Tag Archive | Assemblage

Kenny Scharf, Inner and Outer Space at Deitch Projects

Kenny Scharf Face Painting
All Photos By Gail

Whether you’re seeing his colorful works out on the street, or in the gallery, Kenny Scharf has one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the contemporary art world. Deitch Projects downtown is currently hosting Inner and Outer Space, an ambitious exhibit of Sharf’s newest works which features several distinct collections that provide evidence of Scharf’s enthusiasm for expanding his oeuvre, while staying true to the playful characteristics of his work that his fans love the most.

Deitch Projects Building Exterior

You can get a hint of what you’re in for before you even stop inside the gallery

Drip Faces

The faces are melting in Kenny Scharf’s new paintings. “Things are disintegrating,” says the artist. “I am reacting to our increasingly out-of-control situation.” Scharf’s work continues to be infused by his inexhaustible optimism and his sense of fun, but there has always been an engagement with profound issues beneath the façade. Ecology, the environment, and capitalist excess have long been central themes.

Drip Faces

Kenny Scharf’s work has always combined and contrasted the pop culture he absorbed growing up in Los Angeles with the important innovations in modern and contemporary art. His earlier work fused Dali and Disney. More recently, he has been in dialogue with Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. In the new work, he merges his distinct style with color field and stain painting. “I like to connect with every movement in 20th-century art,” Scharf explains. “I make new hybrids, taking it all in and putting it in a blender.”

Inner and Outer Space Installation View

Drip Faces

Scharf is very enthusiastic about his new “sloppy style” that characterizes the major paintings in the exhibition. Rows of faces disintegrate into colorful drips reminiscent of both New York School painting and the serial imagery of minimal art. In these new works, Scharf is striving to create clear and simple forms that resonate with meaning. He feels liberated and excited, adding that “it is so much fun.”

Inner and Outer Space Installation View

Like his artistic colleagues from his early years in New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Scharf studied cartoons as a way to intensify figurative expression. He makes use of cartoon faces to express emotion with abstract power.

TV Bax Installation View

In the past, Kenny found many of the items integrated into his art in the garbage,and even today he still stops his car when he finds plastic toys and TV sets thrown away on the street. These discarded plastic objects have inspired the two other bodies of work featured in the show, one being   TV Bax.

TV Bax Red and Green

The TV Bax are painted on the plastic backs of discarded television sets. Like the toys, the TV backs have a disconcerting anthropomorphic quality. Scharf wonders if their anonymous designers created these plastic covers, which are different for every model, to resemble a face.

TV Bax Red

TV Bax Red Detail
TV Bax, Detail

Scharf finds these thrown-away toys and TV backs to be poignant objects, resonant with emotion. “Each of these objects carries a story,” Scharf explains. He thinks about how people might have struggled and sacrificed to buy these toys and TVs, and about the intense relationship that children and families have with them. Scharf resurrects the lives of these inanimate objects in his work. He also notes that garbage keeps changing with technology. The backs of TV sets used to have large protruding “noses.” Now they are flatter and more similar to a canvas.

TV Bax Purple and Blue

TV Bax Sky with Clouds

Toy Assemblage

Another new collection, his Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, inspired by the Nouveau Realistes, are constructed from his stock of recycled plastic toys. These wall sculptures, which mix assorted toy parts with Scharf’s whimsical animated faces, are my favorite items in the exhibit.

Toy Assemblage

Toy Assemblage Installation View
Installation View
Toy Assemblage

Toy Assemblage Detail
Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, Detail

Toy Assemblage

Toy Assemblage

Since his childhood, Scharf has been fascinated by outer space. Space travel and the portrayal of infinite space have long been central themes. In his life and in his work, he tries to eliminate boundaries and borders. As he pursues his dialogue with the great painters of the New York School, he is increasingly preoccupied with the inner space of painting. His exploration of inner space creates a dynamic tension with his passion for outer space. With his characteristic exuberance and his moral voice, Scharf reformulates his unique combination of Pollock and Pop to create a vibrant new body of work.

