Tag Archive | Art

Bacon Thing of The Day: United Tastes Of America by Jon Burgerman

United Tastes of America

Artist Statement:

“I decided to make flags for each game of the World Cup I watched this Summer. I wanted to spread my support for different countries and feel more like a global citizen, without any political or geographical ties. That’s the greatest gift football and other sports can offer, they can genuinely bring disparate people together for play.

I re-imagined flags of different countries, adding a playful reference to that country within the design of the flag. America has one of the best flag designs there is, I really love it, and it was a lot of fun to work on. The first edition of this flag was with a burger and fries but the fries didn’t quite look right in red, so I turned them into bacon. Everyone seems to love bacon.” – Jon Burgerman

Buy this print (before it sells out!) at 1 X Run Dot Com!

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Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Neon Drugs Sign

Jack Pierson Drugs (Pink and Orange)
Photo By Gail

Jack Pierson, Drugs (Pink and Orange), 2000. Neon and Transformer. Photographed at the Leila Heller Gallery on West 57th Street, NYC.

George Condo’s Double Heads, Black Paintings, Abstractions at Skarstedt Gallery

George Condo
All Photos By Gail

My first exposure to George Condo’s highly recognizable style of painting happened when I saw his 2010-2011 exhibit, Mental States, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. I thought the show was pretty cool, but I can totally understand how some might consider his artwork to be an acquired taste.

People who don’t go to art galleries and museums — if they know Condo at all —  probably know him as the artist who took a $40,000 Hermes Birkin Bag that Kanye West bought as a gift for Kim Kardashian and, at West’s request, “ruined” (not my words) it by custom painting a group of nude figures on the bag’s exterior. My feeling on the matter is that if you can afford to buy Birkin Bags, you can afford to have one custom painted by George Condo. Because, why not? Condo has also painted the artwork for a number of West’s CDs. That is nice work if you can get it, I am sure.

If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC, you can see a series of Condo’s new, large canvas paintings over at Skarstedt Gallery right now! The exhibit is entitled Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions, and these paintings were created in 2014 at the artist’s East Hampton studio. Impressive!

George Condo Double Head

Condo’s Double Heads and Black Paintings continue his investigation of the concept of portraiture. In these most recent works, Condo has adopted Harold Rosenberg’s idea of ‘action painting’ —  a term used to describe the performative, often volatile energy exercised by Abstract Expressionist painters like de Kooning and Pollock — to create his own ‘action portraits.’ Through an elaborate process of layering, erasure, and reconstruction, shattered images of faces and bodies emerge from and interact within a field of abstract forms. This makes sense  when you know that Condo, being well versed in art history, often references known artists by adopting their styles and techniques into his work.

George Condo Double Head

Incorporating the use of silver metallic paint in Double Portrait in Grisaille on Silver, 2014, and other works in this series, Condo references Warhol’s silver paintings from the 1960’s such as Double Elvis. After preparing a ground of silver paint on canvas, Condo applies ivory black onto loose sheets of paper, which is then transferred onto the canvasses, giving them the look and surface quality of a screen print. He then creates a schism in this form by subsequently employing the traditional technique of grisaille to draw out the figures by hand.

George Condo Double Head

In creating such large-scale paintings in a very confined studio space, Condo has been forced to work ‘inside’ his paintings, addressing both subject and material at close range — never stepping too far back from the canvas to allow the image in his mind to entirely materialize. Both gestural improvisation and concrete imagery are evident as he forcefully pushes and pulls the paint around the surface of the canvas until a final image emerges, fully formed yet haunted by the process of its becoming. In Beginnings, 2014, a large square format painting, a single eye peers out from the devastation of what at one time might have been a full portrait. This process of addition, subtraction and layering evokes a visceral response to both the handling of paint and the subject of the painting.

George Condo Double Head

Partially obscured by violent brush marks, the likenesses of the figures and characters in Condo’s paintings are integrations of forms that the brushwork fractures. Facial features peek out from underneath fields of color as broad strokes of bold black and white paint shatter the pictorial plane. The simultaneous multiple expressions of his portraits speak to the volatility of human emotions and the unpredictability — even hilarity — of the characters one encounters in urban life.

