Friday, December 29, 2017

Artnet News: Best Works of 2017

What do you think? Several folks from Artnet assembled this Best of 2017 article:…/best-art-i-saw-all-year-1182602…
From Anne Imhof's remarkable pavilion in Venice to Chris Burden's dirigible in Basel, here's the art we'll remember most from 2017.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Press for Miami Art Fairs 2017 - Part 1

 I'll be posting links to coverage of the Miami Art Fairs 2017, more to come:

Art News has continuing online coverage of Miami art fairs:

Blouin Art Info has several posts:

Hi Fructose magazine is doing daily reports:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

5 Min. W/ The Gallery Guy video: Kortez

      Kortez is an artist from Freehold NJ using bold color, collage, and African American references in his mixed media paintings. Striking imagery, both portraiture and"free style" collage and painting are his trademarks. We met at Dark City Brewing Co in Asbury Park, NJ for a 5 minute interview.
Check him out on Facebook, too, at Esoteric Urbanism and at

     Thanks to Kortez, Dark City Brewing Co., and John Kaplow/NJ MediaWorks!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Duh, really? Stats re: "starving " artists

     I kinda hate the term "starving artist." I mean, I get it, but as a label it's just cliché pigeon-holing. "Struggling artist" makes more sense. Google "starvation" and look at the images, you won't see artists w swollen bellies and skeletal frames. We choose to do this and make the sacrifices necessary to make art. It's part of it. We might feel compelled to do it, but no one is forcing us into this lifestyle; we want to do it.

   This short article is interesting. It's about a report commissioned by Artfinder. In the USA, 3/4 of the artists surveyed made $10,000 or less per year from their art. 48.7% made less than $5000.00. No surprise to those in the arts.

     Another chart shows # of artists per million of major cities, Miami was #1 and New York was 9. But here's a quote:
"Be that as it many, the Artfinder city ranking is a bit misleading. Miami may have three times as many artists per capita as New York, but New York (population 8.5 million) is also 19.5 times as large as Miami (population 440,000). In raw numbers, the Artfinder survey would suggest that New York has about 1,600 working artists very close to official numbers. Miami would have 250."

Here's a link  to the article:

Monday, October 9, 2017

RIP Holly Block - a loss to the NY arts community

 RIP Holly Block, a true leader for arts diversity and former director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts.  Article from Art News:

"Explain ME' a new art podcast

ArtFCity has a piece on a new blog, "Explain Me,"  w Paddy Johnson and WIlliam Powhida. I've written about Powhida's work a few times in The Gallery Guy. If his humor translates to this podcast it should be a fun listen.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Summer is slowly fading...

Still hot here in NJ, but summer is on its way out. Came across these beautiful sunflowers by Vinnie Van Gogh, just wanted an excuse to share. Enjoy...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Short video with Ellsworth Kelly

     Ellsworth Kelly unquestionably has a place in art history. I was never excited by his work. I felt it made sense and has relevance in its timeframe, that is, in the step by step linear history of art and the development of abstraction and minimalism. But beyond that, it felt repetitious and nothing more than variations on a theme. When he breaks from the simple geometric shapes painted a color (blue square etc) and "pushes" a bit - using organic shapes, juxtaposing shapes and colors, channeling Matisse and Rothko - those pieces are much more interesting, IMHO.
     Although brief, this video of EK talking about his work is insightful. I find his earlier work with shadows, like the painting in blue of parts of shadows based on his photo of the stairs (seen in the video), to be far more intriguing than a black square or yellow rhombus.
     Even at his age, it's wonderful to see an artist still jazzed by painting and his personal visions.

Monday, June 19, 2017

NY Works Initiative - spaces for the arts??

     Kudos to NY Mayor DeBlasio for attempting to address the issues creatives face trying to live and work in NY. Not a ton of specifics yet, and this one stat from 2014 really jumped out at me: "an eye-popping 53,000 applications poured in for a scant 89 apartments at East Harlem’s El Barrio Artspace PS109."  Wow.
     It's exciting to know from that stat that there are still so many folks making art in the NY area! If these initiatives are successful, hopefully other cities will take note and use empty/abandoned spaces in a similar fashion.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Alice Neel at David Zwirner

David Zwirner showed paintings by Alice Neel from Feb-April 2017. Made it to the exhibit, here are some shots of her portraits.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

At last! The debut of the video series "5 Minutes With The Gallery Guy" is here!

