Trip Report #5: Playground of Curators

On Saturday, I and Joanna visited a couple of galleries.


1. David Zwirner Gallery

at 533 West 19th Street

First, we went to David Zwirner museum at the 19th street location. There is Wolfgang Tillmans’s show on exhibition. Tillmans is a photography artist and playing around in different visual language. His work either looking at everyday-object in daily life or very using specific to capture some invisible vision in an abstract way. In this show, for some reason, the curator decide to use very primitive way to display this series of work of his. They use very minimal frames for not decorating these photo but put them back to a more accessible context to trigger visitor’s intimate experience.

2. David Zwirner Gallery

at 537 West 20th Street

Then we went another location of David Zwirner Gallery for Dan Flavin’s show “Corners, Barriers, and Corridors”.  I saw Dan Flavin’s work in a couple of different spaces, for example, in Judd’s studio in 111 Spring Street which is an open studio for showing the historical location of Donald Judd. His light installation reconstructs the whole space and divides it by the structure of the lighting.

3.Gagosian gallery

There is Roy Lichtenstein’s show ongoing. His work is revolutionary in the 1960s  in the pop art time. He is the a few people that play with the scale, pixels and create a new vision for it. As well as Close whose show is in Pace Gallery. The show in Gagosian is pretty average looking. Personally, I didn’t feel anything new by bringing back Roy’s work at this moment. 

4. Pace Gallery

Then we went to Pace to check out what are their current shows. Pace’s door is kind of hidden and quite narrow. I list those architecture pics attached to each gallery since their position in Chelsea is very important and kind of the colors of Chelsea area. Pace Beijing is in a factory space in 798 area, which is quite different in Chelsea.

My energy passion got toward to lower, because, in a way, I don’t feel quite inspired by those galleries, unless seeing this classically fantastic artwork. What’s the role of galleries in the artwork? It’s definitely quite different functions with museums, but also overlap in some sense. Marketing elements are applying in galleries. In the other side, culture trend is somehow guiding by museums. Which one could provide more free space for curators for their experimental? Is there a boundary or limitation (100 Guides for Curators) for curators to warn them to avoid overwhelming?

Chelsea gallery is a field that bring people a sense of contemporary art, and also part of their social life. It’s quite abstract for most of public since most of contemporary artists’ workis dalliance with aspects of contemporary society.

Gallery gives the role of a curator to get to know more about the artwork, space, and market. It could be  a playground for the curator for creating layers, provoking/building a conversation between the work or space.In the other word, a curator is an interpreter to translate the voice of work through incorporating their own thoughts. The contribution of galleries also includes their specific collection and their offer for an artist are important to help to keep some transient “genius” for this age.

I have seen some harsh word about Chelsea galleries in an art magazine.

“Chelsea is dead.”

Everything is put in the grid to serve art industry since two decades ago. Curator, gallerists, artist, dealer, and reception desk girls are in the same chess board for building up the art game. Does something will change the climate and bring new air in the future?

Sunday: Visiting MOMA

I choose to visit MOMA for my personal interest. MOMA is my favorite museum so far, comparing with all other museums including some museums in the west coast. The rich collection of MOMA for modern art fulfills the range of my favorite pieces. The clear structure of exhibition won’t allow me lost in there, permanent exhibitions from 3-5, special exhibition updated at 2 or 6 floors, and the path of the exhibition are mostly always based on the chronology. Caption incorporate the context of the year of artwork and the current situation of an artist, which is very helpful for me to appreciate their work.

I spent most of my time on Picasso’s sculpture exhibition. They provide a nice design booklet to locate every single piece by numbers and an illustration to show their contours. The only thing that confusing me has they put the collection of Picasso’s last period in front of the exhibition entrance, where I accidently firstly visited them and then go back to earlier creation.

After this, I  went to the educational center. It was very difficult to find.  It total behind the galleries and actually in the first floor in the another side of the building. Finally, we find it. It was quite a nice space to allow children to create some art pieces by simply fabricating, drawing, sculpting by inspiring them. Space is bright near MOMA garden to see through both inside and outside. 

There is design interaction studio will happen soon in October. Education is not my purpose for visiting MOMA, but it seems like it tries to give more function of this museum about education, collection, curation, performance and entertainment.