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510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001
212 399 2636

Also at:
222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

Alexander Gray Associates is a contemporary art gallery in New York. Through exhibitions, research, and artist representation, the Gallery spotlights artistic movements and artists who emerged in the mid- to late-Twentieth Century. Influential in cultural, social and political spheres, these artists are notable for creating work that crosses geographic borders, generational contexts and artistic disciplines.

Artists Represented:
Frank Bowling
Ricardo Brey
Luis Camnitzer
Melvin Edwards
Coco Fusco
Harmony Hammond
Lorraine O'Grady
Betty Parsons
Joan Semmel
Hassan Sharif
Regina Silveira
Valeska Soares
Hugh Steers

Works Available By:
Sergei Eisenstein
Sam Gilliam
Jack Whitten

 
Current Exhibition

Betty Parsons

Betty Parsons: Heated Sky

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

February 27, 2020 - April 4, 2020
Alexander Gray Associates presents its second exhibition of works by Betty Parsons (1900–1982), "Heated Sky." The paintings and works on paper from the height of Parsons’ engagement with abstraction from the 1960s to mid-1970s foreground the artist’s attunement to nature and the landscape. Parsons’ keen observation of the natural world was the ground for compositional methods ranging from loose biomorphism to geometric order, always featuring a dynamic sense of color. Inspired by a visit to the 1913 Armory Show in New York, Parsons determined to become an artist from a young age, undertaking training in figurative sculpture and later watercolor. In 1947, one year after founding the Betty Parsons Gallery, she made her first abstract painting, thereby initiating a transformative new direction that would engage her for the next 35 years. The completion of Parsons’ light-filled studio in Southold, NY, in 1960 ushered in a decade of work characterized by a simplification of form and color. Designed by architect and artist Tony Smith and overlooking the Long Island Sound, it fast became the artist’s regular weekend retreat and the site of concentrated art-making. In paintings such as "Pasture" (1963), Parsons combined a monochromatic field of color with free-floating island-like shapes in colors both analogous and complementary. Works from later in the decade introduced line-based compositions as featured in the graphic immediacy of "Early Morning" (1967), with its rhythmic repetition of gold and red stripes interwoven with white, black, and gray. Alongside her paintings, Parsons filled numerous sketchbooks and notebooks with spontaneous observations. Gouaches such as the red, gold, and blue "Heated Sky" (1976) feature highly saturated color and Parsons’ harnessing of the medium’s speed and fluency. Counting many of the period’s leading painters among her former and current gallery artists, Parsons was immersed in the languages of abstract painting. Her own work, however, was rooted in the marriage of her powers of observation and interpretation. As she described in an interview with Lawrence Alloway in 1968, “When I start a painting I try to become a blank and only let an emotion come into me. If I say, for instance, I have an idea that I want to paint an atmosphere that I see out of the window, I try to become a blank when it comes to choice of forms and colors. I go up to the canvas with a brush and suddenly decide and I pick out a gray or brown or whatever the atmosphere is and put it on very spontaneously. That color introduces an idea for another color, and I go on from there.” The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, featuring a new essay by art historian Elizabeth Buhe and an introduction by Rachel Vorsanger, Collection and Research Manager for the Betty Parsons Foundation.

 
Past Exhibitions

Lorraine O'Grady

Cutting Out CONYT 26

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

March 7, 2020 - March 29, 2020
"Cutting Out CONYT" (1977/2017) returns to Lorraine O’Grady’s 1977 series, "Cutting Out The New York Times (CONYT)," which consisted of 26 found newspaper poems made between June 5 and November 20, 1977 from successive editions of the "Sunday Times." Building on the successful transformation of public language into private in "CONYT," in "Cutting Out CONYT" O’Grady repurposes the work to achieve a failed goal of the earlier series: the creation of what she terms “counter-confessional” poetry. "Cutting Out CONYT" culls the original poems and reshapes the remains into 26 new works that adopt a form the artist refers to as “haiku diptychs.” Each of the haiku takes as its source a single poem from "CONYT." Produced following a similarly rigorous set of rules as those that dictated "CONYT," "Cutting Out CONYT" isolates and rearranges panels from the 1977 work without altering them in any way. Newly combined, the resulting compositions are eloquent in their brevity, while their printed, collaged forms evoke the materiality of the original series.

