Untitled, 2011 By Elmgreen & Dragset (All Photos By Gail)
The Flag Art Foundation is currently hosting Changing Subjects, a solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed Scandinavian artists Elmgreen & Dragset. Changing Subjects, designed by the artists, presents new and existing works from the duo’s twenty-year-long collaboration that address existential issues linked to identity, sexuality, and mortality, as well as an examination of social value systems and the expectations that surround them.
Changing Subjects investigates the multiple meanings of the word “subject” as a noun. In grammatical terms, the subject can be a noun functioning as one of the main components of a clause, making it the element about which the rest of the clause is predicated. In turn, the predicate is the part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject on its own. In the context of Changing Subjects, the subject of each work exists independently of the others, yet when viewed together, they shift positions, creating a complex interconnection between the autonomous works.
Go, Go, Go!
The works in the exhibition, ranging in date of creation from 1998 to 2016, collectively guide visitors on a non-linear journey through various life stages. However, the sculptures and installations do not mark momentous occasions; on the contrary, they show introspective, unspectacular moments, by way of a figurative representation, by the use of a minimalist symbolic language, or by employing the actual materials to which they refer. Even when a lifelike human form is not shown, presence is implied through absence. The repeated use of an antiseptic material like stainless steel underscores a sense of a clinical study and evokes solitary feelings of abandonment.
Ah, a pink-hued water tower, what a pleasant object to spot on the skyline. I shot these photos from the 9th floor patio of the Flag Art Foundation, which is located at 545 West 25th Street (Between 10th and 11th Avenues), so this tower is also going to be somewhere on the south side of West 25th Street, in that same block.
You can see it in the background of this photo, which is of an Elmgreen & Dragset sculpture called Watching (2016).
If you dig Abstract and Colorfield paintings, then you are going to love Flag Art Foundation’s current group show, Surface Tension. This dynamic group show focuses on a selection of contemporary artists whose approach to abstraction incorporates a range of materials, processes, and techniques — such as sanding, stitching, dying, and layering — to draw attention to the dynamic potential of a painting’s surface. Artists include:
El Anatsui, Mark Bradford, Kadar Brock, Cecily Brown, Sarah Crowner, Sam Gilliam, Sterling Ruby, Sean Scully, Ryan Sullivan, Lesley Vance, Rebecca Ward, and Garth Weiser.
Inspired by Los Angeles gang culture and the use graffiti as a means of ‘tagging’ territories, Sterling Ruby’s mark-making presents a timely alternative to classic painterly techniques. Ruby’s atmospheric spray painting SP301, 2014 (top photo), organizes the canvas in bands of pink, acid green, and black, varying in shading and intensity as a product of using readily available aerosol paints.
The materiality of canvas plays a central role in Sarah Crowner’s Untitled (Leaves), 2015, a diptych of sewn, painted panels that plays with repetition of color and form.
Kadar Brock’s deredemirtdxii, 2015, was constructed, or more accurately worn down, through a labor-intensive (and often repeated) process of underpainting, priming, and power-sanding, producing a work whose tattered and marbled composition serves as evidence to its making.
In addition to the lovely artworks, Flag also has a spectacular scenic patio from which you can see the sunset over New Jersey, and watch ships come in to port. Nice.
Surface Tension will be on Exhibit Through December 12th, 2015, at FLAG Art Foundation, Located at West 545 25th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Jim Hodges’ Picturing My Heart (2004) has been described as an “eerily captivating” cast pink crystal skull, divided in two, forming a (broken) heart. The two parts together measure 9 1/5 x 22 x 16 inches, and can be seen displayed as photographed above at Flag Art Foundation as part of its A Secret Affair exhibit, through May 16th, 2015.
Yinka Shonbare MBE, Girl Girl Ballerina (All Photos By Gail)
What an amazing treat it is to have Flag Art Foundation founder Glenn and his wife Amanda Furhman share a selection of sculptures and assorted artworks from their own private collection with fans of their very cool gallery. Geoffrey and I attended the opening reception on Saturday (in the middle of a snow storm!) and were just blown away by an amazing collection that looks like it belongs in a museum. Here are a few of our favorite pieces!
Anish Kapoor, Blood Solid
This is may be my favorite small scale sculpture by Anish Kapoor The color and quality of the surface is just outstanding.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled
You might have seen Elaine Sturtevnat’s reproduction of the work of Gonzalez-Torres at her recent retrospective at MOMA.
Jim Hodges, First light (Beginning of the End)
You can see the Gonzalez-Torres piece reflected in this work by Jim Hodges which is composed of small tiles of mirrored black glass. Very beautiful.
Louis Bourgeois, Topiary
The Fuhrmans must be big fans of Louise Bourgeois, as this was one of three pieces by the late artist included in this show.
Louis Bourgeois, Couple
Maurizio Cattelan, Frank and Jamie
Imagine having this piece by Maurizio Cattelan in your private collection. How cool would that be?
Matthew Barney, Cremaster 1: Goodyear Lounge
I can run pretty hot and cold when it comes to the art of Matthew Barney, but this, I love. See a detail shot below.
Look at the art direction on this. Just look at it. Amazing.
Katharina Fritsch, Oktopus
What a fantastic and fun sculpture by German contemporary artist Katharina Fritsch. I love her work.
Thomas Schütte, Grosser Geist (1)
German Sculptor Thomas Schütte has done a series of these large statues called Grosser Geist — which means “Great Spirit” in German — though no two of these works are exactly alike.
Subodh Gupta, Spooning
I left the guard’s legs in the shot so you can see how large these spoons are. Another very fun sculpture!