Kenny Scharf Signage

Kenny Scharf’s Inner and Outer Space will be on Exhibit Through December 22nd, 2017 at Deitch Projects, Located at 18 Wooster Street (Just North of Canal) in NYC.

Kenny Scharf and Friend
Kenny Scharf and Friend at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception.

Inner and Outer Space Installation View

Advertisements

Tom Wesselmann Retrospective at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Volkswagon
All Photos By Gail

Mitchell-Innes & Nash is currently hosting the first major painting retrospective of Tom Wesselmann in New York since the artist’s death in 2004. Organized in partnership with the Tom Wesselmann Estate, the exhibition examines Wesselmann’s role as the great innovator of the American Pop generation and includes a dozen significant works spanning the artist’s career from 1961-2004. Gallery owner Lucy Mitchell-Innes explains that with this exhibition, they hope to show how Wesselmann has filtered the canonical subjects of art — still life, the nude and the landscape — through a unique and personal lens using the media and technical innovation of the sixties, seventies and eighties, offering new possibilities for painting.

Leg

Nude Smile

Tom Wesselmann is one of the leading figures of Pop Art who used collage, assemblage and shaped canvases to usher in a new vocabulary of painting. He is best known for his career-spanning series, Great American Nude, which featured female figures in intensely saturated interiors.

Nude Reclining

The works in the exhibition highlight a number of techniques that Wesselmann pioneered, and which are largely unseen among his Pop contemporaries. In an interior still life from 1964, Wesselmann incorporates a functional fan and a clock into the canvas, (see image below) pushing the boundaries of collage and assemblage in a sly nod to the notion of the ‘represented’ object.

Installation View

Mayo and Tomato

Collages from the 1960s feature cut-outs from advertising billboards. Also included in the show are Wesselmann’s steel-cut works (a technique he helped develop), molded plastic paintings (a technique borrowed from commercial signage and used here in the context of fine art for the first time), and his iconic shaped canvases.

Radio and Apple

Collage

Being a fantastic introduction to Tom Wesselmann (should you not already be familiar with his work) this is a very cool and worthwhile exhibit to add to your next art crawl during the month of May.

The Tom Wesselmann Retrospective will be on view through May 28, 2016 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Located at 534 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Signage

Mouth and Smoke

New Works By Hassan Sharif at Alexander Gray Associates

Combs (2016)
Combs, (2016) By Hassan Sharif (All Photos By Gail)

We were first introduced to the suspended sculptures and assemblage art of Hassan Sharif in the exhibit Here and Elsewhere at the New Museum back in 2014. Right now, Alexander Gray Associates is hosting a exhibit of Sharif’s recent work, featuring sculptures and woven assemblages. Recognized as a pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the United Arab Emirates over the past four decades, Sharif has transgressed traditional frameworks for art making by extending his practice to performance, installation, drawing, painting, and assemblage that integrates ordinary objects as the primary medium. The tapestry-like works in this exhibition are conceptually linked by their relationship with the human body and social structures.

Combs Detail
Combs, Detail

For this series, the artist creates artworks from sourced inexpensive and mass-produced goods that he buys at local markets in his native Dubai. By cutting, bending, grouping, and braiding these cultural artifacts, he sheds their functionality to enhance their aesthetic and political significance. For Sharif, “the work is about consumerism. “I use cheap materials, ordinary things that are readily available in the market,” he explains.

Back to School
Back to School (2015)

By weaving together, in the ancient tradition of tapestry making, ordinary objects consumed by today’s society, Sharif points both to the hyper-industrialization impacting everyday life and the abandonment of old traditions that were key to building strong bonds among the members of communities in the past. On his interest in unifying aspects of both the ancient and modern, the artist explains “I want to nurture new ways out of the old and present these in a contemporary visual and artistic context.”

