Saturday, March 23, 2013

New digs for Joshua Liner Gallery

    From Vermont to Philadelphia to New York City at 540 W 28th Street, and now to a ground floor space in the same building. The Joshua Liner Gallery has a new home with plenty of windows and visibility.

     The premiere show at the new joint was a group show of heavy hitters. Maybe not as heavy as the three or four giant security guards (there for cred more than guarding) but plenty o' big names from the pop surreal/street (does anyone use the term "low brow" anymore? I hope not) scene. Full list of artists at end of this post.

SWOONThalassa (Pink Seahorse)
Screenprint on mylar with coffee stain and hand painting
2012, 74x65"

     From the always eye-catching, outsider-ish antics of the Clayton Bros. to the tightly rendered (Tiffany Bozic) to street paste-ups (SWOON) and plenty in between. A good show to catch for a solid look at the aforementioned genre(s).  I've raved about Kris Kuksi here a few times, and he has an amazing construction in the show as well.


      Something here for everyone, from the long time fan to the newbie getting a first glimpse in person of work by these artists rather than in a magazine.
Joshua Liner Gallery, 540 W. 28th St, NYC - "Direct Address: An Inaugural Group Exhibition"
March 21-April 20, 2013 
Artists in show not mentioned here: Alfred Steiner, Cleon Peterson, Dave Kinsey, David Ellis, Greg Lamarche, Jean-Pierre Roy, Oliver Vernon, Pema Rinzin, Richard Coleman, Riusuke Fukahori, Stephen Powers, Tomokazu Matsuyama and Tony Curanaj.

Clayton Brothers
Reality Waits for Natural Light series
Mixed media on canvas and wood panel
various sizes

Clayton Brothers
Absurdity Shed's in Natural Light
Mixed media on canvas and wood panel
100 x 40 in.
Kris Kuksi
Neo-Roman Opera House
Mixed media assemblage
60 x 61 x 24 in.

Evan Hecox
Acrylic and gouache on treated vintage newspaper
30 x 44 in. (detail above, not full image)
Tiffany Bozic
Acrylic on maple panel
32 x 22 in.

Ian Francis
Acrylic, oil, pen, charcoal, pencil on canvas
36 x 50 in.
Shawn Barber
Abstracted Self Portrait II
Oil on canvas
40 x 66 in.
PS: Shawn Barber gained notoriety with his painterly portraits of tattoo'd people and body parts. Classically inspired with a street edge, these dark and moody portraits are time capsules documenting this age of tattoo frenzy like Fragonard's Rococo paintings documenting French hedonism. This particular painting marks not a departure but possibly a new step in his evolution as a painter. In this piece unlike previous ones, the abstracted figures are the stars here, not the tattoos. A layering of one figure? two? a menage a trois? If so, maybe he's been looking at Rococo work, too! Look at his earlier works, then come back and take some time with this one.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fountain Art Fair- NY 2013

     The Fountain art fair is known for cool, offbeat locations - it used to be on a tugboat moored on the Hudson and for the past 2 years it's been at the larger (and warmer) Regiment Armory on Lex and 25th. True to its street/DIY/ funky roots, visitors were greeted by this large piece on the sidewalk.

Along the rafters were large pieces hung by Mighty Tanaka Gallery, which chose to keep its booth  attuned with the more "rendered" pieces and the more "street" pieces up top.  To the right is "Stage Diner" by Fedele Spadafora, oil on canvas. Owner Alex Emmaert presented other works making the cause for the New Romanticism movement afoot, describing it as well-rendered, often classically influenced styles of work that contain imagery (and sometimes text) that is apocalyptic, or highlighting corporate power, conspiracy, technology, and the struggle to retain humanity through it all. A society where intimacy and security have become the objects of a new longing.

Dacia Gallery featured a series of classically inspired works in gilt frames by Patricia Woodward.

This striking set of teacups were part of a series by Mary O-Reilly at Arch-Enemy Arts,
titled "Bottom Feeder."

