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.
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
Last Friday, RxArt had the exciting mission of installing works by Garrett Phelan, Jason Middlebrook, Laura Owens, Paul Henry Ramirez, Mark Dion, Fabien Verschaere, Chris Martin, Fatimah Tuggar, Tony Feher, G. Jesse Sadia, Jr., and Carlo Ferraris at New York's Metropolitan Hospital.
While we were installing the works, we also met a lovely woman named Ruth Hutson who shared her feelings on the new additions to the walls:
"My name is Ruth Hutson and I have been a patient at Metropolitan Virology Clinic for 23 years. I must say that today was the first day I enjoyed the atmosphere because a beautiful picture by Jason Middlebrook entitled Travelling Seeds inspired me. Metropolitan Virology waiting area is mute and grey, however, Middlebrook's painting brought life, color, and inspiration to an otherwise dark and depressed area. Thank God for art!"
We were deeply moved to know that with the art we also brought inspiration to the patients and staff. The artwork stimulated many conversations throughout the clinic.
Below are some photographs and some of the conversations that they inspired.
Patients and staff members were thrilled to see the vibrant paintings by Paul Henry Ramirez go up. Many agreed that Ramirez’s paintings are going to brighten their days.
Patients and staff in the waiting room chuckled when they saw The Untitled photograph by Carlo Ferraris. They were delighted to discover that the men’s shoes had been rearranged.
Garrett Phelan’s drawings inspired conversations about caretaking. The staff expressed that these drawings evoked positive feelings. One doctor stated it was nice to have art on the walls that mirrored the nurturing work done in the clinic.
The installation was a success at Metropolitan Hospital! We enjoyed spending the day with the staff and the patients, receiving feedback, and witnessing the reactions to the artworks. We hope the artwork continues to provide a break from the harsh reality that many face during their visits to the clinic.
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....
Our friends at Pickwick & Weller have generously offered to give a free t-shirt to anyone who purchases a ticket to the RxArt PARTY between now and November 9th!
Check out their line at pickwickweller.com - RxArt loves their great designs, amazing quality and perfect fit, and we are thrilled to have their support!
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.
“Maybe she’s all people brought together in one human…”
These words from a dazed Liverpuddlian boy sizing up the central figure of Picasso’s Weeping Woman, which is situated just behind the camera and out of the frame in Rineke Dijkstra’s twelve minute, continuously looping 3 channel HD video, The Weeping Woman, 2009. The student (one of nine in the video), whose consistently furrowed eyebrows and quivering mouth indicate his concern with what he is seeing, gets at the universality of the Dutch artist’s subjects and thus the empathy they elicit from the viewer. Dijkstra (the beginning of her name is pronounced like ‘dichotomy’) focuses on young people whose expressions and postures vacillate between ostentatious playfulness and extreme self-consciousness with regard to their changing bodies and the maturation of their world. The portraits recall 17th century Dutch painting in their scale and expertly printed even tone, but the subjects are relatable. They make us remember when we were awkward – and how we still are.
Make no mistake, though – while some of the work is quite serious (think blood-spattered Spanish bullfighters and a nude mother clutching her infant hours after birth), there are moments of pure joy. The video mentioned above is one of these. I stayed for two loops of the twelve-minute discussion about Picasso’s painting among these children, who come up with some startlingly perceptive observations. One boy says, “I think she is quite lovely and afraid.” Another says, “Maybe Picasso just wanted to do a colorful picture."
If you haven't seen this exhibit, check it out. It runs through October 8th at the Guggenheim, and I would highly recommend attending the Curator's Eye Tour with Jennifer Blessing, Guggenheim's senior curator of photography, on Friday, August 24 at 2pm. It's free with the cost of admission and well worth the time to learn about Dijkstra's connections to her subjects and the dialogue she creates between the images with the layout of her show. Or just enjoy the pictures.
Best use of a lunch hour? Window shopping, of course! I headed over to check out the Yayoi Kusama products at the Louis Vuitton store in SoHo today--so much fun!
Kusama's iconic dots pattern is featured prominently in all of the products, which range from bracelets and bangles to shoes, dresses, bags, and even a collar! The store employees couldn't have been nicer, as they let me try everything on and even let me take pictures, which is usually forbidden.
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.
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