Tag Archive | John McCracken

In Memorium: Ten Photos of Daisy Berkowitz Wearing a Kilt

Scott and Skeleton Ts
Scott Putesky (aka Daisy Berkowitz): April 28, 1968 – October 22, 2017 (All Photos By Gail)

I believe that it is possible to live an entire lifetime in one day. I met Scott Putesky (sometimes better known as Daisy Berkowitz, founding member and original guitarist for the band called Marilyn Manson) in 2015 at mutual friend Mark Kostabi’s semi-annual Jazz Art Brunch. Mark, an accomplished musician himself, knows a ton of other musicians, and people always get up and jam with the band. At one point Scott played keyboards and sang a couple of cover songs. After he finished his set, I introduced myself, since I had written extensively about his band back in the day and I knew we had a few other mutual friends. Scott turned out to be very down-to-earth guy, and a terrific conversationalist, so we drank and laughed, talked about art and exchanged cards for a possible future meet up.

Mark Scott Gail Frieze 2015
Mark Kostabi with Scott and Me at Frieze 2015

I already new from hearing it in the media that Scott had been diagnosed stage 4 colon cancer, and in one of our first conversations he told me how he was undergoing chemotherapy sessions every other week to keep it in check. He wasn’t shy about discussing his treatment because he wanted people to understand that he was fighting as hard as he could, and that he was also determined to live his life to the fullest. At this point, his prognosis did not include the probability of a cure and recovery. He was just trying to buy as much time as possible.

Scott FB Profile Pic
Scott did not want to pose with this relief sculpture of two sunflowers, but I made him do it. He loved the resulting photo so much he used it as his FaceBook Profile Photo for nearly a year.

Scott was not only a musician, he was also a fine artist who had a voracious curiosity about art history. The annual Frieze Art Fair (which takes place on New York’s Randall’s Island) was coming up and Scott had never been, so we made plans to attend together. I thought it was hilarious when he asked me what he should wear. “You’re a Rock Star,” I reminded him. “You don’t  need me to tell you how to dress.” Scott showed up to the dock wearing a bespoke kilt made from Clan Scott Tartan along with the complete traditional accessories. It should not surprise anyone that once we arrived at Frieze, everyone asked “the guy wearing the kilt” to pose for photos. I took a few myself and will now share them with you, because I think they show a fun-loving side of Scott, and he would appreciate being remembered in this way.

Scott and Red McCracken

One of the works that Scott most wanted to see at Frieze is this Red Plank by minimalist pioneer John McCracken.

Scott With John McCracken
Scott With John McCracken Sculpture Vibes

Scott and Mood Machine
Scott Considers a Sculpture Called the Mood Machine

Mirror Selfie
No Art Fair Experience is Complete Without at Least One Commemorative Mirror Selfie

Scott and Gail Dots Background
Photo By Mark Kostabi

Scott Vampire

Sadly, I have neither any knowledge of the title of this work, nor the artist’s name.

Scott and Linder

This work is entitled It’s the Buzz, Cock by artist Linder Sterling. The image was famously used as the sleeve artwork for the Buzzcocks1977 45 RPM single release, Orgasm Addict.

Scott Serious

This piece is by an artist whose work I know, and whose name I should remember, but I just can’t recall it right now. Scott’s expression is hilarious to me.

Scott and I wore ourselves out at Frieze and took the ferry back into Manhattan around 5:00 pm to attend another hyped-up-the-ass exhibit opening, which turned out to be a bust. Not to be deterred from continuing our Art Safari into the night, we moved on to another exhibit just up the block, and then took the party to a place that was once the home of Manhattan’s longest bar for snacks and drinks, and more conversation. Later, we walked in a light rain from Houston to Union Square, stopping in at the occasional curiosity shop like this place (where Scott purchased a large bag of assorted Gummy Candies) before I finally dropped him off at the subway on 14th Street and then continued on to my home.

We had an entire lifetime in one day.

Even above all of the times I saw him onstage with Marilyn Manson, my favorite memories of Scott are of the day we spent at Frieze and then prowling downtown Manhattan like two friends who just loved art and NYC. Now, you have those memories as well. RIP Scott. You are very much missed.

