If you’ve ever had to transfer from the 4 and 5 lines at 59th Street / Lexington Ave to the N/R/W or 6 trains on the upper level, then you have passed by the huge mosaic tile Coffee Cup Mural on the mezzanine level, which is part of a larger work called Blooming, by artist Elizabeth Murray.
Murray has also scattered smaller mosaic tile shoes and coffee cups through the stairwells and on the train platform walls.
Juan Gris (1887 – 1927), a master of disguised images, presents a table brimming with coffee cups, stemmed wineglasses, a large white-footed fruit compote (see from the side and from above) containing thickly painted grapes, a bottle of red wine, a bottle of Bass extra stout ale with its distinctive red diamond logo, a newspaper, and a guitar. Yet, Still Life with Checked Tablecloth (1915) has another equally compelling identity: a Bull’s head. The coffee cup at lower center doubles as the animal’s snout, black-and-white concentric circle at left is a “bull’s eye,” the bottle of ale is an ear, and the sinuous edge of the guitar is the horn. The letters “EAU” on the wine label, which ostensibly stand for “bEAUjolais” can just as easily represent “taurEAU” (Bull).
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
Now, here’s a must see exhibit that you have six entire months to check out (so, maybe go more than once): Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures at Flag Art Foundation. This extremely well staged exhibit features a selection of the artist’s sculptures and maquettes (scale models), works that playfully and pointedly blur the boundaries of drawing, sculpture and painting.
Comprised of everyday and mass-produced objects – a mirror, water glass, and coffee cup – as well as the artist’s signature brushstrokes, the works highlight Lichtenstein’s ability to elevate the everyday to the iconic. Presented in a gallery space populated with furniture, the exhibition encourages engagement, inviting audiences to view historic works in an intimate setting.
The Two Sides of Maquette for House I (Above and Below)
Maquette for House I (1996) inspired the domestic context for this environment, a later work wherein Lichtenstein reduces the structure of a cookie cutter suburban house to black outlines and primary colors – yellow siding, a blue roof, and red to accent the shutters and chimney.
Often overlooked but routinely used, commercial subjects become monuments in the artist’s hand, wherein shadow, contour, and highlight are rendered in patinated bronze. In Mirror II (1977), Lichtenstein transforms a vanity mirror into a static, unchanging reflection – focusing on the form of the object while negating its intended function.
Mobile III (1990) directly references Alexander Calder’s archetypal mobiles, “freezing”  an item whose sole purpose is to respond to movement. Rather than condense volume and function into a linear still life, these sculptures become intimate metaphors for the disposable society in which they exist.
Nodding to the physicality of the Abstract Expressionist movement and its influence on Western art, Lichtenstein’s brushstroke sculptures democratize mark-making and painterly authority through isolation and reproduction. Lichtenstein describes his desire to separate the brushstroke from the canvas and distill it to its purist form.
One of the most fun things about Intimate Sculptures is the way it is staged so accessibly; as if you are walking through a private home and enjoying these works as part of someone’s “intimate” personal collection. It is very cool.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
You Invest in the Divinity of The Masterpiece By Barbara Kruger (All Photos By Gail)
Contemporary Art Fans: here’s fun show that you won’t want to miss, and it’s only up for two more weeks, so act fast! Curator/Dealer Vito Schnabel (son of Artist and Film Director Julian Schnabel) and the Bruce High Quality Foundation (BHQF), an anonymous art collective focused on providing free art education through Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU), are currently hosting The Last Brucennial: a group show featuring the works of over 600 Known and Unknown Artists across a wide variety of mediums.
Gallery View from Washington Street Entrance
The extremely diverse and highly engaging show is located in a massive new retail space just across from the future site of the Whitney Museum of American Art, which premiered its Biennial group exhibit on the same night as The Last Brucennial’s opening reception. The Last Brucennial — as the name hints at — will wrap up a six-year legacy of Brucennial exhibits, after which the BHQF can focus its energy and resources toward the activities of BHQFU and its 700 enrolled students.
Founded in 2008 in direct opposition to other high-profile biennials that seek to advance the commercialization of art, the Brucennial is not a curated group show, but a celebration of and catalyst for an ever-widening community of artists. This year’s call for artists, I was told by a contributing artist in the show, was conducted solely by word of mouth. This exhibit is also noteworthy in that it features the works of female artists, exclusively. It’s fun to see the works of both widely known artists such as Barbara Kruger, Lynda Benglis and Tracey Emin alongside the paintings and sculptures by artists for whom this exhibit represents their first public showing.
Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show, along with random commentary:
This horn-shaped installation you see above is the first piece to your left upon entering the space. From within, it broadcasts a drastically slowed down recording of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” which was so slow it made the tempo of a dirge seem more like a jig. The recording is loud enough to be heard in adjacent galleries.
This is what it looked like inside. You can see the speaker emerging from a pile of dirt.
I call this one “Assemblage Sculpture with Heart, Lion Head and Hair Extensions.”
Trust Yourself Pink Neon Sculpture by Tracey Emin.
This Photo of a Church Altar with Umbrella and Beach Balls reminded me somewhat of Robert Mapplethorpe’s Altar Installations.
Off to the right in the above photo, you will see what I call the True Detective Installation, which looks like some kind of medieval Stock devise with attached antlers in and around which a fully nude live model is entwined. When I saw this piece I could not help but think of the way in which Dora Lange’s lifeless body was found in the premier episode of that popular HBO crime drama, though I do not know if that was an influence on the artist.
This is one of my favorites: a colorful Sculpture Of Found Objects that includes Mixing Bowls, a Waste Basket, a Globe and an Umbrella. If it lit up like a lamp, my head would explode.
This looks like a container of crocheted Cheese Puffs. The artist’s name, which is written directly on the wall just below the frame, looks like Breanne Tremmez. I wasn’t too diligent about noting the names of all of these artists, so if you see your work in this post please feel free to identify yourself in the comments.
“Cheeseburger Santa Puzzle.”
Marsh Lines series Coffee Cup and Matching Painting By Gwyneth Leech. You can see more of Gwyneth’s work at This Link.
Big Stick and Bomb Pop Sculptures By Bee Spiderman!
I love the banality of this piece by Adriana Farmiga.
People were letting their unsupervised children run around like maniacs. Fortunately, it did not affect this work, comprised of a pile of plaster rubble.
I wonder what story this one is trying to tell us. I like looking at it. (Art By Gigi Chen)
“Feminist Performance Art.”
The Last Brucennial will be on Exhibit Through April 4th, 2014 at 837 Washington (Corner of Washington St. and 13th St.) in the Meat Packing District. Exhibit Hours are Wednesday – Sunday 12 Noon to 6:00 PM.
Malaysian artist Cheeming Boey draws intricate and detailed artworks on the exterior of various coffee cups using only a black marker. I especially love this set he did of various characters from Breaking Bad. See more of Boey’s fun art at his daily webcomic I Am Boey.
Leslie Buck, the man who invented the iconic “We Are Happy To Serve You” coffee cup, also known as the Anthora, has passed away at the age of 87. There is a nice little story about him and his life in the NY Times at this link. RIP Iconic Coffee Cup Man!
I’m a pacifist as a general rule, but here’s one “War” that I consider to be totally worth getting behind: McDonald’s Plans to Battle Starbucks by opening high-end coffee bars in their restaurants! I say Bring it on, McDonald’s!!