James Lettiere: Two Artists Now Showing in Chelsea Print

Written by James Lettiere, Investment Banker and Art Specialist

Editor's note:  With this article we introduce a new columnist, James Lettiere. Mr. Lettiere will be writing on the New York City art scene. A Bronxville resident, he is semi-retired from the financial industry and has worked for The Drawing Center in Manhattan. Most important, he enjoys frequenting art exhibits and galleries throughout the city.   

Sep. 17, 2014:  Art and avarice are constantly butting heads in Chelsea. However, it is possible to observe all that is uplifting about art among the numerous exhibits and galleries.

On my way to see the current Mark di Suvero exhibit at Paula Cooper's Gallery at 534 West 21st Street (until October 22), I happened upon a terrific example of the work of Nancy Rubins down the street at the Gagosian Gallery, 522 West 21st. 

Ms. Rubins's work is new to me, but I think it and di Suvero's perfectly encapsulate the current environment in Chelsea since the unveiling of the High Line.

The structure of the High Line is profoundly industrial and it is represented well by di Suvero's expansive 22-foot sculpture, Luney Breakout, composed entirely of weathered, rusting steel. Hard-edged I-beams support curved lengths of metal that unfurl into the sky.

At the other edge of the spectrum of what we see along the High Line, Ms. Rubins's pieces incorporate pastel-colored playground figures like the animals one sees on carousels and other circus configurations, but they are enclosed like hay bales by aluminum wire.

Demonstrating the opposites of monumental sculpture and the intimacy of everyday objects, the assemblages are similar to the large crowds of people moving along the length of the High Line. Their colorful everyday clothing, like animated clouds, up against the harsh background of the High Line's rusted steel.

Mark di Suvero's work can be seen at the Whitney Museum's permanent collection as well as the Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY. He lives and works in New York.

Nancy Rubins was born in Texas and achieved her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and her MFA at the University of California, Davis.

Pictured here (rotating):  Artwork by Nancy Rubins and Mark di Suvero.

Photos by James Lettiere