Tag Archive | Art

Must See Art: Jeff Koons Retrospective at The Whitney Museum

Jeff Koons Retrospective Signage
Jeff Koons Retrospective Signage Depicting Michael Jackson and Bubbles Sculpture from the Banality Series (All Photos By Gail)

It is no secret that Jeff Koons is one of my most-loved artists. A lot of haters take issue with the fact that Koons is so rich and successful, like that is a bad, thing. I say, if a billionaire wants to pay $58 million dollars for one of his Balloon Dog sculptures, good for him. Good for everybody! If I had $58 Million to blow on some rad artwork, I would do the same thing. Jeff Koons!

Jeff Koons is currently the subject of a retrospective at The Whitney Museum, surveying the full scope of his career, and it is a must see show. Comprised of almost 150 objects dating from 1978 to the present, this exhibition is the most comprehensive ever devoted to Koons’ Artwork, his first major museum presentation in New York, and the first to fill nearly the entire Marcel Breuer-designed Whitney building with a single artist’s work. The Koons Retrospective will also be the final exhibition to take place there before the Whitney opens its new building in the Meatpacking District in 2015 — but what a way to go!

Mail Box with Gazing Ball
Gazing Ball Series (2013)

The Koons Retrospective fills four floors of the building including the lobby, plus the lower level (adjacent to the restaurant) and the small outdoor “garden.” The work is organized chronologically with his newest work, which includes the Gazing Ball series that debuted at the David Zwirner Gallery last year, in a lobby adjacent gallery. Geoffrey and I started on the 4th floor and worked our way down.

Non-flash photography is allowed (thank god) and I took about 100 photos. Here are some highlights from the show!

Inflatable Flowers
Inflatable Flowers

The Inflatables Series (1978–79) features works that look like weightless, air-filled plastic flowers, though the works are made of stainless Steel.

Light Mounted Toaster
Toaster Mounted on Lit Base

Pre-New (1979–80) includes a series of small, counter top kitchen appliances mounted on deco-style lit bases.

Red Telephone
Red Telephone, Pre-New Series

I never thought I would live in an era where some people will neither know how the above object is used, nor understand the significance of its red color.

Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuum Cleaners, New Series

The News Series (1980–87) features billboard-sized product adverts as well as a large collection of sculptures comprised of early model vacuum cleaners encased in vitrines lit by fluorescent tubing. These works reminded me favorably of The Carousel of Progress attraction at Disneyland.

Vacuum Cleaner Gallery View
New Series Gallery View

Basketballs in a Tank
Three Basketballs in a Tank, Equilibrium Series (1983–93)

Frangelico Ad
Frangelico Ad, Luxury and Degradation Series (1986)

Baccarat Crystal Cocktail Set
Baccarat Crystal Cocktail Service Set, Luxury and Degradation Series

Mermaid Sculpture
Mermaid, Statuary Series (1986)

Bob Hope Statue
Bob Hope, Statuary Series

Banality Series Gallery
Banality Series (1988) Installation View

Surprised Bather
Surprised Bather, Banality Series

Gilded Mirror
Gilt Mirror, Banality Series

Made in Heaven Signage
Made in Heaven Series (1989–91)

Between 1989 and 1991, Koons and his then wife, Italian Porn star and Politician Cicciolina, posed for a series of sexually explicit artworks that became the Made in Heaven Series and Coffee Table Book. While Koons and Cicciolina are unbelievably hot and fun to look at, some of these photos show lots of Peen and Vajayjay, so you are going to want to keep any kids out of the galleries that are labeled “Sexually Explicit Material/Not for Children” or something similar.

Made in Heaven
Made In Heaven Series

Koons Bust with Crystals
Koons Bust with Crystals, Made in Heaven Series

Made in Heaven Amethyst Sculpture
Made In Heaven Series Amethyst Sculpture

Pink Cake
Pink Cake, Celebration Series (1994 Onward)

The Celebration Series gallery is probably my favorite in the entire exhibit.

