Rolling Out a Rosenquist

September 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

James Rosenquist at Gemini G.E.L.

September 8, 2011

And now that we are up and running in Chelsea, our gallery drawers are once again filling up with proofs of the latest editions coming out of the Gemini G.E.L. workshop.  One new arrival is James Rosenquist’s The Xenophobic Movie Director or Our Foreign Policy.

Rosenquist and Master Printer James Reid

Rosenquist visited Los Angeles at the beginning of the year to escape New York’s dreary weather and begin his first collaboration with Gemini in over a decade.  This past summer, the workshop had the pleasure of hosting the artist’s daughter (and current Rhode Island School of Design art student) Lily Rosenquist, for a brief printmaking internship, and in January, Master Printer James Reid was eager to begin collaborating with the elder Rosenquist.

The imagery in this new print references a 2004 painting of the same title measuring over 13 feet.  Given the scale of this lithograph, 58” in length by 25″ high, several of the colored lithographic plates had to be split into more than one plate in order to facilitate consistent hand-printing.  Rosenquist mixed each color ink to his exact specification, and this complex print was resolved with 18 runs through the press.

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

Always engaged with social and ecological issues, Rosenquist has paired iconic symbols of the American landscape with references to world affairs, reiterating his message by the hand-written title across the lower margin.  Rosenquist’s printmaking continues to illuminate the artist’s highly-charged, deconstructive style and vibrant coloring with an airbrushed quality, derived from his experience as a billboard painter.  This impressive lithograph made its public debut at Art Basel 42 and can be viewed in our gallery at 465 West 23rd Street.


On the Move!

September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

535 West 24th Street

September 6, 2011

With the arrival of the Fall season, it seems fitting to pause and reflect on what has transpired since our last entry many weeks ago.  It was a time of transitions, of gains and losses, of happiness and excitement offset by bits of sadness.  The summer has just ended with the passing of June Wayne, who helped pioneer a revival of fine-art printmaking when she founded the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles.  Tamarind-trained printers and their descendants have found their way into many (if not most) of America’s workshops, certainly Gemini, so her passing on August 23rd sent a ripple through our industry as we lost one of its most important and influential members.

As I wrote of previously, summer began with a stop in Berlin prior to the days of the Basel Art Fair.  I spent the daytime hours exploring Berlin’s exciting cultural scene or working the booth at the fair.  Evenings, however, were a cacophony of late-night calls and emails between realtors, lawyers, bankers and accountants, all striving to negotiate a lease for our new gallery space on 24th Street.  Yes, we’ve headed downtown to Chelsea, and by January 2012 we will be settled on the 3rd floor of a lovely old 6-story brick building at 535 West 24th Street.  We can hardly wait!  But much has happened – and is yet to happen – before we’re there.

Saying goodbye to our space at 980 Madison was surprisingly emotional and difficult.  A gallery is more than just white walls and track lighting; for me, it has always been the embodiment of my philosophy of art dealing and the many friends and clients whose spirits become part of the space.  Our nearly four years spent at 980 were an exciting step in the history of the gallery and will always hold a special significance.

As we packed up and moved out on June 30th, I thought of all the previous incarnations of the gallery and a flood of memories overcame me.  I thought back to my arrival in New York in May of 1984 and the excitement of discovering the city as a new resident and a newly independent art dealer.  I smiled at the thought of the miniscule elevator at the 55 Crosby Street loft that carried up my very first clients, followed by the space at 375 West Broadway that brought over 10 years of heartwarming and collegial collaboration with Betsy Senior.  I remembered my reluctance to leave Soho which resulted in a very brief landing in the loft of printworld authority Karen McCready, who regrettably lost her battle with cancer just as I was conquering my own.  I thought of the crazy small apartment at 58 West 58th Street that was meant to be only temporary and which unbelievably housed the “gallery” for nearly six years.  I thought of all the help I received from colleagues, especially from Larry Gagosian and also Dan Rowen, the architect who calmly and expertly facilitated our move to 980 Madison.  Ultimately, it was the memories of Dan that overcame me, for his premature death a year-and-a-half ago had hit me hard.  He was talented, kind and generous, and I regularly felt his presence in the gallery, especially as I was leaving behind his creation.

The early days: 55 Crosby Street with the tiny elevator and 375 West Broadway.

But with endings come beginnings.  The wooden print cabinets we swaddled in padded blankets for this move were first acquired for the Crosby Street loft, and will follow us to our new space on 24th Street.  And happily, my dear friends and brilliant architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat will finally build the gallery we’ve made conceptually more than a few times over the years.  This current move would be impossible without  the generosity, once again, of artworld colleagues – this time in particular Paula Cooper, whose 23rd Street former space we now have the honor of occupying until construction on our 24th Street gallery is completed in late December.    And throughout my gallery’s 27 years, it all would have been impossible without the love and support of friends and family, especially my husband Sidney; the artists whose extraordinary works have filled those print cabinets and adorned our walls; and my incredible staff, present and past, whose enthusiasm, talent and commitment to the gallery have inspired me more than words can express.

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