Hassan Sharif

Iron No. 3

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

February 1, 2020 - March 1, 2020
Known as the “father of modern art in the United Arab Emirates," Hassan Sharif combined a London-based art education with the singular experience of living in the young and fast-developing culture of the U.A.E. He began making his "Objects" in the 1980s, using materials sourced from industrial and commercial contexts. Inspired by Duchamp’s objects made of inexpensive and readily available materials, Sharif employed things like fabric, rope, and paper to make sculptures based on a logic of accumulation. "Iron No. 3" (2013) foregrounds Sharif’s engagement with weaving, which appealed to him for its simplicity of construction. Strips of rusted iron are woven together and covered with a web of thin steel wires hooked and twisted to one another. An artist who imbued everyday objects with a poetic sensibility, Sharif perceived a softer side to these industrial materials, explaining, “The rusted surface looks similar to a tree’s bark. It’s in nature, for example, and it protects itself. And with iron, if you leave it exposed to the elements, the surface becomes rusted, so rust is protecting the iron. Protection might become the narrative.”

Luis Camnitzer

Luis Camnitzer: Towards an Aesthetic of Imbalance

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

January 9, 2020 - February 15, 2020
Alexander Gray Associates presents its sixth exhibition of Luis Camnitzer’s work, highlighting two key installations, "El Mirador" [The Observatory] (1996), and "Territorio Libre" [Free Territory] (2018). For over five decades, Camnitzer’s interdisciplinary practice has influenced discourses around Conceptualism, pedagogy, and politics. In 1988, Camnitzer represented Uruguay in the 43rd Venice Biennale, where he produced a series of works that combined physical objects, printed images, and text. In the context of the end of Uruguay’s military dictatorship (1973–1984), these works addressed themes of torture, abuse of power, and repression, combining seemingly disparate elements to elicit poetic interpretations. Despite political instability during the transition to democracy, Camnitzer agreed to participate in the Biennale, realizing that “keeping one’s purity could be in the way of more important things like the cementing of a regained democracy.” Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, Camnitzer built upon the political themes in his work, developing new series and projects, including "The Agent Orange Series" (1985) and "Los San Patricios" (1992). Conceptually building on the work he debuted eight years prior at the Venice Biennale, Camnitzer presented El Mirador in 1996 at the São Paulo Biennial. Consisting of an enclosed room that is only visible to the viewer through a narrow slit in the wall, El Mirador evokes multiple spaces of confinement: a prison cell, a psychiatric hospital, and a torture chamber. Various objects are placed throughout the white-walled room, which is starkly lit with glaring light, lending the installation a surreal quality. In this tableaux, uncanny elements are gathered––an iron bed frame with a single glass sheet as a mattress, a shattered wall mirror, a house of playing cards, and a window with panes made of Astroturf grass––resulting in a hallucinatory aura, meant to destabilize the viewer’s initial interpretations. In addition to alluding to an observatory, the work’s title also implicates the one who is looking––the viewer––in the act of surveillance. In our contemporary moment, "El Mirador" takes on additional meaning: suggesting that our data-driven society functions as a self-sustaining surveillance system, supporting hegemonic structures of power and the status quo. "El Mirado"r can elicit various metaphoric interpretations ranging from political imprisonment to censorship, and ultimately, the instability of one’s own perception. Similarly, "Territorio Libre" represents Camnitzer’s ongoing engagement with borders and ideas of freedom. This recent installation consists of projected text on the floor that is encircled by razor wire in a darkened room. Labeled as “free territory,” the inaccessible space is guarded by the razor wire––as a result, the viewer experiences the work in the dark, from the “outside.” Inviting associations with current disputes about borderlands, the refugee crisis, and international powers, Camnitzer’s Territorio Libre is a timely interrogation of fictitious boundaries. In a metaphysical sense, Camnitzer explains: “In the end everything is a prison: the body, the limits of intelligence and imagination, the limits of society. The real prison is an example of an infinite number of prisons. We are always carrying around a prison, wearing it like a suit.”

