In this modern Covid life that we live, do you find that your hands are perpetually red and chapped from constant washing, as well as endlessly wiping down counters and household surfaces with disinfectant wipes that can dry your skin even further? Not to mention, but you can see I am about to, the fact that for many months wipes were difficult, if not impossible, to even find on the shelves. I think we can all relate to the intimate new relationship that we have with disinfectant wipes; a product that, prior to March of 2020, I will confess to having purchased maybe once or twice in my entire life. Just being serious.
From Jasper Johns Dot Org:
Jasper Johns created Green Target in 1955. The painting was included in a group show at the Jewish Museum. There the painting caught the attention of Leo Castelli, an art collector and self-described playboy who decided, at the age of 51, to open a gallery in New York.
Castelli had begun by selling paintings from his own collection; he also approached several young artists whose work interested him. In March 1957, after the Jewish Museum show, Castelli went to Pearl Street to invite Robert Rauschenberg to show at his gallery. In passing, Castelli mentioned that he had seen a painting by someone with the peculiar name of Jasper Johns, and that he would like to meet the artist. “Well, that’s very easy,” Rauschenberg said, “he’s downstairs.”
“I walked into the studio,” Castelli recalled, “and there was this attractive, very shy young man, and all these paintings. It was astonishing, a complete body of work. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
For Johns, who did not want to be associated with any particular group of painters, Castelli’s gallery was ideal, since it was new and had no specific identity. Castelli showed Johns’ Flag (1955) in a group show at his gallery later in 1957, and in 1958 he gave Johns his first one-man show. Here Johns displayed the result of more than three years of sustained effort: his flags, his targets, his numbers and alphabets. Johns became “an overnight sensation,” and was immediately plunged into a critical controversy that continued for several years.
To understand the controversy, one must recall the attitude of the New York art world in the middle 1950s. Abstract Expressionism – that movement which took as its fundamental tenet the necessity of communicating subjective content through an abstract art – reigned supreme in the city. The importance of Abstract Expressionism was confirmed by the fact that, for the first time in history, an indigenous American art movement had gained international significance.
The New York art world cherished Abstract Expressionism; it was almost impossible to conceive of anything else, to imagine any other premise for painting. As Rauschenberg said of that time, a young painter had “to start every day moving out from Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, which is sort of a long way to have to start from.” The burden was very heavy.
At the same time, the second generation of Abstract Expressionist painters were often perceived to have “slavishly imitated” their predecessors. The early shock and excitement of the movement were gone. “As the art market was glutted with the works of de Kooning’s admirers, the real achievements of de Kooning and his generation were becoming obscured.” There was a sense of waiting for something fresh and new, and newly provocative.
Johns provided the provocation. His assured and finely worked paintings of flags and targets offered an alternative to Abstract Expressionism, and reintroduced representation – the recognizable image – into painting.
Do you love the art of humorist /painter David Shrigley? I sure do. Confession: I have a little crush on him. He is amazing, and I worship his art. Anton Kern Gallery is currently hosting a show of new paintings by David Shrigley, the opening reception of which Geoffrey and I excitedly I attended on Thursday, April 16th. I recommend you go see this show while you can.
First, I want to show you what the gallery looked like with people in it, so you can see how the works are hung and get an idea of why all of my photos had to be cropped at weird angles. Because I am not 15 feet tall. In case you are not familiar with why David Shrigley completely rules, here is some background on his deal, which I cut and pasted from his Wikipedia entry.
David Shrigley is best known for his mordantly humorous cartoons released in softcover books or postcard packs. He finds humor in flat depictions of the inconsequential, the unavailing, and the bizarre, although he is far fonder of violent or otherwise disquieting subject matter.
His work has two of the characteristics often encountered in Outsider Art: an odd viewpoint and, in some of his work, a deliberately limited technique. His freehand line is often weak (which jars with his frequent use of a ruler), his forms are often very crude, and annotations in his drawings are poorly executed and frequently contain crossings-out.
In authentic outsider art, the artist has no choice but to produce work in his or her own way, even if that work is unconventional in content and inept in execution. In contrast, it is likely that Shrigley has chosen his style and range of subject matter for comic effect.
In addition to the 78 drawings on display, the exhibit includes two sculptures, one of which is this Subtractor; a calculator with limited function keys.
They sell this book at the gallery. Just thinking about opening its pages makes me squeal.
David was present at the opening party and he is very easy to spot because he is about 6’5″ at least and also very, very cute. I had brought with me this cartoon of his that I love, which says “No Speed Limit Anymore Go As Fast As You Want Like in Germany” and I asked him if he would sign it, so he signed it “in German.” I love him.
New Works By David Shrigley will be on Exhibit Through May 23rd, 2015 at Anton Kern Gallery, Located at 532 West 20th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Thanks to Cojo at Art Sucks for this story:
Michael Anderson, the 45-year-old legendary NYC collage artist and White Hot Magazine art world photographer who is noted for designing the graffiti sticker lobby at the Ace Hotel, and the Eco-Friendly Times Square billboard for Target was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan on Saturday after having fallen off a building, breaking his back.
UPDATE: Still hospitalized, Michael is in the early stages of his recovery process. He is lucid and has been able to get online and respond to concerned posts. He is positive about his injuries and has messaged me through FaceBook that he “will make a complete recovery.”
Michael Anderson’s friends have just setup an Indiegogo account in his name, Michael Anderson Recovery Project, to help out with his medical expenses (which most likely will be substantial). Any amount will help and all funds will go to Michael’s recovery, regardless of how much is raised. Get well, Michael!
Jesus God, can you believe this guy was only 32 when he died?! What a crying shame. If Keith had stuck around a few more decades he would have been celebrating a Birthday today, having been born on August 23rd, 1946! Party on, Keith! I’m glad I at least got to see you play drums before you took off!