Frieze is a welcome reminder that we don’t need to be afraid to cross our own bridges to experience the visual arts (think of all the low rent, large studios, and emerging art that is quietly ripening in Queens, the Bronx, and yet untapped depths of Brooklyn). Traveling across the East River to experience an international art fair may confound us, but Frieze encourages us to set sail.
The tent on Randall’s island was light, spacious and well thought out. Misty breeze and water crashing up against the rocks, it actually felt good to be there. The sheer scale of the fair was overwhelming, but there were many gems — Ryan McGinley, Gabriel Orozco, Jonas Wood, Bjarne Melgaard are just some highlights. Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Joan Mitchell (among many others) brought some solid female representation as well.
I was also into the Frame section, which was dedicated to emerging galleries. Frame offered collectors and visitors the opportunity to discover artists who may not have previously showcased their work on an international platform or exposed their work to such a wide collector circuit. The outdoor sculpture installation was also a great non-traditional touch, and further broadened the scope of the fair-goers experience. The public scale sculptures, dotting the east river waterfront, emphasized the uniqueness of the location, and offered a stimulating juxtaposition with the intimacy of the gallery booths within the main tent.
This post has been updated to include the time-lapse video:
I wish that after writing this post, I could encourage readers to head to Feature Inc. to witness Kylin O'Brien's ethereal creation, Amo Legomandala, but alas, the experience lasted for just three days and now lives on in photo and video documentation.
Drawing upon the tradition of Tibetan sand mandalas, Kylin created a mandala entirely of LEGOs on the floor of the 131 Allen Street gallery. The Tibetan Buddhist ritual of creating and subsequently destroying an ornate sand mandala after careful construction was playfully redone with children's construction pieces. Using a medicine mandala as inspiration, Kylin and her assistants (which included our fabulous intern, Jillian) mapped out the mandala over the course of several months, meticulously measuring and structuring the piece. Finally, the LEGO mandala was constructed on the gallery floor over a three-day period.
Kylin's mandala was unveiled at the opening reception on Friday, March 22nd, during which attendees carefully walked around the massive structure, maintaining several feet between themselves and the freely-lying blocks on the ground so as not to disturb the structure. (When a woman walked into the gallery with a dog in her arms, Jillian and I both had momentary heart palpitations as we imagined the dog streaking through the center of the piece...a recurring nightmare of Jillian's in the days leading up to the show!)
After a full-day viewing on Saturday, all were invited back on Sunday the 24th to transform the piece and assist in its disassembly - or reassembly, depending on how you view it. Viewers took an active part in changing the entire structure of the piece, experiencing what Feature Inc. called an "opportunity to become aware of our contribution to collaborative change."
Jillian commented that the finished, modified product was reminiscent of a "futuristic space station." The atmosphere during Sunday's reconstruction was quiet and calm as participants fell under the spell of the thousands of colored blocks.
The full process - from the build-out of the original piece to the ultimate deconstruction - was recorded with an overhead camera in the gallery; a time-lapse video will soon be released to document the experience.
In the meantime, here is an installation shot from the calm before the storm at Friday night's opening. Congratulations to Kylin on a beautifully whimsical and innovative installation.
Photograph by Morgan Jacobs
Founded in 2006 by David Kesting, Lincoln Capla, and John Leo, with roots deep within the independent Williamsburg, Brooklyn art scene, Fountain Art Fair has grown to represent sixty of the most avant garde, edgy, and experimental international galleries. Fountain was created in an attempt to leverage support for smaller independent galleries, collectives and artists who wish to gain access to a larger audience of collectors and critics. The fair’s alternative model and genuine dedication to the galleries and artists is inspirational and exciting. Artists and galleries are accessible and enthusiastic as they engage the global art market on their own terms.
This year, Fountain Art Fair was held in the location of the original 1913 Armory at the 69th Regiment Armory. Packed with art and featuring live music and performances, the lively event was bursting with artistic vision forging the way for contemporary art.
View some of the highlights below.
Boat by Dennis McNett at Republic Worldwide. Photo Courtesy of Paper Magazine.
