Franz West at David Zwirner Gallery

Franz West 4 Sculptures
All Photos By Gail

Do you enjoy the sculptures and paintings of the late Austrian artist Franz West? I sure do. I remember when I initially misidentified a group of West’s Sculptures as being by Julian Schnabel, but my friend Mark Kostabi (oops, I dropped something) told me that the artist was actually Franz West. Since then, I have learned to sight identify West’s artworks from his very distinctive style. Franz West!

David Zwirner Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of works by Franz West — created during the 1990s – at its 537 West 20th Street location. I discovered this accidentally when Geoffrey and I were doing an art crawl in the Chelsea Gallery District this past Saturday, passing time before the George Condo exhibit’s opening reception started. Here are some pictures I took of the show!

Franz West Sculpture

I like this one a lot. It reminds me of an Ice Cream Sundae.

Franz West Gallery View

These freeform sculptures are in the front rooms of the gallery.

Franz West Sculpture and Drawing
Franz West Orange and Pink

This one is awesome. I love the bright colors. These sculptures look like rocks covered with encaustic, but I believe they are all papier-mâché.

Franz West 4 Drawings

Here are some of West’s drawings with words on them. The writing is in German, so I don’t know what it says.

Franz West Room Tableau

This exhibit has three different room tableaus that incorporate West’s artwork with furniture, found objects and work by other artists. Below is a passage I cut and pasted from Zwirner’s Press Release on the exhibit, which expands on this part of the show and provides added insight:

“The 1990s proved critical in the development of the idiosyncratic style for which West is still known today. Key innovations from this period — which included the addition of exuberant color to his papier-mâché forms, the incorporation of furniture both as art object and as social incubator, and the inclusion of work by other artists in his own installations — resulted in dynamic, frequently interactive installations that helped to redefine the possibilities of sculpture and the ways in which art is experienced.”

I like it.

Franz West Room Tableau

Franz West Lemure Heads
Look, It’s The Beatles!

The exhibit also presents a group of the artist’s large-scale, anthropomorphic Lemurenköpfe (Lemure Heads), which playfully meld sculptural figuration and abstraction. These heads were first shown at documenta IX, Kassel (1992).

The Worley Gig Gives Franz West at David Zwirner Two Thumbs Up!

Franz West Orange Sculpture

Works By Franz West will be on Exhibit Through December 13th, 2014 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Franz West Signage

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More Of Mr. OneTeas’s Wack Donald’s Project: John Lennon and Alfred E. Newman

Wack Donald's Lennon and Newman
Photo By Gail

It looks like street artist Mr. OneTeas is at it again with his very fun Wack Donald’s Project, in which he paints the clown face of Ronald McDonald on various pop culture icons. I spotted John Lennon and Alfred E. Newman side by side on a traffic barrier at 26th Street and 11th Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Movie Review: Art And Craft

Art and Craft Movie Poster

While watching the actions of Mark Landis, the undeniably creepy subject of the recently released documentary, Art and Craft (directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman), I had the same feeling as when I watched I Think We’re Alone Now, an indie documentary that follows two obsessed fans of ’80s Pop singer, Tiffany. While the story of Landis‘ 30-year career of flagrant art forgery is truly fascinating — because, how the hell did he get away with it for so long? — his obvious mental illness gives the film a slight aura of exploitation. I do not think that was intentional but, rather, it’s an unavoidable side effect to telling his story. Landis is certainly committing some kind of fraud, which is infuriating, but as his multilayered mental-issues are revealed over the course of Art and Craft‘s 89 minute run time, it’s hard not to feel sadness for someone who is clearly addicted to his (some would argue harmless) pattern of deceptive activity. So, polarizing, I guess, is a good word to describe this film and its borderline unsympathetic anti-hero.

His authentic talent as an artist aside, the real life Mark Landis is a lonely, emaciated hermit, diagnosed with Schizophrenia and a laundry list of other mental issues, who resembles a less-attractive version of well-known character actor Zeljko Ivanek (Big Love, 24, etc). In fact, it’s likely his unassuming nature and lack of overt charisma that allowed him to dupe the representatives of over 50 art institutes across 20 states into accepting the gifts of his forgeries as highly desirable donations of legitimate original works of art. Landis also chose to imitate lesser-known artists, and made his philanthropic gestures (the forged paintings were always given as gifts, never sold or traded for any kind of monetary gain) toward lesser known museums and colleges, which probably did not raise as many red flags as it would have had he chosen to, say, present the gift of a DaVinci drawing to the MFA in Boston.