Back to School Detail
Back to School , Detail

In Sharif’s body of work, the rhythmically repetitive act of weaving echoes the involuntary functions of the human body, such as swallowing, breathing, and blinking. At the same time, the materials deployed to create the works 
in this exhibition, including combs, nail clippers, masks, and gloves are traditionally used to modify or cover the body. Recently, Sharif has centered his production around large-scale wall sculptures that incorporate objects that as he describes, “people depend on greatly to keep up with their daily routines and activity. So long as they are alive, they keep using, exhausting, and relying on them as if they are, in one way or another, part of their own bodies.”

Masks
Masks (2016)

In Masks, Sharif creates a grid of many colored face masks which cascade towards the floor, tied to one another by their black ribbons to ultimately form an irregular fringe at the bottom of the sculpture. The artists notes that masks have “an important historical role. In the Middle East, women cover their faces with veils. In Africa [masks are] used in dances to ward off evil spirits. Hiding one’s identity has become increasingly important.”

Masks Detail
Masks, Detail

Ladies and Gentlemen (2014)
Ladies and Gentlemen (2014)

For Ladies and Gentlemen, he assembled mass-produced and inexpensive female and male shoes, into a drape-like object that emphasizes seriality and the dislocation of functional objects. His use of shoes speaks to an interest in sexual politics across centuries and geographies; in the work, men and women occupy a common space, and are bound together with hand-painted papier maché and ropes. In this way, he refers to the intrinsic connection between individuals and society.

Ladies and Gentlemen Detail
Ladies and Gentlemen, Detail

Sharif’s interest in visual accumulation, and in systematic production, calculations, and geometric permutations are apparent in his choice of material for Combs (2016). For this work, he assembled plastic combs in a variety of bright colors, which jut out from the wall at irregular angles creating a haphazard visual rhythm. For the artist, combs, widely used to tidy hair, exemplify the use of logic necessary in mass-production of consumer goods. As he explains, “the number of teeth, the distance between them, their length and thickness, all seem to be well calculated, and they have been so for thousands of years.” Sharif echoes the geometric precision of the combs by organizing them in a meticulous gridded pattern in space, following a calculated mathematical model of his own invention, to create a hanging tapestry.

New Works by Hassan Sharif will be on Exhibit Through May 14, 2016 at Alexander Gray Associates, Located at 510 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District

Signage

Punching Bag and Artificial Leg
Punching Bag (Left Background) and Artificial Leg (Right Foreground)

Modern Art Monday Presents: Edward Kienholz, The Friendly Grey Computer — Star Gauge Model #54

Friendly Grey Computer
Edward Kienholz, The Friendly Grey Computer — Star Gauge Model #54 Consists of Aluminum painted rocking chair, metal case, instrument boxes with dials, plastic case containing yellow and blue lights, panel with numbers, bell, “rocker switch”, pack of index cards, directions for operation, light switch, telephone receiver, motor, and doll’s legs (All Photos By Gail)

“I really began to understand any society by going through its junk stores and flea markets,” remarked artist Edward Kienholz. “I can see the results of ideas in what is thrown away by a culture.” Here, Kienholz incorporates such discarded materials into a hybrid construction — a machine with human physical traits (such as dial “eyes” and toy doll legs) and emotions. Claiming to interpret language but in fact programmed to emit information randomly, The Friendly Grey Computer (1965) speaks to the faith that we place in technology, despite its obvious limitations. Kienholz intended for viewers to interact with the work and included a set of detailed instructions for operation, as follows:.

Place master switch in the off position. Plug computer into power supply. Print your problem on yellow index card provided in rack. Word your question is such a way that it can be answered by a simple yes or no. IMPORTANT: Next, program computer heads (C-20 and G-30) by setting dials in appropriate positions. You are now ready to start machine.

