Tag Archive | Still Life

Modern Art Monday Presents: Juan Gris, The Checkerboard

Juan Gris The Checkerboard
Photo By Gail

Hailed as “the perfect painter” by avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein, Juan Gris developed his signature approach to Cubism beginning in 1911. Using classic café subject matter — such as the newspaper, seltzer bottle, and glass seen here — Gris made subtle adjustments to the conventions of picture making that render ordinary objects both familiar and newly intriguing. For example, in The Checkerboard (1915) and its  bird’s-eye view of a tabletop, a cunning reorganization of pictorial space places objects that should have volume into a single compressed plane. With a nod to play, Gris shows us a fragmented checkerboard, an emblem of the strategy and gamesmanship at the center of his art.

Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Still Life With Cake By Raphaelle Peale

Still Life with Cake
Photo By Gail

Still Life With Cake (1818), a typical still life by Raphaelle Peale (17741825), the son of Charles Willson Peale, may have been the picture exhibited in 1819 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as Still Life—Wine, Cakes, Grapes, &c. A similar picture dating from the same year is in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Peale’s tightly-grouped still lifes are often permeated with a delicate melancholy akin to that which characterized the life of the artist; he was an alcoholic who suffered the effects of arsenic and mercury poisoning caused by his work as a taxidermist in his father’s museum. His spare, essential style may have been influenced by the Spanish still lifes he studied in Mexico and by the works of Juan Sanchez Cotan, exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1818.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Eugène Delacroix, Basket of Flowers

Delacroix Basket of Flowers
Photos By Gail

French painter Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) was one of the greatest creative figures of the nineteenth century. Coming of age after the fall of Napoleon, he reconnected the present to the past on his own terms. Delacroix produced an extraordinarily vibrant body of work, setting into motion a cascade of innovations that changed the course of art.

In September of 1848, social and political unrest in Paris led Delacroix to retreat to his country house in Champrosay. There, he undertook this flower paining and four others, which he intended to exhibit at the next year’s Salon. The present example, Basket of Flowers (1848-49) is a rare hybrid in Delacroix’s work of still life and pure landscape. Falling from the basket are dahlias, rudbeckias, daisies, nasturtiums and roses. The arch is a typical white morning glory or moonflower, which appears to be invading a shrub with flowers arranged incense, fat clusters, possibly elderberry. On the left are elephant head amaranth, with a variety of Centaurea (perhaps cornflowers) beneath.

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Delacroix, on View Through January 6th, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum Art in NYC.

Delacroix Installation View
Installation View

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Handbag and Cosmopolitan

Pink Handbag and Cosmo
Photo By Gail

One evening last summer, I was at The Odeon on West Broadway for my friend Robin‘s Birthday dinner, when I spotted this lovely Pink Handgbag and matching Cosmo, sitting on the bar. And now, it is immortalized on this blog!

Modern Art Monday Presents: Kay Kurt, Hallelujah

Hallelujah 1995 - 2016
Photo By Gail

Kay Kurt (b. 1944) is a New Realist painter of large-scale confections. Her candies lay the foundation of her compositions, structuring her canvases abstractly, and freeing her to meditate on content. As Richard Hamilton, Robert Watts and Claes Oldenburg also used candies as subject matter — and she often enlarges the scale tenfold, like a billboard — Kurt’s work became associated with Pop Art early on. The scale of the Pop Art movement opened Kurt’s eyes to the possibility of a new vision based on objects instead of landscape.

Typical candies featured in her body of work include Licorice, Bon Bons, Jordan Almonds, Jujubes and Gummi Bears. She chooses and collects these candies from various countries, being specifically interested in those of German origin, which reflect the values, attitudes, and cultures associated with the people who produce them. She does not used mediated or advertising images like the Pop Artists, nor photographs like the Photorealists. These paintings are developed through observation. Kurt prefers painting generic-looking candy, as the luxurious ones are too refined for her taste. The sole instance of exquisite candy in her oeuvre is a Godiva chocolate box painting that she made for a friend. Her choice of subject reflects her interest in mass production and consumer culture around the world.

Compulsive and exacting to an extreme, Kurt can take years to complete a canvas. As the 1980s progressed, Kurt gradually found herself excluded from the New York art world where she had found acclaim for over a decade. Although never giving up on her painting practice, she almost completely withdrew from the public eye and it was not until her inclusion in the 2010 traveling exhibition, Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968 presented at the Brooklyn Museum, that her work was re-introduced.

