Pablo Picasso, John Chamberlain: Gagosian Gallery Exhibits
Art dealer and gallery owner superstar Larry Gagosian continues to delight and amaze us with his world-class, museum-quality exhibitions at his galleries both on the Upper East Side and downtown, in Chelsea. Gagosian Gallery's latest triumphs are a pair of blockbuster shows: "Picasso and Marie-Therese: L'Amour Fou", on 21st Street, and "John Chamberlain: New Work", on 24th Street. Both the Pablo Picasso and the John Chamberlain exhibitions are big and deep and expertly curated and installed; both are filled with extraordinary work, certain to engage and delight even the most casual art fan.
"Picasso and Marie-Therese: L'Amour Fou" (or, in English, "Mad Love") is certainly the most heavily-hyped gallery show in town right now, and rightly so. Here in more than 80 Pablo Picasso paintings, drawings and sculptures, all created in the late 1920s and throughout the '30s, is Picasso's passion laid bare… specifically his love and lust and desire and obsession for Marie-Therese Walter, who Pablo Picasso saw and stopped on a Paris street when she was just 17 years old, and who quickly became the great artist's greatest muse.
The individual pieces at "Picasso and Marie-Therese" are, no surprise, almost uniformly superb, as the artist's seemingly insatiable need to capture and keep this woman–her youth and beauty and innocence–pushed him down unexplored creative and aesthetic avenues. We were fortunate enough to be able to see the Picasso and Marie-Therese Gagosian show on a weekday afternoon, when there were far fewer visitors than this exhibition has been attracting on weekends, and so were able to linger in front of our favorites, of which there were many, including Marie Therese Accoundee, at top, and Femme nue Couchee, second from the top, and Marie Therese avec une Guirlande, immediately above. Equally engaging, however, are the many photographs (and one very brief movie) of Marie-Therese herself, as well as excerpts from Picasso's almost embarrassingly swoon-y letters, and other bits of love-struck ephemera. Beautiful. All of it.
Shifting gears, the other excellent Gagosian gallery art exhibition comes from assemblage-master John Chamberlain, whose signature work–massive sculptures of welded-together parts of cars–fills Gagosian Gallery's soaring 24th Street space. Jagged, hulking, dangerous, and improbably animated and dynamic, the nearly two dozen pieces here represent Chamberlain's most recent creations, and they are all terrific, viscerally evocative of both the tragic, crumpled aftermath of some horrific accident, and (much more playfully), some sort of secret lair of industrial, cartoony superheroes, a la the Transformers. Terrific stuff.
Pablo Picasso and John Chamberlain at Gagosian Galleries Details
"Picasso and Marie-Therese: L'Amour Fou" will be at the Gagosian gallery on 21st Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues, until June 25. "John Chamberlain: New Work" will be at the Gagosian gallery on 24th Street, also between 10th and 11th Avenues, until July 8. Both galleries are open on Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. For lots more information about these exhibition, please see the Gagosian Gallery website.