George Condo Double Head

The abstract works in this exhibition fluctuate between the lyrical and the hysterical, building upon the cacophony of interacting forms for which Condo is known. In Silver Mass, 2014, as well as several other works on view, Condo extends the lineage of his series of abstract ‘expanding canvasses’, which began in the early 1980’s, to invent ever new painterly forms and hints of human expression.

Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions by George Condo will be on view through December 20th, 2014 at Skarstedt Gallery, Located at 550 W. 21st Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

George Condo Signage with Orchid

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.

Takashi Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow

Murakami Blue
Tan Tan Bo – In Communication, 2014 (All Photos By Gail)

As much as everyone is already whining about the impending hellish winter that we are surely in for again this year, all you have to do is walk into the cavernous Gagosian Gallery space on West 24th Street and get an eyeful of the 18 foot high sculptures reaching towards the celing and 30 foot long murals unfurling across the walls in Takashi Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow to realize that — Polar Vortex be damned — New York City is the Center of The Universe, and that is where you want to be.

I’m not going to go into detail here about who Takashi Murakami is and why his art is important. You either already love his work, or will be compelled to find out based on the photos in this blog post. Or you don’t give a shit, who cares? Use The Google to your advantage, is all I’m saying.

Black Skull Cluster Mural Detail

The art exhibited in Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow is about the artist telling his personal story in response to historic natural disasters; specifically the Great Tōhoku Earthquake of 2011. Since that devastating event, Murakami has explored other Japanese art produced in response to historic natural disasters.

Gallery View with Pagoda
Gallery View with Sanmon (Sacred Gate)

At Gagosian, Murakami has created an immersive installation, entered through a 56-ton replica of a Sanmon (Sacred Gate), which also includes paintings of eclectic Arhats (Perfected Persons); dissolving clones of his popular creation Mr. Dob; and Karajishi, the mythic lions that guard Japanese Buddhist temples.

Sacred Gate Eye Detail
Sacred Gate Detail

Here is a contemporary belief system, constructed in the wake of disaster, that merges earlier faiths, myths, and images into an amalgamated spirituality of the artist’s imagination. In totemic sculptures representing demons, religious sites, and self-portraits; and paintings that conflate classical Japanese techniques with Abstract Expressionist tropes, science-fiction, manga, and Buddhist and Shinto imagery, Murakami investigates the role of faith amid the inexorable transience and trauma of existence.

That’s right: it’s heavy.

Golden Mural with Dragon Detail
Gold Leaf Mural with Karajishi (Detail)

Also, there are lots of skulls.

Not long after we entered the gallery, an elderly gentleman approached me and asked what I thought of the art. When I told him I thought it was just fantastic, he went off on an elaborate rant about how he didn’t like it at all because Murakami puts too much stuff on the canvas. Then he went on about that for a while, citing artists like M. C. Escher, who expressed sophisticated visual concepts without putting “too much stuff” on the canvas, whatever.

Large Silver Mural with Lion
Platinum Leaf Mural with Karajishi

When he finally came up for air, I offered my opinion that perhaps Murakami’s fans appreciate the high level of detail in the paintings. That couldn’t be possible, he insisted, because there was just too much stuff going on, “too many ideas.” I’m certainly all about having a lively conversation with someone over differing opinions concerning contemporary art, but if you start telling me that what I think is wrong, well, that’s where I am going to shut you down.

Rainbow Eyeball
This is the painting I stared at for fifteen minutes while Mr. Too Much Stuff on the Canvas chewed my ear off.

Eventually, Geoffrey appeared and, after I caught his eye and mouthed the words “help me” in his general direction, I was rescued. At that moment, I admit I was thinking about that episode of Seinfeld, where Elaine and Jerry, upon arriving at a party, agree on a hand gesture that they will use to signal each other from across the room if they are being monopolized in conversation by someone who’s driving them insane. Because life imitates art.

Red Devil Front
Red Demon

Blue Devil Front
Blue Demon

Too much stuff on the canvas. What a bunch of bullshit. If he didn’t like the art, why was he there? I got yer Too Much Stuff on the Canvas right here.

Black DOB
Mr. Dob with a bunch of stuff!

DOB with Murakami Detail

See how Murakami puts himself in the art. So cute.

DOB with Creature Detail

And also, this little guy.

