Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

I Went to Mark Ryden’s Dodecahedron Exhibit, And it Was Really Crowded

Aurora With Crowd
All Photos By Gail

Mark Ryden’s much-anticipated new exhibit, Dodecahedron, opened last Thursday at Paul Kasmin Gallery on 10th Avenue, and what a happening it was! A line of hardcore fans began snaking down the block 30 minutes before the doors even opened! Once we were let inside, promptly at 6 PM, it quickly became a mob scene and it was virtually impossible to get clear shots of any of the art, perhaps best exemplified by the photo above, where the epic, 12-foot high painting, Aurora, is obscured as high as 5 feet off the ground. It was evident that we would have to make a return trip for blogging purposes, which we did this weekend.

Dodecahedron Installation View

For this exhibition, Ryden created his first sculpture cast from bronze, entitled Self Portrait as a Dodecahedron. Measuring one meter in height, the work consists of twelve pentagonal panels that join together to form the show’s titular Dodecahedron. Each panel is individually cast and features images and motifs that have been prevalent throughout the artist’s oeuvre such as; the Tree, the Eye, the Fetus, the Bee, the Ammonite, and Abraham Lincoln.


Here are some shots of the Dodecahedron’s various faces.

Bee and Baby

Abe Lincoln


The gallery space in which the Dodecahedron sits also displays framed study drawings for many of the oil paintings in the exhibit, which are featured prominently in the front gallery.

Horned Baby

This one is my favorite. Ryden’s attention to detail is crazy great.

Dymaxion Principle
Dymaxion Principle

Rock Skirt
Rock Skirt

Girl Looking at Amoeba

The painting above is entitled Euglena, which refers not to the little girl, but to the single-cell, flagellate organism on the table. On closer inspection, you can see that it bears anthropomorphic characteristics.

Euglena Detail
Euglena Detail

Guts Dress

Anatomia, also realized as a porcelain sculpture.

Guts Dress Sculpture

Aurora Full

And now let’s take a closer look at the star of the show, Aurora. A true masterpiece, Aurora depicts a prepubescent girl, standing armpit-high in a still body of water, the surface of which cloaks a primeval undersea world, rife with Ryden’s signature symbolism, and many other cool things.


Look, it’s a little Manatee hiding among the coral.

Eyes Detail

Multiple Eyes and a Fetus.

Bee Detail

A Bee.

Primeval Sea Bed

Behold, the Primeval Sea Bed, complete with Trilobite, ancestor to the modern-day cockroach.

Aurora Frame Detail

Even the frame is a work of art.

Mark Ryden’s Dodecahedron will be on Exhibit Through Jan 23rd, 2016  at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 293 10th Avenue (Corner of 27th Street) in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Dodecahedron Signage

Exhibit Poster

David Datuna Presents Elements at Birnam Wood Galleries

David Datuna Einstein
Albert Einstein with Euclid’s Elements Diptych (All Photos By Gail)

You can say this much about art exhibits comprised of Portraits of Pop Culture Icons: EVERYBODY DOES IT. Seriously, Ev-Ree-Bah-Dee. What keeps an exhibit of Pop Culture Portraiture from being a total yawnfest is the defining twist that the artist puts on his or her work (see Erik den Breejen’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On at Freight and Volume for an excellent example of what I’m talking about).

So, it’s a huge relief that David Datuna’s Elements – the artist’s eighth solo show at Birnam Wood Galleries – is a portrait-based exhibit with one of the coolest visual spins I’ve ever seen. Although from a distance it appears that each image is mounted behind a layer of marbled glass, on close inspection you can see that Datuna has employed a unique conceptual device of layered optical lenses to focus and diffuse his distinct visual imagery. Talk about Ways of Seeing!

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Detail
Detail from Above Portrait

According to the exhibit’s press release, the title Elements is taken from the centerpiece of the show, a diptych that pairs Albert Einstein with Euclid’s Elements, the seminal work of mathematics written in the third century BC. Described as the second most widely published book after the Bible, the book’s findings underpin much of logic and modern science. Its influence is immense. Einstein said it kindled his interest in science. Abraham Lincoln insisted it was the most influential book of his life.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol

I love the little details Datuna adds, such as printing amd framing Andy Warhol in bright yellow, a color that Warhol used often in his own signature silkscreen portraits of celebrities.

Walt Disney
Walt Disney

David Datuna’s Elements is definitely worth adding to your next Art Crawl. Just make sure you schedule it before June 7th.

