Chelsea was full of gallery hoppers yesterday afternoon, but visitors to the Chelsea Art Museum on 22nd street were treated not just to some provocative paintings, but to an exceptional performance by violinist Steven Zynszajn and friends in the latest installment of his Lautreamont Concerts. Having the abstract paintings of French painter Jean Miotte as a backdrop was a bit of a shock at first, but soon felt like an appropriate analog to the wide-ranging program, which included two Schubert impromptus (played by Steven Graff), Bartok's Contrasts for violin, clarinet and piano, and the Ravel String Quartet.
The idea of having concerts in a gallery space isn't new: Reich and Glass had most of their music premiered in SoHo galleries or, in Reich's case, at the Whitney, and the Tenri Cultural Institute and Gallerie Icosahedron have regular new music events. The acoustics aren't always ideal - Zynszajn admitted to me that the sound was a bit bright, and he had a hard time hearing the other performers - but I'll take that over stuffy Weill anyday. Especially if they serve cocktails before or after (hint).
The next Lautremont concert will be on Dec. 8, with chamber works by Mahler, Schoenberg, and Pärt. Tickets are $15 and include museum admission.