That '80s Show

Former art-world rage du jour Julian Schnabel has a lot to live down in ragged Reagan-era retrospective

God only knows what inspired the swan-themed prints thrown into the AZ/NY mix, which look more like stylized storks, or maybe pelicans, painted in matte white oil over brushy screen printed backgrounds with ambiguous objects or figures -- all again laced with a shiny resin spill and dedicated to various dead friends.

AZ/NY's choice of Schnabel's sallow work makes perfect sense when you find out that Blinder and Baron are former founders of Martin Lawrence Limited Editions, now defunct, and Martin Lawrence Galleries, a chain of upscale commercial art marts, most of which are still operating in California under new ownership. These are the guys who first brought limited-edition prints by Salvador Dali, Victor Vasarely, Joan Miró and Andy Warhol to the unwashed shopping mall masses.

"We were the very first gallery to be in a shopping mall," Baron proudly says, referring to the Martin Lawrence Galleries location next to a luggage store in the San Fernando Valley's Sherman Oaks Galleria (as in Moon Unit Zappa's "Valley Girl" hangout). "We published a series of Warhol 'Lipton Soup Box' prints," Baron recalls. "We had the French Onion, we had the Mushroom." Their new gallery, however, is geared at dealing in art Blinder and Baron love and collect personally.

Roy (1998) is a screen print with poured resin and enamel paint.
Roy (1998) is a screen print with poured resin and enamel paint.

Details

Will be on display through Wednesday, March 28. Call 480-421-6667.
AZ/NY Gallery, 7373 Scottsdale Mall, located next to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts

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There's something almost naive -- and, in a way, touchingly quaint -- in AZ/NY Gallery's questionable quest to bring what it must consider topnotch art here to the Western frontier. New York hasn't been the epicenter of the international art world for more than 20 years. The days of a hoppin', boppin' New York art scene peopled with larger-than-life characters like Andy Warhol, Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring mingling with sullen actors, out-of-control rockers and flash-in-the-pan authors in smoky little downtown Manhattan clubs are long past. Art is no longer connected with any particular location in the universe. Los Angeles, London, Cologne, Seattle, Seoul, Chicago and a million other places -- including Phoenix, Arizona -- are now viable loci for creating serious and notable art.

Someone needs to break it gently to AZ/NY Gallery that the sun has set on the New York art empire and that the 1980s, thankfully, are over.

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