In New York City’s  Chelsea there are some must-see art gallery shows that will brighten your holiday season. While some galleries remain closed, most Chelsea galleries have reopened, or reopened one or more of several sites.

The sidewalks are all clear, or clear enough to easily navigate, but every possible parking space if taken by commercial trucks that are involved with rebuilding, renovating and restoring galleries that remain closed or partly open, with special attention to basements, even when the street floor above gallery has reopened its doors.

As reported previously, David Zwirner is committed to helping the community of galleries and artists to recover from Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA). The effort continues via the gallery’s website’s news page’s links. So my first stop was the open David Zwirner gallery at 519 West 19th Street, to see Diana Thater;’s multi-screen video Chernobyl. I rarely write about art videos since I only cover what I appreciated and can recommend but since I have a professional background in professional film, I am unfairly prejudiced toward story structure and production values. However, I can easily recommend this show, which explores the continuing effects of the man-made Chernobyl disaster surrounding the viewer, bringing the viewer inside of what is uninhabitable.

Diana Thater's Chernobyl

Image above is an installation view of Diana Thater’s Chernobyl

As I write this blog the 12.12.12. Concert for Sandy relief is actually playing in the background on PBS. The devastation of Hurricane Sandy is not man-made, a point that seeing Chernobyl at this time elegantly delivers.

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. has a sumptuous exhibit of large scale works by Mark Bradford.  My affinity for Bradford is obvious as he sometimes uses words, that include collaged and found words, which he covers with paint or more collage materials and then he  partially removes a layer, leaving the written meaning is obscured. Unfortunately the images on Sikkema Jenkins’ website and the one here cannot begin to show the engaging tactile surface and details of these large works. So go see them!

Judy Rey Wasserman at Sikkema Jenkins

The image above is of me, all bundled up as it was cold when I left Southampton earlier. I’m standing to the side of  Mark Bradford’s Her Mouth Across the Table, 2012.

It was a pleasure to see that the Nicole Klagsbrun gallery is back open with a show of many artist’s works. Make sure you look up above you when you enter the main room! It is a good show presented by a gallery that was hit very hard by the storm that we are fortunate to have back up in Chelsea. Also of special note is an untitled work or ink on green paper by Carroll Dunham.

The James Cohan Gallery has an exhibit of Trenton Doyle Hancock’s ongoing painting saga. His work never fails to fascinate and amuse me thanks to his inventive use of interweaving a storyline of words with his images.

More words, this by Glenn Ligon via a show entitled, Neon , which is the media used. These can be discovered in Ligon’s first solo show at Luhring Augustine. These works can be appreciated from the gallery website, so if you cannot make it to the show—the best idea, then enjoy the online version.

The Gagosian Gallery at 555 West 24th Street was open with an exhibit by Ed Ruscha of images of books that turns the gallery into a larger than life private library. Some of these are very tongue – er paintbrush – in cheek.  If you love books—as I do – you will enjoy this Ruscha show.

 I have always been a great fan of Chuck Close’s works. I was especially looking forward to his new solo show at Pace gallery. And I was surprised and fell in love with close’s work all over again,because there are new works that take his ideas of color and visual understanding in a somewhat new direction that I find enchanting. These new works take what could best be described as a pixelated portrait that is created with the gentle and subdued watercolors. Instead of a in your face pixelation, the result is a soft and sumptuous new Twenty-first Century next step from Pointillism.  I have heard close speak on how computers grew out of the art of weaving, especially tapestries, which developed a card system. These new works are clearly the intelligent painterly result of his understandings of tapestry meets PC . This is further developed by the large scale black and white tapestry portraits, that can easily be mistaken for photographs.  So, from me, the artist who paints with words (letters) for strokes, and also writes, I have only one word for these new works from Chuck Close: Wow!

The night before my visit the PaulKasmin Gallery had opened a new solo show by photographer David LaChappelle, whose work I also always appreciate, so I figured I would be able to cover it for this blog.  Usually I shy away from covering photography,even when I appreciate the work. However, David LaChapelle fully stages and arranges his scenes or images and the result is a rather painterly approach that I easily comprehend and can appreciate much like a painting.

In his new works LaChapelle has taken broken statues of celebrities from wax museums and arranged them into the show’s title, Still Lifes, and I suspect the double entendre is intended. According to the PR release, LaChapelle is, “addressing the fleeting nature of humanity, fame, celebrity and power.” These concerns are also Warhol celebrity portrait territory. LaChappelle has a new, original and authentic way to express the broken, skewed and impermanent façade of fame and power over others.

What makes these images hauntingly significant is the problem inherent with most was museum sculptures.  Unlike a good art portrait or sculpture, the wax figures, although often anatomically correct from life casts, fail to capture the spark of humanity or personality of those portrayed. Just as Warhol’s portraits aimed at losing that humanity, and being machine driven images, these wax figures, although recognizable are all a bit off, revealing only the mask, not the individual.  This is further revealed by the wax figure of Heath Ledger in full mask makeup as the Joker, which is the most true to life of the show—naturally because human is already hidden behind a mask! Again, I urge you to see the show, but you can get a good idea from the link to the gallery website above.

The Paul Kasmin Gallery is another gallery that stepped up to help the ADAA’s Sandy Relief Fund, by partnering with for a benefit and sales of gallery and artist donated artworks. The relief effort continues. Please make a donation online at Sandy Relief Fund.

David LaChapelleill Life Michael Jackson

David LaChapelle

Still Life: Michael Jackson 01, 2009-2012,

chromogenic print

72 x 71 inches, 182.9 x 180.3 cm

Images are used by the courtesy of the David Zwirner gallery and the Paul Kasmin Gallery. The iPhone image of me at Sikkema Jenkins was taken and used with the gallery’s consent.

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at

Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However, if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish.

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