     I started this blog 9 years ago. I wasn't looking to be a critic, I wanted to share the excitement and enthusiasm I have for looking at original art.
     Years ago I owned a bar in Hoboken called Liquid Lounge, which also had an art gallery. In the beginning I wanted to remember my customers' names but I think I fried a synapse in doing so, and since then have a rough time with names; I knew people by their face or their drink as is common with many bartenders! There's so much referencing of names in  the fine art world, I needed a way to help me remember names of artists and galleries, so I figured writing about them would help. And here we are.
     I'm also not shy in front of a camera or mic, I've done some extra work on TV and film (a bucket list thing) and began to think about a video version of this blog. Many artist interviews are dull affairs of two talking heads unless there's a budget for inserting shots of work and photos etc. Also, we're all very aware of the short attention span of this generation (still reading?) so I decided to do 5 minute interviews, covering the basics and whetting the viewers' appetites to learn more about the artist. I also feel that people will watch 3 or 4 short interviews as opposed to one long one, particularly with artists they may not know. We plan to do some in odd locations or situations as well as in studios, and also to add some "B-roll" footage of the art during the interview. We have 2 in the can, and more on the planning board.
     Please take a look. You can become a follower and get notified when we post new interviews. Thanks for your support and please share!

Best - Joseph Borzotta

Friday, April 21, 2017

A late post about NY Armory show 2017

     So with all the busy stuff of life going on, I realized after scanning through older photos on the celly that I didn't post the ones from the NY Armory! Yikes! Without further ado and just a few notes, here are some photos I took.

     Some of my favorite pieces were at El Apartamento, a gallery from Havana, Cuba. At first glance, the Degradation Series by Diana Fonseca looked like abstract paintings. Upon closer inspection and with info by the gallery rep, I learned that they're actually made up from peeling paint from walls in Cuba, and reassembled into these pieces on canvas. Creative, surprising and gorgeous.

      This book piece, also by Fonseca, has this cutout filled with rice, meticulously placed into a pattern, a grid. Unreal patience and craftsmanship to put this together, right? Click on the image to get a larger view of it.

"Lampenfieber" by Luthor Hempel at Sies & Hoke, Dusseldorf

      Paintings on album covers by Mike & Doug Starn at Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden:

""Untitled 2004" by Chantal Joffe, oil on board at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago

Another piece by Chantal Joffe, saw her work at about 4 galleries

"Forms Derived From a Cube" by Sol Lewitt 1991
     Jeffrey Deitch had an eye-catching installation at his large booth, one of the most talked about (which he made sure to tell several people while I was there). A group exhibit, loud, pink, with paintings, sculpture, and an interesting mix of work. And fun!

There's JD on the right.
"Workplace" by John Currin - 2002

"And Everything Was True" by Chloe Wise - 2017

It was very interesting to see this rare piece by Giorgio Morandi, the Italian painter known for his still-lifes of bottles because, well, all I've ever seen of his work IS the bottles. Here is a cityscape of his done in 1954 in the same wan, almost monochromatic palette he uses in his bottle pieces.

Cotile di Via Fondazza

Forgive me if I have this wrong, but some notes were sloppy. I think these are by Howard Hodgkin @Alan Cristea (London)

     These 2 pieces are all about the Benjamins, dollah bill y'all, and at the Armory money talks.
I don't have the artist's name who did the first piece (a hit when posted on my Instagram account) and the lower one is "Money" by Mel Bochner, 96x65" at 2 Palms, NY

Friday, April 7, 2017

Damien Hirst's Venetian Shipwreck Show

     It's amazing what an artist can accomplish with money, backing, and fame. Damien Hirst can be a polarizing name in the artworld (the taxidermy work was really something, the spin art stuff was a joke, IMHO). The scale, creativity, craftsmanship, and audacity to come up with and execute the "Venetian Shipwreck Show" is all that and the link to this article has several photos to prove it. The Gallery Guy wishes he could see it in person!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Art Market 2017 (Art basel and UBS)

