Three Big Names Highlight Chelsea’s Best Fall Gallery Shows
The big guns of the Chelsea gallery world wasted no time this year breaking out the blockbusters, with the likes of Gagosian, David Zwirner, and Hauser and Wirth all opening major exhibitions in the week right after Labor Day. I mean, summer's not even technically over yet, but the neighborhood was jam-packed with decked-out gallery-goers on that first Thursday after the long weekend (even in the rain!), everyone back in town and eager to get out there and mingle and/or get free drinks. Oh and, of course, also look at a whole bunch of art. Here's a look at the first wave of what promises to an especially busy season in Chelsea.
First Stop: Roy Lichtenstein at Gagosian 24th Street – Now Through October 17th
You might feel as if you've already seen enough of Roy Lichtenstein's signature comic-book-looking style to last you lifetime, but not only is this Gagosian exhibition packed with sculptures and paintings from the early 1980s (most of which I had never seen before, though I'm definitely no expert), it also the features the full-scale recreation, for the first time in 30 years, of the artist's legendary Greene Street Mural. The mural, measuring 18 feet high and more than 96 feet long, was a temporary installation Lichtenstein did for the Castelli Gallery (which was then on Greene Street in Soho, obviously) in 1983, and deliberately destroyed after six weeks. So although the version at Gagosian right now wasn't actually created by Lichtenstein, there's still something powerful (and nostalgic) about the massive piece, knowing the history.
Second Stop: Dan Flavin at David Zwirner 20th Street – Now Through October 24th
Classic works from another great crowd-pleaser are on the ground floor gallery of David Zwirner's 20th Street headquarters, Dan Flavin's "Corners, Barriers and Corridors". Flavin is the master at creating and changing space using his fluorescent sculptural works, and this exhibition at Zwirner brings together ten of his pieces from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Flavin always makes for an immersive, engaging viewing experience–I particularly like his barriers, which in addition to being cool to look at, also provide fun photo-ops–and the experts at David Zwirner, no surprise, have installed this show to perfection, with almost zero gradients to the colors and light in each space.
Last Stop: Mike Kelley at Hauser & Wirth 19th Street – Now Through October 24th
Mike Kelley just had that huge retrospective at MoMA PS1 two years ago, which covered the entire career of this wide-ranging (in styles, themes, and media), often funny, always quite troubled artist. At Hauser & Wirth the curators have filled their magnificent space by focusing entirely on Kelley's Kandors series, for which he played with the mythology of Superman's birthplace, the capital city of the planet Krypton. The personal story of Superman, of course, is as much about loss and destruction as it about power and heroism, and Kelley cleverly gets at it all by creating these brightly-colored, beautiful, barren landscapes. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Kelley's giant cavern, titled "Exploded Fortress of Solitude", into which you can duck and enter, and find the secret treasure inside.