This little bust of a Greco-Roman soldier sporting a super fancy helmet caught my eye despite its diminutive size of maybe 2 inches in height. And as is basks in a pinkish-hued glow, it’s easy to believe that the statue is in fact pink; but it’s not. The tiny bust is white, but by shooting it with my phone from a low angle, I was able to maximize the pink reflection of the room’s walls through the glass shelf on which it sits. It’s art!
Photographed at Wonderworld Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
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!
Multidisciplinary artist, Chad Wys has some really fantastic work in Not The Sum of Its Parts, Just The Parts, up now at the Joseph Gross Gallery. The two person show (which also includes works by Jesse Draxler) examines the variables of abstraction, conceptualism, and markmaking. In this exhibit, Wys rips apart and questions the use of traditional arts materials, rediscovering and reevaluating the limits of the surface.
The title of the show is a reactionary statement against the Aristotelian philosophy that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Rather, the title attempts to highlight, in a multilayered approach, that each part is essential, individual, unique, and not to be overlooked in its contribution to the “whole.” Both artists utilize this principle in their practice.
Chad Wys is interested in manipulating found objects – the more in a state of depreciation, the better – he adds new life, meaning and function to existing materials and products, adding to the object’s history and its journey. Throughout his work he has maintained a longstanding fascination with the ideals of conceptualism. Informed by Dadaism and minimalism as well as postmodernist philosophy, Wys’ work examines visuality, from images and objects to decorations and art, and how the reproduction of these materials influence our visual experience.
Not The Sum Of Its Parts, Just The Parts, Featuring the Works of Chad Wys, will be on Exhibit Through October 1st, 2016 at Joseph Gross Gallery, Located at 548 W 28th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds is a crazy fun exhibit that you should make an effort to see before it closes in just under a month. For those who are unfamiliar, FAILE is a Brooklyn-based collaboration between artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. Through their bold and provocative artworks, they raise questions about our relationship to consumer culture, religious traditions, and the urban environment, by blurring the boundaries between fine art, street art, and popular culture. This exhibit covers a broad scope of Faile’s impressive resume.
Figures Left to Right: TakuspeFAD Jersey, TakuspeFAD, and Takuspe B-Girl Down Jacket by Taku Obata (All Photos By Gail)
Jonathan LeVine Gallery is currently hosting Bust a Move, a series of new works by Japanese artist Taku Obata, in his debut solo exhibition in the United States. Bust a Move features Obata’s dynamic wooden sculptures, drawings and lithographs of b-boys, or break-dancers, with a distinctly interpreted fashion style. A b-boy himself, the artist has a precise understanding concerning the forms of the human body and how they move, creating works that are bursting with the kinetic energy found in this urban dance form.
The life-size (and larger!) sculptures in Bust a Move are captured in freeze stances, poses that complete every breakdance battle, and are adorned in brightly-colored jumpsuits with accessories sampled from the old-school b-boy style. Surreally elongated hats, glasses and gloves create the illusion of movement, in contrast with the stagnant demeanor of Obata’s subjects. The works have a dominating presence and by portraying modern dance through the ancient technique of Japanese wood-carving, the artist effectively merges popular culture with his cultural roots.
Obata fully immerses viewers in the environment of this subculture through his 3-D works, with the goal of enhancing our awareness and physical senses. In his own words, “I am not simply creating a b-boy, but I aim to create an atmosphere, a cool space with a certain strange and interesting tension.”
LeVine is also displaying a collection of Obata’s drawings of b-boys in action, wearing bright, neon colored outfits.
Taku Obata’s Bust a Move will be on Exhibit Through December 20th, 2014, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
A brilliant yellow Madonna, a set of skeleton feet, a grey giant leaning obdurately on his club, a green and boyish-looking St. Michael slaying the dragon, a pitch-black snake — these and other figures make up a curious cast of characters currently on view in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden. Figurengruppe (Group of Figures) is a tightly arranged ensemble of nine sculptures by the German contemporary artist Katharina Fritsch, first conceived in 2006–08 in painted polyester and recast in 2010–11 in durable lacquered copper and bronze for outdoor display.
Katharina Fritsch is an artist best known for fastidiously crafted figures, animals, and everyday objects placed in unexpected arrangements and juxtapositions, uncovering new, sometimes unsettling meanings about our past and present histories. Often painted in striking colors, her work invariably commands attention — and MoMA’s Figurengruppe does not fall short of that. The figures’ polished, silky surfaces, beaming colors, and choreographed arrangement are spellbinding and puzzling, their mute stance and inscrutable veneer tempting us to search for some larger narrative.
There are hints and clues about what inspired certain characters, but ultimately any fixed meaning remains stubbornly elusive. The artist has explained, for example, that the Madonna is based on cheap souvenir figurines sold near church pilgrimage sites in Germany and France, albeit without the lemony dress. Religious symbolism is present, but the dazzling color unhinges the worshipped item from a prescribed context, de-familiarizing her into an object that can bear other potential storylines or associations. (Fritsch also produced the Madonna as a small-scale multiple, creating a more widely available, high-art doppelganger of the commercial souvenir.)
The skeleton feet go back to a childhood dream in which the artist, as a four-year-old, fled a burning house only to encounter a pair of skeleton feet. These in turn relate to a shoe-fitting practice offered in German shoe stores through the 1960s whereby an image of one’s foot bones would be created using an x-ray contraption. Anecdotal memory plays a part here, but seeing the rigorously crafted set of bones can just as easily bring to mind some disembodied creature out of Edward Gorey’s morbid tales or a commonly encountered object from an archeologist’s lab.
The female torso takes its cue from a 1926 Expressionist sculpture by a man named Ernst Conze that used to stand in the garden of Fritsch’s childhood home in Langenberg, Germany; now painted white and reduced in form, it has been lifted from its past into a present-day setting. In fact, mid-century German parks and public gardens have been a recurring theme in Fritsch’s practice, in some works even serving as visual backdrops. In a way this tactic is preserved in MoMA’s current display—the newly re-installed Sculpture Garden makes for a fitting tableau, situating Figurengruppe within a diverse congregation of cohorts that include Auguste Rodin’s St. John the Baptist Preaching (1878–80), Aristide Maillol’s contemplative female Mediterranean (1902–05), Max Ernst’s King Playing the Queen (1944), and Tom Otterness’s sleeping Head (1988–89), among others.
Taking a look at some of the artist’s source material can offer access points into the group’s oblique presence. What I find most captivating, though, is the friction between the sculptures’ smooth, almost generic look and the rich and quasi-narrative worlds that unfold beneath their surfaces. It’s a space where our intellect or attempt to rely on a logical framework loses its tight grip, conjuring instead images from the realms of history, memory, myths, and fairytales. These aren’t necessarily cheerful, but they do make us ask questions — maybe even reveal some of our own skeletons in the closet.
— Posted by Eleonore Hugendubel, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting of Sculpture
And this is what the Group looks like covered with snow! (Photographed 1/24/16, the day after Superstorm Jonas!)