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22 posts from March 2006

March 31, 2006

The April FOOLS MAO Quiz!!

The April MAO Monthly ART QUIZ!!! Ok.. MAO Quiz-lings.. Since the last few months of Quizzing have been answered correctly in under a few hours.. I think it's about time we try to separate the Men from the sheep truly Modern Art Obsessed!!

So here goes.. In honor of this past months record high Black & White photography auction prices.. Can you say.. $ 2.9 Million Dollars!!!  Which has hence forth sealed the fate of art photography into the upper ranks of the most overpriced costly art in the world!

I figure it's a good time to broaden our knowledge base of vintage Black and White photography!

So.. Below are 2 black and white photo's.. both from the same artist and first published in the same book. So.. First please name the Photographer, and then name the monumental book which these 2 photographs first appeared.  Good Luck!

Photo #1

Quiz_4_a

One note.. to avoid past MAO Sharp shooters from taking it all again and again.. past MAO Quiz winners are not eligible for winning another quiz for one full year! Sorry!

Also, If you'd like.. you can also send your guesses to email : ModernArtObsession@yahoo.com

As always.. Dr. Quiz will serve as both judge and jury if there's any question as to the rightful winner.

The winner gets to choose their prize from either... A 1 year basic membership to the art museum of their choosing.. or I think I can get a hand signed copy of this photographers last published retrospective catalog.

Photo #2

Quiz_4_b

MAO does Art in the Bronx!

So I dragged my pal JG all the way up to the Bronx this weekend. Actually she practically lives there anyway.. plus he speaks Spanglish Spanish... Which I found out, it's almost a necessity if you're hungry when going above 98th street!! Yikes!!

Well..Yes..!! There is a Contemporary Art Museum in the Bronx believe it or not! I had never been there before, and I grew up in NYC!  So we took our passports, maps, and went up to The Grand Concourse.. which isn't so grand by the way..  to The Bronx Museum of The Arts to see AIM 26 curated by Lydia Yee and Assistant Erin Salazar.  It's largely a student art show, but pretty good!!  We were pleasantly surprised.

The Show features the work of 36 emerging artists from the 2005-2006 "Artist in the Marketplace program" (AIM), which annually provides artists in the NY metro area with professional development seminars and an exhibition venue (this show).

DavidantoniocruzThere's some really fun fresh work to see. Both JG and I enjoyed the show more than we had ever expected. The funny part.. we were in the museum for about an hour and a half on a Sunday afternoon.. and we were the only people in the museum the entire time! In fact when we walked into the museum, the guards rushed over to us, and quickly asked us "Can I help you?" I guess they assumed we just wanted to use the El bano!

This (photo #1) was my favorite painting from the show by David Antonio Cruz called "Puerto Rican Pietra on la Culla Fortaleza". His use of historical reference presented in a modern Puerto Rican American context was brilliant. This large scale painting is both arresting and beautiful.

Thebettertoseeyou Other standouts (photo #2) were two video works by Jessica Lagunas, "The Better to See You" which features the artist continuously putting on Mascara for 57 minutes, and "The Better to Kiss You", which features 58 minutes of her applying bright red lipstick! Both completely hilarious! 

Also Alison Ward's video of "Into the Woods" is a childhood fantasy you just have to see. No.. it's not the Musical! It's hard to explain.. but it's fun!

Lastly Both JG and I stood for a good 15-20 minutes watching and laughing with the 2 video's with sound by Artist Gautam Kansara. It's a great clash of 3 family generations and Indian American culture piece called, "Apart From US, 2005".

All in all.. it's a show well worth going all the fuck uptown to see. Just be sure to bring your passport, a map, an appetite for great rice and beans, and a Puerto Rican Spanish translator!

The show is on view till July 2nd.

Be sure to Come Back tomorrow.. for the April MAO Art QUIZ!!

March 30, 2006

Emerging Artist Auction!!

So maybe the high attitude prices of the Christies and Sothebys Auctions don't fit your budget taste?  Believe it or not.. I've heard some MAO readers don't have $2.9 Million to spend on a single dusty old B & W photo! go figure!   Well for all those aspiring Art Auction Junkies, there are alternatives!

Sparkling Fresh Silent Art Auction is having their second auction, on Tuesday April 4th, 2006 6:30-9pm, At Chashama @ 217 E. 42nd Street.. Featuring the work of emerging NYC artists. All the starting bids range from $100 to $1000. Here's the invite, press release Download sparkling_april4release1.doc , and if you'd like to preview the Art : click here. Hey, if nothing else.. Admission is free, and there's free food and drinks! FYI.. It also sounds like an interesting venue for emerging artists to pay the rent have their work seen and maybe even sold..

Also coming up is the next Saturday At Phillips Auction.  Viewing starts April 3rd, and the Auction is on April 8th @ 10am.  This time they have also added Jewelry to their already yard sale diverse auction of Contemporary Art, Photographs, and 20-21st Century Design works. So this one will truly be the leftovers something for everyone!

Lastly.. For those MAO Art Quizlings.. tune into this blog Saturday Morning cause it's April 1st, which means the next Monthly MAO Art Quiz!

Sparkling_auction

March 29, 2006

Rock Star Popularity for a Figurative Painter!!

Went to see John Currin talk at the New School last night... I guess I was right.. it was a MAO Must See.. cause every seat in the huge auditorium was taken!! There was even a line of 20+ poor ticket-less people waiting on stand-by in the lobby!!

Johncurrin_wife John is a very fun and entertaining speaker. While, I don't think I learned anything new.. John was everything you'd hope for from a over-hyped painter with such rock star celebrity status.

One of the most representative lines of the night was when John put up a slide of his painting "The Wizard" circa 1994 (pictured here).  He stuttered a bit, then grinned.. but managed to sheepishly say.. "...I shouldn't say this.. but, this was the first painting I made when I first met my current wife!"

