Tag Archive | Portraits

David Datuna Presents Elements at Birnam Wood Galleries

David Datuna Einstein
Albert Einstein with Euclid’s Elements Diptych (All Photos By Gail)

You can say this much about art exhibits comprised of Portraits of Pop Culture Icons: EVERYBODY DOES IT. Seriously, Ev-Ree-Bah-Dee. What keeps an exhibit of Pop Culture Portraiture from being a total yawnfest is the defining twist that the artist puts on his or her work (see Erik den Breejen’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On at Freight and Volume for an excellent example of what I’m talking about).

So, it’s a huge relief that David Datuna’s Elements – the artist’s eighth solo show at Birnam Wood Galleries – is a portrait-based exhibit with one of the coolest visual spins I’ve ever seen. Although from a distance it appears that each image is mounted behind a layer of marbled glass, on close inspection you can see that Datuna has employed a unique conceptual device of layered optical lenses to focus and diffuse his distinct visual imagery. Talk about Ways of Seeing!

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Detail
Detail from Above Portrait

According to the exhibit’s press release, the title Elements is taken from the centerpiece of the show, a diptych that pairs Albert Einstein with Euclid’s Elements, the seminal work of mathematics written in the third century BC. Described as the second most widely published book after the Bible, the book’s findings underpin much of logic and modern science. Its influence is immense. Einstein said it kindled his interest in science. Abraham Lincoln insisted it was the most influential book of his life.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol

I love the little details Datuna adds, such as printing amd framing Andy Warhol in bright yellow, a color that Warhol used often in his own signature silkscreen portraits of celebrities.

Walt Disney
Walt Disney

David Datuna’s Elements is definitely worth adding to your next Art Crawl. Just make sure you schedule it before June 7th.

David Datuna Elements Signage

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John Grande’s Oh You Pretty Things at Jim Kempner Fine Art

Damien Hirst By John Grande
Damien Dot: Portrait of Damien Hirst by John Grande (All Photos By Gail)

Wedged between viewing rad new art by both Lynda Benglis and Herb Alpert, we popped into Jim Kempner on 23rd and 10th during last Thursday’s Art Crawl to check out a very fun exhibit. Taking Appropriation Art to a hilarious new level, painter John Grande presents his new series of portraits depicting pop culture icons superimposed with the distinctive design of Damien Hirst’s famous Spot Paintings. That Hirst himself is honored in the show is pure brilliance.

Ian Curtis By John Grande
Ian Dot

Some of the celebrities featured in the series include Whitney Houston, Truman Capote, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and Andy Warhol. The portraits are borrowed from Richard Avedon and other renowned photographers. He must have had a good time dealing with all of the licensing!

Judy Garland By John Grande
Judy Dot

Whitney Houston By John Grande
Whitney Dot

Jim Kempner is the rare gallery that always has a few things going on in addition to their featured exhibit, so drop by next time you are in the neighborhood.

Kurt Cobain By John Grande
Kurt Dot

John Grande’s Oh You Pretty Things Will be on Exhibit through February 23rd, 2014 at Jim Kempner Fine Art, Located at 501 West 23rd Street, on the Northwest corner of 23rd Street and Tenth Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District, NYC.

Jimi Hendrix By John Grande
Jimi Dot

Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits at Smart Clothes Gallery

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits
All Photos By Gail

Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits, is a solo exhibition of more than twenty paintings from two series on view at Smart Clothes Gallery through December 20th, 2013.

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits
Detail from Painting Above

The genesis of the African-American Portraits is framed by two significant events. In the eighties, Andy Warhol presented Klineman with a pair of his glasses, which she would incorporate into one of her “Fashion Portraits,” marking her first use of the silkscreen technique. Donning the eyewear, she exclaimed that she ‘saw the world Andy sees.’ Years later, she received an African mask on her birthday. Instinctually, she put it on, repeating the gesture in a silkscreened self-portrait. These gifts and their presentation echo a kind of ceremony, and their performance would give Klineman new perspective on her art.

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits Russell Simmons

Since then, Klineman has been commissioned to create portraits for some of the most eminent members of the African-American cultural community, including Russell and Danny Simmons, Mary Schmidt Campbell, dance choreographer Bill T. Jones and actor Malik Yoba. Her choice of masks reflects a sensitivity to the cultural significance of these objects and their innate beauty. Ancestry is reawakened through the masquerade of photographic superimposition. The earlier sister series, Ancestral Spirits, is a celebration of indigenous sculpture in the tradition of modern art’s fascination with these objects.

