Gaping Galore

Art shows and galleries around town have been keeping art aficionados busy. Here are some of the shows we've stopped by





An art construction at the Frieze Art Fair

FRIEZE ART FAIR

For almost ten years a highlight of the British art scene, the Frieze Art Fair relocated to New York City in May for a satellite presentation.  In a bespoke serpentine white tent constructed on Randall's Island, art fans could view a gigantic nose sculpture, a wall-mounted cutaway section of hardwood floor, a giant blue dwarf with a disfigured arm, two different versions of reconstructed cars and other contemporary takes on current creativity.

Arriving by shuttle bus or ferry, viewers examine works displayed by over 180 international galleries, stroll outdoors along the waterfront Sculpture Garden or linger among Frieze Projects specially commissioned and created by eight artists to involve the island's unique geography.



Fabric Sculpture at the Frieze Art Fair

Already a fixture in London, the very efficient and pleasingly organized fair is expected to become a regular New York event important to contemporary collectors across the country. www.friezenewyork.com
 

HELMUT LANG: SCULPTURES

In polite company you could describe them as "mushrooms," but in fact there is something distinctively masculine about the tapered toppings of many of the freestanding monochrome sculptures created by former fashion designer Helmut Lang, which are now on view in an historic New York City townhouse.

With undulating sags and folds, the stacked black and white unstable totems express both the biology and experience of the body. Rubber, foam, plaster, sheepskin and tar can be identified in the pieces, with softened edges indicating the process of erosion and the progression from industrial use to artistic artifact. Fans of fashion recall Vienna native Lang's label in garments for two decades before he retired and turned his attention to sculpting these evocative, provocative works.

Helmut Lang Sculptures, 24 Washington Square North; May 5-June 15.

 



Elsa Schiaparelli's designs focus above the waist;  Miuccia Prada emphasizes below.

SCHIAPARELLI AND PRADA:  MET MUSEUM COSTUME INSTITUTE

Striking affinities between two great Italian designers are the focus of this year's major fashion exhibit at the Metropolitan of Art.  The "shoe" hats, lobster dress and other surreal creations of Cocteau and Dali contemporary Elsa Schiaparelli are juxtaposed with today's flaming high heels, mirror skirts, and geometric prints created by Miuccia Prada.

Designing for cafe society, Schiaparelli focused on cleverly detailed hats and jackets to set off the view of the woman at the table. In contrast, Prada focuses "below the waist" with embellished skirts and elaborate shoes focusing on the body's regions of sex and birth and grounding.

"Impossible Conversations" between the two designers are projected on the walls in films created by Baz Luhrmann with actress Judy Davis portraying Schiaparelli who recites passages from the designer's book in an imaginary exchange with Prada.

The exhibit, which will run through August 19th, was launched with the Met's famous "party of the year" hosted by Vogue Magazine's Anna Wintour, Prada and actress Carey Mulligan. www.metmuseum.org

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