Tag Archive | Skulls

Takashi Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow

Murakami Blue
Tan Tan Bo – In Communication, 2014 (All Photos By Gail)

As much as everyone is already whining about the impending hellish winter that we are surely in for again this year, all you have to do is walk into the cavernous Gagosian Gallery space on West 24th Street and get an eyeful of the 18 foot high sculptures reaching towards the celing and 30 foot long murals unfurling across the walls in Takashi Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow to realize that — Polar Vortex be damned — New York City is the Center of The Universe, and that is where you want to be.

I’m not going to go into detail here about who Takashi Murakami is and why his art is important. You either already love his work, or will be compelled to find out based on the photos in this blog post. Or you don’t give a shit, who cares? Use The Google to your advantage, is all I’m saying.

Black Skull Cluster Mural Detail

The art exhibited in Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow is about the artist telling his personal story in response to historic natural disasters; specifically the Great Tōhoku Earthquake of 2011. Since that devastating event, Murakami has explored other Japanese art produced in response to historic natural disasters.

Gallery View with Pagoda
Gallery View with Sanmon (Sacred Gate)

At Gagosian, Murakami has created an immersive installation, entered through a 56-ton replica of a Sanmon (Sacred Gate), which also includes paintings of eclectic Arhats (Perfected Persons); dissolving clones of his popular creation Mr. Dob; and Karajishi, the mythic lions that guard Japanese Buddhist temples.

Sacred Gate Eye Detail
Sacred Gate Detail

Here is a contemporary belief system, constructed in the wake of disaster, that merges earlier faiths, myths, and images into an amalgamated spirituality of the artist’s imagination. In totemic sculptures representing demons, religious sites, and self-portraits; and paintings that conflate classical Japanese techniques with Abstract Expressionist tropes, science-fiction, manga, and Buddhist and Shinto imagery, Murakami investigates the role of faith amid the inexorable transience and trauma of existence.

That’s right: it’s heavy.

Golden Mural with Dragon Detail
Gold Leaf Mural with Karajishi (Detail)

Also, there are lots of skulls.

Not long after we entered the gallery, an elderly gentleman approached me and asked what I thought of the art. When I told him I thought it was just fantastic, he went off on an elaborate rant about how he didn’t like it at all because Murakami puts too much stuff on the canvas. Then he went on about that for a while, citing artists like M. C. Escher, who expressed sophisticated visual concepts without putting “too much stuff” on the canvas, whatever.

Large Silver Mural with Lion
Platinum Leaf Mural with Karajishi

When he finally came up for air, I offered my opinion that perhaps Murakami’s fans appreciate the high level of detail in the paintings. That couldn’t be possible, he insisted, because there was just too much stuff going on, “too many ideas.” I’m certainly all about having a lively conversation with someone over differing opinions concerning contemporary art, but if you start telling me that what I think is wrong, well, that’s where I am going to shut you down.

Rainbow Eyeball
This is the painting I stared at for fifteen minutes while Mr. Too Much Stuff on the Canvas chewed my ear off.

Eventually, Geoffrey appeared and, after I caught his eye and mouthed the words “help me” in his general direction, I was rescued. At that moment, I admit I was thinking about that episode of Seinfeld, where Elaine and Jerry, upon arriving at a party, agree on a hand gesture that they will use to signal each other from across the room if they are being monopolized in conversation by someone who’s driving them insane. Because life imitates art.

Red Devil Front
Red Demon

Blue Devil Front
Blue Demon

Too much stuff on the canvas. What a bunch of bullshit. If he didn’t like the art, why was he there? I got yer Too Much Stuff on the Canvas right here.

Black DOB
Mr. Dob with a bunch of stuff!

DOB with Murakami Detail

See how Murakami puts himself in the art. So cute.

DOB with Creature Detail

And also, this little guy.

Murakami in the Crowd

Of course, Murakami was in the house, because he is awesome like that. Here he is standing in front of a mural depicting those Arhats I mentioned earlier. He took the time to pose for photos with everyone, what a guy!

Murakami With Fan

He is always smiling and has the best hats!

Here’s some more stuff we liked!

Gold Statue Front

Gold Statue Back

Impressive.

Round Floral on Black

Here you see Murakami do something a bit different with his signature smiling face flowers. The black and platinum fields on each canvas are embossed with the imprint of hundreds of skulls.

Round Floral on Silver

Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination, 2014
Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination (Statue of the Artist), 2014

Must See Art: Go Now!

In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow by Takashi Murakami will be on Exhibit Through January 17th, 2015 at Gagosian Gallery, Located at 555 West 24th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District.

Murakami Exhibit Signage

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Stephen Romano Gallery Presents In Missa Interfectionis

Colin Christian Cat Woman
Art By Colin Christian (All Photos By Gail)

What a great discovery it was to find out about the existence of the Stephen Romano Gallery when I went to one of their first group shows last June. Even though it is a teeny bit of a jaunt from Manhattan to DUMBO, going there gives me an excuse to visit a very cool neighborhood that is home to lots of amazing street art. I also appreciate that Stephen Romano has a keen talent for curating these Surreal, Dark Pop exhibits that harken back the early days of the Last Rites Gallery, and even incite feelings of nostalgia for the late, great Bold Hype Gallery. What a bummer that that place had to close.

