Linda Yablonsky

  • Left: Artist Jockum Nordström. Right: David Zwirner with son Lukas. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary September 13, 2006

    Growing Pains

    New York

    For thirty years, I’ve heard the art world described as small. Small in its incestuous relationships, personal and professional; small as to who and what matter at any given time. Over the past weekend, however, anyone with half an eye could easily observe that the New York art world, with its hundreds of galleries and thousands of postgraduates eager for the sex of a New York Times review, is anything but small.

    In Chelsea, the already impersonal galleries—some, like David Zwirner, of astonishing new girth—are now jammed between some of the dowdiest high-rises in town. These blank,

  • Left: Elizabeth Peyton with dealer Gavin Brown. Right: Debbie Harry. (Photos: Barry Gordin)
    diary August 15, 2006

    West Egg Story

    Long Island

    “We've got everyone from Dina Merrill to Debbie Harry,” Anne Livet was saying, and what do you know if it wasn't the truth, and not just a proud PR rep's quip. Among the patrons who turned out Friday night for the 75th Anniversary Summer Gala at East Hampton's Guild Hall, which also served as the opening for shows by Elizabeth Peyton and Andy Warhol, I spotted the movie-star aristocrat (who can forget Merrill's cuckolded WASP in BUtterfield 8?) moving among the art-star bohocrats in Peyton's personal orbit: not just the ageless Harry but also Juergen Teller and Sadie Coles, Helmut Lang, Terry

  • Left: Carol Gooden, curator Clarissa Dalrymple, Björk, and Matthew Barney. Right: Kiki Smith. (All photos: Linda Yablonsky)
    diary July 04, 2006

    Show Stopper

    New York

    The spring auctions were just getting underway when I left for a five-week sojourn at an isolated, wooded writer’s retreat in New England, though not so isolated I didn’t have access to a wireless Internet connection—even caves in Afghanistan seem to have that—so I read the gushing claims about how “smart” the art market had become in my absence. All I can say is I missed the right things, as far as I’m concerned, and came back in time for actual exhibitions where art still has the power to do something besides line a pocket. What makes the difference is their curators, several of whom

  • Laurie Simmons

    A CENTURY AGO, Edward Gordon Craig, the first modern theater artist, wished he could replace all actors with puppets. Never mind the divas, he said. Forget Stanislavski. Craig was a symbolist at heart, a director who wanted actors to come to the stage and leave their feelings at home. Personalities! They only got in the way of art.

    Cut to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the premiere, this month, of artist Laurie Simmons’s first film, The Music of Regret, 2005–2006. All of the characters are puppets. Some are played by humans, Meryl Streep among them, but most are either vintage rubber

  • Left: Larry Gagosian with Francesco Vezzoli. Right: Farrah Fawcett greets Gore Vidal. (Photos: Patrick McMullan)
    diary April 21, 2006

    Friends and Romans

    Beverly Hills

    “Who but Gore?” Francesco Vezzoli asked UCLA Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin last Saturday night. The artist was explaining his choice of subject for “The Gore Vidal Trilogy,” his first exhibition at Larry Gagosian’s multilevel Beverly Hills outpost. “Gore is the intellectual and cultural bridge between Italy and America,” Vezzoli said. “Who else—what gay man—could represent the link between cinema, literature, history—everything I care about? Only Gore. He is the master.”

    The crowd around us parted like the Red Sea as “the master” himself passed by in a wheelchair necessitated

  • Left: Artist Katy Schimert. Right: Gallerist Nicole Klagsbrun and Billy Sullivan.
    diary April 12, 2006

    Happy Returns

    New York

    Making the gallery rounds last weekend was an education: First I learned that you haven’t really lived until you’ve been stuck in a small elevator with large personalities like Jack Pierson, PaceWildenstein's Douglas Baxter, and retired JPMorganChase art advisor Manuel Gonzalez; and, second, that you really haven’t lived until you’ve lived.

    How else to explain the new wave of mature artists—Billy Sullivan, Amy Sillman, Alexis Rockman, and Katy Schimert—all converging on Chelsea in signature style, showing work with more power, authority, and freshness than any has exhibited in years?

