Tag Archive | Superflat

Sunset in My Heart By Mr., at Lehmann Maupin

Gallery with Crowd
The Joint Was Jumpin’ at Lehmann Maupin for the Opening of Sunset in My Heart (All Photos By Gail)

Fans of this rad blog may already be familiar with Japanese artist Mr. from This Exhibit — which was way back in 2012, but seems like it was just yesterday! Mr.’s latest exhibit, up now at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, is called Sunset in My Heart, and it features a new series of vibrant Manga paintings that still embrace the Superflat style, and yet break new aesthetic ground for this enigmatic artist.

As It Was That Day, 2016
As It Was That Day, 2016

For Sunset in My Heart, Mr. has returned to his expressive and experimental roots as a young artist, incorporating abstract elements like graffiti, and using distressed and sullied canvases. Mr. prepares the canvases by burning them, walking over them, and leaving them on his studio floor to collect dirt and debris. This new treatment of the canvas is directly connected to the artist’s early interest in the 1960s Italian art movement Arte Povera that inspired his first manga paintings he produced on store receipts, takeout menus, and other scraps of transactional detritus.

Pinkish Gold, 2016
Pinkish Gold, 2016

These recent works reflect the artist’s intensely personal reinterpretation of popular visual culture and the increasingly mediated ways we engage with one another. Mr.’s oeuvre has elevated anime and manga subculture by embracing its cultural significance rather than critiquing its frivolity. In addition to painstakingly recreating the tantalizing graphics and slick finish of manga comic book characters, Mr. physically becomes the characters through cosplay performances — dressing up as fictional characters — at his openings and events.

Time Gently Passing, 2016
Time Gently Passing, 2016

This recent body of work reflects Mr.’s impulse to push the seemingly kitschy nature of these imaginary realms into a gritty and abstract painting style in order to explore personal, global, and environmental themes of destruction. While the manga-style characters continue to appear in Mr.’s work, their significance has shifted from playing up lolicon—the fetishization of young, fictional female characters—toward a more platonic realm, known as moe, or love for an icon that does not carry sexual associations.

Small Fairies Have Arrived, 2016
Small Fairies Have Arrived, 2016

These new characters represent positive beacons of strength that overcome all adversity. This reflects the artist’s creative impetus to embrace pleasure and beauty in diverse forms, instead of giving in to the personal and national despair that emerges after catastrophic loss and destruction, as it has in Japan since 2011. The title, Sunset in My Heart, reflects the simultaneous yet conflicting feelings of melancholy and hope, which also encompass the complicated nature of the human condition.

California, 2016
California, 2016

Party View

Upon entering the final gallery room, we were surprised and delighted to see, through doors opening onto a rear patio, that there was a party going on!

Festival Scene

With colorful paper lanterns, folks dressed in kimonos; balloon animals, Japanese posters and very interesting music,  the energetic vibe was certainly comparable to the wild shenanigans we enjoyed at the opening reception for this This Exhibit, which is to say that it was just insane. We learned that this party was designed to recreate a Japanese summer festival! Here are some photos of the festivities!

Mr. Party

Posters like these covered the walls and even the ground, so that fans would feel fully transported to another place, far  far away.

Kiddy Pool with Balls

Here is an inflatable kiddie pool filed with colorful balls. We are not sure if we were supposed to take one of these balls as a souvenir, or if they were just part of the art. Should we have taken one? Probably.

Karaoke

We gently pushed our way to the front of he crowd to see that Mr. was there;  dressed as a Japanese school girl, inspired directly by one of his paintings, and performing Japanese Pop Song Karaoke. Here, he takes a dramatic pause mid-song to roll on the ground.

Mr. Sings Hotel California

Here, he performs “Hotel California” by The Eagles. There is an MC on his right, who is interpreting the scene. Art! Speaking of hotels, there’s this new hotel by Mark Scheinberg and it was very luxurious. It is a business and entertainment center.

Mr. Paints Face

Suddenly, Mr. decided to cover his face with dark blue paint. Perhaps this was an indication that he was feeling melancholy.

