The End of an Era: Thank You, OK Harris

Closing its doors at the end of the day on April 19

"OK Harris was the first gallery on West Broadway and is virtually the last"

In July 2012 I wrote a post saying goodbye and thank you to the legendary Ivan Karp, who founded and ran OK Harris Works of Art in SoHo. It was impossible to imagine that he would one day be gone, but once the reality set in, the post poured out.

Ivan in the doorway of his gallery in 1995
Photo by Algis Kemezys, courtesy of the gallery

Now it's time to say goodbye to the legendary gallery he founded. In April it will close its doors. In an email sent out yesterday, the family and longtime staff of the gallery said this:

"After 45 years, OK Harris will be closing.  We will proudly exhibit the works of the exceptional artists on our schedule through April 19th.  This e-mail is to thank you and to congratulate our artists, collectors, dealers, friends, on 45 years of successful collaboration.  Ivan C. Karp, the gallery’s progenitor and prime mover, its heart and soul, was the proud steward and loving parent of this institution.  OK Harris has been an accomplishment worthy of acclaim and celebration and has historical resonance.

"Every one of us contributed to Ivan’s vision and participated in the life and character of OK Harris.  The gallery hasn’t merely been a place to showcase the talents of artists or an establishment for the sale of works of art to an admiring public, it has been an institution where people of uncommon vision and love of creative enterprise could come together and be uplifted by the variety and resounding quality of Ivan’s generous vision.

"All things pass, and passages are bittersweet.  There is joy in having participated in a thing worth doing and in the knowledge that it was done well, and melancholy in its ending.  OK Harris was the first gallery on West Broadway and is virtually the last.  Its opening founded SoHo and achieved its promise as Ivan’s proving grounds.  Ivan deliberated the eventual closing of the gallery when he could no longer be its hub.  He left us with clear guidelines for its duration, to which we adhere in closing, recognizing Ivan's and our collaboration with each of you during the last 45 grand years.

"The gallery’s archives will be donated to the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian where Ivan’s personal papers already reside. "

The opening of five exhibitions on Saturday, January 25, is likely to be bittersweet, but let's not focus on the bitter. My friend Laura Moriarty will show her splendid sculptural paintings there for the first time. Go see the show, say Hi to Laura, and tell the family and staff--Christine Adapon, Amy Fishman, Ethan Karp, Marilyn Karp, Suzanne Kreps, Ana Menezes and Rick Witter--how much the gallery has meant to you over the years. 

Laura Moriarty, Leaning Wall, 2013, pigmented beeswax, 15 x 10 x 2.5 inches


Do You Know About Painter's Progress?

Artist Stephen B. MacInnis, a painter based in Prince Edward Island, Canada, maintains a blog called Painter's Progress. In the spirit of cyber camaraderie that is a hallmark among art bloggers, MacInnis runs a regular feature called Have You Met . . .? in which he introduces the work of an artist whose work he admires.

J.M., Diamond Lattice 25, graphite and micaceous oil stick on Fabriano 300-lb. hotpress, 30 x 22 inches

Today I'm that artist. I'm delighted to be part of a project that includes Tim McFarlane, P. Elaine Sharpe, Doug Holst, Lori Ellison, Louise Blyton, Chris Ashley and many others.

In the spirit of cyber camaraderie, and because I happen to love his work, allow me to suggest that you take a look at MacInness's work. Why not start here with his bio and spend some time looking around the site, as you might in a studio visit.

Stephen MacInniss, #1425, mixed media on paper, 12x12 inches from his Long Seriesan ongoing and proposed 10,000-piece project

Thanks, Stephen!


Fair Well: Coincidentally . . .

Previous Miami posts

Demitra Copoulos cast plastic at Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, at Aqua Art  

If there's one thing I learned at these fairs it's that if you see one unusual object or idea, it's very likely you'll run into something similar--not a trend but a coincidence, often with a high WTF factor.

Fans of the Fairs
Not to be confused with satisfied attendees (or the much-appreciated A/C that cooled all the venues):

Above, at ABMB: Spencer Finch, Wind (Through Emily Dickinson's Window, August 14, 2012, 3:22 p.m.), 2012, fan, dimmer, lan box, at unidentified gallery

Below, at Untitled: Arielle Falk's bladeless fans at Auxiliary Projects, Brooklyn
. . . . .

Stovetop Cooking
One is a conceptual piece, the other an elaborately constructed full-scale stove.

Above, at ABMB: Mika Rottenberg, detail of Tss Tss, at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City

Below: Do Ho Suh, detail of Specimen Series: 348 West 22 Street, New York , NY 10011, USA- Stove, 2013; polyester fabric, at Lehman Maupin Gallery, New York City

In Rottenberg's piece, above, water from the A/C overflow drips into a frying pan that's placed on a turned-on hotplate. The tss tss of the title is the sound the water makes as it hits the hot pan. 
"I love it," I heard Don Rubel say, as he walked by it.
"Careful, hot," said the guard.

Do Ho Suh, known for constructing entire, minutely detailed rooms out of sewn fabric, here offers an apartment stove in a vitrine
. . . . .

