WOLFS Gallery in Beachwood provides panoramic glimpse of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s one-time annual May Show
By Steven Litt, cleveland.com
By Steven Litt, cleveland.com
Fresh off the heels of a critically acclaimed New York premiere of Ken Nevadomi’s work at the Independent Art Fair and the Tube Strange exhibition in Tribeca with New Canons, WOLFS Gallery mounts an ambitious display of the artist’s work in their Beachwood gallery. WOLFS’s exhibition, Ken Nevadomi: Dancing on the Moon, presents works from the late 1980s and early 1990s. While these paintings may appear tame compared to his earlier work from the 1970s, there is still a sense of anxiety, sexual tension, and reflection on contemporary society. The artist also prophesizes a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by unrestrained capitalism, viruses, and climate change. This is all seen through a gritty paint technique, with strong emphasis on mythology and references to art history. The show, like Nevadomi’s work, requires more than just a quick pass. Complex ideas and juxtaposed styles often confront each other within individual paintings. Presented in a single exhibition, WOLFS brings us an artist who is not timid about exploring a wealth of diversity in his work.
As the bigger and brawnier Armory Show aims to start anew on the western edge of Manhattan, the Independent art fair has taken up its typically cooler, cozier station in a new location near the island’s southernmost tip. Starting with a preview on Thursday and continuing through the weekend, the slightly slimmed-down satellite fair—with 42 galleries this year, compared to the more normal 50 to 60—fits nicely in the Beaux-Arts–style Battery Maritime Building, recently restored as a home for Cipriani South Street. The ceilings soar, and a terrace out front offers a good perch for people-watching. On the first day, a subdued but solid crowd perused booths presented by domestic galleries from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oakland, and Portland as well as international vendors from Vancouver, London, Oslo, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, and Antwerp. Herewith, see works from the six best booths at Independent.
An 82-year-old Neo-Expressionist from Cleveland, Ken Nevadomi is having a moment with his first solo presentation in New York at the booth for New Canons, a “nomadic curatorial office and contemporary art think tank” also opening a month-long show of Nevadomi’s work at a space in Tribeca. The paintings at Independent are entrancing and enigmatic, in an array of styles that are hard to reconcile as the work of only one artist. And the elusive but evocative subject matter drifts between strange fever-dream visions and sly allusions to the artist’s past as a commercial illustrator for American Greetings alongside the likes of Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb. A fish bursting through the nozzle of a spay can in Bernini Visits Louis XIII in His Toilet is a good example of Nevadomi’s “restless symbolism,” as described by New Canons founder Maxwell Wolf (also known for his work in the past as director and chief curator of Red Bull Arts).
New Canons, founded by Maxwell Wolf, presents a poignant and prickly Nevadomi collection at this years’ Independent Art Fair being held next week at the Battery Maritime Building in Manhattan.