Jack Pierson, Drugs (Pink and Orange), 2000. Neon and Transformer. Photographed at the Leila Heller Gallery on West 57th Street, NYC.
In the Chelsea Gallery District, there is a huge advantage to having a street level, store front space, in that it attracts a lot of passers-by for whom the featured exhibit may not necessarily be on their radar. This past Saturday was not the first time that we have been drawn into the Magnan Metz Gallery based on a casual glance into the window. The tableau pictured above is what we saw as we walked west on 26th Street, the pull of which could not be resisted. Because, Bonfire in the Gallery.
In Big Brass/Light Opera, artist Amelia Biewald transforms the gallery space into an 18th century European parlor room, recreating the period’s lush opulence and sophistication.
However, the glamorous presentation is askew as the encapsulated scene has the tell-tale signs of a rogue stag run amok, a chaos ensuing as a result of a sparring within the space.
Amidst the knocked over furniture, wigs, and fans the now expired stag, Heavy Weather is suspended upside down having been brought to the ground by the weight of his own antlers, its presence within the room signifying a complete arrest of time.
Inspired by the visual intricacies found in historical masterpieces such as Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1656), Biewald uses similar visual cues that allude to an outside viewer within the narrative forming a discord between perspectives.
Generating further tension are five vintage picture frames inlaid with mirrors and decorated with the heads of deer (Series Title: All of This and Nothing). Looking into the mirrors, the heads form a curious push and pull through the reciprocity of gazes. The scene is further stratified as the viewer establishes a context within the composition whilst moving about the mirrored space, becoming both the viewer and subject. Within these notions of perception the complete narrative exists in a plane somewhere in-between the multiple perspectives.
Big Brass / Light Opera is an amazing exhibit that I very highly recommend you try and see before it close in just over a week.
Amelia Biewald’s Big Brass/Light Opera will be on Exhibit through November 22nd at Magnan Metz Gallery, Located at 521 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Brazilian sculptor Saint Clair Cemin has returned to Paul Kasmin for his third solo show at the gallery. Myth and Math finds a familiarity with Cemin’s minimalist approach while also delivering something new and unexpected. Check out the piece below:
What a cool idea to set this bronze “Octopus” sculpture section against mirrored surfaces, where the fractional piece (1/8th of the imagined whole) can be made to look complete and 3-D with assistance from the reflections. Just genius.
Regarding the above piece, Love and Mathematics, Cemin explicitly combines the emotional and the rational, two seemingly contrasting concepts which he is able to jointly explore with his chosen artistic medium.
This one, Athina (2014) reminds me very much of an Umberto Boccione sculpture I saw at MOMA over the summer.
I don’t know why these sculptures remind me of expensive new foreign sports cars, but I think that should be considered a good thing.
Saint Clair Cemin’s Myth and Math will be on Exhibit Through December 23rd, 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 293 Tenth Avenue (Corner of 27th Street), in the Chelsea Gallery District.
If you missed the Jeff Koons Retrospective that just closed at the Whitney Museum this past weekend after a 3-plus month run, then you missed your chance to see this lovely piece of art up close and personal. Your bad! Like his famous Balloon Dog — the reflection of which is visible in the photo above — Moon (Light Pink) is one of Koons‘ mammoth steel sculptures with the hypnotic mirrored finish that make it so much fun to photograph, but impossible to get really clean shots due to its endlessly reflective surface! I think Moon looks like an oversized, inflatable button. Love this thing!
You know, I am such a sucker for anything that lights up, and I was utterly captivated by Chasing Rainbow, an LED sculpture on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The circuitry behind the lighting allows it to change color and patterns continuously, but of course I wanted to capture as much pink as possible!
From Moma Dot Org:
A brilliant yellow Madonna, a set of skeleton feet, a grey giant leaning obdurately on his club, a green and boyish-looking St. Michael slaying the dragon, a pitch-black snake—these and other figures make up a curious cast of characters currently on view in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden. Figurengruppe (Group of Figures) is a tightly arranged ensemble of nine sculptures by the German contemporary artist Katharina Fritsch, first conceived in 2006–08 in painted polyester and recast in 2010–11 in durable lacquered copper and bronze for outdoor display.
