Tag Archive | Artist

Modern Art Monday Presents: Portrait of Jacob Meyer de Haan By Paul Gauguin

Portrait of Jacob Meyer de Haan
Photo By Gail

This portrait from 1889 depicts one of Paul Gauguin’s closest friends, the Dutch painter Jacob Meyer de Haan, in the pose of a thinker. The painting includes two books that reflect Meyer de Haan’s preoccupations with religion and philosophy: John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Thomas Carlysle’s Sartor Resartus. Carlysle’s central character is called Diogenes, after the Greek philosopher who searched by lamplight for an honest man, and the prominent lamp shown here may extend the reference. This work was originally intended to form part of  a decorative panel for the door of an inn at Le Pouldo — a small coastal village in France where both artists stayed — and was to be hung next to a companion self-portrait by Gauguin that is now in the collection of the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

 

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Peter Fischli, Snowman

Snowman Sculpture
All Photos By Gail

Where else but the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art could you see a preserved Snowman in the middle of a summer heat wave? I ask yez.

Snowman Sculpture
Damn You, Reflective Glass Case

Snowman (2016) a sculpture composed of an actual snowman encased in a glass-door freezer, by Peter Fischli (Swiss, b. 1952) and his longtime collaborator David Weiss (Swiss, 1946–2012). This Snowman is an updated version of a 1987 site-specific work by Fischli and Weiss that was commissioned by a German thermic power plant whose energy—in the form of heat, paradoxically — was used to keep the snowman perpetually frozen. Though a snowman is, as Fischli observes, a “sculpture that almost anyone can make” simply by rolling three spheres of snow and setting them atop one another, Fischli and Weiss’s Snowman is dependent on a technically complex apparatus for its year-round subsistence. Over the course of three decades of collaboration, the two artists explored and exploited contradictions such as this one and investigated the extraordinary potential of ordinary objects and situations.

Snowman Sculpture Head Detail
Snowman Sculpture Head Detail

Snowman is part of Peter Fischli’s Artist’s Choice presentation in the sculpture garden, which also includes a selection of other works in MoMA’s collection alongside Fischli’s original pieces.

Snowman Sculpture With Viewers

Urs Fischer, Things at Gagosian Gallery Pop Up Space

Things Front View
All Photos By Gail

The Gagosian Gallery chose an empty storefront at the the southeast corner or Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street for a Pop Up exhibit by Swiss artist Urs Fisher. The ad hoc gallery space contained exactly one work of art, a life-size Aluminum Rhinoceros entitled Things, whose form is adorned with an array of familiar, functional objects, ranging from a toilet to a handbag. The objects are either imbedded in the hide of the great beast, or they seem to float on its surface, as if attracted by a magnetic force. I went to check out Things on the penultimate day of its exhibition, which happened to be after work on a Friday.

Things Back and Right Side

Here’s some background on Things, and its meaning, from the Gagosian website:

“Amid the bustle of midtown Manhattan, a rhinoceros can be glimpsed through tall, arched windows at street level. Various man-made objects — including a copy machine, a car door, a handbag, a vacuum cleaner, a shovel, and a table — seem to float right through the creature, as if released from Earth’s gravitational pull.

Things Photocopier Detail

Carved out of aluminum, this barrage of incongruous items forms a single, continuous unit, anchored by the rhinoceros, which stands its ground. Produced at life size from a 3D scan of a taxidermy animal, its furrowed visage looms from a height of more than ten feet.

Things Back End

Things considers the ways that objects and forces — from plastic bottles and Wi-Fi signals to memories, history, and emotion — gather around and pass through our bodies as we move through the world, creating countless versions of reality that are specific to each of us.

Things Rear Leg Detail

Things Front and Right Side

Things Toilet

Like the rhinoceros, we absorb all that comes into our vicinity, and in the process we ourselves undergo a constant, often undetectable metamorphosis. Existence itself is thus presented as an accumulation, a collective gathering of physical and metaphorical baggage.