One of a series of eye-catching street/graffitti influenced pieces by Raquel Echanique (below).

Converge Gallery presented a diverse booth of works, among them this large, hanging head sculpture  by Howard Tran. If you look in the ears, inside are videos, one showing the Asian healing method of cupping, the other of a child in a rice field. The head was constructed from potato sacks and is titled, "Hanh Trinh #1."

I got to Fountain as it opened and all seemed to be feeling the after-effects of the wild opening party from the prior evening, which I unfortunately missed due to the snow. I found head honcho Johnny Leo cleaning up some graffitti from the party inside an old school folding door pay phone booth. Gotta love someone in charge who is willing to get their hands dirty, much respect. Look for a future Gallery Guy post featuring an interview with Mr. Leo.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Independent Art Fair NY 2013

     Last year, I had a tough time with the work at the Independent Art Fair. Chalking it up to art fatigue, I vowed to get there early and fresh this year with a clear, open mind.

The most avant-garde of the NY art fairs, it's not "easy." In talking with gallerists at other fairs (since they're stuck at their own booth, I'm frequently asked, "What about the other fairs?" by them) they said that most people described the Independent as "difficult." Not necessarily a putdown, more that the work was challenging, at times baffling, and other times feeling like a Candid Camera set-up (OK, that's a dated reference, so how about: "and other  times feeling like Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out and tell me I just got Punked!")

     In what ways? Quite a bit of the work was referential and needed a backstory, which brings up the question, "Is it a positive to make the viewer have to work that hard and/or to know the back story to appreciate the art?" Discuss amongst yourselves. Another example: there was a small box, like 8x8x10, hanging on a wall. I believe it was a speaker, painted all black, either parts of it melted or material poured on top. A silent speaker? Symbolic? and if so, symbolic enough to be substantial, or something one might see in an art college freshman 3D class? if so, does it merit being displayed on a wall at a major art fair? This was a common theme in conversations about this show: attendees I spoke to seemed hesitant (embarassed?) to be too hard on this show with fear of sounding like an ignorant barbarian - that they weren't educated enough or savvy enough or hip enough. Despite all that, there were several intriguing and yes, difficult to comprehend but stimulating pieces at Independent.  

  Above: Gavin Brown's Enterprise presented this wall of digitized manipulated sexual imagery by Thomas Bayrle. Note the wallpaper, a cascade of clothing flying through the air as if tossed off by an eager couple about to get it on!

  It may be a bit difficult to see in this photo (left), but this series of works by Lucie Stahl were layered and intriguing. The photo is lined with flat pieces of broken glass and the cup in each piece was collaged with imagery on its theme. This is "Long Distance Relationships."


There wasn't alot of figurative painting here, but Waldemar Zimbelmann (right) brought it on at Meyer Reigger Gallery (the gold table at the top of this post was also at this gallery).

Tamar Halpern at Office Baroque Gallery
Meschac Baba at McCaffrey Fine Arts

Paley Tillmans "Mexican Non-GMO Corn Plant"

     This piece above is timely with all the horrible news about Monsanto and GMO (genetically modifed) corn.
     The Independent Art Fair should definitely be a stop on your list if you're going to the New York art fairs next year. An exciting and challenging show - go with some friends and it's a lock to generate stimulating conversation.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Armory show NY 2013

     At the kick-off press conference, Mayor Bloomberg called NY "the center of the modern art world." It was a nice rah-rah speech for the Centennial Edition of the Armory Show of 1913. And we got free bagels. Press badges rock!
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art's booth had a group show, "Nude Descending A Staircase: An Homage," with works inspired by Marcel Duchamp's painting unveiled to American audiences in 1913. I thought the piece below by Tom  Shannon was hilarious - wooden "stairs" against the wall with a slinky poised at the top ready to do its famous descent down the staircase!

     There was alot of Warhol at the Armory, but the big display at Gagosian by the entrance was a big snooze IMHO. 20 feet or so of camouflage on portrait wall paper etc.

