Hey what’s up? Is your Holiday shopping all done, or do you maybe need to pick up something special for the goth kid or skull fan on your list? If that is the case, look no further than these totally bitchen, illuminated mosaic skulls. Available in an array of bright and cheery colors at the Union Square Holiday Market, Located in Union Square Park at 14th Street, between Union Square West and Broadway, through December 24th, 2016!
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.
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!
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.
You could stand in front of one of Tanaami’s canvases and talk about what you see until you run out of words.
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!
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!
Oh Boy, this one is lots of fun: Rotten Fruit with Little Skull Faces! This snarky take on the legendary and iconic Fruit of The Loom undergarments brand, designed by Gimetzco!, would look especially smart on a navy men’s or lady’s tank-style T, don’t you think? Check out all the styles, colors and sizes you can choose from, starting as low as $19.95 per shirt, at This Link!
If you love Skulls and Taxidermy Bats as much as I do, you will flip out over NYC-based artist Joseph Grazi’s new collection of sculptures and drawings, God Complex, up for just three short weeks at Joseph Gross Gallery. Seriously, it is pretty awesome.
According to the shows official press release, these artworks, “illustrate man’s increasing dominion over the natural world. With the human brain being the most complex structure existing in the known universe, we have been given the ability to manipulate the environment as we please and, ultimately, bend nature itself to our insatiable needs.” I can’t say that I disagree with that statement.
As Grazi frequently points out, “nature has been tamed and the animals that once posed threats to us are now predominantly under control. In addition, we can rearrange and re-engineer our bodies, create new species, and explore other planets. This capacity, along with the eradication of our former enemies and fears, can have a subconscious calming effect.”
Grazi’s new work revolves around the often inconsistent and irrational relationship that we have developed with nature over time, and how are new technologies have begun to give us godlike dominion over the planet and its animal inhabitants. It is through the realizations of these new powers that the artist hopes to lead to a more aware and responsible approach to managing and maintaining the kingdom of Earth.
Joseph was present at last week’s opening reception and, let me tell you, he is not only extremely easy on the eyes, but also could not possibly have been nicer to Geoffrey and me as we chewed his ear of about how rad his art is. I asked Joseph where he gets the bats he uses in his sculptures, and I think he said he gets them from various taxidermist sources, but who knows. He is so hot, it was hard for me to pay attention to what he was saying. Just kidding. Sort of. Not really.
Joseph Grazi’s God Complex will be on Exhibit Through May 2nd, 2015 at Joseph Gross Gallery, Located at 548 West 28th Street, Suite 232, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Ah, David Shrigley, we love his heavily-warped worldview and sense of the absurd! This Domino Set designed by Shrigley is part of the new Play collection, a collaboration between the artist and Third Drawer Down Studios, as offered by the New Museum of Contemporary Art.
There’s rarely a dull moment when you’re playing games with David Shrigley. Instead of the traditional uniform of matching dots and tiles, you’ll find characters such as Skulls, Grumpy Old Men, and Raggedy Cats on each tile, which makes this 28-piece set a perfect diversion for when you or your partner are plotting your next move.
Available in the Gift Shop at the New Museum of Contemporary Art on Bowery and Prince Street in lower Manhattan, priced at $65 per set, $55.25 for Members.
How Insane is this thing? I stole this image from a fan of Worleyigig.com’s FaceBook Fan Page. I have no idea where it came from, but it exists, and so it much be a immortalized as a Bacon Thing of The Day!
As much as everyone is already whining about the impending hellish winter that we are surely in for again this year, all you have to do is walk into the cavernous Gagosian Gallery space on West 24th Street and get an eyeful of the 18 foot high sculptures reaching towards the celing and 30 foot long murals unfurling across the walls in Takashi Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow to realize that — Polar Vortex be damned — New York City is the Center of The Universe, and that is where you want to be.
I’m not going to go into detail here about who Takashi Murakami is and why his art is important. You either already love his work, or will be compelled to find out based on the photos in this blog post. Or you don’t give a shit, who cares? Use The Google to your advantage, is all I’m saying.
The art exhibited in Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow is about the artist telling his personal story in response to historic natural disasters; specifically the Great Tōhoku Earthquake of 2011. Since that devastating event, Murakami has explored other Japanese art produced in response to historic natural disasters.
At Gagosian, Murakami has created an immersive installation, entered through a 56-ton replica of a Sanmon (Sacred Gate), which also includes paintings of eclectic Arhats (Perfected Persons); dissolving clones of his popular creation Mr. Dob; and Karajishi, the mythic lions that guard Japanese Buddhist temples.
Here is a contemporary belief system, constructed in the wake of disaster, that merges earlier faiths, myths, and images into an amalgamated spirituality of the artist’s imagination. In totemic sculptures representing demons, religious sites, and self-portraits; and paintings that conflate classical Japanese techniques with Abstract Expressionist tropes, science-fiction, manga, and Buddhist and Shinto imagery, Murakami investigates the role of faith amid the inexorable transience and trauma of existence.
That’s right: it’s heavy.
Also, there are lots of skulls.
Not long after we entered the gallery, an elderly gentleman approached me and asked what I thought of the art. When I told him I thought it was just fantastic, he went off on an elaborate rant about how he didn’t like it at all because Murakami puts too much stuff on the canvas. Then he went on about that for a while, citing artists like M. C. Escher, who expressed sophisticated visual concepts without putting “too much stuff” on the canvas, whatever.
When he finally came up for air, I offered my opinion that perhaps Murakami’s fans appreciate the high level of detail in the paintings. That couldn’t be possible, he insisted, because there was just too much stuff going on, “too many ideas.” I’m certainly all about having a lively conversation with someone over differing opinions concerning contemporary art, but if you start telling me that what I think is wrong, well, that’s where I am going to shut you down.
Eventually, Geoffrey appeared and, after I caught his eye and mouthed the words “help me” in his general direction, I was rescued. At that moment, I admit I was thinking about that episode of Seinfeld, where Elaine and Jerry, upon arriving at a party, agree on a hand gesture that they will use to signal each other from across the room if they are being monopolized in conversation by someone who’s driving them insane. Because life imitates art.
Too much stuff on the canvas. What a bunch of bullshit. If he didn’t like the art, why was he there? I got yer Too Much Stuff on the Canvas right here.
See how Murakami puts himself in the art. So cute.
And also, this little guy.
Of course, Murakami was in the house, because he is awesome like that. Here he is standing in front of a mural depicting those Arhats I mentioned earlier. He took the time to pose for photos with everyone, what a guy!
He is always smiling and has the best hats!
Here’s some more stuff we liked!
Here you see Murakami do something a bit different with his signature smiling face flowers. The black and platinum fields on each canvas are embossed with the imprint of hundreds of skulls.
Must See Art: Go Now!
In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow by Takashi Murakami will be on Exhibit Through January 17th, 2015 at Gagosian Gallery, Located at 555 West 24th Street, In the Chelsea Gallery District.