Friday, September 17, 2010

Pace/MacGill: Looking Forward, Looking Back

It's back. Gallery season. And with it, two very enthusiastic party goers who braved the weather last night in favor of an evening celebrating Pace Gallery's 50th year yet didn't manage to actually see any art at all. This happens sometimes.

However, I hear that the anniversary show is quite something, and I intend to stop by the gallery this weekend in hopes of redemption. Its rare for a gallery open its wall space to pieces borrowed from museums and collectors. There is something, I don't know, worthy about it. Shows like this bring a bit of integrity to a world so corrupt at its core. Gagosian set a fine example of how well this can be done with the Monet show this past summer, as did Pace/MacGill with a gorgeous Richard Avedon exhibition during the fall of '08. Did any of you attend that show? There was a Paul Simon portrait that I wanted to drink, it was so perfect.

Looking Forward, Looking Back is a selection of seminal photographs by Robert Frank, Paul Graham, Irving Penn, and Edward Weston, among others. "Spiritual America" up there by Alfred Stieglitz (it just occurred to me that perhaps Richard Prince was referencing this work in his series of the same title? No?) is on view, alongside other similarly modest photographs from the early 1920s so deserving of our attention. The walls have been painted a warm sepia tone, a pleasant departure from the whitewhitewhite so favored in contemporary spaces. My college painting professor told us to always hang art on white, no matter what(!) but the sepia seems appropriate in this case. It soothes the palate or something.

I'm pleased that Pace favored tradition in place of splash with this exhibit. We'll have enough splash this fall, in little white boxes stacked six stories between 22nd and 29th streets, and all the way to the water. Judy Pfaff is showing at Ameringer through October, and I think the LaChapelle show is still up at Kasmin. Have your candy elsewhere, Pace seems to be saying. We're serving up the main course.

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