In this week’s Design post, we are going to step out a bit and have some fun exploring the world of the X-Men comics, checking out what all the cool Mutants wear when they head out to do some serious partying!
This June, the Hellfire Trading Company invites readers everywhere to the inaugural Hellfire Gala to announce the first team of Krakoan X-Men to the world and unveil the startling plans that mutantkind has in store for the Marvel Universe. The Hellfire Gala will unfold in issues of your favorite ongoing X-Men series as well as Planet-Size X-Men, a special double-sized one-shot. These twelve issues will all center around a single night that will go down in Marvel Comics history and while it’s too early to reveal the world-shattering steps mutantkind is about to take, one thing is for certain: the X-Men have never looked better!
By the 1970s, Roy Lichtenstein’s comic-strip style of painting had become his trademark. While he had adapted his early compositions from actual comic books, here Lichtenstein referred to an art historical rather than a pop culture source: Henri Matisse’s Red Studio (1911, in the collection of MoMA), which features Matisse’s canvases casually set around a room. Into the flattened studio space of Artists Studio Foot Medication (1974), Lichtenstein similarly inserted whole of partial versions of his own real and imagined artworks across a range of subject matter, including geometric abstraction. This painting’s title calls out the 1962 print Foot Medication, reimagined as a monumental painting at the upper left. This kind of self-quotation, at once playful and thoughtful, would become anther feature of Lichtenstein’s production.
Between The Capes By Rich Simmons. Let The Homo-eroticism Begin! (All Photos By Gail)
A new movie called BATMAN v SUPERMAN: Dawn of Justice opens today (March 25th) in theaters nationwide, but all I want to know is, in a battle between these two legendary Superheroes, how does Batman not get this Bat Ass handed to him by the Man of Steel? Because Batman, as super studly as he looks (I’d do it) has no real Super Powers. All of Batman’s tricks are gadgets he keeps in that utility belt thing of his. So, Kryptonite aside (and really, how is there even Kryptonite on the earth, after the entire planet Krypton was been completely obliterated? I ask yez.) there is just no way Superman is not picking up the Batman like he was a feather and chucking him off into outer space. Superman, FTW!
Also: Free Popcorn!
Anyway, whatever I’m missing about Kryptonite-infused arrows and whatever, I don’t care, because I really love both of these guys in tights equally. Just last night Geoffrey and I were hanging out at Taglialatella Galleries on 10th Ave checking out all kinds of cool Batman and Superman (plus, other Superheros) artworks for sale, plus free wine! Here are some of our favorite pieces from the show!
Here’s a huge piece featuring Superman By Mr. Brainwash. Ideal if you need to cover a lot of wall space.
You have just one more week to visit the Mike Weiss Gallery in time to check out Diva’s Song, the second show by Jerry Kearns at the gallery, and the first in collaboration with singer/performer Nora York. The exhibition features eight acrylic wall paintings of larger-than-life size characters as high as eight feet, seemingly out of a comic book, with thought bubbles that form a coherent yet ambiguous narrative.
Merging his own “psychological pop” aesthetic with York’s rendition of “Vissi d’arte” from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, Kearns and York have reimagined the aria, isolating it from the operatic masterpiece and widening its narrative scope to encompass all the intrigue, drama, and emotional weight of a full length story. Without the restraints of a canvas edge, the gallery becomes transformed into a democratized space – a stage where viewer and art, and reality and metaphor, play equally important roles.
The show begins with a theater banner that introduces the title character “Diva” as well as her gun-wielding cowboy boyfriend “Sugar” (or painter, if we’re following from Tosca). The cinematic effect continues from here into three “shots” of the lone diva. Thought bubbles like, “Oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why, does this burden lay so heavy on my mind? Oh why, oh why, oh why?” take us into a vulnerable moment of existential anxiety, as if the distant future became suddenly, alarmingly immediate.
The searching, introspective tone of the first room comes to boiling point in the main gallery space, visually evoking an operatic crescendo with a stark increase in scale. Two monumental close-ups – one of a tearing and/or perspiring victim and the other of a strong, enraged agent – create an emotional and psychological battleground that ultimately turns violent.
