Tag Archive | Art

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Earth Is A Man By Roberto Matta

The Earth Is A Man
Photo By Gail

Originally trained as an architect, Roberto Matta settled in France in 1933, where he worked with Le Corbusier. During a visit to Spain in 1934, he befriended the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assassinated two years later by agents of the Fascist leader, Francisco Franco. In a tribute to his friend,  Matta composed a screenplay called The Earth Is A Man, and the text’s apocalyptic imagery, rapidly shifting perspectives, and emotional language became the principal source of his artistic work over the next five years.

This large canvas is the culmination of Matta’s project. Exhibited shorty after its completion (in 1942) in New York City, where the artist had immigrated at the onset on World War II, the painting’s abstract and visionary qualities influenced a new generation of artists, who would later become known as the Abstract Expressionists.

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Woman in Tub By Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons Woman in Tub
All Photos By Gail

Jeff Koons’ Woman in Tub (1988) combines a cartoon-like rendering of a nude woman startled by a submerged snorkeler with the exquisite, hard-paste porcelain finish of typical 18th-century Rococo figurines. Part of KoonsBanality series, which is characterized by oddly eroticized, comic and kitsch images, this work takes personal taste — good and bad — as its primary subject.

Jeff Koons Woman in Tub

Koons has explained the work’s biographical origin:

When I was a kid, my grandparents had an ashtray on a table in their television room. It was a small porcelain of a girl in a bathtub. It was white, with pink and blue details, and the legs went back and forth. As a kid, I was mesmerized. My Woman in Tub comes from that, though it references [the toiletry scenes painted by] Manet and Degas. I had such as experience of awe looking at that object.

Jeff Koons Woman in Tub

Photographed in The Art Institute, Chicago.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Stuart Davis, Super Table

Stuart Davis Super Table
Photo By Gail

Although Stuart Davis did not travel to Paris until 1928, he was well versed in avant-garde European art, including the innovative still lifes of of Pablo Picasso. Super Table (1925) experiments with the nature of the genre, toying with issues of illusion and perspective. Davis was also influenced by popular advertisement imagery, and his graphic style evokes the mechanical, cartoon like forms of commercial printing that were the hallmark of American culture

Photographed in The Art Institute Chicago.

Pink Thing Of The Day: Malibu Barbie / Virgin Mary Mash Up Sculpture By Heath Kane

Malibu Mary
Photos By Gail

OK, so what exactly are we looking at here? What initially appears as a fairly standard-issue Virgin Mary desktop statue is revealed, on closer inspection, to be a mash up of the holy mother and a Malibu Barbie (check out the sunglasses propped casually on her head, for your first clue).

In Brands We Trust
Image Source

The statue, by UK-based artist Heath Kane, is based on a print entitled In Brands We Trust, originally created in June of 2016 in association with Jealous Gallery of London. The idea for the print was to create a mock idol by galvanizing a Malibu Barbie figure with the Virgin Mary.

Says Kane: In Brands We Trust is designed to look on the surface like a classic piece of pop art – juxtaposing Barbie’s face with an image of the Virgin Mary. But the light facade masks a deeper question about consumerism. Whereas Pop Art fetishized consumerism, In Brands We Trust challenges it. In March 2016 two people were shot and seriously injured in America when Nike released a new version of its Air Jordan 2 Retro shoes. In Brands We Trust ponders the question ‘have brands become our new religion?’ And if so are they encouraging division and extremism? Brands have such a profound impact on our daily lives it’s raises the question if religious faith can compete.

In Brands We Trust

Spotted at The Other Art Fair in Brooklyn, NY.

Malibu Barbie Virgin Mary Sculptures

Modern Art Monday Presents: An Elegant Woman at the Élysée Montmartre By Louis Anquetin

An Elegant Woman at the Élysée Montmartre
Photo By Gail

After arriving in Paris in 1882, Louis Anquetin studied at the Atelier Cormon, where he met and befriended Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The frenetically innovative Aquetin was, in Lautrec’s words, “the glory of the studio.”

