Tag Archive | Contemporary Art

New Paintings by Mark Kostabi at Martin Lawrence Galleries

Kostabi Signage
All Art By Mark Kostabi. All Photos By Gail

Do you enjoy looking at the paintings of contemporary pop artist Mark Kostabi? I sure do. There are a few reasons why I never miss an opening reception for an exhibit of Mark’s work: not only is there a ton of great art to look at and talk about with other cool, art-loving people, but it is always a good party and a chance to, as it is sometimes referred to in the vernacular, “make the scene.” And I enjoy making the scene.

Kostabi Sculpture
I got a good shot of this sculpture, because no one else was in the gallery yet.

Just this past Thursday, I had a chance to make the scene at Mark’s current exhibit, which is going on at the Martin Lawrence Galleries on West Broadway — a very nice venue. Before I get to talking about the paintings, I want to point out how this artist reception differed from 99% of all other art openings. Please see visual documentation below.

Cheese Donuts

Look at all that cheese!

Cheese Donuts 2

Celebrity Photographer Derek Storm was overheard to say that these wheels of fine, spreadable soft cheeses reminded him of Donuts. Mmm…cheese donuts.

Cheese and Fruit Plate

So much free cheese was available — and also, wine! — it was pretty much the greatest art opening, ever. It looks like the cheese extravaganza was sponsored by a place called Castello Cheesemonger. Their cheese made me happy.

Now, on to the Art! A good number of Mark’s new paintings belong to series I made up in my head called “Barbie’s Happy Fun Day on Acid.” Get an idea of what I am talking about below.

Dancing Girl

Dancing Barbie on Acid.

Sleeping Person

Barbie Dreams of Being On Acid.

Full Length Mirror

Barbie’s Self-Reflection (On Acid).

Do you see what I mean? I love all these paintings. You can interpret them to mean what ever you want, really. Art!

Red and Black

The last time I saw this very beautiful painting, it was sitting on the floor of Mark’s studio, Kostabi World. Now, it is in a gallery and you can buy it!

Consumerism

I interpret the above painting to be a statement on consumerism and how it weighs you down like little men are hanging on to your legs.

I deliberately left the rack of chimes in that photo to remind me to mention that Mark is not only an amazing artist but also a gifted composer and wildly talented pianist. At the opening, Mark performed a few of his original compositions with his trio that includes Bassist Paul Nowniski and Drummer Keith LeBlanc. It was awesome.

Twister Sister

The painting above is called Twister Sister and it is of a lady (Acid Barbie, perhaps) playing a game of Twister on a Damien Hirst Spot Painting. I desire to own it.

Piano with Couple

This one is cool, because it goes from being in Black and White to being in Color — just like the Wizard of Oz!

Warhol Kostabi Basquiat

This is a photo from the ’80s of Mark with Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, in which the coolness factor is off the charts.

NYC Window

I love this one a lot, too.

Angel with Cat

And this one, of an Angel with her Cat. What is making that pink glow that you see leading down from the ladder? I want to find out.

Thoughtful Angel

This is definitely a must-see exhibit, so don’t miss it!

Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at 457 West Broadway (Between Houston and Prince) in Soho, NYC.

Kostabi Painting with Signature

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Piet Mondrian’s Composition in Oval with Color Planes I

Mondrian Composition in Oval
Photo By Gail

Although he painted in both realist and abstract styles during his career, Dutch painter Piet Mondrian is best known for his grid paintings of vertical and horizontal black lines with the three primary colors. Composition in Oval With Color Planes I (1914) follows a grid pattern but is somewhat unique in that Mondrian used a pastel color palette.

According to experts, “the geometry of this composition, made two years after Mondrian moved from Holland to Paris, is directly based on sketches of partially demolished buildings, with exposed floors, chimneys and patches of wallpaper. Mondrian believed that horizontal and vertical lines, such as those he used here, expressed an underlying, universal order.”

This piece was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection in 1950.

