I spotted this fabulous Jimi Hendrix mural as I was out for a post-snowstorm stroll through my East Village neighborhood one Saturday afternoon. The mural can be found on the security gate for Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop located at 199 Avenue A. According to their website, Mikey Likes It is the world’s first Pop Culture-inspired premium ice cream brand! I’ll have to make a point to stop by for a cone during their regular business hours!
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 Pinkie in 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.
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 17th (6-8pm)
Bertrand Delacroix Gallery is thrilled to announce FAME/SHAME, a one-time special collaboration between the gallery and famed British artist Russell Young. The artist is internationally renowned for his colorful enamel screen-print paintings of celebrities, often coated in shimmering diamond dust. In Anna Wilding’s documentary on the artist, he states:
“My art is best described as fame and shame.”
This is exemplified in this exhibition’s mix of glamorous celebrity photos and mug shots.
Young’s signature technique combines painting and photography to produce a unique effect. He sources the photographs from newspaper cuttings, auctions, celebrities themselves and even police departments.
Afterwards, he is intimately involved in every step of the screen-printing process. In fact, he is known for his sensational silk-screen performances, where he often signs his work with his own blood.
In 2007, he started to incorporate diamond dust into his work, a process, which not only distinguishes his work but also makes each piece unique as the crystals are individually applied. The final results are bold and provocative representations of American media. The iconic pop portraits capture the glamour, pain and anguish that come with being in the public eye. They do not seek to simply idealize the famous but to question the culture of fame and its effect on both those who attain it and those who worship it.
Born in York, England in 1959, Young studied photography, film and graphic design at the Chester Art College and then attended Exeter Art College. Afterwards, he moved to London and gained recognition photographing R.E.M., the The Smiths, Morrissey, Bjork, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Diana Ross and Paul Newman during the late 1970’s.
Afterwards, the artist transitioned into the music industry, where he directed over 100 major music videos for MTV during the 1990s. In September 2000, while living in New York City, Young started to focus on his passion for art and painting. It was at this time that he first collaborated with BDG founder Bertrand Delacroix and master printer Luther Davis, of Axelle Editions in Brooklyn, New York – a sister company to BDG. He began to create the enamel screen-print paintings on linen of celebrities. Davis remains the only printer that Young works with on his art and the artist remained close friends with Bertrand Delacroix until Delacroix’s passing in 2015. This exclusive 3-week collaboration celebrates this long-standing partnership.
Young has established himself as one of the most collected artists of our time; his work has been shown in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, New York, Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles and is in the private collections of President Barack Obama, David Bowie, David Hockney, Marc Jacobs as well as in the Saatchi Gallery in London, the Polk Museum in Florida and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. His works have sold at auction in the US and UK through Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips de Pury.
The artist currently resides in California. He will attend the opening reception on Thursday, September 17th.
Russell Young’s Fame/Shame will be on Exhibit Through September 29th, 2015 at Bertrand Delacroix Gallery, Located at 535 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Because it is up for only one more week, you should make every effort to head to the Joseph Gross Gallery for Sebastian Wohl’s amazing solo exhibition, Psychedelic Gravy For the Receptive Mind.
Wahl is a Swedish artist now living in NYC who works with collage and lacquer in a manner similar to that of artist Fred Tomaselli, but on a much more cerebrally expansive scale. Geoffrey and I were fortunate to meet and chat briefly with Sebastian at the exhibit’s opening reception, back on February 12th, and when I mentioned how much his work reminded me of Tomaselli, he did confess to also being a fan, and offered that Tomaselli’s use of lacquer had been a tremendous influence on this new body of work.
To achieve his multidimensional effect, Wahl carefully places handmade papers and images between layers and layers of resin. The result is a collage time capsule with real shadows cast within each piece. “Collage is my medium, resin is just the gravy on top,” the artist states in the exhibits press release, adding that, “The mystical experience has always been a point of reference for my work so Psychedelic Gravy For the Receptive Mind seemed like a fitting title for the exhibition.”
Wahl’s goal is to trigger an awakening of imagination, spirituality and vision. In his work everything is balanced with the attention of a tightrope walker. This attention to balance transforms into symmetry and repetition in the three new circular works that he created for this exhibition. These three pieces are titled Kaleidoscope Vision (1 and 2) and Third Eye Vision (see the first photo in this post) and are loosely inspired by traditional Thangka painting.
Sebastian also created a new series of 7 small pieces that he refers to as the Juju Elves. The works are charged with positive energy and the intention of protecting their owner’s home.
He also did series of portraits of Jimi Hendrix, each one unique from the others.
Sebastian Wahl’s Psychedelic Gravy for the Receptive Mind will be on exhibit only through February 28th, at the Joseph Gross Gallery, Located at 548 W. 28th Street, Suite 243, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Wedged between viewing rad new art by both Lynda Benglis and Herb Alpert, we popped into Jim Kempner on 23rd and 10th during last Thursday’s Art Crawl to check out a very fun exhibit. Taking Appropriation Art to a hilarious new level, painter John Grande presents his new series of portraits depicting pop culture icons superimposed with the distinctive design of Damien Hirst’s famous Spot Paintings. That Hirst himself is honored in the show is pure brilliance.
Some of the celebrities featured in the series include Whitney Houston, Truman Capote, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Judy Garland and Andy Warhol. The portraits are borrowed from Richard Avedon and other renowned photographers. He must have had a good time dealing with all of the licensing!
Jim Kempner is the rare gallery that always has a few things going on in addition to their featured exhibit, so drop by next time you are in the neighborhood.
John Grande’s Oh You Pretty Things Will be on Exhibit through February 23rd, 2014 at Jim Kempner Fine Art, Located at 501 West 23rd Street, on the Northwest corner of 23rd Street and Tenth Avenue in the Chelsea Gallery District, NYC.
