- Source: THE NEW YORK TIMES
- Author: WILL HEINRICH
- Date: JUNE 08, 2017
- Format: PRINT AND DIGITAL
What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week
Brian Belott has been collecting children’s art as long as he’s been an artist (since the mid-1990s), and he’s shown his collection, alongside complementary work of his own, at small galleries in New York and Los Angeles. But for Gavin Brown’s 18-foot walls in Harlem, Mr. Belott tapped the enormous archive compiled by the psychologist and educator Rhoda Kellogg, borrowing and framing 300 drawings of racecars, dinosaurs and wonky, moon-faced people by mostly anonymous boys and girls. The pieces are hung salon-style and accompanied by a few dozen of Mr. Belott’s own painted copies of still more children’s art, as well as a full-size, free-standing classroom to host weekly art classes for area students.
The results are alternately thrilling, tedious and overwhelming. Above all, they’re surprisingly tricky to view. Moments of genius are easy to spot: A series of women in the rain, for example, drawn in pencil by one child, made me think of a Calder mobile crossed with a Southeast Asian textile print. But once you start spotting, you’ve engaged the very critical faculty that extinguishes childhood spontaneity. The adult skills of Mr. Belott’s paintings, meanwhile — the subtle modulation of colors, the self-effacing irony of a motley Pied Piper figure in front of two onion domes or of a scientist surrounded by drooping beakers — can’t help reading as just a gallery full of reminders that you can’t go home again
Through July 1. Gavin Brown’s enterprise, 429 West 127th Street, Manhattan; 212-627-5258, gavinbrown.biz..