Performance artist Mideo Cruz at Grace Exhibition Space. Photo Courtesy of Hi*Fructose
Vicki DaSilva. Photo Courtesy of Fountain Art Fair
Nina Sky performing at Fountain Art Fair. Photo by Kendra Heisler. Photo Courtesy of Fountain Art Fair
Performance artist and director Willard Morgan of Ideal Glass at Republic Worldwide. Photo Courtesy of Hi*Fructose
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s comical, vigorous, and tortured spirit reigns at the Gagosian Gallery. The artwork spans Basquiat’s brief but remarkable career, featuring over fifty works from public and private collections and producing an exhibition that simulates an emotional roller coaster.
Rousing highs are found in works such as “Eyes and Eggs,” made on a large white painter’s drop cloth with sneaker prints on it. Pictured is a black line-cook in a white cap with the name “Joe” written on his white shirt. Joe holds a frying pan containing a pair of red steaming, sunny-side up eggs whose yolks mirror his crazed goggle eyes.
There are dark plummeting lows found in works like “Riding with Death,” painted in 1988, Basquiat’s last year of life. Moments of fear and rage are experienced in “Untitled (Two Heads on Gold).” Painted in teal, gold, black and white on a canvas over 10 feet wide, this image depicts a double portrait of a reoccurring funny but scary figure of a skeletal black man with dreadlocks, hollow eyes, sneering teeth and lanky limbs. According to Ken Johnson of the New York Times, Basquiat was responding to “…the tragically absurd calamity of racism in America” (2013). The discrimination prevented him from becoming all that he wanted and is ultimately what drove him insane. Johnson states Basquiat worked rapidly with brushes, spray paint, markers, and other implements on found boards, stretched fabrics, wooden doors, and professionally stretched canvases, conjuring an artistic persona who mumbles and chortles to himself as he compulsively improvises his chart like compositions of cartoon images, glyphic signs and enigmatic word lists. Bringing viewers along for the ride, Gagosian pays perfect homage to Basquiat's brilliant madness.
"Eyes and Eggs" courtesy of Gagosian Gallery
"Riding with Death" courtesy of Gagosian Gallery
“Untitled (Two Heads on Gold)” courtesy of Gagosian Gallery
At RxArt had our 12th Anniversary PARTY this Monday and Milk Studio. The event honored artist Dan Colen for his ongoing work with RxArt and his upcoming permanent installation at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. Colen described the pieces he plans to install in the children’s ward, “It’s these drawings I’m doing with M&Ms, and these sculptures I’m making out of rocks that I paint to look like M&Ms, so I just thought the kids could make some fun relationship to it."
It was an incredible evening, which included fantastic art by Terry Richardson, Aurel Schmidt, Jose Parla and many others, a live auction and a surprise performance by Kilo Kush. Thank you to the friends, artists, and guests who came! See photos below:
Man of the hour, Dan Colen!
Olivia Kim, Lazaro Hernandez, Jen Brill
See below for more photos!Read More....
Halcyon Days, from the Greek myth of Alcyone, are the seven days in winter (either side of the shortest day of the year) when storms never occur. Halcyon Days recall an earlier time remembered as idyllic, a time when the winds were restrained and the waves were calmed in favor of peace. Bill Cosby times.
Jayson Musson’s sweater “paintings” at Salon 94 Bowery are made from mercerized cotton Coogi sweaters that are disassembled and stitched back together in abstract designs and then stretched across a canvas. To certain American consumers, sweaters by Coogi, an Australian clothing company, are immediately synonymous with popular culture icon Bill Cosby, who, as Dr. Huxtable on the Cosby Show, embodied the funnyman Jell-O pudding-eating, sandwich-birthing dad that everyone wished they had. And for twenty minutes each week (and during the re-run years, for twenty minutes each day), we did. A Cosby-esque sitcom allowed Americans to lose themselves in a world that introduced a small crisis, solved it, and wrapped it all up with an oversized bow in twenty minutes with just a few commercials.
Removed from the context of a human body, the sweaters function beautifully as painterly abstractions. In one, I saw an aerial view of a riverbank with shades of woven crimson and orange snaking through horizontal bands of green. Another deconstructed sweater painting conjured images of ribosomes and vacuoles seen in biology textbooks and videos. Another one made me think of a dandelion seedhead in summer -- swaying in the wind and releasing its tiny airborne seeds. Musson managed to disassemble a marketable product and put it back together in an organic and accessible way that honored the movement and rhythm of the originals.
