Salome is an archetype of the femme fatale, the embodiment of a deadly femininity. The Biblical seductress who was responsible for the beheading of Saint John the Baptist was a frequent motif in the repertoires of male artists during the end of the 19th century. For New Salome (1893), Max Klinger reimagines her as a modern vixen in living color, with not one but two grotesquely severed male heads as her side. Applying watercolor to her flesh and bright paint to her lips (now worn off) and hair, Klinger emphasized her sensuality, though he left the gray marble cloak in its natural state. Her piercing amber eyes transfix her intended male admirers, threatening to make thinner next victims. Just as color vivifies dead matter, the living bust turns the viewers to stone. Pygmalion’s statue and Medusa become one.
Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.
Painted Bronze Sculpture by Zhang Xiaogang (All Photos By Gail)
There are two things you can usually count on when attending an art opening at Pace Gallery: The art will be physically imposing in some way and the room will be absolutely packed. Such was the case last Thursday when we attended the reception for an exhibit by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, who has been represented by Pace since 2007.
For this exhibit, Zhang fills both of Pace’s adjoining galleries with monochromatic painted bronze sculptures depicting youth of both sexes dressed in what look like school uniforms. There is also a selection of sculpted, unclothed infants seated on pedestals around the gallery, which weren’t as compelling to me as the stoic-expressioned, uniformed busts of the youth.
A press release nailed these sculpture’s unique presence, offering that the bronze busts, which range in size from six inches to over five feet tall, are “Sculpted with great clarity in a political-realist style that echoes the state-sanctioned sculptures of the Cultural Revolution.” A few of the subjects are repeated over the course of the two room exhibit, but in different sizes or colors.
Zhang Xiaogang, My Father, 2012
In the smaller of the two gallery rooms, you can see four of Zhang’s large scale oil paintings, which often depict fully realized representations of the youths seen in the assorted busts. According to the exhibit press release, the paintings “continue Zhang’s inquiries into the domestic interiors to which people returned after the Cultural Revolution, and in which the artist came of age.”
The Artist was in attendace at the opening and can be seen in this photo being interviewed by the news media.
Geoffrey and One of Zhang’s Sculptures
I enjoyed these sculptures – and the deep cultural back-story they hinted at – very much and would encourage anyone intrigued by this post to check out the show while it is still up.
Zhang Xiaogang’s Bronze Sculptures and Paintings will be on Exhibit through April 27, 2013 at Pace Gallery, Located at 508 and 510 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
The coolest thing about the far-reaching field of modern design is that you just never know what amazing idea an inspired designer might come up with. Take, for example, Swedish designer Alexander Lervik’s conceptual development of the light bar – a light installation called Dimensions – on display at this year’s Stockholm Furniture Fair. The light bar sculpture is made up of 1728 heads, arranged in 12 rows x 12 rows of posts, each post containing 12 heads alternating male and female, which are arranged to form a cube-like structure. Dimensions was originally created for insurance company Skandia, with the heads meant to symbolize the employees of the company.
Each of the heads is controlled with LED lights that form a three-dimensional screen. The heads constantly change color, from orange to blue to red to pinks and greens, creating a playful and vibrant space that is “good for meetings, reflection and mingling,” according to Lervik. The lighting technology for the installation has been developed in partnership with Stockholm Lighting Company. Many more pictures are available at This Link.