Found rusty bust: robot head?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Finding visual references, Found art, Photo of the day, Sculpture

I was riding my bike up Ridgewood Avenue in Glen Ridge (NJ) and noticed something odd on the ground as I rode by quickly. Depending on the day, it might be a 50-50 chance that I’ll stop and go back to take a second look at whatever it was that caught my eye while passing by. Since I had my phone/camera with me, this was one of those days that I decided to stop, go back 10 feet, and take a look.

My initial view of this chunk of rusty metal is seen below left; glancing at it here, it looks like the bottom part of a bed frame – would you call it the bed “feet,” or bed “legs?” It looks like it was so rusty that it just snapped off of the bed frame.

Well, I guess that’s the logical way to see this thing, but to be honest, when I first looked at it, I wasn’t thinking about beds at all. To me, it looked like a little man … a rusty “bust” – as in “a sculpture of a person’s head, shoulders, and chest.” So I picked “him” up off the street and put him on the curb, as you can see below right. Does it look a little more like a robot head or bust now that you see him upright? I think so – it’s like he has red hair, big eyes, and a firm, round chin. If I wasn’t on my bike, I might have brought him home with me.

found piece of rusty metal that looks like a robot head with 2 eyes

Walking Flowers and other ceramics by Fernand Leger

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art History, Artist Spotlight, Ceramics

When I think of the artist Fernand Léger, his famous cubist-inspired paintings come to mind. We have two examples of his paintings here: below left, Men In The City from 1919 and below right, The Stove, from 1918.

two cubist inspired paintings by Fernand Leger

It came as a bit of a surprise today to see a funky little table sculpture, below left, and to find out it is a ceramic piece by Léger titled “The Flower That Walks.” A little research shows that he made larger versions of this piece as well, as you can see below right.

The Flower That Walks by Fernand Leger

This made me curious, what other types of ceramic works did Léger make beyond this one walking flower theme? Here’s another pair of Léger ceramics: below left, The Large Rooster, 1952; below right: The Children’s Garden, also from 1952. It’s quite interesting to see works in three dimensions by an artist for whom I’ve always seen in two dimensions, it’s a whole new way of seeing his visual style.

ceramic sculptures by Fernand Leger

My poster post leads to Poster House – a new museum

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art in Advertising, Art Museum exhibitions, Art News, New York art world in the 1980s

Sorry about that blog post title … I couldn’t resist a tongue twister. Here’s what it means: the other day, I posted something to the blog about seeing an art exhibition poster in Minneapolis which paid homage to the series of art posters for the 1985 exhibition of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s collaborative paintings.

Then today I received an e-mail invitation to “… Gone Tomorrow, a sneak peek pop-up exhibition in the future home of Poster House in NYC.” I’m not familiar with Poster House, but a closer read of the e-mail explains that it will be a museum just for posters, opening this coming winter (early 2018) at 119 West 23rd Street in New York City. They continue with this:

Poster House is dedicated to presenting the impact, culture, and design of posters, both as historical documents and methods of contemporary visual communication. Through temporary exhibitions, a growing permanent collection, educational events, and publications, Poster House explores the enormous impact of posters on society and culture, and how they continue to influence human behavior in the 21st Century. Born out of the consumerist fervor of the Industrial Revolution, posters have a long history as a bridge between the worlds of art and design.

I found it interesting and/or funny that they probably e-mailed me this invite due to my blog post with the Warhol/Basquiat poster, since they are including a 2nd version of that series in their own show, below left. I’ve included a pair of out-takes from the studio shoot with photographer Michael Halsband for these posters, below right.

Poster for Warhol and Basquiat collaborative paintings exhibition at the Palladium

Here’s a funny story that the photographer Halsband shares about the image above left, where it appears that Warhol is knocking out Basquiat; Halsband says:

This one was Jean’s idea. He said, “Wait I have an idea. Let me try something here.” He posed Andy and then he laid his head on the glove, and made that expression … I tilted the camera as far as it could and shot the picture … this makes it seem that Andy’s coming in with the uppercut.

