In all my years of Chelsea gallery going, I’d never seen anything quite like what I stumbled upon on a recent Saturday. I say “stumbled upon” because I rarely have any sort of master plan or specific agenda when I head into the gallery district, which is located next door to those of you lucky enough to live in Chelsea rental apartments, but a bit of a trek for me.
There’s so much contemporary art on view at any given time in the world-famous Chelsea gallery district (between, say, 19th and 28th Street, and 10th and 11th Avenues, right below the High Line, conveniently enough, there are well over 400 separate galleries), that you’re bound to see something surprising, or sublime (or terrible, or terrifying) if you just show up and wander around.
Anyway, I was making the rounds with my companion and we walked into the Marianne Boesky Gallery on 24th Street to check out the historic, heavily-hyped career restrospective of the legendary Italian sculptor/philosopher Pier Paolo Calzolari… and then we kept on walking, through what just days before was Boesky’s back wall, and into the “home” of her 25th Street neighbor, the Pace Gallery!
Two big, not-always-so-friendly Chelsea galleries, made into one! SO much space for Pier Paolo Calzolari’s kind of crazy, kind of confusing, kind of brilliant creations! It’s like going to a big museum restrospective, but for free.
The art itself in Pier Paolo Calzolari’s Chelsea gallery show, When the dreamer dies, what happens to the dream?, is, if nothing else, never boring. Calzolari loves to play with unusual materials, and some of my favorite pieces here (and there were many from which to choose) use odd “media” such as the two-toned moss (or is it lichen?) wall sculpture; and the battery-operated pig stuck walking to nowhere; and the refrigeration unit that creates frost on a black landscape.
There are a couple of neon pieces at Pier Paolo Calzolari’s When the dreamer dies, what happens to the dream?, as well as several burning candles, some running water, lots of charred wood, a mattress, feathers, and at least two eggs.
This is a full-scale, museum-quality exhibition. Here’s hoping more galleries follow Pace and Marianne Boesky’s lead and join forces in similar wall-busting fashion in the future.
Marianne Boesky Gallery is located on 24th Street near 10th Avenue; Pace Gallery is on 25th Street near 10th. The hours for both are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.. Pier Paolo Calzolari’s When the dreamer dies, what happens to the dream? will be on exhibit through June 2.
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