Murakami in the Crowd

Of course, Murakami was in the house, because he is awesome like that. Here he is standing in front of a mural depicting those Arhats I mentioned earlier. He took the time to pose for photos with everyone, what a guy!

Murakami With Fan

He is always smiling and has the best hats!

Here’s some more stuff we liked!

Gold Statue Front

Gold Statue Back

Impressive.

Round Floral on Black

Here you see Murakami do something a bit different with his signature smiling face flowers. The black and platinum fields on each canvas are embossed with the imprint of hundreds of skulls.

Round Floral on Silver

Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination, 2014
Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination (Statue of the Artist), 2014

Must See Art: Go Now!

In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow by Takashi Murakami will be on Exhibit Through January 17th, 2015 at Gagosian Gallery, Located at 555 West 24th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District.

Murakami Exhibit Signage

Robert C. Jackson’s Tinkering With Reality at Gallery Henoch

Pairings Feast
Pairings Feast (All Photos By Gail, Click On Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Robert Jackson’s Tinkering with Reality is a disarmingly fun exhibit of contemporary pop-realist paintings whose everyday subject matter lends them an element of the absurd. More than anything, this exhibit reminded me of the paintings of Robert Deyber, but without the obvious visual puns attached.

Pop Betsy Ross
Pop Betsy Ross

Pancakes
Pancakes

Robert Jackson’s paintings offer tightly contained theaters of absurd impossibilities that speak to the very act of creating itself. Jackson’s regular cast of characters includes unbelievably tall stacks of pastries and hamburgers, anthropomorphized apples, Oreos and balloon animals, as well as colorful wooden crates whose graphic faces flatten the picture plane even as they enhance the painting’s ‘trompe l’oeil’ effects.

Pop Floral
Pop Floral

More Donuts
More Donuts

Jackson paints scenes that delight in their illusory spectacle as they navigate through painting’s loaded history. Jackson’s props lack traditional sophistication by designs – the silliness of a balloon dog or the artificial sweetness of an Oreo cookie lend a playful spirit to the philosophical conundrums that Jackson explores in his narrative-driven paintings.

Dollar
Dollar

Robert Jackson’s transfixing work makes it easy for the viewer to suspend their disbelief. But there’s an element of self-awareness in Jackson’s paintings that makes the viewer conscious of Jackson not trying to simply fool, but to make the viewer think about the process of being fooled.

Props
Props

Painted at human scale, Props looks like scene the viewer could walk into, pick up a burger and walk out of again. Jackson finds a way to cleverly imply his own presence in the work through the bitten red delicious apple on top of a Pop Kola crate, and the tiny green Fisher Price figurine on the stack of crates to the left.

The Thinker
The Thinker

I also really loved the way Jackson references other works of art within his paintings, such as the homage to Rodin’s The Thinker, above.

Art Project
Art Project

And of course you cannot talk about Balloon Dogs without thinking of Jeff Koons.

Icons
Icons

How many “Iconic” works can you identify in the painting above? Tinkering With Reality is one of my favorite current exhibits, and I recommend very enthusiastically that you check it out in person!

Robert C. Jackson’s Tinkering With Reality will be on Exhibit Through November 29th, 2015 at Gallery Henoch, Located at 555 West 25 Street, New York, NY 10001

Gallery View

Robert C Jackson Tinkering with Reality Signage

Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Rauschenberg, Canyon

Robert Rauschenberg Canyon
Photo By Gail (Click on Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Canyon is one of Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines (also called Combine Paintings), which were hybrid works incorporating painting, collage, and found objects that he began making in 1954. Rauschenberg often kept an eye out for curious items in the street while walking around downtown New York, later repurposing “whatever the day would lay out” for his artistic ends.

The centerpiece of Canyon is a stuffed bald eagle that was found in a pile of discarded belongings in the hallway of the Carnegie Hall studio building and given to Rauschenberg by fellow artist Sari Dienes. It juts out from a canvas that is covered with pieces of a collared shirt, floral fabric, a photograph of Rauschenberg’s young son, a flattened metal drum, and a wrung–out tube of oil paint, among many other items.

Canyon is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and can be seen in the Painting and Sculpture II, Gallery 18, 4th Floor.