Randy Polumbo Presents Tunnel of Love

Randy Polombo Street Blossom
All Photos By Gail

Randy Polumbo’s delightful Love Stream Trailer installation at Steven Kasher Gallery was one of our favorite exhibits of 2112, so what a special surprise it was to stumble upon Randy’s latest work in the midst of our very ambitious September 11th Art Crawl!

Randy Polombo Traffic Signal
Traffic Signal

Polumbo’s pop up installation, Tunnel of Love currently resides in the space at 511 West 27th Street formerly occupied by the Paul Kasmin Shop (which is moving locations). That narrow storefront has been transformed into a reflective-surfaced  silver space whose walls and contents tend to disorient in the same manner as a carnival fun house attraction, and that is exactly the appeal. The Tunnel of Love  pulls you off of the street and immediately immerses you in a fantasy world where everything is source of wonder. People were literally freaking out in this place.

Green Bulbs

On display are several few Polumbo’s signature blown glass floral lamp sculptures, some of which look more phallic than others.

Flower Bulbs with Silver Cushions

At the rear of the “Tunnel” are stacked silver fabric cushions that we also saw inside the Love Steam, where you can rest your feet and enjoy the visuals! Also, Selfies!

Ceiling Installation
Ceiling Installation

Randy Polumbo was at the installation on the night I stopped by (the exhibition had just opened the previous evening) and let me tell you, he is handsome like a movie star. I had the chance to talk to him about how much I enjoyed the Love Stream Trailer, and he was very nice and seemed genuinely appreciative that I already knew his art. What a cool guy!

Randy Polombo Crystal Handbag
Illuminated Crystal Handbag Video Installation

Randy Polumbo’s Tunnel of Love Installation will be up at 511 West 27th Street (Between 10th and 11th Avenues) Until October 25th, 2014. The space is open late (until 8 PM ) On Wednesdays and Thursdays. Find Out More About the Art of Randy Polumbo at Polumbo Dot Com.

Flower Bulb Light

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Gary Panter’s Dream Town at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery

Fog By Gary Panter
Fog By Gary Panter (All Photos By Gail)

Fredericks & Freiser Gallery is hosting Dream Town, an exhibition of new paintings by Gary Panter for just a few more days! I didn’t get around to seeing this show until last weekend, and just noticed that it closes this coming Saturday, so I wanted to get this post up so you can run over and see it because it is really special.

Dream Town confirms Panter’s continued interest in the play of figuration residing in fields of abstraction. The seventeen paintings on canvas are united in process and theme, and display a wide array of painterly effects, contrasting flat acrylic color fields, transparent washes and expressive gestures.

Stellar Z and Ultima Lucha
Stellar Z (Left) and Ultima Lucha (Right)

In Dream Town, Panter presents a boiled-down treatment of post-war abstraction coupled with pop culture archetypes such as heroes, villains, monsters and wrestlers.

Lost World
Lost World

Intense color is everywhere and provides a contrast to the primal nature of the figures. Yet, as we have come to expect from Gary Panter, something very strange is going on.

The Bridge
The Bridge

Not only does the equation of figure, color, and abstraction stand as historically sensitive and wittily absurd, it embodies the uncanny disconnect between our stories and ourselves.

July By Gary Panter
July

Dream Town By Gary Panter Will be on Exhibit only through Saturday September 27th at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery, Located at 536 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Animal World
Animal World

Gary Panter Signage

Fred Wilson, Sculptures, Paintings and Installations 2004 – 2014 at Pace Gallery

Fred Wilson Don't Flags Painting Grid
The People, 27 Flag Grid By Fred Wilson, 2010 (All Photos By Gail)

It’s funny how I am always ‘just discovering’ artists that have been around for decades, and then once I see their work, I start seeing it all over. It happens all the time. For example, I was just vacationing in Boston last month and paid a visit to that city’s really fantastic Museum of Fine Arts, which everybody should visit. In the contemporary art wing at the MFA, I became enchanted with this work by Fred Wilson called Lago’s Mirror, which is a huge, ornate wall mirror made up of layers of black glass. It was so totally my thing and I stared at it for about ten minutes. Art!

Fred Wilson Chandelier
Chandelier Sculpture

So, it was very fortuitous that I ran into a couple of my neighbors during my September 11th Art Crawl and they raved about an exhibit that wasn’t even on my list for the evening “over at Pace” – which they insisted I absolutely had to check out. This exhibit turned out to be Fred Wilson’s Sculptures, Paintings and Installations 2004 – 2014 — a fantastic retrospective to see in Pace’s cavernous 25th Street space. Also: free wine!

Fred Wilson Black Rain
Black Glass Drips Sculpture

Here’s a little background from the exhibit’s Press Release. Since the beginning of his career, Fred Wilson has created a diverse range of work that challenges assumptions of history, culture and race. Pace’s exhibit features works from the past ten years, including several that have never been exhibited. A catalogue featuring an essay by Doro Globus accompanies the exhibition and also gives further insight to the work and its deeper meaning. I’m going to include some of that essay here because I think it adds value for anyone who is going to see this exhibit maybe not knowing anything about Wilson up front.

