This stone, imbued with the naturally occurring image of a “Spirit Dancer” was found in a river in California and became part of the recent Viewing Stones exhibit at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, which I was fortunate to see over the Christmas Holidays. In the Suiseki tradition, ornamental stones shaped by nature are found in many forms which suggest familiar objects such as near of distant mountains, seascapes, figures of animals and other imaginative natural forms. Suiseki, also called Viewing Stones, is similar to the art of Bonsai, the art of growing miniature trees.
It seems hilarious to think that I was six years old when David Bowie released his self-titled debut album, which would have been on June 1st of 1967. Coincidentally, and in an act of incredibly bad timing on Bowie’s part, that was the shared release date of another album you may have heard of: The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. What a way to ensure that your most heartfelt artistic efforts are completely and totally eclipsed by another act! Bad Timing! In hindsight, also hilarious.
Point being that David Bowie has been part of the soundtrack for me since childhood. Surprisingly, this year (four decades on) I have learned more about the guy than I ever imagined I didn’t know. Just a couple of months ago, Showtime aired David Bowie: Five Years, a fantastic documentary spanning five key years in Bowie’s music career that was just one mind-blowing revelation after another. For example, I had no idea that Legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman played piano all over Hunky Dory. Who even pays attention to stuff like that? Mind blowing. Five Years definitely deepened my respect and admiration for the man, his music and his insane contribution to global pop culture. David Bowie is a Musical Genius!
If you have ears and eyes and you are a David Bowie fan, then you’ve already also heard about David Bowie Is; the universally critically lauded, career retrospective that became the fastest-selling exhibition in London’s Victoria & Albert Museum’s history. David Bowie Is has already hit Toronto, Sao Paulo and Berlin, and on September 23rd, this exhibition — which features over 300 items including photos, costumes, artwork, hand-written lyrics, stage props, videos and other items from David Bowie’s Personal Archive — opened at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which will be its only stop in the US.
That same Tuesday, a documentary film about the touring art exhibition, also called David Bowie Is, had a one-night only screening in various theaters across the country. I saw the film in NYC and it was so exciting that it made me want spend a thousand dollars just to go to Chicago and see the exhibit. Directed by Hamish Hamilton, the film is an excellent primer and will greatly enrich your visit should you have exhibit tickets at the ready. But for those who will be unable to view the exhibition in person, this film is the next best thing. It may even inspire you to pull out all the stops in order to make it to the Museum of Contemporary Art before David Bowie Is moves on to its next destination in January of 2015.
In addition to a detailed tour of the exhibition’s key features, the film includes tons of back-story and insights from curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh who serve as onscreen hosts and narrators. And let me tell you, they know their shit. One of my favorite parts of the film is a viewing and explanation of extensive, illustrated storyboards that Bowie created for a film to be based on the Diamond Dogs album. It is unreal. You’ll also hear conversations with exhibit-goer-fans, and commentary about Bowie’s far-reaching influence with pop taste-makers such as Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto, who created the iconic costumes seen in the photo below.
Costumes Designed By Kansai Yamamoto: (left to right) Tokyo Pop vinyl bodysuit (1973), for the Aladdin Sane tour; Asymmetric knitted bodysuit (1973), for the Aladdin Sane tour; cloak decorated with kanji characters (1973), for the Aladdin Sane tour.
If you missed the September 23rd screening and want to see what this exhibit is all about, David Bowie Is will have additional screenings around the country on November 20th. Visit This Link for theaters, show times and ticket purchasing information in your area.
The Worley Gig Gives David Bowie Is Five out of Five Stars!
If you are what some people refer to as a “Shoe Freak,” or even a fan of Art, Design and Fashion, you will want to hoof it over to the Brooklyn Museum to see Killer Heels, a fantastic exhibit of High Heeled Shoes that opened just yesterday. Geoffrey and I were lucky enough to attend the opening reception and party this past Saturday and we had all kinds of crazy fun.
Let’s relive the good times now, by enjoying some of my photos from the party and the exhibit.
To get people in the mood for shoes, Party-goers were able to get a temporary tattoos with one of two designs based on the shoes pictured below (which, obviously are part of the exhibit):
I got this one of a pair of Wedge Heels decorated with Flames! Fast!
Or you could choose a design based on these “Kinky Boots” fetish style Red Thigh High Boots!
They were also giving out the latest issue of W Magazine with Rihanna on the cover. She does nothing for me but people seem to like her for whatever mysterious reason.
Piper-Heidsieck was a sponsor for the party and their delicious Champagne flowed freely.
In addition to an open bar and passed hot Hors d’oeuvre, there were also some sweet treats.
Such as these Vanilla Cake Balls and also Milk Chocolate Miniature Gold Pumps.
Mmm…Little Chocolate Shoes.
Speaking of Sweet Treats, check out this rad cake made in the likeness of Salvatore Ferragamo’s very famous multi-colored suede platform sandal created for Judy Garland back in 1938! As far as I know, nobody even got to eat this cake, and that’s just a shame.
