Tag Archive | Art

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.

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.

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.

Explore The History of Graffiti and Street Art At Beyond The Streets NYC!

Art By CES
Art By CES, AKA Robert Provenzano (All Photos By Gail)

Do you like Street Art? I Sure do. Whether you’re already an avid fan of street art, or are just curious about, and open to, getting schooled on the evolution of this rather phenomenal genre of pop culture, you have through the final weekend in September to immerse yourself in an ambitious, but temporary, street art museum called Beyond the Streets.

Spray Paint Cans in Elevator
Spray Paint Cans Wallpaper Inside The Elevator

Sculpture By TENGAone
Paintings and Sculpture By TENGAone

Beyond The Streets is a celebration of society’s most pervasive mark makers and rule breakers with unprecedented purpose and scale; inside these walls you will find a collection of stories and works by artists past and present who have helped to propel graffiti and street art to extraordinary heights. Works from more than 150 of the world’s leading graffiti and street artists from past and present are represented, alongside cutting-edge contemporary artists and pop culture icons. The exhibit spans two full floors on the footprint of an entire city block, in a newly-constructed high rise office building on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (the views alone are worth the price of admission).

Storefront Mural Photos By Jim Prigoff
Storefront Mural Photos By Jim Prigoff

Installation View
Installation View

View 3
Here’s One Of Those Views I Mentioned

Beyond The Streets explores the collective urgency of using the street as a canvas for expression, and while the subject matter varies and the mediums are many, it is in the public sphere where these messages find a home.

Graffiti Mural
Mural By Tats Cru / The Mural Kings

The story starts more than 50 years ago, in the mid to late 1960s, when the contemporary concept of graffiti took shape in the streets of New York and Philadelphia. Disenfranchised youth, inspired equally from boredom and ego, started scrawling their names and monikers everywhere, spawning copycats and competition.

Subway Car Graffiti Photos By Henry Chalfant
Subway Car Graffiti Photos By Henry Chalfant

These early acts of letter-based marks, created in both marker and spray paint, became monumental when repeated on a global scale.

Death of Graffiti 3 By Lady Pink
Death of Graffiti 3 By Lady Pink

People have long taken to the streets to share a name, phrase, image or cause with the world around them to force a public discourse. Streets act as the symbolically important public stage that is both local and universal, the bedrock for both public protest and anonymous action.

Mural By Lee Quinones
Soul Train Mural By Lee Quinones

The streets also act as a tool for civic engagement and activism, and Beyond The Streets includes figures who have used their art to unite the oppressed around a common cause. As it is so often said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and simple gestures in public spaces can quickly galvanize a movement, raising awareness of an issue and resulting in change.

Basquiat and Herring
Keith Haring With His Artwork Plus Decorated Leather Jacket, and Drawings by Jean-Michel Basquiat

For some, the streets were a starting point to evolve their message and style. Pushing their craft in figurative, illustrative, realist or abstract directions, they turned their energy and experience toward more traditional settings. For others, graffiti was never an origin, but an inspiration. Elements of graffiti and street art can be found across music, fashion and contemporary art, all helping this culture to proliferate further.

Beastie Boys Logo By Cey Adams
Beastie Boys Logo By Cey Adams

Beastie Boys Installation

The Beasties Boys have multiple galleries dedicated to their music, memorabilia and hip hop legacy. If you’re a fan, you won’t want to miss it!

Beastie Boys 1984 By Josh Cheuse
Pboto of The Beastie Boys Circa 1984 By Josh Cheuse

Beyond The Streets affirms a truth that cannot be overstated: Graffiti and Street Art would not have become what they have without New York City! Let’s take a look at a selection of the thousands of pieces of art — including sculptures, paintings, posters, flyers, installations, photography, and other ephemera that you’ll see in this fantastic exhibit!

Photos By Maripol
Photos By Maripol

Art By Crash
Art By John “CRASH” Matos

Art By Rammellzee
Art By Rammellzee

Lynzy and Art Fans

Friendly docent Lynzy gently reminds a pair of enthusiastic young ones that there is no touching of the art!

