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These articles were prepared for the May 30, 2001 edition of U.S.
1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Destination for Art: Chelsea
It’s Manhattan’s latest "in" art scene; it’s
the new SoHo but without as much retail or as many tourists; and
it’s where artists want to be shown and art dealers want to be. A
carefully choreographed day in Chelsea, a somewhat gritty and gray
neighborhood on the far West Side, south of Penn Station, offers good
walking and people-watching, besides the chance to see one art
in the making and to experience an established one — quite
the catalyst for Chelsea’s second coming — where an exciting
that’s both historical and timely runs until mid-June.
As a statesman might act with or without portfolio, and a leader might
wield informal or ascribed authority, an art dealer can operate with
or without a gallery space. For the last three years or so, Princeton
area native and resident Gary Snyder has made his presence as an art
dealer felt without benefit of building. That all changes Friday,
June 1, with the opening of Gary Snyder Fine Art in Manhattan.
The new gallery, located at the northern tip of Chelsea, was only
recently carved out of a low-slung building at the corner of 29th
Street and 11th Avenue. In early May, the site still looked like the
express-mail facility it had been: flat roofed, with four bay doors
fronting 29th Street, and a long side wall along 11th Avenue.
By June 1, Snyder’s 4,000-square-foot share of this space will be
converted into two levels with two large galleries, each with
ceilings, skylights, and natural light spilling in — among other
amenities. It will also house two computer stations where visitors
can follow up on their art viewing with art reading. One of Snyder’s
avowed objectives is "education," and not just one but two
websites will facilitate that mission, supplementing his gallery staff
of four, signage, and printed materials that will also be on hand.
As the gallery’s director of special projects, Kristen
Accola, Snyder’s wife and former director of the Hunterdon Museum
of Art, will complement the gallery’s historic focus — modern
American art rooted in the 1920s to 1960s has for years been Snyder’s
specialty — with a selective program of contemporary work. After
more than seven years as curator and exhibitions director at
she left that position to focus on New York, where she had previously
been managing director of Lefebre Gallery, on 77th Street.
Individual and corporate art consulting is an ongoing activity for
Snyder. In this area alone, he created an exhibition program for Stark
& Stark, in Lawrenceville, and still curates shows there; with
abstract-expressionist painter Thomas George, he conducted a salon
to benefit Artworks; with Accola, he co-curated an exhibition at the
Hunterdon Museum; and as an alumnus-member of the Lawrenceville
fine art committee, he helps develop strategies for acquisitions and
use of its expanded galleries.
Snyder, son of Lambertville-based artist Barry Snyder, "grew up
with and around art," he says. His parents (since divorced) had
an art gallery at two sites in Princeton, and he opened his own first
gallery on Chambers Street, Princeton — until recently the site
of the Williams Gallery and Pringle International Art. Snyder opened
his second gallery, in SoHo, New York, in 1990, and after about four
years there, he moved to West 57th Street for about four more years.
Chelsea became the targeted next spot, but the longer he searched
for the right place, the more expensive space became. When he learned
the owner of his present building would subdivide and wanted an art
gallery to be part of the mix, Snyder’s immediate response was
in." Now he’s already saying, "I may play with that
wall outside for artists’ projects."
Gary Snyder Fine Art will open with two exhibitions, both running
through August 25: In the front, or south, gallery, the work of
Abstract Classicists: Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick
and John McLaughlin," will be featured. "Modern American Art
of the 1930s and 1940s" will be shown in the larger back, or north
gallery. Five more shows are scheduled to round out 2001:
Expressionism: Expanding the Canon," September 7 to October 13;
"The Triumph of Bea Mandelman (1911-1998) and "Taos
October 19 to November 24; "Luke Gray: New Work" and
Strzelec: Recent Sculpture," November 30 to January 5.
It’s easy to reach Gary Snyder Fine Art. Driving from this area, go
south from the Lincoln Tunnel and make a right on 29th Street. Pass
the gallery for possible parking on the right. Or, take New Jersey
Transit to Penn Station, then walk south to the corner of 29th. A
bit south of the gallery, around 25th and 26th, any number of
start to appear; a Chelsea guide will list them. Confident that
still has burgeoning to do, Snyder says, "Just wait till you see
this area in three or four years!"
— Pat Summers
212-871-1077. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At Chelsea’s Dia Center
Bridget Riley might be thought of as picking up in
where Gary Snyder Fine Art currently leaves off. Usually recognized
as a leading exponent of the eye-dazzling Op Art movement, the British
artist first drew international attention in 1968, winning the grand
prize for painting at the Venice Biennale. "Reconnaissance,"
a retrospective exhibition of some 40 years of Riley’s work, is on
view at Dia Center for the Arts, just a few blocks away from Snyder’s
new gallery in Chelsea.