Well.. I guess that's enough said on Mr. Currin!

I'm looking forward to hearing Vik Muniz lecture tonight at ICP.. no doubt it will also be standing room only..   But hopefully Vik will fill the room with a little more talk of artistic insight, and a bit less T & A!

March 28, 2006

New York Magazine's "The Art Market Will Crash" Story

Well.. It was bound to happen.. major deadwood media wakes up! This week a NYC magazine writes a story predicting the demise of the Contemporary Art Market.

If you haven't picked it up yet.. The April 3rd edition of New York Magazine has a lengthy story by Marc Spiegler titled "Five Theories on Why The Art Market Can't Crash, and Why it will Anyway."
  He presents 5 reasons frequently sited for there not being an art market crash

  1. Expanded Art World - Size Matters!
  2. Art's Gone Global - Russia, China, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Mid-East..etc
  3. New Asset Class - research showing art as an investment vehicle
  4. Diversification as a safety valve - Now we have Video, Photography, etc
  5. The Japanese - Like the 80's.. they'll be buying anything

Kebikini_atollBut then, Mr.  Spiegler goes on to foolishly discredit all of these theories, by saying the art world implosion/crash is sure to come soon!

Well.. While I agree there maybe some froth in the modern and contemporary art market,  I disagree a crash is coming anytime soon.  And actually just the fact articles like this get written, by popular deadwood media is healthy for the market.  It should get collectors and dealers thinking a bit more about what they are buying, and is it reasonable?  Which I think in turn keeps the art market from getting completely crazy! (Atomic Blast Graphic by Kota Ezawa)

It's been the same for the US Real Estate Market, everyday on CNBC for the last 4 years there have been reporters saying "RUN AWAY..It's going to BLOW!", "Sell Mortimer!!"  It's a real estate bubble..!! and asking when will the bubble burst..??  But Real Estate has continued to go up in value strongly for the last 4 years.. and only now, that mortgage rates are back up to 6.75%, maybe it's getting a bit soft.  A few months ago Dr. Quiz & I saw a funny poster at Devlin McNiff in East Hampton, of a very old man and woman looking sad.. below the photo was the caption, "Young Couple, waiting to buy when the Hamptons Real Estate Market corrected!"
        Sure, the Art Market will eventually slow down, poorly managed galleries will close, and maybe some artists works (in real estate some place like Miami/SoBe) are over priced and fall, (ie...Loretta Lux, Richard Prince, John Currin, maybe Warhol, etc) but it's just not all crashing yet.

I'd add these reasons to the list of 6 above to consider..
1. Everything is linked, Art won't crash without the US economy, stock market, job market, real estate markets, etc, going down hard first.
2. Worldwide Museums are growing in both size, space and endowments.. Just the Getty and Gates foundations purchases alone should push art prices up!
3. So far 2006, Wall Street Firms are going stronger than ever.
4. Most people are looking for other types of investments since.. real estate, and stocks look fully valued and putting all your money in the bank at 5% before taxes just doesn't cut it.
5. All these new rich Hedge Funds want something special in their corporate offices and new McMansions! But NO, "Hedge Funds are not the New Japanese!!"
6. Better transparency helps give buyers confidence for all collectables, thanks to better information and prices through the Internet and media. Thank you Ebay, ArtPrice.com, Antiques RoadShow.. and Porcelain Paul!

I'm sure there are more reasons as well.. Any thoughts out there??

March 27, 2006

Felix Gonzalez-Torres "Early Imprressions" El Museo del Barrio

Went this weekend with Dr. Quiz and JG to see the Felix Gonzales-Torres retrospective "Early Impressions" at El Museo del Barrio.   Lucky for JG..  Dr. Quiz was very tired from his week long trip to the wrong coast for Beeker School.... so JG got a pass on the typical Dr. Quiz Inquisition.

But I digress.. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, I love the artist, and love his work.. But, I think we all felt this show didn't have enough (only 12) art works on display, in 2 small rooms. The show also could have used some narrative details of the artists life to help put the few works they did have in perspective.  Given the potential to display some truly amazing work by this artist such as Perfect Lovers (A MAO favorite), etc ......which almost none were included, I was a bit disappointed.

Anyway, these were my favorites that did make it to the show..The first one : "Untitled"1991. Offset print on paper, endless copies. 7 inches high x 45.5 x 38.5 inches.

Picture_003_2

and this second one
(please click on it to read the text)

"Untitled", 1988 Wooden pedestal and photocopies on paper, endless copies, 6" at ideal height x 8.5 x 11 inches each sheet,
pedestal 30 x 9.5 x 12.5 inches.

The show is on view till May 21, 2006.

Fgt_1

March 23, 2006

John Currin Talks at The New School

I think I need a MAO Clone.. too many art events to go to, not enough of me to see them all! I'm freaking missing the art openings, and Teun Hocks new book signing & lecture @ Aperture tonight.. to take Mom and Daddy MAO to dinner and then to Jersey Boys the Musical.. I know I must be going to hell heaven for this one!

Next Week... A MAO Must..  "Public Art Fund Talks" with John Currin  (from the New School Website)

John_currin_fisherman_2000 Tues., March 28, 6:30 p.m. $5. Audiocast at www.online.newschool.edu.

Location: Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street.

New York City-based painter John Currin has had more than 20 solo shows, including John Currin, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, which traveled to the Whitney Museum of American Art (2003) and a works on paper show organized by the Des Moines Art Center which traveled to the Milwaukee Art Museum (2003). His work is the subject of a new monograph co-published by Rizzoli and Gagosian Gallery in 2006. Now in its 11th year, with a new title, Public Art Fund has produced this ongoing lecture series of presentations and discussions by some of today's most influential artists, critics, and curators, including Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, Rachel Whiteread, Matthew Barney, Gabriel Orozco, Pipilotti Rist, Tony Oursler, Catherine David, Kasper Konig, Okwui Enwezor, and Lynne Cook. For information, call Public Art Fund at 212.980.3942. Presented by Public Art Fund in association with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.

