Jonathan LeVine 23rd Street Gallery Storefront Display Celebrates 20 Years of Juxtapoz Magazine (All Photos By Gail)
Hey NYC Art Lovers, if you are free this evening (Thursday, May 15th) why not pop over to the two Jonathan LeVine Gallery locations (they are just 3 blocks apart!) to have your mind blown at the opening night reception of Art Truancy, the coolest contemporary art group show, maybe ever!
Featuring the works of over 40 artists, Art Truancy celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Juxtapoz Magazine at a revered gallery space that has been around almost as long. Artists whose work you will see in this exhibit include Alex Gross, Alex Pardee, Andrew Schoultz, Brett Amory, Camille Rose Garcia, Chloe Early, Conor Harrington, Doze Green, Faile, Jeremy Fish, Jeff Soto, Marion Peck, Mark Ryden, Maya Hayuk, Miss Van, Neckface, Parra, Pushead, Robert Williams, Saner, Seonna Hong, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Thomas Campbell, Todd James, Todd Schorr and others. I’m happy to be able to say that I was familiar with the work of so many of these great artists after having been introduced to their work at previous LeVine Gallery shows.
Last night I attended a press preview of the show and will now share with you some of my favorite pieces.
From the 23rd Street Space:
Art by Robert Williams, perhaps most famous for his painting, Appetite for Destruction, which was used as the back cover artwork for the Guns ‘N’ Roses album of the same name.
Now that we are just a couple of short weeks away from kicking off a spectacular New Year, full of art, music, pink things, bacon and free food, I would like to ask you, Dear Readers, how was your year? I hope it was awesome. As you can see from this Rad Blog you are now reading, I got to do some fun things in 2011, including going on my most fun vacation in many years when my sister and I took a 7 day Caribbean cruise, with three days in New Orleans on the front end. Holy cow, was that ever fun! Such adventuring! Such fine dining! Such ridiculous humidity! I’m still sweating.
What this all means is that it’s time again for the obligatory Year End Top Ten List, so, instead of going with the predictable, rote, yawnfest Top Ten CDs list I’ve decided to do more of a Pop Culture Mixed Bag, if you will. Because that is how I roll. Let’s get started.
Best Album: Manraze, PunkFunkRootsRock. Take guitarist Phil Collen from Def Leppard, team him up with drummer Paul Cook from The Sex Pistols and add Simon Laffy, the bassist from Phil’s former Glam band, Girl (because every power trio needs a bassist), and you’ve got a record that sounds, well, like a raunchier version of Def Leppard! We especially love Phil’sLemmy impersonation on “Over My Dead Body.” Record of The Year! Read my interview with Paul Cook at This Link.
That’s Me in the Back Row: Third in from the Left
Best Game Show: The Kostabi Show, where a panel of three Art critics and/or celebrities compete to title the works of modernist painter Mark Kostabi for cash awards, while a jury votes on which title suits the painting best. I had the opportunity to serve as a member of the jury for a taping this past summer and went home with $6 cash more than I had when I arrived, plus a Kostabi coffee table book signed by Mark. Bonus: free pizza! Kostabi, who is an accomplished pianist, also released a swell modern classical CD, The Spectre of Modernism, this year, which has been in heavy rotation on my iPod for ages now.
Best Beatles Thing: Dave Depper’s Ram Project, an authentically-covered version of Paul McCartney’s second solo album, complete with off-key Linda-esque backing vocals! So good!
Best Rock Book: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil, a memoir of the British rock critic’s life and career in the 1970s. Everyone knows that all of the best music happened the Seventies, so I will admit that, as both a writer and fan, I certainly would have loved to have lived that life myself, save for the messy heroin addiction part.
Best Fashion-Related Museum Exhibit: Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Four words: Crown of Thorns Headdress. The Savage Beauty Exhibit set all kinds of ridiculous attendance records for the Met and was just insane. Insane!
Best Homage to Eighties Alternative Goth: Chris Connelly’s Artificial Madness. David Bowie Meets Killing Joke plus Bauhaus sautéed lightly with Magazine and a little Ministry on the side. Homage!
Best Rock Documentary:Fix, The Ministry Movie. Kids: Don’t Do Drugs. Or do a lot of them. One or the Other.
Best Seventies Southern Rock: The Sheepdogs, Five Easy Pieces EP. Bonus points to the band for their fan-winning appearance on the most recent season of Project Runway!
Reality TV (Competition): Top Chef, because Celebrity Chefs are the new Rock Stars!
Pop Culture as Art: The Suckadelic Art Toy Universe Retrospective and Pop Up Store at Boo Hooray Gallery (NYC). The judges and critics on the second season of Bravo’sWork Of Art didn’t really dig the SuckLord’s artwork too much, but his parodies of Star Wars toys served up with a serious side of snark made for one of the most subversive, hilarious and memorable art shows of the year! Art!
Honorable Mention: Kasabian’s Velociraptor, MGMT Live at the Guggenheim, The Zombies at City Winery, Single Fare Please Swipe Again at Sloan Fine Art, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, Jeremy Dower’s Canis Mortuus Familiarus at Bold Hype Gallery, American Horror Story, Maurizio Catellan’s All Retrospective at The Guggenheim, Patti Smith at Webster Hall, The Wyld Olde Souls’ Ensoulment, Jeremy Fish Listen & Learn at Joshua Liner Gallery, Robot Chicken, Tosh.0.
