Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"Nude- From Modigliani to Currin" at Gagosian

     Gagosian Gallery at 980 Madison Ave in NY had an exhibit from 9/20-10/29/16 titled "Nude- From Modigliani to Currin."  Gagosian always has an over-abundance of night club-sized security guards, but fortunately they weren't too bored or over-zealous allowing me to get kinda close to these amazing paintings and study the brushwork, colors and handling of paint.
     There were mostly large works here like Takashi Murakami's piece(s), 3 panels measuring about 9+ feet by 6 feet. Several John Currins were displayed, his unique figures done in a classic style. The Modiglianis were a treat, especially one below where you can see another figure upside down, smack up against the main figure, and brushed over.
     I'm going to let the work speak for itself. As a painter, this show was like several mini-lessons from 20th century greats and current talented artists still in their prime.

Amedeo Modigilani

Lucian Freud

Tom Wesselman

David Hockney

John Currin

Amedeo Modigilani

John Currin

Willem DeKoonig

Martin Kippenberger

Francis Bacon

Takashi Murakami

Tom Wesselman

Henri Matisse

Jenny Saville

Francis Picabia

Pablo Picasso

John Currin (detail)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pop art news: original ET art surpasses $150k open

From Heritage Auctions:

"The original promotional art for Steven Spielberg's masterpiece "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" sold for $394,000 at Heritage Auctions' Oct. 12 Illustration Art Auction in Dallas. Buyer and under-bidders were willing to pay well over the artwork's $150,000 opening price.

Total prices realized for the entire auction surpassed $1.78 million.

The "E.T." painting by renowned movie poster artist John Alvin has been used to promote the film for nearly 35 years. The acrylic on board spent the last 13 years hanging on the office wall of Hollywood writer and producer Bob Bendetson."

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016


A Caiman Wearing a Crown of Butterflies Photographed by Mark Cowan


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Looking at Oscar Murillo's falling prices

     Below is a link to an article about Oscar Murillo's prices at market, complete with charts and stats. The artist burst onto the scene in 2013 when a piece sold for just over $400k at Phillips NY. The Colombian born/London based artist was just 27.

     He's since tried his hand at installation/performance based art with mixed results. The candy factory he made at David Zwirner in 2014 had lukewarm reviews and some harsh ones. He's also been in biennials and “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World,” at the Museum of Modern Art in 2014. This was very cool - he had unstretched canvases of his work strewn about the floor for adults and kids to pick up, touch, wear, play in, whatever suited the participant within reason.
     As much as The Gallery Guy likes to see artists stretch and take a shot at different things, my opinion is that Murillo branched out too far, too soon. The candy factory was such a wild departure from his other work, many people didn't get it or wrote it off as a joke. Perhaps another few shows of his intriguing painting/mixed media canvases would have given him more leeway with collectors and reviewers? But hey, he wanted to do it and was obviously jazzed about it, and Zwirner gave it the green light, so why not?
     But this all raises another interesting question: when an artist that young within a year of that huge sale at Phillips is set or nearly set financially perhaps for life, does that give that artist the choice of ignoring critics, gallerists, collectors and the art market and doing whatever he/she wants? To take wild chances, experiment, try new media and styles regardless of the reception those works receives? Should the artist take the stance of, "I no longer have to worry about whether or not these sell, I'm OK financially. This new work is what excites me, moves me now" or be concerned about their collectors' investments, their "legacy," trajectory, and the effect that attitude could have negatively on their past work and sales? and their future gallery representation and sales? One could point to other art market stars like Damien Hirst who has done a wide range of work from animal cadavers to large dot paintings, yet continues to be quite successful.
     The general sentiment among artists is to do what you want, what moves you. To work with one eye on marketability and worrying if the work will sell is a fool's game unless you're doing Blue Dogs. However, few of us get to be that tiny percentage of being a living artist whose work is in demand for six figures early (or ever) in our career. I imagine being there brings great advantages as well as great pressures and a paradigm shift that could be overwhelming.

Thursday, September 1, 2016