Friday, April 11, 2014

The Art Set: No Rules

Adam Magyar
Stainless #7283, New York, 2010
gelatin silver print
31 ½ 70 ¾", 35 ½ x 74 ¾" framed
edition of 6
Julie Saul Gallery, New York
The Art Set: No Rules
by Charlie Scheips

I have to say that this winter has been my worst in memory. The months have seemed so dreary that little appealed to me to make the effort to go out. But the past two days have restored my interest in New York. Hope it lasts — as my mother used to say.

Wednesday night I went to the preview of AIPAD — the most important art fair for photography dealers in the country. In the old days it used to be held in the New York Hilton and while I have nothing bad to say about the Hilton it was a dreary affair of ugly booths and loads of bins of photographs that a motley crew of photograph enthusiasts picked through as if in a flea market.
The Park Avenue Armory, site of The AIPAD Photography Show.
Since 2006, AIPAD’s fair has been held at the Park Avenue Armory and is so much the better for it. I have to say, despite my long history with the photography world, I have a love/hate relationship with it. Firstly, I am a lover of painting and the art of drawing that the photography has obscured in its dominance of how we “think” we see the world. For many, photography is the “most vivid depiction of reality” — even though almost everyone knows that a photo can be doctored up with ease today — just as Stalin erased Trotsky or the latest faux celebrity is digitally Botox-ed beyond recognition.

