Local painter Pete Schulte recently was juried into a weeklong exhibit in New York City, his second showing in the Big Apple in just over a year. (See "Mirror Repair" in the River Cities' Reader, July 3, 2002.)

The exhibit, entitled Unframed First Look, was hosted at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery from July 2 through August 2. Lehmann Maupin Gallery, which used to be in Soho, has been open for two years now in the West Chelsea gallery district and is one of the more prominent galleries for contemporary art in New York. The first-floor space boasts a modern design by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and has hosted exhibits of internationally collected artists such as David Salle and Ross Bleckner.

Bleckner, in fact, helped organize this "first look" exhibit as a fundraiser for AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA), an AIDS research and treatment education center. For more than 10 years, ACRIA has been contributing to the FDA approval of new AIDS therapies and providing people living with AIDS with treatment information. Bleckner (who is the chair of ACRIA's board) teamed up with fellow artists Peter Halley and Sue Williams to be the co-jurors of this first-time exhibit.

The news release for the show states, "Leveraging their substantial connections and those of Art Forum, Index Magazine, and the Lehmann Maupin Gallery, the artists will gather noted New York gallery owners, collectors, and critics to have a 'first look' at the artists whose work will be galvanizing the art world in the months and years to come." The call for entries was open to two-dimensional artists around the world and required them to submit three actual pieces no larger than 18 inches by 18 inches to be considered.

More than 260 artists submitted works, and only 28 were selected for the exhibit, including Schulte's three works entitled Target or Flag (Black Version) , Dark Day, and Sounds a Bit Like Goodbye, which were acrylic, ink, and powdered pigment on drilled wood panels. Schulte completed these works in a short time, specifically for this show. This exhibit appealed to Schulte because of the three artist jurors. He has been a fan of the work of all three since they became established in the art world in the 1980s. All three have explored the gray areas between representation and abstraction in their works, specifically Halley, who helped explore the theories of "simulationism."

Schulte and local artist Kara Toal attended the opening last Thursday in New York. According to J.A. Forde, development director for ACRIA, close to 500 art lovers, critics, and major New York collectors were in attendance. While the artists who exhibited and sold works kept no proceeds, Forde says, "I'm hoping artists' phones will be ringing soon." Schulte and Toal were 10 minutes late to the 6 p.m. opening because of traffic, and when they arrived were informed that his three pieces had already sold. All told, the exhibit raised close to $25,000 for ACRIA.

According to Forde, approximately one-third of the artists were not from New York, and Schulte joined a handful of out-of-towners who made it to the show, including artists from Toronto, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. "It's quite an honor to be selected for this show," says Schulte. "But to be chosen by three artists whose work I've always admired is especially gratifying."

Examples of Schulte's work can be seen at (http://www.schulteprojects.com), and the Lehmann Maupin gallery can be explored online at (http://www.lehmannmaupin.com).

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