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits

If these paintings are in the mode of Pop icons, Hedy Klineman’s spiritual counter-narrative for the process is entirely her own. Employing an understanding of essence influenced by Eastern philosophy, her silkscreened paintings hold the presence of their subjects within. Coupled with colorful grounds that relate tothe artist’s history as an abstract painter,

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits Statues

Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits is a celebration of ancestry and community.

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits

Hedy Klineman’s Ancestral Spirits, African-American Portraits will be on Exhibit Through December 20th, 2013 at Smart Clothes Gallery, located 154 Stanton Street (Corner of Suffolk St), New York, NY 10012. Hours are 12:00 Noon To 6:00 PM
Wednesday to Sunday.

Hedy Klineman Ancestral Spirits Signage

Must See Art: Ten Years of Wooster Collective

 Paul Insect Portraits
Art By Paul Insect (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any image to Enlarge for Detail)

The Jonathan LeVine Gallery is wrapping up the summer with a simply delightful group show that honors 10 Years of Wooster Collective – a website that helped to introduce Art from the Streets of the World into popular culture.

Liu Bolin in a Kenny Scharf
Liu Bolin Hiding in a Kenny Scharf Mural

Ron English Grin
Grin By Ron English

Many of the featured artists such as Dan Witz, Olek, How & Nosm, Judith Supine and D*Face exhibit regularly at LeVine, while others (Kenny Scharf, Liu Bolin, Ron English, TrustoCorp, Swoon) are WorleyGig favorites whose art has been covered many times on this blog.

Buff Monster
Buff Monster

Judith Supine
Judith Supine

Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, it was a huge treat to visit the exhibit this past weekend and see so many amazing works by favorite artists.

Olek Crocheted Skeleton
Crocheted Skeleton by Olek

Other participating artists not mentioned above include: ABOVE, AIKO, Anthony Lister, Bast, Ben Eine, Blek le Rat, Bo130, Buff Monster, C215, Chris Stain, Cope2, Crash, DALeast, Daniel Sparkes, Dark Cloud, Doze Green, ELBOW TOE, Eltono, Faile, Faith 47, Galo, Hyuro, Invader, Jace, Jordan Seiler, JR, Logan Hicks, Ludo, Mark Jenkins, Martha Cooper, Mcity, Michael De Feo, Microbo, Miss Van, Paul Insect, Skewville, Skullphone, Stikman, , The London Police, Vhils, Vinz, Will Barras, WK, xoooox and Zevs.

Trustocorp Collection
Various Signs By Trustocorp

Trustocorp Donuts
Trustocorp Detail

Dan Witz
Dan Witz

10 Years of Wooster Collective, expertly curated by Marc and Sara Schiller, is only up through Saturday, August 24th, 2013, so don’t miss it! For this exhibit only, the LeVine Gallery space has moved to a ground floor pop-up location at 525 West 22nd Street (West of 10th Avenue) in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Wooster Collective Signage
Doze Green
Doze Green

Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick Comes to Discovery Center Times Square

Nathan Working In Studio2
Nathan Sawaya (Photo By Erica Ann, Image Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya, All Other Photos By Gail Except Where Noted)

In the span of three short years, Lawyer-turned-LEGO® Brick artist Nathan Sawaya has gone from having New York’s first solo exhibition comprised entirely of LEGO bricks to unveiling the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO art, ever. You can see Sawaya’s massive and mind blowing exhibit, The Art of The Brick, now through January 5th, 2014 at the Discovery Center Museum in Times Square.

Art of the Brick Exhibit Signage

I was lucky to be invited to a cocktail party and preview of the exhibit last week, a couple of days before the show officially opened on June 14th, and it was so nice to have a good amount to time to stroll through this nine gallery exhibit, taking tons of photos and not having to contend with too much of a crowd. What a treat! Here’s little preview of what you’ll see in this exhibit of over 100 LEGO Brick sculptures.

Munch's The Scream
Edvard Munch’s The Scream

The First gallery you’ll enter is called Paint By Bricks, where you’ll see both flat and 3D interpretations of famous artworks such as The Mona Lisa, American Gothic and The Scream. These LEGO ‘Paintings’ represent an entirely new frontier for Sawaya’s work and they are very cool and painstakingly detailed.

Detail from Sistine Chapel Ceiling
Detail from Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring
Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring

Venus De Milo

Next, you will move into The Sculpture Garden, where you’ll encounter dozens of unbelievably authentic looking versions famous sculptures including The Venus De Milo and one of the Easter Island head sculptures as well as an extensive variety of African and Indian artifacts, The Sphinx and The Greek Parthenon. There’s also a fun  example of a very famous modern art sculpture seen a few photos below.

