For collectors, Chelsea is one of the most important and influential art districts in the world. Old storefronts and industrial buildings have been transformed into cool, pristine gallery spaces, hosting exhibitions by emerging artists and celebrities alike. Often, numerous galleries exist in one building, offering guests the opportunity to browse several exhibitions in a single visit.
One such building is the “Art Building,” located at 529 West 20th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. Through its doors visitors can discover twelve separate galleries exhibiting artworks in a variety of media and genre. One of the highlights of this art tour is the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, located on the building’s third floor. Founded in 1979 by partners Frank Maresca and Roger Ricco, the Ricco/Maresca Gallery is widely recognized as a leader in the field of outsider and self-taught art. The gallery was one of the first to establish in the Chelsea gallery district, having moved in 1997 after nearly a decade in Soho. Since the beginning, the gallery has celebrated the talents of self-taught artists working outside the traditional mainstream. In addition, the gallery showcases works by significant emerging and established contemporary artists. Their collection of Folk and Vernacular Art includes a wide range of high-quality paintings, drawings, sculptures, and utilitarian objects from the 19th and 20th century. Past sales include many pieces now found in renowned public and private collections. The gallery represents key outsider artists, such as Bill Traylor, Sam Doyle, Henry Darger, William Edmondson, Dan Miller, and Ken Grimes, as well as the estates of legendary masters William Hawkins and Martín Ramírez.
Currently on exhibition is a collection of mixed-media works on paper by legendary outsider artist Martín Ramírez (Martin Ramirez, Forever, March 26-May 2). Born in Mexico in 1895, Ramírez came to the United States in 1925 and labored as a miner and railroad worker before being diagnosed with mental illness in the early 1930s. He spent the rest of his life, until his death in 1963, institutionalized in psychiatric hospitals, primarily the Dewitt State Hospital in Auburn, California. While in treatment, Ramirez created complex and captivating drawings that blended images recollected from his early years in Mexico with those derived from popular American culture. While little known during his lifetime, Ramirez became widely recognized after his death, and today he is regarded as one of the most talented self-taught artists of the 20th century.
The artist worked primarily in crayon, often on supports collaged from an assemblage of scrap and found papers. His artworks are skillfully composed, with strong linear qualities and sharp geometric forms. Multi-dimensional space is rendered through a dynamic perspective, with sweeping lines bringing attention to centralized forms. A rhythmic repetition of marks combine with areas of gentle shading to create images that resonate and compel the eye.
The exhibition is being held in conjunction with the release of a set of five United States Postal Service commemorative stamps. Highlighting details from a selection of the artist’s work, the stamp-set marks the first time an Outsider artist and Mexican-American artist has been thus featured.
Ricco Maresca has exhibited in The Armory Show, The Metro Show, the Outsider Art Fair, Art Chicago, Expo Chicago, and Pinta. The gallery offers a variety of high-quality, professional services that range from collection development and management to archival conservation. In addition the gallery provides design and installation services for private, corporate, and museum collections. Ricco/Maresca also provides appraisals for American Folk Art, outsider art, vernacular painting, and objects. Enjoy this beautiful art gallery in New York.
529 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011