If you enjoy humorous, absurdist art in the conceptual style of David Shirley, and you also love Midcentury Modern Furnishings, and you have an Instagram account, then you will surely go wild over Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm’s latest exhibit, Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, which is in its final two weeks at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. Grab your camera and your sense of childish playfulness and head on over!
Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (which is also the title of the piece seen front and center in the above photo) is an exhibit that a encourages — even demands — viewer participation in that you are asked to physically interact with the art in a series of One Minutes Sculptures, as follows:
The basic premise of a One Minute Sculpture remains uniform. For each work, using a drawing or specific text, Wurm directs participants to pose with an object, which have ranged from cleaning products and sneakers to furniture and fruit. The viewer enacts the proposed sculpture on a low plinth, manipulating their body and the predetermined prop in a pose held for a short time.
While instructions are printed on each object, a descriptive sheet with photo illustrations is available at the gallery’s front desk.
Let’s take a closer look!
A Sofa and a Blue Dustpan invite you to perform the One Minute Sculpture known as The Parallel Universe.
Hold the Dustpan against the sofa with your body.
Instructions for Ethics Demonstrated in a Geometrical Way: kneel in front of the chair and place your head through the hole.
Head TV: Lower your head through the hole in the cabinet.
Wurm reiterates that the success of these ephemeral pieces is determined by the exactness with which the directions are executed, stating, “The One Minute Sculptures only come into existence if the public follows precisely the instructions of the artist and free will has a low priority.”
Deep Snow: Step into the holes and lift the bench, holding it aloft with your legs.
Organization of Love: With a partner, hold the foam sheet between your foreheads with your arms resting on the cushion.
Roast Yourself Under the Sun of Epicure: Rest your head under the lamp.
Spaceship to Venus: Lie down inverted on the seat of the chair and lift your legs in the air.
In addition to the One Minute Sculptures, the exhibition includes five new sculptural works in cast bronze and mixed media, including Equitable (2016) and Flat Iron (2016), recreations of two iconic New York buildings that appear to be melting, and Bad Thoughts (2016), created by casting deformed bags of clay.
Bad Thoughts reminded me of Big Kastenmann, the sculpture that Wurm made for display in front of the Standard Hotel back in 2012. As you can see, the exhibit is lots of fun and be sure to go with a friends so that you can get your snaps in!
Erwin Wurm’s Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order will be on Exhibit Through May 26th, 2017 at Lehmann Maupin, Located at 536 West 22nd Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Above Image Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin. All Other Photos and Video By Gail
Each year, at least one of the Chelsea galleries hosts an exhibit so impressive and over-the-top in size and scope that we like to refer to it as Art Disneyland for the duration of its run. One year, it was Yayoi Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, with its multiple, mirrored infinity room installations. Another, it was Takashi Murakami’s In the Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow: a sort of Greatest Hits of the Japanese Superflat artist. And last year, we would nominate Mike Kelley’s mind-blowing Superman Origin Story that filled the cavernous spaces of Hauser & Wirth with otherworldly delights. Those were all fantastic exhibits worthy of multiple visits, no doubt about it.
This year’s Art Disneyland is over at is Lehmann Maupin on 22nd Street, and you have just under 2 weeks to check it out before you miss out. Silence of the Music, starring the whimsical, elevated street art of Brazilian artist duo Os Gemeos was virtually impossible to gain entry to during its opening reception on September 8th, and four weeks later it’s still drawing huge crowds and endless tour groups. It’s easy to see why as soon as you enter the gallery.
At their first New York solo show with Lehmann Maupin, twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo have transformed multiple rooms into an immersive installation that combines drawing, painting, collage, mixed media sculpture, and kinetic and audio elements. These newest works represent an evolution of the style Os Gemeos has honed over decades, while also returning to their early experimentation with diverse mediums, including new oil paintings. This exhibition offers a heightened multi-sensory experience that embraces the power of human imagination and the vast possibilities in visually interpreting the subconscious.
