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New York Times - August 4th, 2016



Nancy Shaver

‘Dress the Form’

Derek Eller
300 Broome Street,
Lower East Side
Through Aug. 19

One of the agreeable surprises in Robert Gober’s 2014 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art was the inclusion of other artists, among them Nancy Shaver, who was represented by a room of banal black-and-white photographs from the late 1970s. Ms. Shaver is more of a sculptor now, or a curator of objects. She runs an antique shop in Hudson, N.Y., called Henry, whose website description feels suspiciously like a conceptual art work. It says that “objects at Henry are specifically chosen for their visual qualities, color shape, form, texture” and “the belief that almost anything can be decorative in a specific setting.”

Ms. Shaver’s exhibition “Dress the Form” at Derek Eller follows the same conceptual shoplike plan. There is a wall-size installation of fabrics, furniture and other objects squished together salon style, or what old-school art historians called horror vacui to describe an aversion to empty space. Other works are made with found objects like trousers, a blanket (specifically, “an afghan from Home Depot”) and plastic children’s toys.

The work has a Cubist quality, too. Ms. Shaver likes cubes; she uses that form throughout her sculptures. But many works here actually look Cubist. This makes perfect sense since Picasso and Braque were among the first artists to use mass-produced fabric and wallpaper in their collages and to explore the complex pleasures of shopping and consumption. They, too, felt that anything could be decorative (or art) in a specific setting and applied that logic to their work, as Ms. Shaver does with skill and aplomb.
















The Wall Street Journal - Aug. 11, 2016  7:23p.m. ET

August Gallery Shows in New York City

By Peter Plagens

Nancy Shaver: Dress the Form

“Intelligence,” writes Jared Buckheiser in the gallery brochure accompanying this exhibition, “is attained through material labor and institutional learning equally. [The artist] asks that this be acknowledged by showing us what can be seen. There is no top down or bottom up. There are only things.”

That, in a nutshell, is both the virtue and the vice of this exhibition by Nancy Shaver (b. 1946), a longtime member of the graduate sculpture faculty at Bard College. The show combines a compulsively grid-oriented installation with the serendipity of a thrift shop (Ms. Shaver once ran one as an art project). Everything from small pieces of wooden furniture to mounted rectangles of patterned cloth to ceramic tchotchkes spreads across the walls and out onto the floor of the main gallery. Separate freestanding assemblages pose here and there, but although they’re momentarily alluring, they seem like chunks edited out of the big, cacophonous central work, “Quilt” (2016).

A raucous democracy is at work here (Ms. Shaver’s list of artist-collaborators is as long as the wall for “Quilt”), and particular objects, time and again, entice one to stop and look closely. The show’s energy and gregariousness are undermined, however, by didacticism, such as a spine of framed collages, running through the middle of “Quilt,” juxtaposing Tiffany jewelry ads with somber news stories. Art professors, like priests and police officers, are never off duty.



ArtForum - Art Guide - MUSTSEE

Painter/sculptor/curiosity-shop proprietor Nancy Shaver’s first solo exhibition with Derek Eller Gallery gathers together a slew of thinkers and makers—Charles LeDray, Pamela Lins, Julia Klein, Judy Linn, Kenji Fujita, Beka Geodde, among many others—whose Catholicity in taste and intellect reflect her own. Their powers combined makes for a show that’ll blast the unsuspecting viewer high up into the stratosphere.

Jun 26 - Aug 19, 2016

Derek Eller Gallery

300 Broome Street  / +12122066411 /
Mon - Fri 11am to 6pm


Nancy Shaver’s One-Room Biennale

THE DAILY PIC: At Derek Eller, Shaver's skills as a curio collector get applied to art.

Blake Gopnik , July 5, 2016



(#1584): Nancy Shaver, who owns a well-known curio store upriver from New York, has applied an

antique-picker’sskills to her first solo show at Derek Eller Gallery: She has gathered vast numbers of works by artists she knows and admires (including former Daily Pic-ees Steel Stillman and B. Wurtz

into a room-sized assemblage that any hoarder would be proud of.


