armory Show
looking up the West Side Highway
March, 6, 2015

Driving into Manhattan, on the West Side Highway, the traffic is backed up going in the opposite direction and I am greatly relieved that it is not me stuck in traffic!  The pace of new building continues unabated and the new construction will radically change the look along the Hudson.  I park my car and go into The Armory Show, which is bustling.  There is always so much to see and we walk down into the Contemporary section and dig in.  Not two minutes into the show we come upon a contingent of Rochester natives, including Bleu Cease and RoCo supporters on a junket.
James Turrell 
at Pace Prints

We move on, and at Pace Prints I came across a suite of prints from James Turrell who is usually known for his expansive light shows like the one that recently took over the rotunda at the Guggenheim in New York City.  The simple elliptical form he produced for these prints is very celestial and it reminded me of nebulae out in the great astronomical outback.
Discussing Irma Blank
Another artist that I would make a special mention of was someone I had not been previously aware and what attracted my eye was a certain blue color on a pair of panels about six feet tall.  Irma Blank was given a solo slot at The Armory Show, and she is 81 years old based in Milan, Italy.  The color I was so attracted to comes from her ball point pens which she uses by the fistful.  She makes these essential abstract statements like a throwback to a more conceptual era.  Alongside these slabs of blue are what appears to be pages from a book, but on closer inspection you realize that all of what looks like lines of type are actually hand drawn lines of a certain weight, and you realize what a total obsession this must be for her!
Elias Sime
I look for names and art that I haven’t seen before, and I was surprised by a Somalian artist – Elias Sime, who had “paintings” made of embroidered fabrics on large stretchers – one of which was called ” Splash of a Pebble in Muddy Water”.  This is a kind of unique ( and also obsessive ) form of art making that draws on African culture that needs to have more exposure in this country.
Ekrem Yalcindag, 2014
oil on canvas

A trio of circle paintings also fell into this category.  The artist was Ekrem Yalcindag and I wonder what else I can find of this work at a show like this.  It seems that these large extravaganzas give us a brief glance at some new names, and it is up to us to follow up and see what we can find. Tantalizing.
Alex Katz
One name that is not new is Alex Katz. I studied with him briefly in the summer back in 1972 at Tanglewood, and I can’t remember one of these big shows where his work was not present.  This time out, I see small landscapes that look like they are done right on the site. Here is a wonderful little night-time scene I would have liked to take home with me.
Peter Schuyff, 1990
I mentioned in an earlier post that I like the artist Patrick Jacobs, so I went to see his new miniature diorama at Pierogi, and was not disappointed.  Among other artists whose work I am familiar with were a few canvases by Peter Schuyff which I think hold up quite nicely in this company.  At Two Palms Press, David Lasry presents a suite of prints by Terry Winters, all decked out in black and white.
Brandon Ballengee, left, 
speaks with my brother, Paul Singer
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts
Around a corner we came upon Brandon Ballengee with a solo show at the Ronald Feldman booth. On view were some sublime prints he made from scans of fish which had been colorized, scanned and printed on rice paper, which were very attractive.  On the red walls of his show were numerous older prints by artists like Audubon that have been acted upon – that is the subject ( bird, or frog or other animal ) had been cut out from the print and subtracted.  The subjects – eliminated from view create a palpable sense of loss, and sustain the title of the exhibition which is “Frameworks of Absence”. A portion of the proceeds from his show will be donated to environmental defense.
We stopped to talk with the artist who was present, and we look forward to seeing what he will do in the future.
Jaume Prensa
On our way around I went over to inspect a very large bronze head that reminded me of a work by my colleague, Len Urso.  This head had been flattened in a way, but was very impressive from an artist who was new to me – Jaume Prensa, on view at Galerie Lelong.  I think if you see this work ( Laura in Huesca ) you would not forget it soon.
The Armory Show, March 2015
So much to see, and so little time.  We took the exit and drove through the night into Times Square to wonder at the continuous light show.  Let the good times roll….
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