Sunday, November 10, 2013

Old Work, New Work, Public Work

Shakespeare's Globe is in New York, and I was lucky to get two tickets to the production of Richard III at Belasco Theatre last Friday. Disconcertingly, Mark Rylance played Richard for laughs, and achieved a new horror. Liam Brennan was brilliant too as Clarence, as was Paul Chahidi as Hastings. The rest of the cast was below par. It was an all-male cast. Of the men playing the women, the strongest was Joseph Timms as Lady Grey. The scene in which Richard tried to persuade Lady Grey to give her daughter to him in marriage was both funny and heartbreaking. Rylance's comic timing, aided by a stutter, turned seemingly innocuous lines into bombshells of laughter.

Yesterday was a beautiful, brisk day for gallery-hopping. GH and I saw the new sculpture by Richard Serra. Inside Out (2013), a single work made out of two curved plates, was tremendous. You think you know Serra's signature monumental work, and will therefore be unmoved by it. But I was, yet again, at the Gagosian gallery on 21st Street. At the other Gagosian on 24th Street, GH loved the patina achieved on the standing slabs of weatherproof steel in Intervals (2013). I was taken by the simple mass of Grief and Reason (for Walter). Reason was, I think, a bigger cast-iron block supporting a smaller block. Grief, next to it, was a smaller block supporting a bigger one.

Sean Scully also had new work, exhibited at Cheim & Read. The additions to his on-going series Wall of Light I found less compelling than the earlier ones. Much stronger was a new series called Landline. According to the press release, Scully has been spending much time in the Bavarian countryside south of Munich, Germany. The winter-time palette of grays and whites has led to a"softening, almost metaphysical approach" to his work. Night and Day, a bigger canvas than anything else by Scully that I had ever seen, was powerfully rhythmic in its eight bands of grays, whites and blacks. My favorite was Landline Pink (2012) with its uncovered streaks of blue and red.

A wonderful example of public art was Sheep Station by Francois-Xavier Lalanne. On display were 25 of the epoxy stone and bronze 'Moutons' by the late French artist. Grass and sheep overran the former Getty filling station at the corner of 10th Avenue and 24th Street. A pastoral dream too good to be true, it was the inaugural exhibition of Getty Station, a new public art program by Michael Shvo, real estate developer and art collector, and Paul Kasmin Gallery. The photo was taken by GH.


Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Sheep Station

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