Tag Archive | Art

Gem Spa Bodega Transforms Into a schitibank

Gem Spa Schitibank
All Photos By Gail

If you’ve passed by Gem Spa, the legendary East Village bodega that is home to the city’s Best Egg Cream (#BestEggCream) at any point since September 11th of this year, you may have done a double, or even a triple take. We know that St. Mark’s Place has become increasingly gentrified, but is Gem Spa now a bank, or wait, what is going on here, exactly?

Gem Spa Schitibank

While it has been rumored that a citibank is slated to take over the corner lot which has been home to  Gem Spa since 1957, fear not: this an art installation meant to draw attention to, but also satirize, the phenomenon known as “Disappearing New York.” It isn’t very pretty.

Disclaimer text running across the bottom of the sign above reads:

schitibank has kept the historical appeal to this building to absorb their customer base. This schiti location is not affiliated with any other schiti locations. We don’t mean to gentrify, as schitibank is co-opting this space with Gem Spa to bring you an authentic banking, egg cream and vaping experience. Every customer is on surveillance cameras. Smile, you’re on camera.

Schitibank Storefront

The Gem Spa Schitibank installation is the work of Tommy Noonan and Doug Cameron of boutique marketing firm DCX Growth Accelerator, who are known for their ‘Artisanal’ publicity stunts (Google them and be very impressed).

Gem Spa Schitibank
Click Image to Enlarge So You Can Read the Fine Print!

God is definitely in the details here. Promotional posters for the ‘bank’s’ various perks and services include artwork by Robert Mapplethorpe as well as the likenesses of The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.

Gem Spa Schitibank
Click Image to Enlarge for Detail

Gem Spa Schitibank

Gem Spa Schitibank Exterior

We clearly do not need another bank in the village (or anywhere in NYC, for that matter) but we do need a cool bodega that’s been around forever, and we need our delicious egg creams! Gem Spa is located at the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. Drop in and drop some cash next time you’re in the hood. Better yet, make a special trip to visit, so you can see the schitibank installation before they take it down!

Gem Spa Schitibank

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Modern Art Monday Presents: I Saw It in a Dream By Saber

I Saw It in a Dream
Carved 323.5k Moon Gold Leaf on Molten Black Encaustic Bees Wax (Photo By Gail)

Ryan Weston Shook, also known as Saber, titled I Saw It in a Dream (2019) after a quote by Abstract Expressionist painter Jasper Johns and created the piece via an encaustic wax process, its layers creating a textural surface. The flag symbolism has evolved with the artist over the years, with him questioning its meaning for  broad swath of people. Saber’s paintings borrow elements, techniques and materials that he once used as a 21-year-old, rising to international fame in 1996 after painting the world’s largest graffiti piece on the bank of the Los Angeles River. Eight years after the fact, the LA County Museum of Natural History commissioned him to paint a miniature version of his piece on its riverbed diorama. The visibility of this 250-by-55-foor work (documented by satellites in space) and his years of press coverage for other creations shined a glaring public spotlight on the form. The artist’s studio work exemplifies his further exploration of movement and energy.

Photographed as part of Beyond The Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Pink Thing of The Day: Hot Pink Custom Tricycle By Mister Cartoon

Pink Tricycle
Photo By Gail

Los Angeles native Mister Cartoon employs modern technology in crafting a car-part time machine, reflecting the entire history of America’s love for the automobile. The lifelong car enthusiast began his career as a graffiti artist before branching into murals, album covers, logos and, perhaps most famously, tattoos. Just as his sculptures give a nod back to a time of zoot suits and lowriders cruising to a soundtrack of Motown and soul ballads, Cartoon’s richly detailed, had rendered designs, such as this meticulous hand-painted Pink Tricycle, pull much of their inspiration from the Los Angeles of the artist’s youth.

Photographed as Part of Beyond The Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Favorite Art From The Affordable Art Fair, Fall 2019!

Money Bag Jane By Sean Keith
Money Bag Jane By Sean Keith at Artspace Warehouse, Los Angeles, $800 (All Photos By Gail)

For many New Yorkers, the fist sign of Fall might be the changing of the leaves, or a noticeable dip in temperatures; but for me, it’s the arrival of the Affordable Art Fair, which is the first big art event of the season. Whether you’re shopping for art, looking for inspiration, or just enjoy the social aspect of the fair, the AAFNYC offers something to satisfy every artistic palette. My tastes tend to run to pop and very contemporary art, so I’m going to show you a lot pieces that fit into those categories. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Any Fan
Art Chameleon in Her Natural Habitat

I love how this lady’s dress matches the colors of the art around her!

