122 Rue Du Temple is the Paris address from which artist Jacques Villegle detached many of the movie posters and political notices that he used to make this work in 1968. After tearing fragments of the original images, he pasted these passages of color, text, and image into a chance composition. Many of the fliers used here announced the city’s May 1968 student and worker demonstrations, and the artist considered the people who had posted them to be his collaborators, understanding their use of advertising billboards as a precursor for his process.
Todd Gray’s work draws from his archive of photographs amassed during the past forty-five years of his career. Taken in locations from Hollywood to Ghana (where he maintains a studio), these images have been selected by the artist to explore the complex interrelation of Blackness, diasporic identity, and historic systems of exploitation. For his ongoing series Exquisite Terribleness, begun in 2013, Gray collages photographs into a layered arrangements of thrift store frames, creating compositions of fragmented bodies. Many of the individual photographs that Gray uses for his collages were shot following his own creative visions; others, such as in Euclidean Gris Gris 2 (2018) were commissioned, including many he took as Michael Jackson’s personal photographer in the 1970s and early 1980s. Jackson is significant here for Gray not as a celebrity or figure of controversy, but as a global phenomenon whose almost mythic status serves to frame the complex issues explored in Gray’s work. Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 1983 and then tried and acquitted for the crime in 2005. New allegations surfaced in a documentary released on HBO in early 2019.
Photographed as Part of The 2019 Biennial Exhibit at The Whitney Museum, NYC
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.
Death From Above: The End Is Nigh (All Photos By Gail)
After a leisurely, scenic walk on the High Line, Geoffrey and I showed up fashionably late at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery for the opening reception of Erik Jones‘ new exhibit of collage paintings, Twenty Sixteen, which is the name of the year that we are in right now! By the time we got there, the place was really packed. Scroll down to see a photo of the hot crowd action!
Where The Gods Go
Erik Jones challenges viewers to see beauty in his chaotic, mixed-media works that merge nude subjects with nonrepresentational, abstract elements. Describing the human figures in his compositions as “aesthetic anchors,” they are the calming foreground upon which bursts of color, stenciled shapes and custom-made stickers create surreal landscapes. Using multiple mediums, such as watercolor, acrylic, colored pencils, wax pastels and oil paint, Jones’ portraits are technically complex and express a heightened sense of realism.
The Forbidden Words
The relationship between Jones’ subjects and the abstract motifs that engulf them can be interpreted as conceptual fashion design. His portraits are dressed in a stunning hurricane of color and geometric patterns, suiting the needs of the individual while also maintaining their own autonomous beauty.
Along with Jones’ hypnotic portraits, Twenty Sixteen features a selection of works where the human form is removed, creating purely abstract environments. Sporadically placed symbols, silhouettes and a unique coded alphabet created by the artist fosters a subjective narrative he refers to as dialogue aesthetics.
I really liked the ones with all the fun stickers, more than the nudes, because I am five.
While this body of work may appear like a dreamlike universe, Jones does not view his paintings as depicting fantasy; they exist in front of the viewer, placed on canvases and paper with skill and thoughtful reverie, as if looking at a real living being.
Smiling Pineapple Detail
Twenty Sixteen reminded me of a cross between This Exhibit and This Other Exhibit, and you may understand why I would make that comparison, if you can be bothered to click on those two links; which is something I never count on.
Erik Jones’ Twenty Sixteen will be on Exhibit Through April 30th 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
These two pieces of art featuring the likeness of the late, great David Bowie (it feels so weird to type that) were originally featured in This Post from last summer, but I decided to haul them out again for an encore. Because, clicks.
These portraits above were created from broken and carefully placed bits of vinyl LPs. See more photos at the link above!
Yesterday was one those perfect summer days here in Manhattan, so we went for a leisurely walk on the High Line, stopping in at a few of our favorite galleries, including Jonathan LeVine, where we enjoyed their current Trifecta Group Show.Trifecta showcases three international female artists — Handiedan, Mimi Scholz, and Sandra Chevrier — who are at the forefront of a contemporary art movement with art that reimagines representations of women. Through an array of media, these artists use the female figure as their subject and are strong voices for a new generation of artists. Curator Yasha Young offers, “This exhibition addresses the fact that art created by women has been historically dismissed as craft as opposed to fine art, affecting the development of women in art throughout history. I would like to open doors for women artists and encourage them to step out and up.”
The show fills all three galleries rooms, one dedicated to each artist. In the largest, main space you can see a collection of work by Montreal-based artist Sandra Chevrier, who merges painting and collage in works that reflect upon the self-imposed limitations within our world and the underlying tragedy of oppressed female identity. In her series Cages, finely hand-painted portraits of women are masked with pages from comic books, symbolizing the struggle of having to uphold unrealistic expectations of beauty and perfection.
By imposing these strict limitations society is placing women in prisons of identity and asking them to become superheroes. In the greater body of her work, the images used within ‘cages’ range from scenes of conflict, triumph and defeat. Often focusing on the latter, the artist highlights the fragility of the superhero, their personal weaknesses and exposes the humanity within the superhuman.
Mimi Scholz is based in Berlin and creates digital paintings that sarcastically comment on clichés regarding the female psyche and sexuality.
Starting with a detailed sketch and then using a tablet to add multiple layers of color, her compositions are printed on canvas and have an airbrushed quality that closely resembles oil painting.
Known for her subject matter of “unpredictable women with attitude” and often accompanied by strange creatures, her works are set in a manically imagined world where the lines between good and evil, sane and insane are blurred. We really love her work and her Dark Pop sensibilities!
