Tag Archives: Retrospective

Donald Judd Retrospective at MoMA

donald judd at moma photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Writing posts about exhibits in museums that are currently closed: this is now a thing that keeps content fresh when there is nowhere to go, unless a walk around the block counts as a cultural event. What can I say about Judd; the ambitious MoMA retrospective of a major force in contemporary art that was open for just over two weeks before Covid-19 temporarily shuttered this and other museums? Mostly, I feel fortunate that I took advantage of an opportunity to attend a Member’s Preview on February 28th, the Friday evening before the exhibit officially opened to the public. I made the trip uptown from my day job on Wall Street after putting in a full day, and I was pretty beat, but I was so excited to see dozens of works of art by Donald Judd all in one place that I figured it would be worth it. And it was.

Donald Judd at Moma Photo By Gail Worley

I’ve been fan of Judd’s minimalist sculpture since I was studying contemporary art in college, so I knew there was no way I was going to miss this exhibit — but I thought I had months to see it. It’s funny how things turn out. If I hadn’t visited MoMA that Friday, I would have likely missed it for sure. And that would have been a shame. It’s lucky also that I took as many photos as I did, because I hadn’t intended to even write about the exhibit, beyond maybe a featured piece or two in a Modern Art Monday column. Everything is different now.

donald judd at moma photo by Gail

Until things are back to some kind of normal, it’s a bit of a consolation that I can still bring my readers Art in the Time of Covid.  For those who aren’t already familiar with the artist’s oeuvre, let me provide you with basic background on Donald Judd and enhance your enjoyment of these exhibit photos by including text from Judd’s webpage at MoMA Dot Org. Enjoy!

donald judd at moma photo by Gail Worley

“I had always considered my work another activity of some kind,” remarked artist Donald Judd. “I certainly didn’t think I was making sculpture.” One of the foremost sculptors of our time, Judd refused this designation and other attempts to label his art: his revolutionary approach to form, materials, working methods, and display went beyond the set of existing terms in mid-century New York.

donald judd at moma photo by Gail Worley

His work, in turn, changed the language of modern sculpture. Bringing together sculpture, painting, drawing, and rarely seen works from throughout Judd’s career, Judd is the first US retrospective in over 30 years to explore this artist’s remarkable vision.

donald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worley

Donald Judd (19281994) began his professional career working as a painter while studying art history and writing art criticism. Among a new generation of artists who sought to move past the breakthroughs of Abstract Expressionism, Judd shifted from two to three dimensions, into what he called “real space,” relinquishing a focus on the artist’s gesture. In his constructed reliefs and wooden floor pieces from this time, he established a new type of object-making that rejected illusion, narrative, and metaphorical content.

donald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worley

By the mid-1960s, Judd commenced his lifelong practice of using industrial materials, such as aluminum, steel, and Plexiglas, and delegating production of his work to local metal shops. With the help of these specialized fabricators, he developed a signature vocabulary of hollow, rectilinear volumes, often arranged in series. In the following years, “boxes,” “stacks,” and “progressions” continued as Judd’s principal framework to introduce different combinations of color and surface.

donald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worley

Judd surveys the complete evolution of the artist’s career, culminating in the last decade of his life, when Judd intensified his work with color and continued to lay new ground for what ensuing generations would come to define as sculpture.

donald judd at moma photo by gail worley

donald judd at moma photo by gail worley

Judd was originally scheduled to run through July 11th, 2020, and I imagine there’s a slim chance the museum could reopen in time for people to still see this exhibit. But who can even say at this juncture.

donald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worley

Should the Donald Judd retrospective at MoMA still be on exhibit once the museum reopens, I enthusiastically encourage you to check it out. The museum is limiting the number of guests who can enter the galleries at one time, so that will definitely enhance your enjoyment of these unique, large scale works of art. Personally, I found the experience to be very zen, and heaven knows we will all be in need of both zen and art once this crisis is over.

donald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worleydonald judd at moma photo by gail worley

Stuart Davis, In Full Swing at The Whitney Museum

Report From Rockport
Report From Rockport By Stuart Davis (All Photos By Gail)

Although he passed away when I was only three years old, Stuart Davis is an American painter whose works I’ve completely fallen in love with through seeing them in the permanent collections of The Met, MOMA and The Whitney – the latter of which is currently hosting a career retrospective of Davis’ paintings entitled In Full Swing, which is just mind blowing.

Continue reading Stuart Davis, In Full Swing at The Whitney Museum

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

Photos from Frank Stella: a Retrospective at The Whitney Museum

Installation View
All Photos By Gail

Have you been over to the Whitney Museum yet, to see the massive Frank Stella Retrospective? Geoffrey and I went a couple of weeks ago and it was absolutely packed, so maybe you want go sooner rather than later. Because it is super cool and there is so much art to look at that you may want to go twice.