Installation View
Installation View

Art By Daze
Daily Commute (Left) and The Four Seasons (Right) by Chris “DAZE” Ellis

Maya Hayuk Fuck Mural
Fuck Mural By Maya Hayuk

Kenny Scharf Sculpture and Mural
Kenny Scharf’s Totemtiki Kinetic Sculpture and Mural

View 1
Let’s Take a Break to Check Out That View Again!

Hip Hop Flyers By Buddy Esquire
Hip Hop Flyers By Buddy Esquire

Magic Touch By Bert Krak and Alexis Ross

Check out this crazy thing: the Magic Touch Porch Tattoo Parlor installation by Bert Krak and Alexis Ross. So cool!

Tattoos

Magic Touch

Untitled Polaroid By Dash Snow
Untitled Polaroid By Dash Snow

Model Train Freight Car Graffiti
Model Train Examples of Freight Train Car Graffiti

Assorted Posters
Posters Collage Installation By Craig R. Stecyk III

Installation By DABSMYLA
Flower-Themed Art Installation By The Husband and Wife Team Known As DABSMYLA

Art By Andre Saraiva

Art Above and Below By André Saraiva.

Art By Andre Saraiva

Lynzys Manicure By Andre
Also By André: Lynzy’s Manicure!

Art By Cleon Peterson
Art By Cleon Peterson

Art By Craig Costello
Art By Craig Costello

Fan The Flames By Shepard Fairey
Fan The Flames By Shepard Fairey

The politically-themed art of Shepard Fairey gets a huge amount of space in the exhibit (see below). All his stuff is great.

Art By Shepard Fairey

Trash Records Pop Up Record Store
Trash Records Pop Up Record Store, Exterior

Trash Records Pop Up Record Store
Trash Records Pop Up Record Store, Interior

Installation View
Art By Mister Cartoon

Installation View
Installation View

Beyond the Streets is all kinds of crazy fun, and there is so much more on display than what I’ve had room for here. We spent close to three hours exploring the exhibit, just taking our time and looking at everything, but you could easily make a full afternoon of it if you really wanted to read all the stories and take a ton of selfies (there are many excellent selfie opportunities that I didn’t cover here, but trust me that the exhibit is infinitely Instagram-able). I’d suggest allowing a minimum of two and one-half hours inside the exhibit. Plan your visit now!

Beyond the Streets Runs Through September 29th, 2019 and is Located at 25 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY (Take the L Train to the Bedford Stop and Walk about 10 Minutes). Tickets are $25 for Adults and Kids Over 12, $11 for Kids Aged 6 to 11, and Free for Kids Aged 5 and Under. Visit This Link For More Information Such as Hours, Discounts, and to Purchase Tickets! 

Art By Faile

Art Above and Below By Faile (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller)

Art By Faile

Queen Andrea’s Believe Mural On The Houston Bowery Wall

Queen Andrea Believe Mural
All Photos By Gail

Even though it’s been up since June 4th, it was just last week that I finally had the chance to check out the latest amazingly colorful mural on display at the famous Houston Bowery Wall, which is entitled Believe,  and is the work of Andrea von Bujdoss, aka Queen Andrea. Queen Andrea is a New York City-based artist who specializes in fine art, murals, typography, and graphic design.  Believe serves as a celebration of the city’s cultural diversity and “vibrancy of urban life.”

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

For Believe, in which Queen Andrea used paints in super bright colors, the eponymous typography messaging is a focal point, along with the words Love More on the lower right corner at street level. The artist uses these encouraging messages about staying positive and believing in what inspires you the most and makes you love more!

Queen Andrea Believe Mural

Queen Andrea’s focus on typography as an artist is an evolution of her history as a female graffiti artist. She grew up near the Houston Bowery Wall in Soho, where she began painting graffiti and studying graphic design as a young teen. The mural is  part of an ongoing partnership between Goldman Global Arts and Citi.

The Houston Bowery Mural Wall is located at the intersections of East Houston Street and Bowery on the Northwest Corner.

Queen Andrea Believe Mural