OK, let’s leave the party behind and go look at some Killer Heels. Here we go!
Killer Heels explores fashion’s most provocative accessory. From the high platform chopines of sixteenth-century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways and red carpets, the exhibition looks at the high-heeled shoe’s rich and varied history and its enduring place in our popular imagination.
As fashion statement, fetish object, instrument of power, and outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer, throughout the ages the high-heeled shoe has gone through many shifts in style and symbolism.
Deadly sharp stilettos, architecturally inspired wedges and platforms, and a number of artfully crafted shoes that defy categorization are featured among the more than 160 historical and contemporary heels on loan from designers, from the renowned Brooklyn Museum costume collection housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and from the Bata Shoe Museum.
Designers and design houses represented in Killer Heels include Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Zaha Hadid X United Nude, Iris van Herpen X United Nude, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, André Perugia, Prada, Elsa Schiaparelli, Noritaka Tatehana, Vivienne Westwood and Pietro Yantorny.
Presented alongside the objects in the exhibition are six specially commissioned short films inspired by high heels. The filmmakers are Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter, and Rashaad Newsome.
“Everyone loves to wear shoes inspired by the Guggenheim Museum!” I heard someone say about this pair of silver space age shoes. Coincidentally, there was a lady at the event wearing these exact shoes!
If Ace Frehley had been a woman, surely he would have worn these boots as part of his Space Ace costume in Kiss.
There is just so much great art tied into the design of all of these shoes, it was easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the flood of genius and beauty.
What a great show! I recommend you go see it as soon as possible!
Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe will be on Exhibit Through February 15, 2015 in the Robert E. Blum Gallery (1st Floor) at the Brooklyn Museum, Located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052. Take the 2 or 3 Trains Right to the Eastern Parkway Stop.
These tiny collages, drawings and mixed-media works all represented on Match Boxes are part of the series called Omri (My Life) by Moroccan artist Mohamed Larbi Rahhali.
Omri is included in Here and Elsewhere, the comprehensive group exhibit currently inhabiting The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.
Here and Elsewhere is a major exhibition of contemporary art from and about the Arab world, and brings together more than forty-five artists from over fifteen countries.
These photos capture just a fraction of the hundreds of Match Boxes in Mohamed Larbi Rahhali‘s piece, and the work is still ongoing.
Watch for more posts featuring art from Here and Elsewhere on The Gig in the upcoming week.
Here and Elsewhere is on Exhibit Through September 28th, 2014, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, located at 235 Bowery (at Prince street) in Soho, NYC.
Do you enjoy looking at the paintings of contemporary pop artist Mark Kostabi? I sure do. There are a few reasons why I never miss an opening reception for an exhibit of Mark’s work: not only is there a ton of great art to look at and talk about with other cool, art-loving people, but it is always a good party and a chance to, as it is sometimes referred to in the vernacular, “make the scene.” And I enjoy making the scene.
Just this past Thursday, I had a chance to make the scene at Mark’s current exhibit, which is going on at the Martin Lawrence Galleries on West Broadway — a very nice venue. Before I get to talking about the paintings, I want to point out how this artist reception differed from 99% of all other art openings. Please see visual documentation below.
Look at all that cheese!
Celebrity Photographer Derek Storm was overheard to say that these wheels of fine, spreadable soft cheeses reminded him of Donuts. Mmm…cheese donuts.
So much free cheese was available — and also, wine! — it was pretty much the greatest art opening, ever. It looks like the cheese extravaganza was sponsored by a place called Castello Cheesemonger. Their cheese made me happy.
Now, on to the Art! A good number of Mark’s new paintings belong to series I made up in my head called “Barbie’s Happy Fun Day on Acid.” Get an idea of what I am talking about below.
Dancing Barbie on Acid.
Barbie Dreams of Being On Acid.
Barbie’s Self-Reflection (On Acid).
Do you see what I mean? I love all these paintings. You can interpret them to mean what ever you want, really. Art!
The last time I saw this very beautiful painting, it was sitting on the floor of Mark’s studio, Kostabi World. Now, it is in a gallery and you can buy it!
I interpret the above painting to be a statement on consumerism and how it weighs you down like little men are hanging on to your legs.
I deliberately left the rack of chimes in that photo to remind me to mention that Mark is not only an amazing artist but also a gifted composer and wildly talented pianist. At the opening, Mark performed a few of his original compositions with his trio that includes Bassist Paul Nowniski and Drummer Keith LeBlanc. It was awesome.
The painting above is called Twister Sister and it is of a lady (Acid Barbie, perhaps) playing a game of Twister on a Damien Hirst Spot Painting. I desire to own it.
This one is cool, because it goes from being in Black and White to being in Color — just like the Wizard of Oz!
This is a photo from the ’80s of Mark with Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, in which the coolness factor is off the charts.