Hallelujah (1995-2016) is part of the exhibit Kay Kurt: For All Her Innocent Airs, She Knew Exactly Where She Was Going, on view through February 16th, 2017 at Albertz Benda Gallery, Located at 515 West 26th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest at David Zwirner

Red Diner
All Photos By Gail

David Zwirner Gallery is currently hosting its first exhibition with William Eggleston since having announced the gallery’s exclusive worldwide representation of the artist. On view at the space on West 20th Street in New York are works from Eggleston’s monumental project The Democratic Forest.

Two Cars

Over the course of nearly six decades, Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition. His photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning.

Room Interior with Viewer

His 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated by John Szarkowski, marked the first presentation of color photography at the museum. Although initially criticized for its unfamiliar approach, the show and its accompanying catalogue, William Eggleston’s Guide, heralded an important moment in the medium’s acceptance within the art historical canon, and it solidified the artist’s position as one of its foremost practitioners to this date. Eggleston’s work continues to exert an influence on contemporary visual culture at large.

Pool

The Democratic Forest is among Eggleston’s most ambitious projects and a prime example of his uniquely recognizable aesthetic. Likened to an epic journey or an enduring narrative, it comprises a careful selection of works from over ten thousand negatives he took in the mid-1980s across the southern and eastern parts of America and in several European countries.

Road

These low profile casters of rural back roads, industrial and residential environs, architectural details, restaurant interiors, and parking lots, among other locales, eluded the conventions of both reportage and the black-and-white art photography practiced by many of the artist’s peers at the time, and instead shaped their own definition of what a photographic image could be—intuitive and charged with imaginative possibilities.

Cars with Viewer

Palm Tree

Collectively, the project echoes Eggleston’s predilection for the “democratic” vision of the camera, able to render equally what is in front of the lens.

Blue Picnic Table

The show will include over forty works from The Democratic Forest, the majority of which have not been exhibited previously. Although taken thirty years ago, the photographs appear to cast their subjects in a timeless light.

Diner Table

As the art historian Alexander Nemerov writes in a new catalogue published by David Zwirner Books/Steidl on the occasion of the show:

Eggleston’s work—the great flow of it— feels…impelled by the world. It feels, to put it another way, pulled along by the world, by things outside the artist, rather than compelled by something inside him….[O]ne feels him being borne along by a current… [T]he current [he] rides along is simply the proliferation of scenes — the great panoramic film strip of it, never ending in its flow of gas stations and horse buggies and parking lots and roadside trees and filigreed urns stamped in tin. But more than that…there is the feeling that the infiniteness of the world, the sheer extent of it, is its own kind of eternity.

Car Wash

William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today.

William Eggleston Signage

William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest will be on Exhibit Through December 17th, 2016 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Pink Snack Bar

Desire Obtain Cherish, Servant to Infinite Distraction at Unix Gallery

Nuero Girl 2016
Nuero Girl, 2016, By Desire Obtain Cherish All Photos By Gail)

The contemporary fine artist known as Desire Obtain Cherish (real name: Jonathan Paul) has a new exhibit at Unix Gallery, which is called Servant to Infinite Distraction, and it is pretty sweet.

DOC Painting 1

In previous DOC exhibits, we have mostly seen the artist’s iconic, Pop Art sculptures, such as his oversized Blow Pops, but while the new exhibit does feature new sculptures, here DOC experiments with abstract canvases that mix black and white prints with thick swathes of brightly-colored oil paints, for a very cerebrally compelling visual impact. Tablets of the anticonvulsant medication Klonopin are a reoccurring motif.

Floral Pills

Pills show up on other canvases as well, such as the “painting” above, which creates a classic floral still life from pharmaceutical capsules filed with colored pigment.

Colored Pills Detail
Detail from Above Painting

Still Life with Pills

Here’s another Still Life with Pills, and a detail shot below.

Gelatin Capsules Detail

Nuero Boy 2016
Nuero Boy, 2016

The pair of white, child-scale, mannequin-like sculptures called Nuero Girl and Nuero Boy have what looks like velvet-covered, amorphous masses enveloping their heads, feet and hands. Very fun!

Unix Gallery Installation View
Installation View

Desire Obtain Cherish, Servant to Infinite Distraction will be on Exhibit Through June 18, 2016 at UNIX Gallery, located at 532 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
DOC Signage
DOC Painting 2