Monday, November 12, 2012


Jim Kempner Fine Art, corner 23rd Street and Tenth Avenue, 11/9/12.

I never want to post unless I have something to say – and now what I have to say is that I have nothing to say. The posts I prepared the week before and the week before last—before the hurricane and the election—now seem irrelevant, like documents of another era. I mean, do we really care anymore if Wade Guyton’s work can be considered “painting” or not? (Actually I never did care.) The New York art world, its galleries and artists hard hit by Sandy, is unmoored, floating in a sea of garbage with no certain future.  Much as I railed against its excesses, smugness and stupidities, without Chelsea up and running, I feel unplugged.
            Jake, a former art student and Chelsea art handler turned Berkshire butcher said, “Maybe this is the shakeup the art world needed.” And it’s true, whenever the art world gets a shake, something new appears.
            Friday in Chelsea I found only one gallery open—Von Lintel, which was untouched by the storm. When I asked Von Lintel what this meant for the future of Chelsea as an art center, he said it was over long before the storm, with landlords asking $60,000 a month for 5,000 s.f. of ground floor space. He said art dealers, including himself, are considering moving to the Lower East Side, but Hudson of Feature, Inc. tells me there isn’t that much available real estate left there, and that the spaces are small. Now that people have finally figured out that it’s only two subway stops away, my guess is that Long Island City is next.
            You know how, when you’ve been on a long-distance train, you can wake in the night and feel as if you’re still on it? That’s how I feel about the election; I’m still caught up in it, even though it’s over. What did I do before? I can’t even remember, but I know I wasn’t combing the Internet every five minutes. And then there’s the disconnect of being in SoHo elbow-to-elbow with manic shoppers (where do they all come from?), while not that far away, people are struggling just to stay warm and alive in the wake of the storm.
            I think I’m traumatized by numbers: those $60,000-a-month rents, or that a person would have $70 million dollars laying around to contribute to a political campaign—and that it’s legal. But what really boggles my mind (this is old news, but I’m still getting over it) is that someone would fork over $120,000 million for a piece of cardboard, one of several versions of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I know, that sounds heretical; I’m supposed to believe in the power of art, but there’s a limit.

* * *

Two terrific articles on The Scream by Jerry Saltz and Blake Gopnik, and Jon Stewart on Karl Rove and Fox News’s meltdown, in case you can’t get enough.

And this painting by Jules de Balincourt at Salon 94, just because I like it:

  • Jules de Balincourt, Illuminated, 2012
  • Oil, oil stick, spray paint, and acrylic on canvas
  • 96 × 96 inches (244 × 244 cm)

    1 comment:

    Ravenna Taylor said...

    Those LES spaces would make a charming "boutique district" - Let's take SoHo back!