10 December 2002  By Andries Loots
Vgallery recently went on a strategy mission to New York to expand our future vision and to meet up with clients who have been dealing with the Gallery over the last six years. 

Our trip commenced in London where we visited the most prominent exhibitions and galleries including the White Cube and the TATE Modern.

The TATE Modern housed in the former Bankside Power Station with its 99 meter high chimney, is an impressive glass and brick building in the heart of London, linked to St Paul's Cathedral by the New Millennium foot bridge. The museum houses an impressive collection of works since 1900 to the present. In the foyer,  which use to be the main Turbine room,  is a huge installation by Bombay born artists Anish Kapoor ( 1954 -  ). This enormous work comprising 3 huge steel rings joined together by a  membrane fills up the entire room.

Tate Modern,  London

During our stay in New York, we visited the  International Fine Print Dealers Association Fair. This Fair is one of the biggest and dealers from all over the world are exhibiting their works here. The sheer professionalism that we encountered here between dealers and Galleries was in stark contrast to conditions in South Africa. Here one dealer regards another, not as a threat, but as an opportunity to enter new markets.

Study for self-Portrait, 1981, oil & pastel on canvas 198 x 147,5cm

The following day's program included a visit to a Francis Bacon Exhibition, that opened at the Marlborough Gallery. This was the first show of Bacon's work at Marlborough since 1993. Marlborough Gallery represented Bacon for most of his career up till his death in April 1992. With the exception of one early work all the works shown in this exhibition were signed by the artist, and several have been exhibited at different times at museums around the world such as the Grand Palais, Paris; Tate Gallery, London; Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul; Yale Center for British Art, New Haven; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition consisted of nine works as follows: three quintessential triptychs dating from 1970, 1983 and 1986-87; a rare 1957 painting of a pope; Study for Self Portrait, 1981, measuring 198cm x 147; two other single panel works of the same size dating from 1988 (Jet of Water) and 1990 (Male Nude Before Mirror) as well as two outstanding small works, 14 x 12 inches, from 1967 and 1982 of Isabel Rawsthorne.

On the terrace of the Gallery was a work by artist Tom Otterness,  See No Evil, a bronze sculpture,  edition of 3 and measuring 366 x 627 x 183 cm. This work will be on display till the 31st of December 2002. 

See no Evil

Charcoal Drawings

One of the reasons we also visited New York, was to attend the opening of William Kentridge's latest show and the launch of his latest movie,  Zeno Writing,  at the Marian Goodman Gallery. It was a great event and was well attended. 
( see previous article - article 16 )


Following the Kentridge Exhibition, we took a cab to Pace Galleries for the opening of an exhibition of new works by artist Chuck Close. Close who is seen as one of the most important contemporary American artist's today was present at the opening. Although swamped by journalists, the artist took time to personally talk to each person who required his attention and signed each autograph with great passion. 

A lighter moment with the artist Self-Portrait/Woodcut, 2002 ed.60 The real Chuck Close ?

The following day we visited the Chelsea Art district and were surprised to find 190 Galleries within a radius of about 500m! This was indeed a discovery that put the South African dealer network to shame. We were greeted with professionalism, efficiency and art that was superbly displayed. Most of all the willingness to work together was enlightening. Here we saw Galleries, of which the worst would stand its ground to the best in our own country. 

Our next visit was the Editions & Artists' Book Fair on the 14th floor, 601 W. 26th Street. This is a smaller scale Fair but we were surprised to see quality graphic works on display. 

The next opening night was indeed also one of the highlights of our trip : Jeff Koons
As the guests started arriving, Jeff was still installing his major work in the one room. What appears to be a blow up dolphin in every detail, was indeed a bronze sculpture suspended from chains from the roof.  While the onlookers were sipping on their Veuve Clicquot from crystal flutes, Jeff and his assistants swiftly completed the installation and it was well received. We introduced ourselves to Jeff and also met his wife, surprisingly also from South Africa. 

Jeff installing The Installation Jeff Koons and Andries

Although the schedule was hectic, we were fortunate to also attend the Contemporary previews at Sotheby's,  Christies and Phillips auction houses.


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