Tag Archive | Pop Art

Modern Art Monday Presents: Kay Kurt, Hallelujah

Hallelujah 1995 - 2016
Photo By Gail

Kay Kurt (b. 1944) is a New Realist painter of large-scale confections. Her candies lay the foundation of her compositions, structuring her canvases abstractly, and freeing her to meditate on content. As Richard Hamilton, Robert Watts and Claes Oldenburg also used candies as subject matter — and she often enlarges the scale tenfold, like a billboard — Kurt’s work became associated with Pop Art early on. The scale of the Pop Art movement opened Kurt’s eyes to the possibility of a new vision based on objects instead of landscape.

Typical candies featured in her body of work include Licorice, Bon Bons, Jordan Almonds, Jujubes and Gummi Bears. She chooses and collects these candies from various countries, being specifically interested in those of German origin, which reflect the values, attitudes, and cultures associated with the people who produce them. She does not used mediated or advertising images like the Pop Artists, nor photographs like the Photorealists. These paintings are developed through observation. Kurt prefers painting generic-looking candy, as the luxurious ones are too refined for her taste. The sole instance of exquisite candy in her oeuvre is a Godiva chocolate box painting that she made for a friend. Her choice of subject reflects her interest in mass production and consumer culture around the world.

Compulsive and exacting to an extreme, Kurt can take years to complete a canvas. As the 1980s progressed, Kurt gradually found herself excluded from the New York art world where she had found acclaim for over a decade. Although never giving up on her painting practice, she almost completely withdrew from the public eye and it was not until her inclusion in the 2010 traveling exhibition, Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968 presented at the Brooklyn Museum, that her work was re-introduced.

Hallelujah (1995-2016) is part of the exhibit Kay Kurt: For All Her Innocent Airs, She Knew Exactly Where She Was Going, on view through February 16th, 2017 at Albertz Benda Gallery, Located at 515 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Advertisements

Modern Art Monday Presents: Gee, Merrie Shoes from Bonwit Teller Window Display By Andy Warhol

Gee Merrie Shoes
Photo By Gail

The catalyst for Andy Warhol’s transformation from commercial to fine artist was a 1961 display window that he created for the Bonwit Teller Department Store at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street. The window displayed five of Warhol’s newest paintings  as a backdrop to mannequins wearing Bonwit’s fashions. Representing Warhol’s first foray into what would become Pop Art, these paintings depicted commercial imagery from ads and comics, overlaid with gestural drips and blotches of Abstract Expressionism. The Bonwit window introduced Warhol’s characteristic practice of elevating pop culture into fine art that he continued to explore for the rest of his career.

Photographed as part of the Gay Gotham Exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.

Comic Book Soup Cans T-Shirt

comic-book-soup-cans

Fans of Andy Warhol, Comics, or Soup can get this colorful, rad design on a T-Shirt for just $19.95, or on other swag priced accordingly, at This Link!

Eye On Design: Pillola Lamps By C. Emanuele Ponzio

Pillola Lamps at Cooper Hewitt
All Photos By Gail

In the 1960s, youth culture asserted itself, changing society’s rhythms of mass production and consumption, and generating a sense of upheaval and freedom. The Pop Art movement emerged, taking inspiration from mass media and the everyday. Bold colors, new material and radical forms characterized the work of artists and designers whose appropriation of the ordinary made brash or ironic statements.

Pillola Lamps at Cooper Hewitt
Note: Tongue Chair in the Background

Italy’s anti-design movement of the mid-1960s and 1970s is fully expressed in the tongue-in-cheek spirit of the Pillola Lamps (1968, designed by C. Emanuele Ponzio, b, 1923). Challenging notices of “good design,” the anti-design movement took its visual cues from pop art’s use of bold colors and banal subject matter. Conceived as a group, the lamps look like oversized pills poured from a giant medicine bottle.

Pillola Lamps at MOMA
Illuminated Pillola Lamps Photographed at MOMA. Non-Illuminated Lamps Photographed at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in Manhattan.

Tom Wesselmann Retrospective at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Volkswagon
All Photos By Gail

Mitchell-Innes & Nash is currently hosting the first major painting retrospective of Tom Wesselmann in New York since the artist’s death in 2004. Organized in partnership with the Tom Wesselmann Estate, the exhibition examines Wesselmann’s role as the great innovator of the American Pop generation and includes a dozen significant works spanning the artist’s career from 1961-2004. Gallery owner Lucy Mitchell-Innes explains that with this exhibition, they hope to show how Wesselmann has filtered the canonical subjects of art — still life, the nude and the landscape — through a unique and personal lens using the media and technical innovation of the sixties, seventies and eighties, offering new possibilities for painting.

Leg

Nude Smile

Tom Wesselmann is one of the leading figures of Pop Art who used collage, assemblage and shaped canvases to usher in a new vocabulary of painting. He is best known for his career-spanning series, Great American Nude, which featured female figures in intensely saturated interiors.

