Ninety years young, with a room of her own at this year’s Whitney Biennial, Etel Adnan has an exhibition up now at Callicoon Fine Arts through May 25, 2014 at 124 Forsyth Street and at the gallery’s new, additional location, 49 Delancey Street. Coinciding with the exhibition, is a two-volume book, hailed as a landmark edition following Adnan’s work from the “infernal elegies of the 1960s to the ethereal meditations of her later poems, to form a portrait of an extraordinarily impassioned and prescient life.”
I feel cheated. Why am I just learning about this prescient artist now? I just put all her books on my Amazon “wish list,” and when I stumbled upon her room at the Whitney Museum that was it for me, I stayed there until closing. Upon arriving at Callicoon Fine Arts’s Forsyth location on Easter Sunday, Adnan’s exhibition was a revelation. Shrouded in Plexiglas cases, Etel Adnan’s leporellos or accordion books, once uncovered and brought to light (the gallery is very bright), undulating watercolors appeared, interspersed with words and marks. After walking westward along the case the gallery attendant rolled the cloth back over the art.
I should have stayed in the gallery longer but the sun shone too bright. Maybe I can make an evening viewing appointment or better yet return on a cloudy day. Callicoon Fine Arts’s Delancy Street location features Adnan’s stalwart abstract paintings. Callicoon Fine Art is a beautiful gallery. The Delancy Street location is not in direct sunlight, being one who likes to mentally rehang exhibitions, I might have switched locations, but nevermind. I have a lot of catching up to do dear Etel Adnan; born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1925, former Paris resident, Bay Area teacher, poet, political storyteller,super-8mm film maker, I celebrate you in the light of day.