Tag Archives: modern art monday

Modern Art Monday Presents: Norman Lewis, American Totem

norman lewis american totem photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

American Totem (1960) is one of a series of black-and-white paintings that Norman Lewis made which explore the emotional and psychic impact of the civil rights movement. Lewis, one of the few Black artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, created a form  that evokes the infamous hooded Klansman, but the monolith is composed of a multitude of smaller forms resembling apparitions, skulls and masks.

Lewis’s work suggest that terror is both representable and abstract, conscious an unconscious, visible and hidden. The painting was made more than decade after Lewis’s first solo show at the Willard Gallery in New York in 1949, which had earned him considerable renown but neither the financial rewards nor exhibition opportunities if his peers.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Screen Burn By Avery Singer

screen burn by avery singer photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Avery Singer (b. 1987), who was named for American painter Milton Avery (18851965) by her artist parents began using an airbrush in 2012 to expand onto canvas the geometric illustrations she composed in the open-source computer program SketchUp, a favorite of designers and architects for three-dimensional rendering.

Enlarging these imagined, gridded interiors by hand into paintings such as Screen Burn (2019) is a central part of the artist’s work, in which she deftly combines digital rendering and analog studio practice for a new generation.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: KAWS, Companion (Resting Place)

kaws companion resting place photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Provocatively half dissected, flayed, and rendered in a sophisticated grey-scale palette, Companion (Resting Place, 2013) monumentalizes the beloved character created by Brian Donnelly, one of the most popular artists of his generation, who goes by the pseudonym KAWS.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Tomma Abts, Kobo

tomma abts kobo photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Tomma Abts (German, b 1967) produces her paintings following a strict, self-imposed procedure. For almost twenty years, she has used vertical canvases measuring precisely 48 by 38 centimeters (19 by 15 inches) for her paintings. Rather than begin with a preconceived structure in mind, she allows her abstract compositions to take shape as she works, sometimes over the course of several years. She paints with the support cradled in her arm, not on an easel.  As seen here, the surfaces of Abts’ canvases are composed of many layers of paint, with the ghosts of past compositions just barely visible underneath subsequent coats of acrylic and oil.  This work’s title, Kobo (1999) is pulled, like all of her titles, from an encyclopedia of German surnames.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Short Haired Cheese By Robert Gober

short haired cheese photo by robert gober
All Photos By Gail

As with so many of Robert Gober’s classic works of the 1990s, the artist approached Short Haired Cheese (199293)  by researching the archetypal forms of his chosen subject, landing here on an unmistakable, yellow-tinged wedge of Swiss cheese, complete with air bubble holes.

short haired cheese installation view photo by gail worley
The Cheese Stands Alone . . .

The hair that appears to grow out of the rind  (clippings from one of his studio assistants) adds a haunting, anthropomorphic cast. Throughout this artist’s work, impeccably rendered objects  associated with a nostalgic, mid-twentieth century domesticity — comestibles such as butter, gin or donuts, or home-maintenance products like house paint, light bulbs, or rat poison — are made strange, even unsettlingly queasy, through the artist’s distinctive interventions and allusions to a body in pieces.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

short haired cheese photo by gail worley

Modern Art Monday Presents: Helen Frankenthaler, Wizard

wizard by helen frankenthaler  photo by gail worley
Photos By Gail Worley

From Situating Helen Frankenthaler’s  Wizard by Louise Byrne

Completed in 1963, Helen Frankenthaler’s Wizard stands apart from her then contemporary paintings, with its vertical orientation, body-sized scale, and figural allusion in both name and form. One of the last paintings Frankenthaler worked entirely in oil, Wizard should be understood as a crucial experiment in both method and medium, presaging key changes in Frankenthaler’s established approach. The artist’s works of 1962 show the last influences of didactic expressionism, where apparently unguided drips and blots of oil punctuate wide expanses of unprimed canvas, each piece emerging as an autonomous work.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Peter Blume, The Eternal City

eternal city peter blume photo by gail
Photos by Gail

The Eternal City (193437) was inspired by a trip Peter Blume took to Rome in 1932 — ten years after the fascist takeover of Italy. The dictator Benito Mussolini, depicted here as a deranged Jack-in-the-box with a green head, bulging eyes and pouting red lips, dominates the composition.

He lords over a woman begging for money amid marble ruins and an incongruous shrine of a bejeweled Christ. In the distance, people wind through labyrinthine catacombs toward the Roman Forum, where they are greeted by threatening officers. A searing indictment of fascism, the painting presents a nightmarish vision of a once glorious city being steered toward ruin.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

eternal city peter blume photo by gail
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