David Datuna Elements Signage

Abraham Lincoln Says “Art Is Not a Crime”

Art is Not a Crime
Photo By Gail

Stencils by unknown street artists photographed on West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Pratt Manhattan Gallery Presents 0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art

Lisa Hoke S.O.S.
S.O.S. By Lisa Hoke (2013), All Photos By Gail

Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents 0 to 60: The Experience of Time through Contemporary Art, a multi-medium exhibition that explores time in its many iterations — real time, virtual time, historical time, recorded time, manipulated time and more. Named for the phenomenon in which the average museum visitor spends less than one minute looking at a work of art, the exhibition features artists who use nontraditional media (including robotics and computer software) to encourage viewers to think about time in new and varied ways. The artists hail from New York City (Alison Collins, Dan Estabrook and Jeff Liao) and across the country.

Felix Gonzales-Torres Untitled (Portrait of Dad)
Felix Gonzales-Torres Untitled (Portrait of Dad)

0 to 60 includes well-known artists such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, the late Pratt alumnus whose interactive installation Untitled (Portrait of Dad) consists of 175 pounds of individually wrapped candies, and rising artists like David Chatt, whose Bedside Table is adorned with thousands of tiny seed beads.

Bedside Table By David Chatt
Background: Alison Collins’ Garden of Pleasure
Foreground: Bedside Table By David Chatt

The exhibition also includes two installations uniquely tailored to Pratt Manhattan GalleryLisa Hoke’s expansive wall mosaic and Alison Collins’ Garden of Pleasure. Also of note is Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Last Breath, which uses a respirator, a digital counter and other items to capture and circulate a viewer’s breath, inflating and deflating a paper bag 10,000 times a day to mimic the respiratory cycle of a typical adult at rest.

Richard Hughes Untitled (Triptick)
Richard Hughes, Untitled (Triptick)

“Modern society is obsessed with time, and we’ve noticed the concept bubbling up in contemporary art,” said Linda Dougherty, who co-curated the exhibition with Jean McLaughlin. “These works reference a longstanding tradition in art—whether it be through historical paintings that tell an unfolding story or through still lifes that capture one fleeting moment,” she added, In addition to those mentioned above, other artists featured in the exhibition include Dan Bailey, Walead Beshty, Jana Brevick, Paul Chan, Sonya Clark, Caetano de Almeida, Tehching Hsieh, Richard Hughes, Peter Matthews and David Shapiro.

Afro Abe (Progression) By Sonya Clark
Afro Abe (Progression) By Sonya Clark

Afro Abe (Progression) By Sonya Clark
Detail from Afro Abe

0 to 60 will be on Exhibit Through January 25, 2014 at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, Located at 144 West 14th Street, Second Floor, New York, NY. Gallery Hours are Monday – Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Thursdays 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Waleed Beshty, Fed Ex Kraft Box
Waleed Beshty, Fed Ex Kraft Box

Must See Art: Michael Leavitt’s Empire Peaks

Abraham Lincoln as Han Solo
Abraham Lincoln as Han Solo By Michael Leavitt (All Photos By Gail)

File this one under “Must See Art” because you won’t want to miss Michael Leavitt’s latest exhibit at Jonathan Levine Gallery, entitled Empire Peaks. Continuing with the theme he did to perfection with Art Army Royalty back in 2011, Leavitt’s latest collection of  what could loosely be called pop culture action figures takes a Star Wars theme and turns that wildly popular franchise’s characters into recognizable icons of history, politics and entertainment. The show is totally off the hook! Even if you’re not  a total Star Wars geek  (raises hand) you’re going to enjoy the high-quality representations of some very recognizable individuals, both real and fictional.

There’s not really much more to be said except that you’ve to go see this show! Here are some of my favorite pieces from the exhibit.

Donald Trump as Darth Vadar
Donald Trump as Darth Vadar

Kim Jong Il as Jabba the Hut
Kim Jong Il as Jabba the Hut

R2D2 and C2PO
 Steve Jobs as C3 PO and Albert Einstein as R2D2

Ghandi as Yoda
Mahatma Gandhi as Yoda

Martin Luther King as Luke Skywalker
Martin Luther King as Luke Skywalker

The Sucklord

The Sucklord was in attendance at the opening reception! You may know The Sucklord from his appearance on season two of Bravo’s Work of Art, or from his line of unlicensed Star Wars parody toys, marketed under the name Suckadelic. He was pretty cool to talk to.

Hillary Clinton as a Stormtrooper
Hillary Clinton as a Stormtrooper

Obama as Lando Calrissian
President Barack Obama as Lando Calrissian

Mandela and Oprah
Nelson Mandela as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Oprah Winfrey as Padmé Amidala

You can tell even from these photographs that the detail is absolutely impeccable on all of these figures. Not only does each figure look exactly like its real-life counterpart, but Leavitt perfectly captures the essence of each Star Wars character in the melding of the two individual identities. High-fives all around on this one.

Michael Leavitt’s Empire Peaks will be on Exhibit Through December 21st, 2013 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, NYC, in the Chelsea Gallery District.