Fred Wilson Paintings and Black Rain

As Globus writes, “Wilson’s appropriation is wide-reaching. Simultaneously working with the decorative arts and national symbols, he breaks down the supposed structures in place and offers up an alternative view of nearly everything he touches. He even treats the seemingly simplest forms – a mirror or a flag – in the same manner as an entire museum collection; clearly showing the relevance and import of his work outside such institutions.”

Please enjoy some of my photos from the show!

Fred Wilson Bird Painting

This exhibition features Wilson’s complete Flag Series, which has never been exhibited in its entirety. His newest work featuring Flag images, Black Birds (above) and Black All Stars (Below) isolate bird and star iconography from the flag of Africa another “black identified” countries, rendering these symbols onto a canvas surface exactly where they would be positioned on their respective flags.

Fred Wilson Stars Painting
Black All Stars

Fred Wilson Don't Tread on Me
Don’t (2010)

In Don’t, Wilson superimposes various flags from our nation’s history on top of one another. Clearly visible are the phrases “Don’t Tread on Me” from the Gadsen flag, the X from the Confederate flag, the horizontal band from the Black Liberation flag and the Stars and Stripes from the American flag. I love the 3-D look of this painting!

Fred Wilson Flag Paintings
M (2010) One of Four Vertical Groupings of 8 Flags Featured in This Exhibit

Fred Wilson Africa Painting
Africa!

Fred Wilson Black Mirror

There are also two new black venetian glass mirrors in the exhibit, which were definitely the talking points of the evening. Go see this exhibit to find out what these mirrors are all about!

Fred Wilson Black Mirror

I learned a a lot about Fred Wilson at the Pace exhibit and I like his work even better now. Fred Wilson!

Fred Wilson’s Sculptures, Paintings and Installations 2004 – 2014 will be on Exhibit Through October 18th, 2014 at Pace Gallery, Located at 534 West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Head of Medusa by Arnold Böcklin

Head of Medusa By Arnold Bocklin
Head of Medusa: Papier Mache and Plaster. Open Mouthed Head with Coppery Locks and Snakes Issuing from Domed Black Medallion with Molded and Gilt Rim. (All Photos By Gail)

Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (1827–1901) created this realistic sculpture of the Head of Medusa around 1894. This piece is on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, which I visited in August of this year. Below you can see a photo of the wall against which it hangs and get an idea of how it is displayed. They do a nice job of staging everything at the MFA, that is for sure.

MFA

Liu Bolin’s A Colorful World? at Klein Sun Gallery

Mao Painting
Artist Liu Bolin Hides In the Face of Charmain Mao. Can You Find Him? (All Photos By Gail)

One of the most highly anticipated stops on our September 11th Art crawl was at the Klein Sun Gallery for the opening reception of A Colorful World?, a solo exhibition of new sculptures, photographs and lightboxes by China’s Invisible Man, Liu Bolin.

Orange and Blue Auditorium

A Colorful World? is a reference to the countless multicolored advertisements and consumer goods that cloud today’s understanding of oppression and injustice. Through lightboxes that speak to ideas of disappearance, detailed painted sculptures, and a continuation of his Hiding in the City series, the exhibition reveals Liu Bolin’s immense artistic versatility, as well as an expression of his revered perspective on global issues of culture, society and politics.

In Magazine
In Magazine

Through a masterful understanding of depth perception and intricate painting skills, Liu Bolin’s In Magazine stainless-steel sculptures camouflage a cast human face into the background of more than a dozen hand-painted magazines covers.

In Magazine

In Magazine

The works express Bolin’s thoughts on the loss of individual identity among an onslaught of commercial images like the ones found in magazines. His message suggests that as we consume these manufactured images, we begin to transform into that which we consume until we disappear into the images entirely and loose our individual identity.

Red Background with Gold Rivets

Similar in technique and philosophy, Liu Bolin’s renowned Hiding in the City series touches many of the same ideas and explores an even greater depth and range of subject matter, as Bolin paints himself into the background of carefully chosen scenes.

Hiding in the City - Pink and Green

Hiding in the City - Art No. 1
Hiding in the City – Art No. 1

Hiding In The City Meat Cleavers
Bolin Hides Among Rows of Meat Cleavers

In Junk Food No. 3
In Junk Food No. 3

The bright painted In Junk Food fist sculptures, covered in the packaging designs of snack foods, illuminate Liu Bolin’s comprehension of oppression. Previous works like his stainless steel Fist, and the massive 7-ton iron Fist outside of the Grand Palais in Paris, craft a powerful comment on the violence and overwhelming force of oppression through their scale and materiality. In this more colorful and psychologically terrifying iteration, the painted fists elaborate on a contemporary and widely unaccepted form of oppression existent today.

