Paula Scher and Banksy inside two New York Galleries

Paintings from Paula Scher at Maya Stendhal Gallery

I spent some time Saturday afternoon in Chelsea looking at a couple shows that I’ve been meaning to see for a while. I was pleasantly impressed with the painted maps by Paula Scher and somewhat underwhelmed by the theatrics that surrounded the collection of work from Banksy. The unauthorized gallery show of Banksy’s work at the Vanina Holasek Gallery tried way too hard in its display of the images and in essence made it seem embarrassing. There was an incredible contrast between Banksy’s display with the paintings of Scher’s at the Maya Stendhal Gallery. If you suspend the idea that Banksy’s work should only be seen outside the gallery setting and allow more people to have access, that gallery wasted a great opportunity to elevate his work. Between the brutal angles of turning the work on edge to the splashes of paint on the walls to the fake police tape for Banksy’s images – I just have to wonder what were they thinking? Keep it simple and clean. Getting past the actual gallery setting I saw quite a few images of his that I’ve only seen on websites and magazines. There was also other stuff that I hadn’t seen previously. It’s definitely worth visiting if you’ve never seen his stuff before in person, but the collection seems to get lost within the attention it’s trying to draw from the contrived environment.

There were a couple things that really struck me when I saw the maps by Scher. The immense scale was the first thing that hit me. Between that and all the layers of information and colour it was really mesmerizing. It was one of the few times when I was drawn into the work and really just got sucked in. I didn’t spend hours with the work but I’ll definitely visit those maps again before the end of the show. I also managed to get a gallery catalogue of all the maps. Reflecting the scale of the show, the book is quite large as well. I’ve taken a picture of my moleskin with the book to show the difference in size.


Paula Scher Recent Paintings
November 8th, 2007 – January 26th, 2008
Maya Stendhal Gallery
545 West 20th Street
New York

Banksy Does New York
December 2nd – 29th, 2007
Vanina Holasek Gallery
502 West 27th Street
New York

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  • Toni farrington

    Toni here, I live in Bristol UK which is Banksy’s home town and have of course I have grown up seeing his work on the streets near to where I live. Sounds like the gallery made a bit of a hash of displaying his work – what a shame.

  • meredith biberstein

    wOw the Paula Scher maps are amazing!