Both artists focused on la vie moderne, particularly the nocturnal life of Paris. This painting (1888) depicts an unescorted woman walking through the garden of Élysée Montmartre, a dance hall that predated the Moulin de la Galette and the Moulin Rouge, both locations also painted by Lautrec. Who she is remains a mystery, but her unusual printed dress and extravagant hat, more costume than fashion, suggest she might be an off-duty performer. In contrast to the female figures who lurk among the trees in the background, Anquetin’s élégante appears at ease in the spotlight, not a visitor but a part of this popular entertainment spot.

An Elegant Woman at the Élysée Montmartre was photographed in the Art Institute Chicago. 

Kenny Scharf Mural on UCB Theater Security Gate

Kenny Scharf UCB Mural
Photos By Gail

The UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) Theater’s East Village, NYC location may have closed this past February, but the colorful mural by local hotshot street artist Kenny Scharf lives on across its now permanently-shuttered security gate! See it for yourself on your next Urban Art Safari at 155 East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B.

Kenny Scharf UCB Mural

Modern Art Monday Presents: Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Death of Michael Stewart

The Death of Michael Stewart 1983
Photo By Gail

At the time of his death in 1983, Michael Stewart was an aspiring young artist new to the scene, and the details of his death remain officially unsettled thirty-six years later. Stewart was arrested for allegedly writing graffiti in the First Avenue L train station in the early morning of September 15th, 1983, on his way home to Brooklyn after a night out with friends in the East Village. At around 3:30 AM, he was brought, hog-tied and comatose, by police to Bellevue Hospital, where he died thirteen hours later.

The Death of Michael Stewart (1983) represents the Basquiat’s attempt to envision Stewart’s encounter with the police that night, and pay tribute. Originally painted on a wall of Keith Haring’s Cable Building studio, laden with tags by numerous graffiti writers, Basquiat’s composition comprises three figures: two cartoonish policemen wielding their batons over the partially defined man between them. The figure, rendered in black paint, represents both Michael Stewart and the enormity of the history of violence against black bodies: it could have been any black man in the wrong place at the wrong time, in America. The word “Defacement?” hovers above the trio in the upper register, posing a question about defilement: Can the (alleged) desecration of property be an excuse for erasing a life? It is important to consider that during the 1980s, ‘defacement’ was frequently used interchangeably as a term for graffiti.

For Basquiat, who famously said about Stewart’s death, “It could have been me,” the tragedy brought to the surface his own conflicted status as a black artist in a city roiled by racial tensions and a predominantly white art world that in the early eighties was largely unengaged with the social and economic inequities of New York City. When Haring moved studios in 1985, he cut the work from the wall. In the spring or summer of 1989, he placed the painting in an ornate, gilded frame inspired by the decor of the Ritz Hotel in Paris where he often stayed. The painting hung above Haring’s bed until his death from AIDS-related complications in 1990, when it was bequeathed to his goddaughter, its current owner.

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Basquiat’s Defacement: The Untold Story at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Asger Jorn, A Soul For Sale

A Soul For Sale
Photo By Gail

Asger Jorn (19141973) was a founding member of CoBrA, a European artists coalition active from 1948 to 1951 that emphasized material and its spontaneous application. Even after 1957, when Jorn began participating in the Situationalist International — a group of writers, artists and theorists who sought to destabilize societal practices and structures — he continued to work within the CoBrA aesthetic, as seen in A Soul For Sale (195859). With its expressive brushwork and its collapsing of foreground and background, figuration and abstraction, this painting articulates some of Jorn’s most significant interrogations of the precepts of geometric abstraction.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

The Haas Brothers Madonna at Marianne Boesky Gallery

Michelle O Palma
Michelle O Palma, Marble Sculpture (All Photos By Gail)

The last time I can recall entering an art exhibit that completely transported me to another world, I think I was here, or even here. So, yeah, it’s been a while. I nearly missed Madonna — not the pop star, but the first solo exhibition of work by The Haas Brothers — at Marianne Boesky Gallery, but I made a special trip after work just a few days before the exhibit closed on October 26th, because I knew, if the photos I’d seen were any indication, that I’d regret not having the opportunity to experience this whimsical group of flora and fauna in person. Even better: I had the gallery all to myself!

Madonna Installation View
Madonna, Installatation View

Madonna, which is also the title of the central figure in the gallery, features a new collection of beaded sculptures, created at a wide range of scales, from the intimate to the monumental, as well as two large-scale sculptures made with Portuguese Pele de Tigre marble.

