Felix Gonzales-Torres (1957 – 1996) ever-generous artworks invite viewers to participate in them — by eating candy from a gleaming pile of sweets making up one of his works, for example, or removing a poster from an endlessly replaceable stack of paper. Yet despite their decisive ephemerality, these works are imbued with both personal and political undertones. While invoking the allegedly content-free vocabulary of minimalism, Gonzalez-Torres nonetheless subtly hints at possible meanings through parenthetical subtitles he assigned to each untitled work.
The luminous, blue-beaded curtain Untitled (Water) evokes images of an aquatic landscape but also dreams of travel and escape. The strings of faceted, blue plastic beads have as their source the humble curtains often found in bodegas, but when stretched across the expanse of the entrance-way, the shimmering strands resemble a waterfall. Installed in the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum, Untitled (Water), 1995, serves as a threshold, a place of passage, marking off the activity of the street from the theater of the exhibition.
I don’t remember how I first heard of NYCs Waterfall Mansion and Gallery, but I know it was a place that I discovered completely by accident. And I admit that I became distracted enough to have I forgotten about it for maybe a year before I got inspired a few weeks ago to look it up again on the interwebs and plan a visit.
Of course, when I saw that they are currently hosting an exhibit art by Korean digital artist Kim Joon and that the ranking hostingów will be hosting their site, I got extra excited, because his work is amazing, and I am a huge fan!
With Crashing, Kim continues his mastery of the 3D Studio Max software, which he uses to manipulate his fantastic, hyper-surreal images — composed of body parts and patterned skins, or “tattoos” — in new and exciting ways. His art is so unique and very beautiful.
These new pieces, which were created specifically for the Waterfall Mansion and Gallery space, focus on the theme of tension and balance between our current identity and who we wish to be. Kim uses tattoo-like images and artificial skin textures on computer generated bodies and creates a crash of identities.
Using tattoo as a form of expression, Kim reveals deeply imprinted desires, and the obsessions that are on his mind. In his early works, to demonstrate repression towards individuals under social convention, he created a discourse on the relationship of body and tattoo, which was a cultural taboo, and still legally restricted in Korea.
Kim began reproducing tattoos on digital flesh in the early aughts, using motifs such as clouds, dragons, and traditional symbols, as well as luxurious brand labels mapped on human body, causing a friction of shape, texture, and pattern.
In the series Blue Jean Blues, the body became more fragile by being made of ceramic. Recently, as seen in Somebody, which also exhibited at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Chelsea in 2014, and Forest, the bodies are fragmented and distorted. This hybrid form creates uncanny and uncomfortable balancing acts by crashing the real vs. fake, old vs new, who we want to be vs. who we are, self-definition vs. cultural expectations.
This video work, Pink Bubble, is part of the Crashingexhibit at Waterfall Mansion.
Kim Joon invites the viewer into the crashing of his own identities, to reflect upon their own tensions and conflicting forces of identity, and to reveal where true value in life is placed.
And let’s not forget to check out that waterfall!
Kim Joon’s Crashing will be on Exhibit Only Through Saturday, July 3oth, 2016, at Waterfall Mansion and Gallery, Located at 170 East 80th Street (Between Third and Lex) in NYC. The Gallery is only open to the public on Saturdays from Noon – 5 PM, so you just have one more day to see it. Visit This Link for more information.
During our most recent Art Safari to the vast and spectacular Met, we were thrilled by Fatal Attraction, an exhibit of photography from the New York–based artist Piotr Uklański (born Poland, 1968). This exhibition, the first to survey Uklański’s photography, locates his work with the camera at the center of his artistic practice. Reveling in moribund or marginal artistic languages from a position at once ironic and sincere, the artist simultaneously subverts and pays homage to defunct modes of expression.
Uklański’s underappreciated yet historically significant series The Joy of Photography (1997–2007) explores clichés of popular photography using the kitschy subjects and hackneyed effects of Eastman Kodak’s how-to manual for the serious amateur.
Swans, Intentionally Blurry
Whereas artists of the 1980s, such as Richard Prince, appropriated such images by rephotographing them to reveal their constructed nature, Uklańskiremade them, in a manner akin to slightly irreverent cover versions of songs that bring out hidden or repressed aspects of his source material.
In this way, the artist both acknowledges appropriation’s endgame — that there are no new pictures under the sun — while creating a space for the creation of new works.
As an example, here is a blurb from the exhibit that accompanies this photograph of a Waterfall.
“As a photographic subject, the waterfall is so ubiquitous that it is invisible – a natural form that has been subsumed into an image via millions of snapshot mementos, postcards, and artistic renderings. Instead of looking for the impossible – a “new” picture of a waterfall – Uklanski presents the viewer with a dutifully exact representation of the camera’s capabilities as prescribed by Eastman Kodak – until the 1980s, as powerful a shaper of how Americans saw the world as Disney or any presidency. In conflating the roles of the amateur, professional and fine artist, Uklanski was also commenting, ironically – from a European perspective – on how Americans can turn even leisure activities into forms of work and self-improvement.”
Tulips, Intentionally Blurry
Fatal Attraction: Photographs by Piotr Uklański, will be on Exhibit Through August 16th, 2015 in Gallery 851, 2nd Floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Located at 1000 Fifth Ave at 81st Street, New York, NY.
This past weekend, Geoffrey (aka Other G or “OG“) and I went downtown to Pearl River Mart to shop like maniacs. OG has been listening to me rave about Pearl River Mart since he was an egg, and this was his first visit to the wonderful Palace of Asian Delights where I would shop every day if I could. Of course, he fell head-over-heels in love with place right then and there. Because, let’s face it, Pearl River Mart is the shit.
We had so much fun I was inspired to create a Top Ten list in tribute to PRM’s greatness. Therefore, I bring you:
Top Ten Things I Love About Shopping at Pearl River Market:
1. PRM is the only place where I will buy incense, because theirs is the best, and it makes the Chickpad smell amazing.
2. For Christmas, a friend bought me a dish towel holder from Pearl River Mart that is shaped like a little kimono. I use it all the time.
3. On the way downstairs they have a waterfall. I wish this waterfall was in my house.
Buddhas Are Us
4. PRM provides one-stop shopping for all your Asian figurine needs.
5. Exotic scented votive candles that smell like rain and weird fruits.
6. It’s a great place to find cheap kitchen gadgets. I got my spring-loaded, fried food tongs there.
An Alternative to Greasy Sunblock
7. These Parasols keep the sun off me so I don’t fry.
8. Papier Mache Dragon Heads were a fun addition to the wedding reception of my friends Anina and Mark.
9. Walking practically all the way to Chinatown from 14th Street is a good excuse to stop at Gonzales y Gonzales for a margarita on the way back home from shopping at PRM.
10. Seriously, I do 90% of my gift shopping there and people just go insane over all the cool stuff they get from me. Thank You, Pearl River Mart for making me seem so much cooler than I am.