Sad Chelsea! The First Fall Openings Wrap Up

After Chelsea’s slow summer months, I get excited about the hundreds of openings in New York just like how I felt when I was a kid going to Astroworld - and the excitement fades just as quickly. When school was out, my family and I’d take our yearly trek to our hometown amusement park. We’d arrive early in the morning and I’d dart to the Texas Cyclone, my favorite wooden roller coaster, making sure I’d be the first in line. By the afternoon, the lines were too long, the heat was too much to endure, and eventually, every rollercoaster felt the same. After eating too much cotton candy, I’d whine about wanting to go home. In Chelsea, you still have to endure the heat of too many bodies packed into the galleries, a little too much wine, and yes, eventually, each gallery begins to look the same. With hundreds of openings to attend this month, it’s impossible to attend all of them and to stay excited throughout the night.

I’d be hard pressed to write a review of any exhibition I attended this past weekend. It’s just hard to see the art when there’s crowds of sweaty people drinking cheap wine. Still, the general appeal I found from my multiple evenings of gallery-going was in the lack of splashy, colorful, and exuberant art. It was a little reticent, even sad, but we’re not living in a boom-and-bust time. I’d be surprised if the art world weren’t reeling even a little bit from a difficult year of financial upheaval and international riots and revolutions.

For the most part, the work in Chelsea that was quiet, small, and monochrome outnumbered any room-sized work. Fredericks & Freiser, Nicole Klagsbrun, The Kitchen, and Winkleman all fit two of those three categories. I didn’t make it out to Rikrit Tiravanija’s exhibition at Carolina Nitsch to see his probably egoistical “monumental print project”  consisting of reproductions from the artist’s passport.  The decadence of traveling abroad aside, it’s still a work on paper.

Next week, I’ll be on the lookout for the large, monumental, and flashy. Still, even someone known for working on a huge scale like Sterling Ruby, looked a little more monochrome than than usual with his bronze and steel sculptures at Andrea Rosen.

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