Purple Heart
Purple Heart, Celebration Series

Giant Pile of Play Doh
Play-Doh with Balloon Dog in the Background, Celebration Series

Pink Button
Pink Button with Random Gallery Visitor, Included for Scale, Celebration Series

Purple Giraffe Mirror
Purple Giraffe Silhouette Mirror, Easyfun Series (1999–2000)

Mirror Reflected in a Mirror
Easyfun Series

Betty Page and Dolphin
Easyfun-Ethereal Series (2000–02)

Lunch Meat Faces with Mustache
Easyfun-Ethereal Series

Beach Chairs and Seals
Seal Walrus (Chairs) Sculpture (Foreground), Elvis (Background), Popeye Series (2002 Onward)

Inflatable Lobster
Lobster, Popeye Series

Hulk Organ
Hulk (Organ), Hulk Elvis Series (2004–14)

Yellow Mirrored Sculpture
Pluto and Proserpina, Antiquity Series (2013 Onward)

Balloon Venus
Balloon Venus (Orange), Antiquity Series

I know there are a ton of photos in this post, but consider that they represent only one tenth of what’s in the exhibit and you know you gotta go check this out! I’ll be going back at least once more. Helpful Hint to Avoid Crowds: Try to get to The Whitney by 12 Noon or earlier on a weekend. Although crowds are unpredictable, an early arrival made the difference between waiting on line just inside the lobby when we arrived a line that went outside and around the block when we left!

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective Will be on Exhibit Through October 19th, 2014, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Located at 945 Madison Avenue (at 75th Street) in NYC. The exhibition then travels to the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris (November 26, 2014–April 27, 2015) and to the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 5–September 27, 2015).

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A Spectacle and Nothing Strange By Eve Fowler at MOMA

A Spectacle and Nothing Strange
All Photos By Gail

In 2011,  American artist Eve Fowler began A Spectacle and Nothing Strange, which quotes fragments of Gertrude Stein’s groundbreaking feminist prose works Tender Buttons (1914) and How to Write (1931) on twenty–one posters produced by the Colby Poster Printing Company.

Anyone Telling Anything

Colby’s posters – known for their block-printed text over saccharine color gradients – were a common part of the Los Angeles landscape from the company’s founding, 60 years ago, until it closed, in 2012. Fowler’s posters were made using fonts and colors selected at random by the printer.

There are the ones who do see me

A Spectacle and Nothing Strange By Eve Fowler is on view at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC through September 28th, 2014.

A Difference of Very Little Difference

Very Different but Much More

Wide Shot

It is So

The Difference is Spreading

Modern Art Monday Presents: De Wain Valentine, Triple Disk Red Metal Flake — Black Edge

De Wain Valentine Triple Disk Red
Triple Disk Red Metal Flake – Black Edge, 1966, Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (All Photos By Gail)

Commentary on this work of art provided by Museum Director, Glenn Lowry and Curator, Leah Dickerman.

Glenn Lowry: After moving to Venice Beach, California in 1965, De Wain Valentine helped shape a new style of art that combined aspects of Minimalism with a distinctive West Coast flair.

Leah Dickerman: You can see the lessons of Minimalism, that idea of a new type of sculpture that’s defined by color, simple organization, bodily scale, repeated units of form. But that cherry, candy finish with metal flakes is unmistakably California, and those rounded shapes and luscious colors that have an erotic charge is a vocabulary that isn’t at all New York.

De Wain Valentine Triple Disk Red
Alternate View

G L: Valentine had an interest in industrial plastics and resins—materials used for cars and surfboards.

L D: That shiny, glittery surface adds a kind of perceptual instability to the object. And there’s lots of photographs where you see Valentine working on these objects, polishing and buffing them with all of the fanaticism of car and surf buffs. So it’s easy to see how work like this won the nickname “Fetish Finish.”

Triple Disk Red Finish
Finish Close Up

De Wain Valentine’s Triple Disk Red Metal Flake — Black Edge
is part of the Permanent Collection at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art.

RIP Japanese Conceptual Artist On Kawara

Wednesday December 12, 1979
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 1979 By On Kawara (Photo By Gail)

I took the above photo during Geoffrey and my most recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art this past Saturday, at which time the artist who painted it, On Kawara, was still very much alive. And now, he’s dead, having passed away on July 10th, 2014 at his home in NYC, at the age of 81. He had a good, long life!

Read about the career and art of On Kawara in the Huffington Post’s excellent Obit, found at This Link.

Bloodflames Revisited at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Roxy Paine Incident/Resurrection, 2013
Roxy Paine, Incident/Resurrection, 2013 (This Image Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery. All Other Photos By Gail)

Paul Kasmin Gallery, in collaboration with Rail Curatorial Projects, is currently hosting the exhibit Bloodflames Revisited, curated by Phong Bui. For this exhibit, in which bright red is a predominant thematic color, a red wooden catwalk has been constructed inside the gallery for visitors to walk on, and the floor has been covered with straw. Very interesting!

