Stephan Fowlkes. About, Outlook
Stephan Fowlkes
Art Editor
The Weekly Art Crawl, in Chelsea, and
Soho. Visit New Yorks galleries from a
unique perspective.Below some of the
highlights of the year as well as the
Stephan table of contents to the left.
Resident Art Writer, Stephan Fowlkes, takes you on a weekly art crawl in Manhattan. Updated weekly, click here for my latest crawl
Past Crawls
May 15th                        Oct 2nd          

May 22nd                       Oct 9th

May 29th                       Oct 16th

June 5th                        Oct 23rd  

June 12th                      Oct 30th

June 19th                      Nov 6rd

June 26th                     Nov 13th            

July 3rd                        Dec 18th

July 10th                     Jan 9, 2009

Aug 7th

Sept 4th

Sept 11th

Sept 18/25th
It is clear that the galleries this week were wise enough to recognize the fact that
just about the entire population of Manhattan was taking off for the Hampton's for
the weekend of the Fourth right after work on Thursday.  As a result, Chelsea was
like a ghost town, tumbleweeds and all.  We were only able to find two openings to
making my job remarkably easy this week.
What do you do when you reach the point of saturation?  When the delicate balance leans precariously towards critical mass?  There have always been more artists
than collectors of art, a fact which has lent itself to the competitive atmosphere of the art world, and why the term “starving artist” exists.  The industry is churning
out more and more “professional artists”—more MFA grads supposedly worthy of exposure--as it continually seeks out the “new” in line with the trends of
sensationalism and shock value.  
Like all other
August 7th, 2008

Here we are, in the Summer doldrums, the dog days of August, and it sure
shows; Chelsea feels like a ghost town, with only five or six openings as opposed
to the 20-30 usual receptions on any given Thursday.  But
fret not...September 4th,the Grand Re-Opening,will see the return of the masses,
sporting their tans from the Hampton's, Nantucket, the Vineyard, Fire and Block
Islands, St.Tropez, etc.  September 4th is the
Chelsea Block Party, and I fully expect to see you all there in your linens and
Guayaberas, but enough with the sandals guys...leave the flip flops at the beach
house.  Remember, art looks better if you look better, so lets step it more
slumming it on the art crawl.  Lets
blur the line between starving artist, critic, gallerist and collector. Lets just all
enjoy some art!

On a different note, I have a bone to pick with a new aspect of the gallery scene.  
It has to do with the emergence of the new gallery presence on the Lower East
Side.  More galleries are opening up down there,
and many are relocating from Chelsea.  My problem is that the galleries in this
new venue also
choose Thursday evening for their
July 3rd, 2008
click to enlarge
For more information, please go to:
sundaram tagore gallery
July 10th, 2008
September 4th, 2008

it’s official.  The red carpets have been rolled out, the A/C cranked, lights lit and art hung on the walls, and the doors thrown open to the
tanned masses reluctantly back on the island.  The season kicker and grand re-opening of the Chelsea art scene came with great
anticipation and fanfare, with over 70 galleries hosting openings Thursday.  And that doesn’t take into account the Friday or Saturday
openings either.

The art I saw frankly surprised me to be honest.  Not in the OMG shock factor sort of way that we’ve all come to expect, but in the exact
opposite way.  Maybe the gallerists all actually listened to me, or maybe they just came to their senses.  The shows, for the most part,
presented work that showed serious investigation into the materials as with the paintings I saw,
and a certain professionalism when
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recommended reading: self help
Making sense of men &
Understanding women
Richards work not yet released at Pace Wildenstein. Picture about is part of a collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art @ 1978
November 13th, 2008 Chelsea Gallery Art Crawl

Salvatore Meo (1914-2004), a master of found object
constructions was considered a pioneer of assemblage.  Pavel Zoubok
Gallery presents us with a stunning array of his oeuvre, elevating detritus
from the everyday to the level of high art.  The work often brings to mind
the boxes of Joseph Cornell, in the way Meo deftly creates connections in
his discarded and entropic materials, creating an entire visual language of
furniture parts, pieces of plywood, wire, random pieces of rusted metal
and the like, culminating in a private world we are lucky enough to enter.  
“To say that his collages and assemblages drew
PaceWildenstein Gallery
November 6th Chelsea Gallery Art Crawl
(with a stop on the 4th)
Stephan Fowlkes

