Throughout her long career, Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) treated the motif of spiders across many different media, from drawings and prints to monumental outdoor sculpture. The theme was initially associated with her mother, a tapestry restorer, but grew to take on broader associations as a strong female protector against evil. This example, Spider Woman — dating from the last decade of the artist’s life — represents a female spider with a human face, contained within an egg-shaped form. The vibrant scarlet ink is a color that Bourgeois favored in her later work.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Louise Bourgeois‘ two hands engaged in an intimate caress sit incongruously on a roughly chiseled, seemingly unfinished base. In the early 1930s, Bourgeois studied with Charles Despiau, one of Auguste Rodin’s assistants; she may well have learned about Rodin’s marble sculptures of hands from Despiau. Later, in 1967-68, she traveled to Pietrasanta, Italy, where she discovered the same marble quarries from which Michelangelo sourced his material. It was at this point that Bourgeois adopted the medium. As the artist once said of the difficult task of working with marble,” you have to win the shape.” Her fight to conquer the block of marble is left visible here in this work from 1996.
Untitled (No. 2) was Photographed in The Met Breuer (former home of The Whitney Museum), in Manhattan, where it is part of the Museum’s Inaugural Exhibit, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible.
Yinka Shonbare MBE, Girl Girl Ballerina (All Photos By Gail)
What an amazing treat it is to have Flag Art Foundation founder Glenn and his wife Amanda Furhman share a selection of sculptures and assorted artworks from their own private collection with fans of their very cool gallery. Geoffrey and I attended the opening reception on Saturday (in the middle of a snow storm!) and were just blown away by an amazing collection that looks like it belongs in a museum. Here are a few of our favorite pieces!
Anish Kapoor, Blood Solid
This is may be my favorite small scale sculpture by Anish Kapoor The color and quality of the surface is just outstanding.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled
You might have seen Elaine Sturtevnat’s reproduction of the work of Gonzalez-Torres at her recent retrospective at MOMA.
Jim Hodges, First light (Beginning of the End)
You can see the Gonzalez-Torres piece reflected in this work by Jim Hodges which is composed of small tiles of mirrored black glass. Very beautiful.
Louis Bourgeois, Topiary
The Fuhrmans must be big fans of Louise Bourgeois, as this was one of three pieces by the late artist included in this show.
Louis Bourgeois, Couple
Maurizio Cattelan, Frank and Jamie
Imagine having this piece by Maurizio Cattelan in your private collection. How cool would that be?
Matthew Barney, Cremaster 1: Goodyear Lounge
I can run pretty hot and cold when it comes to the art of Matthew Barney, but this, I love. See a detail shot below.
Look at the art direction on this. Just look at it. Amazing.
Katharina Fritsch, Oktopus
What a fantastic and fun sculpture by German contemporary artist Katharina Fritsch. I love her work.
Thomas Schütte, Grosser Geist (1)
German Sculptor Thomas Schütte has done a series of these large statues called Grosser Geist — which means “Great Spirit” in German — though no two of these works are exactly alike.
Subodh Gupta, Spooning
I left the guard’s legs in the shot so you can see how large these spoons are. Another very fun sculpture!
Robert Gober, Untitled
This one looks like a over-sized stick of Butter in a Baby Crib surrounded by Yellow Apples. Everything in the crib is fabricated from Beeswax.
Ron Mueck, Two Women
Sculptor Ron Mueck creates startlingly lifelike miniature sculptures of people. These ladies stand about 33 inches high and you could swear they are about to talk to you.
Marc Quinn, Sphinx (Fortuna)
British artist Marc Quinn has created dozen of sculptures of supermodel Kate Moss in various contorted poses.
As you can see just from these few photos, this is an enormously exciting exhibit presenting a very rare opportunity to experience a private art collection of such high quality and displaying such exceptional taste. Absolutely do not miss this one!
A Secret Affair: Selections from the Fuhrman Family Collection will be on Exhibit Through May 16th, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, 9th and 10th Floors, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Untitled Aluminum Coil Sculptures (2004). All Photos By Gail.
Cheim & Read has a must-see exhibit up through January by one of our favorite artists, renowned French-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois. The sculptures in this exhibition, which, appropriately, is called Suspension, all hang from the ceiling, which was lots of fun to experience at the very crowded reception on October 30th. The show also includes a group of drawings from the 1940s, in which pendulous forms are delineated in black ink, the selection of works traces the theme of suspension throughout Bourgeois’s long career. I actually didn’t discover her work until I saw her massive career retrospective at the Guggenheim back in 2008. She passed away in 2010 at the age of 98.
Spanning more than forty-five years – from the organic Lair forms of the early 1960s and the Janus series of 1968, to the cloth figures of the 1990s, the hanging heads of the 2000s, and the torqued spirals of shining aluminum made in the last years of Bourgeois’s life – these hanging sculptures demonstrate the myriad ways in which she approached material, form and scale. Like all of Bourgeois’s works, they are also highly autobiographical.
