Tag Archive | Art

Modern Art Monday Presents: Rudolf Bauer, Invention (Composition 31)

Invention (Composition 31)
Photo By Gail

By the late 1920s, Rudolf Bauer (1889 – 1953) had replaced the lively and organic symphony of shapes that he had developed in his earlier work with a more balanced aesthetic. Invention (Composition 31) (1933)  epitomizes this trend and features flat geometries tightly gravitating toward a dark center, a hazy black shape perhaps symbolizing the ultimate void. Also around this time, museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim became acquainted with the artist through Bauer’s former companion, Hilla Rebay. Not only was Bauer’s work amassed in depth, but he also played an integral role as Guggenheim’s European agent in the first decade that Guggenheim spent forming his modern art collection.  Invention (Composition 31) was reproduced on the cover of the catalogue Art of Tomorrow, which accompanied the opening exhibition of the Guggenheim Museum’s Non-Objective Painting, New York in June 1939.

Installation View
Installation View

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Beverly Fishman: Dose at CUE Art Foundation

Untitled Anxiety
Untitled (Anxiety), 2017 By Beverly Fishman (All Photos By Gail)

CUE Art Foundation is currently hosting Dose, an exhibition of paintings by Beverly Fishman, curated by Soundsuit artist Nick Cave. The show is comprised of a series of luminescent, geometric forms that resemble the shapes of common pharmaceuticals. Straddling the line between sculpture and post-painterly abstraction, Fishman’s optically intense work functions as an avenue for social critique, probing the pharmaceutical industry’s aesthetic decisions and branding strategies.

Untitled Opioid Addiction
Untitled (Opioid Addiction)

Untitled Anxiety
Untitled (Anxiety)

Fishman has executed many of these pieces on a monumental scale. Finished in glossy sheens, their beveled edges throw fluorescent reflections onto the gallery walls. Her atmospheric pigments test depth in a three-dimensional space, deconstructing the illusion of color as a flat phenomenon, and evoking the corporate iconography of drug manufacturers.

Untitled Anxiety Detail
Untitled (Anxiety), Detail

Beverly Fishman Crowd with Nick Cave

Curator/Artist Nick Cave (seen in the above photo at the exhibit’s opening reception, in conversation with the woman wearing the pink down jacket) notes: “Narcotic Euphoria” is the best way to describe Beverly Fishman’s newest body of work. It is a chromium “call-to-arms” delivered with conversely sinister subtlety.

Untitled Opioid Addiction
Untitled (Opioid Addiction)

Untitled Opioid Addiction
Untitled (Opioid Addiction)

Cave continues, “It engages with the legacies of Frank Stella, Gary Lang, and Peter Max, all post Joseph Albers, who brought a hard edge to painting and exploited color to tap into an affective and human motivational state. But in this case, Fishman takes all that happens up in the viewer’s head and envelops the heart and pushes it through the entire nervous system.

Untitled Stacked Pills
Untitled (Stacked Pills)

Untitled ADHD Opioid Cocktail
Untitled (ADHD / Opioid Cocktail)

This exhibition uses the familiar, pharmaceutical shaped, and multi-faceted forms of “the daily dose” as the body for her work, so that her deceptively logical and internally vetted color combinations can “sound off” as the voice. Her masterful and continually shifting use of contrasts — color, shape, and scale — define the spaces, both positive and negative, that seduce and induce the viewer into insensible understandings of themselves and the world’s exertion upon them.

Beverly Fishman: DOSE Curated by Nick Cave will be on Exhibit Through April 5th, 2017 at CUE Art Foundation, Located at 127 West 25th Street, Between 6th and 7th Avenues in NYC.

Beverly Fishman Signage

Untitled Opioid Addiction Missing Dose
Untitled (Opioid Addiction / Missing Dose)

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John McCracken at David Zwirner

Installation View
Installation View Left to Right: Galaxy, Rhythm, Flare. (All Photos By Gail )

Hey, do you enjoy the work of legendary minimalist artist John McCracken? I sure do. According to the obituary published in the New York Times when McCracken passed away in 2011 at the age of 76, “he was one of the few artists affiliated with the [Minimalist] movement who did not object to its name, and who made most of his work by hand: sanding and polishing his enamel, lacquer or resin surfaces until their colors achieved a flawless and reflective perfection.” Right now, David Zwirner Gallery, who has represented McCracken’s art for two decades, is hosting an exciting collection of the artist’s late career works, whose monochromatic, highly reflective surfaces are inspired in part by the West Coast’s car culture. Sigh. If you are in any way a fan, you will not want to miss this exhibit.

Flare, 2008
Flare, (2008)

The exhibition presents key examples from three discrete groups of work — leaning multi-part wall pieces, wall-mounted multi-part reliefs, and freestanding columns — that McCracken created outside of his iconic planks. On view are a selection of the artist’s Beam works, each comprising multiple tall narrow components that lean against the wall, first exhibited in his 2008 solo presentation at David Zwirner.

Installation View
Installation View: Space is on the far left

Song, 2008
Song

Some multi-part works, such as Space (2008), consist of a rhythmic combination of an array colors, here blue and green; while others like Song (2008) explore tonal, more subtle variations within a single color, in this case red. Still others are monochromatic.

Galaxy 2008
Galaxy (2008)

Rhythm, 2008
Rhythm, (2008)

Fire (Left) 2007
Left: Fire,  Right: Light

Titles are likewise employed as a pictorial metaphor in McCracken’s lesser-known wall reliefs, such as Fire (2007), created for documenta 12 in 2007, and Light (2004), which exist in the interstices of painting and sculpture.

Chord 2004

Above and Below: Chord (2004)

Chord 2004

Blue Arc, Red Mara, Black Wave, Green Siskiyou
Blue Arc, Red Mara, Black Wave, Green Siskiyou

In the front gallery you’ll find a grouping of four eight-foot tall freestanding columns, arranged in a configuration similar to the artist’s 2004 exhibition at the gallery, exploring the phenomenological relationship between work, viewer, and architecture through their outsized stature.

Blue Arc, Red Mara, Black Wave, Green Siskiyou

Reflection off of Wave, 2004
Reflection off of Siskiyou (1988)

Sculptures By John McCracken’s will be on Exhibit Through April 15th, 2017 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Signage

Light (Rear Wall)
Light (2004), Rear Wall

New Plate Paintings By Julian Schnabel at Pace Gallery

Rose Painting Near Van Goghs Grave
Rose Painting Near Van Gogh’s Grave By Julian Schnabel (All Photos By Gail)

Confession: Julian Schnabel is not an artist whose work I particularly admire. To me, his stuff almost always seems uninspired, phoned in, and, well, just plain ugly.  I do not think that I am alone in that opinion. Schnabel’s latest exhibit,  New Plate Paintings, which is his first solo show at Pace Gallery since leaving Gagosian, is a collection of nearly-identical variations on a  theme: paintings depicting pink roses on a bed of greenery, which is notable for being painted on a relief of broken dishes mounted on the canvas.

Rose Painting Near Van Goghs Grave Detail

Inspired by the roses growing in the cemetery near Vincent Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, these works are have the same title,  Rose Painting Near Van Gogh’s Grave, with an identifying roman number added. Well, it beats the laziness of calling each piece “Untitled.”

Schnabel Installation View

There is no denying that the works look pretty, but painting a floral still life on broken dishes, so that the jagged, pointy bits can stand in for leaves, is the kind of idea that would be considered wildly clever if you were participating in a high school art show, or local crafts fair. Is that really all he’s got in the wheelhouse?

Rose Painting Near Van Goghs Grave

Maybe its the physical scale of each piece that qualifies them as impressive, but justifying a $900,000 price tag on piece of comparatively unintesting  art just because your name is Julian Schnabel seems a bit contemptuous. Plus, Schnabel has been doing the plate paintings for almost three decades already. Yawn city.

