Tuesday, September 2, 2014

All Sorts of People

What defines an artist?


from Grolier's The Book of Knowledge, published in Canada in the early 20th century:

"In the autumn some people can call up clearly in their mind's eye the vision of what a certain landscape looked like in the spring. It is natural for them to notice these things, and to make these comparisons or associations. When they are talking to people, they do not attend very particularly to the tones of the voice, and they are perhaps not particularly interested in what is being said, but they are watching and remembering and comparing what other people never notice at all, even in the faces of people that they love - the movement of the eyelids, the little tricks of the lips, the poise and movement of the head, and so on.

These people are artists, drawers, painters, sculptors, architects, and decorators. It is unfortunately true that the artistic people usually despise the scientific people because they care so little for beauty, and often make such ugly things; and the scientific people, in their turn, despise the artistic people for caring so much about the mere surface of things, and being so little interested in what lies behind them.

But when men grow wiser they will learn how foolish all this is, and that both these kinds of people are necessary, for it takes all sorts of people to make a world."

Hmmmm...what defines an artist to you? Discuss...

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Rewind: A new series, with periodic reposting of an edited version of a previous post.  This was originally posted in 2010.

Friday, August 29, 2014

NY, NY: V

Week three of my travels in Australia and I thought that while I am away from my home base in NYC...I would bring some of NYC back into my world. All this week I will be reposting images of art exhibitions that I have seen in New York over the years. There have been many, so this represents just a few of my favorites...

This Ain't Trash...It's Art

In 2009, I saw an exhibit at Sikkema, Jenkins & Co. in NYC showcasing the art of Mark Bradford, an American artist who had just won a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. He uses mostly material that he finds on the streets of LA to create highly textured, abstract works. His process is about adding layers and tearing away to create what look like to me to be urban landscapes. Here are some examples, with close-up, detail shots included.








Take 1 minute and 34 seconds out of your day to view this video about Mark. I guarantee that many of his statements here will resonate deeply. After all, "This Ain't Trash...It's Art."


Thursday, August 28, 2014

NY, NY: IV

Week three of my travels in Australia and I thought that while I am away from my home base in NYC...I would bring some of NYC back into my world. All this week I will be reposting images of art exhibitions that I have seen in New York over the years. There have been many, so this represents just a few of my favorites...

New York Couples

One of my "secret" haunts in NYC is Sotheby's, the auction house. They hold open exhibitions in advance of every auction and, unlike many galleries and museums, they almost always allow photography. Much of the artwork on display is coming from private collections and will end up in private hands. As such, the exhibitions are a rare opportunity to view art created by master artists that may never again be on public view.

In 2011, Sotheby's was exhibiting the highlights of an upcoming London auction of Impressionist and Modern Art as well as a series of pieces from Looking Closely: A Private Collection. The viewing was like being in my own private museum. I have included auction estimates and what struck me when I went back to the original posting was just how far prices have risen since 2011.

So join me and a few very special "New York Couples" in a visit to Sotheby's...

First, I would like to introduce you to a couple of Picassos. Who at first glance could imagine that the following two paintings were made by the same artist?

Portrait D'Olga - 1923 - Estimate $2,020,000-$2,790,000

La Lecture - 1932 - Estimate $18,570,000-$27,860,000


Meet Annette and Diego, a pair of paintings from Alberto Giacometti.

Annette - 1961 - Estimate $3,170,00-$4,750,00

Diego - 1958 - Estimate $4,650,000-$7,740,000


We have a very New York couple in Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud.

Francis Bacon - Three Studies for Portrait of Lucien Freud - 1964 - Estimate $11,090,000-$14,250,000

Lucien Freud - Self Portrait - 1952 - 5" x 3 1/4" - Estimate $950,000-$1,270,000


This Dubuffett was flying solo but, with a face like this, will no doubt be part of a couple soon.

Jean Dubuffett - Le Barbouille - 1954 - Estimate $950,000-$1,270,000


My favorite couple by far was a pair of rombos or diamonds.

