The DART Board: 04.03.2023

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday May 3, 2023


Wednesday, May 3: Harold Ancart | Paintings at Gagosian

In this new group of paintings, Harold Ancart employs an arboreal motif to explore nuances of color, shape and texture. Having previously depicted other elemental forms such as clouds, fires, icebergs—even matchsticks—the Belgian-born artist has stated that outward subject matter serves primarily as an “alibi” for painterly experimentation. In the atmospheric canvases currently on view, he uses color and texture to blur the boundaries between observed and imagined realities. Pairing figuration with vibrant abstract passages, Ancart explores natural landscapes and built environments, where he discovers moments of unexpected poetry, suggesting a place rooted in a longing for escape.

The paintings on view here further extend Ancart’s practice, translating their maker’s experience of walking without a destination in mind into a meditation on the very idea of location. In a recent interview, he said that he identified with Baudelaire in that “He doesn’t wander in a specific direction, but he aims at finding the marvelous in one way or another….Most of my ideas come to me when I find myself walking around and my mind is wandering. Sometimes, I’m struck by the intuition that I can do this in a certain way. That hunch is enough for me to start putting it in motion.

Gagosian, 541 West 24th Street, New York, NY Info



Saturday, May 6, 6-8pm: Two Paths | Sandra Caplan + Ray Ciarrocchi at Harper’s
Harper Levine tells of his first studio visit with the artists being presented at his UES location this week:

When I arrived on a cold winter day at Sandra Caplan and Ray Ciarrocchi’s studio at Westbeth, on Bethune Street in the West Village, I was not thinking about how artists measure success; Sandra had sent me images of her lush still lifes by email and I was simply curious to see them in person. I knew her husband Ray was also an artist of some renown, but I didn’t realize that they shared a studio. Nor did I know anything about Westbeth, where they had lived and worked since its inception as a subsidized artist colony in 1970. Above: Ray Ciarrocchi, Pisan Hills, 20; Left: Sandra Caplan, Downtown View, September, 1989

I recognized one of Sandra’s paintings immediately, propped up against a window that looked out on the Hudson River. The studio was filled with art. As I walked to the window, I noticed Ray, seated at a table where dozens of his small landscape paintings were arrayed like a holiday feast. These were clearly no ordinary painters, and this was not your average studio.

In today’s art world, we are used to seeing paintings of the mundane: flowers, landscapes, bowls of fruit, teacups, the glorification of the interior world. But for artists like Sandra and Ray, who came up in a different era, these subjects had fallen distinctly out of favor. Yet they carried on, undeterred by age, unfazed by a diminished audience. Ray’s sublime landscapes, casually laid out on a table, had all been painted during the pandemic. It was extraordinary.

Harper’s Apartment, 51 East 74th Street, 2x, New York, NY Info



Sunday, May 7: Last Chance: Thierry Mugler: Couturissime at Brooklyn

The first retrospective dedicated to the bold and theatrical designer who established his eponymous label in the 1970s and quickly rose to prominence for his innovative fabrication techniques, daring silhouettes, and use of the “glamazon” as a creative starting point for his collections. By the time of his death last year, followers of Mugler’s career knew him as much as a designer as a perfumer, photographer, artist, and director, and this exhibition explores how the many facets of his creativity informed each other and allowed for ever-greater experimentation and aesthetic achievement.

Thierry-Maxime Loriot, curator of the exhibition said, “The constant innovations, inventions, and avant-garde architectural silhouettes in the work of Mugler have marked an era. His singular style found a place in the history of fashion that still has a powerful influence on today’s generation of couturiers, not only because of its designs, but also because of the strong message of inclusivity, diversity, and empowerment in his body of work.”

Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY Info



Continuing: Counterpoint | Natsuki Takauji and Haksul Lee at CCNY

Counterpoint, a duo exhibition of works by Japanese artist Natsuki Takauji and Korean artist Haksul Lee, features over 30 works created over the past 10 years. Takauji and Lee who have worked closely as colleagues over many years, have thrown off traditional approaches to work in the 3C, and instead use the disorderly juxtapositions of different bodies of works to express the highly individual complexity of creative thinking. Above by Natsuki Takauji; right by Haksul Lee

Using many mediums and methodologies, including mixed-media, welding, and metal fabrication, these artists approach their subjects in radically different ways, and yet when seen together in this show, the visitor can glean the ways in which they interact, interfere and communicate with each other.

Save the date: Closing reception: Thursday, May 18, 5-7 PM

The City College, Morris R. Cohen Library, 160 Convent Avenue, North Academic Center, Room 5/301 (5th Floor), New York, NY Info

Continuing: Bill Traylor | In Plain Sight at Ricco Maresca

Until  the 2018 Smithsonian retrospective, Bill Traylor was often referred to as the greatest artist you’ve never heard of. Enslaved at birth on an Alabama cotton plantation in 1853 and having spent his entire life as a farmer within a 40-mile radius of Montgomery, it was only in his late 80s that, homeless and alone, he parked himself by an intersection in the state capitol’s segregated black neighborhood and began to draw and paint. Although the first major exhibition of Traylor’s work wasn’t shown until 30 years after his death in 1949, he is now regarded among America’s greatest self-taught artists.

The New York Gallery Ricco/Maresca’s history with Bill Traylor is almost as long as the gallery’s history itself. Their book Bill Traylor: His Art, His Life, the first volume devoted to the artist, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991. Since then, they have mounted three one-person Traylor shows, and this week they open their fourth which can also be viewed online.

Ricco Maresca Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY Info