Dia, a not-for-profit contemporary art museum, is definitely a Chelsea
art pioneer. Housed in a converted four-story warehouse, Dia is known
for long-running installations by individual artists, each one usually
occupying an entire floor or more. On huge canvases or stretched
and in one case, on a 50-foot plaster wall, where Riley has produced
a dizzying site-specific work for Dia, the artist plays mind games
— make that eye games — with the viewer.
is the medium, not the canvas and the paint," Riley has said,
accounting for why her work has been called "optical ambush,"
and described as a "collusion between the surprised viewer and
the gently controlling artist." In her black and white pieces,
she created the impression of movement on a static canvas. Her effects
demand analysis while at the same time making that effort very
You probably don’t want to study Riley’s amazing paintings if you’re
seeing floaters or flashes, or having your eyes examined for any such
symptoms. Given the undulating waves, the bands of color, both real
and illusory, the dots in flowing, corner-turning gradations, it’s
hard enough on an optically good day to deduce how Riley’s effects
are wrought. As you try sorting it out, you find yourself wondering
how she ever conceived of the thing herself.
Unlikely as it sounds, Riley claims her black-and-white work "was
not an optical experiment, but an attempt to say something about
and instabilities, certainties and uncertainties." Her influences
include Pollock, Mondrian, Cezanne, and Matisse, as well as Paul
text, "The Thinking Eye." So, then, are Riley’s paintings
the optical illusions they seem to be, or the optical allusions
— to life experiences, to other artists — she suggests? Either
way, they are awesome, in the most literal sense.
A visit to Egypt, with its distinctive palette that grew over long
millennia, helped move Riley toward her exploration of colors and
tones that continues today. In works with either flowing waves or
precise stripes, marked differences result from proximities,
and juxtapositions of values and hues. Though all these are appealing,
I recommend making a direct path to the last gallery, where black
and white paintings from the 1960s are on view, and then move slowly,
mostly sequentially, into the present.
Because no reproduction can substitute for the physical reality of
Riley’s paintings — which, by the way, have for about 40 years
been executed only by her assistants — Dia’s fourth
is a must-visit. (And if those stairs sounded too daunting, there’s
also an elevator.) In just five rooms — all high-ceilinged,
and often brilliantly lit by sun through big windows — and only
19 paintings, Bridget Riley will knock your socks off. To pursue that
metaphor, you’ll be barefoot well before room number three.
— Pat Summers
22 Street, New York, 212-989-5566. Wednesday to Sunday, noon to
6 p.m. www.DiaCenter.org. To Sunday, June 17.
Drawings in the American Tradition," to June 17. "Great
II: The Art of the Print in the Western World" and "Spanish
Drawings," to June 10. "Le Corbusier at Princeton: 14 to 16
November 1935," an exhibition of sketches and works related to
the French architect’s Princeton lectures, to June 17. "Italian
Renaissance Drawings," to June 17. The museum is open Tuesday
through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours
of the collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m.
Also on exhibit: "A Tapestry by Karel van Mander" to August
12. "Seeing Double: Copies and Copying in the Arts of China,"
an exhibition of Chinese art, to November 4. On extended view in the
Bowen Gallery, Richard Serra’s "Weight and Measure" etchings.
"The Light of Ancient Athens: A Photographic Journey by Felix
Bonfils, 1868-1887," an historic series of 42 large-format
taken in Beirut by the 19th-century French photographer. More than
800 Bonfils photographs were donated to Princeton in 1921 by Rudolf
Ernst Brunnow, professor of Semitic philology. Coordinated by Don
Skemer, the show is guest curated by Andrew Szegedy-Maszak of Wesleyan
University. To October 7. Open to the public weekdays 9 a.m. to 5
p.m.; Wednesday evenings to 8 p.m.; and weekends, noon to 5 p.m.
609-258-3197. "For the Love of Books and Prints: Elmer Adler and
the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University Library,"
celebrating the 1940 founding of a unique collection. Exhibit
the history and arts of the book through fine examples of printing,
typography, binding, papermaking, calligraphy, and illustration.
include prints by Toulouse-Lautrec and Mary Cassatt, photographs by
Julia Margaret Cameron, and the illustrated Chaucer printed by William
Morris at the Kelmscott Press.
609-620-6026. Annual alumni exhibition features works by M. Jay
’45, Cole Carothers ’67, and James Toia ’80. Gallery hours are Monday
to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; except Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m.
to noon. To June 2.
732-906-2566. "Sand and Surf," an exhibit of paintings
by nature by Rachelle Karger. A professor of modern languages,
work has been exhibited in New York and New Jersey. Presidential
hours are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To July 2.
New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. The newly expanded and renovated museum
features: "Confrontations: Selections from the Rutgers Archives
for Printmaking Studios," to June 17. "Traffic Patterns:
of Transportation in American Prints between the Wars," to June
3. "New Acquisitions from Central Asia: Selections from the Norton
and Nancy Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art." To July
31. Also "Konenkov," to September 30.
Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. $3 adults; under 18 free; museum is open
free to the public on the first Sunday of every month. Spotlight Tours
every Sunday at 2 and 2:45 p.m.
"Johnson Atelier Open," a group show featuring over 100 works
from the renowned Johnson Atelier sculpture foundry and stone studio
by 50 present and past artist apprentices and staff members. Museum
hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to
4 p.m. To June 3.
