Katharina Fritsch makes meticulous reproductions of everyday objects, rendering them unfamiliar through extreme shifts in scale and either alluring or repellent color choices. Indeed, saturated and non reflective collators of color lend her sculptures a stones sense of otherworldliness.
“I always call the starting point [for a sculpture] a vision,” she has said. “I’ll be in a tram or driving a car and suddenly I get a picture in my mind. Something completely normal turns into a miracle — something I’ve never seen before. Simple things you see every day turn into something strange, something alien.”
Woman With Dog (2004) is clearly sealed up — enormously so — from from a small figurine made of seashells, as one might find in a beachside souvenir shop.
Chicago-based surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie (1909 – 1977) was acclaimed for her enigmatic paintings of stark interiors and illusory landscapes. On first glance, Self Portrait As My Sister (1941) appears to be relatively straight-forward representation, lacking the idiosyncratic imagery of her complex, dreamlike works. But Abercrombie was an only child, and the title’s allusion to a sister heightens the paradox of the painting. She frequently used self-portraiture as a means of trying on new guises and personas, later observing, “It’s always myself that I paint, but not actually, because I don’t look that good or cute.” Indeed, in her records she referred to this work as “Portrait of Artist as Ideal.” Her reference to a fictitious and prettier sister hints at desire to be a different person, a longing she could satisfy through her painting.
As you enter or exit the G Train Station at the corner of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues in Brooklyn, depending on which direction you walk from there, and whether or not your face is buried in your phone, it is pretty hard to miss this bold and very Colorful Abstract Mural that covers an entire facade of the apartment building that is also home to the Greenpoint Deli. Wow, it is really breathtaking.
I snapped these photos on my way back to Manhattan after attending the Five Points Festival and, sadly, the storm clouds were just rolling in, so I’m afraid that the sky is rather dark, which makes for not-so-pretty photos. Bummer.
Up since October of 2017, the mural is the work of Swedish artist Ola Kalnins, who was commissioned by Peter Kirchhausen, the building’s owner, to create this site-specific piece. Kalnins painted the mural on this four-story building over the course of eight days, with the aid of a movable lift. You can watch a fun short (3 minute) film on the story behind the mural at This Link!
Kathe Burkhart is an artist and writer who uses images and text to, in her words, “articulate a radical female subject.” She considers this confrontational, sensual work, entitled Fuck You: From The Liz Taylor Series (After Bert Stern) (1984), to be the first fully realized canvas in this series, which has been ongoing since 1982. The large-scale, richly saturated paintings combine appropriated portraits of actress Elizabeth Taylor (here, in a shot of her as Cleopatra taken by Bert Stern for Vogue magazine in 1962) with profane language, shattering both female stereotypes and conventions of representation. Taylor was a controversial feminist figure throughout her career, conveying equal parts bravura, sexual power, and vulnerability. Burkhart — collapsing the genres of portraiture and self-portraiture — treated the actress as a figure for her own life in the diary-like narrative series.
Amber Cowan is a sculptress who works exclusively with recycled vintage glass, and her art is just phenomenal for its intricate beauty and imaginative qualities, combined with an irresistible nostalgic pull. The above tableau is entitled Dance of The Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset (2019) — was part of an exhibit of her work at NYC’s Heller Gallery, which just closed this past weekend.
Amber’s work asks universal questions about rebirth, knowledge, desire and the transformative powers of labor and imagination. Her fantastical grotto-like assemblages are made of re-worked pressed glassware, once produced by some of the best known, but now-defunct, American glass factories. In her most recent, narrative wall sculptures, she creates intricate and exuberant settings for character-objects, which she has collected over years. Unabashedly showing her emotional investment in these objects, the artist pays spontaneous and spectacular homage to the history of US glass manufacturing.
She is currently working with a process which involves flameworking, blowing, and hot-sculpting recycled, up-cycled, and second-life glass that is usually American pressed glass from the 1940’s to the 1980’s. The glass used is generally sought through thrift stores, flea markets and post-production factory runs, the places where it is has been abandoned to the dust bins of American design.
Having been employed as a department store janitor during his freshman year of college, Charles Ray (b. 1953) understands the unease that a mannequin — an inanimate object that one might readily mistake for a live human — can inspire. Ray’s work is also charged with purely sculptural tensions that exist between surface and interior, armature and appendage and / or size and scale. With Boy (1992), Ray created a particularly disquieting figure.
Museum Guard With Sense of Humor Poses With Boy
The sculpture stands just shy of six feet tall, the artist’s exact height, yet maintains the softness of youth in its rounded cheeks and limbs. The boy is clad in outdated garments, hovering ‘between baby and Hitler youth,” in the words of one critic. Additionally, the boy’s pose and gesture suggest a confrontational manner at odds with his neutral expression.
NYC has really gone all out for Pride Month and it is so great to see everybody getting into the spirit of love and unity. With so much inspiring signage and art work popping up everywhere you look, it’s challenging to document even a small fraction of it, but I was walking home from brunch this past Saturday and passed by this storefront mural by Royce Bannon (AKA @Roycer_700), which currently resides on Avenue A near East 3rd Street. It appears to have gone up in the past few weeks specifically in honor of Pride Month and will like stay up as long as it can.
The Rainbow “Monsters” are Bannon’s signature characters, which he incorporates into much of his public artwork.