I haven’t led a Soho gallery tour in 4 months. That’s because there are only 25 galleries left there (versus Chelsea’s 300 galleries and the Lower East Side’s 125 galleries), so I have to wait awhile before enough Soho galleries have great exhibits for a tour to be worth it. And this month that’s the case. Which is great, because Soho is the single most charming neighborhood in the city, not to mention how historically important it is to the gallery scene.
Highlights of my Soho tour on Sat. April 18: (1) exuberant paintings by singer Annie Lennox’s 22 year-old daughter, who is taking the art world by storm, (2) an Italian artist’s startling and innovative sculptures that a N.Y. Times art critic called “riotous” and “radical,” and (3) a riveting assemblage of controversial artworks that have been banned & censored by museums in recent years. These are just 3 of 7 fascinating shows.
I love that this tour will be both fun AND controversial. It means there’s something for everyone. It’s a testament to the diversity of art in contemporary galleries that going from one space to the next sometimes means a radical shift in consciousness. I suppose the same thing can happen when going from one floor of a museum to another, when the exhibits are so different.
The show I’m particularly excited to share with the group is the controversial one. A curator had the brilliant idea to amass artworks that were banned or censored by various museums worldwide. And you’ll be seeing the original artworks themselves. A lot, but not all, is about sex. And a lot, but not all of that, is homoerotic in nature. There’s still such a deep-seated animosity all over the world against gay people (like me), so even the expression of queerness in a public space is taboo. On the other hand, it’s thrilling to have so much sexy homoerotic art – and high-quality art at that – in one space.
The medium in this controversial art show is quite diverse: painting, photography, video, sculpture, fabric art, you name it. One segment of this show consists of artworks that were in a museum and literally vandalized while on display, leaving to its removal. The works are still intact, if beaten up. And perhaps they’re even more interesting as damaged works.
But there’s going to be plenty of fun whimsy on this tour as well, exemplified by an Italian artist’s design pieces – tables, chairs, chests of drawers, etc. – that are made of the wildest materials imaginable. Some of it has a deeper or political meaning, but most of it is just wildly amusing.
There probably won’t be another Soho gallery tour for 6 or more months, so take advantage of this one!
Rafael Risemberg, Ph.D., Director
New York Gallery Tours