Red Catwalk and Straw

Bloodflames Revisited includes works by Worley Gig favorites like Lynda Benglis, Will Ryman, Roxy Paine and Cindy Sherman plus John Bock, Lee Bul, Cameron Gainer, Candida Höfer, Bill Jensen, Michael Joo, Deborah Kass, Alex Katz, Benjamin Keating, Glenn Ligon, Chris Martin, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Donald Moffett, G.T. Pellizzi, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Dorothea Rockburne, Do Ho Suh, Superflex, Tunga, Not Vital and Joe Zucker.

“We were all interested in building a field of vision in which the relationship between the works of art and the spectators is intergrated with greater amplification,” explains Bui.

Will Ryman Rose
Rose I By Will Ryman

In this exhibit, Bui and the participant artists pay homage to the seminal March 1947 Bloodflames exhibition at Hugo Gallery, which Alexander Iolas directed before opening his eponymous gallery. Organized by Nicolas Calas and designed by Frederick Kiesler, Bloodflames presented works by Arshile Gorky, Matta, Isamu Noguchi and Jean-Claude Reynal among others.

Kiesler’s design called for an unconventional exhibition construction, wherein artworks were projected and tilted at various angles from the gallery walls, to allow uncommon perspectives of view. His bold architectural interventions dissolved the barrier between viewer and artwork. By recontextualizing this groundbreaking exhibition, Bloodflames Revisited evokes the inventive spirit and unified spatial experience of the original exhibition.

Redemption of the Flesh
Daniel Joseph Martinez, Redemption of the Flesh: It’s just a little headache, it’s just a little bruise; The politics of the future as urgent as the blue sky, 2008 (Computer-controlled animatronic cloned sculptural installation, fiber-glass and animal hair over aluminum, and synthetic “blood”).

The imposing Daniel Joseph Martinez piece above takes over the entire rear wall of the front gallery. I am sure it looks quite different at this juncture than it does in this pic from the opening reception.

Here are few of our favorite pieces from the show.

Michael Joo, Intuited Composition, 2008
Michael Joo, Intuited Composition

Specimen Series: Stove
Do-Ho Suh, Specimen Series: Stove

Alice Cooper

Look, it’s Alice Cooper!

IMG_2442

Bloodflames Revisted will be on Exhibit Through August 15th, 2014 at at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 293 Tenth Avenue at 27th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Bloodflames Exhibit Signage

YELL-O: A Group Exhibition at C24 Gallery

Adele Mills Eat Cake
Adele Mills, Eat Cake (All Photos By Gail)

One of our favorite places in Chelsea to see new and interesting art, C24 Gallery is currently hosting YELL-O, a group exhibition featuring work by J. Mikal Davis, Nick Gentry, Adele Mills and Ekaterina Panikanova. This one is must see!

The show’s title is a play on words, referring to the act of ‘Yell’-ing “O!” and the color yellow itself. Yellow symbolizes warmth, summer and happiness. YELL-O brings together a vibrant group of international artists who conceptually and literally reinterpret materials within their practice.

Justin Mikal Davis

J. Mikal Davis a.k.a. Hellbent (USA) has achieved acclaim for his unique street art and public murals throughout New York City and Europe, which fuse intense colors to create a bold, freeform geometry. Davis employs a variety of techniques that add a unique 3D quality to his work, including ornate stenciling of neoclassical patterns that create a kaleidoscope “quilt” of color in cubist patterns.

Justin Mikal Davis

The patterns remind me of a bunch of men’s ties laid out together. Instead of a paintbrush, Davis often uses found materials and aerosol paint. Here Davis presents works from his most recent series, taking his signature street technique and translating it onto canvas to create a post-pop twist on Op Art.

Nick Gentry Deja Vu

Nick Gentry (UK) integrates obsolete technology into his artwork, primarily floppy disks and film negatives, placing an emphasis on recycling outdated media and reusing objects. I appreciate his use of upcycled materials! His work reflects on the quick pace of technology and how easily we forget what is deemed obsolete.

Nick Gentry Self Portrait Number 5

On exhibition are Gentry’s portraits of anonymous strangers that examine identity. The portraits incorporate floppy disks sent to him from around the world, with each disk containing an individual’s anonymous personal files.

Adele Mills Birdword

Adele Mills (USA) creates otherworldly, multi-dimensional artworks by combining slightly different photographs of the same object or two entirely different illusions, resulting in changing, seemingly moving image. Hers’ are my favorites pieces from the show. See details from the above work just below.