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John McCracken at David Zwirner

Installation View
Installation View Left to Right: Galaxy, Rhythm, Flare. (All Photos By Gail )

Hey, do you enjoy the work of legendary minimalist artist John McCracken? I sure do. According to the obituary published in the New York Times when McCracken passed away in 2011 at the age of 76, “he was one of the few artists affiliated with the [Minimalist] movement who did not object to its name, and who made most of his work by hand: sanding and polishing his enamel, lacquer or resin surfaces until their colors achieved a flawless and reflective perfection.” Right now, David Zwirner Gallery, who has represented McCracken’s art for two decades, is hosting an exciting collection of the artist’s late career works, whose monochromatic, highly reflective surfaces are inspired in part by the West Coast’s car culture. Sigh. If you are in any way a fan, you will not want to miss this exhibit.

Flare, 2008
Flare, (2008)

The exhibition presents key examples from three discrete groups of work — leaning multi-part wall pieces, wall-mounted multi-part reliefs, and freestanding columns — that McCracken created outside of his iconic planks. On view are a selection of the artist’s Beam works, each comprising multiple tall narrow components that lean against the wall, first exhibited in his 2008 solo presentation at David Zwirner.

Installation View
Installation View: Space is on the far left

Song, 2008
Song

Some multi-part works, such as Space (2008), consist of a rhythmic combination of an array colors, here blue and green; while others like Song (2008) explore tonal, more subtle variations within a single color, in this case red. Still others are monochromatic.

Galaxy 2008
Galaxy (2008)

Rhythm, 2008
Rhythm, (2008)

Fire (Left) 2007
Left: Fire,  Right: Light

Titles are likewise employed as a pictorial metaphor in McCracken’s lesser-known wall reliefs, such as Fire (2007), created for documenta 12 in 2007, and Light (2004), which exist in the interstices of painting and sculpture.

Chord 2004

Above and Below: Chord (2004)

Chord 2004

Blue Arc, Red Mara, Black Wave, Green Siskiyou
Blue Arc, Red Mara, Black Wave, Green Siskiyou

In the front gallery you’ll find a grouping of four eight-foot tall freestanding columns, arranged in a configuration similar to the artist’s 2004 exhibition at the gallery, exploring the phenomenological relationship between work, viewer, and architecture through their outsized stature.

Blue Arc, Red Mara, Black Wave, Green Siskiyou

Reflection off of Wave, 2004
Reflection off of Siskiyou (1988)

Sculptures By John McCracken’s will be on Exhibit Through April 15th, 2017 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Signage

Light (Rear Wall)
Light (2004), Rear Wall

Pink Thing of The Day: John McCracken, Violet Block in Two Parts

Violet Block in Two Parts
All Photos By Gail

OK, so this is technically more like a “Pink-ish Thing,” since it’s called Violet Block in Two Parts. But, pinkish is close enough for me! This sculpture by the late great John McCracken is currently on display in the new home of the Whitney Museum, which I’ve managed to visit twice already since it opened in late April of this year.

Violet Block in Two Parts

The grid-like pattern you see on the sculpture’s surface in this photo is a reflection of the gallery’s ceiling.

Favorite Art from Frieze 2015

Stacked Blue Cookies
All Photos By Gail

When you set out to peruse large volumes of Contemporary Art, it is always a good idea to have an open-minded partner in crime along for the ride. Geoffrey was in LA last weekend, so I attended Frieze 2015 with a new friend, Scott, who, back in the mid-to-late-90s played guitar in one of the most notorious American Rock bands to find commercial success since the seventies, when the band called Alice Cooper staged mock-executions as part of its live show. But that story is, perhaps, for another time, because today I want to share photos with you of select pieces of art that Scott and I enjoyed at the Frieze Art Fair, which took place on Randall’s Island from May 14th to 17th.

Paola PIVI It's Not Fair
Paola PIVI’s It’s Not Fair: Bear Covered with Blue Feathers

Hannah Starkey Untitled
Hannah Starkey, Untitled

While we traveled from booth to booth, one of the topics Scott and I discussed is how much we dislike it when an artist labels a work “Untitled” instead of giving it a proper name. WTF is up with that? It makes it seem like you don’t care. It’s lazy. It’s like not naming one of your children. And it needs to stop.