Fée Couteriére (1963)
The very physicality of Bourgeois’s work – its density and weight – is offset by the seemingly effortless, floating state in which they are presented. Eschewing the traditional sculptural base, Bourgeois positions her work in dialogue with the viewer and surrounding environment. Tethered to the ceiling but by no means static, her sculptures have the potential to revolve on their axes, providing a sense of movement and instability.
Arch of Hysteria (1993)
The implied vulnerability is especially profound in works like the polished bronze Arch of Hysteria (1993), in which a male figure hangs from a cord attached at the pelvis.
Arch of Hysteria (2004, Two Views with Crowd)
The double-headed fabric Arch of Hysteria (2004), in which male and female torsos are fused and hung at the waist; or the bronze Femme (2005), which is suspended by the figure’s pregnant abdomen.
Femme (1993), Untitled (2004)
Other works are similarly evocative. In Henriette (1985), a portrait of the artist’s sister, a single prosthetic leg never reaches solid ground, while the elongated rubber legs of Legs (1988) stop just shy of the floor. The soft folds and flaccid double ends of the androgynous Janus series (1968), though cast in bronze, seem exposed and defenseless. One – Hanging Janus with Jacket – seeks protection under a hard outer shell. The Quartered One (1964-65), conjures images of beef hanging in a slaughterhouse.
The Couple (2007 -2009)
Late works, like Untitled (2004, Top photo in this post) and The Couple (2007-09), manifest the implications of suspension within their forms – coils of aluminum weave in and out and over each other, as if echoing the spiraling and spinning of which they are capable. Various associations with hanging – suicide and murder, as well as the connection between mother and child through the umbilical cord – are further explored in the exhibits catalogue by Robert Pincus-Witten, as he examines the trajectory of Bourgeois’s work.
Suspension by Louise Bourgeois will be on Exhibit Through January 10, 2015 at Cheim and Read, Located at 547 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Four Triangles and Pleather Form #1 By Susan Stainman (All Photos By Gail)
With her compelling use of bright, fluorescent colors and her mix of both hard (steel, plexiglass) and soft (fabric, felt, pleather, elastic) materials, artist Susan Stainman creates minimalist sculptures that maintain an original feel while hinting at other influences. In her new exhibit, Color All The Way Through at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, Stainman reveals her work’s roots in late 20th Century American Art, Craft and Architecture along with her fondness for childlike creative impulses. It’s a fun show.
Existing in the realm that merges contemporary art with design (any of Stainman’s works would look great placed among the furnishings in a modern decor-filled home), pieces like Three Triangles, with its bright, reflective, angular surfaces recall the neon and glass works of Keith Sonnier.
Four Triangles, Alternate View
Stainman’s incorporation of sewn fabric may or may not be an homage to Louise Bourgeois, but it’s pleasing to imagine that reference, intentional or otherwise. Her desire to explore the texture and tactility of fabrics is certainly exciting.
Blue & Pink Barrel, Side View
Circular Plexiglass Group #2
This cluster of ruched fabric “bowls” fitted with bright plexiglass windows is a centerpiece of the A.I.R. show and reminded me very much of the sculptures of Charles Clary from his show at Nancy Margolis in January of this year.
Circular Plexiglass Group #2, Close Up
Pleather Form #2
Susan Stainman has participated in nearly a dozen group shows but Color All The Way Through is her first solo exhibit. It is worth the trip to DUMBO to check it out. Visit Susan’s website at This Link.
Susan Stainman’s Color All The Way Through will be on Exhibit Through June 22nd, 2014 at A.I.R. Gallery, 111 Front Street #228, DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Louise Bourgeois, Quarantania, I, 1947-53; reassembled by the artist 1981 (Photo By Gail)
French-born Louise Bourgeois made these wooden totem-like figures early on in her career. In this piece, she brings together several of those individual pieces on a single base.
According to MOMA Curator, Deborah Wye, the sculptures were meant to not only represent friends and family that she had left behind when she left Paris and moved to the United States, but also her family at this time, including her husband and three small boys. The figure in the middle has three appendages attached to it, and this piece, when it was shown by itself, is called Woman with Packages. Bourgeois had said that these represented her three children who she was responsible for, and she felt were always attached to her in one way or another.
Louise Bourgeois passed away in 2010, at the age of 98. She was actively creating art right up until the time of her death.
Well known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, Japanese multimedia artist Yayoi Kusama’s widely varied works include painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance and immersive installation. Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. After achieving fame through groundbreaking exhibitions and art “happenings,” she returned to her native country in 1973 and is now one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists. This retrospective features works spanning Kusama’s career.
As part of the retrospective, Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water, which takes place within a mirrored installation, is being shown in the Museum’s Lobby Gallery. Time Stamped Tickets are required to view Fireflies on the Water and can only be reserved on the day of your visit at the admission desk. We were told that these tickets are usually “Sold Out” within the first 2 hours of daily operation, so you’d better get there early (i.e. when the museum opens) if you want to see it! There was also a line outside the museum and up the block, which we were able to usurp thanks to our Corporate Membership! Happiness!
