Look at this crazy thing. Just look at it. Keep Looking.
According to gallery employees at David Zwirner, last Friday night’s opening of Yayoi Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived in Heaven wasn’t just a Reception: it was an Event, complete with a personal appearance by the 84-year old living legend. And yes, she reportedly wore the bright red wig! We are very sorry to have missed that, but we did make it to the much less crowded Zwirner gallery on Saturday to take in I Who Have Arrived in Heaven‘s sculptures, paintings, video installation and one of two mirrored rooms that made our heads explode. The comprehensive exhibit fills all three of Zwirner’s adjoining spaces on West 19th Street, where a feast for the eyes awaits you in every room. It is high-fives all around for Zwirner on their inaugural Kusama exhibit, and if this marks your first exposure to this artist’s heavily psychedelic creations, you are in for a huge treat.
Kusama’s trademark polka dots are evident on two very fun sculptures of flowers growing out of shoes, which are visible from 19th Street. These pieces reminded me of Minnie Mouse on acid. Each flower has a convex mirror at its center so that, if you can get close enough, you can put your face in the flower and trip out.
This exhibition features twenty-seven new large-scale paintings featuring vibrant colors and repetitious patterns. Most are highly detailed and very whimsical in nature.
This shot above will give you an idea of the scale of these canvases. The images and details from this series of paintings reminded me of the artwork from the first Tom Tom Club album (and video for “Genius of Love”) and also from the hyper-violent cartoon series, Super Jail, of which I am a huge fan.
In yet another room, which is book-ended by 12-foot high infinity mirrors, there is a video installation of Yayoi performing her original song, “Manhattan Suicide Addict.” As Yayoi sings the song, which has very beautiful and poetic lyrics, an animated slide show of her selected artworks moves behind her. Geoffrey and I watched it four or five times. It was just insane.
As if all of the sculptures and paintings and videos were not enough to make you squeal, there are also two Infinity-Mirrored Room installations. Yes, I just typed that. Here is what it looks like inside one of them.
This installation is entitled Love Is Calling, and it is comprised of a darkened, mirrored room illuminated by inflatable, tentacle-like forms, which are covered in Kusama’s characteristic polka dots, that extend from floor to ceiling, gradually changing color. Very psychedelic! Simply put, I did not want to leave this room. Of course, there was a line to to enter (I can’t even imagine what it was like on opening night) but even though they only let about 6 or 7 people enter at one time, the line moves pretty fast, and it is so totally worth the wait, so don’t get discouraged!
Sadly, a very packed afternoon agenda would not allow us enough wiggle room to wait in the hours-long line to experience the second room, which is the exhibition’s centerpiece, Mirrored Infinity Room: The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. This mirrored, cubed-shaped room features a shallow reflecting pool as its floor. Hundreds of multicolored LED lights are suspended at varying heights and they flicker on and off in a strobe-like effect, producing an intense illumination of the space and a repetitive pattern of reflections that suggest endlessness. WOW. I will be making a return trip to experience that head trip, for sure.
Yayoi Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived In Heaven will be on exhibit through December 21, 2013 at David Zwirner Galleries, Located at 519, 525 and 533 West 19th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District, New York.
Do you like the Sixties Rock? I sure do. That is is why The Grip Weeds are one of my favorite local bands. Not only do they freely worship The Beatles, but they also pay homage to the sound of many of the greatest bands of both the Psychedelic era and the British Invasion. Oh my, they are so groovy. This week’s featured clip is a new cut from the band: a cover of the Nuggets classic, “Lies”, which was recorded for the album My Hometown: A Tribute To NJ. My Home Town is a new compilation CD which features an amazing collection of bands covering the greatest rock ‘n roll songs to come out of the Garden State. Vocals on “Lies” are handled by Grip Weeds‘ drummer Kurt Reil. He is so handsome! All proceeds, after production costs, will be donated to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund (Click Here). Enjoy the clip!
The Hole Gallery on Bowery is the place to go right now to see two great exhibits under one roof. In tandem with the abstract group exhibit, Xtraction, the gallery is hosting two diverse bodies of work by painter Holton Rower that are equally impressive. Rower’s Pour Paintings, which resemble huge, abstract psychedelic targets as well as the concentric rings that appear in a bisected tree trunk, take their name from the artist’s process of pouring hand-made acrylic paints over a wood “canvas.”
