Tag Archive | Coca Cola

Recycling Religion Group Show at WhiteBox

Lenin Mickey Jesus
Vladimir Lenin, Mickey Mouse and Jesus Walk Hand-in-Hand in this Sculpture from Recycling Religion (All Photos By Gail)

Popular artists like Banksy, Ron English and Damien Hirst have all blended Religious iconography with commercial images in the creation of artworks that take the piss out of Things That People Worship, but that’s not to say they’ve made the definitive statements when it come to mockery of organized religion and scathing criticism of “The Church” in general. Because that domain is pretty much open to everyone with a thought and a way to express it.

Scale

Curated by Marat Guelman and Juan Puntes, Recycling Religion is a group show at WhiteBox which examines the role of religion in Russia and Eastern Europe since the collapse of the Soviet empire.

Kinetic Artwork

Kinetic Sculpture with Detail, Below.

Kinetic Artwork Detail

A statement from the exhibit;s Press Release explains, “In the modern age, the once repressed and dormant Orthodox Church has evolved in the past quarter century to become an intrinsic and powerful extension of the State, commanding broad influence over life beyond its purely spiritual role. From art and entertainment to dress code, and numerous other aspects of personal behavior, this essentially anachronistic religion insinuates its moralizing, oppressive influence and rancid style into life at large.

Iron Work

“In the case of art, the Church goes to extreme lengths to impose and control popular taste, to the inevitable disgust of a new generation of artists — a stellar and representative group of which is represented in this exhibition — who dare to employ Orthodox imagery and symbolism to undermine the established religious canon and the dystopia it fosters in harness with state power. To such artists, the Church is but a hollow vessel that sustains itself only with elaborate stage sets and costumes, outdated ritual, and severe moralizing. However, it is their contention that while the regurgitated apparatus of the official Church represents a moribund ideology, it serves also as a foil by which art can transcend tradition and discover the new-within-the-old.

Ghost Image

“This subterfuge is depicted vividly, and in fact compassionately, in this exhibition, in which, through installation, performance, video, and graphic art, the conservative and radical poles of post-Soviet society are shown to in fact interact. As one allegedly spiritual force engages in tearing the world apart while pretending to mend it, another, more pragmatic, biological force appeals to the need to rebuild society out of the ruins of Orthodoxy, thus recycling religion, rather than eradicating it entirely.

Artists participating in the Recycling Religion exhibit include Pussy Riot, Oleg Kulik, Dmitri Gutov, Iija Soskic, Jelena Tomasevic, Recycle Group, Alexander Kosolapov, Duke Riley + Mac Premo, Federico Solmi, Robert Priseman, ANVIL Collective, Electroboutique,Vladimir Kozin, Pavel Brat, Arsen Savadov.

Dead Celebs

The exhibit includes two walls covered with a grid of deified, iconic dead celebrities/public figures, whose demise often occurred by their own hand or as a result of misadventure. You will have some fun spotting your favorites; some instantly recognizable and others much less so.

Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious

Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison

Wendy O Williams
Wendy O. Williams

Freddie Prinze
Freddie Prinze

This is My Body

These two are pretty fantastic, in both their concept and execution.

This is My Blood

In the video above, you’ll see another kinetic piece, where the Pope’s head is depicted as a chattering, mechanized parade float.

I Love Paine
I Love Paine

Contemporary Homage to Thomas Paine, English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary.

Monitor Christ

Altar

A HUGE pet peeve of mine is when galleries do not post the names of the artworks/artists on the walls adjacent to each piece, so that you have no idea who did what; because most people do not read minds but wish to know this information. Such was the case with Recycling Religion, as none of the displays offered the desired identification. and the website is similarly lacking. How lazy. At any rate, I really enjoyed the work of whichever artist created the above altar as part of a series of sculptures/installations involving wooden skulls. Here are a few more of his/her pieces.

Box Christ

 

Skull Stack

And here’s a study sketch for several pieces.

Skull Studies

Really nice.

Angels

Recycling Religion will be on Exhibit through January 17th, 2016 at WhiteBox, Located at 329 Broome Street, NYC 10002.

Signage

Dasani Air Batman on Bowery and Houston

Dasani Air Batman
Photo By Gail

I’m not sure who does the Dasani Air street art — which has been floating around the east village since 2013 — but this one (spotted on Bowery just below Houston) was new to me. I’ve seen it with Queen Elizabeth sucking on a canister of Dasani Air (clearly parody of Coca Cola brand’s Dasani Water) but Batman is pretty popular as well.

Cey Adams’ Trusted Brands at Rush Arts Gallery

Hot Wheels
All Photos By Gail

Cey Adams, a New York City native, is an icon of Hip Hop and graphic design. Trusted Brands is an exhibition of his new collage works on canvas examining branding in contemporary culture. Adams‘ use of collage and design principles creates rich textures of easily recognizable logos structured along subtle grids, which are becoming comparable to his signature. Adams’ delicate technique and balanced compositions celebrate the history of graffiti, graphic design, Pop Art and Hip Hop.

Coca Cola

Trusted Brands explores icons of brands that have impacted his thinking and ideology from youth. Adams emerged from the downtown graffiti movement and exhibited alongside fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. He appeared in the historic 1982 PBS documentary Style Wars that tracks subway graffiti in New York. He was the Creative Director of Russell SimmonsDef Jam Recordings and co-founded the Drawing Board an in-house visual design firm. He created visual identities, album covers, logos, and advertising campaigns for Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and many others.