"A," an exhibition of recent sculpture by apprentices of the
Johnson Atelier, featuring Joseph W. Acquah, Gerard Bartlett, Michael
Costantini, Tonyeli Gadzekpo, LaRue Harding, Helena Lukasova, Rafia
Mahli, Joanna Platt, Matthew Ramieri, and Charlott Rosengren. Gallery
hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To May 31.
609-586-0616. Spring sculpture exhibition. In the museum: "`Tennis
Anyone?,’ Sculpture by William King." In the Domestic Arts
sculpture by Leonda Finke and a juried exhibition of photographs of
sculpture. New additions outdoors by James Dinerstein, Brower Hatch,
Larry Steele, John Van Alstine, Jay Wholley, and Yuyu Yang. Open
through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday is Members Day.
Admission $4 to $10. To July 8.
609-292-6464. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to
4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Website:
"The Art of Giving," to August 26; "Aspects of
to August 26; "The Garden State: A History of Farming in New
to August 31. On extended view: "New Jersey’s Native Americans:
The Archaeological Record"; "Delaware Indians of New
"The Sisler Collection of North American Mammals"; "Of
Rock and Fire"; "Neptune’s Architects"; "The
"New Jersey Ceramics, Silver, Glass and Iron"; "Washington
Crossing the Delaware." In the Cafe Gallery: Dorothy Wells
works in watercolor, oil, and pastel. To June 11.
609-397-0275. "Wanderings in the Light," an exhibition of
oils and watercolor landscapes by Lawrenceville artist Carole
She recently retired from a 20-year career as a measurement
for Educational Testing Service. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday,
1 to 9 p.m.; Friday 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To
A shared show featuring mixed-media works on paper by Alan Klawans
and paintings by Taylor Oughton. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday,
and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To June 3.
"Boyplay, Fragments, and a Lot of Blue," a show of recent
works by Stacie Speer Scott. Inspired by her son’s play and
she evokes multiple images in her expansive, multi-media collage-based
works. Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To June
Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) third annual juried show.
The organization that creates new tools and techniques to enable
facing severe physical disabilities gain control of the art-making
process. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m.;
and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To June 3.
Directed by Tim Lefens, A.R.T. runs four studio programs that include
the Mercer County Special Services School District and the Woodbridge
Developmental Center. Its artists have exhibited at Rutgers, ABC World
Headquarters, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Gallery. Created with a
seed grant from the late artist Roy Lichtenstein, A.R.T. is the recent
winner of a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Award.
The gallery celebrates its 21st annual summer exhibition featuring
the paintings and drawings of National Academy artist Harry Leith-Ross
(1886-1973), an artist raised in England who settled near New Hope
in 1935. Also included in the summer show are gallery artists Joanne
Augustine, Gabrielle Baumgartner, Albert Bross, and Marge Chavooshian.
Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To August 31.
908-996-1470. Shared show by watercolorists W. Carl Burger, professor
emeritus of Kean College, and Nessa Grainger. Gallery is open
& Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.;
and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To May 31.
annual Phillips’ Mill Photography Exhibition juried by Bob Krist,
a National Geographic photographer. Show is open daily, from 1 to
5 p.m. $3 adults; $1.50 seniors & students. To June 3.
Road, 609-921-3272. "Visions," a two-person exhibit featuring
colored pencil drawings by Susan Antin and oil pastel drawings by
Helen Post. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To May 31.
"Small Worlds," an exhibit of recent paintings by Christine
Lafuente. Lafuente describes herself of a "painterly realist."
Her still-life and figurative works look for beauty and value in
common objects and moments in life that are easily overlooked.Gallery
hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To June 2.
Branch, 908-725-2110. "Humanity," a juried exhibition about
diversity on our planet. Juror Wayne Miyamoto of University of Hawaii,
has selected 40 pieces that look at difference and similarity in such
areas as origin and culture, time and place, work and play, politics
and religion. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4
p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To June 2.
609-252-6275. "Off the Wall," an exhibition of works by 27
sculptors affiliated with Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts,
curated by Kate Somers. Works installed on the grounds, on the rooftop
garden, and in the gallery. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9
a.m. to 5 p.m.; and weekends and holidays, 1 to 5 p.m. To September
John Goodyear, Geoffrey Hendricks, George Segal, Keith Sonnier, Herk
Van Tongeren, and Jackie Winsor. Also Bright Bimpong, Chakaia Booker,
Carson Fox, Harry Gordon, Julia Kunin, Todd Lambrix, and Patrick
Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "The Art of Baron Laszlo Mednyansky in
Context: Works from the Salgo Trust for Education." An exhibition
of works by the turn-of-the-century aristocratic artist who disguised
himself as a pauper to paint grim images of the underbelly of society.
Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday,
1 to 4 p.m. Donation $5. To September 16.
908-735-8415. "Melvin Edwards: The Prints of a Sculptor,"
an exhibit of works on paper by the artist best known for his powerful
work in welded steel. Edwards makes metaphorical references, both
personal and historical, to the African-American experience
cultural references to his extensive travels in Africa. He has taught
at Rutgers Mason Gross School since 1972. Museum hours are Tuesday
to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To June 3.
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