At any rate, back to Poster House – learn more about this new museum on their website here. And if you’re in NYC and want to check out the pop-up show, it takes place on September 20th from 6-8pm.

Art viewing recap of Summer 2017

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Contemporary Art, Graffiti, Murals, Sculpture, Street Art, The Arts Adventurer

Here it is, Labor Day, and summer is in its last hours. My son is downstairs packing his backback for his first day of school – and not the least bit happy about it. But in looking back at the summer, it was certainly a good art-viewing summer, and I thought I’d recap a few of the highlights.

In early June I made the drive up to Beacon, New York, to visit Dia:Beacon for the first time in years. I paid a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in June as well. Below left is “Crouching Spider” by Louise Bourgeois at Dia:Beacon, and below right is a set of 1887 “Gold Coin” baseball cards from the Jefferson R. Burdick Baseball Card Collection on view at the Met.

Louise Bourgeois at Dia:Beacon and Baseball Cards at The Met

In mid-July I ventured up the Hudson Valley in New York to visit the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, which features amazing stained glass windows by Henri Matisse (round, top-center in picture below left) and Marc Chagall (all side windows in left picture, and main back window in picture below right). These pictures don’t do them justice; to see them up-close and in person allowed one to see the incredible mastery of both artists in creating these stained glass windows. The church doesn’t allow photography, so I was only able to pull these pictures from other websites in order to share a view with you.

stained glass windows by Matisse and Chagall at the Union Church in Pocantico Hills, NY

July also included a trip up to Rensselaer, NY, where I saw a huge collection of street art murals in Riverfront Park, one of which is shown below left. On the same trip I drove over to North Adams, Massachusetts, where I saw the incredible Nick Cave exhibition (below right) at MASS MoCA … along with a LOT of other great art throughout the museum – a must-see destination!

street art murals in Rensselaer and Nick Cave at MASS MoCA

The day after MASS MoCA, I drove over to Williamstown, MA, where I made a first visit to The Clark, a wonderful museum which included everything from a temporary show of Picasso prints, to Renaissance art, a big collection of Renoir paintings, a detail from a Frederic Remington painting (below left), and a canvas from a show of Helen Frankenthaler paintings (below right), and much more. I really enjoyed the visit there, and highly recommend it.

Frederic Remington and Helen Frankenthaler at The Clark in Williamstown

August included a trip out to the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, where I saw hundreds of amazing street art and graffiti murals, one of which is shown below left. I also visited my hometown of Minneapolis, which included a trip to the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden. One of the new pieces on view there was this massive blue rooster by Katharina Fritsch, among many other great works by other artists.

graffiti and street art in Bushwick; Katharina Fritsch rooster at Walker Art Center

As you can see, it was a full summer of arts adventures. I feel pretty fortunate to have seen so many great artworks in so many different locations. This handful of pictures is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what I saw – I hope to share much more with you soon from these various excursions.

Uncovering the mystery of the covered piano in South Orange

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art project, Music, Photo of the day

I was walking around South Orange (NJ) today, and noticed this covered grand piano on the street near the train station on South Orange Avenue. It seemed pretty odd that a grand piano would just be sitting there on the sidewalk, across the street from a gas station. (scroll down for more …)

covered piano as part of SOPAC's art piano project South Orange

A little bit of research allowed me to find out that it’s one of five outdoor pianos that were custom painted by artists as part of a program called “Playin’ Around South Orange,” which is sponsored by SOPAC and PNC Bank. From what I understand, this is an annual event at the end of each summer, where musicians and artists gather at each of the pianos to perform for the public simultaneously for one hour. This year’s kick-off event took place last weekend, and from what I can gather, continues on weekends through the month of September.

Since this piano is covered, I’m not sure what is under the wraps here, but I did find a picture of a previous year’s piano at this exact same location to give you an idea of what it might look like when it’s uncovered. This particular piano features an image of Ray Charles and was painted by artist Lawrence Ciarallo.

