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Snow ball fight painting by Maximilian Toth

March 11th, 2014

It’s been a tough winter in NJ, so today’s 60 degrees made for a nice break. But in honor of the weather forecast of more snow and ice tomorrow night, I present to you Maximilian Toth’s “White Wash” from 2012. A nice snowball fight to get back in the mood for more winter … (seen at Fredericks & Freiser at the Armory Show):

White Wash, by artist Maximilian Toth at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery

 

Eyeing a coincidence

March 11th, 2014

Last week, as I was walking from the subway over to the piers in order to attend the Armory Show, I saw this big eye graffiti painted on a high wall across the street. It would seem a bit of an odd coincidence, then, that one of the first art works I saw after entering the show was this piece (below the eye graffiti) by Ashley Bickerton, titled “Eyeball Painting 4,” from 2013. Bickerton’s piece is approximately 50 x 60 inches and includes oil paint, fiberglass, resin, archival digital print on wood and canvas with mother of pearl and bamboo. If you’re not familiar with Bickerton, you can read more about him here, and an interesting side note is that he’s kind of like a modern day Gauguin, in that he left the mainstream art world (Bickerton in New York, Gauguin in Paris) and now lives and works far away from the art world (Bickerton in Bali, Gauguin in Tahiti).

Ashley Bickerton Eyeball Painting 4, 2013, and some graffiti seen on the streets of NYC

 

Scrub-a-dub Dubya

March 11th, 2014

I don’t know how I missed the big news when it came out last year that former President George W. Bush is now an avid painter! It came to my attention today as I was reading about how he will have an exhibition of two dozen portraits that he painted which will make up a show titled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy” and it will take place at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in April.

If you, like me, hadn’t heard about this story yet, I understand that it broke out when a hacker who calls himself “Guccifer” released these two bathroom self-portrait paintings done by Bush which he had stolen via Bush’s e-mail account. It’s really kind of bizarre that the former President who led the war on terrorism now sits in his bathtub painting his toes. Although I have to admit, I think these have kind of an “Alex Katz” feel to them … which could be a compliment to Bush, or a put-down to Katz, I’m not sure which. Fortunately, he’s moved on to other subjects, as you’ll see if you scroll down for more.

hacker Guccifer released self portraits painted by George W. Bush

Here’s some examples of George W. Bush’s more-traditional approaches to painting, including landscapes and animal portraits. A couple interesting anecdotes about this whole story include that Bush actively paints for 2-3 hours a day, he signs his canvases “43” (since he was the 43rd President), and he initially told his painting teacher: “There’s a Rembrandt trapped in this body. Your job is to find it.” I think it’s safe to say we’re still looking for it …

landscape and animal portraits by former President George W. Bush

 

Andrew Tedesco, extraordinary mural artist

March 10th, 2014

Imagine walking into your already-impressive entryway (below right) and looking up to see that the ceiling had “cracked open” to reveal a dynamic modern art painting underneath … well, Andrew Tedesco (pictured below left) brought this fantastical idea to life via one of his trompe l’oel ceiling murals. You can even see it come to life yourself – just scroll down below the picture to see a time-lapse video of Andrew creating this mural – which took 40 hours – in only 40 seconds. To see more of Andrew’s murals and learn more about what he does, check out the Andrew Tedesco Studios website here.

Trompe l’oel ceiling murals by Andrew Tedesco

 

Ai Weiwei imitator, or just a coincidence?

March 10th, 2014

Back on January 12th, I went into NYC to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as I was walking along 85th Street on my way to the museum, I saw this bicycle packed with flowers locked up in front of a building on that street. I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than stopping to take these two pictures because it seemed somewhat unusual.

a bicycle with its front basket filled with flowers, just like Ai Weiwei was doing for his travel protest

But then last Thursday, when I went to The Armory Show at the Piers, I saw this “installation art” piece, not labeled in any way, but with the reference to Ai Weiwei and Alcatraz on the wall (below left). But while the bicycle with flowers apparently is not the focus of what he will do at Alcatraz (see this article from the NY Times), I did see that a recent project of Ai WeiWei’s was to put a bouquet of fresh flowers in the basket of a bicycle outside his studio in China every morning as a manner of protest until he regains the right to travel freely (the government has confiscated his passport).