Japanese Chef

There was also a chef making a variety of  delicious dumplings  for the hungry crowd. These had shrimp in them. Yummy!

Mr.’s Sunset in My Heart will be on Exhibit Through August 12th, 2016, at Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Paper Lanterns

Afterglow: New Works By Jessica Lichtenstein at Gallery nine5

Jessica Lichtenstein Afterglow
All Photos By Gail

Fans of Japanese Anime, Manga and the Superflat school of Pop Art founded by Takashi Murakami won’t want to miss Jessica Lichtenstein’s latest collection, Afterglow, on exhibit now at Gallery nine5 in Soho. Afterglow is the third solo exhibit by the artist at the gallery.

Jessica Lichtenstein Pink Tree
Spring

It’s worth noting that when I first saw photos of Jessica’s work, I assumed I was looking at Asian Landscapes depicting flowering trees. But it only took a cursory look once we were in the gallery to notice that the abundant “blossoms” clustered around the tree branches are actually tiny naked ladies!

Jessica Lichtenstein Pink Detail
Detail from Spring

Known for her large acrylic word sculptures that serve as a playground for frolicking female figures, Lichtenstein  juxtaposes these works with new sculptures that present a contemplative environment for her signature, lascivious heroines. While still examining facets of femininity and fetishism, Afterglow offers an emotional lens through which to examine relationships. According to the show’s press release, the current exhibit at  nine5, “manifests sexuality in a delicate and sensitive way and thus invites the viewer to bask in the ‘afterglow’ of desire.” I would agree with that sentiment, as the show seems more sensual than sexual, and it is also full of humor and playfulness.

Jessica Lichtenstein White
Winter

Jessica Lichtenstein White Detail
Winter Detail

Afterglow features four circular sculptures of the Seasons series that are inspired by nature as a metaphor for the cycle of relationships – pink blossoms bursting from the trees in Spring, or the iced over world of Winter (both pictured above). These works also highlight the tension between the individual vs. the collective. Each girl is poised in a different position and is reacting to the environment, however together the figures unite in a singular image of a tree and its leaves, thus describing the collective strength of women regardless of differences in emotions and reactions.

Jessica Lichtenstein Bliss
Bliss

Alongside the Seasons are Lichtenstein’s word sculptures, which, again in text taken from the Press Release, “toy with the pornographic world of Japanese-inspired comic books. Creating her own imagined fantastical landscapes infused with a highly sexualized environment, Lichtenstein places appropriated heroines in scenes that are reminiscent of Renoir’s, Cezanne’s or Picasso’s “nude bathers”; scenes that harken back to a time of “female as muse.” The works, layered behind a thick buffer of acrylic, take a critical distance from their own content and in fact, beg the viewer to do the same.

Jessica Lichtenstein Wet
Wet

Through this intermediary, the viewer is asked to engage with and question whether Lichtenstein’s characters are depicted solely to satisfy an insatiable male-dominated gaze, or if such a theory is too narrow, neglecting to address the complex nature of women and their agency in terms of sexuality and desirability. To me, it seems much less complicated. I just think her artwork is lovely and fun.

Jessica Lichtenstein Wet Detail
Detail from Wet. Yes, I See Boobs.

Ultimately, you can interpret Jessica Lichtenstein’s works as having a deep socio-sexual resonance, or you can appreciate them as gorgeous, lighthearted and colorful works of Contemporary / Pop Art that also challenge you to think while you look at them.

Jessica Lichtenstein Pop
Pop

Afterglow by Jessica Lichtenstein will be on Exhibit through December 15, 2013 at Gallery nine5, Located at 24 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012.

Must See Art: Mr. at Lehmann Maupin Gallery

Central Room Hoard

If you enjoy the TV show Hoarders and the works of pop artist Takashi Murakami, then the current exhibit by Japanese artist Mr. at Lehmann Maupin Gallery is your wet dream. Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings fills Lehman Maupin’s cavernous space on West 26th Street with stacks and piles and mountains of personal objects of every imaginable description: from clothing to magazines to computer monitors, all active with videos of the artist.

