It’s a pure pleasure when two art shows play into and against one another, and a real boon when they’re only a short walk apart. They’re even under the same roof.
The Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan boasts two galleries. The Helly-Nahmad Gallery at street level, and upstairs, the Di Donna.
Di Donna has mounted “Fields of Dream: the Surrealist Landscape” featuring 68 works by 31 artists from across the tiers of fame, all exploring the idea of dreamscapes. Perhaps the focus of the exhibition is “The Two Suns,” by Giorgio de Chirico, featuring an artist’s studio full of a glowing sun and the moon, while outside a wide window, lightless copies of each set and rise over a white-walled city.
Also featured are works by Dali, Magritte, and Ernst. A 1961 bas-relief by Kay Sage is particularly lovely, fooling the eye twice. First in making one assume that it’s painted trompe l’oeil, then when it reveals that it’s not.
The other show, “Mnemosyne,” in the Helly-Nahmad Gallery downstairs echoes Di Donna with their focus on Chirico, but this is Chirico from later in his life when he had moved from creating paintings of painters to painting heroes of the past. Gladiators and toga-clad soldiers abound here, with experimental painting techniques that show how he was always exploring, always learning new things.
“Fields of Dream: The Surrealist Landscape,” is at Di Donna Gallery through Saturday. “Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity,” organized by Pheonix Ancient Art, is at the Helly-Nahmad Gallery through January 30, 2016. Both are in the Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue, Manhattan.