The Golden Thread – BravinLee Offsite at The Seaport

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A colorful piece of art on a brick wall

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Christopher Myers Ghezo’s Throne, 2021 Appliqué textile, 72 x 48 inches

BravinLee Projects has just launched an audacious, big, and bold exhibition of 60 contemporary artists working in textile or textile-related mediums. It’s a massive show in an unlikely pop-up space. A five-story historic brick warehouse building in the Seaport that is anything but the cool, clean white box gallery that we are used to. The walk-up gallery space has vintage wide planked flooring, old fireplaces, and deeply aged brick walls. Though it must have been a challenge to curate in the space and even more of a challenge to install, the result is a fascinating presentation of artists working in a wide range of materials and styles.

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Man Bites Dog Bites Man

John O’Connor at L’Space presented in conjunction with Pierogi Gallery

Noahbot-colored pencil and graphite on paper. 83 x 69.5. 2013. Photo courtesy of John Berens

There is an astonishing amount of information in John O’Connor’s drawings. The work, currently on show in Chelsea at L’Space Gallery, explodes off the paper with words and numbers, names, logos, and dates. It’s information overload, and that is part of the genius of the show.

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Stéphane Mandelbaum at The Drawing Center

A drawing of a person

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Ernst Röhm, 1981, Graphite, gouache, marker, and color pencil on paper. 54 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches

Who was Stephane Mandelbaum? A closeted gay man? The child of Holocaust survivors? A liar? A thief? A brilliant artist you’ve never heard of? All of the above and perhaps more.

The Drawing Center is presenting the first-ever show of Mandelbaum’s work in the US, and it is a show that left me gob-smacked. The combination of Mandelbaum’s brilliant drawing, deeply personal vision, and the complexity of his backstory is a tale made for cinema. Born in 1961 to a family of paternal Polish Holocaust survivors and maternal Belgian Armenians, Mandelbaum grew up in the town of Namur, about an hour and a half from Brussels. His Father, Ari, was a well-known painter, and his mother, Pili, was an illustrator. There is no record of siblings. A gifted draftsman from a young age but dyslexic and eccentric, Mandelbaum moved from Namur to Brussels, where he seemed to devote his time to making drawings and engaging in what is termed “petty crime.” He married a woman from Zaire (now called The Democratic Republic of Congo) and lived between the worlds of Belgian Africans, the Belgian crime underworld, and his own artistic imagination.

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Chromotherapy at Jack Hanley Gallery

A painting of a room with a pink wall

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(little) Pink Studio. Oil and acrylic on canvas. 32 x 40. 2023

Stepping into the bright and warmly lit Jack Hanley Gallery in Tribeca, I was struck by the brilliant swirl of color in Sophie Treppendahl’s exhibition of new work. The pieces seem ready to pop right off of the walls. The show exists in two connected parts, encompassing both floors of the gallery. Vibrant paintings of domestic scenes on the ground floor and small dioramas of similar domestic spaces in the downstairs gallery.

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A Stage Within a Stage- Ye Qin Zhu at Dimin

A person walking past a large art piece

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A Stage Within a Stage-mixed media on eight fitted panels. 5 x 27 feet. 2022-2023

There’s a riot going on. That’s what I thought as I stood in front of Ye Qin Zhu’s large-scale installation piece at Dimin in Tribeca. The gallery space painted a matte black that seems to absorb all the light in the room, is dominated by one wall-mounted assemblage that is 27 feet long and five feet tall. There is a bench placed in front so that the viewer can take a few minutes to absorb the full volume of information and energy radiating from this piece.

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Here Now: Contemporary Photographers of the Hudson Valley

Phyllis Galembo  Photographer, Carnival Mexico. Fujiflex print. 30 x 30 2017.

The Kleinart James Center in Woodstock, New York, is currently presenting a very ambitious and interesting photography exhibition. Entitled Here Now: Contemporary Photographers of the Hudson Valley, the show presents 17 artists representing a portion of the many photographers working in this geography. Organized by curator Jane Hart, the show offers a wide range of aesthetic visions and techniques.

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Just say YES to NADA!

Paul Wackers- First Time, Long Time. Jack Hanley Gallery

I’ve been to more art fairs than I can count, but the ones that I’ve had fun at I could count on two hands. Many are too big, dealers are either stressed out or bored, mundane work or work that is inaccessible or silly. The last show that I went to before the pandemic was The Armory Show at the westside piers. It was a few days before the world shut down and the fair was eerily empty. I wandered alone through a fair that typically had been jam packed with beautiful art lovers. And then everything went quiet for about a year and a half.

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Non-Profits Shine at The Outsider Art Fair

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From Creative Growth, Oakland, CA.

This past weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the Outsider Art Fair, which debuted in NYC in 1993 at The Puck Building. Now housed at The Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, it has come roaring back after a few quiet pandemic years.

Out of the sixty-four galleries exhibiting thirteen were representing non-profit organizations that work with developmentally challenged populations. For me these were the most exciting booths at the fair. The non-profits bring work that is consistently fresh and exciting. This year’s fair included organizations from Germany, Portland Oregon and Chicago that I had not seen in previous years. Several showed work among the most surprising and compelling at the Fair.

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