Hey guess what, Bitches? Flying Tiger has reopened their Manhattan-based stores and I could not be more excited to shop there once again! I happened to be uptown yesterday near 74th Street and Third Avenue and stopped into the store at that location hoping to find a Pink Thing or two for blog. Mission: accomplished!
Kids love to play with Slime, and Flying Tiger is currently selling Pink Slime in a Pink Pig-shaped container. Squeal.
I believe the “cloud” graphic on the packaging is meant to indicate that the slime is soft to the touch, and not that it farts or emits gas of any kind when poked with a finger. I neglected to note the price of this fun pink thing, but my guess would be that it sells for around $3.00.
Whether you’re seeing his colorful works out on the street, or in the gallery, Kenny Scharf has one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the contemporary art world. Deitch Projects downtown is currently hosting Inner and Outer Space, an ambitious exhibit of Sharf’s newest works which features several distinct collections that provide evidence of Scharf’s enthusiasm for expanding his oeuvre, while staying true to the playful characteristics of his work that his fans love the most.
You can get a hint of what you’re in for before you even stop inside the gallery
The faces are melting in Kenny Scharf’s new paintings. “Things are disintegrating,” says the artist. “I am reacting to our increasingly out-of-control situation.” Scharf’s work continues to be infused by his inexhaustible optimism and his sense of fun, but there has always been an engagement with profound issues beneath the façade. Ecology, the environment, and capitalist excess have long been central themes.
Kenny Scharf’s work has always combined and contrasted the pop culture he absorbed growing up in Los Angeles with the important innovations in modern and contemporary art. His earlier work fused Dali and Disney. More recently, he has been in dialogue with Pollock and Abstract Expressionism. In the new work, he merges his distinct style with color field and stain painting. “I like to connect with every movement in 20th-century art,” Scharf explains. “I make new hybrids, taking it all in and putting it in a blender.”
Scharf is very enthusiastic about his new “sloppy style” that characterizes the major paintings in the exhibition. Rows of faces disintegrate into colorful drips reminiscent of both New York School painting and the serial imagery of minimal art. In these new works, Scharf is striving to create clear and simple forms that resonate with meaning. He feels liberated and excited, adding that “it is so much fun.”
Like his artistic colleagues from his early years in New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Scharf studied cartoons as a way to intensify figurative expression. He makes use of cartoon faces to express emotion with abstract power.
In the past, Kenny found many of the items integrated into his art in the garbage,and even today he still stops his car when he finds plastic toys and TV sets thrown away on the street. These discarded plastic objects have inspired the two other bodies of work featured in the show, one being TV Bax.
The TV Bax are painted on the plastic backs of discarded television sets. Like the toys, the TV backs have a disconcerting anthropomorphic quality. Scharf wonders if their anonymous designers created these plastic covers, which are different for every model, to resemble a face.
TV Bax, Detail
Scharf finds these thrown-away toys and TV backs to be poignant objects, resonant with emotion. “Each of these objects carries a story,” Scharf explains. He thinks about how people might have struggled and sacrificed to buy these toys and TVs, and about the intense relationship that children and families have with them. Scharf resurrects the lives of these inanimate objects in his work. He also notes that garbage keeps changing with technology. The backs of TV sets used to have large protruding “noses.” Now they are flatter and more similar to a canvas.
Another new collection, his Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, inspired by the Nouveau Realistes, are constructed from his stock of recycled plastic toys. These wall sculptures, which mix assorted toy parts with Scharf’s whimsical animated faces, are my favorite items in the exhibit.
Assemblage Vivant Tableaux Plastiques, Detail
Since his childhood, Scharf has been fascinated by outer space. Space travel and the portrayal of infinite space have long been central themes. In his life and in his work, he tries to eliminate boundaries and borders. As he pursues his dialogue with the great painters of the New York School, he is increasingly preoccupied with the inner space of painting. His exploration of inner space creates a dynamic tension with his passion for outer space. With his characteristic exuberance and his moral voice, Scharf reformulates his unique combination of Pollock and Pop to create a vibrant new body of work.
Kenny Scharf’s Inner and Outer Space will be on Exhibit Through December 22nd, 2017 at Deitch Projects, Located at 18 Wooster Street (Just North of Canal) in NYC.
Kenny Scharf and Friend at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception.
A Paracosm is a detailed imaginary world created inside one’s mind. Such a fantasy world may involve humans, animals and things that exist in reality, or it may also contain entities that are entirely imaginary, alien and otherworldly. Commonly having its own geography, history and languages, the experience of such a parascosm is often developed during childhood and continues over a long period of time: months or even years.
Paracosms are also made reference to as types of childhood creativity and problem-solving. Some believe that paracosm play indicates high intelligence. In his installation entitled Midnight Paracosm, Tennessee-based artist Matthew Dutton is creating his own world of creative play. And if you are already familiar with Dutton’s delightfully disturbing found object sculptures, you will understand that this tableau represents exactly what is going on in his mind most of the time.
Taxidermy Deer with Santa Mask and Wig/Beard
My Absolute Favorite: Hula Baby in a Birdcage with Blonde Fall
If you’re the parent of small children and are looking for a fresh and fun Christmas film to watch with them, you might want to check out HOLY NIGHT! A family-friendly adventure film appropriate for children of all ages, HOLY NIGHT! takes place on Christmas Eve. Two toy worlds live together in the living room of a house. Two traditions confronted. On one side, the Christmas tree, home of Santa Claus and his elves. On the other, the Nativity Scene with the Three Wise Men and the rest of its inhabitants.
When everyone is ready to celebrate a quiet Christmas the alarm goes off: somebody has stolen Santa’s sleigh and Baby Jesus has been kidnapped! Follow our heroes, Sam and Sarah, in an incredible adventure to save the most magical night of the year! Sounds like fun, right?