  • Left: Designer Rogan Gregory with Ali Hewson and Bono. (Photo: Patrick McMullan) Right: Salon 94's Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn with daughter and Bono.
    diary February 09, 2006

    Rogan's Gallery

    New York

    All those still lamenting fashion’s invasion of the art world were right to stay in hiding on Sunday afternoon. While the Rolling Stones prepared to play the Super Bowl, Edun, a rock-star-financed clothing line, was at Salon 94 to stage a promotional event featuring its retro-grunge outfits, a jazz combo from New Orleans, and two dozen small artworks by the likes of Cecily Brown, Marilyn Minter, Rob Pruitt, Marlene McCarty, Erik Parker, and Laura Owens.

    The few artists in attendance were virtually ignored by the platoons of entertainment-television crews and fashion photographers all hoping that

  • Left: Artist Banks Violette. Right: Team Gallery's Jose Freire with Mary Boone.
    diary January 10, 2006

    Team Spirit

    New York

    Now I know why people go to openings of shows by artists they’ve never met. No, not just because they’re looking for dates. It’s because openings can be fun! At least, that’s how it was at Mary Boone’s Fifth Avenue gallery last Thursday, when the legendary dealer got the winter season off to a rousing start by turning both of her galleries over to outside curators. Neville Wakefield’s “Hiding in the Light” opens at her Chelsea location later this week, while the future-forward head of Team Gallery, Jose Freire, is already rocking out at Fifty-seventh Street with “View 9: I Love My Scene,” set

  • Left: Cynthia Rowley with Bruce Weber at his book launch. (Photo: Patrick McMullan) Right: Sotheby's Tobias Meyer with his partner, art consultant Mark Fletcher, and photographer Todd Eberle.
    diary December 06, 2005

    Cabana Fever


    The wonder of Art Basel Miami Beach this year was not that in a mere four days 36,000 people could exchange untold millions of dollars and still remain friendly. Or that tiny, ant-infested, beachfront hotel rooms with thin walls, bare floors, and misanthropic help cost nearly $500 a night. Or that cab drivers have no idea how to get, well, anywhere. It was that we could go to any number of competing parties and performances extending from no less than five different art fairs and still suspect that we were missing something. And we would be right.

    Each evening between Tuesday and Saturday brought

  • Left: Bob Holman and Elizabeth Murray. Right: Cindy Sherman, Pat Steir, and Joan Jonas.
    diary October 20, 2005

    Good Reception

    New York

    Three standing ovations, buffeted by extended applause from several hundred loudly cheering people, were not enough. Constant hugs and smiles from the assembled artists were not enough. Laudatory speeches were not enough. Even with the entire history of modern art rising to the occasion, none of it was enough to express the tender and powerful feelings that Elizabeth Murray inspired in her friends and colleagues on Monday night, at the “family” reception for her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

    “It's serious but not lugubrious,” said a giddy Rob Storr of the exhibition, which was more

  • Left: At The Art Parade. Right: Arthur Danto.
    diary September 14, 2005

    Storm und Drang

    New York

    “If your house is underwater, you're not thinking about art,” said Arthur Danto, at apexart last Wednesday. “Unless,” he added, pointing to a large piece of carved cedar propped against one wall, “you have an Ursula von Rydingsvard to use as a raft!” It was one of twelve pieces in “The Art of 9/11,” a group show that Danto volunteered for the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Numbed by the horror of post-Katrina New Orleans and sickened by the government negligence attending it, I had set out for the opening of the fall art season, wondering what I would find and if it would rise to the

  • Kiki Smith

    Kiki Smith’s restless forays into paper, glass, bronze, video, books, bodily fluids, and tattoos have been sparked at one time or another by feminist politics, aids activism, and classic fables, perhaps giving her practice more personality than focus. This distillation of nearly one hundred works—organized by Siri Engberg of the Walker Art Center, where the show doubles in size next winter—is arranged into thematic “clusters” of figural and abstract pieces. The first to take stock of Smith’s entire oeuvre (now spanning twenty-five years), this survey seems well timed for