Union 76

Shell

Cey draws inspiration from 60’s pop art, sign painting, comic books, and popular culture. His work focuses on themes including pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues. Trusted Brands transforms images and graphics that he grew up with. “These are all brands that my parents trusted and then I ended up trusting. I wanted to do something that really kind of revisits that.”

Pepsi Cap N Crunch

Trusted Brands by Cey Adams will be on Exhibit only through March 28th, 2015 at Rush Arts Gallery, Located at 526 W26th St Suite 311, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Kool Aid and KFC

Cey Adams Signage

Eugenio Merino’s Always Shameless at UNIX Gallery

Row of Coke Cases
All Photos By Gail

If you like Coca Cola and World Politics and have a twisted sense of humor, then UNIX Gallery in Chelsea is currently hosting an exhibit you will enjoy. Always Shameless, an exhibition of new work by Spanish artist Eugenio Merino is instantly polarizing for its depiction of life-sized Political Leaders including Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush displayed in Coca Cola Refrigerator Coffins. Surely, this visual alone will inspire hours of lively discourse.

Walls at either end of the the Coca Cola Case Display are mirrored, creating an infinity effect and indicating that the line of corrupt leadership “goes on forever,” according to Gallery owner Alex Cesaria, whom I spoke to at the opening reception this past Thursday. The figures of each well known leader (most now deceased but some still living) are all astoundingly lifelike (although a few have noticeably over-sized heads, take that however you want).

Always Franco
Always Franco

According to the exhibit’s press release, Always Shameless is the culmination of a project Merino began in 2011 with Always Franco, a life sized sculpture of uniformed Spanish dictator Francisco Franco preserved in a Coca Cola refrigerator. The Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco, an organization dedicated to preserving Franco’s legacy, quickly sued the artist over the sculpture as well as for a second sculpture the artist created of the dictator. Merino went to trial twice to defend his freedom of speech and won both cases. As an aside, I can’t help but recall the long-running punch line on early seasons of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update News segment, reporting that “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is Still Dead.” If you are too young to remember that, it doesn’t matter.

Hugo Chavez
Always Chavez

Putin Close Up
Always Putin Detail

Despite the legal setbacks, the artist has continued his series of sculptures of political figures for the exhibition. The title of the show, Always Shameless is a play on the 1993 Coca Cola slogan “Always.” Merging the political nature of the artist’s sculptures with the branding of a universally recognized product brings these ultimately dark and poignant works into the more accessible forum of popular culture.

Always Mao
Always Mao

Merino’s work undoubtedly reflects his struggle as a politically active and controversial artist. Speaking directly to the issues of manipulation and control throughout the 21st century, his works challenge the artistic and social limits his subjects have set upon their respective societies. Their legacies have been preserved simply through our participation in keeping their reigns alive. Jonathan Jones of The Guardian noted, “it seems incredible that General Franco is still oppressing artists in Spain from beyond the grave.”

Punch a Poitician

Punch Putin
Vladimir Putin Punching Bag, Very Timely!

As a terrific kick off to the summer, Always Shameless is a Do Not Miss Exhibit!

Eugenio Merino’s Always Shameless will be on Exhibit Through July 12th, 2014 at UNIX Gallery, Located at 532 W 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Gallery and Exhibit Signage

Right Place, Right Time by Kevin Cyr

Kevin Cyr Coca Cola Delivery Truck
All Photos By Gail. Click on Any Image to Enlarge.

If you live in any urban area such as New York City, you’ve seen trucks lie these parked on the streets, covered in graffiti and looking rather derelict. There’s no denying that they are part of the landscape for a city dweller. I like them.

Kevin Cyr Bonks Delivery Van

One of the current exhibits at Jonathan LeVine Gallery is Kevin Cyr’s  Right Place, Right Time, which includes a larege collections of new oil paintings on panels that range in of sizes from about 8 x 10 Inches to several fee across. These realist paintings depict vehicles seen by Cyr on the streets of Berlin, Brussels and Paris. The Right Place, Right Time series acts as a counterpart to In Praise of Rust, Cyr’s 2012 exhibition, in which he documented old vehicles seen on the streets of New York City — primarily vans and commercial delivery trucks covered in graffiti, rust, dents and other imperfections.

Kevin Cyr 4 Trucks

According to the exhibit’s Press Release, “Transportation, travel and exploration — ongoing themes throughout Cyr’s body of work — are particularly prevalent here, as the artist traveled abroad to explore the streets of foreign cities in his research for new subjects to capture. Cyr’s fascination with these vans and trucks is based around the idea that they symbolize a place and an ethos. He finds himself discovering the character of each city he visits through its vehicles.”

Kevin Cyr Orange Truck

Kevin Cyr Toro Van

Kevin Cyr Toro Truck Detail
Taped Up Side Window Detail from Painting Above! Authentic!

Funnily enough, when we left the opening reception this past Saturday, a truck not unlike the ones immortalized in Cyr’s paintings was parked right outside on 20th Street. Art Imitates Life.

Kevin Cyr’s Right Place, Right Time will be on Exhibit through March 22, 2014 at Jonathan Levine Gallery, Located at 529 W 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Kevin Cyr 4 Paintings