Tag Archive | Cheim & Read

Lynda Benglis: New Work, at Cheim & Read

Lynda Benglis New Works
All Photos By Gail

Since the 1960s, Lynda Benglis has been celebrated for the free, ecstatic forms she has poured, thrown and molded in ceramic, latex, polyurethane and bronze. In her new work, she turns to handmade paper, which she wraps around a chicken wire armature, often painting the sand-toned surface in bright, metallic colors offset by strokes of deep, coal-based black. At other times she leaves the paper virtually bare.

Lynda Benglis New Works

Lynda Benglis New Works

These works reflect the environment in which they were made, the “sere and windblown” landscape of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as Nancy Princenthal writes in her essay on the exhibit. “It is possible to see the bleached bones of the land—its mesas and arroyos; its scatterings of shed snakeskins and animal skeletons—in the new sculptures’ combination of strength and delicacy.”

Lynda Benglis New Works

Simultaneously playful and visceral, the new works enter into a lively dialogue with Benglis’s previous explorations of materials and form, but with a raw immediacy inherent to the moist strips of paper she uses as their skin. Stretched, crimped and torn into richly organic shapes, the paper becomes both the sculpture’s shell and a repository of the artist’s touch. “The flexibility of the paper is marvelous; it’s just very loving,” she tells the filmmaker Burrill Crohn in Benglis Skin Deep, a video interview on the making of this body of work.

Lynda Benglis New Works

The sculptures are light and open, with slits and apertures revealing their wire supports. “I’m drawing with air, and wire, and paper,” Benglis remarks in the interview. Princenthal compares the paper skins to shattered piñatas and animal hides, as well as to the kites that the artist’s father made by hand (Benglis attends the kite festival held yearly at Ahmedabad, India, where she maintains a residence).

Lynda Benglis With Fan

Lynda Benglis With a Fan at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception in September

The Fall Caught

As a counterweight to the paper sculptures, Benglis will also exhibit The Fall Caught, a new large-scale aluminum work made by applying spray foam instead of strips of handmade paper on the chicken wire armature, as well as a new series of spiraling, hand-built black ceramics called Elephant Necklace. Benglis has said of this work, “Elephants necklaces are artifacts that I imagine in the long and short of the extrusions of life. The expulsion from the garden with the umbilical cord attached are perhaps the fragments left of the family of mammoths trunks. Having left only parts of their trunks in our imagination, I long to find out more about them through a united collaboration with Saxe Patterson, my exploration team, and others who may decide to question their existence in this hemisphere.”

Elephant Necklace
Elephant Necklace

The sexual politics at the heart of Benglis’s career is intrinsic to this work. The cylindrical shape of many of her new sculptures can bring to mind phalluses and vaginas (“considered as tubes, one becomes the other”), and yet, as Princenthal observes, “Of all the sensations her work evokes, pure delight is among the keenest.”

Lynda Benglis New Works

Lynda Benglis Signage

Lynda Benglis: New Work will be on Exhibit Through October 22nd, 2016 at Cheim & Read, Located at 547 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Lynda Benglis New Works

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Louise Bourgeois, Suspension at Cheim and Read

Untitled Aluminum Coils
Untitled Aluminum Coil Sculptures (2004). All Photos By Gail.

Cheim & Read has a must-see exhibit up through January by one of our favorite artists, renowned French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois. The sculptures in this exhibition, which, appropriately, is called Suspension, all hang from the ceiling, which was lots of fun to experience at the very crowded reception on October 30th. The show also includes a group of drawings from the 1940s, in which pendulous forms are delineated in black ink, the selection of works traces the theme of suspension throughout Bourgeois’s long career. I actually didn’t discover her work until I saw her massive career retrospective at the Guggenheim back in 2008. She passed away in 2010 at the age of 98.

Lair 1962
Lair (1962)

Spanning more than forty-five years – from the organic Lair forms of the early 1960s and the Janus series of 1968, to the cloth figures of the 1990s, the hanging heads of the 2000s, and the torqued spirals of shining aluminum made in the last years of Bourgeois’s life – these hanging sculptures demonstrate the myriad ways in which she approached material, form and scale. Like all of Bourgeois’s works, they are also highly autobiographical.