March 21, 2006

Tomoko Sawada at Zabriskie Gallery

Last weekTomokosawada_school_daysa I went to see the new show by Japanese Photographer Tomoko Sawada : Schoolgirls.

        This time Tomoko transforms herself through the wonders of technology into 41 different identities to make up an entire class of school girls posing for their annual class picture.  Can you say.. They all rook-a-rike? 

         But all kidding aside, I have to admit, this is one artist I've been constipated undecided on for a few years now. Initially I found her work playful as it explored issues of identity, public image, and social pressure for adolescents girls in Asian society.  Today, I question the works originality and artistic merits. It just seems like a boring one trick pony. The work does a nice job of poking fun at iconic work by Cindy Sherman, as well as Nikki Lee, and Yasumasa Morimura.  Tomoko has perhaps even earned herself the dubious reputation as the Asian Cindy Sherman. But, is this ever a good thing for an artists career?  I don't think so!

    Her first solo show in 2003 (NYT review by Ken Johnson, and Art In America review by Ed Leffingwell) featured her ID400 Series (1989-2001), Costume series, and Omiai series, all self portraits which were fresh and witty.  It was this initial concept of self identity/masquerade in her ID400 series which won Tomoko Sawada the ICP Young Photographer Infinity Award in 2004.   I've even come close several times to buying her work for the MAO photography collection.  In fact, if it were not for her gallery representation's lack of care, effort follow-ups, and already sky high prices, I would probably own a few.  Yes, MAO readers, you'll be happy to know.. Galleries in Chelsea have nothing on 57th Street when it come to bad business practices and poor client service. No surprise!

        Actually, now I'm bitter glad I waited, cause, 8 years later, this artist is still doing exactly the same thing, and it just seems flat, tired, and on a road well traveled.  Seeing the "new" show, totally turned me off this artist.  As further evidence of the works mediocrity.. the re-installation of the contemporary galleries at MOMA, "Take Two : World and Views: Contemporary Art from the Collection" actually included one of her ID400 series.  Need I say more?

The Tomoko Sawada show is open till April 29th.

March 17, 2006

Marilyn Minter Print

MAO Art Deal of the Month - OH STILETTO!!!

For those collectors who loved the Marilyn Minter(WhiBi artist) Billboard  - "Shit Kickers, 2006"

Creative Time has an 11x14 inch, Limited Signed Edition of 100 prints available for $500. Minter_kickers

March 15, 2006

Nan Goldin & 10 Possible Reasons for Posting this Photo???

So while we're speaking about all things Nan Goldin.. Last Friday night, I got to attend her latest show "Nan Goldin: Chasing a Ghost" opening at Matthew Marks Gallery.  As expected it was jammed with Goldin-ites! Today, even Page Six of the NY Post tried to dish NAN!! I didn't see her at the opening.. But I was told she did show up eventually Friday Night!

It features her first major multimedia/movie project. Sisters, Saints & Sibyls.. About a 20 minute projection on 3 screens simultaneously along with music and a narrative by Goldin. Largely focused on the tragic life of Nan's sister Barbara.. it's possibly one of her most powerful works to date.  As all Nan's work, it's deeply personal, and filled with intense emotions of family, love, mental health, sexuality, loss, and mortality. It's really beautiful.  Or in other words.. exactly what we'd come to expect from Nan Goldin.. think tragic and depressing, vivid reality. Would someone please pass another Prozac please!

While pushing making our way through the huge crowd.. I was fortunate to run into a few well known bloggers..while waiting around, I snapped some photos..

So you ask....??? Why on earth would I ever include a photo like this on a blog mostly about art collecting???  Hmm... there's a few possibilities.. please vote on which one you think is the most likely reason !! Thanks....
Picture_00510. This blog was getting way too dull, and I was even starting to bore myself

9. To prove to Dr. Quiz I wasn't out getting wasted again with JG or some other deviant, and I really did see large pink bunnies walking around Chelsea Friday night!

8. This daddy in the photo is just so much more sexy than anything that has ever been in a Nan Goldin Photo.

7. I'm kissing this bloggers ass, cause I'll do almost anything not to be barred from SNAXX like the way it happened to poor sheep-boy.

6. The pictures we took of our Lovable Town Drunk were not pretty enough to post on an Art Blog, plus he's not yet reciprocated with linking here yet!  Grrrr !

5. Cause after moving into their new fancy expensive digs in way the hell far West 27th street, some NADA Dealers will do just about anything to pay their rent or taxes get their pictures on any Web Blog, Newspaper, TV or Magazines.

4. I didn't have a photo of this Art Dealer/Blogger yet since he's never bothered to introduced himself to me.

3. To prove some crazy people think it's perfectly OK to bring their psycho Satan dogs and carry them around upside down during crowded art openings

2. It's the best picture of an art blogger/dealer I could take since most were either too busy : selling overpriced art to the crazy buying masses Armory weekend, or like this dealer, pissing off artinfo.com saying they propagate factual errors and unverified sales hype!

1. Because this attention loving whore dealer actually asked me when I was going to blog about him and his young devil pup Truman at the Nan Goldin opening night!

OK.. so there you have it, 10 choices.. Please cast your votes now!! Which do you think is the best reason I should have posted this picture on the blog today??

Book of the Month - Singular Images, Essays on Remarkable Photographs

It's Mid Month!! Which of course means.. we have our newest favorite Art book of the month! I can tell you're all so excited!! So, do you think this is how Oprah Winfrey's Book Club got it's start?? Hmmmm....
Aperture_bookThis time.. I chose Singular Images, Essays on Remarkable Photographs, published by the wonderful people at Aperture.

