Tag Archive | Artist

Modern Art Monday Presents: Woman With Dog By Katharina Fritsch

Woman With Dog
All Photos By Gail

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.

Woman With Dog
Installation View

“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

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.

Woman With Dog

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.

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The Spitting Fountains of Chicago

Millennium Park,
All Photos By Gail

Add this to the long list of Very Cool Things I saw on my recent Chicago vacation: Spitting Fountains. Well, the proper name for this distinctive piece of public art is Crown Fountain, located in Millennium Park, but if you were a tourist and you asked a Chicago local to point you in the direction of “The Spitting Fountains,” I bet they would know what you meant.

Opened in July 2004, Crown Fountain is an interactive work of public art and video sculpture designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects.  The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers.

Crown Fountain Smiling 2

The towers are 50 feet tall and use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to display digital videos on their inward faces. While some of the videos displayed are of scenery, most attention has focused on its video clips of the faces of local residents. Here’s where the spitting part comes in: a powerful stream of water intermittently cascades down the two towers, spouting through a nozzle on each tower’s front face. Not coincidentally, the nozzle will line up with the mouth of whatever face is being displayed. Clever.

Crown Fountain Spitting

Here’s how you can best plan your photos to get a shot of the spitting. Each face appears on the sculpture for a total of 5 minutes using various parts of individual 80-second videos.  A 40-second section is played at one-third speed forward and backward, running for a total of 4 minutes.  Then, there is a subsequent segment, where the mouth is puckering, that is stretched to 15 seconds. This is followed by a section, in which the water appears to spout from the open mouth, that is stretched to last for 30 seconds.

Crown Fountain Smiling

Finally, there is a smile after the completion of the water spouting from the mouth, that is slowed to extend for 15 seconds. The water operates only from May to October.

Crown Fountain 2

Crown Fountain highlights Plensa’s themes of dualism, light, and water, extending the use of video technology from his prior works. Its use of water is unique among Chicago’s many fountains, in that it promotes physical interaction between with the public, and children especially appear to enjoy frolicing in the fountain’s water.

Crown Fountain Spitting

In fact, if you are on the street passing by and can’t even see the fountain, you can tell when it is spitting because you can hear the loud and delighted squealing of children.

Crown Fountain Smiling 3

Crown Fountain is adjacent to another famous Chicago landmark, Anish Kapoor’s Cloudgate (aka The Bean), so you can see them both next time you visit this beautiful city!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gertrude Abercrombie, Self Portrait As My Sister

Self Portrait As My Sister
Photo By Gail

Chicago-based surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie (19091977) 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.

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago.

Building Façade Mural in Greenpoint Brooklyn By Ola Kalnins

Mural at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues
Photos By Gail

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.

Mural at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues

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.

Mural at Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenues

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!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Kathe Burkhart, Fuck You: From The Liz Taylor Series

Kathe Burkhart Fuck You
Photo By Gail

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.

Photographed at The Art Institute Chicago.

Pink Thing Of The Day: Dance of The Pacific Coast Highway at Sunset By Amber Cowan

Pink Thing Of The Day
All Photos By Gail

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.

Pink Glass Sculpture Detail

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.

Edge Detail

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.

Dance of the Pacific Coast Highway

Modern Art Monday Presents: Boy By Charles Ray

Boy By Charles Ray
All Photos By Gail

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.

Boy With Guard
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.Boy By Charles Ray

Photographed at the Art Institute of Chicago.