From the Chic to the Haunting: Loris Gréaud, Chantal Joffe and More on West 25th Street

Courtesy the artist and the Pace Gallery
Courtesy the artist and Leila Heller
Courtesy the artist and Marlborough Gallery
Courtesy the artist and Winston Wachter
Courtesy the artist and Stricoff Fine Arts

A few days back, Gallerist spent a beautiful, sunny day on the densely populated strip of West 25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, making stops at Leila Heller, Pace Gallery, Marlborough Chelsea, Winston Wachter, Cheim Read and Stricoff Fine Arts. First up was Rachel Lee Hovnanian’s brilliantly white “Mud Pie” exhibition at Leila Heller (568 West 25th Street,) where the jubilant Ms. Heller herself provided a tour of the sleek white show. (A full account of that visit is available elsewhere on this site.)

On the other end of the color spectrum, though certainly just as chic, is Loris Gréaud’s dark, haunting exhibition “The Unplayed Notes” at the Pace Gallery (534 West 25th Street). The young Mr. Gréaud, whose solo show in Paris took over the entire Palais de Tokyo, feels a little constrained in the hulking space—hard to believe since it fills the entire gallery. The standout here is his film One Thousand Ways to Enter, in which abstractions that look like Rorschach inkblots morph on an endless loop. But it is not the film itself that is so striking, but rather the projector—a refrigerator–sized relic from the celluloid era that looks wildly complex and futuristic in the dim gallery, like a chunk of alien technology.

Dark and haunting as well is Chakaia Booker’s “Conjugal Visit” at Marlborough Gallery (545 West 25th Street). Her sculpture, which is primarily rubber based, has an immediate olfactory impact, but even the strong smell pales in comparison to the striking texture of her work. Ms. Booker plays this up in a piece titled Chu Ching: two wheelbarrows support a giant cross, the surface of which looks like a black feathered boa.

On a comparatively light–hearted note, Jill Weinstock’s “RE: play” at Winston Wachter (530 West 25th Street) is tinged with childhood nostalgia. The standouts are toys set in rubber that look like they might be from the American Museum of Natural History’s amber collection; we were made nostalgic by the toys themselves, as well as the experience of going to the museum as a child—score two for Ms. Weinstock.

Portraits by Chantal Joffe at Cheim & Read (547 West 25th Street) are of a piece with New Objectivity, though her strokes are a little less refined. The work practically glows in the gallery’s space, though the trademark tall, sky-lit ceilings of that duo’s gallery generally threaten to make anything look good.

A nice surprise was artist Paul Beliveau, whose book binding prints (perhaps part of a trend of leveraging literature as art) are on display at Stricoff Fine Arts (564 West 25th Street).

Many of these shows are closing in the next few days to make way for galleries’ summer efforts, so be sure to make the trip soon.

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