Tag Archive | James Cohan Gallery

Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player]

Record Player Full View
Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player], (1962); Record Player with Found Objects and Collage (All Photos by Gail)

When Robert Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973, his fame as an artist was based on his creation of monumental earthworks such as Spiral Jetty, or minimalist sculptures using both Mirrored and regular, plate Glass.

But the James Cohan Gallery (in their brand new space in Chinatown) just hosted its inaugural exhibit, Robert Smithson: Pop, which featured a collection of the artist’s work from the early 1960s — including fluorescent-colored pencil sketches of both male and female nudes, collages, and found object sculptures — all of which were completely unlike anything the average Smithson fan would have been familiar with. You can read more about the exhibit and see photos in this great article over at Hyperallergic.

Record Player Side View

I went to see Pop just few days before it closed and while I loved the exhibit, there was one piece that resonated particularly strongly with my aesthetic sensibilities. In the rear room of the gallery, along with a  few drawings, there was a small portable Record Player inside a display vitrine. The box for the record player is covered in collaged pictures of men and women, tabloid headlines, and plastic trinkets and fake flowers.

Record Player Lid
Collage on Outside Lid of Record Player

Record Player top Side View

Inside, the box has been filled with twigs and dried grass, which make a nest for a small, blue bird.

Record Player Turn Table Detail

The turn table has been transformed into a hot pink pond, filled with tiny toys including neon swans, sail boats, and little plastic babies that float about on their backs across the pink surface. It is so cool and completely visually captivating; it’s hard to believe that Smithson’s early work of Pop Art is over 50 years old now! I never would have imagined, from the works of his that I  already knew so well, that  Robert Smithson had a body of work like this in his portfolio. I’m glad I was able to see and photograph it before the exhibit closed in mid-January.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Robert Smithson: Pop at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 291 Grand Street in Chinatown, NYC.

Record Player Alternate View

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By Proxy Group Exhibition at James Cohan Gallery

Play It By Trust
All Photos By Gail

James Cohan Gallery is currently hosting a diverse a group exhibition entitled By Proxy, which Geoffrey and I stumbled upon during our most recent art crawl.

Oliver Laric Yuanmingyuan Columns,
Oliver Laric, Yuanmingyuan Columns

The exhibit title, By Proxy, referes to what Marcel Duchamp called “aesthetic osmosis” — the process by which an artist transfers responsibility to a viewer, empowering them to complete the work out in the world. This idea, of art as shared enterprise, is the theme of this exhibition. Here, the word proxy encompasses the tools and techniques that complete artworks away from the artist’s hand. This exhibition is concerned with those tools and techniques, the effects they can have, and the instances when an idea calls for more than just the artist to take form.

Xu Zhen Eternity
Xu Zhen, Eternity – Aphrodite of Knidos

By Proxy includes Duchamp’s assisted readymade With Hidden Noise, a ball of string with an unknown object rattling inside it; embroidery works by Alighiero Boetti; three drawings from John Cage’s 1990 series River Rocks and Smoke, in which chance operations are performed by smoke settling in the fibers of the paper; Oliver Laric’s Yuanmingyuan Columns, a new work created with 3D scans of Chinese cultural artifacts ensconced in Bergen, Norway; Yoko Ono’s seminal chess set and war allegory Play it By Trust; and a work from Xu Zhen’s recent Eternity series, which juxtaposes the East and West by mounting headless replicas of key Hellenistic and Buddhist sculptures neck to neck.

Play It By Trust Chess Board

Play It By Trust, Chess Board Detail (above) and Sign (below), which appears on the backs of each chair.

Play It By Trust

XU ZHEN Under Heaven
Xu Zhen, Under Heaven

Pink Paint Dollops Detail
Detail from Above Painting

The exhibition incorporates work from the past century to the present day. Participating artists are Francis Alÿs, Alighiero Boetti, John Cage, Marcel Duchamp, Wade Guyton, Oliver Laric, Lee Mingwei, Sol LeWitt, Yoko Ono, Jon Rafman, Mariah Robertson, Siebren Versteeg and Xu Zhen. Definitely worth checking out.

Wade Guyton Untitled, 2007
Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2007 (Left): Marcel Duchamp, With Hidden Noise (Right)

By Proxy will be on Exhibit Through January 17th, 2015 at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 533 West 26th Street, in the chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

By Proxy Signage

James Cohan Gallery Presents Fred Tomaselli’s Current Events

Firey Swirl
After Oct. 16, 2010, 2014, By Fred Tomaselli. Photo-collage, Leaves, Acrylic, and Resin on Wood Panel (All Photos By Gail)

My first exposure to painter/collagist Fred Tomaselli’s work was his exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum back in 2011, so I was very excited about attending the opening reception for his latest collection of paintings and collages entitled Current Events, which opened at the James Cohan Gallery on May 1st.

Firey Swirl Product Detail
Detail from After Oct. 16, 2010

In his fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, Tomaselli presents eights new collage paintings and over 30 works from his ongoing New York Times collage series. The gallery space is huge and there is a ton of cool stuff to look at.

Black Star By Fred Tomaselli
Black Star

Detail from Black Star
Detail from Black Star

Tomaselli’s art is very visually psychedelic, but there is also so much going on as far as the actual form of the work and the story each tells that you could spend hours studying and enjoying each piece.

Gyre By Fred Tomaselli
Gyre

Fish Spew Detail
Detail from Gyre

As the exhibit’s press release explains, “over the course of a career that spans three decades, Tomaselli has transformed his daily life and many obsessions — gardening, birding, fly-fishing, recreational drugs – into mind-bending, consciousness-expanding paintings.

Bird and Serpent
Penetrators

Serpent Detail
Serpent’s Body Detail from Pentrators

Since March 16th, 2005 Tomaselli has been working on The New York Times paintings. According the the Press Release, “He became absorbed by the photo on the front page in which he describes, “Bernie Ebbers, the just convicted WorldCom chairman, was clutching the hand of his wife as he was being expelled from ‘the Eden of Finance’ by the camera-wielding angels of the paparazzi.” Drawing and collaging directly on the photo, Tomaselli created his first “collaboration” with the lead page of The New York Times. The series now consists of 80+ works.”

Here are a few from the exhibit:

NYT Queens Catholic Church
Nov. 25, 2010

NYT Putin\
Nov. 9, 2011

NYT Oval Office
Aug. 19, 2009

NYT Gingrich
Jan. 21, 2012

So, you know what you like to look at and what stimulates your mind. Surely I do not need to say anymore to talk you into going to see this exhibit: just do yourself a favor and go.

Fred Tomaselli’s Current Events will be on Exhibit Through June 14th, 2014 at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 533 West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.