Provocatively half dissected, flayed, and rendered in a sophisticated grey-scale palette, Companion (Resting Place, 2013) monumentalizes the beloved character created by Brian Donnelly, one of the most popular artists of his generation, who goes by the pseudonym KAWS.
This is a Guest Post by LA-based Correspondent Geoffrey Dicker
The WorleyGig has gone bi-costal! The Summer Edition of the 25th Annual LA Art Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center has returned as one of the first major art events in Southern California since the pandemic started in 2020. I attended the VIP preview on July 29th to catch a glimpse of what’s on view for West Coast readers of The ‘Gig.
The show features an eclectic mix of art, including favorites such as Damien Hirst, massive installations such as The Grind by G Bauerbach (pictured below) and the hottest commodity in the art world, the ubiquitous NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens).
Damien Hirst’s 2005 work, Virgin (Exposed) reimagines Edgar Degas’s The Little Fourteen Year-Old Dancer as a pregnant specimen, while its title references the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception.
Its garish colors recall the anatomical models and illustrations found in physicians’ offices. Partially flayed and cross-sectioned, the work also evokes historical anatomical female figures whose abdomens could be opened, often to prurient effect, to reveal reproductive organs. However, here there is no frisson of revelation and concealment, and instead the female interior is unsparingly exposed in the public space of a gallery.
Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.
For true pop music devotees — and particularly for those who came of age in the ’70s and ’80s — 2016 delivered a year of The Day The Music Died-level emotional trauma on a monthly basis. Like some kind of Plague Upon the Rock Stars, 2016 wiped out an entire lifetimes’ worth of legends, including David Bowie in early January, then Keith Emerson in March, Prince in April, Leonard Cohen in November and, as the year’s final fuck you — on Christmas day no less — we lost George Michael.
George Michael’s death at age 53 was especially devastating to my close friend Geoffrey, for whom Michael was not only a favorite recording artist but also a creative inspiration and role model. In March, George Michael’s personal art collection will be sold by Christie’s Auction House in London, with all proceeds going towards continuance of Michael’s philanthropic work. But before the collection hits the block to be sold worldwide for millions of pounds, an exhibit of representative pieces is touring a few cities where Christie’s has offices, so that George Michael fans can experience the joy that Michael surely felt while living with these beautiful and moving works of fine contemporary art — many of which are by artists with whom Michael had personal relationships. Geoffrey recently relocated from Manhattan to Chicago, so when he asked me if I would attend the exhibit at Christie’s headquarters in Rockefeller Center, I said that I would. “Take Pictures of Everything,” he implored me, and I did. Sadly, out of the 200 pieces to be sold, the NYC leg of the exhibit only had twelve artworks on display. This is what I saw.
The fall edition of the Affordable Art Fair is going on right now at the Metropolitan Pavilion in the Flatiron District. We made a run through during Wednesday night’s Private View and found these fun Pink Artworks that will give you an idea of what you can find to bring home with you at this vibrant, priced-to-own fair!
(Above and Below) Matthew Lapenta, Emoji Series, $7500 each. Axiom Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.
The Affordable Art Fair Runs Through Sunday, October 2nd at the Metropolitan Pavilion, Located at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan. More Information, such as Hours and Admission Charges, is available at This Link!
Although it wasn’t on my list for that day’s art crawl, I was drawn into the Andrea Rosen Gallery by a glimpse of one of Josiah McElheny’s “Paintings” as seen from the street. These works instantly reminded me of the hyper-realist Jewel Paintings of Damien Hirst, so I was fascinated right away. To better convey what these paintings are all about, I’ve borrowed some text taken from the exhibit’s official press release.
The smooth surface of McElheny’s works, each faced with a plane of glass, is something that one sees through, and beyond. Challenging a Modernist perspective that painting is defined by and bound to its surface, these paintings — constructions of wood, mirror, glass, paint and, in two instances, video projection — acknowledge a painting’s physical and imaginable space. Creating an image on, in and behind this material plane, the paintings alternation from “flat” to “deep”, when simply viewed from the front and then the side.