Michelangelos David

Easter Island Head
This one is massive!

Marcel Duchamp Fountain
Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain

Sitting Buddha
Sitting Buddha, India

It’s interesting how these LEGO artworks create a type of optical illusion, where, if you look at them and squint a bit, they look remarkably like the originals! Just try it for yourself!

Artists Studio Easle

Up next is The Artist’s Studio.

LEGO Peace Sign by Nathan Sawaya
LEGO Peace Sign

Swimmer in LEGO
Swimmer

In the Metamorphosis gallery, I noticed several sculptures that I had seen previously at Sawaya’s exhibits at the Agora Gallery in Chelsea. They were nevertheless transformed by being placed in this alternate setting, as is the case with Swimmer, above.

Nathan Sawaya Self Portrait
Self Portrait (Photo By Erica Ann, Image Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya)

Nathan Sawaya Yellow
Yellow (Photo By Erica Ann, Image Courtesy of Nathan Sawaya)

The piece above, showing a man ripping open his torso to reveal LEGO Brick organs, is perhaps Sawaya’s best known and most iconic sculpture.

Sawaya Human Condition

The Human Condition is a fun gallery. I had seen a few of these pieces in previous exhibits as well.

Crowd Eye

You can only see that this “crowd” of tiny figures incorporates the image of human eye if you squat down to view it at eye level. Clever!

Nathan Sawaya Human Condition

Lego Skulls

The mood, literally, turns a bit darker and more existential in a gallery called Through the Darkness.

LEGO Acrobat

It wasn’t easy to get good shots in this room due the darkness and the fact that a flash ruins the effect of the dim lighting on the sculptures. Small kids might be a little scared in this room if they afraid of the dark, so be sure to hold their hands.

LEGO Dinosaur

Long, Long Ago has just one sculpture, a room-length Dinosaur skeleton! Kids will love it!

LEGO Brick Liberty

City of Dreams pays homage to Nathan’s adopted hometown of New York City. Everyone seemed to want to pose for photos in this exhibit’s penultimate gallery.

I Art New York

LEGO Santa Face

In the final gallery of the exhibit, It Starts with One Brick, you’ll see contributed works from kids and local artists as well as a few additional LEGO portraits by Nathan.

LEGO Swans

LEGO Swans

LEGO Portrait of Andy Warhol

LEGO Portrait of Andy Warhol

LEGO Hand

Finally, a giant LEGO hand holds individual Yellow LEGO Brick which visitors can write their names on in order to be an official participant the exhibit!

Gail Worley LEGO Brick

Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick runs until January 5th of next year, so you have six entire months to see it, but tickets are selling out so don’t wait too long to schedule your visit! It is a fun time for the entire family and despite the size of the exhibit you can walk it leisurely in an hour.

Ticket prices are: $20.50 for Adults, $17.50 for Seniors 65+ and $15.50 for Children (4-12 yrs). Visit Discovery TSX Dot Com to purchase timed entry tickets and for more information. Discovery Times Square is located at 226 W 44th Street (Between 7th and 8th Avenues), New York, NY 10036. Exhibit Hours Are:
Sunday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Friday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Final Entry to the Exhibit is 1 Hour Prior To Closing.

Mark Kostabi Giant Painted Guitar at the Cutting Room NYC

Mark Kostabi Painted Guitar 2
All Photos By Gail’s iPad

The Cutting Room is a somewhat upscale, intimate music venue here in Manhattan that features a foodie-friendly menu, a bar shaped like a guitar neck and interior décor not entirely dissimilar to that of a Hard Rock Café. At some point in the past couple of years, The Cutting Room, which originally had a vibe much closer to a British Pub than a hip Rock Club, moved from West 24th Street (now home to many excellent restaurants) to 44 East 32nd Street and Park Avenue. You can now literally crawl, if necessary, to or from the club and the 33rd Street stop on the number 6 train. So, convenient!

Mark Kostabi Painted Guitar 3
Kostabi Guitar Detail

One of the things I like about the inside of The Cutting Room is all of the bitchen original art they have. Right near the front door hangs a group of Black & White painted portraits of The Beatles that would knock your socks off, and inside the room where the bands play they have a half a dozen or so paintings by Mark Kostabi, who is one of my favorite contemporary artists. What will grab your eye while you are still on the street, however, is the oversize Guitar Sculpture displayed in the front window, which was painted by Kostabi as well. It is totally awesome.

