Tag Archive | Takashi Murakami

Surreal Portraits of Fictional Female Icons By Ellannah Sadkin

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman (All Photos By Gail)

Ellannah “Ella” Sadkin is a London-based artist who works primarily with acrylic and graffiti pens to produce colorful and abstract works. With its hard black lines, bright flat color and organic and geometric shapes, her style is often described as surrealist cartooning.

Snow White
Snow White

Sadkin was a child of the nineties and a huge cartoon fan, and cites early drawing of The Simpson’s characters as her first foray into cartooning.

Ariel Little Mermaid
Ariel (Little Mermaid)

As an adolescent growing up in New York, Sadkin was heavily influenced by the vibrant street graffiti scene. This later inspired her approach to composition, with large canvas pieces resembling graffiti murals in their layer-upon-layer approach.

Alice
Alice

Sadkin is a self-taught artist and lists Kaws as a primary influence. Her appropriation of cartoon aesthetics has been described as Ren and Stimpy on acid meets Takashi Murakami. Nice!

Photographed at The Pivot Gallery in Chelsea, NYC.

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Discovering the Art of Keiicha Tanaami: Visible Darkness / Invisible Darkness

Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014
Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014, By Keiicha Tanaami (All Photos By Gail)

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.

Detail from Dream Furor Colligendi, 2014
Detail from Dream Furor Colligendi

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!

Installation View
Detail from The Last Supper

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.

Two in the Cloudy Sky, 2014
Two in the Cloudy Sky, 2014

You could stand in front of one of Tanaami’s canvases and talk about what you see until you run out of words.

Pleasure of the Mimicry, 2015
Pleasure of the Mimicry, 2015

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!

The Last Supper, 2015
The Last Supper, 2015

Video Screen

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!

Detail from The Last Supper, 2015
Detail from The Last Supper

A Visit to The Broad Museum!

Broad Museum Exterior
All Photos by Gail

When I was in California at Christmastime, a little bit of advanced planning allowed me to enjoy a visit to the new Broad Museum of contemporary art, located in beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Featuring 2,000 works of art from the private collection of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like Bro-d”), admission is free of charge, but because the museum just opened on September 20th, 2015, the demand for tickets is so high that they must be reserved online in advance. By December, the list was already booked up through February 2016! It is times like these that writing an awesome blog like The Worley Gig comes in handy. With a  couple of exchanged emails, the Broad’s press office was kind enough to extend VIP-treatment to myself and two guests, which included front-of-the-line cutting privileges that saved us about two hours of waiting in a queue that already wrapped around two sides of the building by the time the museum opened at 11 AM.  It is good to be the King, or Queen, whatever.

Urs Fischer Untitled 2012
Urs Fischer, Untitled (2012), Melting Lamp Post, Located in the Ground Floor Lobby

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, and featuring an innovative Veil-and-Vault concept, the 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space to showcase The Broad’s comprehensive collection, and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library. Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, the building itself is a work of art.

Please enjoy some photos and tips from our visit!

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room
Here I am with my Sister inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room

The first thing you are going to want to do when you get into the museum is veer off to the left (when you see the Urs Fisher sculpture above, you are in the right place), look for a museum docent with an iPad, and put your name on a list for timed entry to the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama. We put our names in within 15 minutes of the museum’s opening, and the wait time for entry was already 75 minutes! Usually, only one or two people are allowed inside the installation at one time, and they only let you stay in there for a rigidly-timed 45 to 60 seconds! Because we were a group of 3, they let us all go in at the same time. When your entry time approaches, they will text you so that you can make it back down to the lobby from wherever you are in the museum, to wait about 15 minutes for entry, which is convenient. Read more about the Infinity Mirrored Room and its associated guidelines, at This Link!

Tulips By Jeff Koons 1995-2004
Tulips By Jeff Koons 1995-2004

Art is displayed on the first (ground) and third floors of the building, with the second floor reserved for storage (more about that later). We took the escalator to the third floor right away and were greeted by Jeff Koons famous mirrored steel Tulips sculpture. So gorgeous! The Broads must be huge fans of Koons, because there is an entire gallery dedicated to just to his work. The Broad has the largest collection of Koons work in one place that I’ve seen since his retrospective at The Whitney back in 2014; which was just insane.

Koons Gallery
Jeff Koons Gallery

Blue Balloon Dog with Wall Detail
Blue Balloon Dog with Wall Detail

This photo of a Koons Balloon Dog showcases the building’s porous, honeycomb-like exterior (made of fiberglass and reinforced concrete) which lets natural light flow into the  galleries, and the glass curtain wall behind it, which protects the interior from the elements. Genius.

Roy Lichtenstein Interior with African Mask 1991
Roy Lichtenstein, Interior with African Mask (1991)

If you dig Roy Lichtenstein, there are perhaps a dozen paintings and sculptures by the legendary Pop artist.

I made a video of Barbara Kruger’s lenticular photograph, Have Me, Feed Me, Hug Me, Love Me, Need Me (1988)!

Robert Therrien, Under the Table 1994
Robert Therrien, Under the Table (1994)

This piece is lots of fun.

Elevator And Stairs/Escalator

A futuristic, cylindrical glass elevator will transport you quickly between the first and the third floors, but if you want to check out the second floor, you will have to take the stairs.

Broad Storage Floor Window

On the second floor landing there are these oval windows set into the stairwell wall, through which you can peer in and see where they store all of the spare artwork. This part of the museum (which is the concrete “Core” of the building) is called The Vault, and it is pretty cool. The Vault is also where laboratories, curatorial spaces and offices are located.

