Do you like monumental sculpture? I sure do. If that also happens to be your thing, and you’ve been looking for an excuse to head back over to the Chelsea Gallery District, you will want to know that Gladstone Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of new sculptures by Ugo Rondinone from the artist’s latest body of work, nuns + monks — and these things are massive.
Often described as a hybrid between art, architecture, design and landscape architecture, Dan Graham’s freestanding partitions and pavilions — made from two-way mirror glass — sometimes create a kaleidoscopic, psychedelic experience. If you’ve never seen his work in person and missed his Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walk About, which was installed at the Met Roof Garden back in 2014, a new exhibit at 303 Gallery entitled Three Models, Three Sizes, Three Price Ranges offers a fun introduction to the full scope of his oeuvre.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House
Provides Perfect Backdrop to Jun Kaneko
Sculptures in Public Art Exhibition
Are you a fan of the late Architect Frank Lloyd Wright? I sure am. When I visited Chicago on my 2019 summer vacation, Geoffrey and I took a day trip Oak Park to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio and we had all kinds of crazy fun. If you are also a lover of art and architecture, and you also have the means to travel to Buffalo, New York, here’s an excursion that is worth the effort to get to. The Albright-Knox’s Public Art Initiative has partnered with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House to present an exciting installation featuring artist Jun Kaneko’s monumental ceramic sculptures, which will be on view through early October 2021. Titled The Space Between: Frank Lloyd Wright | Jun Kaneko, the installation comprises seven of the artist’s enormous, freestanding ceramic works for outdoor display on the newly restored grounds of the Martin House estate.
Born in Japan in 1942, Kaneko is an internationally renowned artist primarily known for his pioneering work in ceramic materials. His large pieces, called dangos, are the result of a complex traditional Japanese raku firing and glazing process that produces unique geometric shapes and vibrant color combinations. “In this era of social distancing, the safe, engaging, stimulating experience that public art provides is more important than ever before,” said Janne Sirén, Albright-Knox Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. “We are proud to collaboratively present this exhibition with the Martin House as our organizations strive to fulfill our missions of enriching and transforming our community.” Wright and Kaneko were both pioneers in their fields, and Wright had an enduring interest in Japanese arts and culture and a reverence for nature, all of which are beautifully captured in Kaneko’s work.
“This public art installation is a unique opportunity to experience the interaction between Kaneko’s sculptures, Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture, and the surrounding landscape,” said Mary Roberts, Martin House Executive Director. “The site is now reopened to public tours, and the artwork has provided another reason to visit the estate.” Many of Kaneko’s works represent years of production time due to their immense scale, which takes months to slowly build up to avoid the works being crushed under their own weight. The tallest works in the exhibition are more than 10 feet tall with walls in excess of three inches thick and weigh close to 3,000 pounds. Their fired slip-surfaces create a glass-like coating suitable for outdoor public display in the extreme weather conditions that will occur during the sixteen-month installation.
In addition to the seven large works on the grounds, several smaller works will be on view inside the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, the Martin House public visitor center. The selection of works for the installation has been curated by Albright-Knox Public Art Curator Aaron Ott and organized by Martin House Curator Susana Tejada. Visit This Link for more information, and to plan your visit!
Above Graphic and Most Photos By Kat Bentley, Except Where Noted
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has possibly the broadest collection of art in the world; spanning more than 5000 years of objects from across the globe — from the first cities of the ancient world to works being created today. In my 30 years of living in NYC, I’ve visited the museum maybe a hundred times, and I’ve barely even begun to explore its hundreds of galleries. While a dozen new exhibits open at The Met each season, offering no shortage of incentive to plan a visit, what can be really exciting is to discover the hidden works in the museum’s collection that you might otherwise walk right by and never notice. That’s one reason why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend a press preview of a new Met tour called Unhung Heroes of the Metropolitan, offered by the popular Shady Ladies Tours. As you might infer by the cheeky name, Unhung Heroes explores male members in paintings and sculptures across the museum, and it is all kinds of crazy fun!
Expertly guided by Professor Andrew Lear, the founder of Shady Ladies Tours, the Unhung Heroes tour explores the naughty side of classic artworks, and considers burning questions such as:
Are the members in these artworks true to life size?
Were men really smaller back then?
Why are many of the statues’ missing body parts?
Is there hidden phallic symbolism in your favorite painting?
For museum-goers who’ve lost sleep over these and other questions, this tour will school you beyond your wildest dreams. As a leading scholar on the history of sexuality, Andrew Lear is one of the foremost authorities on the erotic in Greek and Roman art. Beyond his historical knowledge, Professor Lear is completely hilarious and has tons of amazing stories that will keep you fully engaged, laughing and entertained over the 90-minute walking tour. Here are a few of the artworks you might see on the Unhung Heroes Tour!
One of the first things Professor Lear will introduce you to are the aesthetic ideals of Greek culture and how they have affected the history of art without clothes. In these ancient times, penis size as depicted in artworks was a reflection of a man’s social status. If a man was of high status, he will generally be depicted with a smaller penis, as a sign of refinement and class.
For example, this wine vessel depicts a scene of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of wine, and one of his man-servants. You can see that Dionysus‘ junk is completely covered up, while his servant, though naked, has a very modest penis.
By contrast, this adjacent, carved figure of a reclining, overweight and quite unattractive man has his stuff all out on display, which was considered vulgar and low class.
Dr. Lear really knows where to find all the fun examples of large members being associated with beasts as opposed to fine gentlemen. The above pottery shard shows a drunken Satyr (half goat and half man) with an obvious boner who is so wasted he doesn’t even notice that a donkey is walking over him. The word printed above him is his name, which translates to “Not Beautiful.” I love that story.
Here are three Satyrs masturbating. There is no way you would ever find this artwork if it was not pointed out to you. You’re welcome.
Other sexy facts about the ancient Greeks that you might enjoy knowing:
Greek men worked out constantly and they did so completely in the nude. The word Gymnasium literally means “Naked Place.”
While homoerotic practices are sometimes euphemistically referred to as ‘Greek Love,’ Professor Lear pointed out that the Greeks did not approve of anal sex, while the Romans did!
More Penises After the Jump!
It’s not always easy to keep up with all of the Public Art installed in and around Manhattan at any given time, but I stumbled on the piece above, a towering, abstract white and cream fiberglass structure entitled Runner (2017), by sculptor Tony Cragg, when I visited the Park Avenue Armory for Nick Cave’s The Let Go installion. Runner is right out front of the Armory at the corner of 67th Street. When I left the Armory, I snapped a few additional shots of Runner before heading back down town.
Runner is one of five monumental, abstract sculptures by Cragg, which present an opportunity for a leisurely stroll over nearly 20 blocks on this almost suburban Manhattan thoroughfare. The commanding sculptures exemplify Cragg’s experimentation with a variety of materials include the aforementioned fiberglass, stainless steel and bronze.
Runner with the Park Avenue Armory in the Background.
On the 4th of July, I decided to get some exercise and walk from 52nd to 79th Streets to check out the other four Cragg sculptures. Please enjoy my photos!
Mean Average, at 52nd Street, is a weighty composition made of bronze.
I tried to shoot each of the sculptures from a variety of angles.
You can get such a different impression of the work, depending on your perspective.
Elliptical Column at 57th Street is a nearly 20-foot tall spire made of shiny, almost liquid-like stainless steel.
The same white and cream fiberglass used for Runner is also used for Hammerhead at 72nd Street, and the brightness allows the sculpture to really pop against the surrounding landscape.
At 79th Street, the artist uses bronze again for Tommy, which has a blue-green patina. The vertical forms seemingly defy gravity while giving the impression of upward motion and kinetic energy, though they are static.
Tony Cragg’s Monumental Sculptures will be on Exhibit along Manhattan’s Park Avenue Malls at the intersections of 52nd Street, 57th Street, 67th Street, 72nd Street, and 79th Streets Through October 31st, 2018.
Whether you’re seeing his colorful works out on the street, or in the gallery, Kenny Scharf has one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the contemporary art world. Deitch Projects downtown is currently hosting Inner and Outer Space, an ambitious exhibit of Sharf’s newest works which features several distinct collections that provide evidence of Scharf’s enthusiasm for expanding his oeuvre, while staying true to the playful characteristics of his work that his fans love the most.
You can get a hint of what you’re in for before you even stop inside the gallery
The faces are melting in Kenny Scharf’s new paintings. “Things are disintegrating,” says the artist. “I am reacting to our increasingly out-of-control situation.” Scharf’s work continues to be infused by his inexhaustible optimism and his sense of fun, but there has always been an engagement with profound issues beneath the façade. Ecology, the environment, and capitalist excess have long been central themes.
