Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Meanwhile, back on the Metro Card front - a new Water Tower Series

Subway Card Water Tower No. 25
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card SOLD



 Subway Card Water Tower No. 26
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card SOLD




 Subway Card Water Tower No. 27
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card 



  Subway Card Water Tower No. 28
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card SOLD



 Subway Card Water Tower No. 29
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card 




Subway Card Water Tower No. 30
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card 

   Subway Card Water Tower No.31
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card SOLD


  Subway Card Water Tower No. 32
2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card 


2.5" x 3" oil on Metro Card 


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Why I Hate Jeff Koons But Am Secretly Glad that He Exists


The Whitney Museum of Art is moving downtown next spring, leaving its home of nearly 50 years on Madison Avenue. The Whitney closed out its residence with a retrospective of Jeff Koons. I'm not a fan but I headed over to see this blockbuster, nearly 150 pieces of Koons' work since the late 1970s. I still don't care for much of it but it was fun to look at such a huge array of work. I'll post a few photos from each gallery/series  and leave the commentary to myself -- unless I think a few words of clarification are in order.


First gallery, The "Pre-New" and "The New" -- 

Yes, these are vacuum cleaners.



Next, to the gallery full of "Inflatables."




Moving on, "Equilibrium"  --

                      

This basketball is not encased in lucite or acrylic -- it is floating in the middle of the tank.

             



Also included in "Equilibrium," some bronze sculptures.





Next, "Luxury and Degradation"  -- 



This is the "Jim Beam JB Turner Train." It's made of stainless steel and the cars are filled with bourbon. Apparently.



Let's move on to "Made In Heaven." This is a lithograph of Koons and his then-wife, Italian porn star Cicciolina.
They have since divorced and had a nasty custody battle over their son. 


So much for Heaven.

Much of this gallery was rather explicit and NSFW but this self-portrait sculpture was rather nice:

               

Moving from heaven to "Banality,"  which was the room that housed the infamous "Michael Jackson and Bubbles" sculpture at the top of this post. This was probably my least favorite series. 

Just sayin'.


This bear was about 7 feet tall, just to give you a sense of scale. 


People took turns standing up behind this sculpture to have their photo taken as they lined themselves up with the missing head. I did not.




This sculpture above, "String of Puppies," resulted in a lawsuit for Koons, filed by professional photographer Art Rogers who took this photo:


Koons had 4 identical versions of the sculpture produced and sold 3 of them for a total of $367,000.


According to Wikipedia: "Koons found the picture on a postcard and wanted to make a sculpture based on the photograph for an art show on the theme of banality of everyday items. After removing the copyright label from the postcard, he gave it to his assistants with instructions on how to model the sculpture. He asked that as much detail be copied as possible, through the puppies were to be made blue, their noses exaggerated, and flowers to be added to the hair of the man and woman…Rogers was awarded a large monetary settlement from Koons and Koons was also required to ship the fourth sculpture, remaining in the collection of Koons, to Rogers in Germany."

Let's move on to "Statuary." A roomful of stainless steel sculptures. Here's "Rabbit"  -- 

              

And another series in another gallery, similarly, "Popeye"  --      
              
                 
Note, this is not a plastic inflatable. It's a polychromed aluminum sculpture - METAL - which has been carefully molded and painted to simulate a soft inflatable beach toy. Impressive.

Here's a shot next to the guard to give you a sense of scale. Wonder what goes through the mind of a security guard who stands next to a metal lobster for hours on end?


Likewise with these two sculptures - the "inflatables" are made of polychromed aluminum. 




Moving on to the "Hulk" series -- 



Ok, that's enough of that.


On to "EasyFun-Ethereal". These paintings were perplexing. Here's a sample:




At first glance, this appears to be a collage of magazine clippings that has been enlarged and printed on paper. But it is described as "oil on canvas." WTF?



Koons has an army of studio assistants who help him create much of his work. I'm guessing that several assistants spent months painstakingly transferring the computer-generated collage onto the canvas in oil paint. 


Finally, "Celebration"  -- so of course we should start with "Cake."


Ok, so this is oil on canvas and it does look like that up close -- although almost reminiscent of a paint-by-number painting with all of the carefully delineated spaces of paint:



One of the Hanging Hearts (there are 4 others).




And here is the massive "Moon" (again, there are 4 others) which is about 10 feet in diameter.


This is "Cat On A Clothesline." Obviously. and is made out of plastic. 



Another oil on canvas  - Boy With Pony - which is about 9 feet by 12 feet:



One of the infamous "Balloon Dog" sculptures (again, 4 others exist):



And the pièce de résistance  - "Playdoh"  (one of a series of 5), cast of polychromed
aluminum but gives the appearance of that deliciously squishy clay:


Looks like playdoh. Is actually aluminum. That's impressive.



But is this your kind of art? Ok, even if it is -- is it art that you want to look at every day? I enjoyed this walk through but if I have the luxury of hanging a piece of art on my wall, something that I would look at every day, it's not my cup of tea……..is it yours?









Monday, August 04, 2014

Not So Subtle


I was thrilled to experience Kara Walker's latest art installation, "A Subtlety" at the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn earlier this summer. The installation ended on July 6, 2014; if you weren't able to see it in person, take a look at the photos I've taken. Ms. Walker's own statement about the installation:

 Kara Walker - A Subtlety

or the Marvelous Sugar Baby
an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant


(Note: Medieval sugar sculptures were known as "subtleties.")

My daughter and I took the L train to Brooklyn and walked to the site; the line was around the block but moved fairly quickly. Admission was free.







We had to sign a waiver……



We were warned not to touch the art but were encouraged to take photos or videos and share on social networks. (Please click on my photos to see the full image).


A great, soaring industrial space:



Small piles of brown sugar still seen in the nooks and crannies of the space:


Pools of molasses on the floor --


Usually at the feet of any one of several small sculptures of young children, crafted of resin and molasses. 





Most held sculpted fruit baskets filled with un-refined sugar.



All were gradually deteriorating and melting during the course of the installation.





And at the far northern end of the vast space, there she was - 35 feet high and covered in 4 tons of sugar:



She was magnificent.

And voluptuous:



 From every angle:







Everyone was posing for pics with the Subtlety, the Mammy Sphinx:



And I did, too!



Her inspiration. Read more here.