Cinq 2007
Cinq 2007

Fée Couteriére, 1963
Fée Couteriére (1963)

Untitled 1995
Untitled (1995)

The very physicality of Bourgeois’s work – its density and weight – is offset by the seemingly effortless, floating state in which they are presented. Eschewing the traditional sculptural base, Bourgeois positions her work in dialogue with the viewer and surrounding environment. Tethered to the ceiling but by no means static, her sculptures have the potential to revolve on their axes, providing a sense of movement and instability.

Arch of Hysteria 1993
Arch of Hysteria (1993)

The implied vulnerability is especially profound in works like the polished bronze Arch of Hysteria (1993), in which a male figure hangs from a cord attached at the pelvis.

Arch of Hysteria 2004

Arch of Hysteria 2004
Arch of Hysteria (2004, Two Views with Crowd)

The double-headed fabric Arch of Hysteria (2004), in which male and female torsos are fused and hung at the waist; or the bronze Femme (2005), which is suspended by the figure’s pregnant abdomen.

Femme 1993
Femme (1993)

Femme 1993 Untitled 2004
Femme (1993), Untitled (2004)

Henriette Prosthetic Leg
Henriette (1985)

Other works are similarly evocative. In Henriette (1985), a portrait of the artist’s sister, a single prosthetic leg never reaches solid ground, while the elongated rubber legs of Legs (1988) stop just shy of the floor. The soft folds and flaccid double ends of the androgynous Janus series (1968), though cast in bronze, seem exposed and defenseless. One – Hanging Janus with Jacket – seeks protection under a hard outer shell. The Quartered One (1964-65), conjures images of beef hanging in a slaughterhouse.

The Couple 2007 -2009
The Couple (2007 -2009)

Late works, like Untitled (2004, Top photo in this post) and The Couple (2007-09), manifest the implications of suspension within their forms – coils of aluminum weave in and out and over each other, as if echoing the spiraling and spinning of which they are capable. Various associations with hanging – suicide and murder, as well as the connection between mother and child through the umbilical cord – are further explored in the exhibits catalogue by Robert Pincus-Witten, as he examines the trajectory of Bourgeois’s work.

Legs 2001
Legs (2001)

Suspension by Louise Bourgeois will be on Exhibit Through January 10, 2015 at Cheim and Read, Located at 547 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Ghada Amer’s Rainbow Girls at Cheim & Read

Ghada Amer Rainbow Girl
The Rainbow Girl, 2014 By Ghada Amer (All Photos by Gail)

New York City! You literally only have a few more days to make it to Cheim & Read to see Ghada Amer’s gorgeous and provocative mixed media exhibit, Rainbow Girls. An Egyptian-born artist who now lives and works in New York, Ghada Amer is well known for brightly-colored, embroidered “paintings” in which depictions of women, often appropriated from soft-porn magazines, are carefully stitched and sewn on the canvas. Extra thread is left to hang from the images’ contours like drips and splashes of paint, abstracting and obscuring the figures.

Rainbow Girl Detail
Detail from The Rainbow Girl

By using the traditionally feminine, domestic activity of embroidery to re-contextualize her subject, Amer confronts cultural objectification of the female form, repositioning it for a feminist dialectic. In new works for this exhibition, all completed between 2012 and 2014, Amer also introduces text – both English and Arabic – to her compositions, thus merging language with form and literally weaving the two together.

Distorted by knots, webs, and skeins of embroidery thread, Amer’s text is a feminist “base” on which she situates her imagery. For example, Simone de Beauvoir’s statement, “One is not born but rather becomes a woman” vibrates behind the candy-colored threads of The Rainbow Girl.

Ghada Amer Embroidered Painting

Ghada Amer Embroidered Painting Detail
Embroidered Painting Detail from Photo Above

Ghada Amer Word Painting

The Heart By Ghada Amer
The Heart (2012 Painted Stainless Steel)

Also in the exhibit are a series of very cool metal sculptures, in which word and image are calligraphically intertwined to create open, filigreed structures. You can see ladies faces in the one pictured above, and below.

Ghada Amer Sculpture

The sculptures are “reminiscent of Mashrabiya” – the latticed wooden screens found in traditional Arabic architecture, which allow one to see out without being seen.

Ghada Amer Sculpture

Rainbow Girls by Ghada Amer will be on Exhibit Only Through Saturday May 10th, 2014 at Cheim & Read, Located at 547 West 25 Street, New York.

