Now that the summer’s winding down, it’s time to take off your flip-flops and put on your walking shoes. A trip to a museum or some galleries will shake off the sun soaked, hammock swung, salt water laziness, re-energize your senses, and re-activate your dormant cultural clock.
New York’s museums and galleries are offering dozens (hundreds, thousands—actually who can keep count?) of stunning exhibitions, installations and performances. Here are some that are exciting and exceptional.
Chuck Close at Pace Gallery
Chuck Close is arguably America’s most important living portrait artist. And what makes an artist that important is the impact his work has on the genre. Close has, yet again, redefined what a portrait can be. Pace Gallery is presenting monumental paintings emphasizing Close’s trademark grid structure. But here, they morph into pixels and patches. They’re flattened, and abstracted almost beyond recognition, and yet they retain Close’s recognizable visage and a surprising delicacy and depth, due to the careful layering of pastel toned washes of pigment.
Also included is a group of photographic self-portraits that are comprised of cut layers. One often wonders when seeing an important exhibition what the impact may be, a little further down the road. These portraits recall the remarkable innovation and technique revealed in the 2014 Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition at MoMA through Close’s very personal and always elegant vision.
Chuck Close: Red Yellow Blue, Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, Through Oct 17, 2015
Pablo Picasso, Bust of a Woman, 1931
Plaster, 29 15/16 x 18 1/8 x 18 7/8 9 in.
Picasso’s sculptural work has been gathered from collections all over the world to give us a chance to re-discover a beloved master. Perhaps no other artist in the 20th century changed the possible ways of seeing the world as much as Picasso.
Pablo Picasso, Violin, 1915
Painted Sheet Metal and Iron Wire, 39 3/8 x 25 1/16 x 7 1/16″
Picasso Sculpture at MoMA is an eye-opening delight, and a chance to see that fun is as important an element as paint or wood or bronze to this ever-inventive creative genius.
Pablo Picasso, Standing Bull (Vase), 1947 or 48
White earthenware with applied elements,
painted with slips and oxides, 14 9/16 x 15 3/4 x 11 13/16″
Picasso Sculpture, MoMA, through February 7, 2016
Andrea del Sarto’s spectacular debut at the Frick,
includes “The Medici Holy Family,” 1529,
Oil on panel, 55 1/8 x 40 15/16 inches from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence
Andrea del Sarto may be unfamiliar to the American public, but not for long, thanks to The Frick’s just opened one-man show. Close to fifty of the Renaissance master’s works are will be on display; most have never before been shown in the States. Delicate red-chalk drawings that recall the work of da Vinci and Raphael, as well as masterpieces in oil can be seen. Don’t miss the chance. To glimpse these works again, you’ll have to travel to Italy.
Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action, The Frick Collection,
October 7, 2015 to January 10, 2016
Head of the Statue of a Bovine Deity (c. 1961-1917 B.C.)
visiting from the Louvre, now at the Met
The Metropolitan Museum recently opened Kongo: Power and Majesty bringing together an unprecedented number of power figure sculptures, along with fascinating research and scholarship to make these imposing works more approachable.
The grandeur and mystery of ancient Egypt comes to life
at the Met’s focus on The Middle Kingdom
On October 12th, Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom will open, revealing the astonishing level of sophistication and elegance achieved in the middle kingdom (2030–1650 B.C.). Don’t go looking for the shiny gold gods of the Met’s King Tut exhibition years ago. Instead, look for the amazing naturalism, craftsmanship and artistry in works that combine the deeply personal with the spiritually eternal – the point where the gods become man, in a culture for whom men and women (the royals, at least) were immortal.
Kongo: Power and Majesty, Through January 3, 2016
Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, October 12, 2015–January 24, 2016
Metropolitan Museum of Art
All Photos by Adel Gorgy
Opening photo: Installation: Chuck Close at Pace Gallery