Five paintings structured after works by Kandinsky and Malevich — McElheny’s Crystalline Prism Painting I, II, III, IV, and VI — feature press-molded and polished glass prisms inset into a field of black, matte oil paint brushstrokes, visible behind or through a surface made of a sheet of museum glass. The geometry of each prism offers a visual portal into a landscape of refracted light. Two related photograms, Prism I and Prism II translate these prismatic shapes into two-dimensional black and white abstractions, where their strict geometry is transmuted into an organic latticework.
Within three large monochromatic works — Blue Prism Painting V, VI and VII — one sees arrangements of solid, cut and polished blue glass forms, each form creating an ellipse at its apex. Here, the surface of the painting is a plane of blue architectural glass; subtle tonal variations play out across a grid structure borrowed from Ad Reinhardt. The black exterior frame and the painting itself, in these works, are in essence one and the same (another nod to Reinhardt). Within, a mirrored interior naturally refracts light into the prismatic objects and also seems to extend the space of the room.
In a related work, McElheny’s Window Painting I — which echoes an iconic painting by Ellsworth Kelly from 1949 — mirror and tinted grey glass create a mysterious space “beyond,” but here the cylindrical prismatic objects standing inside seem to depict something, perhaps bottles, smokestacks or skyscrapers.
I remember seeing these at Frieze earlier this year.
Across all these works, McElheny hopes to suggest the possibility of an expanded experience of viewing, a view of the images that exist within painting where the viewer’s own physical movement offers additional vistas, imaginary or not. In McElheny’s hands, mining the past lays the groundwork for a path forward, giving a glimpse not only into what could have been, but visions for what might be.
Paintings by Josiah McElheny will be on Exhibit Through October 24th, 2015 at Andrea Rosen Gallery, Located at 525 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District
If anticipating a visit to Nike Town is as exciting to you as a trip to Disneyland, then The Rise of Sneaker Culture, an exhibit exploring the history and evolution of the popular footwear, on now at the Brooklyn Museum, is your wet dream.
Not that the Brooklyn Museum doesn’t know how to do an exhibit of shoes, because did you see the Killer Heels exhibit? That shit was just out of control. So maybe my expectations were too high. Because the only things separating the Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibit from a trip to buy new trainers were prices on the shoes and sales people walking around in referee shirts asking what size you wear. Yawn City.
The again, maybe gazing at rows of sneakers that you can buy anywhere displayed inside of Plexiglas cases gives you a boner, in which case here’s a little bit of exhibit hype from the museum’s website. “From their modest origins in the mid-nineteenth century to high-end sneakers created in the past decade, sneakers have become a global obsession. The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world. The exhibition, which includes approximately 150 pairs of sneakers, looks at the evolution of the sneaker from its beginnings to its current role as status symbol and urban icon.” Woo.
I think these are antique high tops.
Included are works from the archives of manufacturers such as Adidas, Converse, Nike, Puma, and Reebok as well as private collectors such as hip-hop legend Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia, and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder.
Also featured are sneakers by Prada and other major fashion design houses and designers, as well as those made in collaboration with artists including Damien Hirst and Shantell Martin. This was my favorite part of the exhibit, and if all of the shoes were like this small sampling of sneakers, I would have been over the moon. Check these out.
These Christian Louboutin Roller-Boats (2012) feature Louboutin’s signature red soles and gold pony-skin uppers, embellished with aggressive studs. I can’t even imagine how much they cost.
Thank god I found a Pink Shoe to write about! Alife’s reimagining of Reebok’s famous tennis shoe, the Court Victory Pump, went on to become one of the most sought-after sneakers. True to its name, Ball Out, the upper is cleverly made using tennis-ball-like material. The original release of the Ball Out was yellow, followed by a number of other bold colorways, including this fuzzy, bright pink version. I would wear them.
Film footage, interactive media, photographic images, and design drawings contextualize the sneakers and explore the social history, technical innovations, fashion trends, and marketing campaigns that have shaped sneaker culture over the past two centuries.
While you’re at the museum, add significant value to your visit by checking out the Faile Exhibit, Savage/Sacred Young Minds, which is just insane.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture will be on Exhibit Through October 4th, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum, Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor.