Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Evening in Chelsea

The gallery at Mixed Greens  is currently showing Joan Linder's phenomenal drawings in "Cost of Living".  These meticulously rendered images of weeds, a corpse, an old mattress, and documents are both powerful and sensitive in their execution.  Linder restricts herself to the traditional tools of pen and ink on paper, and uses a restrained technique of building mass with repeated short linear strokes.  The graceful contours of leaf and blossom belie the compulsive control  in their execution. Table 8 (cadaver) is, ironically, one of the more lush images.  It is a dissected body,  recorded from visits to a gross anatomy lab in a medical school. Drawn in a warm floral palette of reds, oranges and yellows, it conveys life more viscerally (literally) than her massive flowers limned in monochrome blues and green. 

The artist's obsessively drawn resume of Louise Bourgeois consists of four large pages, with two columns each, listing Bourgois' CV in tiny hand lettered script.  In her painstaking chronicle of the creative life of this icon of contemporary art, Linder's homage is  both wondrous, humbling and rather uncomfortably masochistic.   The few ink stains splattering the work might as well be blood. A table strewn with mundane paper clutter is actually precisely copied replicas of lists, receipts,  bank statements, school reports and junk mail.  Looking a bit too much like my own unattended desk, the trope l'oeil effect is almost playful.  But Linder's excruciating mimicry subverts the seemingly innocuous detritus of financial bondage and family responsibilities.  Each scrap of paper signifies a decision, a bond or a distraction that together constitute the artist's, or anyone's, "cost of living".  The show closes May 28.  Mixed Greens is located at 531 W. 26th St. 1st fl.

Party Time!
Ella Yang took Karen Flatow and me to the City Arts  first year anniversary party last night.  If you haven't checked out this publication yet, it is a newspaper listing theater, music and art gallery/museum exhibitions and events in Manhattan.  There are reviews and articles and advertising at a reasonable rate.  Ella was impressed with the response she got from an ad for one of her recent shows.  Held at the Chelsea Art Museum in a grand upper gallery hung with the monumental painted gestures of Jean Miotte, the affair was festive and chic.  Flashbulbs were discretely popping, we spotted Matthew Modine chatting with the art crowd.  There was a grand piano playing, then strings; a group called The Audubon Ensemble was  barely heard above the convivial din of the crowd.  Violinist Corinne Ramey
laughed and said they could barely hear themselves.

 Ella, Karen and I held court at  one of the small cocktail tables, We sipped Pinot Noir and Karen had the City Arts cocktail (vodka infused with culture).

We talked the art talk: Sizing up studio real estate, flirting with galleries, escaping to residencies and the pros and cons of sacrificing children on the alters of art. There were no name tags but we met a man who called himself "The Wallet".  Says he buys art.  He copied our contact info onto his Blackberry.  We'll see.