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Gloria Park's
wig installation
at Alona Kagen
& Jose Martos' 

David Opdyke and
Bryan Huff's ceiling
in 407's kitchen 

Reneé Riccardo 
and painter
Donald Traver

served at 
Ross Bleckner


Bleckner painting

Mary Boone

Penine Hart

Penine Hart
with Lucio Pozzi
Rag Rug painting
amongst other things
at p.g.h. Antiques

chat and dish
by Ronny Cohen

Could an art scene really survive deep in 
the limestone and granite canyons of Wall 
Street? The answer to this question would 
be yes, at least as demonstrated by this 
summer's first cool art event, the Art 
Exchange Show (June 5-15). Sponsored by the 
Alliance for Downtown New York, a business 
improvement group, and organized by dealers 
John Good and Renee Riccardo, the fair 
brought about 30 younger and more 
adventurous dealers to the top floors of 60 
Broad Street, the abandoned downtown 
Manhattan office building that had once 
housed Drexel Burnham, the now-disgraced 
junk-bond firm. On opening night an 
estimated 6,000 people impatiently waited 
for elevators to the building's six upper 
floors. What views, way up there in the 30-
somethings. Word is that the crumbling 
skyscraper will be overhauled and converted 
into residential condos. 
"People like it more than the Gramercy," 
said dealer Amy Lipton, referring to the 
Gramercy Art Fair, which recently 
celebrated its fourth installment at the 
Gramercy Hotel on Lexington Ave. Lipton 
sold some charming small Richard Tuttle-ish 
wall sculptures by Mary Nelson, an artist 
showing for the first time, plus some 
candlesticks by Joan Bankemper and works on 
paper by Amy Sillman. "Lots of sales, lots 
of sales," reported Rene Riccardo, who said 
she had spotted downtown-denizens John 
Waters and Todd Oldham among the curators, 
artists, art writers and collectors doing 
the rounds. 
Among the new and soon-to-be-famous dealers 
were Thomas Erben (ordinarily found at 476 
Broome), with works by Senga Nengudi and 
Sarah Rossiter, among others; Denise Gordon 
Fine Arts (112 E. 19th St.); and Alona 
Kagan & Jose Martos (55 Bethune St., Suite 
319), showing paintings by Matthew 
Weinstein. Our old friends Kenny Schachter, 
Annie Plumb, Arena, Pierogi 2000, Lipton 
Owens, Annie Herron and Adam Baumgold were 
among the exhibitors, as were galleries 
that were newer to us like 4C, Gavlak and 
Young from L.A., and Esso Gallery (at 191 
Chrystie St., 6th floor), headed up by 
painter Jennie Schueler.
Plus, we were pleased to see Florence Lynch,
former Director of Salvatore Ala in New York 
with her new gallery Art Nation.
In the ever-competitive New York gallery 
game, space counts. One of the most 
dramatic spaces in SoHo belonged to Mary 
Boone, who has done it again with her 
stunning new gallery at 745 Fifth Avenue, 
at 58th Street. As promised, she has made 
it "a downtown gallery uptown," thanks to 
help from Richard Gluckman, the same 
architect who renovated her gallery in 1981 
and who has been commissioned by Paula 
Cooper to do her new gallery on West 21st. 
With ample proportions, versatile lighting 
and poured concrete floors in which cracks 
have been left, the space speaks of power 
and style.
Boone's new space is definitely a plus for 
Ross Bleckner's new paintings on view there 
(through June 29), mysterious floral 
compositions that could be predicting a new 
spring for the art world. According to the 
gallery, almost all of these large (84 X 72 
in.) canvases, priced at $80,000 a pop, 
have been sold. Back downtown, Barbara 
Agoglia, director of Paul Kasmin Gallery, 
says "There's a waiting list for her 
paintings. She doesn't make that much 
work." She was referring to abstract neo-
expressionist Suzanne McClelland, an artist 
whose career got a boost from being in the 
1993 Whitney Biennial. McClelland's second 
solo show at the Grand Street gallery, 
featuring paintings priced at $15,000-
$18,000 and works on paper at $2,500, was 
sold out. Mariko Mori is another artist 
whose second solo outing, an installation 
at Deitch Projects, attracted considerable 
buzz this spring. "In the way Mori skirts 
the line between fantasy and reality, her 
work is pertinent to all types of people 
from the club kids to the collectors and 
curators coming in," notes Sarah Watson, 
director of Deitch Projects. The 
enthusiastic critical response to Mori's 
photo pieces, which combine cyborg fantasy 
with issues of cultural identity, helped 
the works sell out at prices in the 
$10,000-$20,000 range.
"This just started as something to keep me 
connected to people that mean so much to 
me," explains Penine Hart about her recent 
decision to show contemporary art on the 
walls of her successful antiques shop, 
P.G.H. Antiques, at 457 Broome. After 
closing her SoHo gallery, Hart opened the 
shop about 18 months ago, stocking American 
furniture and decorative objects from the 
19th century through the 1930s. "Lucio 
Pozzi was the first to say that he thought 
one of his paintings would look good here. 
Other artists I had worked with at my 
gallery, like Michael Goldberg, Lynn 
Umlauf, Seth Forman and Carmel Buckley, 
brought pieces in, and I was selling them 
off the wall in my office. After I 
renovated the space and began mixing in 
contemporary art works with antiques, it 
all really took off."
Although in the 1980s the idea of 
collectors buying 'serious' contemporary 
art in an antiques shop would have been 
unthinkable, Hart has turned it into a 
reality. "I'm so pleased about the response 
we had to Lucio Pozzi's show of "Rag Rug" 
paintings in May. I sold some, and a lot of 
people came by," she reports. Hart 
discloses she is even pre-selling 
exhibitions. "I mentioned to Warner 
Kamarsky that I'm going to do a show of 
Carmel Buckley in the fall. He asked if he 
could buy some now. He bought three works." 
Next up is a group show taking the antiques 
shop itself as a main theme. Approximately 
15 artists, including Jack Whitten, Peter 
Hristoff, Carmel Buckley, Seth Forman, 
Lucio Pozzi, Billy Copley, Nick Ghiz and 
Louise Dudis, are participating in "The 
Great Pretender," which opens with a 
champagne reception, Thurs., July 11, 6:00-
8:00 pm, and runs through Sat., Aug. 31. 
Ronny Cohen is a New York critic, 
columnist and lecturer.