2014’s First Art Joke: Jim Joe’s January 2014 at The Hole

Jim Joe at the Hole Glass of Water
A Glass of Water and A Lottery Ticket are Examples of Jim Joe’s “Art,” at the Hole (All Photos By Gail)

Jim Joe (real name and identity unknown) is a NYC tagger/street artist who writes his name, and an occasional saying, on buildings around the various NYC boroughs and, The Hole Gallery would have us believe, apparently wants to be taken seriously as an artist. OK, whatever. I like to keep an open mind about what constitutes “Art” in a contemporary sense, but this exhibit takes even the James Franco School of The Emperors New Clothes Phenomena to a new level of bullshit.

Opening on New Year’s Day, 2014 and running through the month of January, the January 2014 show will expand daily as The Hole adds to the exhibit each day with new works by Jim Joe. We dropped in on Saturday, January 4th to find the works you see in this post on display and constituting the exhibit in its entirety to-date.  Yawn City.

Jim Joe Devil Head
Jim Joe Guardian Image

There were two other pieces that I declined to photograph: one that looked like a sheet of newsprint and a black, half-loop-squiggle spray-painted directly onto the gallery wall. Trust me, you’re not missing anything.

Santa Toy at The Hole

I found this little Santa Claus plush toy discarded in one corner of the gallery floor. It is unclear whether this is meant to be part of January 2104, perhaps as a found object commentary on the Commercialism of the Holiday Season. Who Knows.

We do have more than three full weeks left in the month of January, so this exhibit could take a turn for the better, say, in the next week or so. But from what I saw not it’s not worth the bother of checking out unless you want to see for yourself how much of a joke it is. Or, you could also see Adam Green & Friends Hot Chicks group show, which runs concurrently in The Hole’s rear gallery.

It’s crap like this that gives Contemporary Art a bad name. Color me not impressed.

Grand Piano With a Tree Growing Through It

Blossom By Sanford Biggers
All Photos By Gail

This interesting sculpture is called Blossom and it was created by the artist Sanford Biggers in 1970. Blossom is on exhibit (apparently on its own as opposed to being part of a particular show) at the Brooklyn Museum.

Blossom By Sanford Biggers

Blossom By Sanford Biggers

I like it.

Afterglow: New Works By Jessica Lichtenstein at Gallery nine5

Jessica Lichtenstein Afterglow
All Photos By Gail

Fans of Japanese Anime, Manga and the Superflat school of Pop Art founded by Takashi Murakami won’t want to miss Jessica Lichtenstein’s latest collection, Afterglow, on exhibit now at Gallery nine5 in Soho. Afterglow is the third solo exhibit by the artist at the gallery.

Jessica Lichtenstein Pink Tree
Spring

It’s worth noting that when I first saw photos of Jessica’s work, I assumed I was looking at Asian Landscapes depicting flowering trees. But it only took a cursory look once we were in the gallery to notice that the abundant “blossoms” clustered around the tree branches are actually tiny naked ladies!

Jessica Lichtenstein Pink Detail
Detail from Spring

Known for her large acrylic word sculptures that serve as a playground for frolicking female figures, Lichtenstein  juxtaposes these works with new sculptures that present a contemplative environment for her signature, lascivious heroines. While still examining facets of femininity and fetishism, Afterglow offers an emotional lens through which to examine relationships. According to the show’s press release, the current exhibit at  nine5, “manifests sexuality in a delicate and sensitive way and thus invites the viewer to bask in the ‘afterglow’ of desire.” I would agree with that sentiment, as the show seems more sensual than sexual, and it is also full of humor and playfulness.

Jessica Lichtenstein White
Winter

Jessica Lichtenstein White Detail
Winter Detail

Afterglow features four circular sculptures of the Seasons series that are inspired by nature as a metaphor for the cycle of relationships – pink blossoms bursting from the trees in Spring, or the iced over world of Winter (both pictured above). These works also highlight the tension between the individual vs. the collective. Each girl is poised in a different position and is reacting to the environment, however together the figures unite in a singular image of a tree and its leaves, thus describing the collective strength of women regardless of differences in emotions and reactions.

Jessica Lichtenstein Bliss
Bliss

Alongside the Seasons are Lichtenstein’s word sculptures, which, again in text taken from the Press Release, “toy with the pornographic world of Japanese-inspired comic books. Creating her own imagined fantastical landscapes infused with a highly sexualized environment, Lichtenstein places appropriated heroines in scenes that are reminiscent of Renoir’s, Cezanne’s or Picasso’s “nude bathers”; scenes that harken back to a time of “female as muse.” The works, layered behind a thick buffer of acrylic, take a critical distance from their own content and in fact, beg the viewer to do the same.

