Born in the United States, Isamu Noguchi (1904 – 1988) lived in Japan until he was 13 years old, and was deeply affected by Japanese art and culture. In 1930, the artist returned to Japan to study its sculptural traditions and ceramics
Miss Expanding Universe (1932) was the first sculpture Noguchi made upon his return to the United States in 1932. In this work, he combined machine-age streamlining with characteristics of ancient Japanese funerary sculpture (haniwa).
Later that same year, the artist transformed this flowing form into a sacklike costume for the pioneering dancer and choreographer Ruth Page and her ballet, Expanding Universe.
The New York Contemporary Art Scene’s very own Teen Idol, Jim McKenzie, will launch his first solo exhibit at Copro Gallery in Santa Monica on June 4th, and if you are anywhere near LA, you had better plan to be there! Lost Magic will feature a collection of Jim’s Pop Surrealist sculptures that must be seen to be believed. Jim’s creations for Lost Magic include seemingly fun and playful characters such as a Scarecrow with an ironic phobia of crows, a half-raccoon, half-unicorn appropriately named Raccoonicorn, as well as a variety of other brightly hued animal hybrids. Despite their candy-color coating, the pieces of Lost Magic were crafted with a darker undertone in mind. Jim explains, “I wanted to showcase the intersection where beauty and sadness intertwine within. I’ve chosen to create contrasting hybrids and, though they have these brilliant colors and seemingly majestic qualities, ultimately, they are all outcasts. This show is for those who’ve lost touch with the magic this world has to offer and for those who still want to see it.”
Watch Jim in the process of creating a few of the fantastic pieces that you will see in this show, in the theatrical trailer below:
Jim McKenzie’s Lost Magic will be on Exhibit from June 4th Through July 2nd, 2016, with the Opening Reception on Saturday June 4th from 8:00 – 11:30 PM. Copro Gallery is Located at 2525 Michigan Ave. T5, Santa Monica, CA 90404.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957 – 1996) was an active member of the artist collective Group Material (1979 – 1996), which supported an agenda of feminism, civil rights and gay rights in a time of increasing political conservatism. His own understated installations consist of everyday materials such as light bulbs, newspapers, and candy, and address concerns both wholly personal and universal – impermanence, love, loss, and the cyclical nature of life. With Untitled (Toronto), 1992, Gonzalez-Torres has imbued light bulbs, common utilitarian objects, with poetic significant. The lifespan of each bulb, like that of a person, is of a particular duration and will ultimately burn out.
Photographed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
His wife, Meryl Streep, may be one of the world’s most famous actresses, but American sculptor Don Gummer is taking his turn on Broadway right now, in the form of a major exhibition of his large-scale sculptures. Don Gummer on Broadway, the artist’s first outdoor public art exhibition in New York City, features nine aluminum and stainless steel sculptures placed along the Broadway malls, adjacent to subway stops, from Columbus Circle (8th Avenue at 59th Street) to 157th St.
Geoffrey and I were in Central Park last weekend and saw a couple of these fun sculptures, including the one above. Mondrian which is, of course, an homage to the famous painter, sits in the plaza at 64th Street and Broadway, across the street from Lincoln Center. It is made from painted aluminum and stained glass, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Mondrian is one of five examples of new work from Gummer’s Haiku series, created in 2014 and 2015, which were created especially for this exhibition. The four additional works included in the exhibition date from 2011 and 2012. The sculptures range in height from eight feet to fourteen feet.
“I first became interested in haiku poems because of the simplicity of their structure,” Gummer states in a press release. “Three lines stacked together containing 17 syllables. Five in the first line, seven in the middle, and five in the third line. I thought of substituting shapes for the syllables and instead of writing a poem with three sentences and 17 syllables, I made a sculpture with three vertical sections and 17 shapes, five in the bottom section, seven in the middle, and five in the top section. The three sections are separated by horizontal, linear flat rectangles, my version of lined paper.
