Often described as a hybrid between art, architecture, design and landscape architecture, Dan Graham’s freestanding partitions and pavilions — made from two-way mirror glass — sometimes create a kaleidoscopic, psychedelic experience. If you’ve never seen his work in person and missed his Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walk About, which was installed at the Met Roof Garden back in 2014, a new exhibit at 303 Gallery entitled Three Models, Three Sizes, Three Price Ranges offers a fun introduction to the full scope of his oeuvre.
Do you recognize this object? Do you know how works? How old are you? Don’t answer that. It’s hard to believe that this totally rad Pink Rotary Dial Desk Telephone was once the height of cool and contemporary consumer design. Now, it’s just a sculpture, or a piece pop culture ephemera.
Maybe you’ve seen one used as a prop in an old movie you enjoy for its nostalgic pull.
It is beautiful though, ins’t it? Sure it is.
Photographed at ICFF at Javits Center, NYC, in May of 2018
This Vanity (1928) stands as a harbinger in the evolution of an American modern style. Norman Bel Geddes (1893 -1988) conceived of it only a year after founding the first industrial design firm in the United States. His prior experience on theater and film sets lent a dramatic flair to his consumer products, including this dressing table and mirror, made of enameled and chrome-plated steel, which was part of a larger suite of metal bedroom furniture.
Designed a the height of the Roaring Twenties, it echoes the sleek modernity of Manhattan skyscrapers, a favored motif among Art Deco designers, with its sequence of setbacks from drawers to mirror top. The industrial materials emphasize the design’s mechanical production, while the polished enamel and elegant trim and drawer pulls suggest something of the luxurious finishes found in handmade Art Deco furniture.
Seen in the Mirror: A reflection of the painting, I Saw The Figure Five in Gold By Charles Demuth.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) design student Malorie Pangilinan created this Whale-shaped mirror, taking her inspiration from Kawaii; the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture.
It sure is cute!
Photographed in May 2016 at the ICFF Trade Show at Javits Center in NYC.
While Lucas Samaras’s Doorway is billed as a “Mirrored Room,” it isn’t actually a room that you can enter, as you can, say, a Mirrored Room installation by Yayoi Kusama. It is really more of, well, a Doorway: a Mirrored Cube inside of a Mirrored Shell that is open on the front and back ends, to allow view through. When I viewed this work at Pace Gallery on the final day of its exhibition, the open ends were roped off to prevent anyone from touching, walking on or accessing the work close up. Bummer.
In this shot you can see the outline of the cube clearly. Unfortunately, if there is even one other person in the gallery they are going be in the shot.
This a reflection of the cube against the interior of the passageway. You can imagine that if you were able to get inside there you could snap some pretty crazy selfies. But, sadly no.
Doorway is one of a series of Mirrorred Rooms created by Samaras between 1966 and 2007.
Photographed At Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Altered States at C24 Gallery is an exhibition featuring the work of two Los Angeles based artists, Martin Durazo and Ryan Perez. The title of the exhibition refers to creating an altered state of reality through a narrative visualized by light, line, dimension and color. As you can see, these artists deal specifically with each of these qualities in their respective paintings.
Martin Durazo paints on both canvases and mirrors using fluorescent colors and bold brush strokes. The artist explains, “I find it fascinating that these colors are in vogue fashion-wise. I also feel that they have a relationship to punk and new wave music of the ‘70s and ‘80s, my coming–of-age years.” Mine too, Martin!
Durazo’s use of neon paint and metallic suggests both a hyper reality and black light illumination. Transcendental in nature, the works presented in Altered States are a part of a continuing body of work that explores the spiritual aspects of lurid and elicit behavior. The visual result is colorful and instantly attractive – it’s audacious and at times flashy, yet always loaded with complex symbolism and stratified references.
I met the lady pictured above at the opening reception on September 11th, and her dress reminded me so much of the colors in Martin Durazo’s paintings that I asked if she would pose with them. Also, I was a teeny, tiny bit drunk.
Above is partial installation shot a selection of Ryan Perez’s works that you see as soon as you enter the gallery. His work integrates computer generated and hand painted elements in artist frames, which are configured to trick the eye of the viewer, merging the real and digital world.
In describing his work, Perez writes, “As an image-maker, I can’t help but contemplate how the majority of the visual world we experience is constructed through a series of identity systems via graphic design…” Interesting, and so true!
I really enjoyed this exhibit, and the people at C24 are always very nice, so I recommend you add Altered States to your list of shows to check out over the next few weeks.
Altered States Runs Through October 25th, 2014 at C24 Gallery, Located at 514 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Now, here’s a must see exhibit that you have six entire months to check out (so, maybe go more than once): Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures at Flag Art Foundation. This extremely well staged exhibit features a selection of the artist’s sculptures and maquettes (scale models), works that playfully and pointedly blur the boundaries of drawing, sculpture and painting.
Comprised of everyday and mass-produced objects – a mirror, water glass, and coffee cup – as well as the artist’s signature brushstrokes, the works highlight Lichtenstein’s ability to elevate the everyday to the iconic. Presented in a gallery space populated with furniture, the exhibition encourages engagement, inviting audiences to view historic works in an intimate setting.
Maquette for House I (1996) inspired the domestic context for this environment, a later work wherein Lichtenstein reduces the structure of a cookie cutter suburban house to black outlines and primary colors – yellow siding, a blue roof, and red to accent the shutters and chimney.
Often overlooked but routinely used, commercial subjects become monuments in the artist’s hand, wherein shadow, contour, and highlight are rendered in patinated bronze. In Mirror II (1977), Lichtenstein transforms a vanity mirror into a static, unchanging reflection – focusing on the form of the object while negating its intended function.
Mobile III (1990) directly references Alexander Calder’s archetypal mobiles, “freezing”  an item whose sole purpose is to respond to movement. Rather than condense volume and function into a linear still life, these sculptures become intimate metaphors for the disposable society in which they exist.
Nodding to the physicality of the Abstract Expressionist movement and its influence on Western art, Lichtenstein’s brushstroke sculptures democratize mark-making and painterly authority through isolation and reproduction. Lichtenstein describes his desire to separate the brushstroke from the canvas and distill it to its purist form.
One of the most fun things about Intimate Sculptures is the way it is staged so accessibly; as if you are walking through a private home and enjoying these works as part of someone’s “intimate” personal collection. It is very cool.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.