Find out more about The Cutting Room’s Happy Hour, take a Video Tour of the place and see what shows they have coming up at This Link.

Mark Kostabi Painted Guitar 1

Joseph Arthur Solo Exhibition at Able Fine Art

Joseph Arthur with Art
Artist/Musician Joseph Arthur with his Art (All Photos By Gail)

I first heard the name Joseph Arthur over 13 years ago, when he was recording for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label (then distributed by Virgin). What I discovered closely in tandem with his music is Joseph’s distinctive, almost primitive Picasso-esque style of abstract drawing, which you could see adorning his album covers and T Shirts.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit5

Although he is not quite a household name, both Arthur’s music and art careers have continued to thrive worldwide and I was lucky to attend the opening of a new exhibit of his artwork last night in Chelsea.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit6

Entitled simply, Solo Exhibition, this collection of vibrant and engagingly abstract portraits are mostly rendered in ink and oil pastel on paper or spray paint on paper. I’ve been following Joe’s art for years and it’s so exciting to see his considerable body of work progress and develop while staying recognizably in his unique style.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit Painted Instruments

Around the gallery you will also see a few guitars and musical instruments (such as a child’s toy drumset) as well as the lower half of a mannequin, all of which Joe has hand painted. It’s almost as if he just can’t stop being creative.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit4

Joseph Arthur Painted Guitar

With a little memory jogging, Joseph remembered me from an interview we did at the Virgin Records Offices in 2000 for the release of his critically lauded sophomore album, Come to Where I’m From — a really fun conversation which he admitted he “Think[s] of often,” which was flattering to hear.

Joseph Arthur Performing in Art Gallery

Once the gallery started to fill up with fans and admirers, Joseph sat down to play his guitar, accompanied by his trademark recorded loops and effects, which are truly mesmerizing. What a talented guy!

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit1

If you enjoy colorful, thought provoking abstract art or are a fan of the spontaneity inherent in the street art movement, you will dig the creative force of Joseph Arthur.

Joseph Arthur’s Solo Exhibition will be on View through April 16th, 2013 at Able Fine Art, Located at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, in Chelsea, New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Joseph Arthur Art Exhibit2

Must See Art: Genius By Nir Hod at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Genius is a word whose depth of meaning generally takes too long to talk about. It’s a heavy word, and the current exhibit of paintings and sculptures by Nir Hod at NYC’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, entitled Genius, is equally heavy. The Genius exhibit includes over 50 paintings and several sculptures created over a span of two years. It is the first solo exhibit at Kasmin for the Israeli-born artist, who now lives and works in New York. The Genius portraits represent a cohesive collection of Nattily-dressed youths – aged from cherubic infants to precocious teenagers – classically posed and wearing mostly scornful expressions while also holding lit cigarettes. While the exhibit appears to be fairly straightforward, the meaning behind these paintings is far from obvious. I wondered, are these children merely playing a game of dress up taken to the extreme, or have they actually grown up too fast and become disenfranchised and jaded before completing puberty? Where did they come from, and what kind of lives do they lead? They are both delicately beautiful and profoundly sad, and that’s always an interesting combination.

According to the exhibit’s press release, these works “[continue] the artist’s longtime fascination with beauty and loneliness, glamour and death. Hod’s aristocratic young Geniuses inhabit a world of paradox, where their cherubic cheeks contrast with their scornful expressions and lit cigarettes. Like sculptures in a wax museum that aim to dramatically freeze time, these paintings explore art’s power to capture life while simultaneously elevating it to depict an unattainable ideal.” What I was reminded of most was a fusion of renaissance portraiture with the pop sensibilities of Ron English, who so often paints children in roles – such as that of a soldier or police officer – normally assumed by adults. I love art that makes me think.

Nir Hod’s artwork makes a further impact thanks to the manner in which it was hung in the gallery; staggered in clusters to fill the spaces as opposed to the more traditional single line of images across the wall (See photos from the exhibit that illustrate my point at According 2 G). This type of presentation gives the exhibit a more intimate, atmospheric vibe and helps to draw the viewer in to encourage a dialogue about what it means to be a Genius. You can read a fantastic article on Nir Hod regarding his inspiration and objectives behind this exhibit at Art In America Dot Com.

Nir Hod’s Genius is on exhibit through June 18, 2011 at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, located at 293 10th Avenue, at the corner of 27th Street in Manhattan. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM.