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Modern Art Monday Presents: Yellow Quadrangle By Rhod Rothfuss

Yellow Quadrangle
Photo By Gail

“A painting should be something that begins and ends in itself,” Rhod Rothfuss wrote.  With this cut-out frame, the artist put his principle into practice: in Yellow Quadrangle (Cuadrilongo Amarillo, 1955) the slender yellow rectangle on the left juts out, and the support takes on the shape of the painting itself . While his work was indebted to that of Joaquin Torres-Garcia and to European abstract artists such as Mondrian, Tothfuss was also influenced by vernacular practices. The alkyd resin present in this work was also used by the artist to create floats for carnival parades in his native Montevideo.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Rose III By Isa Genzken
All Photos By Gail

It’s so hard to see all of the beautiful things there are to seen NYC; especially when you don’t even know what you’re missing. It can take going just a few blocks out of your way by complete accident to discover a breathtaking work of public art that’s already been in that location for a year or more. And you never would have seen it if you didn’t have to get a new iPhone battery at the Apple Store located in the Oculus mall adjacent to the World Trade Center. These were the circumstances that brought me face-to-face with German artist Isa Genzken’s monumental sculpture, Rose III, which was erected in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park in September of 2018.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Standing at a height of 26-feet, Rose III is forged from painted steel and is on long-term loan to Brookfield Properties, which owns the park. Genzken, who is known for capturing the fragility and impermanence of roses in her public sculptures, rendered a Yellow Rose that was based on an actual rose she picked and developed for production, in Switzerland.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Ric Clark, senior managing partner and chairman of Brookfield Properties, has praised Genzken’s sculpture as being a “captivating addition to Zuccotti Park and the landscape of lower Manhattan.” It certainly is a fantastic subject to photograph with the nearly endless perspectives and dramatic backdrops created by the panorama of high-rise buildings surrounding the park.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

It’s completely surreal. Manhattan’s iconic skyline is said to have inspired Genzken’s work, as many of her sculptures stand tall and narrow. Some of her other notable works have been installed throughout Manhattan. One that I am very familiar with, Rose II (2007) is installed at the Museum of Modern Art, where it is part of the museum’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

Rose III By Isa Genzken

“The Rose is both an homage to a city that Genzken knows and loves, and a strong statement for unity and equality that every passer-by in this city of millions can enjoy,” said Laura Hoptman, a curator who organized the installation of Rose II at MoMA. “It is a simultaneously a reflection of the empathy of the artist as well as the humanity of its spectators. Like all great art is.”

Rose III By Isa Genzken

Modern Art Monday Presents: Francis Bacon, Painting

Painting By Francis Bacon
Photo By Gail

Created in the aftermath of World War II, Painting (1946) is likely a veiled portrait of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who often carried an umbrella and has gone down in history for his policy of accommodation of the Nazi regime. His dark suit is punctuated by a bright yellow boutonniere, yet his bared teeth and concealed gaze suggest brutality. This sense of menace is accentuated by the cow carcasses suspended behind him. The drawn window shades evoke those found in a widely circulated photograph of Hitler’s bunker, an image that Francis Bacon included in mulipleworks. Bacon claimed that this work was an accident; he had originally set out to paint a bird descending onto a field.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Jacques Villegle, 122 Rue Du Temple

122 Rue Du Temple
Photo By Gail

122 Rue Du Temple is the Paris address from which artist Jacques Villegle detached many of the movie posters and political notices that he used to make this work in 1968. After tearing fragments of the original images, he pasted these passages of color, text, and image into a chance composition. Many of the fliers used here announced the city’s May 1968 student and worker demonstrations, and the artist considered the people who had posted them to be his collaborators, understanding their use of advertising billboards as a precursor for his process.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC

John Mosler’s First Large Scale Sculpture Decusatio Now On View Outside The Norwood Club!

Decusation by John Mosler
All Photos By Gail

Brooklyn-based artist John Mosler’s first large-scale outdoor sculpture, Decusatio – meaning Intersection in Latin – is now installed on the terrace at Norwood, the historic townhouse and private members club at 241 West 14th Street. The figurative work was informed by its 14th Street location which, for many, has come to serve as a delineation point between uptown and downtown.

Placed on the balcony, Decusatio is hard to miss; rising over eight feet tall, and painted in a vibrant yellow hue. The work offers a conceptual framework that is intended to respect and enhance the Club and its history, while simultaneously connecting to the location, activity and history in the surrounding area.

Decusation Sculpture

Decusatio’s placement required innovative technical and engineering applications by the artist to ensure it was light enough to be easily placed on a metal balcony, while also durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements.  Mosler offers, “The figurative over tone and the bright yellow color is intended to capture the intersection of humanity and the vibrant human interaction in the surrounding physical environment.”