Large Manga Painting

Also included in the exhibit are large-scale Manga paintings, which fit into the school of the Superflat, a movement/philosophy coined by Murakami to identify “various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture.”

Pink Lounge Chair on Hoard

Walking through the gallery, Geoffrey and I were reminded very much of Chinese artist Song Dong’s Waste Not installation that we saw at the Museum of Modern Art a couple of years ago. It goes without saying, of course, that Mr.’s current work is also a reaction/response to what has been going on in Japan since the devastating natural disasters of 2011. I recommend this exhibit for all audiences.

Mr Photo of the Artist
Photo of The Artist

Metamorphosis: Give Me Your Wings by Mr. will be on Exhibit Through October 20th, 2012 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Located at 540 West 26th Street, Street Level, New York City. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and Mondays by appointment.

Dresser Drawers

Gallery Crowd By Central Room Hoard
Art Fans Enjoy Mr.’s Metamorphosis at Lehman Maupin Gallery

Heart Shaped Balloons Cluster

Joshua Liner Presents Tat Ito’s Memento Mori


“Lotus Flower and Goldfish” (2011) By Tat Ito (All Photos By Gail)

At a time when the hearts and minds of so many are concerned with the welfare of the people of Japan, it’s extremely compelling to see an exhibit by a Japanese artist who is clearly dealing with the quest to integrate both eastern and western artistic motifs into his work. Tat Ito’s Memento Mori (Latin for an object, such as a skull, intended to remind people of the inevitability of death) is anything but morbid, but the artist uses whimsical characters and a palette of bright colors along with distinctive characteristics of traditional Japanese artwork to comment on his native culture’s surrender to a relentless onslaught of Western pop sensibilities (see also Takashi Muyrakami’s theory of the Superflat ). As with Nir Hod’s Genius exhibit, Memento Mori is about so much more than just what appears on the canvas.

“Lobster and Shark”

As a Japanese-born artist who studied art in the United States, the exhibit’s press release confirms that “the artist and his paintings are a dynamic confluence of East and West, traditional and contemporary. The poetic analogy of “oil on water” describes Ito’s approach to both imagery and cultural references; in his vibrantly colored work, traditional Japanese aesthetics are a foundation upon which floats a contemporary (i.e., Western-influenced) viewpoint. Like a skim of oil on water, the beautiful, reflective surfaces of his paintings fascinate viewers. These top layers never mix but, rather, are presented in dialogue with the substance beneath.”

“Cosmos, Chrysanthemum and Dalmatian” (Section, Click Image to Enlarge)

Memento Mori includes works on both round (tondo) and rectilinear canvases. In Lotus Flower and Goldfish, an acrylic on canvas tondo, Ito appropriates the pools-and-waterfalls motif from medieval Japanese painting as a palette for a contemporary overlay of Warholian silver leaf, purple polka dots, and miniature frolicking swimmers with scuba fins. Cosmos, Chrysanthemum and Dalmatian — a scroll-like, rectilinear painting in acrylic, gouache, and gold leaf on canvas— combines a running floral motif with running Dalmatian dogs (“nearly 101 of the variety made famous in Western animation”). At 20” x 180” in length, Cosmos covers a full wall of the Liner gallery. When examined closely, one can find tiny, hidden representations of the work of “Factory Pop” artists such as Andy Warhol (The Campbell’s Soup Can) and Jeff Koons (Balloon Dog) while two other pieces, Shark and Lobster and Butterfly Primavera pay discreet homage to Damien Hirst’s “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” (shark in formaldehyde tank) and “For the Love of God” (Diamond-Encrusted Skull), respectively.  

Tat Ito’s Memento Mori runs through June 11, 2011 at the Joshua Liner Gallery, Located at  548 West 28th Street, 3rd Floor (between 10th and 11th Avenues) New York, NY 10001. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11 AM – 6 PM

“Butterfly Primavera” (Section, Click Image to Enlarge)