I love this one a lot, too.
And this one, of an Angel with her Cat. What is making that pink glow that you see leading down from the ladder? I want to find out.
This is definitely a must-see exhibit, so don’t miss it!
Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at 457 West Broadway (Between Houston and Prince) in Soho, NYC.
The most popular art exhibit in the city right now is Kara Walker’s massive Sugar Sphinx: the crouching figure of an African America woman, completely covered in white, refined sugar, which was constructed over an eight week period in the cavernous interior of the now defunct Domino Sugar Factory building that faces the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Sponsored by Creative Time, Subtlety, as the piece is officially named, is the first large-scale public project by the internationally renowned Walker. Sited in the sprawling industrial relics of Brooklyn’s legendary Domino Sugar Factory, Walker’s physically and conceptually expansive work responds to both the building and its history, exploring a radical range of subject matter and marking a major departure from her practice to date. The exhibition promises to be an eye-opening experience for both those who are familiar with Walker’s work and those who are new to it.
I visited the Sphinx with a friend on a Sunday afternoon, arriving 10 minutes before they started letting people in at Noon, and waited only about 20 additional minutes before we were inside. Be forewarned that this is a very popular attraction. Within ten minutes of joining the line at South 2nd Street and Kent Avenue, the line already stretched another block behind us and continued to grow. So, be sure to pee and eat before you get there, wear comfortable shoes and sun block, and be prepared to wait for as long as it takes, because you are on an Urban Adventure!
The Sphinx only takes up about one-third of the space, so you get to enjoy the emptiness of the gutted factory and imagine what it must have been like when it was full of machinery and people and sugary substances – the residue of which still covers the buildings interior surfaces. I love walking around inside abandoned buildings, so this was a huge treat for me for that reason alone.
In addition to the Sphinx, there are perhaps a dozen five-foot high molasses-based sculptures of young boy laborers, many carrying wide baskets which hold sugar in its various states.
The boy sculptures range in hue from deep brown and nearly black to crystalline amber. Thin puddles of dark molasses expands across the floor from the bases of these figures as they have started to slowly melt.
The Huffington Post has an excellent article on the Sugar Sphinx, including an interview with Kara Walker, which reveals a lot of the theoretical groundwork for the project and will give you some perspective that may be useful to consider when viewing the exhibit, because it’s a pretty heavy deal.
I had a great time seeing the Sugar Sphinx and her Molasses Babies. Once you are inside, you can stroll around and take photos for as long as you like, and the temperature stays pretty cool and comfortable even on a warm day (it was near 70 on the day I went). There are also tons of restaurants in the area, so it’s super easy to find a place to have a nice lunch or dinner once you are done with your visit.
Subtlety, Or The Marvelous Sugar Baby (aka The Sugar Sphinx), By Kara Walker will be on Exhibit at the Abandoned Domino Sugar Factory, located at South 1st Street and Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, until July 6th, 2014. Hours are 4 – 8 PM on Fridays and Noon – 6 PM Saturdays and Sundays. Expect a wait of 30 Minutes Up to Over an Hour (Totally Worth it). The Exhibit is Free and Open to the Public. Take the L Train to Bedford Avenue and Walk South West for about 15 Minutes. The J or M Trains to the Marcy Avenue Exit will also get you there.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of visiting an artist’s studio, where you could not only see finished works but also get a peek inside his head to discover what concepts he’s experimenting with, then I suggest you visit The Hole to check out Holton Rower’s new exhibit, Too Many Ideas.
Fans of this blog may recall reading about Rower’s art when we previously reviewed his exhibit of Pour Paintings and Focus Paintings, examples of which are scattered throughout the gallery for the Too Many Ideas show. The process through which Rower creates the Pour Paintings – which are really quite gorgeous – is also adapted for use with various kinds of sculptures including functional furniture.
A Pour Painting hides behind a set of chairs, created by the same paint-layering methods.
Here, a folded Pour Painting collapses on the ground under a work bench.
It looks like he had fun creating these colorful and primitive looking Busts.
Rower also experiments with groups and collections of similar objects. Above, a collection of Instrument Mutes gather without comment on a work surface.
This miniature China Tea Set sits atop a found-object sculpture, which can be seen center gallery in the top photo.
He could be creating a series of hanging, grouped objects with this precarious Scissors Sculpture, which is joined in the show by a cluster of hanging whistles and also bike lock chains.
There are at least four works that involve folded paper money (can we call it origami?) including this lovely Shawl.
Not everything works, but I enjoyed the “group show” feel and the excitement of continuous discovery as I walked around the gallery taking in all of the different pieces. It will be fun to see which ideas he chooses to develop for future shows and which are abandoned.
Too Many Ideas By Holton Rower will be on Exhibit through May 4th, 2014 at The Hole, Located at 312 Bowery (at 2nd Street), NYC. Visit The Hole NYC for Gallery Hours and More Information.