Friday, March 6, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities

On Wednesday I flew to New York for a full day. A delayed flight negated my plans to have lunch with Steve Kasher – although he did buy me a sandwich which I gobbled while looking at his exhibition of work by Christina Kruse and getting a preview of his new venture where he will be dealing in rare books and photographic collectables. This is now an even better destination for those wanting to browse and collect.

I left Steve’s to see Mark Ruwedel’s exhibition at Yossi Milo’s. It is simply wonderful exhibition of his WESTWARD series, which is the subject of the book that has received such wide acclaim.

I then headed up to the Armory Show for its opening and walked through the show with Robert Gurbo, curator of the André Kertész Estate. The quality of the work on display as well as the manner in which it was installed made it a terrific edition of this event, but I did not like the way the two piers were divided between “contemporary” and “contemporary & modern”. The standouts for me were cut outs by Kara Walker as well as certain photographs in the booths of Howard Greenberg Gallery (especially a really large print from Bruce Davidson’s East 100th Street); Laurence Miller Gallery (Ray K. Metzker); and Robert Koch Gallery (Dritikol). I was also very happy to see that Julie Saul’s booth had samples of her recent summer show: “When Color Was New: vintage photographs from around the 1970’s”. She introduced me to the fascinating collages of Elaine Lustig Cohen. Considering all of the “gloom about the end of the financial world” it was a fun and energetic opening, but unfortunately my flight back was not delayed, so I needed to leave the show at 7pm to catch my flight home.

I was a little tired the next day, but felt obligated to pop in at the fundraiser for CONTACT at The Burroughes Building. It was a new initiative for the festival and considering I could walk there I found it hard to find a really good excuse to miss the party. The place was simply rocking and I am very happy I went. Although I thought the Armory’s party was better than I expected, it could simply not match the amount of FUN that everybody was having at the CONTACT event. Someone I was talking with said that it was the first real party (hats off to the committee behind this, as well as the musicians) of the spring and they thought it made perfect sense for CONTACT to have hosted this event because the festival has become such a fixture every May. If last night was any indication, this year’s festival is not to be missed.

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