September 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
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.
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.
May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
May 19, 2011
On Thursday, our gallery staff members Chris and Jae-Min attended the International Print Center New York’s (IPCNY) 2011 Spring Benefit.
The evening began with a pre-reception event at the IPCNY’s gallery space to view their current exhibition, Artists Collect: Prints from the Collection of Sol LeWitt, Kiki Smith, Philip Taaffe, Richard Tuttle, and was followed by cocktails and dinner at Cedar Lake. This year, the IPCNY honored artist Terry Winters, ULAE publisher Bill Goldston, and collector Jordan Schnitzer for their enormous contributions and achievements in the print world. It was a cheerful and celebratory evening with Christopher Gaillard as Master of Ceremonies, and Lisa Phillips, Christophe Cherix, and Joseph Goddu as presenters. There was also no shortage of notable attendees such as artist Vija Celmins, Chelsea gallerists Larry Shopmaker and Betsy Senior, Jim Kempner and Dru Arstark, and Mary Ryan, plus respected art advisors Janice Oresman and Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, and IFPDA Executive Director, Michele Senecal.
The first and only non-profit institution devoted solely to the exhibition and understanding of fine art prints, we congratulate the IPCNY on their 10th anniversary!
May 7, 2011 § Leave a comment
May 7, 2011
On May 7, 2011, the gallery participated in the 4th Annual Madison Avenue Gallery Walk. With the sun shining and more than 30 prestigious art and antique galleries on Madison Avenue between 57th and 86th Streets coming together to host a day-long series of Art Talks, it was the perfect day to be out visiting galleries. For the event, our Gallery Director Chris Santa Maria hosted two talks, during which he discussed the history of the Gemini G.E.L. workshop as well as an overview of our gallery’s “New and Recent Publications” exhibition.
The Gallery Walk benefits arts education in New York City’s public schools through The Fund for Public Schools, a nonprofit organization Chaired by NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Vice Chaired by Caroline Kennedy and Mortimer Zuckerman. One notable attendee was Brian Leong, an 11-year old student and budding artist from Brooklyn, whose self-portrait collage was selected to be viewed at the gallery.
April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
April 22, 2011
We don’t always stop the presses to celebrate the artist collaborations at the Gemini workshop, except for the occasional Baskin Robbins ice cream cake from our friend Abel Eljam, because the printers hardly skip a beat when one artist departs, furiously working to print an edition before another artist arrives. For example, by the end of this month Gemini will have hosted four out of town artists this spring – James Rosenquist, Sophie Calle, Daniel Buren and Joel Shapiro.
Gemini GEL at Joni Moisant Weyl is proud to display new and recent Gemini publications by John Baldessari, Jonathan Borofsky, Ann Hamilton and Richard Serra. Each artist’s project at Gemini could not be more different – from lithography and screenprinting to etching to constructions that combine printmaking with fabric and bamboo. These four artists are a perfect representation of the Gemini ‘can-do’ spirit and the diverse specialties of our printing staff.
John Baldessari’s Nose/Silhouette series began with a party! The Gemini workshop printed a photographed nose on fields of color which were made into masks and used as place settings for a dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Cut. The dinner followed the opening of Baldessari’s spectacular exhibition at LACMA, Pure Beauty, and guests, along with the artist, had great fun posing with the masks. Gemini and the artist resolved to make the images into a series of editioned prints.
Jonathan Borofsky visited the Gemini workshop back in 2008, working with text on Mylar. In 2010 his lithograph God is a Feeling was finally resolved, as was a screenprint of words from his mother:
“Several days before my mother died, I was sitting at her bedside – just talking about things. At one point I casually asked her if she had any words she wanted to leave behind. Without taking any time to think about it, she answered ‘Be Happy, Do the Best You Can, Be Good and Kind’.” – Borofsky
Ann Hamilton made a batch of party hats in honor of Sidney Felsen’s 85th birthday in September of 2009. These small lithographs with collaged fabric to be used as string were just the beginning of her juxtaposition of printmaking and fabric. The sheets of lithography became larger and the process of collaging fabric more complex as ciliary was formed.
Each ciliary begins with lithography on eight sheets of a creamy Japanese paper, Mitsumata. Added to the paper panels is a strip of fabric, adhered to one edge. A narrow accordion fold is applied, and bamboo ribs and hardwood dowels reinforce the folds on the verso.
It is impossible to visit the Gemini workshop without noticing the presence of Richard Serra. Serra has tirelessly pushed the boundaries of printmaking beyond the scale even the Gemini printers might have thought possible, conveying the weight and monumentality of his celebrated sculptural works onto a thin sheet of paper. In recent years Serra’s etching have grown to upwards of 85 inches, but these latest collaborations present a classic Serra study of the curve on an intimate scale. The series of 13 Junction prints, each measuring 16 x 18 inches, render various torque ellipse forms in concentrated, untidy etchings.
(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)
April 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
On a very cold and rainy Monday night, Sidney and I attended the opening reception for Richard Serra’s retrospective of drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On view from April 13 – August 28, 2011, the retrospective will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from October 15 – January 16, 2012 and ends its tour at its organizing institution, the Menil Collection from March 2 – June 10, 2012.
Beginning with early drawings that are very much about process, and progressing to large-scale works, one of which is drawn directly onto the museum’s walls, the exhibition is a comprehensive and powerful presentation of Serra’s drawings – an art form independent (yet very much linked) to his sculptural practice. The rough, raised surfaces of his Paintstik drawings compel viewers to experience them in a very physical, almost three-dimensional manner – a sensation familiar to those acquainted with Serra’s editioned prints. There is an immediacy and confrontational presence in these works that underscores Serra’s interest in weight and gravity.
After the reception, Serra’s dealer, the Gagosian Gallery, hosted a dinner at The Mark for close friends of the artists, including Paul Schupf, whose nearly complete collection of Serra prints has been shown extensively, most prominently at Colby College in Maine.
April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
March 31, 2011
When the announcement for Elizabeth Murray’s painting show at Pace Gallery arrived in the mail, I couldn’t help but pause to think about Elizabeth and how much we all miss her passion and artistic spirit. It has been over 3 ½ years since Elizabeth’s passing and nearly 5 years since she graced the Gemini workshop. Sadly, Elizabeth succumbed to lung cancer, but fortunately she lived to see her career retrospective at MoMA and receive the public recognition she so richly deserved for an extraordinary body of rigorous but jubilant paintings. Pace will have a public reception on April 7th, where undoubtedly many of Elizabeth’s friends and fellow-artists will stop in to celebrate her work. Unfortunately Sidney and I do not arrive in New York until the following week, but we will look forward to viewing this exhibition of Elizabeth’s brilliant creations.
March 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
March 3, 2011
This past week, on all 3 floors of Gagosian Gallery at 980 Madison, an opening reception was held for their current exhibition Malevich and the American Legacy. It was a very lively opening with a star-studded guest list. Artists such as John Chamberlain and Richard Serra were in attendance and stopped into Joni’s gallery to say hello and take a look at the current Ellsworth Kelly exhibition. Kelly himself stopped by and was nice enough to take a pause for an impromptu photo-session.
Photo: Joni & Ellsworth with Black Panel (Photograph by Chris Santa Maria)