Powders, a Phial, and a Paper Book signals dramatic physical change at Marlborough Chelsea

Drawn from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the literary reference in the title of Marlborough Chelsea’s most recent show, Powders, a Phial, and a Paperbook, serves as a metaphor for the gallery’s own transformation. The downtown New York branch of the global Marlborough galleries will diversify its brand image by getting a little younger. Eric Gleason, Max Levai, and Anastasia Rogers co-curated the show to inaugurate the new programming at the gallery: they will take advantage of the more youthful vibe furnished by their Chelsea location to promote younger, more contemporary emerging artists, and they plan to make the most of their ample square-footage to show more monumental works.

Wall Slash II by Keith Sonnier (1988), Pentaherm by Carl Andre (1997), Hybrid (Blue Kiss) by Bruce Robbins (2003-04), and A Line from the Tune of Swanee River by Victor Pasmore (1987) in the current show at Marlborough Chelsea

It struck me that many of the artists’ works on display seemed to be cleverly tweaked reinterpretations of iconic works by their Modernist forbears, creating an interesting parallel to what Marlborough Chelsea will now be to Marlborough Galleries. Just as Bruce Robbins makes a play on Brancusi’s “The Kiss,” Jeff Elrod updates Lichtenstein’s Ben-Day dots, Martin Kline finds original ways to manipulate Johns’s signature medium of encaustic, and Vlatka Horvat riffs on Duchampian readymades, Marlborough Chelsea will infuse its historic and traditional name with a fresh and innovative perspective through contemporary art.

Orange Ramparts by Jeff Elrod (2006)

Epiphany by Martin Kline (2008)

Ladder by Vlatka Horvat (2009)

Powders, a Phial, and a Paper Book will be on view at Marlborough Chelsea (545 West 25th Street) through April 2, 2011.

Photos courtesy of Marlborough Chelsea.

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