Other than the amazing Nan Goldin photo "The Hug" on the cover (also in the MAO Art Collection..and my all time favorite photograph)..with an insightful essay by Darsie Alexander curator from the Baltimore Museum of Art.  I was impressed with the depth of these essays, one on each photo. While it's common to see full narratives written about a single painting or sculpture, over the many years of collecting art books, I've found few lengthy scholarly essays on single photographs. The only other 2 good ones I'd recommend are

Photo Icons I (1827-1926) and

Photo Icons II (1928-1991) both by Taschen

which also focus on single images, but they stopped just as the photographic arts were coming into it's prime! I even remember early debates with art experts over whether a single photographic image was really capable of holding the viewers attention long enough to warrant a lengthy essay.  Well, luckily times have changed, and now we have another entire book dedicated to just 12 single images.

My only complaint with the book, is there's no explanation provided as to the process of selecting the specific photographers and the single images for the book.  Since in fact many photographs are really just building blocks of much larger artistic project/story, I imagine it was difficult for editor Sophie Howarth (curator from the Tate Modern) to single out just "12 Perfect" images. While, these are not exactly my top choices (like they should have asked me!!), these photos do easily stand on their own.

I did enjoy the entire book, but besides Nan Goldin's "The Hug" and essay which clearly deserved to be on the cover, the other clear standouts were :

  1. Bill Brandt's "A Snicket, Halifax" (photo #2) essay by Nigel Warburton
  2. Diane Arbus's "A Young Brooklyn Family going for a Sunday Outing" (photo #3)essay by Liz Jobey
  3. Hiroshi Sugimoto's "Aegean Sea,Pilion" (photo #3) essay by Dominic Willsdon.
  4. Thomas Struth "San Zaccaria,Venice" (Photo #4)essay by Sophia Howarth.

Brandt_snicket Arbus_brooklyn_family Sugimoto_ageanStruth_zaccaria I think it's an outstanding effort, very entertaining, and a new must read for a photography collector. And no.. I don't get a commission from Aperture for recommending their books!!

Gagosian Gallery Expansion in Chelsea

If You Build it... They will Come.. And BUY ART!!!

Here's an interesting story just posted on Bloomberg (Download Gagosian_build.txt) News by reporter Katya Kazakina regarding the Gagosian Gallery expanding into a second space in Chelsea.

If you had any thought this might be the TOP of the Contemporary Art Market, guess again!! Given the recent Mad COW Crazy Rush this weekend to buy everything and anything at the NY Armory Show, And the Pulse Fair, And The Scope Fair, And The etc....  It seems like a pretty safe bet for Gagosian Gallery to further expand in Chelsea.

So, they just signed a 10 year lease at 528 W. 21st Street, for the entire building, 9,200 square feet, and filed permits with the NYC Department of Building to conduct demolition and renovation (Est total costs of $690k).

Will the good times ever end?

March 14, 2006

NY Art Fair Mania - Pulse, Scope and The Armory!

I think 3 art fairs in one weekend was more than enough, so we never got to ArtLA (there's art in LA?) or DIVA, though the name alone had Dr. Quiz interested!

Art Fair Mania Day 1: Went to The Pulse NY FAIR - VIP/Collectors brunch on Friday for 2 hours.
Pulse_artasault Better than I had expected, it was not jammed, and the dealers were still fresh and friendly.
Most of the booths had some sold works, but were not yet filled with red dots everywhere!!
Lots of great photography! Several artist standouts to keep a watch-out for possible future MAO art collection acquisitions...

I was also impressed with some of the quality of the Impulse Exhibition..

Loved those huge Robert Moran Botas by Mackey Gallery from Houston, and of course

Jennifer Dalton's "The Collector-ibles" Cabinet by Plus Ultra Gallery! Art_makes_me_horny

(Photo #1 - Pulse on 27th street side of the building)

(Photo #2 - The Art of Aaron Krach, Bumper Stickers, still in it's shipping box @ DCKT Contemporary)

Art Fair Mania... Day 2:

The Sat morning museum member/collectors preview at the Armory Show.
Picture_010When we arrived it was not  a madhouse yet.. But, it already had the feeling of being heavily  picked through. I'm always shocked by the way people rush to buy at these events.. I guess I'll never understand it. It's a art fair.. not just a shopping mall, right?

Not much photography to see. Was not impressed by what I saw being shown in many of the booths.. very much the same old works/artists I had seen in Art Basel Miami.

Julian Opie (Photo #3 by Artforum) and Candida Hofer work seemed to be almost everywhere. 

Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died.. so didn't get photo's of the few works I loved.. Barry McGee installation by Deitch Projects, and the new AVAF work at JCP.  By 2 pm the piers got too insanely crowded with the crazed art buying masses..so we couldn't see much after that..

IluvnyNY Art Fair Mania Day 3 : ~Scope NY

So Sunday.. no rest for the Modern Art Obsessed.. Got there early, so not too crowded yet.

I have to admit.. I liked the gritty/non-polished feeling of this fair. It just has a more cutting edge environment to it.. nice buzz in the place..Not so UES pretentious. Plus it didn't feel like a one-day sale at Macy's.

The few standouts..

- Jonathan Seliger at Ciel from Quebec (photo #4)

- Nina Levy at Metaphor Contemporary Art Brooklyn (photo #5)

- Sarah Pickering at Daniel Cooney Fine Art from NYC

-Chris Dorland at Wendy Cooper Gallery from Chicago

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These Last 2 pictures.. Both were from the exhibitions going on at ~scope.. Not sure who did the head filled with buckshot (Photo #6).. maybe it was Art by Vice President Dick Chaney!

And the last picture (photo #7) was from a performance piece which was going on in the front lobby on Sunday.Blownhead

But 3 days of Art Fair Mania was enough for this collector.  Overall it was a fun time.. with minimal brain damage to the wallet, and much to my surprise, I learned about some interesting new artists and galleries.

