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New galleries in New York

Art spaces open in Chelsea and the Upper East Side

Yves Klein creates a “Fire Painting” in 1962. Photo: © Louis Frederic

Blum & Poe will bring Asian masters to the city

The Los Angeles dealers Tim Blum and Jeff Poe have inaugurated a new space on the Upper East Side, where they will show the work of post-war artists from Asia, many of whom have been seen only rarely, if ever, in the US. They include Kishio Suga, one of the artists associated with the post-war Mono-ha (School of Things) movement in Japan, which was little known in the West until Blum & Poe organised a major survey in 2012.

An exhibition that is due to open at the duo’s huge Los Angeles gallery in September will unite around 40 canvases made in Korea between the 1960s and the 1980s. It will be the first show in the US to focus on the five core artists of the Tansaekhwa (monochrome painting) group. A “hyper-distillation” of this survey will then be presented in New York, says the gallery’s co-founder, Tim Blum.

Currently on display in the new gallery, which spans 2,000 sq. ft on two floors and includes a large outside terrace, is a non-selling exhibition of butterfly paintings by Mark Grotjahn (until 21 June). The 14 canvases on display—monochromatic colour studies with an explosion of lines radiating from a central spine—date from 2001 to 2008 and are on loan from private collectors and museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The show is a model of how Blum & Poe will navigate the display of gallery artists who are represented in New York by others, such as Grotjahn, who is with Gagosian Gallery. “We’ll do special projects specific to a body of work that we want to explore deeply,” Blum says.

In September, Blum & Poe will also open a 2,000 sq. ft gallery in Tokyo, which will host exhibitions by the gallery’s entire roster of artists.

• Blum & Poe is at 19 East 66th Street

Experimental space for Marianne Boesky

When it comes to selling art, context is everything, says Marianne Boesky. She tells the story of an exhibition she organised in her gallery in Chelsea in 2012, which was devoted to the work of the artist Melissa Gordon, then aged 31. The paintings were priced at $12,000 each. “We had a great response from collectors but we hardly sold a thing,” Boesky says. A few months later, she took the same works to Frieze New York and “sold every single one”.

The lesson? When collectors come to an established gallery district like Chelsea, they expect to see artists with a long career behind them, whose work is “already validated” and commands “higher price points”. For this reason, Boesky has opened a new space in the Lower East Side to show “more experimental” work. “Visitors go to that part of the city with a different mind space; they’re more open,” she says.

The first exhibition is of work by the veteran Italian artist Pier Paolo Calzolari, aged 71, who was chosen because of his “willingness to experiment”, says Boesky, noting that “age is irrelevant”. His large sculptural installation Comodini, 1989, is on display (until 4 July); Boesky describes it as a “living, breathing sculpture”. Two bedside tables are hooked up to a refrigeration unit that turns itself on every morning, slowly covering the furniture in white frost. At closing time, the machine switches off and the installation melts.

The new space, called Boesky East, gives the dealer a tripartite presence in the city: she opened a gallery on the Upper East Side for “art-historical curated shows” four years ago, to add to the space in Chelsea she inaugurated in 2001.

• Boesky East is at 20 Clinton Street, between East Houston and Stanton Streets

Skarstedt pairs Warhol’s urine paintings with Klein’s blowtorch canvases

In the late 1970s, Andy Warhol experimented with the catalytic reaction of urine and metallic paints. By urinating directly onto canvas, in a gesture reminiscent of the Abstract Expressionists who had dominated the New York scene during Warhol’s early career, he created his first abstract paintings in brilliant golds and acidic greens—a group of works entitled “Oxidations”. Almost two decades earlier, in France, Yves Klein had used a blowtorch to burn abstracted forms onto receiving paper for his “Fire Paintings”.

Now the dealer Per Skarstedt is displaying these two groups of work alongside each other for the first time, in a new, 6,000 sq. ft gallery in Chelsea that opens on Thursday. “Both artists used the elements to create these works,” he says, adding that Warhol “had almost certainly seen” the Frenchman’s pieces. “He mimicked the scale and composition of canvases by Klein,” Skarstedt says.

The new gallery is the dealer’s third: in October 2012, he added a space in London’s Mayfair to his uptown gallery on East 79th Street. Although most New York dealers with spaces in Chelsea and on the Upper East Side use the former for one-person shows and the latter for curated art-historical exhibitions, Skarstedt is reversing that trend: new paintings by Lucien Smith, who turns 25 this year, comprise the next display in the dealer’s uptown space (15 May-27 June). “We thought we’d shake things up a little bit. It’s more fun that way,” Skarstedt says, adding that, in the future, his artists will be able to choose which of the two spaces they would prefer to show in.

The new space in Chelsea has been renovated by the gallery world’s architect of choice, Annabelle Selldorf, who has incorporated vast skylights into the central space.

• Skarstedt Chelsea is at 550 West 21st Street

Ryan Lee shows art on the High Line

Who says a gallery needs a ground-floor space to lure passersby? Ryan Lee Gallery, which moved from street level to a third-floor location on 26th Street last month, is launching a window display programme to attract people walking along the High Line. “The High Line is a new street level for Chelsea,” says Mary Ryan, a partner in the gallery, pointing out that more than 4.5 million people walked it last year alone.

Every two to four weeks, the gallery plans to rotate a single-channel video work and a large-scale painting or sculpture that can be easily viewed from the elevated park. The programme begins this month with Jonathan, 1983, by Robert Longo; in June, the gallery will present a single-channel video by Martín Gutierrez created especially for the window. The 8,000 sq. ft space, which is twice the size of the gallery’s former home, has another benefit: insurance premiums, which increased for Chelsea galleries after Superstorm Sandy, are 30% lower on the higher floor. J.H.

Ryan Lee Gallery is at 515 West 26th Street. An exhibition of paintings by Donald Sultan, “Artifice”, is currently on view (until 27 June)

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