What I love about photography is how an individual eye can frame the world in a millisecond and how for the past two centuries it has become the preeminent document of historical record.
Miles Aldridge, Lip Synch 1, 2001
Copyright Miles Aldridge, courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Miles Aldridge, Lip Synch 2, 2001
Copyright Miles Aldridge, courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Miles Aldridge, Lip Synch 3, 2001
Copyright Miles Aldridge, courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Danny Fitzgerald, Contact Sheet, Gene and Nicky, 1966.
Copyright Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux from the Collection of Robert Loncar and James Kempster, courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Danny Fitzgerald, Contact Sheet, Vinny Esposito, 1965
Copyright Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux from the Collection of Robert Loncar and James Kempster, courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.
Charles Jourdan, Autumn, c.1980 © Estate Guy Bourdin. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery.
Akira Sato, Untitled (Profile of a woman's head),1960, vintage silver gelatin print, 11 x 14" © Estate of Akira Sato. Courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery.
Brassaï, Place de l'Opera, 1935. Vintage Gelatin silver print, Richard Moore Photographs, Oakland, CA.
Farrah Karapetian
Caution, 2010
Chromogenic photogram
30 x 20 inches (76.2 x 50.8 cm)
Von Lintel Gallery
Herbert Matter
Untitled, c. earely 1950s
Vintage gelatin silver print collage
11 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches (28.58 x 21.59 cm) Window matted. Estate stamp in ink on print verso.
©Estate of Herbert Matter courtesy of Gitterman Gallery
Ellen Kooi
Langerak - blauwe boom, 2014
C-print mounted on plexi and museum board
35 ½ x 67 inches
edition of 7 + 2 AP. Also available: 27 ½ x 52 inches, Edition of 6, $7,500.
P.P.O.W Gallery
Ellen Kooi
Rotterdam Btower - sneeuw, 2013
C-print mounted on plexi and museum board
29 1/2 x 69 1/4 inches
Edition of 7 + 2 AP. Also available: 23 1/2 x 55 1/2 inches, edition of 6, $7,000
P.P.O.W Gallery
Charles Isaacs Photographs.
Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs.
I arrived at AIPAD even before the cocktail bars were open. The fair is very well laid out this year and you don’t feel the sense of suffocation that some of these affairs can conjure. I ran into Etheleen Staley of Staley-Wise gallery who told me how much she loves New York Social Diary to the dismay of her erudite husband Alan Staley, professor emeriti of art at Columbia University. If Professor Staley only took the chance to look at my Art Set columns he would see that its just as much about art as the people who make it all happen. I adored his class on American Painters in England when I was at graduate school at Columbia.
Photographer Priscilla Rattazzi, Etheleen Staley, and Taki Wise at AIPAD.
Deborah Turbeville
Bathhouse, VOGUE, 1975
Staley-Wise Gallery
Louise Dahl-Wolfe
Jean Patchett, Grenada, Spain, 1953
Staley-Wise Gallery
Ellen von Unwerth
Double Trouble, New York, 2008
Staley-Wise Gallery
AIPAD runs through Sunday, April 13th. For more information, visit
Paul Kasmin, Kara Finnerty, and Yossi Milo. Missy Finger and Anita Slavin.
Leslie Tonkonow and Robin Cembalest. Yancey Richardson and Christiane Fischer.
Dawn Luebbe, Monah Gettner, Alan Gettner, and Beth Iskander.
Alison and Anya Nordstrom Ayano Sudo and Al Baio.
Lexi and Artur Walther. Olivo Barbieri and Daria Menozzi.
Joni Sternbach, Lesley Martin, and Kelly McLaughlin.
Parker Posey, Jesse Cutler, and Alexis Cutler. Larry Young, Vicki Goldberg, and Stephen Perloff.
Aldo Sessa, Charlie Scheips, and Luis Sessa.
I ran into the amazing Argentinean photographer Aldo Sessa, who is now being represented by Throckmorton Fine Art in New York. I also got to chat briefly with my pal Julie Saul who was showing a selection of her gallery roster including my friend Arne Svenson whose work made tabloid news a year or so ago after Julie presented his photographic series entitled “The Neighbors” of people unknowingly photographed from his apartment in downtown Manhattan.
Aldo Sessa, Flag & Statue of Liberty, NY, 1991, Pigment on paper. Throckmorton Fine Art.
Lucien Clergue, Picasso on the beach, Cannes, 1965, Gelatin Silver Print, Vintage. Throckmorton Fine Art.
Arne Svenson
Neighbors #9 and Neighbors #10, 2012
two pigment prints
45" x 30" each, 46 ½ x 65" total framed
edition of 5
Julie Saul Gallery, New York
Tanya Marcuse
Fallen Nº 439, 2013
pigment print
37 ¾ x 48", 45 x 55" framed
edition of 7
Julie Saul Gallery, New York
I was also happy to see my friend Thomas Von Lintel, who just recently abandoned New York to reopen his gallery in sunny Los Angeles. I ran into Marisa Cardinale who introduced me to Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. who is now the director of the Gordon Parks Foundation.
Von Lintel Gallery.
Wendy Small
Morning Glory (4:20 am), 2007
Color photogram (brown)
40 x 30 inches (111.8 x 91.4 cm)
Von Lintel Gallery
I told him a little personal anecdote I have about Gordon Parks. My mother was a friend of “Parks” in the 1950s when she was a copy editor for Life magazine. In 1958, my parents were by chance with Parks on the cruise ship Queen of Bermuda. They were on holiday while Parks was traveling to cover Princess Soroya’s divorce from the Shah of Iran. One night, Parks shot a photograph of my mother during dinner. At the end of her life she told me, as she gave me the photograph, that it was on that trip that she became pregnant with me.
Gordon Parks, Marguerite Scheips, 1958.
I haven’t been back to Bermuda since but I love having the Gordon Parks connection.

I met up with photographer Jonathan Becker as we were going over to the fabled Coffee House club on 44th Street for a lecture and a dinner. If you don’t know about it — take a look at their website — it's one of the places in New York that makes you glad to be a New Yorker.

Click to order Washington’s Spies.
Its most important rule is Rule #6 that states, “there shall be No Rules.” An altogether still refreshing concept in this control freak mad world of today!

