Yesterday, saw the opening of the exhibit César in Context at the Luxembourg and Dayan gallery on 77th and Park Avenue, a space tall but narrow with several floors.
César in the context of his contemporaries is evocative of a slightly stranger, more horror-esque aura than his whimsy usually allowed for. Certainly the colors are dark overall, earthy tones ranging from red to a pitch black best seen in Robert Motherwell’s Untitled (Elegy), shadowy tar black set against unassuming canvas. Cesar’s works of compression are fun, as art reusing other materials often feels. The three dimensionality of many of the projects gives an open atmosphere to the almost windowless gallery- certainly this exhibit is not one to be seen alone.
Walking through the gallery, it is almost like walking through someone’s very weird house. With peculiar taste in art. Where else but an eccentric old man’s mansion would you find César’s Scorpion? At one point there is a bow of crinoline- but in actuality it’s bronze and the title to the piece is meaningless (Armstrong Siddeley by Lynda Benglis). But the real beauty lies on the third floor, in the front section. While I nicknamed it “the limb room”, in actuality it contains more than realistic limbs- in one case an entire woman.
Classical Allusion by John de Andrea is a masterpiece. When I first caught a glimpse, it was as though an intruder had entered at random and draped herself, nude, across a Greco-Roman marble bust. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that’s not the case…or does it? The uncanny valley certainly springs to mind. It really must be seen in person to grasp the full effect.