On Thursday July 28, 2011, The Joshua Liner Gallery will hold a silent art auction / fund raiser, the proceeds of which will benefit its Assistant Director, Tim Strazza, who was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. To help with Tim’s medical bills, many gallery artists and friends of the gallery have donated artworks, including Shawn Barber, Jeremy Fish, Tat Ito, Chris Mendoza, Ron English, Jim Houser, Swoon, Josh Keyes, Swoon, Sylvia Ji, Oliver Vernon, Sheppard Fairey and many others! The event will take place at the gallery from 7 to 10 PM and will include music, food and drinks. Available artworks can be previewed at This Link.This is a great opportunity for art fans to own pieces by some of the Liner Gallery’s amazing artists at what could well be bargain prices, and to also help out a nice guy in a tough situation. For more information on the event, including absentee bidding, please contact the gallery at 212-244-7415. You can also make a donation by following this link: http://strazzafamily.blogspot.com/. No amount is too small – all donations will help and are greatly appreciated.
The Joshua Liner Gallery is Located at 548 W. 28th Street – 3rd Floor, New York, NY.
“The Scariest Sound” As Told by Hop Hop Artist El-P (All Images Courtesy of Joshua Liner Gallery)
Storytelling is an ancient, ceremonial ritual: a vital way of passing down history and information that has become all but forgotten in this hyper–distilled, digital age. San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Fish has reclaimed the art of storytelling in his new exhibit, Listen and Learn, in which Fish’s paintings illustrate the telling of a brief but unique story told by one of his personal acquaintances. A digital recording of that interview is included as part of each colorful and detailed canvas, and while you examine the various images that make up the “big picture,” you get to hear the story behind the visuals in front of you. It’s an extremely unique and rewarding experience. This exhibit reminded me very much of the Stephanie Lempert’s recent Reconstructed Reliquaries exhibit (at the Claire Oliver Gallery) in which the artist built objects from the actual words of her interview subject’s stories. It’s exciting that artists are finding ways in which to add new dimensions to their work and I must say that Jeremy Fish’s unbelievably creative and extensive exhibit at Joshua Liner showcases some of the most unique artwork I have seen in recent memory. The show is a must see, for sure.
“The Last Viking” As Told By Courtney Taylor
While I attended the opening reception this past Thursday, the gallery was so packed with art fans that I knew I’d have to go back another day and spend extra time listening to the stories that accompanied each individual painting to really fully appreciate all that this exhibit has to offer. I visited the gallery again today (Saturday) and spent about an hour walking from painting to painting, sitting myself down in front of each canvas and hitting play on the tiny MP3 device so I could listen to tales from many colorful characters, ranging from Snoop Dogg to Courtney Taylor of the Dandy Warhol’s, who recount their personal memories of sexually deviant misbehavior at school, and having a tour manager that was more of a secret Rock ‘n Roll Viking, respectively. The stories told are alternately hilarious, far out, frightening, touching, drug addled, or just plain confusing. The unifying factor is that they are compelling stories in nearly every case, and the images that Fish creates to tell these stories are almost alive and breathing.
It’s unusual that the Liner gallery will devote both its front and back rooms to one artist, but in this case the collection is so extensive that Fish gets the entire space. Many of the paintings that fill the front gallery also have sculptural properties in that the canvases are shaped like the object that’s the main topic of the conversation, such as a subway train or hand grenade etc. The smaller, rear gallery is carpeted with lush Astroturf and the walls have been painted to resemble a cartoon forest in which the paintings interact with the background. In the center of that room you’ll find a cluster of whimsical wooden sculptures that add a very cheerful and fun aspect to the exhibit overall. Some of the paintings in the back room have accompanying audio and some do not, so your ears get a tiny break. Ultimately, however, curiosity is going to get the best of you and you’re probably going to end up listening to the audio at every single station. I know I did.
“Books For Burritos” As Told By Aaron Durand
One small downside is that, unfortunately not all of the audio works as it should. I was having trouble getting a lot of the stories to play, and when I asked for assistance from a very accommodating gallery worker, I was told to hold the play button down until I could hear the audio “pop,” then press play. This worked in most cases although there were a handful of stations where the story seemed to get interrupted, or end before the speaker was actually done telling the story. Other problems with the audio included excessive background noise or interview subjects who were too intoxicated to speak intelligibly, which of course had nothing to do with any technical difficulties. For the most part however the stories are clearly audible and easy to understand. A few of them didn’t really grab me, but so many are utterly fascinating and really add so much to the visual experience of the art. For example Kimya Dawson of the band Moldy Peaches tells an enthusiastic though somewhat meandering story about a teenage crush who shows up in her life years later, and ends up as a meaningful FaceBook reunion. It’s a situation that I’m sure a lot of us have experienced, but Kimya really takes it to the next level. If you’ve ever seen her appearances on the Storytelling program, The Moth, you know she’s an amazing storyteller anyway, so it was really great that Jeremy included her in this project.
“Angry Work” By Jimmy Scheine
I also very much enjoyed Jimmy Scheine’s contribution to the canvas called “Angry Work,” which tells the little known backstory of a series of Keith Haring paintings that have characteristics unlike any of his other artwork. Ron English, one of my favorite contemporary pop artists, tells a hilarious and unpredictably bizarre tale about hanging one of his renegade billboards over a busy highway that eventually leads to a multiple car pileup. Another favorite is artist Alex Pardee’s recollection of a comedy of errors leading up to his first art exhibit that includes a breakdown on the highway, a forgotten cell phone, a ticket for littering, a hillbilly tow truck driver and a woefully malfunctioning toilet, that just keeps getting crazier as it goes along.
In case you’re not quite convinced that you need to see this exhibit, you can visit This Link at the Gallery’s website to view selected works and hear samples of the accompanying recorded stories. There’s also a teaser video on YouTube which will give you an idea of how the storyteller’s words create the various seemingly disparate images of the painting.
Jeremy Fish’s Listen and Learn is on exhibit through July 16, 2011 at the Joshua Liner Gallery, located at 548 W. 28th St, New York City. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.