Sometimes, Chelsea doesn’t wait until Thursday to dazzle, shock and awe.  And as a result it happens I find myself adventuring to the far West Side on days other
than the Thursday art crawl.  This week was one of those, as I found myself at the opening of Joan Mitchell’s “Sunflowers” at Cheim & Read on Tuesday November
4th.  Although slightly shadowed by some election or other, there was still a good attendance, defined more by those interested in seeing something rare and
exceptional than those looking for a cheap buzz.  As a result, the reception was remarkably civilized, polite and respectful of each others’ personal space, even at the
bar.  C&R is a wonderful space to appreciate large work, and this show was exceptionally curated, properly respecting the work by not over-crowding the walls,
showing only 17 works: paintings, pastels and etchings.
Was it part of some secret master-plan coordinated by the
galleries this week, or was it an unbelievable coincidence?  Of
the eight galleries with openings we went to, seven of them
were showcasing photography.  Or is it the economical
climate encouraging the sales of more reasonably priced
work, such as photographs which often come in editions,
allowing for lower price tags?  Whichever it is, the results
were rather pleasing.  It was sort of like a photographic
survey, offering a wide variety of approaches and techniques,
subject-matter and intent: from intimate vintage silver gelatin
prints to large-scale digital C-prints on dibond aluminum,
from documentary photography to the imaginary, the
fantastic and the sublime.

Humor, Irony and the Law
Stan Douglas at David Zwirner
533 W. 19th Street
October 30-December 23, 2008
Chelsea Gallery Art Crawl,
October 30th, 2008
Stephan Fowlke
Happy New Year!
Chelsea Art Crawl January 9th, 2009

Now is the time to look forward to great things, new beginnings, and improvements to
old ones; it’s time for change.  Generally, change can be a good thing, but it is possible
to go too far.  I feel the state and standard of the Chelsea art world (and beyond!) has
been all about change for a while now, to the point where change has become the status
quo.  It’s all about the next best new thing, about whoever can come up with the most
original, unusual and different.  It defies a logical progression and there is no apparent
continuity.  We are constantly bombarded  by novelties as well as endless variations on
pre-existing styles and methods, constant revisionism.  Oh look, minimalism
reinterpreted, oh look, another ready-made, MORE monochromatic canvases, more
refuse-as-art!   The definition of art has come to embrace limitless possibility where
literally anything can be art which is great, but this unfortunately this clouds or
complicates any set of standards to distinguish good art from bad art.  Yes, one man’s
trash is another man’s treasure, so yes, there will likely always be at least one person
who appreciates any given piece of work, precluding it from definitively being called
bad: even a pile of garbage.  All is now open and fair game to interpretation and
opinion.  Furthermore, there is the conceptual aspect of the work to consider, possibly
making or breaking an argument as to why a simple brass, two-pronged, hook ($4.00 at
your local hardware store) screwed into the gallery wall is art that is supposedly worth
hundreds of dollars.
January 15, 2009
Chelsea Gallery Art
Crawl Review
byStephan Fowlkes

Maybe I am getting
desensitized by the
sheer abundance of art
being hurled at the
viewing audience by
the 400+ galleries in
Chelsea.  I won’t go
so far as to say
quantity over quality,
as there is still much
work shown with
great merit.  The
tricky part is weeding
out  the exceptional
from the rest.  When
being constantly
bombarded by visual
stimulus gallery after
The New York Optimist
March 2009
February 5th, 2009 Chelsea Art
Crawl Review

“The Cerebral and The Sublime:  
Focus on Ellsworth Kelly”

Stephan Fowlkes

Ever since the departure from purely
representational methods of creation
and creativity (sculpture, painting and
drawing, even photography) there has
been a struggle--or at least an active
dialogue--between the intellectual and
emotional properties of a work of art.  
This has affected the way we look at
perceive art, interpret art, define
Nevelson-Park Ave, New York
February 12,
2009 Chelsea Art
Crawl Review:

The Wonderful World
of (Nevelson’s) Wood

Stephan Fowlkes

There is something seductive,
alluring about wood as a
sculptural material:  wood has a
history, a life even before it
becomes a raw material subject to
the hands of a sculptor.  Just as
every tree is unique, so is every
piece of
wood; there are no two
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