Stuart Davis typically painted local modern subjects in rhythmic compositions with bold colors. Among his sources of inspiration were “skyscraper architecture; the brilliant colors on gasoline stations; chain store fronts and taxi cabs“ and jazz music. Long before postwar artists mined the world of trademark brands, Davis incorporated imagery from logos, commercial signage, and packaging into his paintings, such as the branded bag of tobacco in Lucky Strike (1921). Championed by the visionary dealer Edith Halpert at her downtown Gallery, Davis’s work was met with both enthusiasm and confusion despite being engaged with the stuff and forms of modern life in New York in the 1920s.
Photographed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The enormous sandwich and pack of cigarettes in Still Life Number 36 (1964) reflect Tom Wesselmann’s nonhierarchical approach to subject matter and technique. He believed that anything could be art, including the ordinary consumer items that fill our pockets and kitchen cabinets. In 1962, Wesselmann began a series of large-scale still lifes that incorporated fragments of discarded commercial billboards, which he initially scavenged from trash cans but later procured in new, pristine condition directly from advertising agencies. The larger-than-life proportions of the objects in Still Life Number 36 at first seem to celebrate the surfeit of commercial goods in America’s postwar consumer culture. Yet the layers of collage and painted areas bring together incongruent depictions of reality, creating tensions in the composition that Wesselmann described as “reverberation.
Dorian Grey Gallery in the East Village hosted an informal brunch today to promote its current exhibit, Indulgences, works on paper and recent paintings by New York artist Walter Robinson. As you might infer from the show’s title, Indulgences includes paintings of sweets and fast food favorites, pharmaceuticals and alcohol. The show also includes a selection of celebrity portraits, nudes and romance novel covers, but I didn’t feel compelled to shoot pictures of any of that stuff, so, you know, just go to the gallery and check it out.
Someone standing next to me in the gallery asked me if they even make True Cigarettes anymore. I said I have no idea, because I don’t smoke.
I like this triptych of Diner food favorites, especially the Cheeseburger Deluxe. Mmm… Cheeseburger.
Looking at this painting of a Stack of Pancakes made me very hungry.
Who knew you could work up such an appetite just from looking at Art? Fortunately, Dorian Grey Gallery provided some snacks and beverages.
McDonalds Large Size French Fries are indeed a masterpiece.
A trio of Hamburgers. I believe the one on the far right is a Whopper.
My mouth is watering just uploading my photos to this post.
These Brownies look Delicious.
This art made me think: I wonder how much money is in this stack of cash, and are all the bills ones, or just the top bill. Art!
Indulgences will be on Exhibit Through March 31st, 2013 at Dorian Grey Gallery, Located at 437 East Ninth Street (Just West of Avenue A) in NYC. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Sunday, Noon to 7:00 PM.
Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of What Goes Without Saying, Hank Willis Thomas’ third solo exhibition with the gallery. The show includes photographs, sculpture, painting and new media, all which delve into the construction of mythologies embedded in popular culture.
Known for his innovative use of advertising, the differences here is the globally ubiquitous language, he builds complex narratives about history, identity and race. This show brings together several facets of Thomas’ practice to explore objects and language, torn from their history, brought to our present, and repurposed to reveal the process of their agency.
The works in What Goes Without Saying draw from a section of Roland Barthes’ book, Mythologies, to explore the ideas of explicit and implicit representations found in objects, gestures and phrases. By separating language from the advertising in which it appears, he effectively deconstructs the relationship between the reader and viewer.
In Thomas’ new carborundum works, part of the Fair Warning series, he takes text from cigarette advertising in magazines from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, retaining the font while abandoning the accompanying visuals. The decontextualized slogans like Stronger Yet Milder, Measurably Long and Immeasurably Cool come to stand for more than just a cigarette, highlighting the adjectives used to connote power and elegance, often times with a sexual tone.
What Goes Without Saying focuses on subtext, shifting meaning and the complexity of historical actions embedded in visual culture. These ideas are important in the context of the current election and the theater of the campaigns.
Hank Willis Thomas’s What Goes Without Saying will be on Exhibit Through November 17, 2012 at Jack Shainman Gallery, Located at 513 West 20th Street, NYC. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
The Image Above Courtesy of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. All Other Photos by Gail Worley
Worley Gig has taken a bit of a break from Gallery hopping this summer: partly because lots of the galleries are on their summer hiatus and partly because we’ve just been too busy doing other fun things. Oh, New York Contemporary Art Scene, how we have missed you. But what better way to get re-immersed in the vibrant Chelsea gallery scene than with Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s latest group show, Détournement: Signs of the Times, brilliantly curated by Carlo McCormick, which opened this past Thursday. We’d especially like to thank the gallery’s Associate Director, Malena Seldin for allowing The Gig to photograph the show in the empty gallery prior to the start of Thursday night’s opening reception.
