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Chelsea’s Gladstone Gallery Gets Big With ‘Today Diggers, Tomorrow Dickens’

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As the city's art galleries get bigger and bigger, it can be harder for works of art to fill the space. But one show that's generating a lot of buzz is big, bold and like a bulldozer. Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

It's not hard to dig up great contemporary art in Chelsea, but it's especially easy at Gladstone Gallery on West 21st Street.

“It is a trapezoid trenching digger. And its use to excavate and demolish and actually mine, which is why there is this mineral component that is also mined,” said Allyson Spellacy, director of Gladstone Gallery. “So these teeth would be used to cut through heavy gravel and earth. They are very big, this one is just over nine feet tall, they weigh 10,000 pounds.”

French artist Cyprien Gaillard, who splits his time between Berlin and New York, takes these found machine parts from across the U.S., then adds the decorative element, rare and extremely valuable onyx. It's the kind of wow factor gallery goers are getting used to seeing.

“I think especially now that the common practice is for commercial galleries to do museum-like shows, you end up coming into more of an immersive environment,” said Spellacy.

Some find the gallery scene a little intimidating. Ironically, it's often the bigs works of art that seem the most accessible.

NY1: It’s so multicolored, has it been painted at all?

“The artist considers this a found readymade. So he has not done anything other than some minor cleaning to it and so this is the original paint, this yellow that you see here and the markings that you see inside are from using the machine,” said Spellacy.

Diggers are, of course, a favorite among kids. Families are welcome here, just don’t touch the artwork.

“We definitely see more groups and we see a lot younger visitor to the gallery now than we’re used to,” said Spellacy.

The up and coming Gaillard is a big favorite among some A-list movie stars, who regularly visit the work.

If you catch a glimpse, that's pretty much like hitting the mother lode.

The exhibit, Today Diggers, Tomorrow Dickens, is up through February 1.

For more information, go to www.gladstonegallery.com

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