Multicolor Painting

Maybe you don’t know who Frank Stella is, and that’s OK. It is impossible to know every great artist. I’m not going to spend a lot of time giving you background information or discussing why Frank Stella (b. 1936) is one of the most important living American artists, because in this case I think the pictures should do all the talking.

Continue reading Photos from Frank Stella: a Retrospective at The Whitney Museum

Sean Yseult Retrospective at Sacred Gallery

L'Oiseau
L’Oiseau (The Bird) Tableau Photo By Sean Yseult (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

Musician Sean Yseult hasn’t exactly been sitting around idle since she hung up her bass with White Zombie. Splitting her time between homes in New Orleans and Manhattan, Yseult not only stays involved in music but she is also a successful fashion designer and multi-media artist with a wide ranging expertise in photography. Three of Yseult photographic projects are on display now in a retrospective hosted by Sacred Gallery.

The Feast
The Feast

Sean’s most recent works are part of the series Soiree D’Evolution: Tableau Vivants et Nature Mortes, in which she presents a series of Living Pictures documenting the soiree of a historically inspired secret society set in a lavish Garden District mansion, circa 1873. Each print is a storyboard for a narrative of murder, mayhem, and excess in which The Omniscient Oracles of the Occult revel in the decay and decadence of celebration for the Greek philosopher and Deteriorationist, Hesiod.

Opening Ceremony
Opening Ceremony

Each four by six foot print exhibits an intimate knowledge of New Orleans’ history and flirtations with the romantic occult. Though inspired by a mix of the large scale, black backgrounds, and grisly depictions of the 17th century Dutch Masters and the high society culture of 19th century New Orleans, Soiree D’Evolution is firmly rooted in the present through its use of macabre humor and vibrant colors.

The King is Dead
The King is Dead, Long Live The King

Mississippi Mermaids Installation View
Mississippi Mermaids, Installation View

The 2013 photographic series, Mississippi Mermaids was inspired by the artist’s childhood memories of collecting treasures from the remote coastal islands of North Carolina with her father. The most valued treasure were the blue, barnacle-covered glass bottles that washed ashore.

Mississippi Mermaid

The standard message cast adrift in a bottle has been here replaced by lovely ladies, some resting, some daydreaming, some slightly troubled or even annoyed, but all of whom have themselves become the treasure, the message, the story sent floating through waves.

Mississippi Mermaid

Yseult shot each photograph in black and white before toning each image in cyan – this transformation itself inspired by her time studying photography at Parsons when she would spend many hours toning photographs as cyanotypes. Each image of this series is printed on silver paper which further accentuates the imagery of water that carries each bottle.

Mississippi Mermaid

Sex Death Rock and Roll

Finally, Sex & Death & Rock N Roll (2012) showcases what Yseult described as “loose women, unkempt graveyards, and musicians in various states of cognizance” – subject matters to which she admits being constantly drawn to for the beauty of these people and places. Shot in black in white, Yseult’s fascination with women from eras past can be seen in her earlier work of 2004 as well.

Light Box

Here, light boxes were built with black and white ethereal Polaroids, complete with tasseled pull switches and velvet curtains. Commenting on the inspiration for these pieces, Yseult has said: “sometimes I just have a vision in my head and have to execute it.”

Light Box

Metal Print Girl

She also experiments with metal prints, a finish which lends these moody photos extra character.

The Cock and General Blue
The Cock and General Blue

Graveyard Creek
Graveyard Creek

Rounding out the retrospective are a selection of her gorgeous Black & White prints of local New Orleans scenery, including a post-Katrina flooded cemetery.

Sean and Mississippi Mermaid Photo
Sean Posses in front of one of her Mississippi Mermaid Photos

Thanks also to Sacred Gallery owner Kevin Wilson and his wife Liz Henderson for throwing a great opening night party! I ran into so many old friends and acquaintances, some of whom I had not seem in ten years, including publicist Howard Wuelfing, Comedian and writer Dave Hill, Musician Acey Slade and Sean’s husband Chris Lee, formerly of the band Supagroup, who is a great guy!

Diego

Also, one fan brought along this little guy, a wildly adorable, four-week old Chihuahua/Maltese mix named Diego, who stole my heart away.

Sean Yseult Retrospective will be on Exhibit Through December 31st, 2015 at Scared Gallery, Located at 424 Broadway (just North of Canal Street), 2nd Floor, in Soho, NYC.

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