Art Walks the Walk on Madison Avenue

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Madison Avenue

So, what’s on the agenda this weekend? If you’re an art lover, plan to head over to Madison Avenue on Saturday, October 22nd, for the semi-annual Madison Avenue Fall Gallery Walk. This free event (yes, free!) invites the public to visit 50 participating galleries, view their fall exhibitions and attend expert talks led by artists and curators on Madison Avenue & side streets from 57th to 86th Street. The weather is supposed to be beautiful.

New York is always full of surprises and one-of-a-kind experiences. And this multifaceted event is not to be missed.

An Early Painting ogf Adam and Eve by Miro
Joan Miró, Peinture (Les amants – Adam et Eve), 1925.

Miró was a core member of the surrealist movement, and painted with an organic hand. It’s hard not to admire his huge body of work. Luxembourg + Co. is offering a museum quality presentation titled Feet on the Ground, Eyes on the Stars.

A Dreamlike Work by Miro
A dreamlike work from the same year.

The project on display proposes that the ground colors and textures are key to the art of this period. In its most stripped down form, dreams and the subconscious were a starting point for the surrealists.

A Pair of Paintings on Masonite Overlooking Madison Ave
A pair of Miró’s on masonite.

As a Spaniard, Miró considered the grounds of paintings in browns to be linked to the Spanish soil. The works are loaded with signs and symbols. These two works above are labeled Peinture (or “Painting” in French).

Two Paintings in the Show
Two paintings in the show.

Other works have suns, stars, flowers and body shapes scattered rhythmically around the canvas.

A Painting in Blue By Miro
A painting in blue.

Delicate and detailed, there is lot to view in these works. In particular, there are also some drawing that are magical. Another surrealistic key word and core belief.

A Mixed Media Piece in a Gallery
Metamorphosis, a mixed media piece.

There are works on display from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation. Matisse was Miró’s dealer in New York, an early adopter of surrealism. This exhibit marks the 90th anniversary of Miró’s first solo show in New York at the Matisse Gallery. The gallery was in the same building as this show, and the building was then a brand new Art Deco skyscraper.

A Surreal Contruction
A surreal construction.

This is another mixed media piece in the collection, also called Metamorphosis. The art in this exhibit is approaching its hundredth-year milestone. What’s old is new.

Luxembourg + Co., The Fuller Building595 Madison Avenue

A Self-Portrait and a Basquiat in NYC
A self-portrait and a Basquiat at the Upsilon Gallery.

Another show explores the artistic relationship between Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the 1980s. After a decade of chasing very lucrative portrait commissions, Warhol had begun to realize that he needed some fresh ideas. A young Basquiat was able to give him just that. The two inspired each other.

Early Warhols in a Madison Avenue Gallery
Early Warhols.

The Upsilon Gallery includes some older Warhols, a piece of Cow wallpaper from 1966 and a colorful Electric Chair from 1971 . But it is the work form of the ’80s that is the focus here. The show closes on October 22, so be sure to visit ASAP.

A New Vision of Diana Vreeland by Warhol
A new vision of Diana Vreeland.

The pieces are Warhol stepping up where collages are mixed with screen prints. Diana Vreeland as David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps is hilarious. And spot on.

Ted Turner Among The Animals by Warhol
Ted Turner among the animals.

Warhol did a series of prints of Vanishing Animals in 1986 to illustrate a book by a German scientist. Warhol was an animal-lover, especially dogs, and here a California condor and rhinoceros from Sumatra sit next to a portrait of Ted Turner. Talk about an interesting juxtaposition.

Silk Screen and Collage Mixed by Warhol
Silk screen and collage mixed.

Another Warhol staple, prints of chrysanthemums, are updated here with collage.

A Multicolor Gazelle by Warhol
Vanishing Animals — Sommering Gazelle, 1986

The animals are all lovingly rendered. And the colors give them new dimensions. This show is an interesting view into the 1980’s work of Warhol —  amplified by the Basquiat effect.

Upsilon Gallery, 23 East 67 Street

A Slate Sculpture in a Gallery
Outerbridge Crossing, a slate sculpture, at David Zwirner.

Further up Madison Avenue, David Zwirner is showing some works by Merrill Wagner. The American artist works in salvaged steel, slate and other materials. This piece pictured above is made from slate from P.S.1.

Slate Pieces And A Line On the Floor
Slate pieces and a line.

The artist became fascinated with tape and the notion of straight lines, and how they are markedly different than crooked lines. She added a straight line to the piece, tying the fragments together.

A Composition In Steel by Merril Wagner
A composition in steel.

Three panels of steel form into a composition that is painted. The artist looks for non-traditional supports for color. Interestingly, her pieces are also hung with magnets.

