After suffering a stroke in 2002 that left his right arm partially paralyzed, Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008) was no longer able to take photographs, nor was he able to transfer and arrange them into new compositions, as he had been doing since the early 1950s. As Triathlon (Scenario) (2005) shows, these obstacles did not prevent him from making art. Relying on the sorts of collaborative processes that had fueled his work for decades, Rauschenberg invited his friends to take photographs with digital cameras that he provided. He then selected from the images they produced and instructed one of his studio assistants at the time, Kevin Pottorf , in the transfer and arrangments of these imgaes onto two panels
The diminutive nude female figure in the upper right area of The Nymph Echo (1936) is often identified as Echo — a mountain nymph of Greek Mythology. Far more dominant, however, is the monstrous green vegetal creatures — or is it creatures — in the foreground. This wildly imaginative hydra-headed creation may represent Narcissus, whom Echo loved. Famously, Narcissus fell in love with his own beautiful image reflected in a pool and wasted away from unsatisfied desire, whereupon he was transformed into a flower. The various delicately colored floral effusions in Ernst’s painting recall this moment of metamorphosis.
In Aïda Muluneh’s photograph All In One (2016), a single figure embodies multiplicity through the addition of extra hands of different hues. Muluneh’s use of colorful makeup is inspired by body art from across Africa and allows her to physically construct a character out of her model. After living around the world, Muluneh (b. 1974) returned to her homeland of Ethiopia, where she founded the Addis Foto Fest, the first international festival in Africa. Though she was born in Ethiopia, she has sometimes felt like a outsider due to many years spent elsewhere. Her photographs, such as this one, bear the influence of that complicated experience, and are drawn from her series The World is 9, which is named after a saying of her Grandmother’s: “The World is nine; it is never complete and it’s never perfect.” With this series, the artist also recognizes the capacity of photography to convey the multiplicity inherent in any individual.
Photographed as part of the Exhibit Being: New Photography, Up Through August 19th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
Max Ernst was fascinated with microscopic images, which were first broadly distributed in the early twentieth century. For The Gramineous Bicycle Garnished with Bells the Dappled Fire Damps and the Echinoderms Bending the Spine to Look for Caresses (1921), he created an overpainting on the ambitious scale of traditional oil painting by using a commercially available teaching chart. Ernst inverted the found poster, which contains magnified views of brewer’s yeast cells, and selectively painted in a black background. He then painted gears and bands, as well as humanizing details including eyes, noses, limbs, and whiskers to create a virtual circus of tightrope walkers, clowns and cyclists. The inscription lands amusing sexual connotations to the hairs, orifices and protrusions of these microorgasms.
The International Center of Photography in New York sold these Bob’s Your Uncle disposable placemats, featuring photographer Stephen Shore’s images of food and plates, in 2007, when the institution hosted a survey of Shore’s work that had toured throughout Europe and the US.
Photographed as Part of the Stephen Shore Career Retrospective, on Exhibit Through May 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
This Jumpsuit Prototype (2017) is born from a confluence of designer Richard Malone’s personal experiences of the garment type, and his deep understanding of its mutations and iterations across history, particularly in the last century. Malone grew up in rural Ireland and identifies strongly with his working-class roots, which encompassed, among other things, functional clothing for construction sites. He looked into the 1920s to engage the bold color and egalitarian attitudes of the Russian Constructivists, who wanted to collapse art into life and eradicate class divides; the jumpsuit appeared in their theatrical experiments.
Malone was also inspired by jumpsuits shaped from a single piece of cloth, a frugal and considered method close to his own practice. He steamed, split, and sculpted a recycled stretch of acrylic he developed, creation dramatic optical effects. The top of the jumpsuit offers many openings, allowing for multi-wear options that are both practical and expressive. The result is a one-size-fits-all, unisex ensemble that manages to capture the glamour and the grit on the jumpsuit’s multifarious history.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Items: Is Fashion Modern, on View Through January 28th, 2018 at The Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
These Pink Toothbrushes with Pink Bristles are sold in the MoMA Design Store (at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC) for $5.00. The toothbrush was designed by award-winning Danish designer, Andreas Engesvik, who is probably best-known for his furniture designs. You can find them in the point-of-purchase area by the registers, displayed alongside colorful earplugs, capsule-shaped pill cases and snow globe key fobs! Art!