IMG_2505 IMG_2506 IMG_2504

Mills achieves this engaging effect by creating a layered visual – a digitally printed photograph based on paper or linen, merged with painted acrylics on layers of transparent silk. Mills will present work from her most recent series, Parallax Gap, which explores the representation of simultaneous stillness and collision. Just gorgeous.

Ekaterina Panikanova

Ekaterina Panikanova (Russia) paints across large spreads of old books and other documents mounted on wood, resulting in artwork that blurs the lines between painting, installation and collage. She arranges found books, notebooks and prints from different eras into an irregular grid, creating an unconventional canvas of disjointed surfaces.

Ekaterina Panikanova Box

In this exhibit you will see Panikanova’s new work that creates a striking visual synthesis of drawings, mapping a vivid journey into the subconscious through images and symbols. Very fun!

YELL-O: A Group Exhibition will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2104 at C24 Gallery, Located at 514 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Yello Exhibit Sign

Jeff Koons Split-Rocker in Rockefeller Center

Koons Split Rocker Poster
All Photos By Gail

Geoffrey and I had some time to kill after our wonderful day spent at MOMA, so we headed over to Rockefeller Center to check out the latest Jeff Koons public artwork: a giant flowering sculpture depicting half a of Rocking Horse Head and half of a Dinosaur Head called Split-Rocker. Koons did something similar back in 1992 with Puppy, now on permanent view at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

Koons Split Rocker Front

I took a bunch of photos of the sculpture from all angles so you can get an idea of how huge it is and how it looks up close as well as from far away

Koons Split Rocker Left Side

Here is is from the left Pony side.

Koons Split Rocker Right Side

Here it is from the right Dinosaur side, where the “Big Eye” is.

Koons Split Rocker Rear

Rear View.

Koons Split Rocker Close Up front Detail

Close up of the front, at the sculpture’s base.

Koons Split Rocker Close Up Detail

Flower Grid Detail.

Jeff Koons Split-Rocker will be On View 24 Hours a Day Through September 12th, 2014. That seems like a long time, but don’t wait too long because you don’t want to miss it!

Jerry Kearns RRRGGHH!!! at Mike Weiss Gallery

Jerry Kearns RRRGGHH!!!
All Photos By Gail

Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present RRRGGHH!!!, Jerry Kearns’ first solo exhibition with the gallery and the artist’s first show in New York since 2006. RRRGGHH!!! features 8 new paintings on canvas as well as 5 wall murals.

Skreee

RRRGGHH!!! restages the elemental conflict between hero and villain in the template tradition of this type of narrative, good versus evil, begun over 2000 years ago with The Book of Revelations and continued in different iterations today. The paintings present a layered dreamscape inhabited by a recurring cast of characters that have their roots in both the artist’s personal and our public histories. The narrative is organized around scenes from a hero’s journey, the hero himself an amalgamation of some of the most influential archetypes in culture.

Jerry Kearns Exhibit

RRRGGHH!!! Devil Detail
Detail from Painting Above

Each painting is a confrontation with one or more dangers, but the interpretation is widely open to discussion, while clues and misleading evidence are left on the canvas for discovery. These paintings reposition familiar images in a universal vocabulary, presenting a destabilized perception of our culture.

RRRGGHH!!!

Jerry’s work can be seen as history painting, charting our collective cultural mythology over the passage of the last 30+ years. His paintings employ the essence of Pop Art by using recognizable imagery culled from our culture, like the Jesus/Cowboy who was created from a 1950s cartoon and a projection of Bible belt realism. Instead of placing the characters in their typical environments, he uses the vocabulary and familiarity of pop culture imagery as a tool for analyzing the world around him.

RRRGGHH!!!

The Jesus/Cowboy is at once the outsider and the hero. He often seems lost in the action, looking the wrong way, or looking toward heaven even when danger is imminent and arriving in another direction that we, the viewers, can see unfolding. The animals in these paintings seem to know more than the protagonists do about reality. Good and evil are constantly at odds, and danger lurks everywhere. Each painting is layered with meanings, constructed so as to ask questions but evade answers.

Jerry Kearns Wall Mural

The narrative in this exhibition appears semi-coherent, familiar, and threatening to fall apart as it unfolds. Escaped prisoners are painted directly on the wall to create a didactic clash of literal versus symbolic space. These characters are closer to the actual space we live in, adding a new dimension for encounter. The exhibition plays out like a movie, unwinding its narrative through scene after scene – a painted, epic film still. The stylistic tendencies of his work speaks to the integrity of his practice and vision by allowing us the opportunity to encounter characters we know in an unguarded way, often at dynamic moments in their fictional universes.