Regina Silveira

Quimera

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

November 23, 2019 - December 22, 2019
"Quimera" is described by the artist as a “visual paradox” in that the illusion of a single lit lightbulb casts a dark, looming shadow, instead of illuminating the space with light. For decades, Silveira has explored "skiagraphia" (the study of light and shadows) in her multidisciplinary practice. In many works, shadows are elongated and distorted, subverting their original reference points, and encouraging subversive interpretations. In "Quimera," the uncanny paradox is illustrated through the impossible shadow of the lightbulb. The single, dangling lightbulb invites associations with the darkened interrogation room or perhaps even a torture chamber, alluding to the sense of foreboding in these spaces. Perception, for Silveira, is a malleable playing field, in which the artist’s imagination plays a critical role. In "Quimera," light and darkness are simultaneously complementary and contradictory, destabilizing the viewer’s sense of space.

Melvin Edwards

Painted Sculpture

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

October 24, 2019 - December 14, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates presented its fifth exhibition of work by Melvin Edwards (b.1937), "Painted Sculpture." An influential figure in African American art, Edwards’ practice reflects his engagement with the history of race, labor, and violence, as well as with themes of the African Diaspora. The Gallery’s exhibition features historical painted sculpture and works on paper—many of which have not been exhibited for decades. Extending Edwards’ extraordinary range as a sculptor, the presentation highlights the artist’s commitment to formal innovation. Edwards created his first painted sculptures in 1968 during a summer residency in Minneapolis, MN. After he left the city, under the aegis of the celebrated museum director Martin Friedman, these chromatic works comprised one of the Walker Art Center’s first solo outdoor sculpture exhibitions. Later that same year, Edwards joined the Smokehouse Associates in New York, which was founded by fellow artist and friend William T. Williams. Together with other members of the collective, he painted vivid, abstract murals in Harlem, transforming vacant sites in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. Adapting the color and geometry of these projects, Edwards’ primarily monochromatic painted sculptures harness the potential of paint to establish relationships between disparate elements while introducing the unexpected. These large-scale works are in multiple museum collections, including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, as well as on display outside Bethune Tower in Harlem, NY. Edwards’ approach to color is instinctual. “It is so hard to explain the meaning of the color/form relationship,” he explains. “Once my intuitive sense is in gear I tend to see the possibilities of some color relationships and their implications.” Meanwhile, his works’ forms expand on the modernist vocabulary of Alexander Calder’s stabiles while inviting comparisons to Julio González, David Smith, and Mark di Suvero’s steel constructions. Characterized by an inherent dynamism, Edwards’ painted sculptures are calligraphic—their linear quality recalling the artist’s interest in capitalizing on the potential of sculpture to function as, in his words, “drawing in space.” Works like "Felton" (1974), a homage to the artist’s grandfather, James Felton, and "Mozambique" (c.1974), titled in tribute to the East African nation, reflect this interest in the graphic. Juxtaposing static structures with curved and swooping shapes, Edwards characterizes these pieces as giving the impression of “motion captured and frozen." At the same time, by combining autobiography with formalist concerns, "Felton," "Mozambique," and other painted sculptures imbue abstraction with complex histories and sociopolitical issues—recalling the artist’s 1971 assertion that Black artists “must make works that use our lives and feelings as their basis for existence.” At once resolutely abstract yet deeply personal, these lyrical, chromatic structures reveal Edwards’ belief in the power of abstraction to alter spaces and transform viewers.

Ricardo Brey

Chinese Purple

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

October 5, 2019 - November 17, 2019
Inviting performative engagement by unclasping the four walls of the box and unfolding them to reveal a complex web of symbols, Brey’s archival boxes from his series "Every Life is a Fire" symbolize the vast unknowable intricacies of the human mind. In "Chinese Purple," five nesting boxes unfurl like a Russian Matryoshka doll, alluding to layers of secrets. Each side of each box is lined with delicate paper bearing ornamental Baroque-inspired patterns, rendered in deep red hues borrowed from antique Chinese lacquered furniture. The centerpiece of the box is a small accordion-style booklet delicately wrapped in a gilded textile fragment from a sari, which rests on a bed of dried rosebuds within a glass cube. Juxtaposing scientific renderings of the human heart, oxidized gold leaf, and citations from Manichean texts, Brey alludes to the inherent tensions between binary concepts like life and death, dreams and nightmares, masculinity and femininity, black and white, and the manmade and organic. Through the appropriation of diverse found materials, Brey also hints at the history of Europe's spice trade and legacies of colonialism. Reflecting on the work’s symbolic potential, Brey states, “The box is our head, the box is our cave, the box is the attic, the box is the memory and the world. The boxes are an attempt to spatially represent… a hermeneutics of the soul to create a topography of the mind.”