Landis‘ elaborate prank comes to light in 2008, when Matthew Leininger, Curatorial Department Head of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art — which had accepted multiple donations of the forged paintings — does his “due diligence” (a phrase that is repeated often in Art and Craft), and discovers the forger’s extensive trail of fakes that have been given to many and varied art institutes, even uncovering the fact that Landis had donated up to six copies of the same work to different museums. Mark Landis essentially becomes Leininger’s Great White Whale, as the registrar vows to out the forgers shenanigans and take him down. This is easier said than done, of course, since Landis has never accepted money in exchange for his forged paintings and therefore has not actually broken any laws. Leininger believes that the reward Landis reaps for his actions is the gleeful satisfaction that he has fooled seeming “Art Experts.”

Eventually, Leininger’s incredible sleuthing leads to Mark Landis being nationally exposed as an art forger via articles in publications such as The Art Newspaper (in 2010) and the Financial Times. Since there is no real legal recourse for his actions, it is the strong desire of Leininger and others that Landis simply stop the forgeries. Without spoiling anything, I’ll conclude by admitting that, by the time the movie wraps up with a rather extensive gallery exhibit of Landis’ forgeries and a few of his original pieces, I went from wanting to punch Mark Landis in the face to feeling like he deserved at least a little sympathy.  Mark Landis may be an ass, but he’s obviously battling a few personal demons. I’m not sure he would know how to stop, even if he wanted to.

For a list of theaters showing Art and Craft in your area, visit Art and Craft Film Dot Com.

The Worley Gig Gives Art and Craft 4 out of 5 Stars

Modern Art Monday, I Shop Therefore I Am By Barbara Kruger

I Shop Therefore I Am By Barbara Kruger
Photographed By Gail at the Mary Boone Gallery on 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District

Commentary Below is Excerpted from Smithsonian Mag Dot Com‘s Barbara Kruger’s Artwork Speaks Truth to Power:

Even if you don’t know the name Barbara Kruger, you’ve probably seen her work in art galleries, on magazine covers or in giant installations that cover walls, billboards, buildings, buses, trains and tram lines all over the world. Kruger takes images from the mass media and pastes words over them, big, bold extracts of text — aphorisms, questions, slogans. Short machine-gun bursts of words that when isolated, and framed by Kruger’s gaze, linger in your mind, forcing you to think twice, thrice about clichés and catchphrases, introducing ironies into cultural idioms and the conventional wisdom they embed in our brains.

I Shop Therefore I Am, (1987), one of Kruger’s most famous works, makes a pointed critique of our consumer culture. Read more about the life and work of Barbara Kruger at the link above.

Video Clip of The Week: Moondy, “Boo”



Created and directed by Provoke Films, the animated video for “Boo,” from Atlanta based solo project Moondy makes me wish this year’s Halloween wasn’t already behind us — because what a fitting soundtrack it would be! Part Industrial Dirge, part Psychobilly Rave Up, “Boo” follows a post-apocalyptic gladiator, who looks an awful lot like Trent Reznor, as he does battle against monsters and assorted zombies in the arena of an evil King. Feel the satisfaction as Trent kicks undead ass repeatedly until the only remaining opponent is the king himself. You’ll have to watch to find out what happens next.

“Boo” comes from the Moondy’s most recent album, Puffers, which was released on August 5th, 2014. Buy it at This Link! Enjoy!

C24 Gallery Presents: Domingo Zapata, A Bullfighter in New York / Un Torero in Nueva York

Chaquetillas
Dress To Kill (All Photos By Gail)

C24 Gallery has another must-see exhibit up now showcasing the latest work of Spanish-American artist, Domingo Zapata, entitled A Bullfighter in New York / Un Torero in Nueva York. The show includes twelve of Zapata’s Chaquetillas, in a series called Dress to Kill, and four Burladeros, as well as paintings of matadors dressed in full regalia tending to everyday tasks.

Although considered a “blood sport” most enthusiasts, like Zapata, view bullfighting as a fine art. This new series recalls the artistic nature of a Spanish tradition brought to fruition by a contemporary hand. In many countries, the stadium execution of the bull has been outlawed. It can be speculated that doing so has focused the audience on the true nature of the tradition.