As a many-into-one installation, it captures the overall pleasure that any art lover takes in remembering the plentythey’ve encountered in a life of looking. In tension with that, however, Shaver’s show also evokes the growing sense that many of us have of an art world stuck

in a cycle of ceaseless growth, without much in the way of purpose or direction. That means that Shaver’s installation strikes a rare balance between celebration and critique – precisely what our world,and our art world, requires of us now.



Nancy Shaver

at Derek Eller,

through Aug. 19

300 Broome Street


Part quirky collection of found objects, part curated group show, Nancy Shaver’s installation “Dress the Form” at Derek Eller’s new Lower East Side gallery (he moved from Chelsea in May) is time-consuming in the best possible way. The space is configured oddly. You enter a rather spare front room, then walk down a hallway with watercolors of people of various ages and races papering one wall, and a few sculptures hanging from the ceiling. After this prelude, the prize in the main gallery is all the more dazzling. Sculptural assemblages by Shaver are arranged on the floor. A huge wall is packed with hundreds of small photographs, paintings, framed advertisements, patterned fabric swatches, and so on, made by friends and artists she admires (including Adriana Farmiga, Kenju Fugita, Charles LeDray, and frequent A.i.A. contributor Steel Stillman, among many others). Studying their details is an endlessly engrossing experience. Art in America - Leigh Anne Miller




NANCY SHAVER -Dress the Form

JUNE 26 - AUGUST 19, 2016




A compression of hierarchy is the wish. Intelligence is attained through material labor and institutional learning equally. Shaver asks that this be acknowledged by showing us what can be seen. There is no top down or bottom up. There are only things. Every suggestion has been considered. Any reaction is reconcilable, and even the most contrary is welcome.


It would be wrong to say that the found objects in this show are selected for their charged history of use. Instead, they are chosen for the signifiers that lie right on the surface and not the ones shrouded in mystery. Sentiment is not an aesthetic, but is a given of existence. Age is fact.


Complications and modern problems are fact. Decoration marries the form, so often created for need and function.


A Ugandan football made from shopping bags and rubber bands rests against a Victorian vase is overshadowed by a chenille rooster clearly chosen for it’s color in relation to the base. Like skating on a roller rink, all levels of skill, class, age, and belief move in the same direction, on the same plane, passing one another, falling down, getting back up, acknowledging and applauding, for the sake of living. - Jared Buckhiester


I loved my country, but I could not respect it, could not, upon my soul, be reconciled to my country as it was.  And I loved my work, had a great respect for the craft which I was compelled to study, and wanted it to have some human use. It was beginning to be clear to me that these two loves might, never, in my life, be reconciled:  no man can serve two masters. - James Baldwin


This will be Nancy Shaver’s (b. 1946) first solo exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery. In 2015 she opened Reconciliation, a solo exhibition at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT. Shaver’s work has recently been featured in Greater New York, MoMA PS1, Queens, NY, as well as Robert Gober’s The Heart is not a Metaphor at MoMA, New York NY. Between 2002 and 2011 she mounted five solo exhibitions at Feature Inc. New York, NY and seven with Curt Marcus Gallery New York, NY between 1987 and 1999. 


Included in this show are collaborations, and work by fellow artists:

Taylor Davis, Judy Linn, David Holiday, Dawn Cerny, Adriana Farmiga, Julia Klein, Kelly Kaczynski, Kenji Fujita, Kevin Larmon, Halsey Rodman, Pamela Cardwell, Pamela Lins, John Jackson, Arthur Gibbons, Tracy Miller, Joyce Robins, Beka Geodde, Jared Buckhiester, Jeanne Liotta, Mark Wonsidler, Emi Winter, Jean-Philippe Antoine, Steel Stillman, Phoebe d'Heurle, Heather Anne Halpert, Alyse Ronayne, Charles LeDray, Benjamin Wilson, Annette Wehrhahn


The artist extends special thanks to John Jackson for welding and everything else, as well as thanks to the Salvation Army in Oneonta, N.Y. and Core Values in Stamford, New York for material, and social history lessons.


Derek Eller Gallery is located at 300 Broome Street between Eldridge Street and Forsyth Street. Hours are Wednesday - Sunday from 11am to 6pm and Tuesday by appointment. Summer hours (July and August) are Monday - Friday from 11am to 6pm. For further information please contact the gallery at 212.206.6411 or visit


Derek Eller Gallery
300 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002
T 212.206.6411
F 212.206.6977


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