Jessica Lichtenstein Wet
Wet

Through this intermediary, the viewer is asked to engage with and question whether Lichtenstein’s characters are depicted solely to satisfy an insatiable male-dominated gaze, or if such a theory is too narrow, neglecting to address the complex nature of women and their agency in terms of sexuality and desirability. To me, it seems much less complicated. I just think her artwork is lovely and fun.

Jessica Lichtenstein Wet Detail
Detail from Wet. Yes, I See Boobs.

Ultimately, you can interpret Jessica Lichtenstein’s works as having a deep socio-sexual resonance, or you can appreciate them as gorgeous, lighthearted and colorful works of Contemporary / Pop Art that also challenge you to think while you look at them.

Jessica Lichtenstein Pop
Pop

Afterglow by Jessica Lichtenstein will be on Exhibit through December 15, 2013 at Gallery nine5, Located at 24 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012.

Gazing Ball By Jeff Koons at David Zwirner

Gazing Ball Birdbath
All Photos By Gail

It’s been a decade since the art of Jeff Koons – one of the contemporary art world’s wealthiest, most celebrated and undeniably wildly polarizing figures – has been the focus of a solo exhibit here in Manhattan. This week, he has two: a series of new works at David Zwirner and a retrospective (opening this evening) at the Gagosian Gallery.

Gazing Ball De Milo

The David Zwirner Gallery-hosted Gazing Ball opened last night and, even though the doors opened exactly one hour behind schedule, it was well worth waiting for.

Gazing Ball Head

For Gazing Ball, Koons has filled two conjoined spaces of the Gallery (located at adjacent addresses) with more than a dozen Las Vegas-style reproductions of ancient Roman statuary, each adorned with a strategically placed, royal blue stainless steel sphere flaunting the mirror-finish surface that has become so identifiable with Koons’ sculptures.

Jeff Koons and Peter Brant
Jeff Koons with Art Collector Peter Brant at Wednesday’s Opening Reception

In each piece, the juxtaposition between the classic and the kitsch, to me, is conceptually fantastic and very visually appealing. But of course there are fans and then there are people live to talk smack about Jeff Koons, which I find puzzling.

Gazing Ball Lyre

It’s been said in other reviews, and I tend to agree, that people who dump on Jeff Koons’ art must be suffering from some kind of misplaced envy or inferiority complex. If you don’t like Jeff Koons, and no one says you must, you are free to stay away from his art shows, but don’t come to a Koons’ exhibit and talk loudly about how much the art sucks, because it just makes you look pathetic and desperate to seem cool.

Gazing Ball Centaur

Jeff Koons’ Gazing Ball will be on exhibit through June 29th, 2013 at David Zwirner, Located at 525 West 19th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 AM – 6:00 PM.

Jeff Koons Gazing Ball Signage

Gazing Ball Reclining

Gazing Ball Beowulf

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Thumbtack Press Presents UGLYDOLL Art!

Blue Special
“Blue Special”

Do you like Uglydolls? I sure do, and I enjoy telling you about UGLYDOLL things that you can own, such as Pillows and Good Luck Totems. Thumbtack Press — a virtual gallery showcasing art prints from popular contemporary artists, as well as up-and-comers, at super affordable prices — has recently secured the exclusive worldwide licensing rights to UGLYDOLL art, and I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it. Because Uglydolls are awesome.

UGLYDOLL Art It's a Dry Cold...
“It’s a Dry Cold”

UGLYDOLL art prints feature your favorite Uglydolls hanging out in everyday places such as the supermarket and the park, having fun and living life the Uglydoll way! You want to own these prints! Prices start at just $19.99 (such a bargain!) for 14″ by 14″ prints, and Thumbtack also offers framing as well as canvas stretched prints, so you can decorate to fit your style.

UGLYDOLL Art Babo
“Babo”

Please visit This Link to peruse the UGLYDOLL Art Gallery and pick out something Ugly to hang in your home today!

UGLYDOLL Art Small Things With Big Chills
“Small Things with Big Chills”