SOPAC piano project with Ray Charles image by Lawrence Ciarallo

Unexpected friends at the antiques store

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Antiques, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Kitsch Art, Photo of the day

I was walking around South Orange (NJ) today, when I happened upon this unexpected duo sitting in the front window of Ye Olde Curiositie Shoppe on South Orange Avenue. We’ve got a very bored-looking gargoyle seated next to a somewhat nervous or anxious rat. You can tell that it’s a rat because of its skinny tail; if it were a squirrel, it would have a fluffy tail … so it’s definitely a rat. And it’s definitely not something I’d want in my house, although the gargoyle isn’t bad. But they do make a funny pair.

gargoyle and rat at Ye Olde Curiositie Shoppe South Orange

GumShoe Art turning Warhol’s Soup Cans on their side

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight, Making an art history comparison, Photo of the day, Street Art

I saw this street art mural by “Gumshoe” in Bushwick, with a woman inside of a sideways Campbell’s Soup Can … if you look closely, there is indeed some gum stuck to the top shoe stretching down to the “sidewalk” of the image. The real artist behind the “Gumshoe” series is Angela China, a self-taught artist who grew up in Baltimore and eventually moved to NYC.

See more of Angela China’s work on her Instagram page, @gumshoeart.

Angela China GumShoe Art Campbells Soup Can Bushwick

Only 4 days until “Until” by Nick Cave closes at MASS MoCA

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Museum exhibitions, Artist Spotlight, Contemporary Art, Installation Art

If you want to see one of the more-interesting art shows of the year, and you’re anywhere in the vicinity of North Adams, Massachusetts, then try to get over to MASS MoCA to see the Nick Cave exhibition titled “Until,” which remains on view through September 4th.

I had the opportunity to see the show in late July, and was very glad to have made the road trip. While Cave may be best known for his “Sound Suits,” this show doesn’t include any of them. Cave fills MASS MoCA’s football field-sized space with thousands of found objects and millions of beads, and in the process, he created his largest installation to date. I’m planning on having more coverage of this show soon, but in the meantime, try to get there to see it in person! (here’s a list of directions on how to get there)

Nick Cave exhibition titled Until at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA

Installation art: entrance to the toy elephant home

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Found art, Installation Art, Photo of the day

When I was in Minneapolis a few days ago, I ventured over to the northeast part of town to explore the arts area over there. As I walked up to the entrance of the Northrup King Building, I noticed this little art installation piece (below left) under the railing leading up the front steps.

As you can see from the close-up detail, below right, someone has used some small elephant stickers and some pastel paint to create a little “entrance” to an imaginary “toy house,” complete with a door, window, and even the “welcome” mat.

There wasn’t any indication of who the artist is, or whether this was a permanent installation … if you have any information on this, please let us know by sharing in the comments section below.

installation art on the front steps of the Northrup King Building in NE Minneapolis

Current day homage to 1985 Warhol and Basquiat Boxing Poster

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art gallery exhibitions, Art History, Finding visual references, Making an art history comparison

On my recent trip to Minnesota, I took a few hours on Tuesday morning to wander around the arts district in NE Minneapolis. One of the buildings that I explored was the Northrup King Building, which is home to over 200 creative tenants, including art studios for over 190 artists, as well as spaces for small businesses and non-profits.

I noticed this poster, below left, for an exhibition featuring James Wrayge and Duane Ditty at the Rosalux Gallery. It’s a funny image, but I recognized it right away as an homage to the 1985 poster for an exhibition of paintings by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat (below right) as organized by Tony Shafrazi and Bruno Bischofberger. The original pictures of Warhol and Basquiat portrayed as boxers were from a photo shoot with Michael Halsband.

Rosalux Gallery James Wrayge Duane Ditty Warhol and Basquiat

As you can see, the main thing that was changed was simply Photoshopping the heads of Wrayge and Ditty on top of the original bodies – if you look closely, both Warhol and Basquiat’s torsos remain the same in the Rosalux image as they are in the original poster. It’s still a fun image, even if it is borrowing heavily from an iconic image.