For his mixed media assemblage, Koh-i-Noor (2005) Hew Locke (Scottish, born 1959) arranged thousands of cheap plastic toys and trinkets — disposable products of the new global economy — into one edition of a series of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II (entitled the House of Windsor Series), one of which was among the most extraordinary works in the Museum’s exhibition, Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art (2007). Locke, born in Scotland but raised in Guyana, created these works in response to ethnic tensions within contemporary British society, often growing out of Great Britain’s colonial history, with that history now brought home to Britain.
The title of this Silver work from the portrait series refers to the Koh-i-Noor (“Mountain of Light”) diamond, once the largest in the world. Mined several thousand years ago, this uncut Indian treasure passed through the hands of many regional rulers and was likely cut during the seventeenth century, before ultimately being seized by Britain in 1849 in the name of Queen Victoria. The series also includes a Golden sculpture entitled El Dorado, and a Black edition entitled Black Queen.
Color Bow By Melodie Provenzano (All Photos By Gail)
I stumbled on the listing for Melodie Provenzano’s Stealth Peace exhibit (on now at Nancy Margolis Gallery) when I was looking for cool shows to add to last week’s art crawl, and was immediately attracted to her painting of the above image: a giant colorful bow. I love hyper-realism and the more I looked at the online preview, the more I knew this would be a must-see exhibit. I was not mistaken.
Stealth Peace, Provenzano’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, features a new series of highly detailed paintings of single objects and still lifes, all based on objects — toys, glassware, figurines, bows — the artist has collected herself. It is really quite charming and compelling, and I would recommend it especially for fans of Jeff Koons’ Banality series.
Melodie offers that her collections, “is a well of inspiration that I rely upon when composing the still lifes that I draw and paint from direct observation. The artworks are like a catalog of dreams with layers of meaning open to interpretation.”
She continues, “One may find impressions, reflections and sensations as various as the objects in them. The meanings are revealed through visual metaphors of the experiences that we share as human beings, dependent as much upon where the viewer is coming from as where I have been.”
Provenzano works on one painting at a time, making it her world until it’s completion, and her attention to detail in each work is just insane.
She even paints the shadows!
Paintings such as Heaven and Hell have a specific theme in contrast to Champbaby! (above), a straightforward, playful spin on the common found object – a full champagne glass spilling out miniature toy baby figurines.
In addition to her still life compositions, Provenzano paints singular objects, notably, the two largest paintings in the exhibition, Color Bow and Reign Bow, each 54” x 72”. Enlarged way beyond their normal size these otherwise mundane objects are imbued with a gorgeous powerful presence.
Nostalgia, memory, loss, a bygone era, these are the underlying themes of Provenzano‘s work. Bringing together her passion for collecting found objects, which eventually become the subject of her paintings, we see this melding into her art practice alongside a thoughtful searching with-in.
Melodie Provenzano’s Stealth Peace will be on Exhibit Through June 27th, 2015 at Nancy Margolis Gallery, Located at 523 W 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
A Souvenir Ash Tray from Washington DC is Part of Claes Oldenburg’s Mouse Museum (All Photos By Gail)
Claes Oldenburg, the legendary pop sculptor, has long been a collector of objects and images. His studio shelves contain an immense variety of items that, since 1972, he has gathered during his daily travels, alongside experiments and prototypes for his sculptures. Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing — currently on exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art — evolved from the artist’s commitment to this practice of collection, storage and display.
Ray Gun Wing (Top) and Mouse Museum
Located in the MOMA’s center atrium area, the Mouse Museum is the structure in the above photo that is shaped like a Geometric Mouse (a recurring motif in Oldenburg’s drawings, prints and sculptures). The Ray Gun Wing, which was created in 1977, is shaped like a gun. I had a peek inside each of these tiny museums when I was at MOMA the other day, which was a treat.
The Ray Gun Wing, as you might’ve guessed, is filled with cases displaying various types of toy guns and pistols and various every day objects — from soda can tabs to stones — shaped like guns and pistols. When I first walked into this wing, and saw all the different “prototypes” of toy guns, BB guns, ray guns, Nerf guns from the different eras – I instantly thought that my kid needs that nerf review, and snapped a few pictures for him on my phone. The Mouse Museum is filled with little fantasy trinkets, toys, candles and small prototype models for some of Oldenburg’s sculptures. I didn’t take any pictures inside of the Ray Gun Wing, because you weren’t really supposed to take any photos, but I took quite a few inside the Mouse Museum, because, why not? I had just been to the Punk exhibit over at the Met and I was feeling a little rebellious. Here are a few snaps of some of the cool stuff I saw inside a tiny room shaped like a mouse head.
Baked Potato Salt & Pepper Shakers
Silver Spoon and Wax Lips
Plastic Ham, Fire Hydrant
Miniature Bathroom Fixtures and Octopus
3D Cherry Pie
Prototypes for Stuffed Cake Slices, Small Purse
Miniature Play Food
Small Chair with Woven Seat, Carrot-shaped Dish
Miniature Plastic Ice Cream Bars
The Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing by Claes Oldenburg will be on Display Through August 5th, 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art, Located at 11 West 53rd Street in NYC.
You can look at the above cartoon in one of two ways: either this is the band Kiss dressed / made up as a bunch of Hello Kitties, or it’s Hello Kitty as the band Kiss. Either way, the crossover appeal is fairly transparent , as both Kiss and Hello Kitty have merchandised every item imaginable from T-Shirts and Toys to Coffins and Vibrators. Let the battle for the title “Kings of Corporate Whoring” begin!