Dutch artist Handiedan pushes mixed-media collage to a higher level by digitally creating classic female pin-ups using ornamental components such as currencies, sheet music and her own cartoon drawings. Handiedan rebuilds these digital designs into multi-layered hand-cut collages that end up with a distinctive three-dimensional quality. Her pin-ups look like something between an orientally adorned femme fatale from a noir film, a sexually joyful pin-up from a 1950’s calendar and a tattooed rockabilly girl. Each work is a treasure trove of symbols, with a focus on cosmology, Eastern philosophy and sacred geometries.
Trifecta Group Exhibition, Featuring Art by Handiedan, Mimi Scholz, and Sandra Chevrier, will be on Exhibit Through July 25, 2015 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Fred Tomaselli (born 1956) is known for his unique hybrid paintings and collages, layering cutout elelments with passages of paint. Big Stack (2009 Photo Collage, Acrylic and Resin on Wood Panel)) is one of the tallest works that Tomaselli has created: its peak corresponds to the ceiling height of his former studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Composed of images of speakers and amplifiers, the Stack seems to extend indefinitely into the starry night sky. The work resembles a kind of cosmic radio tower — a source of communication, or perhaps miscommunication — and serves as a contemporary Tower of Babel.
During his career, Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) filled numerous notebooks with poetry fragments, wordplay, sketches, and personal observations ranging from street life and popular culture to themes of race, class, and world history. The first major exhibition of these notebooks, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, features 160 pages of rarely seen documents, along with related works on paper and large-scale paintings.
A self-taught artist with encyclopedic and cross-cultural interests, Basquiat was influenced by comics, advertising, children’s sketches, Pop art, hip-hop, politics, and everyday life. Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks emphasizes the distinct interplay of text and images in Basquiat’s art, providing unprecedented insight into the importance of writing in the artist’s process.
The notebook pages on display contain early renderings of iconic imagery — tepees, crowns, skeleton-like figures, and grimacing faces — that also appear throughout his large-scale works, as well as an early drawing related to his series of works titled Famous Negro Athletes.
Famous Negro Athletes (1981)
Highlighting the contributions of African Americans and exposing the racism embedded in America culture were ongoing concerns for Basquiat. He developed the subject of “Famous Negro Athletes” early on, and continued to depict baseball players and boxers throughout his career; many of these works are generalized portraits, and some represent specific individuals. In the above drawing from 1981, four black faces, loosely sketched and grimacing with gritted teeth, appear above a baseball and the title text.
Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show!
The exhibit features two of these “sandwich board” paintings, where each side of the board reveals a slight modification on the theme.
Famous (Above and Below)
Untitled (Crayon Drawings, 1981)
Anti-Baseball Card Product (1979)
Part of a series of collages alluding to commercial baseball trading cards, Anti-Baseball Card Product includes a photo-booth image of Basquiat and his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Stein. A PEZ candy wrapper, cut up and and reconfigured, shows Basquiat’s early interest in inverting text and experimenting with language as a visual element.
Before becoming an active studio artist, Basquiat made small collages from from photographs, bar codes, advertisements, fingerprints, discarded packaging and other found materials. He photographed these collages and sold them as postcards on the streets of Lower Manhattan.
This exhibit is enthusiastically recommended for both Basquiat completists and neophytes alike!
Basquiat, The Unknown Notebooks will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2015 at at the Brooklyn Museum, located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052. Take the 2 or 3 Train to Eastern Parkway/ Brooklyn Museum.
Frieze NY Weekend may be over until next year, but I’ve got a ton of cool photos to share with you so you can feel like you were there with me! You’re welcome! One of the pieces we really liked is this collage by Brazilian artist, Adriano Costa. Costa works with found objects and collage to translate the detritus of commodity culture into infinitely curious compositions. This collage, entitled Lipstick Boutique (2015) reminded me so much of works by David Shrigley; not just for the style but for the sense of humor.
Isn’t the above just like something you’d see at a Shrigley exhibit? Sure it is.
I like this one, too. It could stand on its own for sure, but it certainly adds to the whole in this piece that took up an entire wall at the Frieze booth of the London-Based Sadie Coles Gallery.
Cey Adams, a New York City native, is an icon of Hip Hop and graphic design. Trusted Brands is an exhibition of his new collage works on canvas examining branding in contemporary culture. Adams‘ use of collage and design principles creates rich textures of easily recognizable logos structured along subtle grids, which are becoming comparable to his signature. Adams’ delicate technique and balanced compositions celebrate the history of graffiti, graphic design, Pop Art and Hip Hop.
Trusted Brands explores icons of brands that have impacted his thinking and ideology from youth. Adams emerged from the downtown graffiti movement and exhibited alongside fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. He appeared in the historic 1982 PBS documentary Style Wars that tracks subway graffiti in New York. He was the Creative Director of Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Recordings and co-founded the Drawing Board an in-house visual design firm. He created visual identities, album covers, logos, and the differences here of advertising campaigns for Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and many others.
Cey draws inspiration from 60’s pop art, sign painting, comic books, and popular culture. His work focuses on themes including pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues. Trusted Brands transforms images and graphics that he grew up with. “These are all brands that my parents trusted and then I ended up trusting. I wanted to do something that really kind of revisits that.”
Trusted Brands by Cey Adams will be on Exhibit only through March 28th, 2015 at Rush Arts Gallery, Located at 526 W26th St Suite 311, in the Chelsea Gallery District.