Like all artists, the work of the Torero relies on long standing formal gestures, an emphasis on aesthetics, as well as the energy and reception of the viewer. Bullfighting lacks elements of competition, rendering the spectacle, much like Zapata’s work, a thrilling expression of agility, vitality and courage.

Chaquetilla Close Up

Zapata’s Chaquetillas (bullfighting jackets) are an essential element of the traditional traje de luces or “suit of lights” ritually worn by the world-famous matadors during treasured Spanish pastime. The term traje de luces originates from the sequins and reflective threads of gold and silver woven into the jackets. The suits themselves are based on the flamboyant costumes of the 18th century dandies and showmen involved in tauromachia, which later became exclusive to the bullfighting ritual.

Chaquetillas Manifesto

Kill Me Now

The graffitied photographs of models wearing the Chaquetillas capture iconic models using their semi-naked bodies as canvases. “A woman is a mother of creation,” Zapata says. “Without creation, we don’t exist. Therefore, I find women extremely important and caring and loving, you know?”

Domingo Zapata Manolete
Manolete

The Burladeros are wooden panels that are located a short distance from and parallel to the bullring wall, behind which a bullfighter can seek refuge from a bull during a bullfight. Zapata has adorned these solid shields of protection with brightly painted graffiti amid figurative outlines. The titles of each Burladero come from the names of well-known and bullfighters.

Burladero Domingo Zapata

Mi Perro Gordo

Domingo Zapata I Love Maria

In his newest series of paintings Zapata explores the place of the bullfighter in the modern world. Daily rituals of modern life, such as walking a dog, surfing the internet or cooking dinner, are juxtaposed with the Torero in full, traditional garb is surrounded by a red saturated background. The vibrant crimson backdrop recalls the red capes used by the Torero’s in the final performance of a bullfight.

Domingo Zapata Brunch

On Moped and Subway Train

Domingo Zapata has been commissioned for many murals throughout New York City and most recently for the lobby of New York City’s Freedom Tower.

Domingo Zapata’s A Bullfighter in New York/ Un Torero En Nueva York will be on Exhibit through December 24th, 2014 at C24 Gallery, Located at 514 West 24th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District.

Bullfighter in New York Signage

Pop Sculpture / Pop Culture at Leila Heller Gallery, Ends November 15th!

Robert Indian Art
Art By Robert Indiana (All Photos By Gail)

Leila Heller’s multi-floor midtown gallery is wrapping up its Pop Sculpture / Pop Culture exhibit on Saturday, but we had one last chance to check it out this week, when WhiteWall Magazine sponsored a fun party encompassing the three floors on which the exhibit is installed. Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne made sure that the open bar was stocked with its delicious Brut Rose, and every body had a great time!

Pop Sculptures Signage

Pop Sculpture / Pop Culture is an exhibition of select three-dimensional works from leaders of the Pop Art sculpture movement, on view since September 18th and closing November 15th at Heller’s 43 West 57th Street location.

YAYOI KUSAMA Narcissus Garden , 2004
Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden

The exhibition presents a wildly impressive selection of iconic sculptures by the most prominent Pop sculptors from the 1960s to the contemporary artists whom they have influenced.

Here are few of our favorite pieces from the show!

ANDY WARHOL Campbell’s Soup Can (Chicken with Rice)
Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Can (Chicken with Rice)

Robert Indiana AMOR
Robert Indiana, AMOR

Keith Haring Untitled (Two Dancing Figures) ,
Keith Haring, Untitled (Two Dancing Figures)

JEFF KOONS New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polisher
Jeff Koons, New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polisher

CLAES OLDENBURG Ice Cream Display
Claes Oldenburg, Ice Cream Display

ROY LICHTENSTEIN Brushstroke Chair & Ottoman
Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke Chair & Ottoman

TIM NOBLE & SUE WEBSTER Excessive Sensual Indulgence
Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Excessive Sensual Indulgence

SHELTER SERRA Nine Fake Guns, 2014
Shelter Serra, Nine Fake Guns

Bertozi & Casoni Cover
Bertozi & Casoni Cover

The above is a glazed ceramic replica (and embellishment) of Warhol’s iconic Brillo Box. Clever!

RACHEL LEE HOVNANIAN Body Armor
Keith Haring, TV Head; Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Body Armor

PARVIZ TANAVOLI Heech
Parviz Tanavoli, Heech

If you don’t already have plans for Saturday the 15th of November, maybe the Leila Heller Gallery at 43 West 57th street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) is the place to be?