Fritsch is best known for fastidiously crafted figures, animals, and everyday objects placed in unexpected arrangements and juxtapositions, uncovering new, sometimes unsettling meanings about our past and present histories. Often painted in striking colors, her work invariably commands attention — and MoMA’s Figurengruppe does not fall short of that. The figures’ polished, silky surfaces, beaming colors, and choreographed arrangement are spellbinding and puzzling, their mute stance and inscrutable veneer tempting us to search for some larger narrative.
There are hints and clues about what inspired certain characters, but ultimately any fixed meaning remains stubbornly elusive. The artist has explained, for example, that the Madonna is based on cheap souvenir figurines sold near church pilgrimage sites in Germany and France, albeit without the lemony dress. Religious symbolism is present, but the dazzling color unhinges the worshipped item from a prescribed context, de-familiarizing her into an object that can bear other potential storylines or associations. (Fritsch also produced the Madonna as a small-scale multiple, creating a more widely available, high-art doppelganger of the commercial souvenir.)
The skeleton feet go back to a childhood dream in which the artist, as a four-year-old, fled a burning house only to encounter a pair of skeleton feet. These in turn relate to a shoe-fitting practice offered in German shoe stores through the 1960s whereby an image of one’s foot bones would be created using an x-ray contraption. Anecdotal memory plays a part here, but seeing the rigorously crafted set of bones can just as easily bring to mind some disembodied creature out of Edward Gorey’s morbid tales or a commonly encountered object from an archeologist’s lab.
The female torso takes its cue from a 1926 Expressionist sculpture by a man named Ernst Conze that used to stand in the garden of Fritsch’s childhood home in Langenberg, Germany; now painted white and reduced in form, it has been lifted from its past into a present-day setting. In fact, mid-century German parks and public gardens have been a recurring theme in Fritsch’s practice, in some works even serving as visual backdrops. In a way this tactic is preserved in MoMA’s current display—the newly re-installed Sculpture Garden makes for a fitting tableau, situating Figurengruppe within a diverse congregation of cohorts that include Auguste Rodin’s St. John the Baptist Preaching (1878–80), Aristide Maillol’s contemplative female Mediterranean (1902–05), Max Ernst’s King Playing the Queen (1944), and Tom Otterness’s sleeping Head (1988–89), among others.
Taking a look at some of the artist’s source material can offer access points into the group’s oblique presence. What I find most captivating, though, is the friction between the sculptures’ smooth, almost generic look and the rich and quasi-narrative worlds that unfold beneath their surfaces. It’s a space where our intellect or attempt to rely on a logical framework loses its tight grip, conjuring instead images from the realms of history, memory, myths, and fairytales. These aren’t necessarily cheerful, but they do make us ask questions — maybe even reveal some of our own skeletons in the closet.
– Posted by Eleonore Hugendubel, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting of Sculpture
Oh, what fun it was to discover one of Tom Fruin’s Watertower sculptures inside an art gallery instead of out in DUMBO or somewhere off the BQE! As it turns out, Fruin’s current exhibit, Color Study, over at Mike Weiss Gallery marks the very first time that the artist’s architecturally-scaled public works have been shown in a gallery context. Super fun!
The Watertower is constructed from found scrap metal and colored Plexiglas in a patchwork design that also incorporates facsimiles of cigar bands and the word “Ecstasy” repeated at intervals across it’s colorful and endlessly captivating surface, which is illuminated from the tower’s interior.
The wall sculpture above (of which there are several on display at Mike Weiss) will give you an idea of the grid that Fruin builds on for his colored Plexiglas creations. Check out the one below:
This patchwork of colors relates not only to the surface of the Watertower but also to Fruin’s earlier project series, Drug-Bag Quilts, in which the artist used found drug bags, stitched together with thread, to create quilt-like wall hangings. Talk about an interesting way to upcycle!
Color Study also includes a set of Swings with Cigar Band Seats which are suspended from the gallery’s ceiling (not shown) and the above lanterns, one electric and one powered by a small fuel tank.
And last but not least, Fruin has created this illuminated-from-within, Stained Glass replica of what looks to me like the cluster of flame from Lady Liberty’s torch. Astounding.
Color Study presents enchanting and unique artworks the likes of which you aren’t going to see anywhere else in the Chelsea Gallery District, so don’t let yourself miss this one!
Tom Fruin’s Color Study will be on Exhibit Through October 18th, 2014 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.