Teresa Burga

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

September 5, 2019 - October 12, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates presents its first exhibition of works by Teresa Burga (b.1935). A pioneering figure in Latin American Conceptualism, since the 1960s Burga has made works that encompass drawing, painting, sculpture, and conceptual structures that support the display of analytical data and experimental methodologies. The exhibition features a selection of historic illustrations and recent drawings, as well as never-before realized large-scale sculptures and a new wall drawing, based on schematics Burga created in the 1970s.

Hugh Steers

Boxes

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

August 30, 2019 - September 22, 2019
Diagnosed in 1987 with HIV, Hugh Steers’ subject matter speaks to his experience of the devastation of the AIDS crisis. Ultimately succumbing to AIDS-related complications at the age of 32, Steers maintained a commitment to figuration throughout his short career. He once described his work as “allegorical realism” created "to draw the viewer in through the lure of a comfortingly recognizable style and then confront him with a subject matter of a challenging nature." At once surreal and political, "Boxes" (1990) presents a seated man wearing a paper bag over his head surrounded by empty, open packages. Grounded in the history of Western art, the billowing drapery that frames the tableau recalls the swagged material of Baroque and Neoclassical portraiture. Meanwhile, Steers' unseeing figure alludes to the willful blindness of the AIDS epidemic, the government's resistance to directly addressing the crisis, and the alienation of the disease's victims.

Valeska Soares

Ouroboros

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

August 2, 2019 - August 25, 2019
Valeska Soares creates poetic works that fuse and expand upon the languages of post-minimalism and conceptual art. The installation "Ouroboros" (2014) maps the relationships between time and space. The work’s title refers to the symbolic representation of a serpent swallowing its own tail—a metaphor for wholeness and infinity. Soares replaces this mythological act of consumption with a golden pocket watch (in Portuguese, the word for gold is ouro) that is suspended from the ceiling by a delicate wire. The watch executes an almost imperceptible rotation in space, turning at the speed of one revolution per hour. Deprived of its hour hand, which Soares removed, the clock loses its function of offering a reference to a specific moment in the day. Instead, it attests to the inexorable passing of continuous time.

Melvin Edwards

Djeri Jef Fatou

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

July 5, 2019 - July 28, 2019
For more than five decades, Melvin Edwards has created evocative sculptures that juxtapose disparate steel elements to reflect on varied themes—oppression, labor, violence, the African Diaspora, etc.—and pay tribute to historic figures and friends. "Djeri Jef Fatou" belongs to the artist's series of "Discs," which he began to create in Senegal in the early 2000s. Featuring a tangled amalgamation of nails and other industrial components, the work’s reductive welded structure expands on minimalism's formalist legacy. At the same time, its title is a homage to Edwards’ close friend Fatou Ndiaye Sow (1937–2004), a Senegalese poet, teacher, and children’s book author. Furthering this connection to Senegal, "Djeri Jef Fatou" adapts the phrase “jërë jëf” or “thank you” from Wolof, a widely-spoken language in the country. Ultimately, "Djeri Jef Fatou" reveals Edwards’ deep engagement with Africa. Since first traveling to the continent in 1970, the artist has been committed to highlighting its incredible cultural diversity. As he concludes, “In my own generation of artists, and people I encountered there, I realized Africa was going to influence me not in terms of the ‘see something, get something visual’ that will influence your work, as much as a corroboration of generations feeling a similar need to create something new and different.”

Regina Silveira

Unrealized / Não feito

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

June 6, 2019 - July 12, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates presents an exhibition of ten unrealized projects by multidisciplinary artist Regina Silveira. Emphasizing Silveira’s ongoing formal experimentation and conceptual interventions in architecture, the works on view provide an overview of site-specific installations and public art projects that were never realized in physical space. Regina Silveira: "Unrealized / Não feito" is the Gallery’s fifth solo presentation of Silveira’s work, and celebrates a decade since her first Gallery exhibition in 2009.