Grapefruit Beer

The Affordable Art Fair takes place across five days — Wednesday evening through Sunday afternoon — but you’ll always find me there during opening night’s Private View evening, when most of the press attend, and when there’s an open bar! This season’s bar was co-sponsored by Schoffenhofer Grapefruit Beer, which is my favorite drink in the entire universe. It. Is. So. Delicious.

Viktor Freso Niemand

This portly little guy is called Niemand, and he is the creation of Slovakian artist Viktor Freso. Niemand is a reoccurring character in Freso’s oeuvre, and I recommend you Google him and check out his previous incarnations for a fun time! Price: $8,500.

PF1 By Martin C Herbst

PF1 (Painter’s Fate #1) by Martin C. Herbst is an oil painting on mirrored aluminum. Price: $4,400.

Zapatos Personalizados By Vero Nobile

Zapatos Personalizados by Veronica ‘Vero’ Nobile are custom-painted ceramic shoe sculptures. This one features a fun likeness of Wonder Woman! Found at ArtBA Gallery of NYC and Buenos Aires. Price: $400.

David Bowie Heroes By David Hollier

The late David Bowie continues to be a favorite subject for artistic interpretation. This acrylic on canvas portrait of Bowie by David Hollier features the lyrical text from his song “Heroes.”  Very moving! Found at Mayson Gallery of NYC. Price: $8,000.

The Beatles By Walter Kanabe

This decontextualization of a 1963 press photo of The Beatles, by Walter Knabe, features a sparkling finish of diamond dust. At Evan Lurie Gallery of Carmel, Indiana. Price: $8,700.

Jeff Gillette Disneyland Signs

Do you like Disneyland? I sure do. Artist Jeff Gillette created these post-apocalyptic scenarios featuring foreboding takes on the iconic Disneyland Sign, which I find wildly compelling. Found at Bert Green Fine Art of Chicago. Price: $1,500 each.

The Importance of Being Ernest By Ernesto Romano

I seriously never met a Skull I didn’t like. The Importance of Being Ernest (Crowned) by Ernesto Romano is a digital print on perspex that would go with any decor! At online gallery Degreeart.com. Price: $3,130.

Guggenheim (Pink) By Michael Wallner

Another colorful work from Degree Art is Guggenheim (Pink) by Michael Wallner, which is a print on brushed aluminum, in an edition of 25 pieces. Gorgeous! Price: $1,190.

Dean Zeus Installation View

Assorted Sweet Art / Candy Heart message art by Dean Zeus, over at TAG Fine Arts of London UK, is priced at just $300 per square! Affordable, indeed!

Dean Zeus Sweet Art

Debra Franses-Bean POP Artbag

Debra Franses Bean’s POP Artbag sculptures are cast resin embedded with various colorful toys and other items, creating a one-of-a-kind piece to treasure forever. This ‘bag’ features limited-edition, fashion-themed Coca Cola bottles and cans. Found at TAG Fine Arts, it is a unique piece priced at $10,000.

Debra Franses-Bean POP Artbag
POP Artbag, Detail

Debra Frances Bean Glitterati 3 (Pink Flock)

Bean also created Glitterati 3 (Pink Flock), a collection of fashion handbags comprised of vacuum-formed polyurethane with hand-colored, optical high-definition glitter. Breathtaking. Price: $4,800.

Its a Birkin By Nelson De La Nuez

And while were on the subject of handbags, check out It’s a Birkin! by Nelson De La Nuez, which is obviously very heavily influenced by the art of Roy Lichtenstein. At Bruce Lurie Gallery selling for $6,500.

Interstate Now By Scott Froschauer

Here’s a timely piece, Interstate Now by Scott Froschauer. In an edition of 6 pieces at Artspace Warehouse. Price: $382.

Lip Service By Jeremy Biggers

Lip Service by Jeremy Biggers is an oil painting on a custom-cut, shaped wood panel that stands away from the wall like a sculpture. What a great conversation starter this would be! Found at Decorazon Gallery of London. Price: $6,500.

A Dollar Is What I Need By Nemo Jantzen

Do you love Money? Then you might feel drawn to A Dollar Is What I Need; a fiberglass and epoxy resin sculpture by Nemo Jantzen. Found at Artered Gallery selling for $5,200.

Flashs Car By Teachr

Street Art influences are evident in Flash’s Car by Teachr, which is spray-paint and acrylic on a metal street sign. Found at LA-based Bruce Lurie Gallery for $3,000.

Beatles Sculpture By Todd Gray

Also on display in the booth for Bruce Lurie Gallery were many pop art, ‘stacked block’ sculptures by Todd Gray, who is a hot item right now. The Beatles‘ totem pole-like tower seen above has images and lyrics from the Fab Four’s songbook that any fan will recognize. It’s a very cool and fun piece, for sure.

