East End Artists Recede at New York Art Week

Most anticipated were changes in the layout and line up at the Armory Show on Piers 92 and 94
Patrick Brennan at Halsey Mckay at NADA

New sites, new layouts, new leadership, and even a new presidential administration made their marks this year in the fairs that were part of New York City’s “Art Week,” which concluded on Monday.

Most anticipated were changes in the layout and line up at the Armory Show on Piers 92 and 94, under the first full year of Benjamin Genocchio’s direction of the fair. His name may be familiar on the East End from his having been the art reviewer a few years ago for the now defunct Long Island section of The New York Times. He also was the 2010 juror for the Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition.

Mr. Genocchio integrated Modern and contemporary art across the piers and produced a more rational layout for the often-chaotic Pier 94, which historically has been difficult to navigate. Sales, reported as slow to start, were steady during opening hours and afterward. Several booths contained artworks with a good deal of  political commentary and protest, as seen in the fairs across the board and reflective of the nation’s mood. 

The galleries brought what might be called a less-is-more aesthetic to the mix. Many booths featured only a few works or focused on a single artist, a risky but visually cohesive approach. In general, there seemed to be fewer East End artists in the Armory Show and the Art Dealers Association of America’s show. 

A handful of Willem de Kooning paintings, a couple of James Brooks works, some colorful Franz Klines, and a large Norman Bluhm were in the Armory Show, among a few others. There were far fewer John Chamberlains, Roy Lichtensteins, and Andy Warhols than usual, and a dearth of pieces by Richard Prince, Barbara Kruger, and Cindy Sherman. Robert Gober, of Peconic, had several prints at the Susan Sheehan Gallery booth, which also showed a few Warhol prints, a Lichtenstein lithograph, and a Vija Celmins mezzotint.

Hollis Taggart, which showed the Bluhm painting, also displayed a dynamic Audrey Flack abstraction from the early 1950s and an Adolph Gottlieb painting. If anyone’s profile increased this year in the Modern galleries, it was Gottlieb’s, whose work showed up quite a bit on paper and on canvas.

The single artist booths at the Art Dealers Association fair were more favorable to the East End art community, both then and now. Leslie Tonkonow Artworks and Projects devoted its space to Michelle Stuart and the role of photography in her art, which is more known for its engagement with earth and sculpture.

The Paul Kasmin Gallery devoted its entire booth to Lee Krasner’s “Solstice Series‚“ from 1979 to 1981, which comes from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. These are mostly color- saturated oil and paper collages on various supports, including lithograph and canvas. Red often dominates the works, applied in painterly splotches or graceful lines, and more crisply defined in the paper cutouts.

The gallery published a small catalogue to go with the show, which includes a previously published essay by Barbara Rose and the provenance, exhibition history, and publication history for each of the works. 

The Washburn Gallery presented Jackson Pollock solo, represented by several drawings made from the 1930s to the 1950s. Arshile Gorky had a solo show of works on paper, too, called “Nighttime, Enigma, and Nostalgia‚“ at Hauser and Wirth.

Also making an appearance at the Art Dealers Association of America fair were works by Lynda Benglis, Ms.  Sherman, Saul Steinberg, Robert Motherwell, Gottlieb, Leo Villareal, and a precious but powerful Roy Lichtenstein collage.

Two East Hampton galleries, Halsey Mckay and Harper’s Books, showed work at the New Art Dealers Alliance, which found a new home in Tribeca. Halsey Mckay showed Joseph Hart and Patrick Brennan in collaboration with the Romer Young Gallery. In addition, they had a small show of Ted Gahl paintings at 56 Henry Street. Harper’s Books brought work by Don Christensen and Sadie Laska.

The “Spring Break Art Show,” set in new digs in the old Conde Nast building at 4 Times Square, had a room/office dedicated to work by a frequent East Hampton visitor, Aneta Bartos, which was curated by Adam Stennett. Mr. Stennett has also visited the South Fork, including what was described as a survivalist residency, on land near the entrance to Golf at the Bridge. 

The Independent fair, which returned to Spring Studios in Tribeca this year, included Karma, a gallery that has spaces in New York City and Amagansett. The gallery premiered work by the Argentinian Andres Eidelstein. His tiny porcelain sculptures borrowed from high and low influences and featured likenesses of political and cartoon figures.

Michelle Stuart at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects at ADAA
Willem de Kooning's "Abstract" from 1939-40 at Allan Stone Projects at the Armory Show
Lee Krasner's "Untitled (Study for Jonas Gourd) from about 1980 at Paul Kasmin at ADAA
"Abstract Force: Homage to Franz Kline" was painted by Audrey Flack between 1951 and 1952 and was displayed by Hollis Taggart at the Armory Show