Picture_036_2

March 13, 2006

THE ARMORY SHOW 2006 - NYC

The Armory Show 2006 - International Fair of New Art, NYC

They Came, The Saw, They Bought Everything!!
Red_dots2_1
A picture is worth a thousand words.. well.. in this case..
Maybe more like a few Million Dollars!!
Yikes!! Well.. that one photo might be a bit blurry... but the trend was clear!!

FYI.. I only took these photo's on Sat Morning at the fair!! I'd bet by Monday afternoon, some of these dealers had run out of red dots!

Team_dots_1

March 12, 2006

Chelsea Gallery Walk Part II

Simon_mooseSorry for the delay in Chelsea Gallery Walk Part II.. but NYC and the writing staff has been a bit crazed with ArtFairs galore.  Too many to visit in just one weekend.. with WAY too many galleries to see.

Add to that, several art openings that we just must be seen at  attend.. and then there's always that day-job thing !! Oh.. and by the way.. if anyone was wondering.. MAO prediction.. Interest Rates, and Mortgage Rates are going way up..you heard it here first!!

Simon_stagAnyway.. we did make it over to the

Yossi Milo Gallery - To see the new show for Simen Johan, "Until the Kingdom Comes". Many MAO readers may already be familiar with Simen's photography from his past show at Yossi Milo. Or possibly you may know him from his last book "Room To Play" published in 2003 by Twin Palms which consisted mainly of Johan's wonderful magical dream like photographs of young children.

As for the new show.. there's no children this time. It's all animals, animals, animals!

These super large scale digitally manipulated photo's (with equally large price tags $15k) are all of diorama looking animal fantasies.  I took a few photos of the show, (pic #1 - Untitled) there are more on Simen's own website

I was a bit disappointed that there were only about 6 photo's in the show.

But this time Simen has included 2 sculptures.

Picture_007I guess taxidermy is popular this year in the art world.  These 2 sculptures, one free standing white arctic wolf(photo #3), and one wall mounted stag (photo #2) both have long flowing hair extensions.  Can you say.. The Adams Family - Cousin IT scupltures??

Well..they were interesting, but, I have to admit.. I liked the photography much more than these 2 hairy figures. The show is on display till April 1st.

Next stop :

The Charles Cowles Gallery. Their new show is a first solo exhibition for SVA teacher Jil Weinstock tittled Waistline.

Picture_019These very colorful pieces were mostly from the artists grandmother's original vintage dresses cast into rubber. (photo #4)There are both wall and floor pieces and while they all do give the viewer a certain sense of nostalgia, I felt they lacked further depth and thought. There was little additional material or color brought, by the artist, into these flat rubber compositions.

I found myself (and most of the other visitors) taking more time to look at the amazing George Nakashima table, and Edward Burtynsky China Series photos on the gallery office wall! This new show is on view till March 25th.

303 Gallery - Inka Essenhigh, Amazing!!

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I've been a fan of Inka's paintings for a long time. Too bad the MAO art acquisitions department can't figure out a way to swing one of these!!  Hey... It's only $80k for each of these new works. Ouch!

I love her fantastic hybrid figures, and wonderful strong colors. Whenever I look at one of her paintings I always think, "How did she come up with these figures and this scene?" What a great drug she must be on imagination at work!

In Inka's new work, "Spring" 2006 (photo #5), her extraterrestrial like creatures truly dance on the canvas.  My photo doesn't do it justice.. go see them for yourself! The show is open till April 8th.

Then.. saving the best for last.. I went to the opening/after party of The Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery..

They have 2 great shows going on at the same time..

Picture_030The recent work of highly celebrated artist Kara Walker.. which presents her second film titled "Eight Possible Beginnings..."

I already went back to see this film a second time. It's both funny and a powerful commentary on race, and sexuality in our society. 

Also.. Opening March 21st at The Metropolitan Museum.. Kara Walker at the Met : After the Deluge. So I'm sure we'll be seeing lot's of press on Kara!

In the main gallery, they have, a fun group show of 6 young, up and coming artists. Curated by Michael Jenkins, "Turn the Beat Around" is a show which features both several paintings and sculptures. I found the witty sculpture work of

Chris_dorlandartist Ryan Johnson (Photo #9), and Todd Knopke (Photo #7) plus the great paintings of Chris Dorland (Photo #8) to be the true highlights.

Todd Knopke ( first solo show, June'03 at I-20 Gallery) has both a sign with the phrase "Everything is Beautiful Here" lit up along with this hysterical furry white tusked elephant.. Which I was most emphatically corrected.. "It's a Mammoth, not an elephant silly!" when I took this photo.

Ryan Johnson's handmade modern shopping cart in the shape of a huge spear was perhaps one of the more amusing works I've seen in a long time.

Ryan_cartI believe this is one of Ryan's first gallery group shows.

I was also impressed with the 3 acid colored paintings by Chris Dorland. I've been a fan of this artist ever since his feature at ~scope Miami this past Dec.  Both Art Papers and art blogger Ed Winkleman have written about Chris Dorland's work.

It's my understanging, as a starting inspiration for his painting, Chris uses 1960's architectural photos which he digitally manipulates to create his own idealized urban settings.  As a photography collecting nut enthusiast, just the concept of a Post-Photographic painter, got me hooked on his brilliantly colored, haunting modern landscapes. Chris Dorland is represented by The Wendy Cooper Gallery in Chicago, and the Plus Ultra Gallery in NYC which I believe will have the next show for Chris in this Fall.

Don't miss this show.. it's genuinely impressive in this "Golden Age of Art Merchandising" (and the Mr. Greedy Art Dealer Awards) to see a major Chelsea gallery showcase all works by emerging artists which they do not represent.  Very refreshing! "Turn the beat around" is on view till March 4th.