Decusation Close Up

Martin Kesselman, color influencer and owner of INCOLOUR, worked with Mosler on finding the right hue. “Yellow tends to be perceived in many different ways, more so than other colors,” he explains. “We wanted to stay clear of a frosty cast, one that may veer green. Natural exterior light can play some trickery, so we had to walk that warm and cool fine line.”

Norwood Club Exterior

About Norwood:

The Andrew Norwood House is an elegant urban residence designed in a transitional style which combines Greek revival and italianate features. A remarkably preserved slice of early Victorian architecture and lifestyle – both inside and out; the House is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.In 2007 Alan Linn opened Norwood Club, a bustling five-story club with more than 1,100 members ranging from 21 to 80 years old. Its ranks include architects, artists, fashion designers, musicians, media moguls, and art collectors.

Decusation at Night

Modern Art Monday Presents: Antonieta Sosa, Visual Chess

Visual Chess
Photo By Gail

For Venezuelan artist Antonieta Sosa, Ajedrez Visual(Visual Chess), 1965, was “like my spinal column or my umbilical cord, uniting me to painting.” Scattered pops of color interrupt the regularity of the black grid, animating it with the playful movement suggested by the work’s title.

At times, these contrasting hues prompt an optical flickering or afterimage. To Sosa, such retinal effects underscore vision as a dynamic physiological process. Thus, Visual Chess foreshadows her eventual decisions to “come down from the wall” to engage with real space and bodies in the form of sculpture, performance and installations.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Arshile Gorky, The Plough and The Song

The Plough and The Song
Photo By Gail

By the early 1940s, the largely self-taught, Armenian-born Arshile Gorky had formed close friendships with several members of the Surrealist group in New York, including Roberto Matta, who encouraged him to develop his own personal abstract language through experimentation with automatism and biomorphic forms. Gorky turned to the subject matter of fertility and nature; at the same time, he frequently visited the Connecticut and Virginia countrysides, which reminded him of his homeland.

Combining these ideas around 1944, the artist began to work on the theme of The Plough and The Song (1946). Though the organic forms and sinuous, curving lines here seem spontaneous, Gorky planned the composition very carefully, systematically developing the imagery of this canvas in at least three drawings and three oil paintings.

Photographed in The Art Institute, Chicago.

Modern Art Monday Presents: René Magritte, Time Transfixed

Time Transfixed
Photo By Gail

Surrealism was identified by its proponents as a way of reuniting the conscious and unconscious realms of experience so that the world of dream and fantasy could be joined to the everyday rational world — or what one critic called “an absolute reality, a surreality.” René Magritte accomplished this by merging dreamlike imagery and naturalistic detail, as in his iconic canvas Time Transfixed (1938). He also worked carefully on his titles, and he was ultimately unhappy with the English translation of the title of this painting. The original French, La Durée Poignardée, literally means “ongoing time stabbed by a dagger.” Magritte hoped that when his patron Edward James purchased this painting, he would install it at the bottom of his staircase so that the train would “stab” guests on their way to James‘ ballroom. In an ironic twist, he hung it over his fireplace, to Magritte’s great dissatisfaction.

Photographed in The Art Institute, Chicago.

Peace Sign Fall Leaf Wreath

Peace Sign Fall Leaf Wreath
Photo By Gail

With the short span of time this year between celebrating Thanksgiving and the arrival of Christmas, it’s easy to forget that it’s still technically fall in NYC. That said, by Black Friday afternoon, fall decor was in a losing battle with Christmas decorations that started appearing on the streets and in storefronts shortly after Halloween. Crazy.

I doubt that this lovely autumn leaf wreath is made from actual leaves (it’s likely silk or some other fabric), but dang if it didn’t make me stop in my tracks and appreciate the beauty of nature when I saw it adorning the face of a Brownstone in Chelsea. And what a nice sentiment as well: Peace. Here’s the full shot below. Breathtaking.

Peace Sign Wreath Full

Spotted on 22nd Street Between 7th and 8th Avenues in Manhattan.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Earth Is A Man By Roberto Matta

The Earth Is A Man
Photo By Gail

Originally trained as an architect, Roberto Matta settled in France in 1933, where he worked with Le Corbusier. During a visit to Spain in 1934, he befriended the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assassinated two years later by agents of the Fascist leader, Francisco Franco. In a tribute to his friend,  Matta composed a screenplay called The Earth Is A Man, and the text’s apocalyptic imagery, rapidly shifting perspectives, and emotional language became the principal source of his artistic work over the next five years.

This large canvas is the culmination of Matta’s project. Exhibited shorty after its completion (in 1942) in New York City, where the artist had immigrated at the onset on World War II, the painting’s abstract and visionary qualities influenced a new generation of artists, who would later become known as the Abstract Expressionists.

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.