Shep Sculpture By Todd Gray
Shep

Gray makes smaller, table top pieces as well. The sculptures above and below are priced at $5,000, each. This artist is ‘going places,’ as they say, so his work is a good investment!

Wunda Sculpture By Todd Gray
Wunda By Todd Gray

Refraction By Nat Bowen

I love this one. Refraction by Nat Bowen gets its glossy sheen from Bowen’s use of pigmented resin on acrylic sheet, with gold mirror acrylic edges. At Kahn Gallery for $9,900.

Xavi Carbonell Le Petite Folle

This excited little gal is lots of fun: Le Petite Folle (The Girl) by Xavi Carbonell. Priced at $5,000 from Art Angler, NY.

Gregos Faces

Gregos is a French street artist best known for the plaster casts of his face that he installs on the streets of cities across the globe! He has now moved into the gallery (Xin Art Galerie, in France, to be exact) where his Faces sell for $650, each!

Gregos Faces

That’s how you do it!

Palm Mirage #1

Everyone loves a little touch of neon: Palm Mirage #1 by Tom Adair, tucked away at Axiom Contemporary, and priced at $9,250.

Cup IV By Pablo Dona

Pool Party in a Giant Coffee Cup? Sure, why not! Cup IV by Pablo Dona might be a challenge to photograph, but it’s the kind of artwork that you can examine and enjoy for hours. The golfers on the tiny macarons are a nice touch as well!

Cup IV

I understand why they had to put a piece like this inside a vitrine, but I don’t have to like it.

Cup IV

I love this, but I would not want to have to dust it. Found at Evan Lurie Gallery. Price: $5,500.

Thistle III

Its probably because I take so many photos of wild flowers that I was very attracted to Thistle III by Elena Cohen. Priced at $3,000, at Artmix in Brooklyn.

He Looked Good On Paper Sculpture By Nina Bentley

Nina Bentley uses vintage manual typewriters as the basis for her sculptures, of which she also sells photographic prints in limited series’. This one, found at Elisa Contemporary Art, is entitled He Looked Good On Paper. Price unavailable.

He Looked Good On Paper Sculpture By Nina Bentley

Take a closer look at the keys.

America Lets Play Over The Rainbow

America, Lets Play Over The Rainbow by Valerie Carmet takes the concept of the American Flag and replaces the red and white stripes with shelves holding a rainbow assortment of the tiny heads of famous cartoon characters, as seen atop Pez Candy Dispensers! Novel! This one-of-a-kind piece is $6,950 at Azart Gallery.

America Lets Play Over The Rainbow

And . . .That’s All, Folks! The Affordable Art Fair may be over until next year, but you can still visit the websites of these galleries and purchase many of these pieces online, so start shopping! See you in the Spring!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gun Magnet By Randall Harrington

Randall Harrington Gun Magnet Wool Tapestry
Photo By Gail

Randall Harrington’s Gun Magnet is but one example of the sculptor and painter’s statement work. Known for his high-concept fabrications of recomposed weaponry, Toastasaurus herds and eerily human robots, the Los Angeles-based artist found his niche in metal and mixed media after years of assisting big-name installation and performance artists working in film-set design. The Gun Magnet wool tapestry (2019, above) was inspired by the bronze sculpture (2014), seen below.

Gun Magnet Sculpture

Photographed as Part of Beyond The Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Juan Gris, The Checkerboard

Juan Gris The Checkerboard
Photo By Gail

Hailed as “the perfect painter” by avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein, Juan Gris developed his signature approach to Cubism beginning in 1911. Using classic café subject matter — such as the newspaper, seltzer bottle, and glass seen here — Gris made subtle adjustments to the conventions of picture making that render ordinary objects both familiar and newly intriguing. For example, in The Checkerboard (1915) and its  bird’s-eye view of a tabletop, a cunning reorganization of pictorial space places objects that should have volume into a single compressed plane. With a nod to play, Gris shows us a fragmented checkerboard, an emblem of the strategy and gamesmanship at the center of his art.

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago

Modern Art Monday Presents: Rene Magritte, On The Threshold of Liberty

Rene Magritte On The Threshold of Liberty
Photo By Gail

One of Surrealism’s most important patrons, Edward James, was a willing collaborator whose sense of play initiated commissions for his homes from such artists as Salvador Dali and Leonora Carrington. James was impressed with the work of Rene Magritte, which was displayed in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London, so he invited the artist to paint three decorative canvases for the ballroom of his London home. Magritte painted On The Threshold of Liberty during his stay there in 1937, as the centerpiece of the three works. Originally set behind two-way mirrors, the works would become visible when James changed the lighting, provoking what he called “a profound sensation.”

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.