Nude Reclining

The works in the exhibition highlight a number of techniques that Wesselmann pioneered, and which are largely unseen among his Pop contemporaries. In an interior still life from 1964, Wesselmann incorporates a functional fan and a clock into the canvas, (see image below) pushing the boundaries of collage and assemblage in a sly nod to the notion of the ‘represented’ object.

Installation View

Mayo and Tomato

Collages from the 1960s feature cut-outs from advertising billboards. Also included in the show are Wesselmann’s steel-cut works (a technique he helped develop), molded plastic paintings (a technique borrowed from commercial signage and used here in the context of fine art for the first time), and his iconic shaped canvases.

Radio and Apple

Collage

Being a fantastic introduction to Tom Wesselmann (should you not already be familiar with his work) this is a very cool and worthwhile exhibit to add to your next art crawl during the month of May.

The Tom Wesselmann Retrospective will be on view through May 28, 2016 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Located at 534 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Signage

Mouth and Smoke

Discovering the Art of Keiicha Tanaami: Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness

Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014
Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014, By Keiicha Tanaami (All Photos By Gail)

You never know what you will discover on a Saturday afternoon art crawl in the Chelsea Gallery District. What happens more than you can imagine is that Geoffrey I fall in love with the work of an artist who is new to us, despite them having a career that spans decades. Sometimes, that artist has already passed, and we have occasion to mourn a great loss at the same time that we are welcoming a lifetime of beautiful art into our own lives. Because when it comes to art, it is just impossible to know everything.

Detail from Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014
Detail from Dream Furor Colligendi

In this case, we stopped in to the Sikkema Jenkins & Co Gallery and were blown away by Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness; a wonderful collection of large scale, fantasy paintings by Japanese pop artist, Keiichi Tanaami, who is still creating new work at 80 years old. Wow!

Installation View
Detail from The Last Supper

To me, his work reminds me of a mash up of Takashi Murakami and the surreal, adult animated series Superjail. If you know what that means, great. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter.

Two in the Cloudy Sky, 2014
Two in the Cloudy Sky, 2014

You could stand in front of one of Tanaami’s canvases and talk about what you see until you run out of words.

Pleasure of the Mimicry, 2015
Pleasure of the Mimicry, 2015

With work this beautiful and thought provoking, I was not surprised to learn that he is one of the leading pop artists of postwar Japan, and has been active as multi-genre artist since the 1960s as a graphic designer, illustrator, video artist and fine artist. He was also the first art director of the Japanese edition of Playboy magazine!

The Last Supper, 2015
The Last Supper, 2015

Video Screen

There was also a video monitor (seen above) showing animated works, with one image morphing into the next — very cool!

Sadly, this exhibit, Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness, ended on the day of our visit, but you can learn more about the life and career of Keiicha Tanaami by visiting his Wikipedia page at This Link and see more images like these at Right Here!

Detail from The Last Supper, 2015
Detail from The Last Supper

Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player]

Record Player Full View
Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player], (1962); Record Player with Found Objects and Collage (All Photos by Gail)

When Robert Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973, his fame as an artist was based on his creation of monumental earthworks such as Spiral Jetty, or minimalist sculptures using both Mirrored and regular, plate Glass.

But the James Cohan Gallery (in their brand new space in Chinatown) just hosted its inaugural exhibit, Robert Smithson: Pop, which featured a collection of the artist’s work from the early 1960s — including fluorescent-colored pencil sketches of both male and female nudes, collages, and found object sculptures — all of which were completely unlike anything the average Smithson fan would have been familiar with. You can read more about the exhibit and see photos in this great article over at Hyperallergic.

Record Player Side View

I went to see Pop just few days before it closed and while I loved the exhibit, there was one piece that resonated particularly strongly with my aesthetic sensibilities. In the rear room of the gallery, along with a  few drawings, there was a small portable Record Player inside a display vitrine. The box for the record player is covered in collaged pictures of men and women, tabloid headlines, and plastic trinkets and fake flowers.

Record Player Lid
Collage on Outside Lid of Record Player

Record Player top Side View

Inside, the box has been filled with twigs and dried grass, which make a nest for a small, blue bird.

Record Player Turn Table Detail

The turn table has been transformed into a hot pink pond, filled with tiny toys including neon swans, sail boats, and little plastic babies that float about on their backs across the pink surface. It is so cool and completely visually captivating; it’s hard to believe that Smithson’s early work of Pop Art is over 50 years old now! I never would have imagined, from the works of his that I  already knew so well, that  Robert Smithson had a body of work like this in his portfolio. I’m glad I was able to see and photograph it before the exhibit closed in mid-January.

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Robert Smithson: Pop at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 291 Grand Street in Chinatown, NYC.

Record Player Alternate View