Last Sunday, I happened to watch on AMC the first episode of Turn about American patriot spies during the Revolutionary War. I loved the show but wondered where in Long Island they had filmed it — it seemed familiar but not the Long Island Sound that I know. Our speaker was none other than the dashing Alexander Rose, whose book Washington’s Spies inspired the series.

I was invited by members Raymond Dowd and Frances Vieta, and though we arrived in the middle of Mr. Rose’s lecture, it was a fascinating talk. You could feel the intelligence in the art-filled meeting room that also serves as the dining room.

Afterwards I was lucky enough to sit at the long table of perhaps 40 members next to Mr. Rose and learned that my suspicion about the locale of the filming of the series was correct — it’s being shot in Virginia. I also met Isabel Vincent of the New York Post who is helping organize a history of the club. When our lively dinner was over a group of us posed with reverence under the portrait of the club’s co-founder Frank Crowninshield, better known today as the legendary editor of Vanity Fair from 1914-1936.
Raymond Dowd, Jonathan Becker, Alexander Rose, and Charlie Scheips in front of a portrait of Frank Crowninshield at the Coffee House.
Afterwards, member Roy Carlin, Jonathan and I walked all the way up to Sutton Place and peeked in at Jonathan’s studio. It was a fascinating evening.

While I was at AIPAD I ran into Paul Kasmin, who reminded me that his Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery, 1955-1987 was closing this weekend. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW! Alexander Iolas was a Greek born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1907. After stints as a pianist and ballet dancer (in Paris before the Second World War) in 1944 he became the director of the Hugo Gallery in New York financed by Robert Rothschild, Elizabeth Arden and Maria dei Principi Ruspoli Hugo.
It was thanks to Iolas that Andy Warhol had his first solo exhibition: Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote in 1952 — a decade before his show at the Stable Gallery that truly launched his art career. After 1955, he spread his wings and at one time or another had galleries in New York, Paris, Milan, Rome, Geneva, and Athens. The artists he represented included René Magritte, Roberto Matta, Jean Cocteau, Yves Klein, Jannis Kounellis, Victor Brauner, Niki de Saint-Phalle and Ed Ruscha among many others.
Andy Warhol, Iolas, 1972, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas, 40 x 40 inches (101.6 x 101.6 cm.) © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.
The catalog for the show is a must have! It includes fabulous essays by Bob Colacello and the International Art Newspaper’s Adrian Dannatt, whom, with Vincent Fremont, organized the exhibition. There is a wonderful piece by Jules Olitski that was originally published in 1978 by the Partisan Review that is one of the best (and amusing!) pieces I have ever read about being a “starving artist.”
Installation view of Alexander the Great: The Iolas Gallery 1955-1987. Photograph by Elisabeth Bernstein. Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.
Installation view of François-Xavier Lalanne’s La Mouche, 1966, brass, steel, porcelain, plexiglass, wood, 18 3/4 x 48 3/4 x 30 3/4 inches (48 x 124 x 78 cm.) Photograph by Elisabeth Bernstein. Image courtesy of Les Lalanne and Paul Kasmin Gallery.
As it happens, Paul has a marvelous show at his other gallery around the corner of Jules Olitski’s late Mitt Paintings. I said to Paul that the paintings are so vital that probably the unknowing viewer would think it was the work of the latest hip artist of today. Instead they were made by between 1982 and 1992 when the Ukrainian born artist was in his 60s!

Paul said “he was old enough to throw out the rules” — I wonder if he was a member of the Coffee House — certainly he was a kindred spirit!
Installation view of Jules Olitski: Mitt Paintings. Photograph by Christopher Burke. Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.
Paul Kasmin in front of one of Jules Olitski's Mitt Paintings.
For more information on the Kasmin exhibition, click here.

The Kasmin shows and the beautiful weather put me in such a good mood that I drove over to Bar Pitti and had a delicious lunch of asparagus and tortellini al sugo. I said hello to photographer Pamela Hanson and sat next to Alba Clemente as I read the Iolas catalog while patrone Giovanni Tognozzi took care of me.