Tag Archive | Derek Storm

Eduardo Sarabia’s Ballads at Other Criteria

Eduardo Sarabia Dioramas and Cactuses
All Photos By Gail

When we were invited to an art opening last week at Other Criteria, Damien Hirst’s high-end gift shop / gallery on Broome Street in Soho, the first thing I thought of was, why have I not been to Other Criteria during its entire first year of existence? Seriously, WTF have I been up to? I wish could tell you.

Other Criteria Store
Other Criteria: Because You Like to Have Nice Things

Although one could spend a good amount of time browsing around and not touching every item displayed so seductively in the street level retail space, it turns out that Other Criteria has a basement gallery, and that’s where we found the provocative art of Mexican-American artist, Eduardo Sarabia. Let’s take a closer look.

Installation View

Sarabia’s new exhibit is called Ballads and it consists of 3D paper dioramas inside wall-mounted glass vitrines, one large wall tapestry and several very large pieces of glazed pottery, all playing with themes related to Mexico’s dark underworld of drug trafficking and its related, widespread gang violence. Sex, drugs, guns and…parrots, yeah, it’s all there. Also there are some adorable little potted succulents included in the displays, which further enhance the feeling of authenticity. Because, Mexico!

Green Urn

This piece, which embraces the look and feel of traditional Mexican pottery, but with a little twist, is so great.

Blue Pot Leaf Ceramic

Pot Urn Detail

Zebra and Girl Diorama

At the gallery, we ran into our friend, celebrity photographer and art expert Derek Storm, who is apparently friends with Sarabia, and he explained that the animals in these dioramas, whatever their Spanish name is, that is also a Mexican slang word for some kind of drug. So, imagine that Zebra, which is Cebra in Spanish, maybe that means Cocaine, or something. Or maybe he was joking around. Who knows, it’s a good story!

Yellow Urn

The tapestry seen in the background of the above photo, Amor Amor Amor is inspired by the “narcomantas,” which are crudely made coded messages hung on public areas in Mexico by gangs and drug cartels. Usually spray paint on a bed sheet type of thing. Sometimes the messages try to justify an event or even further explain an action of terror. Sometimes the cartels get blamed for something they didn’t do in the media and this is their platform to give their side of the story. Other times, they serve as simple warnings to rival gangs.

Emulating this style and aesthetic, Sarabia wanted to bring forward a positive message. Using the power of fascination with this phenomenon, the artist has been working with a tapestry studio to make these works. Each is made by hand and takes about 2 months to weave.

Parrots

Eduardo Sarabia’s Ballads will be on Exhibit Through July 5th 2015 at Other Criteria, Located at 458 Broome Street, SoHo, New York, NY 10013. Hours are Monday – Saturday 11:00 AM -7:00 PM, and Sunday 12 Noon – 6:00 PM.

Installation View with Cactus

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David LaChapelle’s Land Scape at Paul Kasmin Gallery

David LaChapelle Refinery
Refinery By David LaChapelle (All Event Photos By Gail)

People reading this blog post right now likely fall into one of three categories. The first are folks who are fans of artist/photographer David LaChapelle’s extensive and highly impressive body of work. The second are those who only know his name  because LaChapelle is guilty of having photographed America’s most notoriously repellent “Famous for Being Famous” family, The Kardashians, for their 2013 Christmas Card. And the third group are those who are confusing him with African American comedian Dave Chapelle. Just being serious.

David LaChapelle has taken a break from photographing celebrities for his latest gallery show, Land Scape, for which we attended the opening reception last Friday at Paul Kasmin Gallery. It was quite a scene, absolutely packed wall-to-wall with fans and (not that many) famous people, which presented quite the challenge to get decent photos! Although the only mildly well-known attendees I could identify as I pardoned and excused my way through the throng were (ironically) celebrity photographer Derek Storm and artist Mark Ryden. However, this guy was there:

Viking Hair Guy

I have no idea who he is, but the fact that he sculpted his hair into Viking Helmet Horns made him worthy of being immortalized on digital image, some sources say he used the castor oil for hair growth. Kudos to you, Viking Horn Hair Guy!

But back to the art! Land Scape is made up of two series: Refineries and Gas Stations. The Oil Refineries are constructed as models using ordinary household items and consumer products and then captured in LaChapelle’s highly appealing, hyper-realist style. Photos of the Refineries with accompanying detail shots showing construction materials can be seen below.

Waterfront Refinery

Waterfront Refinery Can Detail
Rockstar Energy Drink Cans, Detail from Above Photo

Refinery with Egg Cartons

Refinery Egg Carton Detail
Egg Cartons and Drink Cups, Detail from Above Photo

Refinery with Measuring Cup

Refinery with Measuring Cup Detail
Measuring Cups and Cell Phones, Detail from Above Photo

That these gorgeous works are meant to encourage conversation about our consumer culture and the loss/ exploitation of our natural resources is, well, quite obvious.

The Gas Station series was shot on location in the Rainforests of Maui, where LaChapelle makes his home.

Shell Station
Shell Station

Chevron Station
Chevron Station

Blue Station
I love the colors on this one.

Each of these massive photos takes up a full wall in one of the gallery’s three rooms, so they really do have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated.

David LaChapelle’s Land Scape will be on Exhibit Through March 1st, 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located on the corner of Tenth Avenue and 27th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.