Monday, April 5, 2010

Greene Street Galleries

First things first: People of SoHo ---learn how to walk in public.

Bulling through grazing throngs of Sex in the City wannabes is no way to get to an art show. Frustration by fashionistas unfurls a special sort wrath towards Ralph Bakshi's exhibit at the Animazing Gallery.

I'm a great admirer of Bakshi's work. I like his films, I like his style. His art in this collection, though, misses the boat.

Greene Street.  Putting a mirror up to the street on Opposite Day.

"The Streets" are mixed media of found objects applied to canvas and painted over.  They are meant to recall the city of the artist's younger days -a setting he's skillfully reproduced in "Fritz the Cat", "Heavy Traffic" and "Coonskin". 

This reclamation may work on a personal level, but the ruins (and resurrections) of reality have come to outshine this technique.  Look at the results of Detroit's entropic decay, the bayou flotsam left behind by Hurricane Katrina, even the New York City's own downtown catastrophe -the twisted metal and broken wood of time and tide are far more revealing -far more beautiful -than nails and molding stretched and painted over.

Right down the street at the William Bennett Gallery is an exhibition of Miro prints.

These, too, lose something.  Miro's work vibrates with energy (including his found object collages -maybe the earlier part of this century was kinder to the medium, maybe it only succeeds as nostalgia).

Much of this energy gets lost in the prints.

A few prints stand out.  These all have the artist's hand visible.  In one series of lithographs he scribbles in lines in graphic.  These are immediately electric.  In another he uses a sort of stencil technique called "pochoir". 

With his singular design and color, Miro seems like an ideal printmaker.  Ralph Bakshi's visceral connection to a bygone metropolis seems like a perfect starting point for nonobjective painting.  Neither live up to expectations.

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