Where is Jack Goldstein?
Nov 14, 2012 – Jan 15, 2013
Venus Over Manhattan – 980 Madison Av, 3rd Floor, Upper East Side, NYC


When I landed in the New York City art world in 1982, there was a lot happening in Soho, but in my opinion the two most important galleries at the time that were showing cutting edge work were the MARY BOONE GALLERY on West Broadway and METRO PICTURES on Mercer.

The interesting thing was that the aesthetics of each gallery were diametrically opposed. BOONE showed expressionist painters JULIAN SCHNABEL and DAVID SALLE, Salle really had a foot in both camps . . . while METRO was showing very cool/ironic conceptual photography, as in CINDY SHERMAN and LAURIE SIMMONS; and appropriation-focused painting by JACK GOLDSTEIN, and WALTER ROBINSON.

I was so impressed by the work in both galleries that by 1983 I tried to buy a big (major) DAVID SALLE from Boone, but there was a waiting list. I recall Mary telling me, “Take a number, there’s a line – 30 odd deep!”.

But in 1984 there was NO line at METRO PICTURES to buy a major GOLDSTEIN lightning painting, 14 feet across and 9 feet high, and it was extremely cheap !! I was able to snap it up before anybody else knew what was happening, for $8,000. this is the truth, believe it or not.

in 1986 I exhibited the painting in an ‘abstract’ group show in my small storefront gallery, SIMON CERIGO GALLERY on Ave A at the height of the original East Village scene. Even though it was a hyper realist lightning painting, I considered it an ‘abstract’ painting because visually – it pulsated in a very formal matter across the surface of the painting. I also included one of Walter Robinson’s spin art paintings, 3 x 3 ft – which looked like a Kenneth Noland ‘target’ painting of the early 60s.

a year later, or so . . . the WHITNEY asked me to lend the painting to a show in their brand new annex in Stanford Conn to which I consented.

by 1989 I had two small children and the Jack Goldstein painting was so big I couldn’t get it even through the window of my 5th floor Tribeca loft. I was also paying about $200 a month for its storage so, needing money to feed my new family, when the young director of a new gallery in Soho, who had seen it at my gallery asked if it was available – I said yes.

it took them a scant 2 weeks to sell it to a Toronto gallery and I realized a good profit, and though sad to lose the piece, I considered myself lucky because the art market collapsed right after the sale. a couple of years later I heard from somebody that the painting .. was in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa – and the tag beside the painting said: COLLECTION SIMON CERIGO, I guess because I was the first, and only private collector to own it.

the main reason the National Gallery of Canada wanted the piece was because Jack was born in Montreal, even though he grew up in LA.

fast forward to 2005, Jack Goldstein having committed suicide by drugs, whether inadvertant or not, in 2003 at the age of 58, dealers were approaching me and asking whether I still had the Goldstein. regrettably … I had to say, no.

fast forward to last night. I was at VENUS OVER MANHATTAN, the new ADAM LINDEMANN GALLERY on Madison Ave . . . for the opening of their JACK GOLDSTEIN show, their 4th show. the reception took place from 9 pm to midnight to accommodate Lindemann’s fellow collectors who were at the big contemporary art auction, that had started at 7 pm.

titled ‘Where is Jack Goldstein?’, this beautiful show has mostly paintings from the early 80s and late 70s, but also included one of Jack’s famous 16mm films, a loop of the barking dog, titled ‘Shane’, 1975.

Mr. Lindemann, as everybody knows also writes an art column for the New York Observer, in which he is very vocal about the goings on in the art world, and by presenting this show, he has staked out a very bold position for Jack Goldstein vis-a-vie the aesthetic dialog current today.

Mr. JEFFREY DEITCH had taken the opposite position when upon becoming the new director of MOCA, in 2010, he cancelled the museum’s pre-scheduled Jack Goldstein retrospective. the published rationale on Jeffrey’s part for the cancellation was quote, that: “the show was academic.” I don’t find this surprising as Jeffrey is basically considered a “scenester”, and . . . you can quote me on that.

at the opening, Mr. Lindemann remarked to me how it took 20 years, and his death – for Jack Goldstein’s prices to start moving up. on the other hand Jack’s reputation and influence has never waned amongst succeeding generations of young artists and curators.

as an aside, I always wondered why the Jack Goldstein – Metro Pictures relationship ended in the late 80s. so my ears picked up when Mr. Lindemann casually mentioned to me that Jack and Helene, one of the founders of Metro Pictures were romantically involved until it all went south . . for quote “infidelity on Jack’s part”. . . blatantly, that is, in front of her face (!!) with another dealer. although he continued with some specific, and very colorful information, I think we’ll best close by saying that Jack was a notorious big party-down kind of guy .. and, we’ll just leave the rest to your imagination.

acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 inches.