Things Right Rear

In his use of traditional materials and current technologies, Urs Fischer’s art tests the boundaries of possibility and perception. He has used clay, steel, wax, bread, dirt, vegetables, and fruit, among other substances, often to extreme paradoxical visual effect, revealing a keen attunement to the infinite mutability of image and form. The vicissitudes of objecthood are further complicated when Fischer’s sculptures are installed outside of the typical white-walled gallery.

Things Back Detail

In a courtyard, a vacated bank, an open field, his extroverted works have acted as portals into the uncanny. Here, the portal opens right between Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. An extraordinary creature made up of ordinary parts, Things transports unsuspecting passersby, if just for a moment, into a world that is at once prehistoric, digital, and mysteriously uncharted.

Things Head Detail

Things was produced in a series of three identical pieces, and all three have been sold to private collectors.

Things Front and Left Side

Modern Art Monday Presents: Norman Rockwell, The Problem We All Live With

The Problem We All Live With
All Photos By Gail

After resigning from his forty-seven year tenure with The Saturday Evening Post in 1963, Norman Rockwell (18941978) embraced the challenge of addressing the nation’s pressing concerns in pared down, reportorial style. The Problem We All Live With (1963), his illustration for Look magazine, is based upon an actual event, when six-year-old Ruby Bridges was escorted by US Marshalls to her first day at an all-white New Orleans school. Rockwell’s depiction of the vulnerable but dignified girl clearly condemns the actions of those who protest her presence and object to desegregation.

White Dress
White Dress Worn By Model Lynda Gunn

Rockwell commissioned this white dress, and two others like it, in different sizes from a local Stockbridge, Massachusetts seamstress. He was not sure yet of the age or size of his model, and he typically posed several people in the same role before deciding who best fit the part. For the child in The Problem We All Live With, he ultimately selected his neighbor, Lynda Gunn.

All Photos Taken at The New York Historical Society in Manhattan.

HomerBob: The Homer Simpson SpongeBob MashUp Mural On Stanton Street

Homer Bob
All Photos By Gail

I’ve been noticing this mural out the window of the M15 SBS bus as it speeds up Allen Street during my journey home from work on selected evenings. From the look of it, I assumed this was just a mural of Homer Simpson’s face peaking out from the side of a building on Stanton Street. But on closer inspection, it proved to be much more.

Homer Bob

Anyone who is up on their pop culture would recognize the hand at the left as belonging to the beloved cartoon character — and star of his own Broadway musical — SpongeBob SquarePants, and when you closely examine Homer’s face, he has quite obviously taken on the complexion of SpongeBob. Thus, this is HomerBob, the creation of street artist Jerkface.

Homer Bob

Homer Bob

He’s just next to the MeatBall Shop! Yummy!

Homer Bob

Modern Art Monday Presents: Jasper Johns, Between The Clock and The Bed

Johns Between the Clock and The Bed
All Photos By Gail

Jasper Johns began to incorporate a cross-hatch pattern in his paintings after seeing it on a car: “It had all the qualities that interest me — literalness, repetitiveness, an obsessive quality, order with dumbness, and the possibility of a complete lack of meaning.” Using encaustic, a method of paint that suspends pigment in hot wax, Johns created lush, layered paintings with richly textured surfaces.

Munch Between the Clock and The Bed
Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait Between the Clock and The Bed

Between The Clock and The Bed (1981) reference’s Self-Portrait Between The Clock and The Bed (1940 – 43), one of artist Edvard Munch’s last works.

Jasper Johns Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art NYC. Edvard Munch Photographed in the Met Breuer, NYC.

Army of One Memorial Mural, First Street Green, NYC

Army of One Mural
Photos By Gail

This wall mural, located at the First Street Green Art Park, in NYC’s east village pays tribute to the late firefighter and street artist Jef Campion, aka Army of One.

Army of One Mural Detail Sign
Explanatory Tag by Fumero

Army of One Mural Detail
Army of One Mural Detail

Two of Campion’s signature images are featured on the mural. One is the very recognizabe Bride of Frankenstein, while another is Grenade Boy, which Campion appropriated from Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. (1962), possibly the most famous photograph by Diane Arbus. Suffering from PTSD, along with the physical affects of having been a 9/11 first responder, Jef Campion took his own life in January of 2014, at the age of just 52. RIP.