Tag Archive | Retrospective

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

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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.

Sacred Gallery Hashtag

Bjork Retrospective at MOMA!

Fans on Queue for Songlines
Fans Queue Up for the Black Lake Video Screening at the Bjork Retrospective at MOMA (All Photos By Gail)

I’ve been aware of the Icelandic singer/performer Bjork since the first album by her band Sugarcubes was released in 1986, but aside from what a person who pays somewhat close attention to modern music can’t help but absorb through the pop culture ether, I didn’t know / care much about her / her music before making the trip to the Museum of Modern Art at an earlier-than-usual hour on March 8th for the opening day of its much-hyped Bjork Retrospective.

Singles Covers
Assorted Artwork from Bjork’s Singles’ Sleeves

It wasn’t necessarily important to me to wake up at 6 AM on the first day of DTS (groan) in order to be among the first in the door of MOMA to see an exhibit that had already garnered puzzlingly negative reviews based on a press preview that I was somehow not invited to. But Geoffrey is a diehard fan, and, as such, he insisted we simply must go on that Sunday. Based on the few photos I’d already seen, it definitely looked like there would be lots of cool costumes and props, so how could we possibly not have fun, right? Plus, we always get in for free. Win win!

Singles Covers
More Singles Cover Artwork

Here’s what we saw when we got inside:

The Bjork exhibit has three parts. First, there is a cinema where you can watch a retrospective of all of Bjork’s videos, from Debut (1993) through Biophilia (2011). I will go back another time before the exhibit closes to check these out.

There is also a screening of a ten minute video for the song “Black Lake” that Bjork made especially for this exhibit. “Black Lake” is from her latest album, Vulnicura, which Geoffrey informs me is all about her breakup with long-time partner, Avant-garde artist Matthew Barney, who, bluntly put, is a bit of a weirdo.

“Black Lake” is like a very dramatic mini opera, and the video shows extended shots of Bjork kneeling on the painful-looking rock floor of a cave, plus some other stuff. All I could think of was that I bet her knees hurt. You can tell that Bjork is a good actress and I enjoyed the video, although the song is a pretty big downer.

Singles Covers
Yet More Singles Cover Artwork

The main part of the exhibit is what everyone is calling “Bjork The Ride,” but which is really called Songlines. To get into Songlines, you need a separate, timed entry ticket that you will need to pick up at the front desk of the museum as soon as you get in. When we went, we had to wait in a line that was only about half a block down the 54th Street side of the museum, but I am thinking we were lucky that it was not much longer. We got our timed tickets at 11 AM and they were for the 12:45 PM entrance to Songlines. So we had one hour and 45 minutes to get “Black Lake” out of the way (total waiting and viewing time: 20 minutes) and then fart around in the museum for another hour and change.

Bjork Songlines Exit
Bjork Songlines Exhibit Exit

Finally it was our time to experience Songlines, and we were so excited we could barely live! You first enter through a darkened hallway where you can stand around and watch rows of monitors showing clips of performances from Bjork’s various tours, but who wants to do that? We wanted to get to the ride, man!

Before you enter the labyrinth that is the Songlines exhibit, an attendant will equip you with an iPod thingy that hangs around your neck and plays Bjork’s period-appropriate music as well as a narrative / story about a magical princess, or something, as you walk through the various rooms. They will tell you that it takes about 40 minutes to walk the entire exhibit, and…you’re off on your Bjork Adventure!

Model For Debut Album Cover
3-D Model for Debut Cover

Each section is dedicated to one of Bjork’s albums. You will see costumes, props and personal items and you can take as much time as you want looking at everything. I enjoyed the princess story but it was a little disorienting to me with her music also playing over it. It reminded me of being on acid, to be honest.

Airmail Jacket by Hussein Chalayan
Airmail Jacket by Hussein Chalayan

All is Full of Love Robots
All is Full of Love Robots

I am not going to be able to add much information here, because I don’t even own one of her albums, and I honestly only know three or four Bjork songs, one being “Army of Me,” which is a work of genius.

Baby Bjork

Look! It’s baby Bjork! How cute is she? So Cute.

Pagan Poetry Dress and Vespertine Music Box
Pagan Poetry Dress and Vespertine Music Box

This display reminded me of the Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Met that happened a few years ago, which was just insane. It is probably no accident that McQueen designed a lot of Bjork’s dresses.

Swan Dress By Marjan Pejoski
Swan Dress By Marjan Pejoski

Remember this dress that Bjork wore to the Academy Awards a few years ago? Of course you do.

Bell Dress by Alexander McQueen
Bell Dress by Alexander McQueen; Medulla Hairpiece by Shoplifter

This dress is just unbelievably gorgeous.

Crystal Mask by Val Garland
Crystal Mask by Val Garland

Body Sculpture By Bernhard Wilhelm
Body Sculpture By Bernhard Wilhelm, Volta Era

This is my favorite thing in the entire exhibit.

