Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Judd Foundation Acknowledges the Upside of Money

With what should be a stunning new addition to SoHo's cultural landscape, the Judd Foundation has begun to share images of the lovingly (and painstakingly) restored interior of the great Minimalist sculptor's live/work loft at 101 Spring Street.

Purchased in 1968 as SoHo was first taking hold as a burgeoning art center, and used until Judd's death in 1994, the five story building will open to the public in June as a museum of art, ephemera and creative ambiance. Striving to retain what they describe as the "ineffable meditative quality" of the space, it's interesting to hear Judd's daughter Rainer acknowledge nevertheless the power of modern technology, architectural know-how and the financing that both demand. Running counter to the usual knee-jerk demonization of all things gentrifying, Rainer Judd reconciles the realities saying:    

“After ‘84, ‘85 [the neighborhood] changed, and I don’t track the changes so much since then,” she said. “It’s been more people and more money and variations of that, but there’s an upside to people with money coming in that’s also true in spaces of nature: It means it gets taken care of.” "

To read more and see an excellent 22 image slide show go to:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last Week and Next Month

Last Thursday I was delighted to spend the morning with art world educator, curator and former gallerist Amy Smith-Stewart addressing her students at one of the Sotheby's Institute of Art 'Short Courses.' Titled 'The Gallery Business: A Practical Guide'I helped Amy kick off her three-day program with a very tightly packaged overview of the history of New York's art galleries. Fifty years in 90 minutes is quite the challenge so to anyone interested in attending this annual offering next year, I strongly recommend you read the book!

On Wednesday May 15th, from 11 am until 1pm, I will be working again with my long-time friend and colleague Lacy Doyle at Artview offering an architectural history and gallery tour of SoHo.
Working from the early chapters of Art on the Block we will go back to the late 1960s cradle of the downtown art world and revisit some of the original haunts where pioneers like Paula Cooper, Ivan Karp, Leo Castelli and Mary Boone first began. We will also be looking in on some of the galleries and not-for-profits that have chosen to stay in SoHo all of these years and a number of newer enterprises that have succumbed to it's lingering charms. Register for the tour below.

When I'm Asked "Where Next? . . .

Having just written a 50 year history of the ever-migrating art districts of New York City, it's understandable that I am regularly asked where I think the next one will be – and whether it will even be in New York.

Over the course of the 150 some interviews that I did for Art on the Block, the final question I always put to interviewees – to dealers, non-profit directors, artists – was "What do you think? Where else might the art world go?" Responses ranged from the Upper East Side to back to SoHo, Dubai to back to Paris. This week art kicked off a three part series looking at Los Angeles as a well-chewed-over possibility

Their initial discussion is well balanced I think.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Marking Spaces: New York City's Landmark HIstoric Districts" at the Queens Museum of Art.

The recently formed NYC Landmarks50 Advisory Committee is wisely giving itself two full years to lead into the celebration of the Landmarks Preservation Commission formed in 1965.

As Art on the Block  describes, the Landmarks Commission was formed in the very late stages of Robert F. Wagner's third and final term as mayor. It was up to the incoming Lindsay administration, however, to put the law to work and to move into the next decade avoiding the kind of rash architectural destruction that led to the tear down of the historic McKim Mead and White Pennsylvania Station.

The Queens Museum of Art opens its "Marking Spaces: New York City landmark Historic Districts" on April 14th with a nice dust off of Robert Moses legendary Panorama. Designed in 1964 by Wagner's appropriately tagged "Master Builder,' the Panorama shows every building in the five boroughs constructed before 1992.

The exhibition's timing seems ironic in view of the debate raging around the Museum of Modern Art's decision to demolish the Tod Williams and Billie Tsien's Folk Art Museum, hardly a relic at 12 years old.

Read more:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The End of An Era – The Start of the Next?

There was news this week of changes ahead for three of the galleries who's histories are covered in Art on the Block.  The veteran dealer Nicole Klagsbrun, who started out in partnership with respected curator Clarissa Dalrymple at the Cable Gallery in SoHo in 1983, has decided to close her Chelsea space.

Another Chelsea departure – Schroeder Romero Gallery will take its operations back across the river to Brooklyn and focus on e-commerce delivery of limited edition prints and multiples. Schroeder Romero started its days in Williamsburg but migrated to Chelsea in the early 2000's.

Alun Williams' Parkers Box on Grand Street in Brooklyn is making his 100th exhibition his last in the Williamsburg gallery. Williams press release was upbeat about new enterprises to come and we will wait to see what he does next and where.

Claes Oldenburg:The Street and The Store at the Museum of Modern Art

Opening on April 14th and up through August 5th at MoMA, Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store promises an excellent opportunity to see some of the seminal early work of one of the great masters of Pop. A nice little slide show from the Huffington Post gives a taste of what is, literally, in store.

Producing in a different vein to Lichtenstein, Rosenquist or Warhol whose irony-laden riffs on packaged goods and magazine gloss were pristinely executed, Oldenburg initially worked sloppier. Humble materials such as cardboard and papier-mache were mixed, matched and molded to create surprisingly arresting objects. These early pieces (The Street, 1960 and The Store 1961-4) are smaller in scale than the gargantuan creations he would later be known for but throughout he gorges – like his Pop counterparts – on the delights of the late '50s and early '60s consumer goods market.

The opening slide from Huffington shows the artist outside the legendary Dwan Gallery in Los Angeles but Art on the Block picks him up during his early years in New York on the Lower East Side.