Kenny Scharf’s work has always combined and contrasted the pop culture he absorbed growing up in Los Angeles with the important innovations in modern and contemporary art. His earlier work fused Dali and Disney. More recently, he has been in dialogue with Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. In the new work, he merges his distinct style with color field and stain painting. “I like to connect with every movement in 20th-century art,” Scharf explains. “I make new hybrids, taking it all in and putting it in a blender.”
Scharf is very enthusiastic about his new “sloppy style” that characterizes the major paintings in the exhibition. Rows of faces disintegrate into colorful drips reminiscent of both New York School painting and the serial imagery of minimal art. In these new works, Scharf is striving to create clear and simple forms that resonate with meaning. He feels liberated and excited, adding that “it is so much fun.”
Like his artistic colleagues from his early years in New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Scharf studied cartoons as a way to intensify figurative expression. He makes use of cartoon faces to express emotion with abstract power.
In the past, Kenny found many of the items integrated into his art in the garbage,and even today he still stops his car when he finds plastic toys and TV sets thrown away on the street. These discarded plastic objects have inspired the two other bodies of work featured in the show, one being TV Bax.
The TV Bax are painted on the plastic backs of discarded television sets. Like the toys, the TV backs have a disconcerting anthropomorphic quality. Scharf wonders if their anonymous designers created these plastic covers, which are different for every model, to resemble a face.
Scharf finds these thrown-away toys and TV backs to be poignant objects, resonant with emotion. “Each of these objects carries a story,” Scharf explains. He thinks about how people might have struggled and sacrificed to buy these toys and TVs, and about the intense relationship that children and families have with them. Scharf resurrects the lives of these inanimate objects in his work. He also notes that garbage keeps changing with technology. The backs of TV sets used to have large protruding “noses.” Now they are flatter and more similar to a canvas.
Another new collection, his Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, inspired by the Nouveau Realistes, are constructed from his stock of recycled plastic toys. These wall sculptures, which mix assorted toy parts with Scharf’s whimsical animated faces, are my favorite items in the exhibit.
Since his childhood, Scharf has been fascinated by outer space. Space travel and the portrayal of infinite space have long been central themes. In his life and in his work, he tries to eliminate boundaries and borders. As he pursues his dialogue with the great painters of the New York School, he is increasingly preoccupied with the inner space of painting. His exploration of inner space creates a dynamic tension with his passion for outer space. With his characteristic exuberance and his moral voice, Scharf reformulates his unique combination of Pollock and Pop to create a vibrant new body of work.
Kenny Scharf’s Inner and Outer Space will be on Exhibit Through December 22nd, 2017 at Deitch Projects, Located at 18 Wooster Street (Just North of Canal) in NYC.
The cooler, more inclement weather that comes with Fall is slowly encroaching, which means that the annual Roof Garden exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is about to close. So, if you’ve not yet made a visit to see Adrián Villar Rojas’ fantastic installation, The Theater of Disappearance, you have until October 29th, 2017 to check out (weather permitting of course) this unique exhibit that strongly resembles the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a very fancy dinner party.
For this site specific-installation, Argentian artist Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980) used the Museum itself as his subject material; drawing on objects in the collection and the history of collecting practices. To realize the extensive work, the artist immersed himself in The Met, and with its staff over many months, held conversations with the curators, conservators, managers, and technicians — 3-D scanning and imaging experts — across every department, who all contributed to the realization of this installation. Conceived as a holistic environment, The Theater of Disappearance transfers the space of the Roof Garden into a performative diorama.
Sixteen black and white sculptures incorporate nearly one hundred detailed replicas of objects from The Met’s collection – selected from a wide variety of time periods and cultures, and reconfigured as amalgamations, The Theater of Disappearance encompasses thousands of years of artistic production over several continents and cultures, and fuses them with facsimiles of contemporary human figures as well as furniture, animals, cutlery, and food. Each object — whether a 1,000-year-old decorative plate or a human hand — is rendered in the same black or white material and coated in a thin layer of dust.
Architecture is folded into the fabric of the work. Villar Rojas’s intervention includes two radical new flooring systems – one checkerboard and the other a reflective metallic surface – as well as a redesigned bar, benches, new plantings, and an extended pergola overhead, creating dramatic setting that transforms the panoramic views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline into theatrical backdrops for the installation.
The total effect of sculptures and environment is a dazzling, disorienting scene where all senses of the interpretive history associated with Museum objects has vanished, making way for and alternative history for art.
This project is dedicated to the memory of Ronald Street, The Met’s first head of digital imaging. Please enjoy more photos, which I shot during two separate visits this past summer!