Harmony Hammond

Bandaged Grid #5

222 Main Street
Germantown, NY 12526

May 25, 2019 - June 25, 2019
Harmony Hammond’s "Bandaged Grid" series (2015-Present) develops out of the artist’s "Near Monochromes," combining an earth-based palette with an expanded vocabulary of found fabrics layered in horizontal rows onto the canvas. The use of found material scraps traces back to Hammond’s work of the 1970s, which was made from the discards of friends and businesses in New York’s garment district. Then as now, Hammond harnesses these materials as a means to disrupt the art historical canon. As she explains, “Found and recycled materials and objects are one way to bring content into the world of abstraction, as they all have histories that accompany them wherever they go.” In "Bandaged Grid #5," grommets demarcate the grid, in both readymade strips and ones that Hammond has added to the canvas. For Hammond, the holes reference bodily orifices, putting these paintings into relationship with the experience of living in a body.

Count of Three

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

April 18, 2019 - May 25, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates presented "Count of Three," a survey of abstract painting from the 1960s to the present that takes structure—both formal and metaphysical—as a position to work within and against, opening onto myriad generative possibilities. Bringing together artists situated in an array of art historical, social, and cultural contexts, the exhibition features works by Polly Apfelbaum, Torkwase Dyson, Sam Gilliam, Carrie Moyer, Ulrike Müller, Odili Donald Odita, Betty Parsons, and Jack Tworkov.

Ricardo Brey

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

February 28, 2019 - April 6, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates presented its first exhibition of work by Ricardo Brey (b. 1955), "Doble Existencia / Double Existence." Born in Havana, Cuba, Brey has lived and worked in Ghent, Belgium since 1990. From the late 1970s onwards, Brey’s practice, which spans drawing, sculpture, and installation, has focused on his research into the origins of humankind’s co-existence in the world. The presentation features a selection of recent work encompassing the artist’s ongoing exploration of philosophical concepts like time, mythology, human expression, and the natural universe.

Joan Semmel

A Necessary Elaboration

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

January 10, 2019 - February 16, 2019
Alexander Gray Associates presented "A Necessary Elaboration," an exhibition of new work by Joan Semmel (b.1932), in its fifth exhibition with the artist. In paintings made during the last two years, Semmel continues her investigation of the nude self-portrait, in a series of large-scale canvases featuring the artist’s body as volumetric subject realized through expressive brushwork and brilliant color.

Lorraine O'Grady

Cutting Out CONYT

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

October 25, 2018 - December 15, 2018
Alexander Gray Associates presented "Cutting Out CONYT," an exhibition of new work by Lorraine O’Grady (b.1934). Featuring a selection of prints from "Cutting Out CONYT" (1977/2017), in O’Grady’s words, the show revealed her ongoing commitment to “establishing the diptych as a ceaseless conversation of difference.”

Frank Bowling

Frank Bowling: Make It New

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

September 6, 2018 - October 13, 2018
Alexander Gray Associates presents its first exhibition of work by Frank Bowling OBE, RA (b.1934), "Frank Bowling: Make it New." Born in British Guiana, Bowling maintains studios in London and New York. For over five decades, his practice has been defined by its integration of autobiography and postcolonial geopolitics into abstraction. Featuring a selection of recent work, the presentation celebrates Bowling’s contributions to the field of painting.

Hugh Steers

The Nullities of Life

510 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001

June 6, 2018 - July 20, 2018
Alexander Gray Associates presented its third exhibition of work by Hugh Steers (b.1962—d.1995), "The Nullities of Life." Before his death at 32 from AIDS related complications, Steers created allegorical images that captured the emotional and political tenor of New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Embracing representational painting and figuration at a time when such approaches were deemed unfashionable, his intimate compositions are poignant symbols of life under the specter of AIDS. Featuring a selection of paintings and works on paper, the show highlights Steers’ interest in capturing what he once described as “my ‘nullities of life,’” seemingly insignificant moments rendered extraordinary through luminous color and light and evocative forms.