January 12, 2002
Brilliant. There are times when

There are times when an exhibition manages to be a multiplier of the pieces included, not just a sum. The show "Passions" (joy, fear, sorrow and anger) at the James Cohan Gallery which closed today was one of these excellent exhibitions.
The Gallery is placed on the second floor, so the entrance is very much predictable. And what a grand and humorous Entrance it was. The centrl piece of the exhibition appeared to be a Lucas Cranach painting (how did they get it into this Gallery?) of Maria with Jesus and John the babtist (peeking in). Jesus eating a grape, gazing into his predetermined future, his mother almost seductively gazing, knowingly into the same. (John has no clue.) What a striking image. The frame (all complete with fake woodworm holes) plays tribute to this slightly rounded image on a wood panel. Excellent wo, a true master. (The painting was actually for sale for under 1Mill. hmm, one can become a stuart of great art for a few days in the life of this painting)... ok, i am going off on a tangent. Let me write more about the entrance. So there is the Cranach. Glorious, right on, excellent work, timeless, timeless. And slightly to the left above it, two clocks. Timeless?, They are off by just three seconds, they are off though. The piece is Called "The Perfect Lovers" by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Brilliant little piece. Off, but right on time. Perfect lovers... talking about perfection, in front of this composition Jeff Koons and his then wife Ilona Staller (La Cicciolina) as an incredibly kitchy marble bust, straight out of a Baroque couriosity cabinett. Funny. The whole arrangement framed on the left by am Irving Penn Portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Winsor with an expression on their faces that clearly indicates, how done they are with the photo session. On the right the famous cute picture by Helen Levitt of a mother changing something in the carriage of an overly extatic boy. The image is called, like many of her pictures, "New York" And how very New York all this really is.
The Exhibition was actually triggered by Bill Viola and we went to see it because of the Alex Katz piece that was in the exhibition, which turned out to be a portrait of Ursula, I think, this one with something that looked like a strongly corrected hairline, and another one of the Louise Bourgeois fabric sculptures, which in this case looked like a plush version of the blood head "Self" by Marc Quinn.
The whole place felt like a very well composed piece. A great exhibition with an excellent sense of humor, and a good sense of composition. All the passions had their own little shrine, similarly composed as the first wall, the one of joy? It was just great seeing the great juxtapositions of Viola vs. David vs Mueck, or From left to right: Nan Goldin, vs Giovanni Battista Crespi, called Il Cerano versus Andres Serrano (intended?) vs. Alice Neel.
Or Cindy Sherman next to Dürer¹s "Melancholia" (another one that knocks your socks off)...
Am I going on too much? The exhibition was pure joy. (Except maybe for the most annoying piece by Bruce Naumann, at least i think it was by him, a clown, the most annoying clown.
Ok, enough. The exhibition was excellent. This day was quite packed with fun. A very talkative girl on the bus to the gallery, a brilliant 77 year old democrat, with his own food out of a jar, on the way back. Very New York, very great day.
Oh, just one more magical moment. New York can be such a small city sometimes. When leaving a note in the Gallery book, I noticed that just minutes before, a dear friend signed in. Feeling warm just because of that. New York is a small town. It was Julia Oschatz, (hello Jule) who said it best, back then in 1993 or so, when she traveled to New York, to live in the Städel Apartment, yet ended up living in the Chelsea Hotel. "The city is only as big as you make it. There is the grand New York, too big to be really ever comprehended. And then there is the tiny New York; the bakery, the newspaper man, the guy in the deli. People who fail in New York because of its size just never manage to find their own tiny New York. The big New York just crushes them, because it gives them always more than a human could possibly handle. The survivers in New York are the ones who can find their own little city, by just puzzling together the best places and best people whom they love most. The city has many of those for every one." It does. How can one not love New York?
Tomorrow, more.
Neue Galerie?

Posted by Witold Riedel at January 12, 2002 11:10 PM
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