Ai Weiwei travel protest by placing flowers in a bicycle outside of his studio

So what I’m wondering now is: was the bicycle with flowers on 85th Street in January just a coincidental mimicking of Ai Weiwei’s protest, or was this a like-minded soul imitating his protest here in the United States? As far as I can tell, Ai Weiwei doesn’t have his passport back yet, so it seems unlikely if not impossible that he could have set up the 85th Street bicycle and flowers himself … and I assume the gallery that presented this bicycle at the Armory Show just did so at Weiwei’s specifications.

 

Dionisios Fragias and the Trinity of Modern Art

March 10th, 2014

Here’s a great piece that I saw at the Scope Art Fair on Friday night: “Trinity,” 2014, oil on cut aluminum by Dionisios Fragias at the RARE Gallery booth. Dionisios Fragias makes art that places a contemporary spin on imagery or concepts derived from the Bible and from famous Greek myths. Here Fragias is putting a spin on the Christian concept of the “Trinity” which defines God as consisting of three entities: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. In this case, however, the “Trinity” of modern art is Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, and Pablo Picasso. You can see more of Fragias’ art on the RARE Gallery website here.

art by Dionisios Fragias at the RARE Gallery in NYC, seen at the Scope Art Fair

 

Is Basquiat imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

March 9th, 2014

I saw this painting by Tae Ryang Lee at the Fountain Art Fair today, and of course my first thought was “this artist is just copying the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat.” The quick response then is to dismiss the work, but the more I look at it, it makes me wonder – even if it is a full-blown riff on Basquiat, if it’s done well, is that a bad thing? I’m not sure I could copy his style as well as this, although it makes me curious to try. As a comparison point in style, I’ve included Basquiat’s famous painting “Hollywood Africans” below – so you can see the appropriation of colors, style, the use of fragmented body parts, words, heads, and scribbles. What do you think?

Tae Ryang Lee painting which copies the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat

 

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s “Calder Sculpture”

March 7th, 2014

As I was walking west on 55th Street yesterday on my way to the Armory Show, the sunlight was shining down on a huge orange structure … and my first thought was “I didn’t know there was a monumental Alexander Calder sculpture on the West Side!” But the truth reveals that it’s simply the NYC Department of Sanitation’s West 55th Street Salt Shed. If you scroll down to see two examples of Calder’s monumental sculptures, perhaps you’ll better understand my initial reaction.

NYC Dept. of Sanitation West 55th Street Salt Shed looks like a Calder Sculpture

 

Homage to Mondrian, but with a playful twist

March 7th, 2014

I saw these three pieces by Nelson Leirner yesterday at the Armory Show, and the homage to Mondrian is perfectly clear, but I wondered about the knobs on the surface. But a closer look shows that each of the 15 knobs is attached to a square panel, and the 16th slot is blank … so in reality, these are bigger versions of the sliding puzzle game that many of us of a certain age might have had as kids (scroll down to see 2nd group of pictures). And sure enough, the dealer present at the booth of gallery Silvia Cintra + Box 4 where these were displayed said that some collectors who own these do indeed shuffle the panels around on occasion, giving them a different “Mondrian” each time they do it! Love it!

Mondrian inspired art puzzles by Nelson Leirner

art works that double as puzzles, inspired by Piet Mondrian, made by Nelson Leirner

 

Capturing the essence of a cloud

March 7th, 2014

As expected, I enjoyed visiting the 2014 Armory Show at the Piers yesterday in NYC, although considering that approximately 200 galleries were exhibiting works there, I was a bit exhausted by the end of the day.

This is the 2nd time I’ve seen these “Clouds” by Leandro Erlich at Sean Kelly’s booth, and they never cease to amaze me (here’s a link to my previous experience with Erlich’s work). Standing in front of it, you’re convinced he’s captured a cloud in a glass box, as it just hovers there, glowing from within. But all you have to do is walk to the side of it to see the secret: he has white ceramic ink painted on 12 sheets of ultra clear glass, which creates the illusion of depth and volume for this “cloud.” Even knowing the secret, though, I still love these pieces. This particular piece is titled “The Cloud – Rabbit,” from 2013. The Armory Show runs through this Sunday, and it’s definitely worth a trip.

The Cloud - Rabbit, 2013, by Leandro Erlich at Sean Kelly Gallery

 

Vincent Van Gogh at Artsology Artsology offers free online games about the arts, and delivers investigations into topics in the visual arts, music, and literature. Artsology is a good resource for fun learning about the arts for people of all ages and is enjoyed by students, homeschoolers, and adults. Follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page. Pablo Picasso paintings at Artsology

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