Chinatown: Beyond the Thunderdome

One dangerous thing about having no idea where you’re going is you, or rather I, end up covering the same ground multiple times.  So, after snapping a few more photos at the Sun Tak Buddhist Association, I headed back down to street level and tried to go a different way than I’d gone before, whichever way that was in the first place.

Success! And I almost passed a very small, very well curated art gallery at 127 Henry Street (this is not from memory – I got their business card).  Bureau is owned and directed by one Gabrielle Giattino, who is in my opinion, too young and attractive to have her own gallery in Manhattan -it’s just not fair to the rest of us. Additionally, she has good taste. Also annoying.

The piece:

Untitled, Daniel Lefcourt

is 6×8 of oil on linen and a lot more amazing in person. Lefcourt has a talent for drawing immense volume out of his strictly black paint to the point where one feels enveloped by the potential context of a seemingly contextless figure. A rock, for god’s sake. At least, I think it’s a rock.

This piece:

Small Chocolate, Viktor Kopp

also in Bureau’s current show, is far more whimsical, though no less technically proficient (and yes I just gave myself away, all you art critics. I do think craft is important, so sue me, as people used to say.) If  you click to enlarge, you’ll see the bottom right piece is melting.

Unfortunately, my photographs or Barb Choit’s photographs came out awful, surprise, surprise.  Unfortunate especially since she, and they, are amazing. As Giattino explained, the basic idea is this: If you break a teacup, tumbler, plate, ashtray or any other vessel of glass or ceramic, she will ask you for it, archive it, and photograph it. Archeologizing (can that be a word, please?) the near past. (If you didn’t see it before, her name’s linked to her site.)

Not having spoken since I got to Chinatown, I was a little tongue tied with Giattino. Still, she was gracious enough to let me take pictures as well as nod and smile when I tried to sound artsy. She suggested I go by a cottage industry tannery run by two old ladies around the corner. I looked, got lost and ended up meeting Frank, caretaker of the Lower East Side People’s Garden. But more on that tomorrow. For now though, I’ll just say that he too has a unique sense of aesthetic not to be missed.

Disco in the People's Garden

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2 Comments

Filed under Manhattan

2 responses to “Chinatown: Beyond the Thunderdome

  1. Commodore Mendez

    But it’s such a nice rock. No better, or worse than other rocks. But really, really nice. Isn’t art an emotionally or intellectually compelling piece of crap? Craft! I mean, craft! Really, really. Which makes one ask, is Kopp’s “Small Chocolate” equal in art to a real, commercial (shivers!) piece of chocolate you’re actually allowed to eat? Its existence fleeting and all the more akin to our own brief sojourn on this rambling Chinatown of a world?

  2. i can has cheeseburger?

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