Os Gemeos broke onto the art scene in the late 1980s as graffiti writers in their São Paulo neighborhood of Cambuci, and are now internationally recognized for a figurative style that typically features their signature yellow characters, thin dark red outlining, and intricately patterned designs. Initially influenced by the graffiti movement coming out of New York, they were ultimately inspired by the ingenuity and resourcefulness evident in their working class neighborhood. They made their art accessible to the community as a way to contribute a sense of optimism in the midst of the economic disparity, violence, and drug use that proliferated.
They believed that the popular Brazilian art movements of the time, which favored conceptual, minimalist, and concrete art, were limiting to a wider audience. Instead, they embraced work by self-taught artists like Arthur Bispo do Rosario, who created all of his work from a Rio de Janeiro mental institution during the 1930s. Following a 1993 visit with the prominent San Francisco-based artist Barry McGee, the twins developed a rigorous studio practice while continuing to make murals. This allowed them to extend their unique artistic vision beyond the streets to an international audience that includes galleries, museums, and private collections. Os Gemeos’ practice continues to be marked by a commitment to the accessibility of art and to exposing the realities of the working class while also celebrating its resilience.
Photo Op: 2 Gs on the Moon
Silence of the Music extends Os Gemeos’ approach to an exhibition as a total work of art, a concept exemplified in their Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston solo exhibition in 2012. Conceived as a site-specific installation, each room contains a unique grouping of paintings and objects that cover the wall, floor to ceiling.
The exhibition pays tribute to music in particular. Included in their B-Boy room are boom box paintings — canvases with embedded speakers that play tracks linked to the imagery on the canvas — and interactive sculptures that play LP records.
O Dia Da Festa de Break (The Break Party’s Day), 2016
For Os Gemeos, the era during the 1970s and 1980s was an influential time of discovery and sharing; the improvisational structure, descriptions of everyday life on the streets, and bravado in sharing these stories that this golden age of hip hop fostered is intrinsically linked to their practice.
Here’s a little video I took of the kinetic sculpture pictured above, which is called O Iluminado (The Illuminated)!
Similar to the surrealist artists of the early 20th century, Os Gemeos seek to defy conventions and push boundaries in art and society through the unbridled exploration of the subconscious and imagination. In direct contrast to the surrealist notion of a solitary dream space, however, the twins have described a shared intuition and subconscious experience that is translated visually through their collaborative process. They often allude to this notion of duality with their incorporation of the sun and moon, which is representative of masculine and feminine forces.
O Beijo (The Kiss), 2015-2016
The room Kiss is painted in bright hues that exude a sunny splendor and is anchored by a mechanical sculpture, representative of the masculine, which plays compositions arranged by Os Gemeos together with their brother.
A sculpture affixed to the ceiling directly above it, depicting a female, moon-shaped face, seemingly kisses the floor sculpture to trigger the music played. This imagery and their installations are meant to conjure a lucid dream state and empower the audience to consider their own subconscious.
Os Gemeos’ symbolism extends to their characters as well, whose indiscriminate yellow tone is meant to defy racial associations, an artistic decision meant to emphasize unity and the establishing role that diversity plays in their native Brazil and abroad. The twins often incorporate masks, instruments, and musicians in their work as a way to visualize the folk customs, festivals, and crafts that represent the myriad of cultural influences that make up the social and cultural landscape. Silence of the Music combines folk art, pop culture, and urban detritus in order to offer an expansive impression of the artists’ unique artistic perspective and creative process.
Os Gemeos Silence of the Music will be on Exhibit Through October 22nd, 2016 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Located at 536 West 22nd Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
The Joint Was Jumpin’ at Lehmann Maupin for the Opening of Sunset in My Heart (All Photos By Gail)
Fans of this rad blog may already be familiar with Japanese artist Mr. from This Exhibit — which was way back in 2012, but seems like it was just yesterday! Mr.’s latest exhibit, up now at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, is called Sunset in My Heart, and it features a new series of vibrant Manga paintings that still embrace the Superflat style, and yet break new aesthetic ground for this enigmatic artist.
