Press Release: Gandy Brodie: Ten Tenements
May 31 – July 8, 2012
steven harvey fine art projects, 208 Forsyth St
hrs: Weds‐ Sun, 12‐6 and by appointment
“If I want to feel haunted, there's the Lower East Side.”
Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents Ten Tenements, a solo exhibition of Gandy Brodie’s (1925-1975) work based on the Lower East Side. The exhibition includes paintings and works on paper from 1958-1975 of tenement facades, city trees and related imagery – the landscape of Brodie’s youth.
This is the last exhibition that Brodie and his wife, Jocelyn, planned together before his premature death. She wrote in a letter to Meyer Schapiro’s widow Lillian, “Ten Tenements was Gandy’s idea for a show. Remember the mini-show I brought to you and Meyer of Tenement themes…and “The Happy Tenement,” the illustrated poem for children of all ages? …Gandy was a tenement before he became a tree (here in Vermont).”
Although the original intention was to pair Brodie’s representations of the Lower East Side with photographs of the walls and buildings that inspired them, this exhibition instead situates the paintings directly within the neighborhood that occasioned them.
Gandy Brodie was born in a “house on Henry Street”, blocks away from the gallery. Essentially a self taught artist, he was deeply impressed by the work of Van Gogh, Cézanne, Picasso, Klee, Soutine, and Mondrian, all of whom had an influence on his singular “expressionist” style. Brodie chose not to participate in the shifting trends that dominated the New York art scene, carving an independent path. He focused intensely on what was directly before him, striving to articulate the world as he observed it, “like a dream sequence,” as he once put it.
The exhibition includes Brodie’s monumental City Anguish from 1958, which the poet James Schuyler described as “non-figurative and true, like endless skyscraper structures limply and soundlessly collapsing”. Brodie himself described City Anguish as “a kind of deliberate scratching out of Cubism…that relies heavily on the imagery at the Williamsburg Bridge which has those cross girders…” Brodie said, “I use the crosses to cross out all the memories of sorrow that the city is bound to create.”
Brodie builds up the surface of his paintings yet his images remain touchingly ephemeral and light as they struggle to rise from the thick surfaces of paint. Brodie continuously reestablishes his connection to his environment – almost as though in the very act of capturing the faces of his tenements they elude him.
Gandy Brodie’s work is included in numerous museum collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian, The Phillips Collection and The Whitney Museum of Art. In 2008, his work was surveyed at the Gallery of the College of Staten Island. In 2006 his work was included in the “The New Landscape/ The New Still Life: Soutine and Modern Art” at Cheim & Read. In 2011 SHFAP presented PAIRINGS: Gandy Brodie/Bob Thompson: The Ecstasy of Influence, examining the artistic friendship of Thompson and Brodie.
This is the first one person exhibition of the artist’s work at steven harvey fine art projects, which represents the artist’s estate. It is part of series of exhibitions given to modern and contemporary artists of the lower east side. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-861-7312 for more information or photographs.