Bertold Loffler’s most important painting, Youth Playing the Pipes of Pan (1912), reveals his passion for classicism, from the garlanded youth and draped female attendants to the vase at their feet, depicting Pan, the Greek god of untamed nature, playing a double flute. The flat, stylized composition and the bold patterns on the women’s cloaks reflect Loffler’s work as a designer for the cutting-edge Austrian artists’ association the Wiener Werkstätte. Eduard Ast, a major patron of the group, acquired the canvas and hung it in the dining room of his newly-built villa in Vienna, across the hall from Gustav Klimt’s painting of the mythological heroine Danaë(1907 – 08), which is in a private collection.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Paul Kasmin Gallery is currently hosting Doubletake, an exhibition of new paintings by the British artist Ian Davenport. This is Davenport’s first solo show at the gallery since 2013’sColorfall.
Primavesi Magenta Purple
In Doubletake, Davenport explores the chromatic essence of historical masterpieces, the palette of many of the paintings being inspired by a canonical work. He has ranged widely through history for his sources, paying homage to paintings spanning from the 16th century to the 20th, creating a remarkable record of a painter’s taste and powerfully demonstrating how a great tradition of historical pictures can inform contemporary art.
His technique, driven by an enduring fascination with the materiality of paint and the process of painting, is similar in each. First, after studying the painting in depth and gaining an intuitive understanding of its colors and hues, he goes to work using his signature technique, which delivers elegant vertical lines cascading down the panels into rich puddles of color.
Their effect is both sublime, in their evocation of waterfalls, and subliminal, in their reminders of history. Referenced paintings include Van Gogh’s The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise, View from the Chevet, (1890) pulling out the rich blues of the sky, the green and beige from the lawn and path, and the reds from the roof of the church.
Other works that have inspired him include Jan Brueghel the Elder’s Flowers In A Wooden Vessel, (1606), Mada Primavesi (1912) by Gustav Klimt, and The Marriage of the Virgin (1504) by the Italian Renaissance master Perugino.
Each time, Davenport uses the colors in the historical work as a reference point to initiate his own color sequences and explorations of movement, surface and light. In so doing, he questions how color gives shape to a picture, helping to structure the background and foreground in representational pictures, and produce rhythm and dynamism in abstract art.
Ian Davenport’s Doubletake will be on Exhibit Through October 22nd, 2016 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 293 Tenth Avenue (SW Corner of 27th Street) in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Pointillism clearly influenced this painting, even though, unlike Seurat, Gustav Klimt never expressed an interest in utilizing optics in his work. Nine-tenths of The Park (1909) is a solid mass of foliage, thus if not for the tree trunks and strips of grass at the bottom, this composition would be wholly abstract. The painting’s naturalistic elements are offset by Klimt’s decorative mosaic of blue, green and yellow dots, which are rendered representational only with the aid of the work’s lower section. This is a visually demanding work, and possibly one of Klimt’s finest plein air paintings (although many of his landscapes were finished in the studio, all were begun in the open air). He painted these throughout his career, but to this day they are celebrated far less than his portraits.
This painting is one of two formal portraits that Klimt made of Adele Bloch-Bauer, one of the artists most important patrons. The wife of the successful industrialist, Bloch-Bauer was a prominent member of the Vienna’s cultural elite, serving as a key supporter of the arts and the founder of a salon for artists and writers. Klimt’s composition, completed when Bloch-Bauer was about 30 years old, emphasizes her social station: her towering figure, in opulent dress, extends to the vertical limits of the canvas and confronts the viewer head-on from its center. She poses against a jewel-toned backdrop of nearly abstract pattern blocks that suggest a richly decorated domestic interior.
In 1938, the Nazi government took possession of this portrait along with other works of art from the Bloch-Bauer family collection (including Adele Bloch-Bauer I, now in the collection of the Neue Gallerie in New York). In 2006, after years of legal negotiations, the works were returned to the Bloch-Bauer heirs and subsequently sold to other collections. The Museum of Modern Art presents Adele Bloch-Bauer II (1912) as a generous loan from its current owner.
Monet’s Water Lillies with Gazing Ball (All Photos by Gail)
Hey remember back in the spring of 2013, when Jeff Koons launched his magnificent Gazing Ball series? I sure do. Gazing Ball was a collection of stark white Greco-Roman statuary, augmented by assorted replicas of common objects such as a Mail Box or Snowman, each of which was enhanced with a bright blue mirrored globe, also known as a Gazing Ball. Trust me: it was Rad.
So, Gazing Ball is a Thing now. Koons revisited the concept when he created the artwork for Lady Gaga’s 2014 CD, ArtPop, and now he’s done it again with a massive show at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea appropriately titled Gazing Ball Paintings.
As the title implies, Gazing Ball Paintings are Koons’ copies of works by Famous Masters with a Gazing Ball attached to the front of each canvas.
As much as I am inclined to suggest that Koons “phoned it in” for this series, that is not to say that I didn’t totally love the work.
Because, just as the crappiest attraction at Disneyland is still lots of fun, Jeff Koons is Jeff Koons. He could go full-on Yoko Ono and I would still go see the show.
I should probably mention that photography using a “Professional Camera” — which is what the Gagosian staff call a point-and-shoot camera — is not allowed. You can only take photos of the art using a Smart Phone or, I am guessing, an iPad. Lame City.
Up Next: Gazing Ball with Food.
Jeff Koons Gazing Ball Paintings will be on Exhibit Through December 23rd, 2015 at Gagosian Gallery, Located at 522 West 21st Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. Jeff Koons!
Do you love a good pop culture mash-up? I sure do, and Joseph Gross Gallery has an excellent one up right now for just a few short weeks, so don’t even wait until you’re done reading this review (kidding) to run over and check out James Charles’ Monstro Eyegasmica, which, I will just say right now, is completely fucking insane.
Monstro Eyegasmica — great title! – collects five of Charles’ large, mixed media paintings in which the artist combines illustration, painting and collage-style composition to create works that are at once strikingly familiar and gloriously unsettling.
For example, the exhibit’s eponymous work (seen above) combines The Kiss by Gustav Klimt and that famous scene in the original Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston’s character kisses the monkey lady. Seriously, this is a work of genius.
Elsewhere, Charles’ brand-jamming artwork irreverently combines pop culture characters with traditional iconography and embodies a sarcastic sense of humor. Here we see an enlightened Ronald McDonald sitting in for Jimi Hendrix of the cover of the album Axis: Bold As Love.
T.R.I.A.P.S. (Two Rats in a Psychedelic Sock) puts an R Crumb-esque spin on Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Bride of Pinkenstein marries the Bride of Frankenstein as portrayed by Angela Lansbury with one of the world’s most famous paintings, Thomas Lawrence’s portrait of eleven year-old Sarah Barrett Moulton, better known as Pinkie.
How absolutely perfect then that Charles dresses his likeness of Frankenstein’s Monster in the outfit worn by Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, which hangs directly opposite Pinkiein the permanent collection of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.
Charles has also worked as a commercial sculptor, creating toy prototypes for the likes of Disney, Mattel, and Hasbro, so you can see where his irreverence and keen humor is coming from. His work reminds me very much of Ron English’s Popaganda movement, but with a more refined sense of the absurd.
James Charles’ Monstro Eyegasmica will be on Exhibit Through November 25th, 2015 at Joseph Gross Gallery, Now Located in a Fabulous Street Level Space at 548 at West 28th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.