What I Saw: Manhattan Speedrun

self-portrait in Liz Deschenes’ Untitled (Gorilla Glass Indigo 100), 2023 at Miguel Abreu

I had a speedrun through Manhattan to pick up some gifts and see some shows, starting with Gravity Pull, Liz Deschenes’ beautiful show of monochromes on Gorilla Glass in the morning light, plus some handblown Claude Glass-inspired pictures? Objects? Optical devices? Transfixing.

If you buy the hanging one, you get the one on the wall for free: Liz Deschenes’ Untitled (Gorilla Glass Orange 90), 2023
Liz Deschenes, Untitled (Gorilla Glass Indigo 100), 2023

These works and their light effects on the wall behind them really felt like diptychs.

Manet, [Chien au] Balcon, whenever, from the Musée d’Orsay at the Met

The Manet/Degas show at The Met was a madhouse, even with their QR-coded queuing system. And yet by the time they get to Olympia a few galleries in, the shuffling crowd has lost patience and thinned out. And then later, they don’t even stop for Le Balcon. People are weird.

And I know Degas is supposed to be the photography guy of these two, but the most interesting photo-related element of this show—besides the blur of the horses’ legs in one of Manet’s racetrack paintings, which has a chronologically impossible cinematic feeling—was the c. 1868 painting of the photo of Olympia stuck above Emile Zola’s [1867 pamphlet defending Olympia on Zola’s] desk. Now I, too, would like a period print of Olympia.

Have we met?

My take is, they both copied a lot, and somehow I like Sargent’s copies more. Except for the splotchy little Velasquez Degas painted from reproduction and didn’t actually see IRL but still titled, Memory of Velasquez. A lot of these Degas looked weirdly flat, but then, so did the Ham. I listened and read and was prepared to recognize Degas as the more modern artist, but by the end of the show the most interesting thing about Degas was the Manets he collected.

detail of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Album), 1992, acquired from Julie Sylvester in 2016

A show about photo albums in the Menschel Room had Julie Sylvester’s own edition of the photo album edition she published with Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Did the others end up filled with so much Felix swag? I only grabbed a couple of snaps of the album contents, figuring there’d be documentation images online. lmao no. The way the Met does not even try to get decent publishable images of their acquisitions is really irresponsible.

Then I went to see the Brice Marden show at Gagosian. The works on paper were achingly beautiful. The way his signature felt strained while his line did not was just aching. Gotta get the book, though, since the website has like one pic. Also, weird to know that might be my last time in that convoluted gallery space. I can see how having your gallery in three barely connected office suites would prompt you to look for a 2nd through 14th space, though. Is it really too late to buy the Whitney from the precariously illiquid Drahis?