March 07, 2006

Chelsea Gallery Walk Part I

First off.. For all those who like to plan their Chelsea gallery walks, be sure to check out this great website : www.chelseaArtGalleries.com I never seem to have enough time when walking through the galleries.  But this website helps and it has quickly become my favorite pre-gallery time saving tool. Plus they also have maps, and now links to several of the Best NYC Art Blogs!!

So.. This Sat afternoon I got to do my regular monthly prowl around the Chelsea galleries..

First Stop.. The Aperture Foundation and Gallery on 27th between 10th/11th. They have a pretty Fontcuberta1 big show up of Joan Fontcuberta work from his new Landscape Without Memory book/project (photo #1) published by aperture.  The work is certainly beautiful.  And impressive to know that they are all computer generated using geographic rendering software, and based on input from scanned data from several famous landscape paintings. For me seeing the first one was a bit of a gee-wiz experience.. but as I looked at more of these, they quickly lost their appeal.  I actually was a bit disappointed with this show. While I've always liked Fontcuberta's work for his originality and creativity, this show, and his newest work up on 57th street at Zabrinski Gallery (also computer based images) both seemed to lack that same level of originality his past work. They all seemed a bit tired themes that we've all seen before by other artists. The works also were a bit too structured and formula based. All in all, not too interesting, and I expected more from this artist.

Second Stop - FOLEYgallery to see the first solo show of photographer Caitlin Atkinson before it Caitlin_atkinson closed (March 4th). This show was much better than I had expected. I find Caitlin's staged photo creations of everyone's little nightmare life scenarios totally funny and engaging.  Her work is very fresh and original. Each photo is named based on a date of the event. This one is Chapter 17, June, 2004.. it's that fear and sense of vulnerability everyone has when they take their clothes off at the beach for the first time in summer. In this case taken to an extreme as a nude woman charges into the surf! I look forward to seeing what this artist does next!

Picture_003Third Stop  (actually not my third stop.. but the only show I liked enough to discuss) -  Galerie Lelong to hear political activist artist Alfredo Jaar speak and give an introduction to the premiere of his first movie Muxima.  Film stills are also presented in the front gallery. (See photo # 3 & 4)

I had only known his work though the Aperture Magazine's Winter 2005 issue. Which I had found very powerful. This 36 minute film is created around 6 recordings of the Angolan folk song (Muxima) and divided into 10 cantos. I found these short films to be filled with powerful images which were both beautiful, quietly emotional.  During his brief introduction Alfredo emphasized his goal of making political art that can effect change. I think he succeeds. Seeing his movie really moved me, and made me aware of the hardship of the Angolan people.

Picture_002The haunting music (the only soundtrack) added a great narrative texture to the film. In the grand scheme of The Chelsea Art World, taking 40 minutes out to see this film, was time well spent. I really loved this one. I laughed, I cried. It's actually a heart breaker, but I'm such a sucker for this stuff!

FYI, this show is only showing at Galerie Lelong until March 18th.

Alfredo will be there again this Sat at 4pm to give an introduction.

Sebast_bremer Last Stop (for part one!) was at Roebling Hall. They have a show for Sebastiaan Bremer. This was the first time I had ever seen his work.  It's striking, the best words to describe these drawings would have to be Visual Intensity!

This new exhibition of drawings on large scale color photographs is pretty amazing.(See photo #5 Ilha Das Cobras - revisited)

I believe he's using various personal family photo's splashed with added color.  It's a little hard to make out the original image. When looking at these, I couldn't help but think.. Wow..how obsessive this guy must be much work these are to create.  These are impressive in their sheer size and insane complexity.  Instead of using normal drawn lines, Bremer mostly uses dots! Millions & Millions of tiny Dots!! Can you say obsessive??  Which he's used these dots to fill the photos with drawings of historic references to dutch paintings. This was kind of cool, but alittle forced as there wasn't a strong connection (I could figure out) between the photographic image and the context of the drawings. Still, I liked the work overall..and it's one impressive effort, but totally Obsessive!

hhmmm.. almost like a Modern Art Obsession!

March 06, 2006

The MAO Grand Slam - Wolfgang Tillmans at P.S.1

Thursday Night I went to see Wolfgang Tillmans give a gallery walk through of his new show Freedom From The Known, at P.S.1  (On view now - Till May 29th, also FYI, P.S.1 will stay open late till 9pm this Saturday March 11th for all the Armory Show visitors in town)

Picture_040    As you might expect, this night was already looking like a certain "deep hit to the outfield, stand-up double".. seeing a new show by one of my favorite hot artists at one of my favorite museums, and getting to hear the artist describe it in his own words. 

Now most people won't completely understand this.. but, for the Modern Art Obsessed, nights with Dr Quiz don't get much better than this!
     Well... it did.  As it turns out.. they had just arrived fresh off the Steidl presses..For only $25, copies of Wolfgang's newest book!  Freedom From The Known. And we have an "In the Park Triple!!!" Can things get any better???

    Yes.. they can.. cause Wolfgang turned out to be an outstanding speaker (see photo's).  The show is great! Don't miss it!  He gave the group of (about 50 lucky) people a candid and insightful 90 minute talk.  Plus he took questions, plus stuck around afterwords to chat with all interested Tillmans Groupies, plus received a big endearing hug/kiss from PS1 Curatorial  Adviser Bob Nickas in front of the crowd, and even signed copies of his new book for his fans! (FYI...There's a singed copy now listed for sale online now for $125.00) And we have an "Out of the Park Home Run!! The crowd cheers!"
Picture_045_1   OK. Now, I'm sure by now most of you are green with "Modern Art" envy.. Sorry.. Not everyone was obsessed lucky enough to attend the lecture.  I'm sure many of you were probably busy drinking bad wine at one wise ArtBloggers Grand Opening party for Chelsea's newest hot Art Gallery last Thursday night. Which I regretfully missed. Sorry Ed.. I promise to stop by soon!

