Saturday, December 18, 2010

Visiting (Chelsea) Art Galleries in NYC

Yesterday, armed with comfortable shoes, warm coats and gloves, snacks and water, and a list of galleries we wanted to see, I went to NYC for the day with three friends, two of whom are artists. Our mission was to visit as many galleries in Chelsea that time would permit.

Similar to the Bolt Bus and Mega Bus, we took the Worldwide Bus, that leaves from the Alewife T station in Cambridge MA, and then the Riverside T station in Newton MA, and then heads directly to NYC. Our round trip cost was $40 on a comfortable bus that has wireless access, which is a nice perk for me.

We were on our way to NYC by 8am and arrived around 11:30 I think, and we had until 6pm, when we had a reservation for our trip home. The bus dropped us off at 31st and 8th, and we walked down 9th Avenue to 20th Street to the first gallery.

Our list of planned galleries we wanted to visit, included some that had work similar to some of our style/subject matter/media, or that had Boston area artists who we knew were on exhibit, or that had major fine artists on exhibit. We also strayed for our planned list if we walked by a show that looked interesting from the window, or if there was an interesting review in the current New Yorker magazine.

I'm not going to give a detailed report about each gallery we visited because there was not time to take notes at each stop. I can say that we visited at least 15 galleries, probably a bit more than that.

General observations and comments:

We saw a lot of paintings on canvas and boards. Some work on mylar. Most work was not framed, which I appreciated because it reduced the expense for the artist and/or gallery.

There were a lot of red dots at most of the shows, which I found encouraging in this economy.

A lot of shows had mixed media, including work that incorporated fiber.

We saw work created by artists aged between 20 to 90. The days of showing only just out of MFA programs 20-something year old artists seems to have passed. Yeah!

The people working at the galleries were for the most part very interested in talking to us about the artists and work.

Because my women's artists coaching/marketing group has been discussing artist's statements and resumes these past few months, I took the time to look at resumes and show/artist statements at various galleries when I could. For shows I didn't understand, the statements helped me appreciate it more. Most were wonderfully written and also short. As for resumes, we have been debating whether or not to keep our college dates on ours, and I found that all artists in the galleries did on theirs, including those aged 50+. They also had their year of birth.

I was disappointed in craftsmanship with various works in various galleries. Not that I am into perfection, but obviously warped canvases, paintings with dents in the canvas, and a painting in a gallery that sold for $10,000 that had a black frame that the bottom right corner was scraped badly enough that you could see the brown wood underneath, and a high number of art that was not hung straight, was bothersome.

Highlights for me were:

I especially enjoyed the work of Christian Faur, who used thousands of encaustic crayons to create his pointillist portraits, at the Kim Foster Gallery, and Lisa Breslow's "CityScapes and Still Lifes" paintings with pencil at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts. Also, Rachel Perry Welty's show at the Yancey Richardson Gallery! I love her creativity and humor, her use of color, and the scale of her work.

We visited Edward Winkleman's gallery and introduced ourselves because we enjoy reading his blog, and it was good to see his gallery.

And, we paid a visit to a print gallery and stood a few feet away from a huge Chuck Close print that we were in awe of.

I had a great day, and really look forward to my next day trip to New York some time in the not too distant future. I'll be happy to visit galleries +/or museums, weather and time permitting.

Thanks for reading such a long post. I usually try to keep them short.