Tag Archive | America

Eye On Design: Maurizio Cattelan, America

America 1
All Photos By Gail

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work, America, skewers social complacencies and re-imagines cultural icons. On the occasion of the artist’s 2011 – 2012 retrospective at the Guggenhiem, which featured virtually every work he had ever made suspended from the oculus of the rotunda, Cattelan announced his retirements from art making.

Bathroom with Golden Toilet

Five years later, he returns from his self-imposed exile with a new, ongoing project at the Guggenheim Museum. For America (2016), Cattelan replaced the Toilet in one of the museum’s unisex restrooms with a fully functional replica cast in 18K Gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent.

Golden Toilet Overhead View
The Seat Is Dry, Even Though It Appears to be Wet

Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art. Cattelan’s Golden Toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market, but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all — its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.

 

Golden Toilet

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum, Level 4 Restroom in the Rotunda, NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Georgia O’Keeffe, Cow’s Skull: Red, White and Blue

Cow's Skull Red White and Blue
Photo By Gail

Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue (1931) prominently displays the three colors of the American flag. Painted at a time when American artists, musicians, and writers were interested in identifying a uniquely American style and subject matter for their work, Georgia O’Keeffe offered a dissenting opinion about what images could best symbolize America.

Rather than paying homage to the lush agricultural landscape as the Regionalist painters did, or uncovering urban problems like the American Scene painters, she used a weathered cow’s skull to represent the enduring spirit of America. Although she made it as a joke on the concept of the “Great American Painting,” the picture is a quintessential icon of the American West.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Cow’s Skull: Red, White and Blue is part of the Alfred Stieglitz Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Recommended Listening: American Hustle Soundtrack

American Hustle Album Artwork

Have you seen American Hustle yet? It is the best movie, about a story that happened during my favorite decade: the 1970s. The Seventies were a time of amazing visual stye in everything from furniture design to fashion, but it was also the decade of the best music ever. Just think about it: the worldwide phenomena that was Disco book-ended by The Beatles and Punk Rock. Wow. Mind blowing. It all happened in The Seventies!

It stands to reason then that American Hustle’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack would be liberally studded with some serious seventies musical gems. There is something for every musical taste on this disc, from big band action courtesy of Duke Ellington’s “Jeep’s Blues” to timeless classic rock (Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”), to an original instrumental track by veteran soundtrack composer, Danny Elfman. There may not be any Beatles’ songs on here, but Paul McCartney (the world’s first Billionaire Rock Star) makes an appearance with his post-Beatle’s band, Wings, delivering the epic spy film theme song, “Live and Let Die.”

Not unexpectedly, revisiting songs that I first heard when I was a pre-teen music snob has inspired me to have a bit of an epiphany. America’s mega-hit from 1972, “A Horse With No Name” was dismissed by me at the time of its release as a Neil Young rip off full of lyrical nonsense. But in a modern day context, the part where the narrator is “looking at a riverbed” and reflecting that, “The story it told / of a river that flowed/ made me sad to think it was dead” is positively sobering. Because remember: he’s in the desert. This song is genius.

Of course, it would not be a full-on 70s experience without some crotch grabbing disco fun, and Music Supervisor Susan Jacobs hits it out of the park by including Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” — a song that says more about the pervasive hedonism of Disco culture with just three words and a wildly hypnotic, insistent electronic beat than any other song ever has. And while I was originally bummed that the included performance of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” is by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes rather that the classic Thelma Houston version, I got over it pretty quickly.

Speaking of covers, I very much enjoy the faithful-to-the-original arrangement of Jefferson Airplane’s classic “White Rabbit” sung in Arabic by vocalist Mayssa Karaa.

But the song which has unarguably received the biggest shot in the arm for its inclusion in the film is Electric Light Orchestra’s prophetic and compelling “10538 Overture,” which has probably been downloaded a hundred times since you started reading this review. I can’t believe I have survived for forty years without having this song at my finger tipis to replay over and over and over again. Seriously, this song is just insane. ELO appear again with “Long Black Road” and vocalist Jeff Lynne also contributes “Stream Of Stars,” a previously unreleased instrumental track that just takes its own little journey to the center of your heart in under three minutes.

Tom Jones, Jack Jones and Chris Stills (son of Stephen Stills, providing the only song not actually written and previously recorded in the seventies) round out this A+ collection of songs that rank as a must own album for any music fan.

American Hustle – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Track Listing:

1.    Jeep’s Blues | Duke Ellington

2.    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road | Elton John

3.    White Rabbit | Mayssa Karaa

4.    10538 Overture | Electric Light Orchestra

5.    Live And Let Die | Wings

6.    How Can You Mend A Broken Heart | Bee Gees

7.    I Feel Love | Donna Summer

8.    Don’t Leave Me This Way | Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

9.    Delilah | Tom Jones

10.  I’ve Got Your Number | Jack Jones

11.  Long Black Road | Electric Light Orchestra

12.  A Horse With No Name | America

13.  Stream Of Stars | Jeff Lynne

14.  Live To Live  | Chris Stills

15.  Irving Montage | Danny Elfman

Will Ryman’s America at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Will Ryman America Exterior Front
This is America (All Photos By Gail)

Artist Will Ryman built a Log Cabin, painted it metallic Gold inside and out, bedazzled its interior walls with collages of gold painted car parts, railroad parts, cotton, computer parts, corn, coal, bullets, arrowheads, chains and shackles, and named the finished piece America. Today, March 30th, is the final day that you can see America on exhibit at the Paul Kasmin Gallery. Here are some photos of or what you are going to miss if you can’t make it over there by 6:00 PM.

Will Ryman America Edge Detail
Cabin Edge Details

Will Ryman America Interior from Window
View into Cabin from Exterior

Will Ryman America Interior Detail
Interior Wall Detail. The round objects on the bottom row are car gas tank caps.

Will Ryman America Interior Detail 2
Alternate Interior Wall Detail. As you can see, it is very shiny, and reminded me of walking into a Pirate’s Treasure Chest.

Will Ryman America Interior Fire Place
Fireplace

Will Ryman American Rear View
Rear View of Cabin

Paul Kasmin Gallery is Located at 515 W. 27th Street, New York, NY 10001, Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10: 00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

Fuck Yeah!