Every autumn the urban area inscribed by 12th and 6th Avenues + W 14th and W 34th Streets—New York’s Chelsea district—offers up its fall programme to art lovers thirsty after summer’s annual drought. At this time of year, Saturday’s order of the day becomes promiscuous trysts amongst partners like Marianne Boesky, Galerie Lelong, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and Mary Boone Gallery. Depending on the gallery’s stamina, each encounter might last between 7 and 20 minutes. Paused by lunch at Pepe Giallo and ending with refreshments at The Half King, gallery-goers return home well sated, visually and gastronomically.
Thomas Hirschhorn: Concordia, Concordia, 2012
Gladstone Gallery, NY
In the wake of the tumult that Hurricane Sandy recently waged on this internationally important art district, my tour back in late September has taken on uncanny prophesy. Thomas Hirschhorn’s upended ship hull at Gladstone Gallery and Rosemary Laing’s sky-born trees gripping half-built houses now seem to have forecasted the impending deluge. Reading Jerry Saltz’s sobering account of flooded ground level galleries and the reticent discarding of unsalvageable, water-logged art reminds me that Chelsea remains a unique environment where commercial enterprise abuts critical engagement. Moreover, a dialogue surrounding artwork that is indulgent, as is sometimes presented by superdealers like Larry Gagosian, has a place among discussions of more compelling work.