Note that photography is not permitted in the galleries, so the two photos below were the only ones I was able to snap. Trust me though, much like the late great Louise Bourgeois, Kusama’s work is amazingly playful and diverse.
Kusama’s Signature Polka Dot Beach Balls installation Above The Whitney Museum Restaurant
The Yayoi Kusama Retrospective Runs Through September 30th, 2012. Fireflies on the Water Runs Through October 28, 2012. The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York, NY 10021. For General Information Phone (212)570-3600.
Polish-born Crochet artist Olek (AKA Agata Oleksiak) is hot stuff on the New York art scene! After a year-long residency at the Christopher Henry Gallery, which featured a full studio apartment whose contents had been covered in a camouflage pattern of crocheted neon yarn, Olek reverts to black & white for her new exhibit at Jonathan Levine, entitled The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal. The title taken from a quote by Pablo Picasso (later appropriated by British street artist Banksy) The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal features an installation tailored to the Levine gallery space with a new series of crochet sculptures and canvases.
A prolific practitioner of performance and public art (both authorized and unauthorized), Olek has covered people and various objects with crochet — from bicycles and cars to Wall Street’s famous Charging Bull sculpture. One series is an homage to Banksy’s stenciled silhouette of a girl suspended in air, holding balloons which he placed on the West Bank barrier of the Israeli-Palestine border in 2005 (seen in context, the figure appears to be floating up in order to cross over to the other side). Covering the balloon girl with her signature camouflage-patterned crochet work in brightly-colored yarn, Olek placed her Banksy tribute series in locations around New York. The artist has created a new black & white version of the piece for her Levine exhibition.
Crocheted Living Room with Model
Following the inspiration/appropriation theme, additional works in the show play off images and words made famous by various celebrity icons, featuring a camouflage crochet pattern in grayscale, rather than the fluorescent palette typical of Olek’s previous work. A 1986 Keith Haring portrait by photographer Annie Leibovitz — in which the artist’s body and entire room surrounding him was painted white with black line work — is re-created in a three-dimensional installation. Other works pay homage to various iconic artists, from the legendary Louise Bourgeois and Marcel Duchamp to Space Invader. Very fun! You can preview items in the exhibit at This Link, but they aren’t nearly as powerful when taken out of context of the gallery space. I encourage you to visit the Jonathan Levine Gallery before the show closes in just over two weeks.
The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal, By Olekruns through August 27, 2011 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery, located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor (West of 10th Avenue) in New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.
When artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois passed away in 2010 at the age of 98, she left behind a staggeringly rich legacy of art created in a multitude of mediums. Geoffrey and I were fortunate to be able to attend the Guggenheim Museum’s ambitious and highly successful 2008 Retrospective of her life’s work, which was possibly the most comprehensive and impressive retrospective I’ve yet seen. I mean, the woman did everything. What an amazing talent and what a huge loss to the art world, but how lucky were we to have her for 98 years? So lucky.
Through June 25, 2011, Cheim & Read Gallery in NYC is hosting an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’ works in fabric, dating from 2002 – 2010. Bourgeois’ fabric “drawings” – which became a central focus in the last decade of her life – are assembled from discarded clothes, sheets, towels and similar material from her personal collection. Significant in their own right for their formal invention and beauty, the drawings constitute a parallel body of work to that of her 3D fabric sculptures, which often mimicked human forms (a couple of these larger sculptures are also on display here). The number of Fabric Works in this exhibit makes it easy to grasp the fact that, even at such an advanced age, Louise Bourgeois never stopped creating her art.
Coinciding with an inclination in her later years to stay closer to home, Bourgeois’ late fabric works provide a sense of introspection – her wardrobe and linen closet became representative of memory. As Bourgeois has stated, “Clothing is…an exercise of memory. It makes me explore the past…like little signposts in the search for the past.” The re-appropriation of her husband’s handkerchiefs, stained tablecloths and napkins, and worn dresses from all phases of her life infuses the work with a confessional, talismanic aura. The artist’s use of fabric also references her personal history. She grew up in her parent’s tapestry restoration business; her childhood surrounded by the reparation of 17th and 18th century textiles. Bourgeois’s later fabric collages and assemblages – their many disparate pieces assembled and sewed together – attest to the early influence of this restorative process, as well as to the conceptual and psychological connotations of the words associated with it: cut, unravel, weave, knot, stitch, mend. Bourgeois said, “I always had the fear of being separated and abandoned. The sewing is my attempt to keep things together and make things whole.”
While the photos in this post fail to show close-up detail, when you can examine the “drawings” in person it’s evident that, even though her eyesight might have been failing, Louise Bourgeois’ artistic vision was clear through her final days. A must see exhibit for any fans of her work.
Cheim & Read is Located at 547 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM.