Tag Archive | Artist

Inside The Germania Bank Building at 190 Bowery

190 Bowery
All Photos By Gail

When my friend Scott and I showed up outside the former Germania Bank Building at around 6:30 PM on Saturday May 16th, fully expecting to be admitted to Vito Schnabel’s First Show Last Show one-night-only art event taking place inside this mysterious landmark, we found the sidewalks adjacent to the corner of Bowery and Spring clogged with disappointed scenesters who already knew what we were yet to be told: that the much hyped-up-the-ass event had been cancelled.

Fortunately, we had been at Frieze all day and were too exhausted to give much of a shit. Plus, there were other things going on — this being New York City — and we ended up having a pretty fun night on our own.

Front Door

The following Monday, I read online that those wishing to view the exhibit could email Schnabel’s office and request an appointment for the hours of Noon to 6 PM, Monday through Friday, with Monday May 25th being closed for the holiday. Pretty non-user-friendly hours for anyone with a day job, but I sent off my request for “5 PM on Friday May 22nd” and then promptly forgot all about it, until I saw an email in my box at 10 PM on Thursday, saying that I had an appointment for 2:15 PM the next day. Let’s just say, I made it work. And Geoffrey came along with me, because a once-in-a-lifetime experience like this really needs to be shared.

Misc Graffiti

For those of you who don’t live in NYC, and therefore don’t know the legend of this iconic building, 190 Bowery was originally built in 1898 to house Germania Bank. The century old building is known for its neo-Renaissance detailing, such as the arched windows and ornate outer facade, which, for as long as I can remember, has been covered in graffiti and street art.

Hands with Tongues

This is, I think, the main reason that everyone who has walked past it assumed that the building was long abandoned. Who imagined that this was once NYC’s largest private residence?

Exterior Wheatpastes

Photographer Jay Maisel bought the building in the mid 1960s and has lived in it with his family ever since. In the decades that I’ve lived in NYC, the building has appeared lifeless and was perpetually shuttered, shrouded in deep mystery — until Masiel sold the place last year to real estate developer Aby Rosen, and it suddenly started making the local news. Rosen’s plans to lease it out as office space or turn it into Condos has made everyone who aches for the preservation of old New York a bit sick to their stomachs. It was Rosen, along with Julian Schnabel’s son, Vito who hosted the show.

Art By Dylan Egon
Art By Dylan Egon

Here’s what we saw once we got inside.

Main Room View from Door

This large room was used by the Maisel family as a basketball court, hence the yellow and black tape on the floor.

Basketball Court Detail

The hoop formerly hung above the door, but has now been taken down. The floor is a mix of natural polished wood and its original ceramic tile mosaic. The wood “court surface,” I imagine, was added to facilitate game play, but maybe not. The largest pieces of art in the show were in this room.

Art By Joe Bradley
Untitled (Diptych) By Joe Bradley

The above painting was installed at the top of a small fight of stairs that lead, well, nowhere, really.



But doesn’t this look like some kind of vault? I think so.

Staircase Finish

The interior’s original finishes and fixtures look like they haven’t been updated in fifty years: like the owners moved in and lived in the building “as is.” That tells such a rich story right there.

Art By Julian Schnabel
Art By Julian Schnabel

Art By Dan Colen
Art By Dan Colen

Art By Dan Colen
Art By Dan Colen
Art By Dan Colen

Dream Machine
Dream Machine (For Brion Gysin) By Jeff Elrod

 Arched Window Detail
Arched Window Detail

Between Two Rooms

Art was also displayed inside a smaller, access area between the large front space and in one small room, in which three large pieces by Author/Film Director Harmony Korine were displayed

Entry to Second Gallery

Art By Harmony Korine
Art By Harmony Korine

Art By Harmony Korine

As I looked at the art, I felt so excited to be inside this cool old building that the general public had not been inside of in fifty years. It was like being in a haunted house, or something.

Wall to Floor Detail

Here is a close up detail of the marble walls and tile mosaic floor, which is still in excellent shape.

Bars on Window

Check out the Lion Heads embossed on the Radiator.

Lion Head Radiator

Window Detail at Staircase

“Exhibit Continues” promised a sign at the foot of these stairs.

Art By Ron Gorchov

Upstairs, we found this tiny alcove room with three pieces by abstract painter Ron Gorchov. We just saw his work at MOMA last weekend!


Somebody left this rose.

Molding Detail
Molding Detail

It was a thrill to check out the First Show Last Show inside the old Germania Bank Building before they scrub away all its character and it just becomes another New York story.

Tile Hummingbirds

These tiny hummingbirds are affixed to the cement just outside the front door. Soon, they will be gone.

