Zhang Xiaogang Opening at Pace Gallery in Chelsea Last Night


“Hmm, shall we adopt him?” A pair of guests seem to be saying.

The Zhang Xiaogang opening last night at Chelsea’s Pace Gallery was the event of the young spring season. Under threatening skies, and with throngs spilling out into 25th Street, the hangar-size space was thronged with art hangers-on — but it was also thronged with the artists’ latest work, a series of busts and monumental heads, their dress and eyewear recalling the 1960s.

With a translator standing by, the 56-year-old Chinese artist held court in the front room, in front of a 4-foot-tall head that looked suspiciously like a self-portrait, glasses and all. Not far away, Chuck Close sat in his high-tech wheelchair. It was an evening to remember, and here’s some of the evidence.

Zhang (center, with glasses) among his admirers in front of a giant bust that might have been a self-portrait.

Portrait of the artist as a young man? (With apologies to James Joyce.)

Do plaid pants go with pigtails?

Hey, maybe all the heads are self-portraits.

Chuck Close made an appearance.

A rear gallery featured large-format painting on similar themes.

Some of the guests seemed to almost become part of the paintings . . .

. . . while other viewers recoiled.