In this photo above you can see the edge detail of where the paint drips over and extends beyond the boundaries of the canvas.
The process of creating pour paintings is probably most identified with Lynda Benglis, but while the process is similar, Rower’s paintings are truly unique and have a wildly organic feel.
Detail from Painting in Photo Above
Holton Rower’s Pour Paintings are unbelievably gorgeous and these photos can’t accurately capture their color and vibrant energy.
In the same gallery, Rower introduces a new body of work he calls Focus Paintings that, hilariously, are created to deliberately appear out of focus. What makes these muted yet colorful paintings even more fun to ponder is the fact that the artist refuses to divulge the process through which he creates them.
This one reminds me of an abstract representation of a photo of a galaxy. Really beautiful.
Pour Paintings: Focus Paintings By Holton Rower will be on Exhibit through June 20th, 2013 at The Hole, Located at 312 Bowery (at 2nd Street), NYC. Visit The Hole NYC for Gallery Hours and More Information.
This 1,000 piece, 20 x 27-inch psychedelic montage of images from The Beatles’ classic animated film sells for just $15.95 at This Link!
Because, seriously, those of us in the northeast all need a little cheering up right now, with this crap weather that just won’t give us a break. Rainbow Manicure!
Now, that’s what I call a custom paint job!
A couple of years ago, Geoffrey called me up one morning to babble enthusiastically about one of the approximately 300 bands he sees per year that he had seen the previous evening, an act he said was called Tim and Paula. “Tim and Paula,” I asked, “are they a folk duo?” G got a good laugh out of that before correcting me, “No, not Tim and Paula, Tame Impala!” And so it came to be that Tame Impala, an amazing psychedelic rock quartet from Australia, are known between Geoffrey and me now and forever as Tim and Paula. The album that turned me on to this group is called Innerspeaker, and it surely would have been among my favorite CDs of 2010 had I heard it in time for it to make that year’s list. Sadly, I was a little late to the party. Still, I’ll always be grateful to Geoffrey for hipping me to one of the best new bands I’ve heard since MGMT breathed new life into my record collection with the release of its first album. Because, seriously, the last time I heard any music that I could say even remotely reminded me of the genius of The Beatles was when I heard Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” And that was a long time ago.
Tame Impala just released its sophomore album, Lonerism, and I can assure you it is currently vying for the number one position on this year’s Top 10 CDs list. Produced by vocalist Kevin Parker and mixed by the gifted Dave Friddman (best known for his work with Mercury Rev), Lonerism serves up a swirling vortex of aural bliss. Aside from the opening track, “Be Above It” – which sounds like the well-intentioned result of Tame Impala being hired to write a self-empowering commercial jingle for a brand of sneakers, every track on Lonerism lives up to all the hype that’s been circulating for the two years since Innerspeaker fractured skulls across the globe with its brilliance.
There is so much to love about this CD that it is almost impossible to contain my squeals of ecstatic delight. “Endors Toi” sounds like “Magical Mystery Tour” with Keith Moon on drums and “Apocalypse Dreams” is the kind of song I wish they’d played at the local roller skating rink I frequented as a pre-teen. “Music to Walk Home By” – which deserves an award for its title alone – comes as close to approximating an aural representation of the physical effects of hallucinogenic drugs as the most psychedelic Pink Floyd song. Parker’s voice may owe a heavy debt to reverb and a few hits off a tank of nitrous, but he really knows how to work it. I mean, check out “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and tell me that the influence of John Lennon’s “Number Nine Dream” didn’t work its way in there at least subconsciously. Holy cow, what a great album.
It’s sad to think that kids today (did I really just type “kids today”?) will never know the incomparable joy of discovering a band like The Who or Queen while that band is still making new records (a joy that I got to experience first hand, having been born a million years ago), but anyone discovering Tame Impala’s Lonerism can read that sentence above and understand that hearing this album in 2012 creates, for me, a transcendent-bordering-on-religious experience comparable to how it felt listening to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” for the first time, on vinyl, back in the stone age. Album of The Year!