First Show Last Show Sinage

Last Rites Gallery Presents: Chet Zar’s The Demon Show

Chet Zar Demon Show
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Monsters? I sure do. And one thing I know is that artist Chet Zar likes to draw Monsters, and no one does that better than him.

Chet Zar Demon Show

Chet Zar’s monsters are the stuff that the very best nightmares are made of, which is why it makes sense that he has worked as a make-up and effects specialist for the horror film industry, and has also been involved with videos for bands like Tool, whom I am sure you will agree have produced some fucked up videos.

Chet Zar Demon Show

Through July 3rd, 2015, Last Rites Gallery is hosting Chet Zar’s latest exhibit, The Demon Show, which is a must-see for all fans of horror and dark pop surrealist art.

Chet Zar Demon Show

These are so great.

Chet Zar Demon Show

I think the guy on the left in the above photo is one of my favorites. I can imagine him in a movie.

Chet Zar Demon Show

If you are an art collector, or even just a wanna-be collector fan, who thinks you could never afford art this amazing, I am now going to tell you that you are incorrect. These paintings have a price point that is very accessible. While I am not sure if that bad ass tentacled-skull frame is included, even if that cost extra, it would be worth it. Maybe you would not want to hang one of these guys over your bed, but then again why not keep your dreamscape interesting?

Chet Zar Demon Show Gallery View

Chet Zar’s The Demon Show will be on Exhibit Through July 3rd, 2015 at Last Rites Gallery, Located at 325 West 38th Street (Between 8th and 9th Aves) in NYC.

Demon Show Signage

Favorite Art from Frieze 2015

Stacked Blue Cookies
All Photos By Gail

When you set out to peruse large volumes of Contemporary Art, it is always a good idea to have an open-minded partner in crime along for the ride. Geoffrey was in LA last weekend, so I attended Frieze 2015 with a new friend, Scott, who, back in the mid-to-late-90s played guitar in one of the most notorious American Rock bands to find commercial success since the seventies, when the band called Alice Cooper staged mock-executions as part of its live show. But that story is, perhaps, for another time, because today I want to share photos with you of select pieces of art that Scott and I enjoyed at the Frieze Art Fair, which took place on Randall’s Island from May 14th to 17th.

Paola PIVI It's Not Fair
Paola PIVI’s It’s Not Fair: Bear Covered with Blue Feathers

Hannah Starkey Untitled
Hannah Starkey, Untitled

While we traveled from booth to booth, one of the topics Scott and I discussed is how much we dislike it when an artist labels a work “Untitled” instead of giving it a proper name. WTF is up with that? It makes it seem like you don’t care. It’s lazy. It’s like not naming one of your children. And it needs to stop.

Red Draped Coat 2

We both really liked the above sculpture, the title of which I could not locate, but I am pretty sure it is not called Untitled. It reminds me of a Jawa, the hooded characters in Star Wars, but if you look closely you can see it is a sculpture of a Red Coat as it would hang if draped on a hook, but without the hook. Clever and compelling.

Loredana Sperini
Pink Neon Raindrop Sculpture by Loredana Sperini

Art By Tomas Saraceno
BR2237-0607/M+1 By Tomas Saraceno

A few years ago, Geoffrey and I saw a crazy great sculpture called Cloud City by Argentinian-born artist Tomás Saraceno, which was on the roof of The Met in the summer of 2012. The piece above echoes the modular shapes that are a signature characteristic of Saraceno’s work.

Satoshi Ohno Prism Dark Night
Satoshi Ohno, Prism Dark Night.

I remember gasping audibly when I saw these two works by Japanese artist Satoshi Ohno, which are unbelievably gorgeous. Ohno is also a Japanese Idol, actor, radio host, and singer — being the lead vocalist and leader of Japanese boy band Arashi. Talk about a Renaissance man!

Satoshi Ohno Prism Sunset
Satoshi Ohno, Prism Sunset

Josiah McElheney Blue Prism Painting III
Josiah McElheney, Blue Prism Painting III

Even though the above piece by Josiah McElheny is called a painting, it is really a sculpture.

Berta Fischer

Neon Lucite Sculpture by Berta Fischer. I love her work.

John Giorno It's Not What Happens It's How You Handle It
John Giorno, It’s Not What Happens It’s How You Handle It

We love the text-based paintings of artist and poet John Giorno. It is always cool and fun to see one of his new pieces.

Matthew Darbyshire CAPTCHA No. 31 Sitting Lion
Matthew Darbyshire, CAPTCHA No. 31 – Sitting Lion

This Lion is made from stacked hollow tubes.

John McCracken Rythym
John McCracken Rythym

There was a fantastic selection of plank works by the late John McCracken in the David Zwirner booth.