But then something truly miraculous happened Thursday night!  It must have been a high tide, or my new haircut or something.... cause the people from the uber rich/all important gallery representation for Wolfgang Tillmans, a notoriously un-MAO friendly dealer, who typically would effortlessly step right over a small time collector, in their tall cold black leather boots, if we were spewing blood on the sidewalk, actually acknowledged us when I said hello.  Can you say total shock and awe??

They even almost remembered my name. Wow.. I almost blushed!  What was more shocking, They stuck around for a few extra minutes, from their all self important schedule, to actually ask if we had liked the lecture, and if we'd been enjoying the dozen or so Tillmans photographs they had allowed us to purchase over the years.  Wow.. so how nice is that..?? A big time gallery actually being human and nice to a mere small time private collector.  See.. it must be the art BLOG I thought!  This just made the night a truly remarkable "MAO Bases Loaded, Out-of-the-Park, Grand Slam" Event! WoooHooo!

Now.. Lastly.. what's with the Sunday NY Times..??  Have the editors completely lost their minds??
So instead of running a review (or interview) of The Wolfgang Tillmans PS1 show, they run this foolish story titled "POSSESSED, The Sent of a Man" featuring Wolfgang Tillmans.. in the weekend STYLE section. Download TillmansScent_NYT060305.txt   

It's a totally pointless wasteful article about Tillmans and Mennen Speed Stick Deodorant. I'm not kidding, read it for yourself.  The writer David Colman should be shot makes the claim "Wolfgang is a traitor to his art" and goes on to say "he does precious little more than point..." What is he talking about??  Why is he writing this? Why did they print that? Just my opinion..But, David should probably stick to interviewing runway models or writing about dresses, hemlines and Project Runway.. and leave the interviews with Turner Prize winning Artists to the Arts writers. Yikes!!

Art Attendance?

If you had any question.. Where is all the growth/demand (geographically) in the Art World going to be over the next few years..???  Here's a list of the most widely attended art museum shows from around the world during 2005.

2005 Museum Show Ranked By Daily Attendance

1. Hokusai: Tokyo National Museum. (9,436 daily)

2. National Treasures of the Toshodaiji Temple: Tokyo National.

3. 19th-Century Masterpieces From the Louvre: Yokohama Museum.

4. Vincent Van Gogh Drawings: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.(6,571 daily)

5. Cezanne and Pissarro: Museum of Modern Art, New York.

6. Turner Whistler Monet: Grand Palais, Paris. (6,043 daily)

7. 19th-Century Masterpieces From the Louvre: Kyoto City Museum.

8. Thomas Demand: Museum of Modern Art, New York.

9. Tutankhamun and the Pharaohs: Los Angeles County Mus. of Art.

10. Van Gogh in Context: National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

11. Masterpieces From Museum Island, Berlin: Tokyo National.

12. Tutankhamun, Golden Beyond: Kunst der Bundesrepublik, Bonn.

13. Chanel: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

14. Friedlander: MoMA, New York.

15. Works From the UBS Collection: MoMA, New York.

16. Groundswell, Contemporary Landscape: MoMA, New York.

17. Matisse, His Art and Textiles: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

18. Salvador Dali: Philadelphia Museum of Art.

19. Turner Whistler Monet, Tate Britain, London. (4,024 daily)

20. Dresden, Mirror of World: Nat. Mus. of Western Art, Tokyo.

(Source: Artnewspaper, London)

So, 4 of the top 7, and 6 out of the top 11 were in Japan!! This is the second year of Japan topping the list! Here's a full story & extended list with all the detail numbers from Artnewspaper.. Download artAttendance.pdf

Also very interesting.. 2 of the top 6 US Museum shows in attendance were of Photography by Living Artists!  Thomas Demand, and Lee Friedlander.  Is this just popular fancy, US museums pandering to the public masses for purely financial interests.. or a continuing trend towards acceptance of new media as a dominate force in 21st century Art?

Hmmm.. Maybe that's why those opportunistic wise people  at Sotheby's are holding their first..

Contemporary Art Asia: China Japan Korea Auction on March 31st in NYC !

March 03, 2006

www.ModernArtObsession.com

We've had a Major Technological Breakthrough over at MAO today.

Check out : www.ModernArtObsession.com

Dogchasingtail_2Filed Under the topic of

"Teaching An Old Art Collector New Web Tricks"

we've managed to set up our very

own web domain!!

It's amazing what fun $2 per year spent at Yahoo can bring!

So..I promise all loyal MOA readers..

Absolutely Nothing will change here at MAO, not even the bad spelling or grammar !!

Dogchasingtail_doch

Andy Warhol & Kota Ezawa at The 2006 Whitney Biennial - 3rd MAO Art Quiz

3rd MAO Art Quiz..

We have a Winner!! In under 8 hours! I think the next quiz will just have to be a bit harder!

The works were correctly identified by several MAO quizlings.
But only one brave "Art Soldier" took up the challenge to find the current museum show where both of these pieces are featured.  NB : An honorable mention goes out to my bud JG, who would have won, but she forced me to stand out in the damn frigid cold for an hour in a half Thursday night because SHE JUST HAD TO GET INTO THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL! And Now I'm sick with a bad cold!! But I digress...

Quiz3_b_1 So, The first work, was by

Kota Ezawa "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" 2005 Video, Color, silent.

  This video, is the artists color cartoon version of 2 famous tragic historic events. The famed grainy 8mm Zepruder film of the JFK assassination, and he has weaved it together with images from the 1915  D.W. Griffith's epic film The Birth of a Nation about the Abe Lincoln assassination at Fords Theater . Quiz3_a_1

The second work was Andy Warhol's Electric Chair, 1971 Color Screenprint.

It's a super famous classic Warhol mass media work. I just love this versions hot fire red and yellow.. almost making it look like the electric chair is somewhere in the depths of hell!!