The remaining four sculptures have similar stacked elements, and structurally relate to the others. This one, called 12-12-12, is on the north side of the Columbus Circle Plaza.
Don Gummer on Broadway will be up through October 31st, 2015. See the diagram below for the exact location of each sculpture. A cell phone tour, in English and Spanish, which includes the artist’s commentary, is funded by Con Edison.
If you enjoy looking at sculptures of dicks and phallus-shaped objects, then have I got an art exhibit for you! Sarah Lucas’s Nud Nob, up now at the Gladstone Gallery, features a series of large-scale bronze and cast-concrete sculptures displayed either on pedestals or installed directly on the gallery floor. Most of them look like penises. Just being serious.
The large sculpture of a gourd or squash, seen above, is perfectly innocent — I mean it’s obviously a vegetable — until you see it being placed in the context of a collection of phallic symbols. And then it just becomes a penis. Likewise, there is large photo on the rear wall of the gallery in which this squash sculpture is displayed that features a chicken carcase contextualized to look so much like a vagina that I couldn’t even bring myself to photograph it. So, maybe don’t bring the kids to this one, is what I’m saying.
Does this a sculpture depict two people having sex? You be the judge.
In this gallery you can see floor to ceiling photos of an attractive model enthusiastically eating a Banana. And, oh yeah, there’s a huge concrete Penis in the center of the room. Art!
Nud Nob by Sarah Lucas will be on Exhibit Through April 26, 2014 at Gladstone Gallery, Located at 515 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Mademoiselle Pogany II By Constantin Brancusi (All Photos By Gail)
Paul Kasmin Gallery’s current offering is Brancusi in New York 1913 – 2013, an exhibition of significant works from the Estate collection of Romanian-born sculptor Constantin Brancusi. The show celebrates Brancusi’s 100th Anniversary in New York following his debut at the Armory Show in 1913, where Brancusi exhibited five works that directed modern sculpture on a radical new path.
Housed at the 27th Street location of the Kasmin Gallery, Brancusi in New York includes five bronze masterpieces by Brancusi: Head, Mademoiselle Pogany II, The Newborn, Sleeping Muse II and Fish; all presented in a contemporary context as a testament to Brancusi’s continued relevance in today’s art world.
In the gallery’s rear room, there’s a beautiful collection of black and white photographs of several pieces you see in the exhibit. The photos’ monochromatic, matte finishes stand in striking contrast to the highly reflective surfaces of the bronze works. There are also a pair of inspirational quotes attributed to Brancusi painted directly on the gallery walls. This is a nice touch.
A fully illustrated catalogue, Brancusi in New York 1913 – 2013, published by Assouline, chronicles the sculptor’s success in New York City and his impact on its artistic social environment. The exhibition was produced in partnership with the Brancusi Estate and is curated by Jérôme Neutres, who is the catalogue’s author.
The Brancusi exhibit will be up into the beginning of January 2o14, so you have a decent amount of time to see it, but with the hectic pace of the holidays nearly upon us, don’t wait too long and risk missing what could be a once in lifetime treat!
Brancusi in New York 1913 – 2013 will be on Exhibit Through January 11, 2014 at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, located at 515 West 27th Street, Chelsea Gallery District, New York.
A Souvenir Ash Tray from Washington DC is Part of Claes Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum (All Photos By Gail)
Claes Oldenburg, the legendary pop sculptor, has long been a collector of objects and images. His studio shelves contain an immense variety of items that, since 1972, he has gathered during his daily travels, alongside experiments and prototypes for his sculptures. Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing — currently on exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art — evolved from the artist’s commitment to this practice of collection, storage and display.
Ray Gun Wing (Top) and Mouse Museum
Located in the MOMA’s center atrium area, the Mouse Museum is the structure in the above photo that is shaped like a Geometric Mouse (a recurring motif in Oldenburg’s drawings, prints and sculptures). The Ray Gun Wing, which was created in 1977, is shaped like a gun. I had a peek inside each of these tiny museums when I was at MOMA the other day, which was a treat.