It's The Buzz Cock By Linder
It’s The Buzz, Cock By Linder

Buzzcocks fans might recognize the above work by artist and radical feminist icon Linder (AKA Linder Sterling) from the picture sleeve of that band’s 1977 single “Orgasm Addict.” It certainly was impossible to miss, even from across the room.

Daniel Rich
Art By Daniel Rich

Carlos Garaicoa Dudas Sober el Paraiso Terrenal
Carlos Garaicoa, Dudas Sobre el Paraiso Terrenal

The above title translates to “Doubts about the earthly paradise.” See a detail shot of this work just below.

Dudas Sobre el Paraiso Terrenal

He Won't Hurt You
He Won’t Hurt You

Monir Farmanfarmaian

Above, you see selected Mirror Mosaic works by legendary Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian. We just saw her exhibit, Infinite Possibility at the Guggenheim, and it was beyond amazing!

Lips That Look Like a Flame

Lips That Look Like a Flame? We love it.

Andy Coolquitt Found Deodorant Bottles
Andy Coolquitt, Neo-Deo: Found Deodorant Bottles Displayed in a Glass Vitrine

Marie Angeletti Catwoman
Marie Angeletti, Catwoman: Digital Print on Polished Steel

I hope you enjoyed your free peek at this year’s Frieze Art Fair! See you next year!

Hektad Loves You

Hektad Loves You Distribution Box
All Photos By Gail

The street artist known as Hektad has left this message of love for all NYers in the form of a colorfully painted alternative weekly distribution box located on the western traffic island at the intersection of Houston and Bowery (where I stood to photograph the Ron English Mural currently on display).

Hektad Loves You Distribution Box

Please Don’t Steal It, OK?

Adriano Costa, Lipstick Boutique at Frieze NY

Lipstick Boutique
All Photos By Gail

Frieze NY Weekend may be over until next year, but I’ve got a ton of cool photos to share with you so you can feel like you were there with me! You’re welcome! One of the pieces we really liked is this collage by Brazilian artist, Adriano Costa. Costa works with found objects and collage to translate the detritus of commodity culture into infinitely curious compositions. This collage, entitled Lipstick Boutique (2015) reminded me so much of works by David Shrigley; not just for the style but for the sense humor.

Draw a Penis

Isn’t the above just like something you’d see at a Shrigley exhibit? Sure it is.

Truth About My Sex Tape Hell

I like this one too. It could stand on its own for sure, but it certainly adds to the whole in this piece that took up an entire wall at the Frieze booth of the London-Based Sadie Coles Gallery.

Male 25

Do you know this guy? I think I have dated him.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Lee Krasner, The Seasons

The Seasons
Photo By Gail

In The Seasons (1957), Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984) combined a traditional subject with modern, pictorial form, the all-over composition. Historically, the subject of the four seasons has offered artists the opportunity for allegorical mediations on the life cycle. Krasner’s version exemplifies the regenerative portion of that cycle, with boldly, almost garishly colored plant forms that seem to morph into sexual organs.

This monumental painting offered Krasner an outlet during a time of deep personal sorrow. The year before, her husband, and fellow artist Jackson Pollock, had died in a car accident. In the wake of the sudden loss, Krasner remarked about The seasons, “the question came up whether one would continue painting at all, and I guess this was my answer.”

Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.

Jenny Morgan, All We Have is Now at Driscoll Babcock Galleries

Shadow Play

Driscoll Babcock Galleries is currently hosting a collection of very personal and provocative paintings by Jenny Morgan, entitled All We Have is Now. The artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, All We Have is Now is an investigation of darkly charged psychological works in intense hues. This new series of paintings present amorphous, yet graphically stark figures (Warning for the Prudish: Full Frontal Female Nudity)  rendered in a richly saturated prismatic array of colors.  Centered on themes of life, death, and rebirth, Morgan’s works question how we relate to our past and challenge us to live in the present.

Woman with Skeleton

Morgan painted the skeletal work, In The Moment (Death Hymn), by rendering each bone individually, without any prior plotting or planning. The end result shows not only a variety of techniques and colors, but a sense of spontaneity, freedom and immediacy. For a subject matter so deeply entrenched in death, the end result is a life affirming meditation.


In Skeleton Woman, life and death connect in the forms of a darkened skeleton draped over the exuberant figure of a woman. While the heft of the skeleton could weigh the figure down, she balances with an almost weightless pose.  For Morgan, these works are about “releasing old skeletons” and being able to “look at everything in the light and realize it no longer feels so dark.”

Dark Star (Detail)

Deeply personal, yet thoroughly universal, the works in All We Have is Now achieve a striking intensity and psychological depth, breaking through the ideals of traditional portraiture and the preciousness of realism.

Skull with Crown

Jenny Morgan’s All We Have is Now will be on Exhibit Through July 2nd, 2015 at Driscoll Babcock Galleries, Located at 525 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Jenny Morgan Signage