March 2009

by Marlyne Sahakian

“For institutions such as Art Basel (with Art Basel Miami Beach) or the Swiss Institute (with showrooms in both New York City and Paris), contemporary Swiss art is certainly not confined to national boundaries. Yet, Swiss galleries and museums very much give respect to their own artists, both with more established names and a new wave of young guns.

In Zurich, Galerie Eva Presenhuber represents local duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, heavy hitters with a fantastic sense of humor that plays on the banality of objects taken out of context. Another big name in the Presenhuber stable is Ugo Rondinone, whose rainbow Hell, Yes! graces the New York’s New Museum, but is also known for bringing traces of melancholy to his work. Sylvie Fleury, with her chrome-plated Gucci shoes on display in the gallerist’s loft residence, also shines in this constellation; her works place women in positions of authority, drawing from the worlds of fashion, car racing, and even space travel. Bringing up the rear, young artist Valentin Carron is currently showing replicas of bas-relief sculptures representing traditional work activities — not without a touch of irony — at New York’s 303 Gallery.


Known for spotting rising stars, Galerie Francesca Pia also represents a cluster of young artists, including Mai-Thu Perret, Vidya Gastaldon, Stéphane Dafflon, and Philippe Decrauzat. Showing at the Aspen Art Museum, Perret’s work ranges from diary entries to papier-maché figures in utilitarian dresses — part of her fictive narrative about women living in a New Mexico commune. Fascinated with optical shapes, Decrauzat is a master of precision and repetition, constructing graphic works that include discrete references to both film and architecture. His current show at Elizabeth Dee in New York features paintings and installations designed to destabilize the viewer’s perception of space.

When Calvinist Geneva saw the opening of the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain (Mamco) in 1994, it would have been hard to foresee what is now a booming art scene in its district. Recently, the museum paid homage to the founding figures of Geneva’s contemporary art scene, via a hugely popular Sylvie Fleury exhibition and a tribute to John Armleder, who revisited the works he has created since the ’60s. Around Mamco, young galleries such as Evergreene, under the artistic direction of Samuel Gross, also give a platform to Swiss contemporary artists. The youngest artist at Evergreene, Denis Savary, teaches at the University of Art and Design, Lausanne (ECAL), a school known for churning out talented artists, including Perret and Carron.

Galerie Evergreene artist Pierre Vadi’s current solo show at Mamco spotlights his singular technique of recreating strange objects and galactic landscapes. Another Evergreene standout, Andreas Dobler creates paintings and sculptures that veer between the psychedelic and science fiction, using recurring references to skate and graffiti culture. Nearby, the more established Galerie Guy Bärtschi also supports Swiss artists, including Fabrice Gygi, who is representing Switzerland at the 53rd Venice Biennale this year.

There is nothing static about the Swiss contemporary art scene. With strong curatorial and collector interest, as well as institutional backing, the community continues to set a course for both big stars and bright new talent. Artworks are showcased abroad through satellite institutions and partnerships between international galleries, as well as by artists and curators who set up shop in cities like New York, where Olaf Bruening and Urs Fischer have studios — and where Pipilotti Rist drew big crowds with her monumental video installation at the Museum of Modern Art — or Paris, where curator Marc-Olivier Wahler directs the Palais de Tokyo.”

Image: Pipilotti Rist, Small Homo Toes the Line, 2006


I find something compelling about Pat Gundersons take on the distorted self-portrait that reveals itself only through distance. Yes, Chuck Close has been there before, but I find Pat’s textures intriguing.

— Anthony P. Munoz

I didn’t really want to write an ArtLetter this week.  My prerequisite is that I’ve got at least three openings I want to write about.  And this week I only found two. But one was so strong I’m here at my keyboard to tell you about it. 