Rose Painting Near Van Goghs Grave

Andy Warhol once said that, “Art is what you can get away with.” This is still a valid sentiment.

Schnabel Installation View

New Plate Paintings By Julian Schnabel will be on Exhibit Through March 25th, 2017 at Pace Gallery, Located at 510 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District

Rose Painting Near Van Goghs Grave

Modern Art Monday: Kathe Burkhart, Prick, From the Liz Taylor Series (Suddenly Last Summer)

Prick
Photo By Gail

Kathe Burkhart’s Prick: From the Liz Taylor Series (Suddenly Last Summer) (1987) is based on a scene from the 1959 film Suddenly Last Summer, starring Elizabeth Taylor. The artist has amassed an extensive archive of film stills of Taylor, which she uses for an ongoing series based on the actress’s image — works she sees as self-portraits related to her own life through the choice of image and text. For Burkhart, Taylor represents an important and iconic early feminist:

Liz Taylor as an actress was often gender nonconforming, and unlike Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and other Hollywood victims, she survived.

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty at The Brooklyn Museum

Still from Smash 2014
Still from Smash, 2014 (All Photos By Gail)

Marilyn Minter’s sensual paintings, photographs, and videos vividly explore complex and contradictory emotions around beauty and the feminine body in American culture. She trains a critical eye on the power of desire, questioning the fashion industry’s commercialization of sex and the body. Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, is the first retrospective of her work.
Little Girls #1
Little Girls #1

Big Girls
Big Girls

Spanning more than four decades, the exhibition begins with the artist’s earliest artworks, from 1969 through 1986, including rarely exhibited photographs as well as paintings incorporating photorealist and Pop art techniques.

Sink Study
Sink Study

Marbles
Marbles

Minter Exhibit Disclaimer

The show continues with works from the late 1980s and 1990s that examine visual pleasure in visceral depictions of food and sex. I didn’t take any photos of the “Junk Shots,” as I like to call them, because that doesn’t really do much for me: I find it boring and it detracts from the other works, in my opinion. But if pictures of penises are your thing, them come on down!

Puff
Puff

The exhibition culminates in Minter’s ongoing investigation of how the beauty industry expertly creates and manipulates desire through images.

Installation View
Installation View

These fashion / beauty shots, which are all so elegantly manipulated and transformed, were my favorite pieces in the show.

Pop Rocks
Pop Rocks

Glazed
Glazed

This one is so beautiful. For some reason, it reminds me of an old photo I’ve seen of Peter Gabriel,when he was still fronting Genesis. It’s surprising to me that more Rock Stars don’t commission Minter to shoot their portraits and album covers. Maybe that is because there are no real Rock Stars anymore. Sad.

Black Orchid
Black Orchid

Still from Smash 2014

The exhibit also features a short, silent film called Smash, which I liked very much. In Smash, a pair of metallic-toned manicured feet wearing bejeweled high-heeled sandals kick and shatter glass, in the middle of a rain storm, or something. Smash reminded me of when I used to go clubbing back in the late eighties and early nineties. Good times.

Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty will be on Exhibit Through April 2nd, 2017 in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor at the Brooklyn Museum.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Baron Sinister By Walter Robinson

Baron Sinister
Photo By Gail

Walter Robinson (b. 1950) took the subject of this painting, Baron Sinister (1986) from a cover illustration for a mass-market paperback, one of many low-end sources he raided in search of seductive consumerist imagery. The book’s protagonist — a secret agent — and his damsel-in-distress appear in a dramatic, suspenseful close-up, which Robinson has rendered in a hyper-expressive style. By making the figures larger than life, the artist exaggerates their idealized youth, attractiveness and heroism. Removed from their original context, and painted on an ordinary, floral-patterned bed sheet, the couple is transformed from cliche to archetype, as Robinson explores traditional notions of romance in the context of mass consumerism.

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.