Saturday, March 9, 2013

Best Chelsea art day ever



JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Untitled (Julius Caesar on Gold), 1981
Acrylic and oil paintstick on canvas
50 x 50 inches  (127 x 127 cm)
© The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat/ADAGP, Paris, ARS, New York 2013


Every year at this time my friend, Terry Perk, comes from England with his students from the University for the Creative Arts and I take them on a gallery tour of Chelsea. Last year the art was so bad I was embarrassed for New York. This year it was a feast, although really, the Basquiats alone would have made the trip worthwhile. Terry says they don’t really know Basquiat in England; there have been no major shows, and the printed images give no indication of their power.

Basquiat had a formidable effect on my life – to the point that in the mid-1980s I stopped painting and withdrew from the gallery I was about to join. I envied the freedom in his work and hated what I saw as orderliness and constraint in mine. I thought, “If I can’t do that, why bother?” My absence from the studio lasted only a few months, but I would not show for another ten years, which was how long it took me to learn to appreciate what was, if uncomfortably, indelibly mine. My method was to make paintings so personal that no one would be interested in exhibiting them. Proof of this is that my first painting from that time, All the Numbers in My Head includes my Social Security number and my AmEx number. I had used writing in my paintings since 1976, but often it was obscured. Now, since I was sure no one was going to see them, I could be more revealing. Eventually they turned into paintings derived from my journals that were ultimately shown at the same gallery I'd been talking to ten years before – although that was pure coincidence since, in the interim, the gallery had a complete change of personnel. Seeing the Basquiats today, those spooky Boettis down the street—preceded by the work of Suzan Frecon and the late Alan Uglow, artists with whom I’ve had connections in the past—is almost too much to process. All of those exhibitions I’ve now been to several times, each visit more satisfying than the next, as well as the transfixing video by Ragnar Kjartansson at Luhring Augustine, with whom my relationship is, at least as yet, uncomplicated.


Carol Diehl, January1997
Oil on canvas, 36" x 36"


To see:

John Byam / Edlin / 134 Tenth Ave. / thru 3/16

Alan Uglow organized by Bob Nickas / Zwirner / 519 W 19 / thru 3/23

Suzan Frecon / Zwirner / 525 W 19 /

Matthew Weinstein; Elger Esser / Sonnabend / 536 W 22 /

Alighiero Boetti / Gladstone / 515 W 24 /

Ragnar Kjartansson / Luhring Augustine / 531 W 24 / thru 3/18

Andrew Masullo / Boone / 541 W 24 / thru 4/27

Jean-Michel Basquiat / Gagosian / 555 W 24 / thru 4/6

Thomas Nozkowski / Pace / 508 W 25 / thru 3/23

Thomas Nozkowski (drawings) / Pace / 511 W 25

Anthony McCall; James White / Kelly / 475 Tenth Avenue @ 36

7 comments:

JafaBrit's Art said...

Your post resonated so much with how I have been feeling. I so miss being able to pop into New York especially to see Basquiat's work,what a feast for the eyes and imagination.

Adeaner said...

I doubt that any other Artist's Statement could compare with what you just shared. This truly resonates and is the kind of inspiration that carries us through.
Thank you. This makes your paintings so much more special and beautiful.

Linda Stillman said...

I love those date paintings of yours! Thanks for the post and the helpful list of shows to see in Chelsea.

Linda Stillman said...

I love those date paintings of yours, Carol.
Thanks for this post and the list of shows to see in Chelsea.

a said...

It's lovely to learn about your own art career, in addition to your work as a writer and critic. I hope you start to show your new body of work soon. Comparison is the cruelest cut. We are each our own indelibly unique voice. - Wylie

Anonymous said...

"Terry says they don’t really know Basquiat in England; there have been no major shows, and the printed images give no indication of their power." Where in england has he been living?...basquiat is extremely well known and admired in england..

Carol Diehl said...

I've kept pretty close tabs on exhibitions in England since I've been going there regularly for the last 14 years -- where were the Basquiat exhibitions I missed?