Sarah Krepp’s exhibition at Roy Boyd Gallery is the 3rd show by a seasoned Chicago artist that has moved me in the past couple of months. The first impression I have of Krepp’s work is the massive amount of labor she brings to her canvasses. David Hockney wrote many years ago about time: how long an artist spends making a piece is directly related to how long a viewer spends with it. Shredded car tires play a significant role in her work, adding a strong 3-dimensional element which balances the multiple cuts she makes into most paintings. Yes, the art moves forward and back from the painted surface, which by the way is painted after she has spent an obsessive amount of time sewing tire parts, text, game pieces and symbols into place. The art exists on many levels and so does its meaning, dealing with sensory perception as indicated by the exhibition title: Blind Sight, which is how people, blind included, can sense objects in their physical space without using their eyes.  Loaded with content the work addresses cacophony, decipherable or indecipherable esoteric forms – depending on our familiarity with scientific charts, eye tests, wind patterns and dance steps. Keep looking; more will reveal itself momentarily.  I see a gestalt that suggests Krepp’s art is a parable for life, how we are composite individuals, with multiple relationships and affinities, yet on the surface we all look pretty normal.  Sarah Krepp’s new show is impressive.









The other show I enjoyed is at a small new gallery at 1513 N. Western Avenue named FR Works on Paper which opens Saturday night.  FR stands for Frank and Robert, who have been collecting works on paper for decades and are now editing their collection significantly. There are some works, either on view, or in print drawers that are over 200 years old and there are pieces that aren’t very old at all. Some of the works have known artists – many do not.  And the pieces are invariably very inexpensive. This is a fabulous resource for people who want antique works on paper at prices cheaper than the frames this art is likely to go in.







I was surprised to learn that Susan Aurenko is closing her Flatfile Galleries. She has represented a lot of photographers and has been very supportive of local sculptors and numerous Chicago artists. This is what happens in our compromised economy. To the extent we can, we need to support our local galleries or we aren’t going to have as many.

Looks like a good weekend; there’s art to see,
Paul Klein

Mar 5-9, 2009
Pier 40
353 West Street @ West Houston
New York, NY 10014

“Now in its fourth year, PULSE New York is the city’s largest and most highly regarded fair dedicated exclusively to contemporary art. This edition will be its most diverse ever, with 101 exhibitors representing 26 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Its program of large scale sculptures and installations has expanded, and will include the PULSE Pause reading room, the PULSE PERFORMANCE series and the PULSE PLAY> video lounge.”
– Pulse  

Here is a complete list of exhibitors at this year’s Pulse.

2x2projects, Amsterdam 
55, Shanghai

Aicon Gallery, New York
AMT Alberto Matteo Torri, Milan
Angell Gallery, Toronto
Artrepco Gallery, Zurich
ASPN, Leipzig

BAMart, Brooklyn
Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt
Jen Bekman Gallery, New York
Birch Libralato, Toronto
bitforms gallery, New York
Black & White Gallery, New York
Collette Blanchard Gallery, New York
Monika Bobinska, London
BravinLee programs, New York

Chi-Wen Gallery, Taipei
ChinaSquare Gallery, New York
Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco
ColletPark, Paris
Conner Contemporary Art, Washington D.C.
Copro/Nason Gallery, Santa Monica
Curator’s Office, Washington, DC

Davidson Contemporary, New York
DCKT Contemporary, New York
DNA , Berlin

EDS GALERIA, Mexico City

Faurschou, Copenhagen & Beijing
Lukas Feichtner gallery, Vienna
Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica
ftc. / fiedler taubert contemporary, Berlin
Finesilver Gallery, Houston
Freight + Volume, New York


Gaain Gallery, Seoul
GALERIE [sas], Montréal
galerieKleindienst, Leipzig
Caren Golden Fine Art, New York   

HABANA, Habana City
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London
Richard Heller Gallery, Santa Monica
Galerie Ernst Hilger/ Hilger contemporary, Vienna
Horrach Moya, Palma de Mallorca

iCI, New York

Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York
Jousse Enterprise, Paris

The Knapp Gallery, Philadelphia
Kopeikin Gallery, West Hollywood
Kusseneers Gallery, Antwerp

Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque
Light & Sie, Dallas
Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., Key Biscayne
Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, Miami
Lyons Wier Ortt Gallery, New York

Madder139, London
Magnan Projects, New York
Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, New York
Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco
nina menocal, Mexico City
Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto
Mixed Greens, New York
Mark Moore Gallery , Santa Monica


ONE AND J. Gallery, Seoul
Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain, Montreal

P.P.O.W, New York
Pablo’s Birthday, New York
Pepper’s Gallery, Tokyo
perugi artecontemporanea, Padova
Praxis International Art, New York