Friendly Grey Computer Detail

Throw the master switch to on setting. Red bulb on main housing and white tube on C-20 will light indicating computer is working. Remove Phone from rack and speak your problem into the mouthpiece exactly as you have written it on your index card. Replace phone in rack and ding dinger once. Under NO circumstances should you turn computer off until answer has been returned. Flashing yellow bulb indicates positive answer. Flashing blue bulb indicates negative answer. Green jewel button doesn’t light, so it will not indicate anything.

Computers sometimes get fatigued and have nervous breakdowns, hence the chair for it to rest in. If you know your computer well, you can tell when it’s tired and sort of blue and in a funky mood. If such a condition seems imminent, turn rocker switch on for ten or twenty minutes. Your computer will love it and will work all the harder for you. Remember that if you treat your computer well, it will treat you well. When answer light has stopped flashing, turn master switch to off position. Machine will now recycle for the next question. Repeat procedure from the beginning.

While the work is now in too fragile a condition to permit visitor interaction, the computer is presented here in the on position with its bulbs illuminated, and will be rocked daily.

Ed Kienholz (October 23, 1927 – June 10, 1994) is acknowledged as a pioneer of is now known as installation art and assemblage art. The Friendly Grey Computer was photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Hew Locke, Koh-i-Noor, Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II

Koh-i-Noor,Hew Locke
Photo By Gail

For his mixed media assemblage, Koh-i-Noor (2005) Hew Locke (Scottish, born 1959) arranged thousands of cheap plastic toys and trinkets — disposable products of the new global economy — into one edition of a series of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II (entitled the House of Windsor Series), one of which was among the most extraordinary works in the Museum’s exhibition, Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007). Locke, born in Scotland but raised in Guyana, created these works in response to ethnic tensions within contemporary British society, often growing out of Great Britain’s colonial history, with that history now brought home to Britain.

Koh i Noor Detail
Koh-i-Noor Detail

The title of this Silver work from the portrait series refers to the Koh-i-Noor  (“Mountain of Light”) diamond, once the largest in the world. Mined several thousand years ago, this uncut Indian treasure passed through the hands of many regional rulers and was likely cut during the seventeenth century, before ultimately being seized by Britain in 1849 in the name of Queen Victoria. The series also includes a Golden sculpture entitled El Dorado, and a Black edition entitled Black Queen.

Koh i Noor Detail

Cost of Living (Aleyda) By Josh Kline

Cost of Living (Aleyda)
All Photos By Gail

To make Cost of Living (2014) and other works in this series,  Josh Kline interviewed workers – janitorial staff and package delivers – and then made casts  of their body parts that they used to complete their daily tasks. In this case, he spoke with the housekeeper named Aleyda,  who worked at the Rivington Hotel.

Cost of Living (Aleyda)

The artist created each element of the sculptural assemblage using a 3-D printer. The results call attention to the laboring bodies of  an often invisible work force, and offer a grim reminder that these workers’ humanity is often valued less than the tools they use to complete their job. Cost of Living (Aleyda) reflects what the artist has described as “the relentless push to squeeze more productivity out of workers – turning  people into reliable, always–on office appliances.”

Cost of Living (Aleyda)

Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan.

Hauser & Wirth Presents Selections from the Reinhard Onnasch Collection

Claes Oldenberg
Claes Oldenberg Model for a Mahogany Plug, Scale B. 1969 (All Photos By Gail)

Hauser & Wirth’s cavernous space at 511 West 18th Street is currently hosting a selection of works from the collection of Reinhard Onnasch. A celebration of Onnasch’s longstanding passion for art and collecting, Re-View: Onnasch Collection is curated by Paul Schimmel, celebrated post-war scholar and Partner of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel.

Christo Wrapped Road Sign 1963
Christo Wrapped Road Sign 1963

The exhibition focuses on the period between 1950 and 1970, decades when New York’s cultural influence was unrivaled and some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century were born. On view will be iconic examples of Pop Art, Fluxus, Color Field, Assemblage, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism.

Claes Oldenberg Soft Medicine Cabinet
Claes Oldenberg Soft Medicine Cabinet, 1966

The collection will be on exhibit through April 12th, 2014.