Received this email today:
"Art Basel is proud to announce the launch today of The Art Market 2017, a joint publication by Art Basel and UBS that offers a comprehensive analysis of the international art market. Written by cultural economist Dr Clare McAndrew, founder of Arts Economics, the report covers macro-economic trends within the industry, spanning the dealer and auction markets, as well as the online sphere. The Art Market 2017 is available for free download from

The report tracks the development of the international art market over the course of 2016, analyzing regional performance and global wealth trends, and exploring the economic impact of the art business.

Key highlights as follows:

  • The global art market achieved total sales of an estimated USD 56.6 billion in 2016, down 11 percent from 2015.
  • Dealer sales rose just under 3 percent on aggregate to reach USD 32.5 billion, although performance was mixed between sectors and segments.
  • Sales at public auction of fine and decorative art and antiques came under pressure in 2016, with aggregate values falling by 26 percent to USD 22.1 billion.
  • The United States was again ranked in first place for global sales by value with a market share of 40 percent. The United Kingdom was the second largest global market with 21 percent, followed by China with 20 percent.
To learn more, please download the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2017 here. "

Monday, February 27, 2017

Raymond Pettibon at the New Museum

     These days Twitter looms large ala Trump. If one didn't know that Raymond Pettibon started adding text to his work in the mid-2000s, it would seem as if he was inspired by Twitter, which is not the case. Most of the text in his pieces do resemble short social media posts, some clear and concise, some scattered or truncated like a random late night thought (cough, Trump reference again, cough)  or lines lifted from poems or lyrics.

The political bent of many pieces read at times like the work of an internet troll, except the internet wasn't around for someone to remark on Manson, the hippie movement, drugs, Watergate, JFK, Vietnam and so on. Pettibon comments on these with the tone of someone who lived through it all and saw upclose the effects on his and others' lives.

     I get the feeling that there's a bitterness, a disappointment for him the way some of these things turned out that many were optimistic about at first like LSD or the hippie lifestyle. Although not really old enough to be fully invested in either (he was 10 in '67, 13 in '70, etc) he was old enough to be aware of the turmoils in society, to see and hear the ripple effects of the War, Nixon, drugs etc. Later, the Iraq War and Reagan would rear their heads in his work. One cannot help but wonder what Mr. Pettibon is going to produce now and in the next few years with the unusual and extreme election we just had and the results that are yet to unfold.

     His first notoriety came from doing the artwork for older brother Greg Ginn's punk band, Black Flag in 1976.

     There are several aspects to his work: juvenile doodler, prolific output, strong composition, illustration, fine art, activistic commentary, and an "outsider artist" aspect to some of the artwork as well as the seemingly burning pace and "need" to produce. True or not, several who've seen this show have expressed similar thoughts. One thing for sure, this exhibit is intense, almost exhausting because there is so much to see and most of it reaches out and grabs or punches the viewer.

     Other subjects of Mr. Pettibon's pen and brush are surfing (monster waves), baseball, cathedrals, war, celebrities, cartoon references like Gumby and Va-Voom from Felix the Cat, music and politics. His illustrator's composition skills are apparent as he weaves these images with text, a feat not as easy as it might seem to the viewer.

     One thing is clear, the addition of text is what set his work apart and brought it to another level.
Some of it is lengthy with additional text being added on at different times. Some is clear and succinct, other bits of text are convoluted, snippets, or one liner jabs/jokes. One of the more interesting parts of the exhibit shows pages from books and magazines where he cut out lines and marked them up for use in his art. A cool insight into his process.

     This quote from the NY Times is his answer to a question about how much of his text is original:  “I wouldn’t hazard a guess. But it’s not one or the other. Nothing comes out of thin air. We all live with the same language and influences.” He added, “I’m just the conduit, the messenger.”

"Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work"
Runs through April 9, 2017
New Museum, Manhattan; 212-219-1222,