Show & Tell: Loren Munk Maps NYC Art History at Lesley Heller


October 3, 2011

Painter Loren Munk’s current solo exhibition at Lesley Heller gallery on the Lower East Side presents something of a long-deserved spotlight for the artist, who has been working in the New York art world (chiefly Brooklyn) for decades, tirelessly documenting the scene’s shows and openings through his videographer persona James Kalm. The paintings on view in “Location, Location, Location: Mapping New York City’s Art World” are nothing less than an attempt to come to grips with the entirety of New York City’s art history, grappling with the artists, spaces, and events that have made this city a (some may say ‘the’) capital of the international art world. Thickly-painted, brightly-colored maps not unlike an elementary school bulletin board (in the best possible way) are festooned with tags that describe who had a studio where, where galleries opened, and where dealers lived.

“Ascension” (seen above), the largest canvas in the show, details New York City’s rise to the top of the international art world over the course of the entire 20th century, from the Photo Secessionists to the Abstract Expressionists to Jeff Koons and beyond. In her guardedly positive New York Times review, Roberta Smith wrote that Munk’s work “gives dizzying visual expression to some of what lures the art-driven to the city: the sense of possibility in the air and of history beneath our feet.”

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Loren Munk