Bright Future By Shepard Fairey in collaboration with Jamie Reid
Much like Opera Gallery’sStreets of The World group show this past May, Détournement features the work of many of the most famous contemporary pop and street artists currently working, including:
AIKO, Dan Witz, David Wojnarowicz (estate), Dylan Egon, EINE, Ilona Granet, Jack Pierson, John Law (Jack Napier), Leo Fitzpatrick, Mark Flood, Martin Wong (estate), Max Rippon (RIPO), Mike Osterhout, Posterboy, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Steve Powers (aka ESPO), TrustoCorp, Will Boone and Zevs.
Carlo McCormick offers the following statement about the show:
A détournement is a detour of sorts, but not so much along the scenic route as over the tougher road that goes more directly to the truth. A more proximate translation from the French might be a derailment, but I’m not sure English is so well suited to get both the violence and hilarity of the term. Since coined by the Lettrist International in the 1950s, it has served various generations as a common strategy by which to subvert consensus visual language so as to turn the expressions of capitalist culture against themselves. The most typical folkloric version we encounter of a détournement is when someone writes a word at the bottom of a stop sign, so that with say just three letters this mundane road command might read “Stop War.”
Traffic Signs for the Hearing ImpairedBy Martin Wong (estate)
The idea of an artist co-opting a popular commercial slogan or iconic symbol is not new, but it is done here in ways that create a visceral reaction in the viewer and encourage imaginative extrapolation and discourse. Not to mention, but you can see I am about to, the fact that this show just makes a gorgeous visual presentation. A few of my favorite images are Dan Witz’s series of “Do Not Enter” signs, which range from whimsical to horrifying.
Man of Sorrows By Dan Witz
Peter (Hanging) – collaboration with Till Krautkraemer, By Dan Witz
Ron English also gets one entire wall of the rear gallery dedicated to his mural comprised of a series of darkly satirical grocery store flyers, accompanied by one of his popular reoccurring characters, the sexually anthropomorphized cow:
Incredible Edible Cathy Cowgirl By Ron English
Human Flesh Detail from Ron English Mural
Of course, two of our favorite brands, Coca Colaand Apple, do not escape unscathed:
Liquidated Coca-Cola By Zevs
Doomed (Photographed Billboard) By John Law (Jack Napier), Billboard Liberation Front
If you’re outside the tri-state area you can view the works of Detournement online and read more about the exhibit and participating artists at This Link. Otherwise, make a trip to see the show in person before it closes at the end of this month.
See More Photos from this Exhibit After the Jump!
Detournement: Signs of the Times will be on exhibit through August 25, 2012 only at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street (West of 10th Avenue), 9th Floor in Chelsea, NYC. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
Genius is a word whose depth of meaning generally takes too long to talk about. It’s a heavy word, and the current exhibit of paintings and sculptures by Nir Hod at NYC’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, entitled Genius, is equally heavy. The Genius exhibit includes over 50 paintings and several sculptures created over a span of two years. It is the first solo exhibit at Kasmin for the Israeli-born artist, who now lives and works in New York.
The Genius portraits represent a cohesive collection of Nattily-dressed youths – aged from cherubic infants to precocious teenagers – classically posed and wearing mostly scornful expressions while also holding lit cigarettes. While the exhibit appears to be fairly straightforward, the meaning behind these paintings is far from obvious. I wondered, are these children merely playing a game of dress up taken to the extreme, or have they actually grown up too fast and become disenfranchised and jaded before completing puberty? Where did they come from, and what kind of lives do they lead? They are both delicately beautiful and profoundly sad, and that’s always an interesting combination.
According to the exhibit’s press release, these works “[continue] the artist’s longtime fascination with beauty and loneliness, glamour and death. Hod’s aristocratic young Geniuses inhabit a world of paradox, where their cherubic cheeks contrast with their scornful expressions and lit cigarettes. Like sculptures in a wax museum that aim to dramatically freeze time, these paintings explore art’s power to capture life while simultaneously elevating it to depict an unattainable ideal.” What I was reminded of most was a fusion of renaissance portraiture with the pop sensibilities of Ron English, who so often paints children in roles – such as that of a soldier or police officer – normally assumed by adults. I love art that makes me think.
Nir Hod’s artwork makes a further impact thanks to the manner in which it was hung in the gallery; staggered in clusters to fill the spaces as opposed to the more traditional single line of images across the wall . This type of presentation gives the exhibit a more intimate, atmospheric vibe and helps to draw the viewer in to encourage a dialogue about what it means to be a Genius. You can read a fantastic article on Nir Hod regarding his inspiration and objectives behind this exhibit at Art In America Dot Com.
Nir Hod’s Genius is on exhibit through June 18, 2011 at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, located at 293 10th Avenue, at the corner of 27th Street in Manhattan. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM.