Tag Archive | Art

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Chess Player (The Turk)

Chess Player The Turk Photo by Gail Worley
All Photos By Gail

This elaborate automaton is a reproduction of the original Chess Player (The Turk) built by Hungarian author and inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen. Touted as an android that could defeat chess masters, von Kempelen’s famed illusion debuted at the court of Empress Maria Theresa during wedding celebrations for her daughter in 1769. Over the course of the eighteenth century, the Chess Player (known in its time as The Turk for its robes and turban) won games against Catherine the Great and Benjamin Franklin. When Napoleon Bonaparte tried to cheat, The Turk wiped all the pieces from the chessboard. In reality, a chess master would hide inside the lefthand cupboard.

Chess Player The Turk Photo by Gail Worley

The mysterious machine sparked discussions of the possibilities and limits of artificial intelligence, and it inspired development of the power loom, the telephone, and the computer. The original and its secrets were destroyed in a fire in 1854. This reproduction is by American magician, John Gaughan.

Photographed as part of the exhibit Making Marvels at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

John Mosler’s First Large Scale Sculpture Decusatio Now On View Outside The Norwood Club!

Decusation by John Mosler
All Photos By Gail

Brooklyn-based artist John Mosler’s first large-scale outdoor sculpture, Decusatio – meaning Intersection in Latin – is now installed on the terrace at Norwood, the historic townhouse and private members club at 241 West 14th Street. The figurative work was informed by its 14th Street location which, for many, has come to serve as a delineation point between uptown and downtown.

Placed on the balcony, Decusatio is hard to miss; rising over eight feet tall, and painted in a vibrant yellow hue. The work offers a conceptual framework that is intended to respect and enhance the Club and its history, while simultaneously connecting to the location, activity and history in the surrounding area.

Decusation Sculpture

Decusatio’s placement required innovative technical and engineering applications by the artist to ensure it was light enough to be easily placed on a metal balcony, while also durable enough to withstand the outdoor elements.  Mosler offers, “The figurative over tone and the bright yellow color is intended to capture the intersection of humanity and the vibrant human interaction in the surrounding physical environment.”

Decusation Close Up

Martin Kesselman, color influencer and owner of INCOLOUR, worked with Mosler on finding the right hue. “Yellow tends to be perceived in many different ways, more so than other colors,” he explains. “We wanted to stay clear of a frosty cast, one that may veer green. Natural exterior light can play some trickery, so we had to walk that warm and cool fine line.”

Norwood Club Exterior

About Norwood:

The Andrew Norwood House is an elegant urban residence designed in a transitional style which combines Greek revival and italianate features. A remarkably preserved slice of early Victorian architecture and lifestyle – both inside and out; the House is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.In 2007 Alan Linn opened Norwood Club, a bustling five-story club with more than 1,100 members ranging from 21 to 80 years old. Its ranks include architects, artists, fashion designers, musicians, media moguls, and art collectors.

Decusation at Night

Modern Art Monday Presents: Antonieta Sosa, Visual Chess

Visual Chess
Photo By Gail

For Venezuelan artist Antonieta Sosa, Ajedrez Visual(Visual Chess), 1965, was “like my spinal column or my umbilical cord, uniting me to painting.” Scattered pops of color interrupt the regularity of the black grid, animating it with the playful movement suggested by the work’s title.

At times, these contrasting hues prompt an optical flickering or afterimage. To Sosa, such retinal effects underscore vision as a dynamic physiological process. Thus, Visual Chess foreshadows her eventual decisions to “come down from the wall” to engage with real space and bodies in the form of sculpture, performance and installations.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Arshile Gorky, The Plough and The Song

The Plough and The Song
Photo By Gail

By the early 1940s, the largely self-taught, Armenian-born Arshile Gorky had formed close friendships with several members of the Surrealist group in New York, including Roberto Matta, who encouraged him to develop his own personal abstract language through experimentation with automatism and biomorphic forms. Gorky turned to the subject matter of fertility and nature; at the same time, he frequently visited the Connecticut and Virginia countrysides, which reminded him of his homeland.

Combining these ideas around 1944, the artist began to work on the theme of The Plough and The Song (1946). Though the organic forms and sinuous, curving lines here seem spontaneous, Gorky planned the composition very carefully, systematically developing the imagery of this canvas in at least three drawings and three oil paintings.

Photographed in The Art Institute, Chicago.

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.