Recently, I publicly lamented my inability to navigate current exhibits in the Chelsea Gallery District. With the added precautions needed when going out during the Covid Life, and the fact that my former gallery-hopping companion has relocated to the west coast, I am too distracted and overwhelmed with minutiae to research which new exhibits will appeal to my unique visual aesthetic. It is cause for great joy then that I have discovered New York Gallery Tours — which does the hard work of figuring out where to go for you! Founded in 2002 by Rafael Risemberg — a former college professor with a Ph.D. in arts education — New York Gallery Tours hosts meticulously-curated two-hour adventures in Contemporary Art featuring the very best of what’s happening at the Chelsea Galleries (and other arts neighborhoods as well). Tour groups are kept super small (one to five people) so that there’s room to socially distance and more time for Rafael to explain the art, and encourage lively conversation. On a recent Saturday afternoon, my art-loving neighbors Leslie and Kat and I met up for a tour with Rafael, and we were able to hit up nine different galleries across ten blocks, because that is how we roll.
Not necessarily comprised of surrealist works, Sur-real is a bit of a mixed exhibit bag now showing at Woodward Gallery on the Lower East Side. Participating artists include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thomas Buildmore, Deborah Claxton, Sybil Gibson, Richard Hambleton, Kosbe, David Larson, Mark Mastroianni, Margaret Morrison, NoseGo, Kenji Nakayama, Dennis Oppenheim, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, stikman, Jeremy Szopinski, Francesco Tumbiolo, Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk, Cristina Vergano, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Andy Warhol, so there’s something for just about every taste in modern and contemporary art.
We attended the opening reception on a frigid and snowy Saturday evening, when the gallery welcomed guests with cups of hot chocolate and tiny slices of baguette, which we enjoyed dipping in the steaming hot cocoa! Comforting!
Here’ a painting by Andy Warhol that I had actually never seen before. And I didn’t think that was possible.
The artist known only as Stikman is best known for his yellow painted Stick Figures that you see mostly on sidewalks and the blacktop. Here you see the iconic Stikman figure constructed of reflective material and perched inside a bird cage. I love the zebra-like shadows that the cage’s bars cast off of the Stikman’s mirrored surface.
Artist Margaret Morrison has a few nice pieces in the show.
While I was looking at the above drawing by the late, great author Kurt Vonnegut Jr, the person standing next to me actually said, “Wasn’t he also a writer?” I wish I was kidding.
Not bad for our first Art Crawl of the New Year!
Sur-Real will be on Exhibit Through February 22, 2014, at Woodward Gallery, Located at 133 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 Noon – 5:00 PM and by Appointment.