I haven’t walked much on the High Line this winter, and I specially try to stay away from it at night, when there could be hidden ice or slippery conditions, or when isolation could make for unsafe circumstances. But this past week I was at an opening on 28th Street and decided on the spur of the moment to just walk the few blocks along the elevated park until I reached 23rd Street and could walk down to a bus. What scary fun it was to come upon this sculpture waiting in the semi-darkness at 24th Street!
This imposing figure is called Sphinx Joachim, and he is creation of artist Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986, France). Humeau is fond of using her artworks to weave factual events into speculative narratives, enabling unknown, invisible, or extinct forms of life to erupt in grandiose splendor. For the High Line, Humeau has proposed a sphinx as a winged lion that protects the site against potential enemies. Equipped with motion detectors, Sphinx Joachim roars as an alarm every time it senses a human presence. Scary, especially in the dark!
Sphinx Joachim is part of the High Line’s Mutations series and will be on display through March, 2018.
Mufasa By Joseph Grazi: Taxidermy Bats, Dried Butterflies and Stone Sculpture on Wood Mounted in Plexiglass (All Photos By Gail)
Writing this rad blog has been an excellent way to discover and start to follow the careers of many cool and talented local artists, one of whom is Joseph Grazi, who creates fresh artworks by mixing taxidermy with classic statuary, juxtaposed with pristine colored pencil and graphite renderings, and giving the result a slight twist in perspective. Joseph Gross Gallery is currently hosting Cecil: A Love Story, Grazi’s latest body of work, which is a multimedia exhibition that examines the public’s erratic moral compass in the wake of highly publicized tragedies.
On August 15, 2015 the world learned through a flurry of rage posts populating social media newsfeeds that the (until then widely unknown) Zimbabwean icon Cecil the Lion had been killed by a trophy hunter. The hunter responsible, a white, privileged dentist named Walter Palmer, had become the most hated man on the planet overnight.
Cecil: A Love Story scrutinizes the public’s alarmingly inconsistent morals, particularly in relation to animals. Through various media, Grazi creates a dialogue surrounding how we perceive and process atrocities committed against human beings versus those against animals.
Why did killing of Cecil the Lion by Walter Palmer make frontpage news over a terrorist attack that happened in the same week? Why did Jimmy Kimmel cry over the death of Cecil, but not after 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram?
Having worked with lions in Africa for a period of time, the artist brings an informed perspective to the exhibition that contrasts the suburban American mentality surrounding wildlife. Wildlife, the artist argues, is a human construction. People say “don’t play God,” but rather, he states, “we already are God.” The wilds are only wild because humans allow it to exist.
False Prophet 1 (left) Installation Detail
Further, Joseph Grazi investigates what it is specifically about lions that has infatuated humans throughout history. A timeless tradition and continuous obsession, with imagery carved into ancient churches to the modern suburban home – the exhibition begs the question “why are lions so special?” It dives deep into our
collective consciousness to discover why Cecil, of all creatures and all lions, was deemed so extraordinary.
Artist Joseph Grazi with Joseph Gross Gallery Director, Lynzy Blair, at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception
Cecil: A Love Story By Joseph Grazi will be on Exhibit Through October 31st, 2016 at Joseph Gross Gallery, located at 548 W 28th St, Ground Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Pop Surrealism is a genre of painting that never gets tiresome for me. Connecticut based Artist Robert Deyber paints realist-style visual renderings of clichés, euphemisms and popular sayings or phrases, to create surreal, dreamlike tableaus that really take the viewer elsewhere. I love his work.
Despite his keen sense of humor and the visually absurd, Robert Deyber is a seriously skilled painter. Much like solving Rebus Puzzles, the fun in observing Deyber’s paintings is trying to deduce the title from the images on the canvas. Sometimes it’s really easy and obvious, and at other times quite confounding. You can even make a game of it with your friends!
Here are some of my favorites from Thursday night’s opening reception, where I had the chance to meet Robert, and he was very nice!
Lion of Coke
Martin Lawrence Galleries is located at 457 West Broadway (Between Houston and Prince) in Soho, NY.