Haas Brothers Pink Creature
Mouth-ew Broderick

The amazingly fun exhibition captures The Haas Brothers’ increasing interest in exploring nature and spirituality as part of their deep commitment to material experimentation and traditional craft techniques, while also encapsulating their vision of collaborative artmaking.  Since founding The Haas Brothers in 2010, brothers Nikolai (Niki) and Simon have been guided by a vision of creative experimentation, spurning perceived artistic boundaries and embracing instead the limitlessness of imagination and innovation.

Installation View

In the signature spirit of The Haas Brothers’ presentations, Madonna truly immerses viewers into an otherworldly realm, where fantastical animals and odd hybrids reside. Here, colorful sculptures and objects that resemble futuristic creatures are positioned among seemingly rare tropical plants, and connected into a cohesive environment through undulating platforms. Being amongst these creatures felt like I was exploring a natural history museum populated with fairytale beasts!

Haas Brothers Creatures
Deville Wakefield and Worm-man Miller

The featured works capture the Brothers’ wide-ranging artistic processes, from intricate beading techniques to monumental stonework to the incorporation of woven elements, and produce an incredibly tactile and evocative experience. The exhibition also highlights the artists’ diverse collaborations, including with workshops in California, South Africa, and Portugal, and encapsulates their deep engagement and support for those working in traditional craftsmanship.

Lanky Doodle Dandy
Lanky Doodle Dandy

The Haas Brothers were first introduced to beading in 2015, when they met a group of women artisans selling beadworks in a craft market in Cape Town, South Africa. They were enamored with both the complexity of the technique and the incredible artistry in the women’s work. Seizing the serendipity of the moment, the pair established a collaboration with the artisans, which led to the development of the Afreaks series, a group of beaded creatures that were shown at the Cooper Hewitt’s Design Triennial in 2016. Since then, this collaboration with the collective of women, who warmly go by The Haas Sisters, has grown and matured.

Two Creatures and Trees

Haas Brothers Pink Tree
Centurihanna

For Madonna, the collective supported the production of the featured beaded objects, guided by The Haas Brothers’ preparatory drawings, using a selection of Murano glass beads produced in Venice between 1880 and 1980, which the brothers purchased after the factory became defunct. As part of their work with different communities and artisans, The Haas Brothers establish fair pay systems that include both economic support for the creation of works as well as, in some instances, profit sharing from sales. That’s amazing!

Three Creatures
Above Creatures Left to Right: Blue Reed, Ball Lewitt, Centripeter Shire

Madonna Close Up

The beadwork in the exhibition is augmented by two sculptures made with Portuguese Pele de Tigre marble: The Madonna (above, which combines beadwork and carved marble) and the piece which is first visible upon entering the gallery, a partially-embedded stone palm (below) entitled Michelle O Palma. The Brothers first came to stone carving in their youth, learning from their father, artist Berthold Haas, and recently returned to the material. The solid, smooth, and monumental nature of the stone works provides a powerful counterpoint to the more delicate and finely detailed beadworks and highlights the range of The Haas Brother’s practice.

Haas Brother Giant Hand

Here too, community proves an important element, as The Haas Brothers’ engagement has helped spur the development of stone-carving as an economic engine at the quarry that they use.

Madonna Installation View
Installation View

Haas Brothers Creatures

Haas Brothers Blue Creature
Gator Tots

Haas Brothers Creatures
Dennis Eary and Green Latifah

Follow The Haas Brothers on Instagram Here: @thehaasbrothers!

Madonna Installation View

Modern Art Monday Presents: Paul Jenkins, The Prophecy

The Prophecy
Photo By Gail

Though Paul Jenkins (19232012) briefly worked among the painters of the New York School, he remained committed to representational art until 1953, when he moved to Paris. There, he discovered the lyrical painterly style of abstraction known as Tachisme. Many artists associated with this movement attempted to express the unconscious mind directly through the act of painting. Jenkins, a devotee of the era’s popular writings on Zen, sought to join this ideal of unmediated expression with his spiritual convictions, aspiring to uncover metaphysical truths by relinquishing conscious control. His early explorations of this approach yielded turbulent, atmospheric compositions like The Prophecy (1956), that seemingly envision a plane of existence without articulated material differentiation.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.