Red Draped Coat 2

We both really liked the above sculpture, the title of which I could not locate, but I am pretty sure it is not called Untitled. It reminds me of a Jawa, the hooded characters in Star Wars, but if you look closely you can see it is a sculpture of a Red Coat as it would hang if draped on a hook, but without the hook. Clever and compelling.

Loredana Sperini
Pink Neon Raindrop Sculpture by Loredana Sperini

Art By Tomas Saraceno
BR2237-0607/M+1 By Tomas Saraceno

A few years ago, Geoffrey and I saw a crazy great sculpture called Cloud City by Argentinian-born artist Tomás Saraceno, which was on the roof of The Met in the summer of 2012. The piece above echoes the modular shapes that are a signature characteristic of Saraceno’s work.

Satoshi Ohno Prism Dark Night
Satoshi Ohno, Prism Dark Night.

I remember gasping audibly when I saw these two works by Japanese artist Satoshi Ohno, which are unbelievably gorgeous. Ohno is also a Japanese Idol, actor, radio host, and singer — being the lead vocalist and leader of Japanese boy band Arashi. Talk about a Renaissance man!

Satoshi Ohno Prism Sunset
Satoshi Ohno, Prism Sunset

Josiah McElheney Blue Prism Painting III
Josiah McElheney, Blue Prism Painting III

Even though the above piece by Josiah McElheny is called a painting, it is really a sculpture.

Berta Fischer

Neon Lucite Sculpture by Berta Fischer. I love her work.

John Giorno It's Not What Happens It's How You Handle It
John Giorno, It’s Not What Happens It’s How You Handle It

We love the text-based paintings of artist and poet John Giorno. It is always cool and fun to see one of his new pieces.

Matthew Darbyshire CAPTCHA No. 31 Sitting Lion
Matthew Darbyshire, CAPTCHA No. 31 – Sitting Lion

This Lion is made from stacked hollow tubes.

John McCracken Rythym
John McCracken Rythym

There was a fantastic selection of plank works by the late John McCracken in the David Zwirner booth.

It's The Buzz Cock By Linder
It’s The Buzz, Cock By Linder

Buzzcocks fans might recognize the above work by artist and radical feminist icon Linder (AKA Linder Sterling) from the picture sleeve of that band’s 1977 single “Orgasm Addict.” It certainly was impossible to miss, even from across the room.

Daniel Rich
Art By Daniel Rich

Carlos Garaicoa Dudas Sober el Paraiso Terrenal
Carlos Garaicoa, Dudas Sobre el Paraiso Terrenal

The above title translates to “Doubts about the earthly paradise.” See a detail shot of this work just below.

Dudas Sobre el Paraiso Terrenal

He Won't Hurt You
He Won’t Hurt You

Monir Farmanfarmaian

Above, you see selected Mirror Mosaic works by legendary Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian. We just saw her exhibit, Infinite Possibility at the Guggenheim, and it was beyond amazing!

Lips That Look Like a Flame

Lips That Look Like a Flame? We love it.

Andy Coolquitt Found Deodorant Bottles
Andy Coolquitt, Neo-Deo: Found Deodorant Bottles Displayed in a Glass Vitrine

Marie Angeletti Catwoman
Marie Angeletti, Catwoman: Digital Print on Polished Steel

I hope you enjoyed your free peek at this year’s Frieze Art Fair! See you next year!

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Absolutely Naked Fragrance By John McCracken

Pink Plank McCracken
The Absolutely Naked Fragrance, 1967, Plywood Covered with Fiberglass and Resin By John McCracken (All Photos By Gail)

John McCracken (American, 1934–2011) began producing his vibrant monochrome Planks in 1966. While the polished resin surface captures the aesthetic of surfing and car culture unique to Southern California in the 1960s, the title — The Absolutely Naked Fragrance — was drawn from advertising slogans in fashion magazines.

The work’s interaction with both the floor and wall is meant to call attention to the space occupied in the gallery by both viewer and object.

“I see the plank as existing between two worlds,” McCracken said. “The floor representing the physical world of standing objects, trees, cars, buildings, human bodies, and everything, and the wall representing the world of the imagination, illusionistic painting space, human mental space and all that.”

The Absolutely Naked Fragrance is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City

John McCracken Artist
Photo of a Photo of The Artist, By Gail