As It Was That Day, 2016
For Sunset in My Heart, Mr. has returned to his expressive and experimental roots as a young artist, incorporating abstract elements like graffiti, and using distressed and sullied canvases. Mr. prepares the canvases by burning them, walking over them, and leaving them on his studio floor to collect dirt and debris. This new treatment of the canvas is directly connected to the artist’s early interest in the 1960s Italian art movement Arte Povera that inspired his first manga paintings he produced on store receipts, takeout menus, and other scraps of transactional detritus.
Pinkish Gold, 2016
These recent works reflect the artist’s intensely personal reinterpretation of popular visual culture and the increasingly mediated ways we engage with one another. Mr.’s oeuvre has elevated anime and manga subculture by embracing its cultural significance rather than critiquing its frivolity. In addition to painstakingly recreating the tantalizing graphics and slick finish of manga comic book characters, Mr. physically becomes the characters through cosplay performances — dressing up as fictional characters — at his openings and events.
Time Gently Passing, 2016
This recent body of work reflects Mr.’s impulse to push the seemingly kitschy nature of these imaginary realms into a gritty and abstract painting style in order to explore personal, global, and environmental themes of destruction. While the manga-style characters continue to appear in Mr.’s work, their significance has shifted from playing up lolicon—the fetishization of young, fictional female characters—toward a more platonic realm, known as moe, or love for an icon that does not carry sexual associations.
Small Fairies Have Arrived, 2016
These new characters represent positive beacons of strength that overcome all adversity. This reflects the artist’s creative impetus to embrace pleasure and beauty in diverse forms, instead of giving in to the personal and national despair that emerges after catastrophic loss and destruction, as it has in Japan since 2011. The title, Sunset in My Heart, reflects the simultaneous yet conflicting feelings of melancholy and hope, which also encompass the complicated nature of the human condition.
Upon entering the final gallery room, we were surprised and delighted to see, through doors opening onto a rear patio, that there was a party going on!
With colorful paper lanterns, folks dressed in kimonos; balloon animals, Japanese posters and very interesting music, the energetic vibe was certainly comparable to the wild shenanigans we enjoyed at the opening reception for this This Exhibit, which is to say that it was just insane. We learned that this party was designed to recreate a Japanese summer festival! Here are some photos of the festivities!
Posters like these covered the walls and even the ground, so that fans would feel fully transported to another place, far far away.
Here is an inflatable kiddie pool filed with colorful balls. We are not sure if we were supposed to take one of these balls as a souvenir, or if they were just part of the art. Should we have taken one? Probably.
We gently pushed our way to the front of he crowd to see that Mr. was there; dressed as a Japanese school girl, inspired directly by one of his paintings, and performing Japanese Pop Song Karaoke. Here, he takes a dramatic pause mid-song to roll on the ground.
Here, he performs “Hotel California” by The Eagles. There is an MC on his right, who is interpreting the scene. Art! Speaking of hotels, there’s this new hotel by Mark Scheinberg and it was very luxurious. It is a business and entertainment center.
Suddenly, Mr. decided to cover his face with dark blue paint. Perhaps this was an indication that he was feeling melancholy.
There was also a chef making a variety of delicious dumplings for the hungry crowd. These had shrimp in them. Yummy!
Mr.’s Sunset in My Heart will be on Exhibit Through August 12th, 2016, at Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Lehmann Maupin is delighted to debut Tête de Femme, a new body of work by artist Mickalene Thomas. In her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, Thomas explores the intricacies of female beauty through painting and collage, focusing on how artifice serves both to mask and reveal the individual essence of her subjects.
Throughout much of her career, Thomas has drawn from art history with particular interest in classical portraiture, constructed interiors, and iconic representations of the female form. References to Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Romare Bearden and Gustave Courbet may be found throughout her oeuvre. In Tête de Femme (translated as “head of a woman”), Thomas looks to early 20th century Cubism and contemporary Pop references, fragmenting and reducing portraiture to its most formal and geometric elements to create larger-than-life portraits of her models.