     NY based collective, Type A, had these three neon versions in red, white and blue of an image used in target practice of a man aiming a gun at you. Very topical with all the gun legislation being discussed in US politics and the media.

     Not alot in the way of energetic or provocative work, but this one at the Rod Bianco Gallery from Oslo with an installation by Norwegian artists Bjarne Melgaard and Sverre Bjertnes was an exception. It was all based on Mary Boone and had several mixed media pieces with primitive renderings of MB with Basquiat, as a crack head etc. It was a bizarre installation that sucked you in and made one wonder if it was an homage or a send-up: "For both artists in their formative years, Mary Boone epitomized the quintessential New York dealer and her eponymously named gallery was the place budding artists worldwide wanted to show."

Interesting abstract painting by Uwe Kowski at Galerie EIGEN +ART, Berlin.

     This installation at Leila Heller Gallery by Rasid Lee Hornanian was a show-stopper. A wedding table with video monitors at each end and a large wedding cake in the middle. However, the base of the cake was being eaten by a mouse that was actually a video, too! Lots of oohing and aahing and laughs at this fun piece, "Dinner for 2: Wedding Cake."

     Charles Lutz (pictured) had a giant tower called "Babel" of faux-Warhol (like I said, lots of Andy here) Brillo boxes, 600 in total. He was signing and giving them away. The text by the display had this quote from Eleanor Ward at the Stable Gallery where she displayed Warhol's original boxes back in the day: "(The boxes) were very difficult to sell. He thought everyone was going to buy them on sight, he really and truly did. We all had visions of people walking down Madison Avenue with these boxes under their arms, but we never saw them."
     As I was getting my coat, one coat check worker said to the other, "Do NOT take any of those boxes! We do not have the room back there and people keep asking us to hold them. No boxes!"

     I've written about David Kramer in this blog before, but this piece at Gallerie Laurent Godin from Paris had me laughing out loud. Just seemed to fit in (and parody) some of the art star 'tude at the Armory. I hope this alleged nor'easter doesn't materialize because I have more shows to get to, and hopefully more excited about than this Armory show. Pick up the Times Friday or Sunday, they'll have alot more to say. So much of this Armory show (like Art Basel in Miami) seemed safe. There was quite a bit of objects and shapes simply covered in paint or other objects that just seemed to stop there: this is an object with all this other stuff all over it. And...that's it. What else about it is interesting or thought provoking or emotional? Not much. But I covered the inside of my free bagel with marmalade, and THAT was quite good.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Hope Gangloff at Susan Inglett

     There was an old website called Open Bar, I believe, that would send weekly emails about, you guessed it, open bars and happy hours. Nearly every email had a banner with a different sketch in black, red and blue pen or marker of hipsters or still-lifes of beer bottles, etc. Said hipsters were usually in mid-party or morning after partying, wonderful realistic, naturalistic poses with bottles, cigarettes, underwear, records, apartment furniture, bushy beards - 20/30 somethings doing their thing. Hope Gangloff was the artist, a veritable modern-day Toulouse Lautrec.

Andrei, 72x48, acrylic on canvas

Stahl, 36x48, acrylic on wood
     Not a one trick pony, she's also quite adept with the brush. From Feb 15-March 23 Gangloff has a series of large portrait paintings at Susan Inglett Gallery. Some portraits are posed, others are a snapshot catching a moment in time, a gesture, an attitude. These are time capsules and capture the Brooklyn hipster era as well as any photo.
     Gangloff likes intense color and her palette reflects that. Intense blues, reds, oranges, with rigorous brushwork. When viewing the original paintings, you can see the skin tones are made up of small brushstrokes of several colors. Looks like naples yellow light or something similar underneath giving a bit of a sallow appearance - these are city folk, not California beach goers.
     PBR, anyone?

Study of Olga Alexandrovskaya, 48x72, acrylic on canvas

Susan Inglett Gallery, 522 W. 24th St, NYC