Downtown Galleries—Four Top Picks for May and June


Two contemporary artists in the decorative arts who invented techniques specific to the execution of their creations, another switched from fashion to art to mold sculptures from found objects, and a duo whose work is on view for the first time in seven years are highlights from New York’s downtown scene over the next two months.

Jean Girel: Ceramics

New artworks created for his first US exhibition, Jean Girel introduces a collection of porcelain ceramics. The artist cites the simplicity and elegance associated with the ceramics of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) as one of his strong influences, and is internationally recognized for designing and building his own kilns unique to the production of his work. The Bestiaire series, topped with tiny animals, is a gem for any collector of the decorative arts. Through May 24, 2012; shown in collaboration with Galerie Arcanes, Paris. Maison Gerard, 43 & 53 East 10 St, NYC, 212-674-7611.

Helmut Lang: Sculptures

The name Helmut Lang is well known among the fashion forward for his minimalist style, an aesthetic he now applies to creating sculptures. In a series of black and white enigmatic works, Lang explores the space between figuration and abstraction using found objects ranging from rubber, foam, plaster, sheepskin, and tar then reassembles the material to accentuate its form, volume, and light. Through June 15, 2012. 24 Washington Square North, NYC. Open from Tuesday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Claes Oldenburg / Coosje van Bruggen: Theater and Installation 1985-1990: Ill Corso del Coltello and The European Desktop

A two-part exhibition of enlarged costumes and original props from a performance by the artists and the architect Frank Gehry, produced and curated by Germano Celant and performed in 1986 on the Campo dell’Arsenale in Venice. Considered seminal works in the Oldenburg/van Bruggen (1942-2009) career that led to their large onsite installations and later indoor, smaller scale works, the exhibition is delightfully quirky and full of surprises. Through June 23, 2012. The Pace Gallery, 545 West 22nd Street, NYC. 212-989-4258.

Toots Zynsky: Crossing Lines

Zynsky’s distinctive heat-formed “fillet de verre” (glass thread), is a method she originated to create richly colored glass sculptures that resemble a stretch of fluid fabric that illuminate both color and the striations within. On view are new works and rare pieces from the artist’s Chaos series of the early and mid-1990s. The interplay between glass and light results in “uncompromisingly” beautiful sculptures. Through June 29, 2012. Barry Friedman LTD. 515 West 26th St., NYC, 212 239-8600.


Toots Zynsky
Toots Zynsky [American, b. 1951]
Voliera, 2012
Fused and thermo-formed glass threads
9 x 18 x 9 3/4 inches
22.9 x 45.7 x 24.8 cm
Signed “Z”

Jean Girel
Boite aux Grenouilles (frog vessel) in porcelaine by Jean Girel
Boite aux Salamdandres (salamandre vessel) in porcelain by Jean Girel
photos courtesy of Maison Gerard

Helmut Lang
Back room installation. Photo courtesy of the artist and Mark Fletcher

Oldenburg/van Bruggen
The European Desktop: Sculpture in the Form of a Collapsed European Postal Scale, 1990
Claes Oldenburg / Coosje van Bruggen
The European Desktop: Sculpture in the Form of a Collapsed European Postal Scale, 1990
expanded polystyrene and aluminum; coated with resin and painted with latex
5’1″ x 20′ 11 15/16″ x 19′ 3/8″
Installation view, Ivorypress Art + Books, Madrid, 2010
(c) Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, New York
Photo by Attilio Maranzano

Toots Zynsky
Assisi, 2012
Fused and thermo-formed glass threads
19 1/2 x 22 3/4 x 15 inches
49.5 x 57.8 x 38.1 cm
Signed “Z”

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