In the ensuing clash of good versus evil, Jesus and his crown of thorns are disconcertingly absent. Instead, we find Sugar, on his back and with a bandage around his head, in a fracas with the devil, whose own head, curiously, is the only realistically-rendered in the show. Unlike Puccini’s Tosca, the exhibition’s narrative outcome is ultimately uncertain. Definitely, however, the knife-wielding diva, in a stance reminiscent of Judith with the head of Holofernes, is the one in control.
Infused with Kearns’ archetypal cowboys, bad guys, and damsels, Diva’s Song inherits traits from the Spaghetti Western as well the opera. But perhaps the lineage can’t be so neatly partitioned. Throughout their careers, Kearns and York have had a seemingly compulsive attraction to montage, brazenly pairing the head of Jesus with the body of the cowboy (in Kearns’ paintings), or cleverly sampling the chord structures of Puccini with Pop melodic overlays (in York’s songs). While in both cases these amalgamations may initially seem discordant, their underlying foundations always reveal their harmonies. Diva’s Song operates in that same vein, translating various modes of representation – opera, film, and comic book illustration – into a single cohesive exhibition of wall painting.
Jerry Kearns and Nora York are a married couple who live and work in New York City.
Jerry Kearns and Nora York’s Diva’s Song Will be on Exhibit Through Saturday, August 22nd, 2104 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
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.
Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present RRRGGHH!!!, Jerry Kearns’ first solo exhibition with the gallery and the artist’s first show in New York since 2006. RRRGGHH!!! features 8 new paintings on canvas as well as 5 wall murals.
RRRGGHH!!! restages the elemental conflict between hero and villain in the template tradition of this type of narrative, good versus evil, begun over 2000 years ago with The Book of Revelations and continued in different iterations today. The paintings present a layered dreamscape inhabited by a recurring cast of characters that have their roots in both the artist’s personal and our public histories. The narrative is organized around scenes from a hero’s journey, the hero himself an amalgamation of some of the most influential archetypes in culture.
Detail from Painting Above
Each painting is a confrontation with one or more dangers, but the interpretation is widely open to discussion, while clues and misleading evidence are left on the canvas for discovery. These paintings reposition familiar images in a universal vocabulary, presenting a destabilized perception of our culture.
Jerry’s work can be seen as history painting, charting our collective cultural mythology over the passage of the last 30+ years. His paintings employ the essence of Pop Art by using recognizable imagery culled from our culture, like the Jesus/Cowboy who was created from a 1950s cartoon and a projection of Bible belt realism. Instead of placing the characters in their typical environments, he uses the vocabulary and familiarity of pop culture imagery as a tool for analyzing the world around him.
The Jesus/Cowboy is at once the outsider and the hero. He often seems lost in the action, looking the wrong way, or looking toward heaven even when danger is imminent and arriving in another direction that we, the viewers, can see unfolding. The animals in these paintings seem to know more than the protagonists do about reality. Good and evil are constantly at odds, and danger lurks everywhere. Each painting is layered with meanings, constructed so as to ask questions but evade answers.
The narrative in this exhibition appears semi-coherent, familiar, and threatening to fall apart as it unfolds. Escaped prisoners are painted directly on the wall to create a didactic clash of literal versus symbolic space. These characters are closer to the actual space we live in, adding a new dimension for encounter. The exhibition plays out like a movie, unwinding its narrative through scene after scene – a painted, epic film still. The stylistic tendencies of his work speaks to the integrity of his practice and vision by allowing us the opportunity to encounter characters we know in an unguarded way, often at dynamic moments in their fictional universes.
The paintings are influenced by the artist’s childhood filled with cowboy movies and serials, newspaper cartoons, comic books, and the colorful illustrations his Preacher showed him in the Bible while growing up. In his work, Jerry is interested in exploring the fundamental relationship revealed in current exercises of power through imagery. Former President George Bush’s polarizing economic and political strategies, which were no relief after Reagan’s trickle-down economic policies, also play a role in the narrative. Jerry saw George Bush’s appropriation of the male archetype of the Cowboy realized in his approach of government policy.
Be sure and visit the Mike Weiss Gallery while RRRGGHH!!! is still up!
Jerry Kearns: RRRGGHH!!! Will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2104 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.