Junk Food Fist

Commercialized goods — primarily junk food in Liu Bolin’s eyes—mislead consumers into eating foods that incorporate carcinogens and ingredients that are harmful to the human body. The effect of these foods is frightening; according to the United Nations there are more than 35 million deaths per year due to diet-related illnesses like heart disease—which is astounding when juxtaposed to the number of deaths caused by cigarettes each year: 6 to 8 million. The bright and colorful packaging of these snack foods convey a lighthearted feeling of joy and happiness, but what they truly provide is hazardous to human health–all for the sake of financial gain. The In Junk Food fists reveal to viewers that colorful advertising is a vale for timeless modes of oppression that have plagued humanity for generations.

Security Check No. 2
Security Check No. 2

The life-size Security Check sculptures are cast from Liu Bolin’s own body, showing the artist with his arms raised—as if in a full-body scanner—and are covered in paintings of snack food packaging. They expand upon the messages of the fists, but in this form, reference a specific example of an unjust exchange that occurs daily.

Security Check No. 1
Security Check No. 1

Use of current full-body scanners in airports across the nation requires body language that mimics surrender; the use of these scanners then requires citizens to surrender their right to privacy—all for the illusion of safety. Despite these safety efforts, the air disasters of Malaysian Airliner MH370 and MH17, as well as Algérie Flight AH5017, in recent weeks prove the security check fails at its functional purpose. Much like the message of the fists, the colorful packaging washing over the sculpture speaks to the false claim that a security check is in fact a helpful procedure, and also ties in the idea of surrender to more commercial modes of oppression.

Security Check No. 1 Detail
Security Check No. 1, Detail

Liu Bolin’s A Colorful World? will be on Exhibit Through November 1st, 2014 at Klein Sun Gallery, Located at 525 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10011

Security Check Mirror

Movie Review: It Was You Charlie

It Was You Charlie
Michael D. Cohen stars in It Was You Charlie

Sometimes, a film unfolds so quietly and subtly that to attempt to explain the plot is to spoil the entire story. It Was You Charlie, written and directed by Emmanuel Shirnian, comes together so invisibly that it’s very much like putting together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle in which you can’t get a satisfying idea of the big picture until the final, tiny piece is locked in place.

Shirnian’s directorial debut tells the story of Abner (Michael D. Cohen in a spot on performance), a diminutive, shy doorman who works the graveyard shift in an apartment building where he and his fellow doorman are accustomed to secretly entering apartments while tenants are out to make a snack from whatever happens to be in the refrigerator. Through flashbacks, we learn that Abner was once a respected Artist and Professor whose unrequited love for a beautiful student, Madeleine (Anna Hopkins) is rendered all the more poignant by the fact that she has fallen in love with his tall, handsome brother, Tom (Aaron Abrams).

Abner’s loss of his love interest, which consequently results in a deep rift between him and his brother, pitches him into a downward spiral, leading to his involvement in a two car collision in which the driver of the other car does not survive. Despite his continued appreciation for art and his dream of one day moving to Greece, Abner’s world view is bleak and his thoughts of suicide are ever present.

Enter Zoe (played by Emma Fleury, who reminds me very favorably Greta Gerwig) an upbeat and outgoing cab driver who befriends Abner and attempts to cajole him out of his depression. Through his relationship with Zoe, Abner begins to emerge from his funk and seeks to mend his damaged psyche and relationships.

The film segues seamlessly between hyper-reality and surreal, dreamlike scenes that will keep you questioning how much of the action is going on only in Abner’s imagination. For me, being kept guessing also kept me engaged in the journey towards an emotionally resonant outcome that wasn’t necessarily predictable.

And for those wondering, as you should be, who the titular ‘Charlie’ is: “It was you, Charlie” is a quote taken from the most famous scene in the Marlon Brando classic, On the Waterfront, a film that Abner and Tom have a tradition of seeing annually on Abner’s birthday — an event on which several key plot points pivot.

It Was You Charlie is billed as a dark comedy/drama, and it definitely isn’t a traditionally funny film. Anyone going in with an expectation of seeing a silly, feel-good movie will be disappointed. While I did laugh out loud a couple of times, the moments of humor derive from the absurdity of the action and discomfort of the characters – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just be advised that this film is unexpectedly heavy, and it will probably take you a few days to really digest and appreciate what you’ve seen.

It Was You Charlie will be available via Video On Demand as of September 23rd and will open in NYC at Cinema Village (22 E 12th Street) on September 26th, 2014.

The Worley Gig Gives It Was You Charlie 3 1/2 Out of 5 Stars

Pop Trash

Pop Trash
All Photos By Gail

This colorful cluster of discarded soda bottles awaits the arrival of the recycling truck at the curb along West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. My guess is that the labels were custom printed for a Fashion Week Event, perhaps. They look so lovely laying there, it seems almost a shame to throw them out. So, preserved here for posterity, I present your Pop Trash.

Pop Trash Detail