Installation View With Rene Gabriel’s Bridge Armchair (All Photos By Gail)
The celebrated French artist César (born Cesare Baldaccini) was a founding member in 1960 of the Nouveaux Réalistes group. His amorphous bronze and glass Expansion Table (1977) is one of the rare works in which César applied hisExpansiontechnique to a functional object. Whereas he also created a handful of bronze ashtrays, lamps, as well as the console commissioned by Henri Samuel, the Expansion Table is the object in which César philosophy — his belief that life and art are one entity, indivisible —achieves its apex.
Some background on César’s Expansions: One of the artist’s great breakthroughs in the late 1960s took the form of sculptural spills called Expansions. Realized with liquid polyurethane foam, a novel material at the time, each spill involved actively pouring specifically tinted foam, allowing it to expand, and then leaving it to set in a process that resulted in soft forms several times larger than their original liquid volume.
César was moved by this material’s freedom and energy — rather than conforming to the matrix of a mold, it actually spread and expanded in what would famously become a critically admired analog for the new spirit of liberation that marked the era. As Pierre Restany noted in 1970, “César’s expansions reveal a new phase in his work, the phase of maturity: the mastering of the technique allied to the freedom of form.”
Photographed at at Demisch Danant, Located at 30 West 12th Street in NYC.
Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877) often painted the rocky grotto at The Source of the Loue (1854), the river that flows through his native village, Ornan, in the French-Comte region of eastern France. This view is probably one of four he mentioned to the art dealer Jules Luquet in the spring of 1864 when he wrote, “I’ve been to the source of the Loue these last days and made four landscapes [measuring] about 1 meter 40.”
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
On an otherwise gloomy and very rainy Sunday in New York, we made our way to the NYBG in the Bronx for the second day of artist Yayoi Kusama’s new exhibit, Kusama: Cosmic Nature. While Saturday’s opening day enjoyed the benefit of bright sun and warm temperatures, we did not let the overcast skies dampen our sprits at all while exploring this amazing exhibit which showcases of all of Kusama’s ‘greatest hits’ (if you know what I mean). An in-depth review will likely be on the horizon here on The ‘Gig. In the meantime, check it out for yourself buy snagging a couple of hot tickets at This Link!
Actor Mel Gibson rose to stardom in the 1979 film Mad Max, an action movie set in a dystopian future. In 2006, Gibson directed and cowrote Apocalypto, a dystopian fantasy set in the past. Drawing on durable colonialist tropes, Apocalypto portrays the indigenous civilizations of a pre-Colombian Central America as irredeemably brutal and doomed; the film ends with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. During the time that elapsed between the release of these two films, Gibson’s life took many sordid turns that land Apocalypto’s melodramatic tagline — “No One Can Outrun Their Destiny” — an ironic air. Mel Gibson Story (2010) by Jonathan Horowitz illustrates the actor’s downward spiral through a five-panel metamorphosis of the two movie posters.
Long-haul New Yorker’s (and East Villagers like me, especially) constantly bemoan the fact that Manhattan is becoming increasingly gentrified. The innumerable local-business closures caused by the pandemic have only exacerbated the loss of historical identity in an area that was once arguably the coolest neighborhood in NYC. When the legendary Rock & Roll boutique Trash & Vaudeville was forced to relocate from St. Mark’s Place after four decades in the same location, it really felt like nothing is sacred. It is a small conciliation then that a new contemporary art gallery, Public Access, opened this past September in the downstairs storefront formerly occupied by Trash. I recently had the chance to check out the gallery’s current exhibit, a solo show of paintings by artist Marika Thunder entitled Dress Up My Lindsay. The series has an interesting autobiographical backstory for the painter.
In 1911, while staying at Spurveskjul, his rented home near Copenhagen, Vilhelm Hammershoi undertook a group of self-portraits that encapsulate his reputation as a painter of tranquil, light-filled interiors. This composition (1911) shows the artist at work, with his left hand raised, as if reflected in a mirror. The sunlit door and window behind him are two of his signature motifs. Left unfinished, the painting was kept by the artist’s wife, Ida, and then her descendants, until 2014. A closely related painting is in the Statens Museum for Kunst (Art), Copenhagen.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
A unique take on the concept of ‘Indoor/Outdoor’ furniture is perhaps unintentionally offered in British artist Jonathan Trayte’s recent exhibit of sculptural art furniture, MelonMelonTangerine, at Freidman Benda Gallery. Intended to transport the viewer to an otherworldly botanical garden, pieces like the Black Dakota Lamp (2019) combine industrial materials such as stainless steel, bronze, polymer compound, and reinforced plastics, and brass leaver, with a base covered in crushed glass, and blown-glass light sconces to create an eclectic light-emitting tree.
This and other works in the collection were inspired by Trayte’s recent 2000-mile road trip through the Western United States. With a keen perception and eye for the obscure, the artist finds the surreal in our everyday surroundings and within the fabric of daily life. Realized while in isolation amidst the current pandemic, he recalls hazy visions of sedimentary rock formations, Joshua trees, lichens, silver cholla cacti and prickly pear fruits to inform this new body of work. We are excited to be featuring more whimsical works from MelonMelonTangerine in the coming weeks!