Antoni Tapies - Negro con Dos Rombos - 1963 - Estimate $475,000-$635,000

One of my favorite artists, Antoni Tapies created abstract work that speaks to me in terms of his choice of color palette, his use of symbols and found objects, and the textural quality of his surfaces. The spectacular textures he achieves are usually lost in photos but there are some detail shots below that will give you a better idea. Texture junkies like me can click each image to enlarge.





Wednesday, August 27, 2014

NY, NY: III

Week three of my travels in Australia and I thought that while I am away from my home base in NYC...I would bring some of NYC back into my world. All this week I will be reposting images of art exhibitions that I have seen in New York over the years. There have been many, so this represents just a few of my favorites...

Walls, Diaries and Paintings


As many of you know, I have a love affair with graffiti. I saw an exhibition in NYC in 2011 that really spoke to me and took the art of graffiti to a new level. Walls, Diaries, and Paintings at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, showed the work of Miami-born, Brooklyn-based artist Jose Parla. Parla created 15 new, mixed-media works that documented urban life in such diverse cities as New York, Istanbul, Havana, and Tokyo.

Using a combination of free-form, calligraphic markings and urban graffiti, Parla has recreated the sense of excitement, danger, and vibrancy inherent in city living. He has managed to capture both a sense of history and a feeling of modern edge at the same time.  

I always love when galleries are transformed and for this exhibition, the main hallway was used for a site specific installation that perfectly ushered you into the main room.


The pay phone was the perfect, authentic touch.


He captured the essence of so many international cities and many of his pieces feel as though they could have been torn off the walls of a building.



Others pieces are more abstract in nature and make use of swirling and curling calligraphic markings.



The dimensionality and layers of city life are captured in wonderful, highly textured detail.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

NY, NY: II

Week three of my travels in Australia and I thought that while I am away from my home base in NYC...I would bring some of NYC back into my world. All this week I will be reposting images of art exhibitions that I have seen in New York over the years. There have been many, so this represents just a few of my favorites...

The Power of Art


We all have the great opportunity to see endless amounts of art 24/7 online. I am tremendously lucky to also be able to see a wealth of art in person, in the museums, galleries, and auction houses in NYC. I never take this for granted.

But in truth, I am often underwhelmed. I see many works that do not move me. But every so often, an artist, an exhibit, or a single artwork knocks me over and reminds me of the true power of art. And this happened when I visited Anselm Kiefer's exhibition 'Next Year in Jerusalem' at the Gagosian Gallery in a 2010 exhibition.

Like a cabinet of curiosities, this show was literally filled floor to ceiling with fascinating, emotionally powerful, and jaw dropping objects. The exhibit knocked me over like a hurricane. This is not 'pretty' art. But it does what art does best: it made me think, it made me feel, it made me remember, and it made me once again love the power of art.












Monday, August 25, 2014

NY, NY: I

Week three of my travels in Australia and I thought that while I am away from my home base in NYC...I would bring some of NYC back into my world. All this week I will be reposting images of art exhibitions that I have seen in New York over the years. There have been many, so this represents just a few of my favorites...

Waste Not, Want Not


Back in 2009, there was an incredibly fascinating and rich exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art called Waste Not. In his first solo museum show in the United States, Beijing artist Song Dong created an installation piece consisting of the entire contents of his mother's home. Every item, most being utilitarian household objects, becomes meaningful given the context of the Chinese concept of wu jin qi yong, which translates to waste not.


As stated in the accompanying artist book "Not long ago, because of the shortage of goods, the anxiety instigated by political instability, and the traditional virtue of frugality, people saved everything for future usage, including junk and rubbish. Bits of fabric left from making clothes or dust-covered bottles and jars, brick and timber from demolished houses or yellowed magazines and posters from a bygone era --- these objects were gathered piecemeal with insistence and determination. Day after day, year after year, they gradually formed a particular kind of family property, filling the limited space of a household and setting the physical surrounding for a family's day-to-day activities"


The exhibit is set up so you are able to walk through the contents of his mother's home and view close-up the objects that represent a life.