Chelsea Art Galleries Exhibit Chuck Close and The Ozymandias Parade
Hurricane Sandy’s terrible storm surge hit the West Chelsea art gallery district hard. It completely flooded the half-mile of West 20th to 29th streets between 10th and 11th Avenues. The small but chic neighborhood is home to literally hundreds of contemporary downtown art galleries. As a result of the hurricanes water damage, countless artwork, worth millions of dollars was destroyed while the galleries themselves have had to be pumped, cleaned and often repaired or rebuilt.
However, there is good news on the horizon for West Chelsea, when we went there last week; nearly every Sandy-damaged Chelsea art gallery was open for business. You can support the neighborhood by purchasing a $108,000 sculpture to support the storm-ravaged community, or you can spend your dollars in the Chelsea restaurants and other businesses that have also taken a hit this past month. If you’re looking for something specific to do, art-wise, start on 25th Street, where Pace has two lively art gallery exhibitions at both of their locations on that block.
Artist Chuck Close Exhibition at Pace Downtown Art Gallery
The first Pace exhibit is the Chuck Close exhibition, a generous sampling of recent portraits by the photographer/painter, mostly of his friends and fellow artists, many of them seen here for the first time. As an artist, Chuck Close’s signature styles are all on hand here, including his big, intensely detailed, warts-and-all black-and-white photographs, with subjects like Lou Reed and Roy Lichtenstein. His oil paintings of fellow artists Phillip Glass and Kara Walker, are pixilated images of brightly swirled colors. Close also uses a new technique with watercolors. Everything here at art exhibit of artist Chuck Close at the Pace art gallery is thoroughly engaging on many levels, because the artist continues to both push the nature of his portraits in new directions, and because it gives the viewer permission to get up close and stare into the face of these men and women.
The Ozymandias Parade At Pace Downtown Art Galleries
The other Pace Gallery, just down the block on West 25th Street, is one of the wildest installations of the Chelsea season. Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz’s ‘The Ozymandias Parade.’ The themes of this massively-scaled assemblage are, shall we say, unsubtle. The pieces indicate that both artists find religion, money, war, business, and politics to be corrupting influences with destructive tendencies. It’s easy to spend at least 15 minutes or so taking in all of the incredible detail. There are brightly colored flashing lights running up the sides of the platform, contributing to the overall sensory overload of the piece. It hasn’t been shown in New York City since 1996, when it was at the Whitney.
Chuck Close at Pace Art Gallery and The Ozymandias Parade at Pace Art Gallery
Both the Chuck Close and the Kienholz: The Ozymandias Parade exhibitions will be at the West 25th Street Pace Galleries through December 22. The Pace Galleries are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information on both exhibitions, please see the Pace Gallery website.