A Photgraphic Study in a NYC Gallery
A photographic study.

Blue Summer Studio is a photographic study of a fence on the artist’s property in Tacoma, Washington. She painted her fence with a series of blue squares; following the fence and the squares for many years, recording the deterioration of the fence and the squares. Process and chance play important roles in the Wagner’s work.

Tape and Movement In a NYC Gallery
Tape and movement.

Sometimes the artist mixes straight lines with static movement. This is another piece in steel, but coated with rust preventive paint.

A Painted Canvas in Red in NYC
A painted canvas in red.

Not all the work is executed in shades of grey and blues. Done on salvaged linen, this painting above lights up the gallery. The show is on two floors, and there are large and small scale drawing and pieces on view.

David Zwirner, 34 East 69 Street

A Cast of Picasso's Hand
Main d’Artiste, a cast of Picasso’s hand at Galerie Gmurzynska.

This plaster cast of Picasso’s left hand (he was right handed, so it was all he could do) was symbolic to the painter. Titled, Main d’Artiste, it was cast in 1937, the year he created Guernica. Picasso thought that the hand revealed the artist’s talent. And he liked to use hands in his work and his creative force. Galerie Gmurzynska displays the hand and a full explanation of the piece.

Works By Matta and Wilfredo Lam in a gallery
Works by Matta and Wilfredo Lam.

Two surrealists Matta and Wifredo Lam fill the the second floor. If you include the current exhibit at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice with Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington, maybe surrealism is on trend again. Matta was Chilean and Lam Cuban. It was an international movement.

A Surrealist Portrait in a gallery in NYC
A surrealist portrait by Wifredo Lam.

Most of the work is by Wifredo Lam. And all of these paintings are from later dates, more specifically from the 1950s to the 1970s.

An Untitled Pastel
An untitled pastel.

Matta came to Paris from Chile, and joined the original group of surrealists. Wifredo came to Paris via Spain, from Cuba. Picasso introduced him to the group.

Untitled Pieces in a NYC Gallery
Untitled pieces.

Surrealism died down after World War II. Many of the artists fled Europe for America and other countries. And new forms of art were originating in New York, But the spirit lives on for some.

Galerie Gmurzynska, 43 East 78 Street

Artistic Lucite Puzzles
Artistic lucite puzzles at Leila Heller.

Mouna Rebeiz, a London based painter, has done a series of Totems. They are multicolored plexiglass symbols of power and unity. The artist was in the gallery setting up the show. It was fun to watch her arrange the pieces, and this is one group of the many figures in the gallery.

Leila Heller, 17 East 76 Street

Objects and Background Details in a gallery
Objects and background details at Aquavella.

Tom Sachs’ Spaceships is on view at Aquavella. The New York-based artist is known for his “bricolage,” using available or collected materials. Space has fascinated him for over 20 years. The Generation Ship at the right sits in front of an equipment painting. The vacuum at the back is part of a piece titled Concept One. Sachs is rethinking vessels that can metaphysically and spiritually transport.

Inside The Generation Ship on Madison
Inside the Generation Ship.

The Generation Ship is made from a mop bucket, among other things. A video screen of a small waterfall rippling in a forest with plastic trees sits on the inside of the piece.

A Little Robot In An Art Gallery
Litter Robot.

Another spacecraft, Litter Robot, sit in front of a painting of a gold spaceship. The objects seem friendly and exude personality, with a sense of humor.

An Abstract Spaceship in a gallery
An abstract spaceship.

The ship, Photon Drive, started out life as a Con Ed Barrier. Most of the works in the show are recent creations.

Objects From Space and Home in NYC
Objects from space and home.

In another room, Docking, another mixed media piece of the space puzzle, sits in front of a turntable.

An Artistic Turntable on Madison Avenue
An artistic turntable.

The Technics turntable is viewed as another spaceship according to the artist. Sound takes us away. And this model is considered the best, and is a status symbol, fitting in with Sachs’ love of consumerism.

The Titanic and A Charging Station
The Titanic and a charging station.

Sachs considers Titanic to be a spaceship, too. In its day it bridged two worlds, the old and the new. And its navigational technologies were the first steps to the systems in use today. The small plane at the back of the room casts an interesting shadow. Rizzoli has published a book about the artist and the show.

Aquavella Galleries, 28 East 79 Street

The Madison Avenue Fall Gallery Walk is brought to you by ARTnews and the Madison Avenue galleries. It takes place on Saturday October 22nd.  The Madison Avenue Bid’s website has a gallery map and guide.  There is a button on the website to book a place at any of the gallery talks on the site. The space does fill up, so don’t put it off. There will be a dedicated tent at Madison and 75th Street.

Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.  

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