On a Roll
Mr. Whipple would have loved these.  Just don't squeeze the ziggurat.

At NADA: Ken Kagami cast bronze and paper toilet paper rolls, at 
(I think) Misako & Rosen, Tokyo 
Below, at ABMB: Martin Creed, title unknown, stacked toilet paper, at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York City

. . . . .

Call 1-800-Mattress
Tell them you saw these in Miami:

Above, at ABMB: Guyton/Walker, installation of painted mattresses, all untitled, 2013, at Green Naftali, New York City
Below, at Untitled: Ezra Johnson, Slumping Toward Bethlehem, 2013, mixed media, at DNA Gallery, Provincetown, Mass.

. . . . .

Checking In
Even though there were plaid grids seen throughout the fairs, I wouldn't call them a trend but more of a confluence of concept, executed in different materials. (Well, maybe that makes them a trend.) I love all of them.

At Untitled:  Kelly Jazvac, Mat, 2013, salvaged adhesive vinyl and rope, at Diaz Contemporary, Toronto
Installation view below

At Miami Project: Cheryl Donegan installation of fabric and mixed-media collages, at David Shelton Gallery, Houston
Below: Closer view of one work

Above and below, at NADA: Michelle Grabner, flashe on panel, various sizes, at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago

At NADA: Peter Schuyff, Untitled, 1986, oil on canvas, at Sorry We're Closed Gallery, Brussels
Detail below

. . . . .

Two on a Match
The paintings of Josef Albers are an art fair staple, perhaps because he painted so many of them in his lifetime, and they're brilliant, and in secondary-market sales they probably bring in a bundle. The surprise here was coming across these fabulous bound-book installations and then looking for, and finding, a painting that related almost perfectly

Above at ABMB: Fernanda Bragatiero, Not Abstract, 2013, handmade books on stainless steel  shelves. at Galerie Elba Benitez, Madrid
Below, Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, Waiting, 1954, oil on canvas, at Tibor de Nagy Gallery

. . . . .

Bring Your Office to the Fair Day
The big fair has had its share of installations--including bodegas, fruit stands, a sewing factory, a banana-laden VW van, a canteen truck selling art, and more--but this is the first time it had a business office and office supplies. 

At ABMB: The entry to Wang Yuyang's office, an installation at Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing

The office itself seems to be out of the late-Eighties. As you're standing there breathing, you realize it's not the quiet whoosh of your own breath you're hearing. The contents of the entire office---all the equipment, plus the office furniture and even the packaged reams of paper--are impressively fabricated simulacra in plastic or rubber that expand and contract slightly. The effect was not cartoonish but kind of terrifying, actually

Above and below: closer views of the installation, where everything was expanding and contracting

At NADA: There was a copy machine sitting quietly (not breathing, as far as I could tell) in the booth of The Still House Group, Brooklyn 

And back at ABMB, in an art-or-trash moment there was this box full of printer parts 

. . . . .

Poker Face
It took a moment of viewing this monochromatic abstraction to realize what its components were. I photographed it, mostly for the surprise factor. But the work didn't make it into a post until I read a related news item on line. Apparently one way to deal with a bad hand is to change the game entirely.

Above, at ABMB: Not sure (possibly Eric Wesley at Bortolami, New York City)
Below, from a recent news item online:

. . . . .

Eva and Adele
You don't have a total art fair experience unless and until you see Eva and Adele, the bald and genderless Berlin couple whose fussy sartorial expression is a combination of haute kitsch and basse couture. Since their costume is their art ("Wherever we are is museum"), they don't seem to hang out or talk with other fairgoers but rather engage in a lot of seeing and being seen. 

At ABMB: Eva and Adele pose for someone else's camera. I just took advantage of the photo op
Telling them apart, below: Adele is on the left

And that brings us to the image of the sculptures that open this post. When I saw these cast plastic wigs at Aqua Art, I knew I had a conceptual coincidence

Demitra Copoulos cast  plastic at Portrait Society Gallery, Milwaukee, at Aqua Art

That's it for this year's posts, Fair Well, from Miami. Farewell. Thanks for reading. Feel free to share the links to these posts. 

If you are enjoying these posts from Miami, please consider making a yearly donation of $20 to support my blog. The cost in money and time to attend and report on the fairs is significant for an artist with an ongoing studio practice. A link to PayPal is on the right sidebar close to the top of the page (look for the red type). Any amount is welcome. Thank you.


Fair Well: Drape. A Languorous

Line Wends Its Way Through the Fairs.

Previous Miami posts
C'est What?
Some Figuration

Visit the fairs enough years in a row and you see there's always some element that threads it way through the various venues. One year it was trees. Another, books. Last year it was brains. This year it's not so much a theme as a particular approach to handling materials. While we think of draping as a way to shape a garment, here we see it as a way to shape sculpture, dimensionalize painting, obfuscate an image, or suggest dimension via tromp l'oeil means. What I love about the draping (and folding and gathering) here is that it gives me a way to take you through a wide range of the art and materials I saw, contemporary and modern, from galleries around the world.