Feather Ear Pieces By Shaun Leane
Feather Ear Pieces By Shaun Leane

Bjork Biophilia Dress
Biophilia Dress

Biophilia Dress Close up
Biophilia Dress (Detail)

I really thought that Songlines was just excellent, and I would recommend it to anyone, but Geoffrey offered his take on why a lot of Bjork fans don’t dig it. For him, when you consider that Bjork’s career has spanned thirty years (pre-dating her work with Sugarcubes), there was just so much left out that it couldn’t avoid being let down, and I admit that I see his point. So, I guess therein lays the rub. You’ll have to judge for yourself, but you should definitely go and check it out!

Bjork Retrospective will be on Exhibit through June 7th, 2015 at the Museum of Modern Art, Located at 11 West 53rd Street, Between 5th and 6th Avenues, in NYC.

Read Geoffrey’s review, which is much more detailed from the perspective of an obsessed, Bjork-completist fan, at This Link!

Must See Art: Jeff Koons Retrospective at The Whitney Museum

Jeff Koons Retrospective Signage
Jeff Koons Retrospective Signage Depicting Michael Jackson and Bubbles Sculpture from the Banality Series (All Photos By Gail)

It is no secret that Jeff Koons is one of my most-loved artists. A lot of haters take issue with the fact that Koons is so rich and successful, like that is a bad, thing. I say, if a billionaire wants to pay $58 million dollars for one of his Balloon Dog sculptures, good for him. Good for everybody! If I had $58 Million to blow on some rad artwork, I would do the same thing. Jeff Koons!

Jeff Koons is currently the subject of a retrospective at The Whitney Museum, surveying the full scope of his career, and it is a must see show. Comprised of almost 150 objects dating from 1978 to the present, this exhibition is the most comprehensive ever devoted to Koons’ Artwork, his first major museum presentation in New York, and the first to fill nearly the entire Marcel Breuer-designed Whitney building with a single artist’s work. The Koons Retrospective will also be the final exhibition to take place there before the Whitney opens its new building in the Meatpacking District in 2015 — but what a way to go!

Mail Box with Gazing Ball
Gazing Ball Series (2013)

The Koons Retrospective fills four floors of the building including the lobby, plus the lower level (adjacent to the restaurant) and the small outdoor “garden.” The work is organized chronologically with his newest work, which includes the Gazing Ball series that debuted at the David Zwirner Gallery last year, in a lobby adjacent gallery. Geoffrey and I started on the 4th floor and worked our way down.

Non-flash photography is allowed (thank god) and I took about 100 photos. Here are some highlights from the show!

Inflatable Flowers
Inflatable Flowers

The Inflatables Series (1978–79) features works that look like weightless, air-filled plastic flowers, though the works are made of stainless Steel.

Light Mounted Toaster
Toaster Mounted on Lit Base

Pre-New (1979–80) includes a series of small, counter top kitchen appliances mounted on deco-style lit bases.

Red Telephone
Red Telephone, Pre-New Series

I never thought I would live in an era where some people will neither know how the above object is used, nor understand the significance of its red color.

Vacuum Cleaners
Vacuum Cleaners, New Series

The News Series (1980–87) features billboard-sized product adverts as well as a large collection of sculptures comprised of early model vacuum cleaners encased in vitrines lit by fluorescent tubing.These works reminded me favorably of  old The Carousel of Progress attraction at Disneyland.

Vacuum Cleaner Gallery View
New Series Gallery View

Basketballs in a Tank
Three Basketballs in a Tank, Equilibrium Series (1983–93)

Frangelico Ad
Frangelico Ad, Luxury and Degradation Series (1986)

Baccarat Crystal Cocktail Set
Baccarat Crystal Cocktail Service Set, Luxury and Degradation Series

Mermaid Sculpture
Mermaid, Statuary Series (1986)

Bob Hope Statue
Bob Hope, Statuary Series

Banality Series Gallery
Banality Series (1988) Installation View

Surprised Bather
Surprised Bather, Banality Series

Gilded Mirror
Gilt Mirror, Banality Series

Made in Heaven Signage
Made in Heaven Series (1989–91)

Between 1989 and 1991, Koons and his then wife, Italian Porn star and Politician Cicciolina, posed for a series of sexually explicit artworks that became the Made in Heaven Series and Coffee Table Book. While Koons and Cicciolina are unbelievably hot and fun to look at, some of these photos show lots of Peen and Vajayjay, so you are going to want to keep any kids out of the galleries that are labeled “Sexually Explicit Material/Not for Children” or something similar.

Made in Heaven
Made In Heaven Series

Koons Bust with Crystals
Koons Bust with Crystals, Made in Heaven Series

Made in Heaven Amethyst Sculpture
Made In Heaven Series Amethyst Sculpture

Pink Cake
Pink Cake, Celebration Series (1994 Onward)

The Celebration Series gallery is probably my favorite in the entire exhibit.