Robert Gober, Untitled
This one looks like a over-sized stick of Butter in a Baby Crib surrounded by Yellow Apples. Everything in the crib is fabricated from Beeswax.
Ron Mueck, Two Women
Sculptor Ron Mueck creates startlingly lifelike miniature sculptures of people. These ladies stand about 33 inches high and you could swear they are about to talk to you.
Marc Quinn, Sphinx (Fortuna)
British artist Marc Quinn has created dozen of sculptures of supermodel Kate Moss in various contorted poses.
As you can see just from these few photos, this is an enormously exciting exhibit presenting a very rare opportunity to experience a private art collection of such high quality and displaying such exceptional taste. Absolutely do not miss this one!
A Secret Affair: Selections from the Fuhrman Family Collection will be on Exhibit Through May 16th, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, 9th and 10th Floors, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Brittle House By Will Cotton, 2000 (All Photos By Gail)
Like Paul McCarthey’s ill-fated Butt Plug Tree, I like art that pushes boundaries. That’s what I found in abundance when Geoffrey and I made the scene last Saturday at Flag Art Foundation in Chelsea for the opening reception of a group show they call Disturbing Innocence. It was definitely disturbing.
Mummified Barbies by EV Day
Curated by Eric Fischl, Disturbing Innocence features over 50 historical and contemporary artists whose use of dolls, toys, mannequins, robots, and other surrogates forms a deep and powerfully expressive genre. The exhibition poses profound questions surrounding social constructs of youth, beauty, transformation, violence, sexuality, gender, identity, and loneliness.
Amy Bennett, Property Line, 2007
Inspired by Fischl’s own childhood in suburban Long Island, NY, and his early career as an artist working in New York City in the 1980s, Disturbing Innocence presents a subversive and escapist world at odds with the values and pretensions of polite society. Ninety percent of the art on display is not for the easily offended, but if you are open minded and appreciate stuff that is a bit — or a lot — twisted, then this will be your thing.
Let’s take a look at some highlights from the show!
This snow globe features the serene, wintery scene of one clown standing on the back of another clown in order to commit suicide by hanging himself. Because clowns are scary!
I call this one Nude Rapunzel, because none of the names of the art/ artists were posted adjacent to the works, which is just lazy if you ask me. Or, rather, it makes me feel lazy for not scouring the interwebs thoroughly enough to glean the name of the artist/piece.
Here is one of the less disturbing pieces in the show: it looks like an exploding plastic bag trapped inside a cage.
Here is a closer look. I like it.
Playdate by John Waters, 2006
Look! It’s baby Michael Jackson post-plastic surgery disaster. Let’s find out who his playmate is.
Why, it’s baby Charles Manson! Oh, the cuteness.
This one is just insane.
I did a Google image search of “Sculpture made of breasts” to try to find the name /artist of this piece and got about 100 hits, none which were this sculpture.
This piece, which is a video of a talking head projected against a split sphere, really reminded me of the talking statues in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. It’s the same technique used to give the mannequins expressive faces at the Brooklyn Museum’sJean Paul Gaultier exhibit last year.
Jennifer Rubell, Nutcracker Doll
This functional Nutcracker Doll might be a bit big to keep on hand in your kitchen, but it sure would be a hit at your holiday party!
This sculpture of Siamese Twin Girls was the most disturbing piece in the show, for me. I wish I knew more about it.
I think that all of these sculptures and tableaus, such as the one-armed child above, are perhaps meant to make us more comfortable with seeing and being around people that look different from ourselves. I don’t know that there are any definitive answers, but Disturbing Innocence at the very least aims to start a conversation.
Find out more about Eric Fischl and artists involved in Disturbing Innocence by visiting This Link.
Disturbing Innocence will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
There Goes The Neighborhood: Peter Drake, Siege of Syosset, 2007
Now, here’s a must see exhibit that you have six entire months to check out (so, maybe go more than once): Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures at Flag Art Foundation. This extremely well staged exhibit features a selection of the artist’s sculptures and maquettes (scale models), works that playfully and pointedly blur the boundaries of drawing, sculpture and painting.
Comprised of everyday and mass-produced objects – a mirror, water glass, and coffee cup – as well as the artist’s signature brushstrokes, the works highlight Lichtenstein’s ability to elevate the everyday to the iconic. Presented in a gallery space populated with furniture, the exhibition encourages engagement, inviting audiences to view historic works in an intimate setting.
The Two Sides of Maquette for House I (Above and Below)
Maquette for House I (1996) inspired the domestic context for this environment, a later work wherein Lichtenstein reduces the structure of a cookie cutter suburban house to black outlines and primary colors – yellow siding, a blue roof, and red to accent the shutters and chimney.
Often overlooked but routinely used, commercial subjects become monuments in the artist’s hand, wherein shadow, contour, and highlight are rendered in patinated bronze. In Mirror II (1977), Lichtenstein transforms a vanity mirror into a static, unchanging reflection – focusing on the form of the object while negating its intended function.
Mobile III (1990) directly references Alexander Calder’s archetypal mobiles, “freezing”  an item whose sole purpose is to respond to movement. Rather than condense volume and function into a linear still life, these sculptures become intimate metaphors for the disposable society in which they exist.
Nodding to the physicality of the Abstract Expressionist movement and its influence on Western art, Lichtenstein’s brushstroke sculptures democratize mark-making and painterly authority through isolation and reproduction. Lichtenstein describes his desire to separate the brushstroke from the canvas and distill it to its purist form.
One of the most fun things about Intimate Sculptures is the way it is staged so accessibly; as if you are walking through a private home and enjoying these works as part of someone’s “intimate” personal collection. It is very cool.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.