The Ray Gun Wing, as you might’ve guessed, is filled with cases displaying various types of toy guns and pistols and various every day objects — from soda can tabs to stones — shaped like guns and pistols. When I first walked into this wing, and saw all the different “prototypes” of toy guns, BB guns, ray guns, Nerf guns from the different eras – I instantly thought that my kid needs that nerf review, and snapped a few pictures for him on my phone. The Mouse Museum is filled with little fantasy trinkets, toys, candles and small prototype models for some of Oldenburg’s sculptures. I didn’t take any pictures inside of the Ray Gun Wing, because you weren’t really supposed to take any photos, but I took quite a few inside the Mouse Museum, because, why not? I had just been to the Punk exhibit over at the Met and I was feeling a little rebellious. Here are a few snaps of some of the cool stuff I saw inside a tiny room shaped like a mouse head.
Baked Potato Salt & Pepper Shakers
Silver Spoon and Wax Lips
Plastic Ham, Fire Hydrant
Miniature Bathroom Fixtures and Octopus
3D Cherry Pie
Prototypes for Stuffed Cake Slices, Small Purse
Miniature Play Food
Small Chair with Woven Seat, Carrot-shaped Dish
Miniature Plastic Ice Cream Bars
The Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing by Claes Oldenburg will be on Display Through August 5th, 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art, Located at 11 West 53rd Street in NYC.
Surrealist sculptor Scott Hove has become famous for his fantastic fake cakes and cake-like sculptures that he creates using carved foam and traditional cake decorating tools. Spoke Art Gallery in San Francisco is currently showcasing his latest works in a highly topical exhibit entitled Guns & Ecstasy.
In addition to a fully immersive, single person Cake Installation that Hove calls “A Pentagonal Disco Infinity Chamber” — and which features multiple angled mirrors and a spinning disco ball — the exhibit includes a series of twelve confectionery assault weapon sculptures created in light of the recent shootings and gun violence in the United States.
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 (Chartreuse) Soft Sculpture by Richard Artschwager at The Whitney Museum .
Read more about the artist’s life and work at This Link. RIP.
On the same evening that we visited Bethany Marchman’s collection of anthropomorphic animal oil paintings, we saw a remarkable exhibit from a sculptor exploring similar themes.
Come Undone, the new body of work by Beth Cavener Stichter, features large-scale works made from clay. Cavener Stichter cajoles the viewer into looking at the darker side of the human condition by cloaking it in animal skin. Her subjects elicit empathy, expressing complex emotions and relationships while permitting us to finally examine humanity closely enough to fully consider it — and to connect on a rare personal level.
A life-sized sculpture of a lamb makes for an unexpected chandelier, lit from within and suspended from the ceiling.
A sensuous hare dangles a tattooed leg suggestively over the edge of its sculpture stand, all the while sustaining the piercing eye contact Cavener Stichter’s works are known to possess. Each work heightens our visual interest while dramatizing states of grace, fear, desperation and beauty.
The White Hind (The Bride) reminded us very much of This Piece.
In Bocca al Lupo (We call it Wolf with Pink Vomit)
Each piece is testimony to Cavener Stichter’s truly innovative studio practice. While the properties of her chosen medium enable her an eloquence of form and surface unavailable through other media, she pushes the process further through a construction both delicate and time consuming. She begins with a solid block of terra cotta, taking care to create her signature “painterly” sweeping strokes in the clay. She then cuts the work into small, manageable sections re-work and re-articulate the musculature, skin, and fur. The next step is to painstakingly hollow out each section until it is very thin and thus fires to an extreme strength. After the kiln, she re-assembles the pieces and paints the finished work.
While the Come Undone exhibit takes up the main floor gallery, downstairs you’ll find a diverse collection of pieces by other Claire Oliver represented artists, which is just another reason a visit to this gallery is always enjoyable.
Beth Cavener Stichter’s Come Undone will be on Exhibit until October 20th, 2012 at The Claire Oliver Gallery, Located at 513 West 26th Street (Street Level) New York City.