Galerie Stefan Röpke, Cologne
Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin
Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York
Galerie Roemerpotheke, Zürich
RuArts Gallery, Moscow

Schroeder Romero, New York
Randall Scott Gallery, Brooklyn
Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago
SENDA, Barcelona
Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica
Sienese Shredder Editions, New York
Silverlens Gallery, Manila
Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore
Slewe Gallery, Amsterdam
CHARLIE SMITH london, London
SPACE, Bratislava
Patricia Sweetow Gallery, San Francisco

Margaret Thatcher Projects, New York
Tokyo Gallery + BTAP, Tokyo
TZR Galerie Kai Brückner, Düsseldorf

VERNON, Prague
Virgil de Voldere Gallery, New York

Winkleman Gallery, New York

Galerie Nordine Zidoun, Luxembourg
ZÜRCHER, Paris I New York


There are some great programs going on twice a day during the 4 day event, consisting of informal talks by artists, curators, and other art professionals on works featured at the fair.



Beatrice Coron, solo artist project for the Museum of Arts and Design

Invisible Cities is an account of marvelous places seen by a traveler. Coron, herself a great traveler, does work that is both exquisitely detailed and monumental, both figurative and abstract, both a work of art and a voyage of discovery that draws the viewer in almost physically.

Location: P-03, PULSE New York, Pier 40



Eva Diaz, Curator of the Parsons Student Booth

The Parsons exhibition at PULSE NY combines artworks with a collaborative library. The installation incorporates pieces by each of the over 40 Fine Arts MFA candidates at Parsons, as well as books lent by the students that form an important part of their personal collections. The booth is conceived as a hybrid space that integrates the material culture of the studio with the intellectual culture of the classroom.

Location: P-09, PULSE New York, Pier 40




Taylor Baldwin, artist represented by Conner Contemporary Art

Taylor Baldwin’s new works for Pulse NY consist of drawings and a large wall-based sculpture. Made entirely out of found or scavenged materials “The Sun Never Sets” is a hand-made replica of the fossil skull of the 10,000 year old ancestor of modern cattle, the Auroch. The recreated fossil is made entirely out of recovered material that will never biodegrade, and will thus enter the geologic record of the Anthropocene, our own fossil era.

Location: E-01, PULSE New York, Pier 40


Constance Marguiles from the Lotus Endowment Fund

By and About Women is a special, limited edition, portfolio of art and poetry by women artists from around the world and the creative writing group of the Lotus House Women’s Shelter situated in the heart of the historic African American district of Overtown, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami. Lotus House serves approximately 130 women and infants annually, with a holistic, gender specific and innovative format designed to empower women to improve the quality of their lives on every level, achieve greater self sufficiency and transition to permanent homes off the streets. All proceeds from the sale of the portfolio go to the Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc. to secure the financial stability and long term viability of the Lotus House women’s shelter.

Location: P-05, PULSE New York, Pier 40




Are Mokklebost, artist from Darkness Decends

Having had separate careers in music and art, the piece playing at PULSE NY is an excerpt from his first major audiovisual work: OK. A year from now it will be installed as a permanent light-box installation in a children´s school in Norway, and we will hear the first haunting tunes from this creation myth, based solely on digital-analog synthesizer.

Location: C aisle, PULSE New York, Pier 40



Marina Fokidis, curator of PULSE PLAY>

PULSE PLAY> Random Rules explores what YouTube might mean to a certain intellectual community. By asking a selection of prominent and emerging artists to create their own playlists, the notion of the artist is being presented not only as a creator, but also as a curator and collector. The selections will be available simultaneously in the video lounge and online as a YouTube channel at

Location: C-09, PULSE PLAY> PULSE New York, Pier 40





Clifton Childree, artist represented by Galerie Ernst Hilger/Hilger Contemporary

Viewers find themselves at the entrance of what looks to be the remains of an abandoned silent movie theater distressed by nature, asserting its natural self while sinking back into the swamp on which it was built. A decayed slapstick film plays inside, commenting on the ‘bait and switch’ swampland real estate scams that took place in Miami during the early 1900s.

Location: D-11, PULSE New York, Pier 40


Anthony P. Munoz