The Flag Art Foundation Presents Disturbing Innocence

Brittle House By Will Cotton
Brittle House By Will Cotton, 2000 (All Photos By Gail)

Like Paul McCarthey’s ill-fated Butt Plug Tree, I like art that pushes boundaries. That’s what I found in abundance when Geoffrey and I made the scene last Saturday at Flag Art Foundation in Chelsea for the opening reception of a group show they call Disturbing Innocence. It was definitely disturbing.

Mummified Barbies
Mummified Barbies by EV Day

Curated by Eric Fischl, Disturbing Innocence features over 50 historical and contemporary artists whose use of dolls, toys, mannequins, robots, and other surrogates forms a deep and powerfully expressive genre. The exhibition poses profound questions surrounding social constructs of youth, beauty, transformation, violence, sexuality, gender, identity, and loneliness.

Amy Bennett Property Line, 2007
Amy Bennett, Property Line, 2007

Inspired by Fischl’s own childhood in suburban Long Island, NY, and his early career as an artist working in New York City in the 1980s, Disturbing Innocence presents a subversive and escapist world at odds with the values and pretensions of polite society. Ninety percent of the art on display is not for the easily offended, but if you are open minded and appreciate stuff that is a bit — or a lot — twisted, then this will be your thing.

Let’s take a look at some highlights from the show!

Hanging Clown Snow Globe

This snow globe features the serene, wintery scene of one clown standing on the back of another clown in order to commit suicide by hanging himself. Because clowns are scary!

Nude Rapunzel

I call this one Nude Rapunzel, because none of the names of the art/ artists were posted adjacent to the works, which is just lazy if you ask me. Or, rather, it makes me feel lazy for not scouring the interwebs thoroughly enough to glean the name of the artist/piece.

Explosion in a Cage

Here is one of the less disturbing pieces in the show: it looks like an exploding plastic bag trapped inside a cage.

Explosion Close Up

Here is a closer look. I like it.

John Waters Playdate, 2006
Playdate by John Waters, 2006

Look! It’s baby Michael Jackson post-plastic surgery disaster. Let’s find out who his playmate is.

John Waters Playdate, 2006

Why, it’s baby Charles Manson! Oh, the cuteness.

Demon Giving Birth

This one is just insane.

Red Ho

Tower of Breasts

I did a Google image search of “Sculpture made of breasts” to try to find the name /artist of this piece and got about 100 hits, none which were this sculpture.

Video Head

This piece, which is a video of a talking head projected against a split sphere, really reminded me of the talking statues in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. It’s the same technique used to give the mannequins expressive faces at the Brooklyn Museum’s Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit last year.

Nut Cracker Doll
Jennifer Rubell, Nutcracker Doll

This functional Nutcracker Doll might be a bit big to keep on hand in your kitchen, but it sure would be a hit at your holiday party!

Siamese Twins

This sculpture of Siamese Twin Girls was the most disturbing piece in the show, for me. I wish I knew more about it.

One Armed Child

I think that all of these sculptures and tableaus, such as the one-armed child above, are perhaps meant to make us more comfortable with seeing and being around people that look different from ourselves. I don’t know that there are any definitive answers, but Disturbing Innocence at the very least aims to start a conversation.

Find out more about Eric Fischl and artists involved in Disturbing Innocence by visiting This Link.

Disturbing Innocence will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Peter Drake Siege of Syosset, 2007
There Goes The Neighborhood: Peter Drake, Siege of Syosset, 2007

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Roy Lichtenstein Times Square Subway Station Mural

Roy Lichtenstein Subway Mural
Photo By Gail

I pass by this cool mural nearly every time I take a train into or out of Times Square, but I just stopped to take a photo of it this past weekend, when I had a few minutes to spare on my way way to see Hedwig and The Angry Inch starring Michael C. Hall (which, by the way, is fantastic). Installed in 2002, Times Square Mural captures the spirit of the subway, its linear movement and dynamic energy. With a nod to both the past and the future- its central image is a futuristic, bullet-shaped car zipping through an underground station. And not just any station, this is Times Square, in the heart of New York City.

Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York in 1923 and spent his last years here. Times Square Mural reflects his career, with references to, and variations on, his earlier works. Lichtenstein also freely appropriated and incorporated images from the works of other artists and designers in his work. For instance, the hooded figure at the right of the mural is from the old Buck Rogers comic strips and the iconic 42 image is from a series of drawings of the architectural detail of the subway. It is a signature work that honors its creator and the place in which it is located.

Times Square – 42nd Street Mural is located on the wall of the mezzanine adjacent to the entrances of the N, Q, R, S, 1, 2 and 3 trains.

Sprayground Presents New Backpacks for Fall / Winter

Silver Pink Blue Trio
Backpack Party at Red Light PR! (All Photos By Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail.)

Here in NYC, you have to live like a Boy Scout and be prepared for anything at all times, so you really need a big, lightweight and comfy bag to hold all of your stuff. Fortunately, Sprayground has a new line of outrageously cool backpacks for fall and winter and there is surely a design that will fit right in with your personal brand. Check out some of these rad styles we saw at a fun party held at the showroom offices of Red Light PR!

Sprayground Backpack Display

Sprayground Embroidered Mayan Design

Embroidered Mayan Design.

Pink Camo with Wings

Pink Camo with Wings – WANT!

