Another year closes and a new one begins at the blink of an eye. 2013 was filled with so much variety, visual impact and a smorgasbord of art that it has been a real pleasure to dig our boots in the trenches to cover everything from the glitz of Chelsea, burgeoning Bowery area, gritty Lower East Side and yes even off the island to Brooklyn.
This has been a wider reach for ARTE F– USE and although we love all the shows we’ve covered, there are 12 that stuck and remained memorable in the transom of my art filled mind. So 2013 it has been phenomenal and 2014 – let’s get your ART on!
January 2013 – Marin Majic at Marc Straus
The ol’ black Majic punched up the beginning of the year with his disturbing in detail & subtly unsettling paintings. The classic techniques of a vintage rendered snapshot or postcard delighted the technical connoisseurs but the twisted details tickled the art renegade fiendishly asking, is that what I think it is? Yes, it is. From Berlin to NYC, the art translated magnificently. Wilkommen indeed!
February 2013 – Christopher Bucklow at Danzinger Gallery
Rich and decadent in its imagery, the pinhole photography by Bucklow shone brilliantly during the ice-cold winter and burned quite an impression. Plus there is something new to learn about a pinhole camera. The seductive images seared itself into my brain and luxuriated well into the next winter cycle.
March 2013 – Erwin Olaf at HASTED KRAEUTLER
Here’s another one from Berlin where the somber tone of the photography could not temper the opulent visage of Olaf’s oeuvre. Formal in its composition and employing the grotesque yet beautiful symbolism – it tethered on the edge of classic portraiture flavored with a little S&M. A little bad never hurts and goes a long way.
April 2013 – Sopheap Pich at Tyler Rollins
Burlap and bamboo grids never looked so refined and the craftsmanship is very finessed to elevate the humble materials into what is quintessentially called high art. The sculptural pieces are subtle and that is the inherent beauty that is difficult to master. It is also admirable that the materials used are deeply profound and referential to the culture of the artist.
May 2013 – Kim Dorland at Mike Weiss
This is the year of the undead with Zombies being hot again in popular culture and that cable show, The Walking Dead, made it a must see on everyone’s DVR. Dorland showcased his desolate and intense paintings ranging in hue from acrid green to deep cobalt blue as everyone was lulled into art euphoria.
June 2013 – Peter Gronquist at ArtNow NY
What would happen if King Midas had taken up taxidermy? It would pretty much look like the opulent yet socially charged sculptures by Gronquist. Machine guns growing out of deer antlers signify real ammo to target the fickle attention of the art militia. In its gilt veneer that the topic of violence comes into full light and never looked so fabulous.
July 2013 – Munch Gallery Represents
Group shows are difficult to curate and distill into one clear point of view but when the gallery is strong in its choice of representation then undoubtedly it struck quite a chord. One of the best group shows in 2013 and it is bold of Munch Gallery to staunchly say, this is the kind of art we show here. And it doesn’t hurt that one of the artists is an AF fan, too. Well, the love fest is mutual and cuts both ways.
August 2013 – Daniel Subkoff at James Fuentes
Consider the canvas for a minute as it is the most overlooked and taken for granted component in the realm of visual arts. A splash of paint or some manipulation is needed to make it a work of art. Subkoff elevated the blank canvas into a real meaty work of art unto itself. Sometimes brilliant ideas come in plain sight but it takes an artistic mind to have it realized.
September 2013 – Kadar Brock / Kasper Sonne at The Hole
Though I have been anticipating the solo show of Brock as I am an avid follower of his career, the genius of pairing him up with Sonne makes this one of the most memorable fall season openers. The bleached out and diaphanous disintegrating beauty of Brock’s canvasses buttressed sumptuously with Sonne’s intentionally hand imprinted sculptures / partially burnt canvasses. The handiwork of the special K’s (Kadar and Kasper) is prominent and so is the chutzpah of this show.
October 2013 – Thomas Eggerer at Petzel Gallery
Figurative swimming on a plane of color fields is the best mash-up of the year done by Eggerer. The scale of the work is magnanimous yet the figures inhabiting the quadrant of his world are intimately tight that resulted into a unique show to view. Juxtapositions are easy to think of but execution is still paramount to deliver a grand slam.
November 2013 – William Bradley at Galerie Richard
Major wattage of color saturated the large-scale paintings of Bradley to chase away the winter blues as the spirit of abstract expressionism simmered ever so subtly. From a watercolor study to a full-blown painting with strong graphic lines and deeper saturation, he made this a visual feast. This was a stellar showing from across the pond of merry old England and certainly a brilliant one that punctuated brightly the white walls.
December 2013 – Julie Cockburn at Yossi Milo
Vintage photographs get a major reboot with the hand-altered embroidery and cut collage by Cockburn. By far the most intimately scaled show of the year where the themes are familiar and the actual size of the artworks are just the right dimenstions to digest. The sheer genius of the artistic touch changed the inherent nature of the photos into a more personal experience. Talk about injecting new life into old images. This was a great and nuanced example of such.
There you have it – just a smattering of shows that I deemed as best in 2013 but I am pretty sure many would argue that there were others who surpassed the bar. Whatever your personal preference may be – the art shows I’ve singled out by month is just the tip of the iceberg in the NYC art world. Cheers to 2013 as it was a delightful mix and diversity always is the norm in this cultural Mecca of Manhattan. Here’s to more of the best art yet to be seen in 2014!
Article by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Art images provided by the various galleries courtesy of the artists