Tag Archive | Artist

Modern Art Monday Presents: Paul Klee, Mask of Fear

Mask of Fear
Photo By Gail

This curious personage, with four small spindly legs supporting a visage of stunned eyes and a quizzical smirk, or handlebar moustache, offers a satiric take on the work’s grim title. Inspired by a Zuni war god sculpture that Klee saw at an ethnological museum, Mask of Fear (1932) was painted on the eve of Hitler’s assumption of power in Germany.

Mask of Fear

The two sets of legs suggest that two figures might be supporting, and concealed by, this monumental carnival-style mask, an arrangement that might understood in light of Klee’s assertion that “the mask represents art, and behind it hides man.”

Photographed in Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Michael Jackson and Bubbles
Photos By Gail

In imagining Michael Jackson (19582009) as a contemporary god of pop culture, Jeff Koons draws on long histories of representing mythic figures in sculpture. In Michael Jackson and and Bubbles (1988), the singer cradles his pet chimpanzee, mimicking a Pieta as perhaps a poignant evolutionary take on the composition of a mother and her child. Koons uses the techniques and conventions of traditional Meissen porcelain — a medium often associated with kitsch — on a grand scale, to underscore the mass appeal of his subject. Similarly, the pronounced use of gold signals excess to the point of banality, even as it reflects the brilliance of the megastar in the manner of an Egyptian pharaoh.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body, at The Met Breuer, NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Duane Hanson, Housewife

Housewife
Photo By Gail

Sculptor Duane Hanson (1925 – 1996) often identified the figures in his artworks by their occupation or social roles, rather than their names. His photorealistic sculptural portraits — cast from life, painted and dressed in clothes corresponding to their roles — are thus transformed into ethnographic types. Their positions subtly critique their social realities as well as the context of their display. Hanson’s typically lower-and-middle class characters are empathetically portrayed in private or mundane moments, and their appearance is at once startlingly present, yet distinctly at odds in a gallery setting, where they are encountered almost voyeuristically, thus amplifying their isolation.

Housewife Detail

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body, at The Met Breuer, NYC.

Housewife

Artist Kevin Champeny Creates Mosaic Portraits of Hillary and Trump From 1,000s of Tiny Middle Fingers

Dump Truck Full View
Dump Truck (All Photos By Gail)

Do you hate Donald Trump? I sure do. Dump (which is what I call him exclusively, with a rare exception being this blog post) sucks ass wildly, and he is destroying our country in ways few, if any, of us could have heretofore imagined possible. Dump’s outrageous suckitude inspires many artists to create art out of his likeness, because it makes him easier to mock. Yay! That being said, I was recently pitched a story on Kevin Champeny, a comntemporary artist whose medium is creating sculptures made up of other tiny sculptures that are related to whatever the larger image is all about. Watch a video on Kevin’s practice at This Link to see him in action and get a better idea of what I am talking about, because he is truly amazing. Even better, Kevin cites Kris Kuksi (one of our favorites) as a major influence. Awesome.

Staying with his favorite medium, Kevin’s most recent project includes two mosaic portraits, Defiance (Dump) and Fair Game/Defiant (Hillary Clinton), each of which are comprised of 4,000 hand-cast urethane Middle Fingers. Just being serious. Even though I am a huge Hillary fan (#StillWithHer), I knew I had to check out these artworks in person, and fortunately that this was not hard to do. A week or so ago, Kevin (with assistance from his friend, glass truck owner Chris, who formerly ran the pop up Sock Truck out of the mobile glass unit) launched the Defiance / Fair Game Glass Truck Tour in New York City. Over the course of four days (May 3rd – 6th) the truck made stops around town, targeting highly foot-trafficked areas like Union Square Park, The Oculus/ WTC, Madison Square Park, Bryant Park, Times Square, and Pier 94 (where Art Fair NY was taking place). I caught up with the truck while it was parked on Seventh Avenue, just across the street from Madison Square Garden / Penn Station at 5 PM on the Friday evening.

Dump Truck
Defiance Portrait

Dump Fingers
Defiance Portrait, Surface Detail

Gail and Kevin by Dump

Here I am with Kevin in front of Defiance. Please note that I was originally posed flipping off the portrait, but this is the pose that the photographer sent to me, so, whatever. Kevin looks great and so does the art!  While I am unsure of Kevin’s political leanings, he remains completely nonpartisan when discussing the artworks, and I believe this a smart move. It allows for greater freedom of interpretation by the viewer in experiencing each piece, which is what art is all about. Art!

Hillary Truck

For example,  I support and voted for Hillary Clinton, and I still wish she was our President, because that could have prevented so many horrible things that have come to pass since November of 2016.  Sadness. I hadn’t planned on including her portrait in the post, but then Kevin explained to me that he co-titled the piece “Defiant” because of how she stood up to all of the haters and endless bullshit that was lobbed at her. And, when you consider it from that perspective, it also reminded me of this meme, which was created during the campaign by my friend Beth.

Clinton For America Meme

*Sigh* She is my Hero.

Kevin Champeny’s work is unique, intricate and thought provoking. Get more information on Kevin and his various projects at This Link and follow him on Instagram at @kevinchampeny.

Post Card

Modern Art Monday Presents: Triathlon (Scenario) By Robert Rauschenberg

Triathlon (Scenario)
Photo By Gail

After suffering a stroke in 2002 that left his right arm partially paralyzed, Robert Rauschenberg (19252008) was no longer able to take photographs, nor was he able to transfer and arrange them into new compositions, as he had been doing since the early 1950s. As Triathlon (Scenario)  (2005) shows, these obstacles did not prevent him from making art. Relying on the sorts of collaborative processes that had fueled his work for decades, Rauschenberg invited his friends to take photographs with digital cameras that he provided. He then selected from the images they produced and instructed one of his studio assistants at the time, Kevin Pottorf , in the transfer and arrangments of these imgaes onto two panels

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Peanuts Street Art Mash Up By André

Snoopy and Mr A
Photo By Gail

Swedish graffiti artist André (André Saraiva, AKA Monsieur André or Mr. A) revists a classic Peanuts comic strip scenario as Snoopy interacts with  Saraiva’s signature stick-figure doodle, Mr. A, on the wall of a downtown parking lot.

Part of The Peanuts Global Artist Collective, This Piece was Spotted at 304 Hudson Street at Spring Street in SoHo, NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: David Hockney, Breakfast at Malibu, Sunday

Breakfast at Malibu, Sunday
Photo By Gail

In the late 1980s, David Hockney bought a house on the beach in Malibu, California and proceeded to paint interiors that showcased the incredible view of the sea from his picture window. “When you live this close to the sea,” he said, “when it literally comes up and splashes the windows, it is not the horizon line which dominates, but the close movement of  the water itself. It’s like fire and smoke, endlessly changing, endlessly fascinating.” In Breakfast at Malibu, Sunday (1989) the Pacific Ocean is almost opalescent and seems to blend in with the horizon near the top edge  of the canvas.

Part of a Private Collection, This Painting was Photographed While On Loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.