While the artist’s earlier works focused on classical depictions of the female form, primarily using powerful black women as the subjects, Tête de Femme more boldly conceptualizes female faces from collaged geometric cutouts. She relies on these shapes in the absence of glamourized female bodies placed in the highly conceptualized environments of her previous work. The series demonstrates the artist’s interplay of line, form, and material, punctuated with an increased use of color. With an affinity for rhinestones and glitter, Thomas utilizes these materials in addition to introducing screen-printing to her practice, giving her paintings a new dimensionality.
Mickalene Thomas: Tête de Femme will be on Exhibit Through August 8th, 2014 at Lehmann Maupin, Located at 540 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Mere seconds after entering Lehmann Maupin gallery for Erwin Wurm’s latest sculpture exhibit, Synthesa, we were already smiling from ear to ear. We first became acquainted with Wurm’s delightful sense of humor when his sculpture Big Kastenmann had its residency at the Standard Hotel in October of 2012, so it was lots of fun to experience an entire gallery full of works that express the Austrian artist’s unique world view.
White Bucket (Synthesa), 2013
Synthesa is comprised of three new sculptural bodies of work. Those within the title series of the exhibition, Synthesa, continue Wurm’s investigations of volume and abstraction of the human form. For these works, the artist works with the classical figure in the manner of a traditional sculptor yet drastically deconstructs and contorts each shape, inserting unexpected ready-made objects to further the abstraction.
For Wurm, these works explore psychological conditions, manifested in the physiology of the human form. Here, Synthesa represents the synthesis of opposing forces, both physical and emotional, traditional and unexpected.
Kiss (Abstract Sculptures), 2013
Similarly, Wurm’s series of Abstract Sculptures challenge our accepted impressions of the world around us. For this series, the artist contorts sausage-like forms into bronze sculptures that evoke anthropomorphic physical qualities and movement. Pulling the reference from his daily life and childhood, Wurm re-envisions the classic frankfurter in unexpected contexts to challenge our perceptions of the objects in reality. True to Wurm’s practice, these works are both familiar yet strange and evoke pause and contemplation from the viewer.
One Minute Forever (Skull / Banana), 2013
The third series of sculptures is called One Minute Forever, inspired by his popular his One Minute Sculptures public performance art piece. Wurm evolves those works from instructive and performance-based ephemeral sculptures into One Minute Forever’s physically enduring series, in which Wurm re-imagines the original One Minute Sculptures using skeletal forms to convey the eternity of each pose.
One Minute Forever (Joghurt Cup), 2013
Through these works Wurm embraces the persistent yet fleeting nature of time and examines this force as a unifying factor of human existence.
One Minute Forever (Bucket), 2013
Synthesa by Erwin Wurm will be on Exhibit Through April 19th, 2014 at Lehmann Maupin, Located at 540 West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Mondays by appointment.
If you enjoy the TV show Hoarders and the works of pop artist Takashi Murakami, then the current exhibit by Japanese artist Mr. at Lehmann Maupin Gallery is your wet dream. Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings fills Lehman Maupin’s cavernous space on West 26th Street with stacks and piles and mountains of personal objects of every imaginable description: from clothing to magazines to computer monitors, all active with videos of the artist.
Also included in the exhibit are large-scale Manga paintings, which fit into the school of the Superflat, a movement/philosophy coined by Murakami to identify “various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture.”
Walking through the gallery, Geoffrey and I were reminded very much of Chinese artist Song Dong’sWaste Not installation that we saw at the Museum of Modern Art a couple of years ago. It goes without saying, of course, that Mr.’s current work is also a reaction/response to what has been going on in Japan since the devastating natural disasters of 2011. I recommend this exhibit for all audiences.
Photo of The Artist
Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings by Mr. will be on Exhibit Through October 20th, 2012 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Located at 540 West 26th Street, Street Level, New York City. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Mondays by appointment.
Art Fans Enjoy Mr.’s Metamorphosis at Lehman Maupin Gallery