Broad Storage Floor Window
Inside The Vault

White Riot Robert Longo 1982
White Riot By Robert Longo (1982)

Desire 1969 Ed Ruscha
Desire By Ed Ruscha (1969)

Robert Rauschenberg Untitled 1963
Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled (1963)

Can you imagine having all of these fantastic artworks — and hundreds more — in your private collection? Unreal. There is a 15-minute introductory film (located adjacent to the Infinity Mirrored Room) that you can watch, which tells you where the Broads got all of their money, in case you’re interested.

Takashi Murakami
Works By Takashi Murakami

The Broads also love to collect the works of superflat artist Takashi Murakami. As with Koons and Lichtenstein, there are enough Murkakamis here to stage a career retrospective.

Robert Therrien No Title 1993
Robert Therrien, No Title (1993)

Also in the lobby space, very close to the entrance, you’ll find another larger-than-life sculpture created by reclusive, LA-based artist Robert Therrien, this time of a stack of saucers. His work is fascinating.

I am not sure how long the inaugural exhibition will be up, and with thousands of artworks to choose from, it would make sense for the museum to change it up fairly often, so be sure to visit The Broad’s Website before you visit. The Broad’s first special exhibition will debut in June 2016, with a comprehensive survey of the work of artist Cindy Sherman. Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life will be the first major museum show of Sherman’s work in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years, and the exhibition will fill The Broad’s first-floor galleries with close to 120 works drawn primarily from the Broad collection.

Find out more about The Broad Museum, and plan your visit by reserving your free tickets, at The Broad Dot Org!

Broad Signage

Seonna Hong, If You Lived Here, I’d Be Home By Now at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Remember The Good Things
Remember The Good Things By Seonna Hong (All Photos By Gail)

If you stop by Jonathan LeVine Gallery to see the latest Martin Wittfooth exhibit, be sure to also see If You Lived Here I’d Be Home By Now, a series of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Seonna Hong,  her debut solo exhibition, which is running concurrently in the rear gallery. After completing a series of self-reflective work throughout her career, Hong has discovered a way to look forward, with this collection of paintings that signify her return to the New York art world after eight years. Of course, I had an immediate attraction to all of the paintings in this exhibit, because there is so much pink in them!

L: Drought Tolerance. R: That's Us/Wild Combination

L: Drought Tolerance. R: That’s Us/Wild Combination

Hong is a multi-disciplinary talent with international recognition as a painter, illustrator and animation production artist. Notable accolades include an Emmy Award for Individual Achievement in Production Design for her work on the animated series My Life as a Teenage Robot. She is also the author of Animus, a critically acclaimed moving picture book. And it is worth mentioning that, in 2008, she was chosen by Takashi Murakami as the first American to have a solo exhibition at the world renowned KaiKai Kiki Gallery in Japan.

Come Undone
Come Undone

Where Hong’s previous works focused on reckoning, forgiveness and ‘wishing I said all the things I didn’t say,’ If You Lived Here I’d Be Home by Now explores the possibilities of what’s to come. In the artist’s words, “My once melancholic and somber pieces have given way to a new kind of hopefulness.”

The Magic Number
The Magic Number

Continuing to move away from compositions of fully formed ideas, Hong’s process is spontaneous yet deliberate. Using paint swirls and scrapes to define space and texture, her signature characterization of girls and animals remains, but they exist less as protagonists and more as a lens to view the expressionistic landscapes that they occupy.

Paintings on Books

One in the Morning
One in the Morning

In If You Lived Here, I’d Be Home by Now the artist works with a visual and literal vocabulary that takes cues from her personal life. By incorporating text and using books as her canvas for a selection of works, Hong examines the universal themes of exploration and reconnecting with our sense of childlike wonder.

L: Deciding How It Should Go. R: Diamond of the Truest Kind
L: Deciding How It Should Go. R: Diamond of the Truest Kind

Sea Level
Sea Level

Seonna Hong’s If You Lived Here I’d Be Home By Now will be on Exhibit through November 14th, 2015 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

If You Lived Here
If You Lived Here
Seonna Hong Signage

Takashi Murakami’s In The Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow

Murakami Blue
Tan Tan Bo – In Communication, 2014 (All Photos By Gail)

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.

Black Skull Cluster Mural Detail

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.

Gallery View with Pagoda
Gallery View with Sanmon (Sacred Gate)

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.

Sacred Gate Eye Detail
Sacred Gate Detail

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.

Golden Mural with Dragon Detail
Gold Leaf Mural with Karajishi (Detail)

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.

Large Silver Mural with Lion
Platinum Leaf Mural with Karajishi

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.

Rainbow Eyeball
This is the painting I stared at for fifteen minutes while Mr. Too Much Stuff on the Canvas chewed my ear off.

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.

Red Devil Front
Red Demon

Blue Devil Front
Blue Demon

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.

Black DOB
Mr. Dob with a bunch of stuff!

DOB with Murakami Detail

See how Murakami puts himself in the art. So cute.

DOB with Creature Detail

And also, this little guy.

Murakami in the Crowd

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!

Murakami With Fan

He is always smiling and has the best hats!

Here’s some more stuff we liked!

Gold Statue Front

Gold Statue Back

Impressive.

Round Floral on Black

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.

Round Floral on Silver

Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination, 2014
Invoking the Vitality of a Universe Beyond Imagination (Statue of the Artist), 2014

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.

Murakami Exhibit Signage

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