News from New York: Rocking art, baffling awards, and PaceWildenstein hits a midlife crisis

The prestigious New York firm imitates younger, hipper galleries such as Deitch Projects with a show of video game art


Mark Glimcher sexes up PaceWildenstein

Grown-up gallerists are often comically susceptible to the appeal of trendy young things. The latest victim of this vogue is Mark Glimcher who, since being granted looser reins at PaceWildenstein by his father Arne, is now going all guns blazing for fresh faces. The model for the “new” PaceWildenstein appears to be the Deitch gallery, which combines a blue chip backroom with hot teens out front. Now Pace has brazenly air-lifted a Deitch-style show straight from SoHo to Chelsea. “Breaking and entering: art and the video game” has every Deitch hallmark including artists long associated with Deitch’s colleague Kathy Grayson, not least collective Paper Rad and internet artist Cory Arcangel. Let’s hope the PaceWildenstein prestige doesn’t dissipate as a result of all this feckless youth. Even the great gallerist Leo Castelli’s last years were marred by artist duo Pruitt-Early’s “Art work for teenage boys”.

Jackson Pollock’s secret artists support

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation is currently celebrating two decades of giving away Jackson’s posthumous bounty with shows at Washburn and Robert Miller. Far too many prizes are given to the very people who need them least, public figures already laden with honour and wealth. By contrast the Pollock-Krasner Foundation insists on “demonstrable financial need” albeit with that delicious proviso “not necessarily catastrophic”. But as a result some artists are shy to put the Pollock-Krasner on their resumé for its implication is that one is a penniless painter. Certainly their recipient list is fascinating, not only for its dogged obscurity, but also to track the fortunes of once-fabled stars. Last year’s grant recipients included Steven Campbell of Kippen, Scotland, once Manhattan’s hottest Hebridean. The real career-killer is to have received two Pollock-Krasner awards, but “past recipients should understand that the foundation does not wish to become an instrument of extended or permanent support for particular individuals,” the foundation warns.

An art award too far?

Another prize for hefty metal artist Richard Serra? Enough already! His latest is an “International Art Award”, an 18-carat gold sculpture and medal designed and donated by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón. The mysterious Gabarrón emerged into the Manhattan scene with a major PR campaign late last year and hired the Chelsea Art Museum for his own retrospective (until 14 January), expensively curated by hack-for-hire/esteemed academic Donald Kuspit. Gabarrón paid for lavish dinners and conferences, flying Frank Stella’s daughter Rachel over from France to film a documentary. The Cristóbal Gabarrón Foundation appears to have pot-hole deep pockets, while Gabarrón (according to his own publicity machine) is Spain’s leading living sculptor. Why surly Serra, connoisseur of Chillida and Orteiza, is part of all this is anyone’s guess. So next time you see Serra do cry: “Aha, your medal from El Gabarrón!”

Play it again, Eric

Eric Mitchell, film-maker, actor, DJ and 1980s favourite “Bad Boy” takes back Manhattan after a long Parisian exile. An exhibition of Mitchell’s art work (including “spot” sketches for The New Yorker) opens at the Mitchell Algus Gallery to coincide with the big “Downtown Show” at the Gray Art Gallery. Mitchell, who’s worked with everyone from film directors Vincent Gallo and Steve Buscemi to artists Olivier Mosset and Rene Ricard, will also be re-staging his infamous punk band Luxus that he formed with artist Martin Kippenberger. Not seen since 1979, the reunited band will perform some of their greatest hits, involving much banging of metal buckets on the head, and a surprise appearance from a mystery star guest playing “Kippy” himself.

Lou Reed puffs his own photography

Lou Reed has been busy in Tribeca. Not only has he been playing live along with partner Laurie Anderson before a small local audience to mark the opening of the new Canal Park, a verdant triangle which both artists lobbied to get planted, but also snapping surrounding views. This month Reed reveals for the first time his photographic art, mostly images of the Hudson River from the Tribeca corner where he now resides. Two concurrent exhibitions at Hermès and Steven Kasher Gallery coincide with the publication of Lou Reed’s New York (Steidl) and reveal his lyric gift extends to the humble press release. As Lou puts it: “These images are the result of a small attempt to share the beauty that has bedazzled the consciousness of this viewer standing on the edge of the river with a box in hand trying to catch the lightning bolt of time.”

DCKT Contemporary finds the X factor

Lou’s not the only rocker-artist, indeed that hybrid is now so accepted—in New York at least—that even Michael Werner is finally able to sell art by Don Van Vliet, whereas previously the gallery hid the artist’s other identity as “Captain Beefheart”. Now following musician and actor John Lurie at Kern, Thurston Moore of “Sonic Youth” at KS Art and Lee Ranaldo of the same band at GAS, comes the debut New York show of Exene Cervenka, founder of the seminal punk band X, at DCKT this month (until 11 February). It is showing journals and collages dating back to 1974. DCKT has already found a market for her work, selling to trustees of both MoMA and the Whitney on the opening day of the Pulse fair in Miami.

For some of us, $2,000 is a lot of money

Flotsam ponders the issue of artists’ resale rights (droit de suite) every time he sees poor Pop artist Marisol round the corner in Tribeca feeding pigeons or sitting in derelict mood with cigarette and dog. After all Marisol’s 1964 piece Cocktail party just sold at Sotheby’s for a record $912,000 netting vast profit for collector “Buddy” Cummings Mayer in Chicago. Surely whatever percentage Marisol received under the system, even just 0.25%, might grant her the glimmer of a smile?

Fine Art in Space cuts video art down to size

The contemporary art scene is getting bigger daily as every gallery, it seems, expands. But what goes up can also come down as demonstrated by a show at Long Island City’s Fine Art in Space, the first exhibition of video art for the iPod. “PodART” (until 17 January) features videos by an improbable range of practitioners from African collector Jean Pigozzi and Gogol Bordello, the critically acclaimed gypsy punk collective, to Jeff Wyckoff, cancer specialist and expert in anatomical illustrations. All of the work is intended to be viewed on the iPod: each is a limited edition and is sold in iPod format along with the player itself.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'PaceWildenstein hits a midlife crisis'