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"Life in the Chelsea Hotel" hits Elmwood

A Spree arts writer takes a look at paintings and prints by Irene Zevon

"Abstraction 60" by Irene Zevon, on display through August 7 at the Benjaman Gallery.

It’s been over 20 years since The Benjaman Gallery hosted an art opening. But if the June 4th debut of Life in The Chelsea Hotel, featuring paintings and prints by the late New York City-based artist Irene Zevon, is any indication—they haven’t forgotten how.

The gallery recently acquired the art estate of Zevon (1918-2006), a 50-year resident of the legendary Chelsea Hotel, and the wife of notable artist Nahum Tschacbasov, whose work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Zevon, whose work is also in international collections, is known for her lyrical abstractions, as well as her unique monotypes, which combine linoleum, woodblock, and stencil processes. She also made Etruscan-inspired ceramics and jewelry.

In showcasing Zevon's work, The Benjaman Gallery has spared no expense.The gallery has completed a beautiful interior renovation, led by new gallerists Emily Johnson and fiancé Baird Tucker. Johnson, daughter of gallery founders Eileen Sellers and Barry Johnson, recently returned to Buffalo to help run the family business. This fresh blood is a welcome addition to the lively Elmwood scene.

Deb Clark and Delish catered the event. The wine flowed freely. As a harpist and flutist provided background music, a steady stream of Western New York art aficionados came to appraise the art. On hand for the festivities were art patron Judy Goodyear; Jewel Salon proprietress Anne Forrester; collector and bon-vivant Peter Wolfe; glass artist Marcelo Florencio; and New York City-based art dealer/family scion Charles Johnson. Hofstra University student Megan, Benjaman Gallery’s energetic young intern, tended to a wide variety of party details.

The colorful artworks are hung throughout the first floor rooms and heading up the gorgeous front staircase of the gallery—standouts include Zevon’s abstract monotypes and Vasarely-esque fragmented figurals.

The gallery also published a handsomely photographed and lavishly detailed 40-page color catalog to support the show, which runs through August 7. If you haven't ever visited Benjaman's, this is the summer to go.

The Benjaman Gallery
419 Elmwood Avenue
(716) 886-0898

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