I went downtown to socialize with the beautiful people and coincidentally, the beautiful art by Austin Eddy.
Little can tear me away from my Upper East Side haunts (Amaranth for cappuccinos as an offensive hour; four-hour-long Rothko-gazing sessions at the MET) but when the East wanders, I follow. Though Bill Powers’ cutting-edge Half Gallery is throughly ‘uptown’ (43 East 78th Street), his heart’s still downtown (Half Gallery started on Forsyth).
Atmospheric, cool, happy (and conscious of it), Powers is holding high art court in the charming and unassuming Cafe Henrie on a Lower East side street. For the evening only, work by Austin Eddy posed on one wall. The other wall was completely blank, oddly satisfying. Guests enjoyed their interesting beers and cocktails and sat close to the works, which offered a muddy, earthy warmness. There is a casual goodness here, the textbook look of the artist scene- the one we fantasize about and pass off as an ancient wish. It felt organic because it was. It was going to be gone by tomorrow.
Indeed, Cafe Henrie dons the art-gallery costume this fall, with Powers selecting works- only one artist at a time. Powers initiated the whole thing because he’s tired of bending to schedules. Too many decent galleries with good shows show for too long. Procrastination sets in- you never make it. For Powers, this is unacceptable. Move fast! Don’t wait. On this premise, Cafe Henrie only plays art gallery for one night per artist. The urgency is real. It goes both ways. The evening generated two sales of only four works.
But also Eddy- he is a formidable artist. His works revolve around himself, but not in a vapid way- he gracefully reimagines his relationships as symbols and textural moments on canvas. The works on view were balanced and scaled, fat lines and punctuating circles arranged in such a way you might be looking a new, personal language or half-recalled hieroglyphs. Degrees of Dutch and and Scandinavian influence in the works make them sufficiently cordial.
As for Powers’ downtown one-shot art shows, the next one will feature paintings by Paul Sevigny, October 19th, at Cafe Henrie. See you there.