Ninja Turtle Grillz Leonardo

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Grillz (Leonardo). This design is available at Bloomingdales.

Great Escape and Spongebob

Great Escape and SpongeBob. If you ask me, Spongebob was born to be a backpack!

Backpack Themed Cocktails

The party also featured an open bar, serving refreshing backpack-themed cocktails. I had one of the Pink Mambas, which was delicious!

B&W Weave

Black & White Weave, very stylish!

Gold Mamba

Gold Mamba – Super fine!

These bags are all super lightweight when empty, are very roomy and have multiple zip compartments to keep your secret stash secret.

Stashed Money Leopard Fur Zipper View

Stashed Money Leopard Fur

Stashed Money Leopard Fur – check out the inside!

Stashed Money Leopard Fur Inside

Holy Cow! I’m Rich!

Price points on these must-have Sprayground styles range from just $40 to $95, so these bags are all very affordable. For more information on Sprayground accessories and to purchase any of these awesome Backpacks please visit Sprayground Dot Com.

Sprayground Backpacks Social Media

Trust Your Vision Mural By Gilf!

Trust Your Vision
All Photos By Gail

As the world becomes more and more competitive, it’s easy to lose sight of one’s goals and aspirations. This maze-inspired piece references the difficulty of navigating life, especially in a city like New York.

Presented by the New York Department of Transportation’s Art Program and the DUMBO Improvement Project.  Photographed on Front Street just east of Adams Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Trust Your Vision Detail

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: James Rosenquist, Volunteer

James Rosenquist Volunteer
Photo By Gail

Excerpted from a Textual Analysis by Frank D’Antonio:

James Rosenquist’s Volunteer is dated 1964, but, according to Rosenquist, [it was] finished shortly before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

I think one of the coolest things about this painting is the use of fragmented symbols to depict the American life in the mid 20th century. The washing machine in the upper right speaks to a viewer as a symbol of American technological progress. The man in the business suit speaks as a symbol of how the American professional was dressing during this time. The ice cream speaks of American’s desire for “gustatory pleasure” (James Rosenquist. Volunteer. 1964. Art Institute of Chicago).

I like this painting because of how it can be interpreted in many different ways. My interpretation is that the artist is being cynical in this piece, depicting things that Americans were concerned with in the era of the mid 1960s. It is interesting to see how Rosenquist interpreted American culture at the time, symbolizing technological advancements, personal appearance, and personal pleasure being the main concerns of Americans at the time, concerns that are still on the top of the list amongst Americans.

The puzzle pieces with a piece missing are also an important aspect of the work. I found no insight into why they exist on the work, so I formed my own opinions. I believe that the missing puzzle piece is the artist separating himself from the mold of American culture he illustrates in this piece. He wants to break the mold as an artist and not fit in to the stereotype that he has depicted in Volunteer.

Many of Rosenquist’s other works have an underlying cynical message to them. Some depicted war machines, most often airplanes, representing his dislike for the war and global tension happening at that time. From my research, the most cynical and interesting part of the picture is Rosenquist’s image of his own palm which stands out past all of the other images. According the Rosenquist, the palm cynically represents “the hand that volunteers”. I see this being cynical, but at the same time pretty spot on. In my opinion, the artist volunteers his time to all who will view his work and will use it to interpret messages about their life and what they view important in it.

Rosenquist is telling us that modern technology, flashy self appearance, and delicious self indulgence are not bad things in and of themselves, but when put upon a pedestal and made the most important things in our lives, we lose grasp on the true meaning of life. We need to separate ourselves from the mold of society, the mold that tells us that bigger is better, only the good looking make it in life, etc, etc. We need to start living as human beings who help each other no matter what.

Volunteer By James Rosenquist is a very interesting piece of modern art, one that challenges us to use the painting as a mirror, and reflect upon ourselves when we look at it. Seeing how we fit the mold he has characterized, and how we can ultimately break out if it.

Frank D’Antonio

Photographed By Gail at the Museum of Modern Art in March of 2014 NYC while on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Video Clip of The Week: Black Belt Karate, “Transformer”


At a time when I can’t even bear to turn on the radio for fear of being exposed to whatever mortifying horrorshow that’s passing for popular music, LA-based rock quartet Black Belt Karate are like oxygen in a vacuum. Being schooled veterans of many and varied rock projects (guitarist Jason Mezilis also plays in Owl with Cult bassist Chris Wyse) BBK deftly blend power pop hooks with a classic rock edge to deliver addictive tunes that will appeal to fans of Sloan, Green Day, Foo Fighters and Cheap Trick.

The very fun clip for “Transformer” — a buoyant anthem with a positive message of self-realization — sees the band auditioning for a casting director in front of a backdrop that makes it look like they’re part of a police line up. Interesting! The video takes on a bit of a “Sharp Dressed Man” feel with its interspersing of sassy video babes and clips of the band rocking out. You can see that lead vocalist Ryan Hanifil is just dripping with Rock Star charisma. Rumor has it that they also occasionally perform as a Doors Tribute band. Excellent.

Keep up with Black Belt Karate’s music, news and live performances by following them on the FaceBook at This Link. Enjoy!

Black Belt Karate Band

Black Belt Karate Are: Ryan Brown (Drums), Harry Ostrem (Bass),  Jason Mezilis (Guitar) and Ryan Hanifil (Vocals).