Let’s Set Some Things to Right This Year, Shall We?
Red Dragon Chinese Lantern Photographed on Lake Baldwin at the Los Angeles Arboretum.
David Hockney’s most famous paintings of Los Angeles, such as A Bigger Splash (1967), depict a commonplace aspect of the city: private swimming pools. This is the final and the largest of three versions on the same theme, all based on an image that the artist found in a book about home pools. Hockney took care to keep the backdrop as flat — almost abstract — as possible, using rollers to apply the acrylic of the azure sky. The splash, in contrast, meticulously rendered with small brushes, took the artist nearly two weeks to finish. “I loved the idea of painting this thing which lasts for two seconds,” he said. “The painting took much longer to make than the splash existed for.” The result is one of the most iconic depictions of a certain upscale California lifestyle; aspirational, and perhaps more Hollywood make-believe than real.
Photographed as Part of the David Hockney Career Retrospective, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC Through February 25th, 2018.
David Zwirner Gallery is currently hosting its first exhibition with William Eggleston since having announced the gallery’s exclusive worldwide representation of the artist. On view at the space on West 20th Street in New York are works from Eggleston’s monumental project The Democratic Forest.
Over the course of nearly six decades, Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition. His photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning.
His 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated by John Szarkowski, marked the first presentation of color photography at the museum. Although initially criticized for its unfamiliar approach, the show and its accompanying catalogue, William Eggleston’s Guide, heralded an important moment in the medium’s acceptance within the art historical canon, and it solidified the artist’s position as one of its foremost practitioners to this date. Eggleston’s work continues to exert an influence on contemporary visual culture at large.
The Democratic Forest is among Eggleston’s most ambitious projects and a prime example of his uniquely recognizable aesthetic. Likened to an epic journey or an enduring narrative, it comprises a careful selection of works from over ten thousand negatives he took in the mid-1980s across the southern and eastern parts of America and in several European countries.
These low profile casters of rural back roads, industrial and residential environs, architectural details, restaurant interiors, and parking lots, among other locales, eluded the conventions of both reportage and the black-and-white art photography practiced by many of the artist’s peers at the time, and instead shaped their own definition of what a photographic image could be—intuitive and charged with imaginative possibilities.
Collectively, the project echoes Eggleston’s predilection for the “democratic” vision of the camera, able to render equally what is in front of the lens.
The show will include over forty works from The Democratic Forest, the majority of which have not been exhibited previously. Although taken thirty years ago, the photographs appear to cast their subjects in a timeless light.
As the art historian Alexander Nemerov writes in a new catalogue published by David Zwirner Books/Steidl on the occasion of the show:
Eggleston’s work—the great flow of it— feels…impelled by the world. It feels, to put it another way, pulled along by the world, by things outside the artist, rather than compelled by something inside him….[O]ne feels him being borne along by a current… [T]he current [he] rides along is simply the proliferation of scenes — the great panoramic film strip of it, never ending in its flow of gas stations and horse buggies and parking lots and roadside trees and filigreed urns stamped in tin. But more than that…there is the feeling that the infiniteness of the world, the sheer extent of it, is its own kind of eternity.
William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today.
William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest will be on Exhibit Through December 17th, 2016 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Hey, did you remember to set your clocks back one hour before you went to bed? I sure did. Because an extra hour of sleep is an extra fucking hour of sleep, bitches. I do not like to miss out on that, even if it only happens once a year, and the price paid by those of us with day jobs is having to wake up in pitch black darkness every weekday until April. You can’t fight it, so you just have to go with the flow.
Anyway, I hope you had a fun Halloween. This week’s Video Clip features the Bay area psychedelic pop band, The Mantles. I’m not going to overthink this one too much, because it’s Sunday after all: a day of rest. And I admit that I originally thought the band’s name was The “Manties,” which is hilarious. You can see I am already in a relaxed state, so please chill with me as we enjoy the Brit-Pop-y sounds of a song called “Doorframe — Brit-Pop-y, I say, because its hypnotic, chime-y guitars and laid back vibe remind me very much of a less megalomaniacal version of The Stone Roses. Visually, The Mantles throw in a few Inflatable Palm Tree props for effect as they perform outdoors on what looks like boardwalk area, which I am sure was freezing. The post production adds layers of kaleidoscopic textures to an overall carefree video, emphasizing the fact that, while spring is still six months away, it can live forever in our minds.
The Mantles latest CD, All Odds End (Slumberland Records) was released on October 16th, 2015 and is available on iTunes and wherever fine music is procured. Enjoy!
If you’ve ever spent any time in LA or the surrounding area, few experiences that you can have here in NYC will imbue you with a sense of sweet nostalgia for the Southland quite like viewing this series of new paintings and photographs by artist Glen Rubsamen, which he calls Polygala.
In his second solo exhibition at Robert Miller, Rubsamen presents a series of paintings based on a project he began in 2012 to photograph juxtaposed billboards, palm trees and cell phone masts. As he explains, “it became quickly apparent that it was almost impossible to photograph a billboard in Los Angeles without a palm tree or cell phone tower, or both, sneaking into the picture frame.” Rubsamen describes the work’s static construction as an ‘accidental ensemble,’ an exercise in chance, and humorous negation of the classical principles of perspective, sequence and scale.
I loved this painting, seen above, so much that I didn’t even want to wait for these two guys to move to photograph it, because obviously they are digging it as well, so why not just bring them into the experience?
I think part of the reason I was so quickly enamored of this exhibit is the color palette he uses – gradations of purples, blues and mint greens – all set against black shadows, which definitely set a mood of either dusk or dawn, while extracting endless memories of time I spent growing up in Southern California. In other words, these paintings really spoke to me, as they did to the friend I attended the exhibit with who is also from that area. I don’t think there is any greater compliment I could offer than that. I would love to own any of these pieces.
I think these are some of the most beautiful paintings I’ve seen in a recent exhibit. I highly recommend you check out this show while it is still up, because they are even more impactful in person.
Glen Rubsamen’s Polygala will be on Exhibit Through December 21st, 2013 at Robert Miller Gallery, Located at 524 West 26th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.