December 15, 2016

"Artists and Lovers"

One of the most recent additions to the New York gallery scene is a pop-up satellite of London-based Ordovas.  Owned by the glamorous Pilar Ordovas, this small but very elegant gallery is discretely located in a townhouse on East 77th Street.  Its inaugural exhibition is a continuation of a critically acclaimed show that opened in the Savile Row premises in September.  Titled "Artists and Lovers", the exhibition explores artistic partnerships of the 20th century's greatest icons.

Superbly curated, the show presents separate works created by husbands and wives, lovers and soulmates, with the idea that no one creates in a vacuum.  These sculptures, paintings and objects demonstrate that while each artist is an individual, there is a creative dialogue between artistic partners.
Frida Kahlo "Autorretrato", 1940

Some of the pairings are quite familiar like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock and Elaine and Willem de Kooning.  Others are less well known like Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy and Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst.  And a few are rather surprising like Yayoi Kusama and Joseph Cornell!  Every work presented is a lovely example of the artist's oeuvre and the overall effect is very impressive.

 Bartender working with a Merce Cunningham dance video in the background

In addition to traditional artist couples, Miss Ordovas has also explored relationships between visual and performance artists through a program of live presentations.  Last month, in the London gallery, she offered a series of concerts by pianist Annie Yim playing music by John Cage who had deep personal relationships with the artists Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.  Last evening, in New York, I had the great pleasure to be invited to a soirée featuring performances of Merce Cunningham's "Cross Currents" a collaboration between the choreographer and John Cage that debuted in London in 1964.

Executed by one man and two women dressed in black tights and white tops, each dancer had his or her own, separate, rhythm but came together at the end of the phrase.

The dancers moved like a pendulum from one end of the gallery to the other with the beautiful artwork as a backdrop.

Accompanied by a piano, the dancers played separately and together as had the artists in the exhibition worked alone and in concert with their mates.  It was a short but impactful performance and a very good metaphor in these unsettled times - we can all strive to be unique but together at the same time.  "Artists and Lovers" will be on view at Ordovas until January 7.

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