Purple Heart
Purple Heart, Celebration Series

Giant Pile of Play Doh
Play-Doh with Balloon Dog in the Background, Celebration Series

Pink Button
Pink Button with Random Gallery Visitor, Included for Scale, Celebration Series

Purple Giraffe Mirror
Purple Giraffe Silhouette Mirror, Easyfun Series (1999–2000)

Mirror Reflected in a Mirror
Easyfun Series

Betty Page and Dolphin
Easyfun-Ethereal Series (2000–02)

Lunch Meat Faces with Mustache
Easyfun-Ethereal Series

Beach Chairs and Seals
Seal Walrus (Chairs) Sculpture (Foreground), Elvis (Background), Popeye Series (2002 Onward)

Inflatable Lobster
Lobster, Popeye Series

Hulk Organ
Hulk (Organ), Hulk Elvis Series (2004–14)

Yellow Mirrored Sculpture
Pluto and Proserpina, Antiquity Series (2013 Onward)

Balloon Venus
Balloon Venus (Orange), Antiquity Series

I know there are a ton of photos in this post, but consider that they represent only one tenth of what’s in the exhibit and you know you gotta go check this out! I’ll be going back at least once more. Helpful Hint to Avoid Crowds: Try to get to The Whitney by 12 Noon or earlier on a weekend. Although crowds are unpredictable, an early arrival made the difference between waiting on line just inside the lobby when we arrived versus a line that went outside and around the block by the time we left!

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective Will be on Exhibit Through October 19th, 2014, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Located at 945 Madison Avenue (at 75th Street) in NYC. The exhibition then travels to the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris (November 26, 2014–April 27, 2015) and to the Guggenheim Bilbao (June 5–September 27, 2015).

Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery Presents New Work By Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell New Works
All Photos By Gail

Art and Light —  they go together. We were very excited to visit Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery for its new exhibition of new work by Jim Campbell, which opened March 7th, 2014. The show focuses on the pioneering artist’s most recent series of sculptural light installations. Campbell is considered one of the leading artists working today in the field of new media and his work is both fun and fascinating.

Jim Campbell New Works

Jim Campbell New Works

Many of Campbell’s works are motion sensitive to the activity in the gallery, so the images displayed will change as visitors move around or in front of the pieces.

Jim Campbell New Works Ceiling

This one is suspended from the ceiling.

Jim Campbell New Works Wall Installation

The exhibition at Bryce Wolkowitz coincides with Jim Campbell’s first New York museum retrospective. Organized by the Museum of the Moving Image, Jim Campbell: Rhythms of Perception, on view from March 21 – June 15, 2014, spans three decades with an emphasis on his early experimental work. I will have to check that out.

Jim Campbell Singage

New Work By Jim Campbell will be on Exhibit Through April 19th, 2014 at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, Located at 505 W 24th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District.

Keith Sonnier 68-70 at Mary Boone Gallery, Chelsea

Keith Sonnier 68-70
All Photos By Gail

There is something so beautiful about the juxtaposition of neon tubing and glass panes. Geoffrey and I impulsively popped in to the Mary Boone Gallery on 24th Street last evening, on the way from Gagosian’s nearly overwhelming Basquiat retrospective to LeVine’s How & Nosm Pop Up on 23rd Street, and discovered an unexpected treat in Keith Sonnier’s 68-70 exhibit. The minimalism of this tiny show really served as an aesthetic palette cleanser between two rather busy exhibits.

Keith Sonnier 68-70

According to the Boone Gallery website, this exhibition of early works includes examples from Sonnier’s seminal and internationally acclaimed Ba-O-Ba and Neon Wrapping Incandescent Series. The works were all designed in Sonnier’s first New York studio to make use of the floor to wall relationship, as well as to utilize the reflective environment that working with neon and glass naturally creates.

Keith Sonnier 68-70

It’s interesting to note that Sonnier was playing with reflective properties as that very same challenge surfaced in trying to capture clean shots of these beautiful sculptures!

Keith Sonnier 68-70

Keith Sonnier 68-70 will be on exhibit through February 23rd, 2013 at Mary Boone Gallery – Chelsea, Located at 541 W. 24th Street, New York NY. Hours are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Keith Sonnier 68-70

RIP Artist Richard Artschwager

Richard Artschwager Portrait
1923 – 2013 (Image Source)

American painter, illustrator and sculptor Richard Artschwager passed away on February 9th at the age of 89. I recently visited the Whitney Museum here in Manhattan and had the chance to see a retrospective of Artschwager’s work, which surprised me with its diversity and freshness.

Exclamation Point Artschwager
Exclamation Point (Chartreuse) Soft Sculpture by Richard Artschwager at The Whitney Museum .

Read more about the artist’s life and work at This Link. RIP.