Jayson Musson also works in photography, illustration, and video where he performs as alter ego Hennessey Youngman. Although the show has come down, you can still keep up with Musson and Youngman through his web videos and his newest project, a petition demanding a feature length film about the SNL character, Toonces the Driving Cat. I’ll keep the sweater paintings, but feel free to join the charge.
Impossible Conversations at the Met
“You know, Miuccia, I hate talking to designers,” says Elsa Schiaparelli in the first of a series of eight short videos in the Met’s exhibit, “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations.” The two Italian designers sit at opposite ends of a long dark rococo table separated by a glass chandelier and champagne flutes. Miuccia Prada’s black sweater, crisp white blouse and simple slicked back hair are in perfect opposition to Schiaparelli’s polished eccentric look -- red lipstick, a tailored black blazer on top of a white blouse whose impossibly big bow mimics the finger waves in her coif. When the two designers raise their glasses in salude, they are just out of each other’s reach, an appropriate recurring motif that represents the designers’ individual and overlapping strengths as well as the history that stretches between them.
The script for the videos, written by curator Andrew Bolton, was culled from excerpts from Schiaparelli’s autobiography, Shocking Life, and a series of interviews conducted by Bolton with Prada. Prada comes across as poised, reflective, and private, and I often felt like we were engaged in a game of reluctant secret sharing, especially when she expressed her subtly feminist motivations in the ‘Hard Chic’ section that featured military inspired all black ensembles from both designers. “I tried to make the men more human and the women more powerful,” Prada says quietly. Schiaparelli (impersonated by Australian born Judy Davis) comes across as a parody of herself and her eccentricities are pushed on the audience relentlessly, but eventually the viewer is able to ignore the affected accent and gestures and appreciate the revolutionary nature of her work.
Visually, I did not find the layout of the show particularly different than walking through a boutique in half darkness that paired modern couture with haute vintage, and I kept feeling stupidly glum over not being able to try on the padded black brocade jacket with the cream colored French baroque style trim. But one of the most memorable chapters of the show, “Waist Up/Waist Down,” juxtaposes Prada’s skirts and shoes with Schiaparelli’s hats, jackets, and accessories. “Schiap” (as she called herself) designed clothes for the social needs of a café society, which relegated women to their seats in public and emphasized adorning the upper half of the body. Prada, on the other hand, is fascinated by what goes on below women’s waists: “Sex, giving birth, being attached to the Earth,” and calls it madness to have “all this mess” around one’s head and face. It is these little moments where the designers playfully quibble that allow the viewer to suspend disbelief and wonder about these two talented designers as Schiaparelli did, “If we had lived at the same time, would we be friends…or foes?” Prada says, “I think friends,” and I think so too.
Do check out the exhibition before it closes August 19th, and let us know what you think!
World-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama is bringing her spotted world to The Whitney Museum for her retrospective. Known for her use of patterns, polka dots, nets, and large-scale, immersive installations, Kusama works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film and performance. Born in Japan in 1929, she came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York Avant-Garde. The retrospective explores the full range of work throughout her career.
After seeing the exhibition, bring Kusama's spotted world home with you with the RxArt x Kusama puzzle! Available at the Whitney Museum Store and RxArt's online store.
Yayoi Kusama is showing at The Whitney from July 12th - September 30th.
Fireflies on the Water, a work in the Whitney’s collection, is being shown in conjunction with her retrospective.
Exciting update on the Louis Vuitton/ Yayoi Kusama collaboration! In conjunction with the launch of the capsule collection, seven pop-up shops will open around the country to offer a luxe shopping experience with a Kusama flare.
The first pop-up shop will open in New York on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, and London will soon follow suit.
The pop-up stores will remain open for one to two months and offer a range of spotted trench coats, handbags, and other accessories created by Kusama for Louis Vuitton. The European branches will offer exclusive tentacle-festooned handbags two months ahead of their scheduled October launch date.
On July 10, two days before a retrospective of Kusama's work opens at New York's Whitney Museum, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton will deliver a collection inspired by the artist's iconic dot print to 461 stores worldwide.
Kusama's signature dots will appear on everything from jewelry to handbags to apparel. A second capsule, which will feature Louis Vuitton's signature monogrammed leather goods, will feature Kusama's "nerves" pattern and will be unveiled in October.
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