At ABMB: El Anatsui, to be titled, 2013, found aluminum and copper wire, at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City
Detail below

At Aqua Art: Ted Van Cleave, Gold Fish, 2013, nylon, cement and paint, at Victori Contemporary
Installation view below for scale

At ABMB: Lynda Benglis,  Chimera , 1979, gold leaf on oil base over gessoed plaster on bronze, at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York City

At ABMB: Leslie Wayne, Paint/Rag #26, 2013; placard says "oil on panel," but it looks like layers of draped oil skin, at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City
Image below for scale

At Untitled: Juana Valdez installation of ceramic sculpture at Gallery Sensei, New York City
Above: Closer view of one of the sculptures
Below: Installation view 
Below: Another closer view of the work

At Untitled: Joaquin Segura, El decreto de extinction de Luz y Fuerza fue un acto de abuso, 2012, at Galeria Espacio Minimo, Madrid

At Untitled: Aurora Passero hand dyed and woven hangings, at Another Space, Archer, Florida
Closer view below

At ABMB: Pia Camil, Espectacular Telón, 2013, hand dyed and stitched canvas, at Galeria OMR, Mexico City

At ABMB: Shilpa Gupta, I Look At Things With Eyes Different From Yours, 2010, print on mirror, embroidered curtain on metal road, at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai

At ABMB: Kay Sage, Third Paragraph, 1953, oil on canvas, Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York City
(Read more about Sage, an American Surrealist, here)

At ABMB: David Hammons, Untitled (Kool-Aid), 2004, at Mnuchin Gallery, New York City

At NADA: Maximilian Schubert at Eli Ping Gallery, New York City
Installation view above for scale

Schubert  views above and below

At ABMB: Fausto Melotti, Untitled, 1977, plaster, mixed media and fabric, at Galerie Karsten Greve Ag,  St. Moritz, Switzerland

At Pulse: Blanca Casas Brullet (I think), Desert Series, 2009-2012, photo collage and mixed media on board, at unidentified gallery

Above and below
At Untitled: Marc Swanson at Inman Gallery, Houston

At ABMB: Liza Lou, Untitled #1, 2012, woven glass beads and wood, at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
Detail below

At Art Miami: Jason Martin, Temple, mixed media on aluminum, at Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm
Detail below

At Untitled: Marc Swanson, Untitled (brown panel with fringe), 2013, fringe and wood, at Inman Gallery, Houston

At ABMB: Alexandre da Cunha, Kentucky (Drop), 2013, mop heads and metal fittings, at CRG Gallery, New York City

At NADA: Corin Hewitt, from Compressed Interior series, at Laurel Gitlen Gallery, New York City
Installation view below

At Untitled: Dan Gunn, Cascade Scales, 2012, dye and polyurethane on plywood, at Marine Contemporary, Los Angeles
Detail below

More Gunn: Fucker Setting, 2013,  dye and polyurethane on plywood with wire
Detail below

At Art Miami: Peter Weber, 65, folded felt, 39 x 39 inches, at Galerie Renate Bender, Berlin

At Miami Project: Matthias van Arkel, Flake (Blue), 2013, silicone, at Thatcher Projects, New York City

At Art Miami: Ignacio Muñoz Vicuña, Azulon, acrylic on wood, at Gallery Nine, New York City
Detail below

At NADA: Sadie Laska,  No Looking, 2013, umbrella, light bulb, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 10.5 inches, at Kerry Schuss, New York City

At Untitled: Andreas Blank (I think), carved marble, at Benrimon Contemporary, New York City

At ABMB: Barry X. Ball, Purity, 2008-2013, lapis lazuli and stainless steel, at Sperone Westwater, New York City

At ABMB: Thiago Rocha Pitta at Galeria Millan, São Paolo

At Art Miami: Olda De Amaral, Nudo 10 (Knot 10), 2011, linen, gesso and acrylic, at Nohra Haime Gallery, New York City

At ABMB: Antoni Tàpies, Amuntegament/Accumulation, 2000, mixed media and collage on board, at Waddington Custot Galleries, London
Detail below

At Untitled: Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Google Image Search: Virginia Wolff The Sea The Waves (no.10), 2013, archival inkjet print, at Samuel Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles
Installation view below

At ABMB: Aldo Chaparro folded metal at Galeria OMR at Mexico City

At Aqua Art: Missy Englehardt scored paper, at K. Imperial Fine Art, San Francisco

At ABMB: Francesca Pasquali, Frappa Bianca, 2013, described by gallery as "mixed technique" but looks like folded strips of felt or neoprene, at Tornabuoni Art, Paris

Full view of Pasquali's Frappa Bianca 

Below: Installation view of the exhibition White Italian Monochrome at Tornabuoni Art, Paris, with Pasquali's work ar right, and Pablo Atchugarry's "draped" carved marble in the foreground

Next up: The last post in this series

If you are enjoying these posts from Miami, please consider making a yearly donation of $20 to support my blog. The cost in money and time to attend and report on the fairs is significant for an artist with an ongoing studio practice. A link to PayPal is on the right sidebar close to the top of the page (look for the red type). Any amount is welcome. Thank you.