On Saturday night, Geoffrey and I made an unplanned pit stop into the Judith Charles Gallery, having been attracted in from the sidewalk, to view an eye catching exhibit from San Diego based artist Kelsey Brookes. Entitled Better Living Through Chemistry, this show features a large body of work and is Brookes‘ first solo exhibition in New York.
Brookes’ appealing visual style derives from his background in molecular biology, which, of course, explains why these round canvases look like acid trip influenced interpretations of human brain scans. According to the press release, “Brookes has taken his knowledge of scientific images and expanded them into extremely intricate paintings that explore the mutability of human consciousness. His painstaking process involves the painting of hundreds of concentric shapes that are both psychedelic and grounded in empiricism.” This exhibit reminded me a bit of Holton Rower’s equally colorful Pour Paintings show at The Hole from last year.
The many round canvases vary in size from 12-inches in diameter up to a size that nearly fills an entire wall. While they are very similar, each one is uniquely different from the next.
There are also a selection of large rectangular canvases with designs that are very similar to a sky full of exploding fireworks. I am not sure how much longer this show will be up, but you should definitely check it out if you are in the neighborhood.
Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, Brookes’ paintings create a very psychedelic personal viewing experience, especially to those who are, or have ever been, as Jimi Hendrix so precisely put it, “Experienced.”
Kelsey Brookes Better Living Through Chemistry is on Exhibit through January 2014 (I’m guessing this means through the end of the month though no specifc date is listed on the Gallery website), at the Judith Charles Gallery (formerly Charles Bank Gallery), Located at 196 Bowery (at Spring street), New York, NY 10012. Hours are Wednesday to Friday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Weekends 12 Noon – 6:00 PM.
When I was planning my recent four-day stay in Seattle, one of the attractions I knew I couldn’t miss was the Experience Music Project pop culture Museum. I’ve been curious about visiting the EMP. since it was first in construction, which was about 15 years ago. Originally, it’s my understanding that the museum was being built and funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen to house his extensive Jimi Hendrix memorabilia collection. But obviously, it’s expanded quite a bit since that original, rather narrow concept.
Conveniently located in the Seattle Center, literally in the shadow of the Space Needle, and adjacent to several other top tourist attractions, the EMP is certainly one of the most unusual examples of modern architecture I’ve ever seen. When viewed from the top of the Space Needle, this Frank Gehry-designed structure looks like a Giant took a handful of various boxes of different shapes and colors, and stuck them all together. But this unique approach to modern design has created a fantastic space that provides exhibit halls for not only local music history and an extensive trip down memory lane with the Jimi Hendrix Experience in London, but separate wings for science fiction, fantasy film and literature, horror movies, and the current temporary exhibit highlighting Women Who Rock. Here are a few photos I took during my visit this past July.
Any Jimi Hendrix fan is going to be blown away by the Hendrix Experience Hits London section, which fills several ground floor galleries.
Not only will you see vintage, authentic stage costumes worn by Jimi, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, but the walls of the galleries are plastered with photographs, news clippings, magazine articles, vinyl albums and posters that telegraph the band’s rise to stardom after their initial visit to the UK. All I can say is, it must be nice to be Paul Allen.
Around the corner from the Hendrix exhibit is an exhaustive documentation of the Nirvana’s impact on the Seattle grunge punk music scene during the 90s. You could easily spend a couple of hours in this section, just reading all about some of the best bands that came from this genre-defining region of the country such as Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and many other Sub Pop signings as well as projects from legendary genre producers such as Jack Endino.
In addition to extensive documentation, Photos, Personal Letters, CD covers, magazine articles, costumes and props, there’s also one of Dave Grohl’s drum kits and other one-of-a-kind memorabilia. Whoever created this part of the museum did so with a good deal of love.
Fantasy film enthusiasts will not want to miss the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit where I enjoyed seeing costumes such as those worn by David Bowie in the film Labyrinth as well as many other props and costumes from classic films such as The Hobbit, the Wizard of Oz and Clash of the Titans, to name but a few.
On another floor there’s an exhibit dedicated to Icons of Science Fiction. Not only are there props and costumes from science-fiction films, but also there are small exhibits on popular books of the genre that laid the foundation for much of the visual media that came in their wake.
Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film is also a very fun exhibit. Aside from the expected props and costumes, you can personalize your experience by participating in interactive exhibits including the Scream Booth and Philip Worthington’s interactive shadow monster installation – which is just insane.
Rest your weary feet with time spent in a dozen video kiosks where you can sit in near darkness and watch horror film clips (commentary included) curated by directors Roger Corman, John Landis and Eli Roth. Super fun and also very educational!
The museum’s top floor is home to a large interactive studio recording exhibit, where you can actually play instruments and record your own music. It’s also where you’ll find the museums latest exhibit, Women Who Rock, which just opened in June. Women Who Rock does an ambitious job of documenting female artists from the 50s through to present including pioneers such as Brenda Lee, Leslie Gore, Loretta Lynn, Ronnie Specter and many of the girl groups through to the punk rock movement, groundbreaking all-female rock groups such as The Runaways and The GoGos and on to superstar solo artists from Madonna to Shakira and, of course Lady Gaga. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out just as we were entering this particular exhibit, so the only photos I have are ones I pulled from EMP’s website.
The Experience Music Project is a must-see destination for any music and film fan’s trip to the beautiful and vibrant city of Seattle. Exhibits change from time to time so make sure you consult the museum’s website to find out what they have in house during your planned visit.
The EMP Museum is located at 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle Center, WA, convenient to the Seattle Center Monorail. Hours are 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Daily. Visit This Link for additional exhibit schedule and admission information.