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Modern Art Monday Presents: The Death of Munrow

the death of munrow photo by gail worley
“Ouch, My Head” (Photo By Gail)

The Death of Munrow (circa 182030), a glazed earthenware figure group by an unknown artist, records a specific historic event in 1791, in which Hugh Munrow, a British soldier, was killed by a tiger in India. Its composition was inspired by an almost life-size wooden automaton of a tiger killing a European that was owned by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore in India. Tipu’s Tiger was seized by the British army in 1799 and brought to London, where it was placed on public display.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Felt By Robert Morris

pink felt by robert morris 2 photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail Worley

Felt works by Robert Morris, including this piece entitled Pink Felt (1970) embody his notion of Anti-Form. Instead of executing a predetermined design, Morris allowed the final outcome of a sculpture to be determined as much by his simple actions (cutting and draping the material) as by gravity and chance.

pink felt by robert morris detail photo by gail worley
Pink Felt, Detail

A departure from earlier, unitary geometric forms of the Minimalist sculptures that the created in the 19603, Morris’s felt works, including Pink Felt, foreground the physical qualities of his materials and the artist’s physical process.

pink felt installation view photo by gail worley
Installation View

“Disengagement with preconceived enduring forms and orders for things is a positive assertion,” the artist writes in his 1968 essay, Anti Form. “It is part of the work’s refusal to continue estheticizing form by dealing with it as a prescribed end.”

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

pink felt by robert morris photo by gail worley

A Lone Astronaut Roams Deserted Urban Landscapes in Scott Listfield’s Quarantine

quarantine by scott listfield photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

In the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown, most of us — not just here in Manhattan but around the globe — were spending close to 24 hours a day in our homes. It was during this time that photos began appearing on the Internet and Instagram depicting places like Times Square and other generally heavily-populated ‘tourist destinations’ in states of complete abandonment. It was as if civilization as we know it had ceased to exist, and our cities been left to the elements. The world was looking more apocalyptic by the day. The only thing missing were the zombies.

scott listfield quarantine signage photo by gail worley

I thought of these images immediately when I got an email from Hashimoto Contemporary Gallery about their latest exhibition, Quarantine by artist Scott Listfield — who is known for his paintings featuring a lone exploratory astronaut lost in a landscape cluttered with pop culture icons, corporate logos and tongue-in-cheek science fiction references.

quarantine by scott listfield photo by gail worley

The gallery is walking distance from my home, so I made an appointment to see these enigmatic and compelling paintings in person. I was the only person in the gallery at the time of my visit, which made the experience even more powerful. To say that Scott Listfield’s work encourages imaginative extrapolation is an understatement.

Post Continues, With More Photos After The Jump!

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Shark Attack Tile Mosaic

shark attack tile mosaic photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

To find the Shark, you must have the Eye of The Shark! Fortunately, I possess that eye. This little guy, made from precisely-arranged, blue glass marbles, was spotted — just waiting to attack — on the sidewalk outside of The Pearl Room, a restaurant located at 8518 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Marble Bust of Mary Shelley By Camillo Pistrucci

bust of mary shelley photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail

“Singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind.” This is how the radical philosopher William Godwin described his daughter, the Romantic novelist Mary Shelley, who achieved fame and infamy for her groundbreaking Gothic fiction Frankenstein (1818), written at the remarkable age of twenty-one.  Here, the Italian neoclassicist Camillo Pistrucci uses the imposing genre of the white marble portrait bust (1843) to present Shelley in the grand manner of a virtuoso. Balancing the rhythmic forms of the face and drapery with the dazzling details of her sweeping Victorian hairstyle, Pistrucci achieves a precision and finesse that betrays the influence of his father, Benedetto Pistrucci, the unrivaled cameo carver. The artist carved the bust in Rome in the year of Shelley’s Italian sojourn.

bust of mary shelley photo by gail worley
Mary Shelley (17971851)

Photographed in the British Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Emma Van Name By Joshua Johnson

emma van name by joshua johnson photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

This compelling portrait of a Baltimore toddler picking berries from a surreally-scaled goblet is an icon of the American vernacular painting. Joshua Johnson, who was self taught, is the earliest known African American painter to make his living from his art. Emma Van Name (1805) is his most ambitious and engaging portrait of an individual child. Revealing the hallmarks of Johnson’s characteristic style in its naturalistic precision and imaginative flair, the painting is distinguished by a bravura demonstration of his talents in its nuanced palette, compositional complexity, and deft handling of details, especially in the child’s dress and demeanor.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Kobra’s Peace Mural in Midtown

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

I don’t spend much time in midtown, so when I passed by this mural by Eduardo Kobra on 44th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues I thought it might be new. As it turns out, this work, which features an image of American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, has been up since August 2018.

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley

Aside from the striking likeness, which is a hallmark of all Kobra murals, I love how he honors Lichtenstein’s style with the inclusion of background dots and a conversation bubble, which are featured in many of the artist’s comic strip-influenced works.

peace mural by cobra photo by gail worley

And the message, of course, is utterly timeless.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Ruth Asawa, Untitled Hanging Wire Sculpture

ruth asawa sculpture photographed by gail worley
All Photos By Gail (Above from 2017)

In 1947, while a student at Back Mountain College, Ruth Asawa (19262013) made a visit to Toluca, Mexico. There, she was introduced to a local method of crocheting wire to create baskets for carrying eggs. The discovery led Asawa to experiment with weaving wire into continuous, organic forms like the above Untitled sculpture (1955), which is described as a hanging six-lobed, complex interlocking continuous form-within-a-form, with two interior spheres. These works challenged conventional ideas of sculpture by embracing utilitarian craft methods and relying on the ceiling instead of the floor for support.

ruth asawa sculpture photo by gail worley
Photographed September 2020

In the early 1950s, Asawa later explained, the art establishment passed over her work because “it wasn’t traditional sculpture. They thought it was craft, or something else, but not art.” For Asawa, woven wire offered many possibilities of form and resulted in a work that was both transparent and airy, qualities that make the surrounding space part of the experience of the work and emphasize the connection between the interior and the exterior of the object.

Photographed in the Whitney Musuem in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Kees van Dongen, Modjesko, Soprano Singer

modjesko soprano singer photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Modjesko was a popular drag performer in Paris in the early years of the twentieth century. Art critic, Félix Fénéon, included this portrait in several exhibitions at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, including the group show Portraits of Men.  In 1909, he signed artist Kees van Dongen to a seven-year contract. Both anarchists, van Dongen and Fénéon shared a desire to advocate for the rights of socially marginalized people.

Modjesko, Soprano Singer (1908) was Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Salvador Dali, Retrospective Bust of a Woman

retrospective bust of a woman by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

The idea for this work began when Salvador Dalí discovered an inkwell illustrated with the praying couple (from Jean-Francois Millet’s painting The Angelus, 185759). He embedded the inkwell in a loaf of bread and placed them both on the portrait bust of a woman.

retrospective bust of a woman detail by gail worley

In 1931, Dalí described Surrealist sculpture as “created wholly for the purpose of materializing in a fetishistic way, with maximum tangible reality, ideas and fantasies of a delirious character.” Retrospective Bust of a Woman (1933) not only presents a woman as an object, but explicitly as one to be consumed. A baguette crowns her head, cobs of corn dangle around her neck, and ants swarm along her forehead as if gathering crumbs. Ants, of course, are a common reoccurring motif in Dali’s work.

retrospective bust of a woman side view photo by gail worley

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

retrospective bust of a woman detail photo by gail
Detail