“Electricity Paper Vinyl…,” opens tomorrow at both Bortolami Gallery and the new Friedrich Petzel space in Chelsea.


If, as you walk around New York City this week, you come across a series of unexplained colorful stripes on an otherwise unremarkable building facade—no brand name, no identifiable logo—you have Daniel Buren to thank. The eminent 74-year old French artist has made stripes his aesthetic signature for more than four decades: For his first New York solo show in 1973, he hung striped canvases on a clothesline out the window of the John Weber Gallery in Soho. As part of his latest show, “Electricity Paper Vinyl…,” opening tomorrow at both Bortolami Gallery and the new Friedrich Petzel space in Chelsea, Buren has postered the city once again with his favorite motif. “Time makes all the difference,” Buren explains. “New York streets have changed in the past 40 years. We are not at all in the same city.” At Petzel, he’s also reinvigorating paper works he essentially started in 1968. And over at Bortolami, in addition to his Plexiglas and fabric pieces, he is pushing the boundaries of his striped canvases by constructing them out of high-tech fabrics lit by the latest fiber optics. “Even now,” he says, “they feel fresh to me.” After all, stripes never go out of style.

ELECTRICITY PAPER VINYL… is at Bortolami Gallery, 520 West 20th Street, and Petzel Gallery, 456 West 18th Street in New York, through February 16th.