New Ceramic Works by Lynda Benglis at Cheim & Read

Lynda Benglis Row of Red and Yellow Sculptures
All Photos By Gail

Ground breaking sculptor/artist Lynda Benglis is always doing something interesting. Her newest work is an engaging series of abstract ceramics made in New Mexico, where she lives part time. In this exhibit at Cheim and Read, Benglis’s seemingly random shaped, clay-based sculptures retain the earthy, elemental, primal nature of clay, and highlight the material’s unique susceptibility to the artist’s touch. The variety of bold textures on each sculpture is extremely visually pleasing, and each one is unique and different.

Lynda Benglis Grey and Yellow Tire Sculpture

Lynda Benglis 3 Tire Sculptures

Lynda Benglis U-Shaped Sculpture

Benglis does not use a potter’s wheel, but hand-builds her works with tubes (you can see this technique especially in several pieces pictured in this review, which resemble lengths of tire) and slabs of clay, pinching, stacking, squeezing, pulling and smoothing them into complex sculptural compositions.

Lynda Benglis Red Sitting Sculpture

I also couldn’t help but think of the 2012 John Chamberlain exhibit, Choices, at the Guggenheim, in which the artist worked with hunks of compressed metal from junked cars. If you are looking to buy junk car indianapolis and make it for profit, visit upullandpay.com to learn more.

Lynda Benglis Red and Yellow K Sculpture
This one is my favorite.

Lynda Benglis Red Unfolded Sculpture

Sometimes wave-like and lyrical, sometimes squat and spherical, Benglis’s ceramics explore various manifestations, excavations and manipulations of form.

Lynda Benglis Red Grey Yellow Sculpture

Lynda Benglis collapses the boundaries between interior and exterior space, using both hollowed out and compacted elements which collide and fuse together reinforcing the sexual undercurrents of her muscular, polymorphic shapes. I really loved this exhibit and recommend you add a stop at Cheim and Read to your next Art Crawl.

Lynda Benglis Red With Yellow Sculpture

New Ceramic Works by Lynda Benglis will be on Exhibit Through February 15th, 2014 at Cheim & Read, located at 547 West 25th Street, NYC, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Lynda Benglis Pink Sculptures

Charles Clary at Nancy Margolis Gallery

Charles Clary Art
“Wow, Look at the Colors!” (All Photos By Gail)

The Charles Clary exhibit at Nancy Margolis has been up since December, but the opening reception wasn’t until January 9th. So I don’t feel too out of it that I had my first chance to stop by this past week on the way to Cheim and Read, and could not resist snapping few photos of his colorful and delicately structured artworks for the blog.

Charles Clary Art at Nancy Margolis Gallery
Close up of Form Seen in the Above Photo, Far Left

This is the first exhibition for Clary ( a Tennessee native) with Nancy Margolis Gallery.  These intriguing constructions are created from towers of layered, brightly colored paper. The sculptures, precise and labor-intensive, reveal a phenomenal color sensibility and an original expression distinctly his own.

Charles Clary Art at Nancy Margolis Gallery

Exact cuts and layered stacks of thin paper make up his geometric volumes of variegated textures and sinewy shapes. Forms are reminiscent of microbial colonies, sound waves, fractals and topographical landscapes. The collected sculptures in the photo directly above remind me of chunks of driftwood on the beach.

Charles Clary Art at Nancy Margolis Gallery

A palette of rainbow like colors playfully invite viewers to venture into the vivid creative world of Clary’s sculptures, ever-expanding, pulsing, and surreal.

Charles Clary Art at Nancy Margolis Gallery

I really enjoyed photographing these sculptures, which are even more vibrantly colorful in person. Check them out before the exhibit closes in just under 2 weeks.

Sculptures By  Charles Clary will be on Exhibit through February 1st, 2014 at Nancy Margolis Gallery, Located at 523 W 25th St. New York NY 10001. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10: 00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Charles Clary Art at Nancy Margolis Gallery

Must See Art: Barry McGee at Cheim & Read

Barry McGee Surf Boards
Surfboards and Boogie Boards By Barry McGee (All Photos By Gail)

Cheim & Read is currently hosting an exhibition of new work by Barry McGee, which is the McGee’s first solo show with the gallery and his first show in New York in eight years. McGee is arguably among the most well-known and influential artists from the San Francisco Bay Area to have international success. His boldly graphic, colorful work incorporates a multitude of influences (including graffiti, American folk art and Op Art), but especially the urban street culture he knows well.