Girl with Red Flower
Chie Yoshii (Japan) Flower of Soul, 2014

Gallery View

So, it was a great pleasure to attend the opening reception last Saturday for one of Romano’s latest group shows, entitled In Missa Interfectionis; an eclectic exhibit of paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations all celebrating The Dance of Death, Hexes, Voodoo, Curses and Witchcraft — just in time for Halloween!

Alter with Pirate Skulls
Haitian Voodoo Altar Pirate Skulls! Argh!

In Missa Interfectionis features works by some of our favorite artists such as Colin Christian, El Gato Chimney, Darcilio Lima, Eric Richardson, Matthew Dutton and Peca, as well as contributions from over thirty additional artists.

Here are some of our favorite pieces from the show!

Eric Richardson Painting

Here is a new painting from Eric Richardson, an artist whose paintings always have so much going on in them; so many fine details and so many layers of meaning. I love his art. It was fun to get to spend some time with Eric and his awesome girlfriend Joy at the reception. They are so cool.

Matthew Dutton

Matthew Dutton is a sculptor who likes to make things with antlers and baby doll heads. Good for him! This piece is fantastic.

12 Lithographs
Theosophical Print Collection, c 1920’s Italy, Artist Unknown

Tattooed Woman and Child

I love the colors in this painting by Lori Field.

Carved Wooden Box

This ornately carved box, called Haxan by Colin Christian, reminded me of The Master’s Coffin from the TV Series, The Strain. Scary!

Glowing Orb with Skulls

How cool is this sculpture by Judy Chappus, with its glowing crystal orb, silver-painted Barbie Doll parts and lots of awesome skulls? I love everything about it!

Glowing Orb with Skulls

Here’s a closer look. So great!

Peca Hopi Dream

Here is a fun kinetic wall sculpture from the Hopi Dream series by the artist Peca. I love her mystical sensibilities.

Day of the Dead Lady

This gorgeous portrait of a Voodoo Priestess is by Aunia Kahn, who is just fantastic.

Bird House

This Birdhouse thing by Tine Kinderman is called Baba Yaga, after the Grande Old Dame of Slavic/Russian witchcraft. Be sure to take look inside for a scary surprise…

Three Candles
Banish Evil, Sacred Dirt, Virtual Candle (2014) By Ted Victoria

It might look like these three candles are in danger of setting fire to their wooden holders.

Electric Candle Close Up

But if you take a closer look, you can see that these flickering flames are electric! So clever!

El Gato Chimney

And here are two more by one of our favorites, El Gato Chimney. I love the little monkey face! As you can see, there are so many great pieces of art in this show. You really must get your art-loving self to DUMBO and see it in person!!

In Missa Interfectionis will be on Exhibit Through November 30th, 2014 at Stephen Romano Gallery, Located at 111 Front Street, Suite 208, DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Chinese Artist
Watercolors by Pulu Zhao (Beijing) a. Witch and Deer 巫和鹿 , b. Threaded 螺紋 c. Deer Doll 鹿娃娃 2014 d. Regression 回歸 2014

Every Mind is a World: New Works by Joseph Arthur at Able Fine Art

Pink Triangle Print By Joseph Arthur
All Prints By Joseph Arthur, All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge)

Artist and Musician Joseph Arthur is back at Able Fine Art in Chelsea with another solo show featuring bold new digital prints that represent the next step forward in his ever-evolving body of work.

Three Prints By Joseph Arthur

In this new series, fans will recognize the almost indigenous images of Joseph’s very organic and abstract style of painting combined with a distinctive angular design aspect created on his iPad. The results are simply stunning.

Three Prints By Joseph Arthur

This exhibit also features select new paintings that were created by Joseph during his live performances; something which he has been doing for years and which is always fun to watch.

Two Prints By Joseph Arthur

Digital Skull

I especially love the Pixelated Skull. above.

Crosses and People By Joseph Arthur

The Cross Triptych, above, is unlike anything I’ve seen him do before, whereas the painting below it is recognizably “Old School” Joseph Arthur.  Personally, I like everything he does. This is a must see exhibit which will be on view until almost mid-March, so don’t wait too long!

Black and White Painting by Joseph Arthur

Every Mind is a World by Joseph Arthur will be on Exhibit through March 11, 2014 at Able Fine Art, Located at 511 West 25th St., Suite 607, Chelsea, New York, NY 10001.

Black and Red Face by Joseph Arthur

Video Clip of The Week: Band of Skulls, “Asleep At The Wheel”

You will probably agree that Band of Skulls is a thoroughly righteous band name, and for that reason alone they deserve to be featured as Worleygig.com’s Video Clip of The Week. Fortunately, their music sounds like a Brontosaurus stomping across a collection of the heaviest, most revered classic and psychedelic rock that schooled just about anyone who matters. Yeah, pretty cool. Band of Skulls’ new album, Himalayan, will be released April 1st (No Fooling), 2014, which seems pretty far away, but in the meantime, you can discover the band via this rad clip. Enjoy!

Band of Skulls Himalayan

Skull Fashion Bracelets!

Skull Bracelets Display
Skullin!

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Skull Bracelet Features:

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Buy one or more of these colorful bracelets now at 20% off regular price, which comes to $7.96 each, by clicking This Link!

Skull Bracelets

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.