The paintings are influenced by the artist’s childhood filled with cowboy movies and serials, newspaper cartoons, comic books, and the colorful illustrations his Preacher showed him in the Bible while growing up. In his work, Jerry is interested in exploring the fundamental relationship revealed in current exercises of power through imagery. Former President George Bush’s polarizing economic and political strategies, which were no relief after Reagan’s trickle-down economic policies, also play a role in the narrative. Jerry saw George Bush’s appropriation of the male archetype of the Cowboy realized in his approach of government policy.

Be sure and visit the Mike Weiss Gallery while RRRGGHH!!! is still up!

Jerry Kearns: RRRGGHH!!! Will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2104 at Mike Weiss gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Jerry Kearns Exhibit Signage

Mickalene Thomas, Tete de Femme at Lehmann Maupin

Tete de Femme
All Photos By Gail

Lehmann Maupin is delighted to debut Tête de Femme, a new body of work by artist Mickalene Thomas. In her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, Thomas explores the intricacies of female beauty through painting and collage, focusing on how artifice serves both to mask and reveal the individual essence of her subjects.

Tete de Femme

Throughout much of her career, Thomas has drawn from art history with particular interest in classical portraiture, constructed interiors, and iconic representations of the female form. References to Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Romare Bearden and Gustave Courbet may be found throughout her oeuvre. In Tête de Femme (translated as “head of a woman”), Thomas looks to early 20th century Cubism and contemporary Pop references, fragmenting and reducing portraiture to its most formal and geometric elements to create larger-than-life portraits of her models.

Tete de Femme

While the artist’s earlier works focused on classical depictions of the female form, primarily using powerful black women as the subjects, Tête de Femme more boldly conceptualizes female faces from collaged geometric cutouts. She relies on these shapes in the absence of glamourized female bodies placed in the highly conceptualized environments of her previous work. The series demonstrates the artist’s interplay of line, form, and material, punctuated with an increased use of color. With an affinity for rhinestones and glitter, Thomas utilizes these materials in addition to introducing screen-printing to her practice, giving her paintings a new dimensionality.

Mickalene Thomas: Tête de Femme will be on Exhibit Through August 8th, 2014 at Lehmann Maupin, Located at 540 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Mickalene Thomas: Tête de Femme Signage

Rafael Silveira’s Unforeseeable at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Wild Life
Rafael Silveira, Wild Life. Oil on Canvas in Custom Carved Frame (All Photos By Gail)

Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Unforeseeable, new works by Brazilian artist Rafael Silveira in his debut solo exhibition in New York. This is one of my favorite exhibits ever at LeVine!

A Powerful Instinct
A Powerful Instinct

Rafael Silveira’s imaginative work combines figurative classical painting, comic-inspired imagery and surreal subject matter, resulting in a universe where dreams are blended with waking life and the impossible appears commonplace. His portraits reminded me such artists as Travis Louie, Mark Ryden and ever legendary cartoonist Tex Avery.

A Walk in the Garden
A Walk in the Garden

A Walk in the Garden Detail
A Walk in the Garden Blouse Detail

A Walk in the Garden Detail
A Walk in the Garden Skirt Detail

Silveira credits his native Brazil as a source of inspiration and describes his experience living in the country as having “daily contact with the bizarre, absurd and preposterous. It’s like walking through a wild forest where beauty and dangers reveal themselves in strange, random and haphazard ways.”

A Small Fragment of the Universe
A Small Fragment of the Universe

Paintings in Unforeseeable are like portals into an alternate dimension, one that exists without distinction between natural and artificial elements. Many of Silveira’s figures are hybridized, such as a woman with tree branches for arms (see photo above) or another with a popsicle for a head (see trilogy below).

Allegory of Time Opus 1 2 and 3
Allegory of Time Opus 1, 2 and 3

The absence of logic and reason allows a blurring of ascribed definitions: human, animal, plant or object. A vintage aesthetic and various themes including lingerie, tattoos, skulls and food converge in a visual expression of Silveira’s stream of consciousness.

Live Fast
Live Fast

A hallmark of Silveira’s work is the use of sculptural frames to compliment his canvases. The custom frames are designed by Silveira and carved out of wood by traditional master craftsmen who specialize in creating religious altars and ornate furniture. This unique collaboration brings the imagery of his paintings into the third dimension and allows for an interesting interplay between each external structure and what they contain, within.

The Anatomic Couple
The Anatomic Couple

Rafael Silveira’s Unforeseeable will be on Exhibit Through July 26th, 2014 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 5429 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Rafael Silveira Exhibit Signage