I apologize in advance for not making it to Tony Oursler’s mAcHiNe E.L.F. exhibit at Lehmann Maupin Gallery until March 24th, the day before it closed. If you didn’t see it, and you’re reading this now, I’m afraid you’re going to have to live through me. In this review I am focusing solely on the video installation portion of the exhibit, the Crystal Forest — a mesmerizing multimedia head trip that liberates video from a traditional two-dimensional format and brings it into the realm of sculpture to create a truly immersive experience. Seriously, it was just insane. Continue reading Tony Oursler’s mAcHiNe E.L.F. Installation at Lehmann Maupin
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Erwin Wurm’s Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order, at Lehmann Maupin
Installation View (All Photos By Gail)
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.
Os Gemeos, Silence of the Music at Lehmann Maupin
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. Continue reading Os Gemeos, Silence of the Music at Lehmann Maupin
Sunset in My Heart By Mr., at Lehmann Maupin
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mickalene Thomas, Tete de Femme at Lehmann Maupin
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.