Tag Archive | Cigarettes

Hank Willis Thomas What Goes Without Saying at Jack Shainman Gallery

Hank Willis Thomas I Like Dick
All Photos By Gail

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.

Hank Willis Thomas Assorted SignsKnown 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.

Hank Willis Thomas Believe It

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.

Hank Willis Thomas Smoking Slogans 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.

Hank Willis Thomas I Am The Greatest Button

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.

Hank Willis Thomas Goes Without Saying Exhibit Sign

Hank Willis Thomas 3 Signs

Must See Art: Genius By Nir Hod at Paul Kasmin Gallery

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.