June 20th, 2013
Call it serendipity: Two West Coast artists, Ken Price and Llyn Foulkes, receive their first solo New York museum retrospectives this month. Both have flown under the New York radar. Until now. They couldn’t be more different. Price brings a smile to the face; Foulkes whacks you in the solar plexus. Price worked (he died last year) small, sculpting in clay and drawing in acrylics on paper. Foulkes works large, painting huge canvases with a rag and embellishing equally grand-scale constructions and narrative tableaux with found objects. Price is laid-back (cups were a favorite motif); Foulkes disturbs (see what he does to Mickey Mouse). It’s not surprising that Price’s two exhibitions are at the mainstream Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Drawing Center, while Foulkes’ career review is at the more cutting-edge, pioneering New Museum. And yet, they were born within a year of each other (Foulkes in 1934, Price in 1935). Both drew cartoons in their youth; both are/were musicians. Foulkes plays The Machine, a homemade instruments that is part drum, bass, xylophone, cowbell and car horn; Price played jazz trumpet. None of this would have registered had I not seen the Price drawing show at The Drawing Center yesterday and read the labels at the Foulkes show at the New Museum this morning. There’s a lesson to be learned: Always read labels. And an observation to be made: This kind of serendipity—this kind of opportunity to connect, compare and contrast—can only happen in a city as large and as art-centric as New York. Tomorrow, another piece of the puzzle falls into place when I preview James Turrell’s light show at the Guggenheim. Turrell is yet another artist from the great out-there. Is New York finally waking up to the West Coast?
» Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962-2010, The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster St., 212.219.2166, thru Aug. 18
» Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., 212. 535.7710, thru Sept. 22
» Llyn Foulkes, New Museum, 235 Bowery, 212.219.1222, thru Sept. 1