Mark Kostabi on Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Tricia Keightley
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ photo show at the legendary Mary Boone Gallery is truly fascinating and an absolute must-see for anyone interested in the contemporary art scene and its players. A truly remarkable achievement, with 700 portraits taken over a span of 20 years, Greenfield-Sanders has amassed the most comprehensive photo collection of important art-world people ever taken by a single photographer.
Many people have said that Sanders’ portrait of Mark Kostabi (that’s me) is the best photo in the show. Timothy himself told me that it is “one of the best in the show.” Do you think he says that to all the artists? I don’t think so, but even if he does, I choose to use the delusion.
At the opening, Timothy introduced me to his good friend and photo subject, Monica Lewinsky, who upon hearing my name said, “You’re an artist right? I bought your book Sadness Because the Video Rental Store Was Closed ten years ago, on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.” I was flattered that she bought the book before I became the Monica Lewinsky. I also met rock legen Lou Reed (a.k.a. “Literary Lou”), another Greenfield-Sanders friend, photo subject and award winning T.V. documentary subject. When Professor Reed discovered that I didn’t know who Dorothy Parker was (Hey, at least I’m not running for president…yet), he proceeded to graciously fill me in at length.
By the end of opening day, three out of the four limited edition sets of 700 photos had sold for approximately $350,000 each. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders is a brilliant career manager; it’s not easy feat to attract Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning, Rober Rauschenberg, Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, David Geffen, Laurie Anderson and Cindy Sherman in front of your lens. The photos display a beautiful range of soft and sharp focus. They are elegantly composed, sometimes mysteriously evocative, sometimes starkly informative and, above all, they cannot be ignored as a fascinating historical document of the recent artworld explosion with all its ambition, glory, triumphs, failures, political maneuverings, heroes, villains and unbridled creativity.
Tricia Keightley, whose first solo show in New York runs through December 18 at the Derek Eller Gallery, makes paintings of enigmatic abstract conglomerations. Layered and twisted organic forms isolated on monochromatic grounds, her ultimately non-objective imagery simultaneously evokes Renaissance woodcuts, electron microscope photography, baroque ornamentation and Dr. Seuss.
Both of these great art shows are part of the reason why New York is the second greatest city in the world, after Rome, which is still the indisputable center of the world. I’m glad that at the turn of the millennium I get to live in both, thanks to art.