Painting By Barry McGee

Translating the city’s unique vernacular into artistic imagery, McGee celebrates the diversity, distinctive characters and neighborhood communities of the inner-city. His work critiques consumerist culture and the constant backdrop of commercialism in everyday interactions; rejecting the billboard and chain store, McGee instead finds inspiration in the seeming randomness of graffiti, the endless uploading of images on the internet, and the creative styling of misfits. McGee’s work succeeds in its sensitive balance between anarchy and collaboration, resulting in environments which immerse the viewer in his singular, yet inclusive, vision.

Details from Painting By Barry McGee

The multi-image, whimsical commercial style of his work reminded me every much of artworks by Jim Houser and also Rebus Puzzle artist Stephen Powers.

Red Potato King By Barry McGee
Potato King Detail from Larger Painting

Directly involved with the installations of his shows, McGee organizes his multi-layered compositions on-site. For the Cheim & Read exhibition, assembled clusters of framed drawings and hand-painted wood panels accompany loose stacks of embellished surfboards, fetish-like wooden objects and specially-made furniture.

Small Sculptures By Barry McGee

Low Tables By Barry McGee

Drawings, paintings and sculptures are treated equally; echoing his anti-establishment sensibility, McGee refuses hierarchies of material or subject matter. His recent work is comprised of flat-surfaced, brightly-colored geometric motifs, serial images and caricatures of cartoon-like characters, and recurring monikers, like the pseudonym “L. Fong,” and the acronyms “THR” (The Human Race or The Harsh Reality) and “DFW” (Down for Whatever).

Room Installation By Barry McGee
Click on Image to Enlarge for Detail

Interspersed among the abstract panels (which sometimes expand along bulbous walls and around corners en masse), the images and words provide an enigmatic but individualized narrative in an otherwise vibrating, tile-like field of intense pattern.

Fong By Barry McGee

Large Red Painting By Barry McGee

Visually stimulating, perceptive, and seeming to channel the various rhythmic beats of urban culture, McGee’s work addresses issues of identity, mark-making, authorship and autonomy within the bustling, constantly changing tableau of city life.

This is one of my favorite new exhibits of the season. Don’t miss it!

Barry McGee will be on Exhibit through October 26th, 2013 at Cheim & Read, located at 547 West 25th Street, NYC, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Red Geometric Designs Painting By Barry McGee

Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works at Cheim & Read


When artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois passed away in 2010 at the age of 98, she left behind a staggeringly rich legacy of art created in a multitude of mediums. Geoffrey and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Guggenheim Museum’s ambitious and highly successful 2008 Retrospective of her life’s work, which was possibly the most comprehensive and impressive retrospective I’ve yet seen. I mean, the woman did everything. What an amazing talent and what a huge loss to the art world, but how lucky were we to have her for 98 years? So lucky.

Through June 25, 2011, Cheim & Read Gallery in NYC is hosting an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’ works in fabric, dating from 2002 – 2010. Bourgeois’ fabric “drawings” – which became a central focus in the last decade of her life – are assembled from discarded clothes, sheets, towels and similar material from her personal collection. Significant in their own right for their formal invention and beauty, the drawings constitute a parallel body of work to that of her 3D fabric sculptures, which often mimicked human forms (a couple of these larger sculptures are also on display here). The number of Fabric Works in this exhibit makes it easy to grasp the fact that, even at such an advanced age, Louise Bourgeois never stopped creating her art.

Coinciding with an inclination in her later years to stay closer to home, Bourgeois’ late fabric works provide a sense of introspection – her wardrobe and linen closet became representative of memory. As Bourgeois has stated, “Clothing is…an exercise of memory. It makes me explore the past…like little signposts in the search for the past.” The re-appropriation of her husband’s handkerchiefs, stained tablecloths and napkins, and worn dresses from all phases of her life infuses the work with a confessional, talismanic aura. The artist’s use of fabric also references her personal history. She grew up in her parent’s tapestry restoration business; her childhood surrounded by the reparation of 17th and 18th century textiles. Bourgeois’s later fabric collages and assemblages – their many disparate pieces assembled and sewed together – attest to the early influence of this restorative process, as well as to the conceptual and psychological connotations of the words associated with it: cut, unravel, weave, knot, stitch, mend. Bourgeois said, “I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole.”

While the photos in this post fail to show close-up detail, when you can examine the “drawings” in person it’s evident that, even though her eyesight might have been failing, Louise Bourgeois’ artistic vision was clear through her final days. A must see exhibit for any fans of her work.

Cheim & Read is Located at 547 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM.