Hello! My name is Jody and I am a committed Art Guide who will take you through the best, most off-beat galleries of Chelsea to give you a breathtaking immersion of up and coming artists and their beautiful art work! I am a working artist myself, writer and university art professor based in New York City. My style as a experience curator draws on my nuanced understanding of images and materials. I love connecting people to contemporary art. I have made and shown my work for twenty years, published exhibition reviews and taught sculpture and drawing. I'm committed to arranging the careful and abundant research I do into an experience that brings to life for my guests the best of what artists do. I was recently featured in Dove- the Italian travel and lifestyle magazine, as a 'New York Insider'! You can check out my work here at Art Gallery Circuit and if interested in going on an Art Gallery Immersion experience, check out my MYrago experience right here
No day is typical but I will do my best to give you a Day in the Life of one of my latest gallery hopping days! Hope you enjoy!
6:30 AM: I'm up and checking times for the trains into Penn Station from Maplewood, New Jersey where I'm based. Today is a research day for a tour I'm doing this weekend for two couples and four children. I have to make sure the work and my commentary hold the kids' attention.
9:30 AM: I take the train in to the city. Galleries in Chelsea almost all open at 10:00. Chelsea is a couple of avenue blocks west and four or five blocks south of Penn Station. I look up a good coffee place on the way, grab a cortado and keep walking.
10:15 AM: David Nolan gallery is the first stop. I see a lot of good shows here, and today adds to that list. He is showing Jorinde Voight, a rising star from Germany who was at first a serious cello-play before she went to university and switched to studying art because the whole music department was on strike! Her drawings are part cosmological map, part musical score. Fluid and fascinating. I will definitely include this show on the tour.
11 AM: Next up is Trevor Paglen's show at Metro Pictures. This is one of the few truly avant-garde shows I've seen in recent years. I've already brought one group here and was lucky enough to catch the artist in the gallery talking to people about the work. Paglen is interested in the way we're teaching AI's to create images. The back room in the show is really hard core. There, he has a series of images derived from several AI's who are each taught to identify and create images in very particular categories, such as, for example, 'Monsters of Capitalism'. Another AI then disputes the image the first has created, and they debate the rightness of the image for its category, until finally agreeing. The images are unrelated to any part of recognizable reality, and very strange indeed. Paglen won a MacArthur 'genius' grant during the run of this show. It's a given that I'll include it.
12 PM: I grab a silky salmon salad at Il Bottino's to-go outlet on 10th Avenue, and sit in the window there to hurredly eat it. So delicious! I make notes from the morning's shows as well. The closer in time that I can write down my thoughts to actually being in the presence of the work, the better, I find.
1:30 PM: Lots of people in black out looking at shows today in Chelsea. People must be aware that this is very probably one of the last nice warmish days this fall.
2 PM: Cheyney Thompson at Andrew Kreps. A show that gets reinstalled every day! Hilarious and interesting. His show is made up of black, blue, red yellow and white paintings. Each painting is monochrome. There are several very large paintings, all the same dimensions, and many smaller ones. Each painting according to the press release, has the exact same amount of pigment distributed it over it. On one of the walls is a black box with a white tape running out of it. It is running through all the possible permutations of how the show could be arranged in the gallery. Whichever one it is on when the staff arrives each day is the pattern they use to reinstall the show. It's a brittle, cerebral experience that makes you giggle. Strangely enough, though the paintings are made as an exercise in this game, they hold up on their own, sort of like beautiful litmus papers.
3:30 PM: On to Tom Friedman at Luhring Augustine. He is a American conceptual sculptor in his early 50's. He's known for making everyday objects with materials that give the pieces a zingy perceptual twist, so you end up never seeing the material or object in the same way. For this show he has peeled back the formal elements of material, shape, texture and color and is working only with thin projections in well-lit rooms. They have titles like One-minute Egg, Kite String, and Pong. He projects wan videos on the walls, the best of which is called The Wall. A hand gropes toward the viewer from the wall, apparently through a thin piece of fabric. It's a brilliant piece and will interest children as much as the adults.
5 PM: Last show: Kara Walker at Sikkema Jenkins. Walker is a 47-year old African-American who is is famous for her room-size installations of black silhouette cut-outs mounted directly on the wall. She addresses the history of slavery and racism and the reality of blacks and whites in American through unsparing, violent imagery. She uses images from historical textbooks to show how blacks were depicted in the antebellum South. Walker received a MacArthur genius grant at the age of 27
6 PM: I'm finishing just as the galleries are closing at 6. Time to head back to Penn Station and get the first train out of the station back to Maplewood. I barely get a seat and feel lucky to get one at all since a lot of people are standing. I feel for those who go through Penn every single day. It must take years off your life!
7 PM: I walk home from the station and quickly warm up some curry and make a salad.
8 PM: I upload my photos from the day, edit and tag them. Then I watch a few interview videos I find online to help me get an idea of the artists I don't know well from today, like Cheyney Thompson. I love hearing what artists say about their own work. Even just seeing a picture of the artist helps, ideally in their studio. There are some good collections that exist now where artists either talk about life in the studio, like 'Inside the Studio' or others where they're just photographed there.
9 PM: I catch Anderson Cooper late edition and a few minutes of John Oliver before turning to my book, 'The Association of Small Bombs'. I've just started it and it's great so far.
10:30 PM: Tomorrow is a studio day / writing day where I will start to compose the tour and make a final selection of galleries. The chain of shows has to flow from one to the next, with a juicy mix of media and materials. I want every tour to be memorable, and every tour to leave my guests with a little bit of a roof garden of the mind through which they've connected to art and sparked their own relationship with it. As carefully as I research and write, my remarks on the tour are a staging area, and the real action happens between each guest and the work.