Both of these works are currently at The Whitney, in the Wrong Gallery's Biennial contribution. (Rogue's Gallery) The show is named "Down by Law".   Where it explores the myths of the American Outlaw. The group show was curated by a team lead by artist Maurizio Cattelan.  The one-room exhibition-within-an-exhibition is on the Gilman G mezzanine.  This show also features works by MAO favorite artists.. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, David Wojnarowicz, Robert Mapplethorpe, Fred Tomaselli, Larry Clark, Paul Cadmus, Vik Muniz, Kara Walker, and Weegee. 

I found this story/interview Download WrongGalleryReview.txt by Carly Berwick of Bloomberg News about the "Down by Law" show with the Wrong Gallery's curatorial team.

Lastly for those who are not yet familiar with Kota Ezawa's work.. I've been told he will be the featured Artist speaking at the up coming Guggenheim SuperCinema: Materials Lecture on Tuesday March 14th at 6:30pm http://www.guggenheim.org/education/tours_lectures.shtml

FYI... So Art Soldier wisely chose a membership to the American Association of Museums.

Nice Job.. and good luck to all for next months Art Quiz!

March 02, 2006

2006 Whitney Biennial Members Preview

First off.. Who knew The Whitney had so many god damn members??  Whenever I've been to the Whitney Museum, it's almost always empty!  Well... We, and like 1000+ other members, waited in the freakin cold for what seemed like "Day and Nights." This ??  Just to get into the typically uninteresting preview opening for the Whitney Biennial 2006 "Day for Night" Show last night.

By 8:30pm, the line stretched around 2 city blocks.. that's right..!! Not 1.. but 2+ full city blocks!! So by the time we got in.. it was insanely crowded.. the coat check looked like something out of a Barney's Warehouse Sale.  Plus, we only saw the first, and half the second floor's of the show before the over whelmed guards pushed everyone back out into the cold.

So... Picture_022Here's a picture of the sidewalk, and a cool piece of chromed disassembled bicycle parts, not sure who's the artist. But, this is where we spent most of the night.. freezing our butts off!! I was numb (not in a good way) by the time we got inside.

Well..it may have been worth the wait and hypothermia.  Much to my surprise, even from what little I got to see..the show is very interesting and engaging.  Not at all what I expected from a Biennial!  Lot's of artists were new and refreshing to me, but the works all had a well connected feel.  It was not just a big kitchen soup of gallery hyped art like some of the past Biennials. One small negative.. There was very little photography.. but hey.. you can't please everyone!  What?  No Loretta Lux, No Ruud Van Empel, No John Currin, No Mike Kelley, No Gregory Crewdson, No Andres Serrano, No Richard Prince, No Damien Hirst..Etc... ?? Wow.. How Refreshing!!

In the lobby of the 3rd floor was this sculpture by Liz Larner, RWB's, 2005... I'm not sure if it was my camera, cause it just seemed like one big blur to me!!  Well, we were pushed out so fast into the damn stairwell..  I barely had a chance to see it!Picture_026








In the lobby of the second floor was this neon lit covered wagon. Actually pretty cool.. again not sure who the artist was.. since it was jammed, and I couldn't find the wall label.Picture_024

They have some really cool video's. I loved the Gore Vidal Caligula film trailer by Italian artist (I thought the WB was all about American Art?) Francesco Vezzoli. In this age of American obsessed media and TV.. this piece takes a refreshingly funny stab at our Hollywood Celebrity Crazed Cinema. Plus it's got a very fitting ending by none other than Courtney Love.. it doesn't get any more kitchy than this! I loved it! This weekend Linda Yablonsky of The NY Times gave a detailed report of the work with some funny comments by Mr. Vezzoli's

The Kranky Klaus, 2002 color video (26 minutes)by Cameron Jamie was mesmerizing. You just have to love his horned hairy goat people roaming the Austrian countryside, and their pagan myth of Krampus. It's not exactly for the UES prudish moviegoer, but, I'll have to go back to see the rest of this one.

Other standouts... The Zoe Strauss slide show.  Don't miss it!  Her gritty South Philadelphia Inner City Photography has all the beauty, wit, and sensations of Alec Soth's wonderful Mississippi work from the last Whitney Biennial.

Lastly the 2 large Kelley Walker digital prints on canvas were suggestive of classic silk screened Warhols, but with a very different twist.  These pieces are not slick clean lined-up TV icons, but he's spun them around, and tarnished the media images with stains of chocolate syrup. Giving the work a bruised trampled feel of some dark underground world.

All I can say.. I'll have to go back to see the rest of the show.. and Shame on The Whitney for giving out way too many invitations to last night's event.  Making your supporting members wait hours out in the cold for the preview was foolish, unnecessary, but I guess it's better than waiting out in the snow like people will be doing today!

Some 2006 Whitney Biennial Reviews are already out (I'll add more as I find them)...

  1. Jerry Saltz of the Voice,
  2. Lance Esplund of The NY Sun,
  3. "Red, White and Bleak," Washington Post by Blake Gopnik
  4. Michael Kimmelman NYT, "Biennial 2006 : Short on Pretty, Long on Collaboration"
  5. Linda Yablonsky, Download File Blommberg News

March 01, 2006

3rd MAO Art Quiz for Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, which starts the 40 day fasting and penitence season in preparation for Easter, known as Lent.. to all those pagan MAO readers out there.  As I might expect, some of "us" Dr. Quiz, SheepBoy, C-Squared, Jauntarded, Smurf, Dutch, Rocco, Mayor, Hobbit, SugaBoooger, etc may even have a lot to repent for this year!

But it's also the first of March, which means... art quiz day! So for those MAO Quizlings not too hungover from last nights Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras parties to think a bit.. here goes,

3rd MAO Art Quiz..

So in keeping with the dark Christian, penitence, punishment, Lent, Easter Crucifixion, outcast, condemned, evildoer, general theme to inspire this months Art Quiz.. and, after all.. where would the art world be without pain, punishment, and evil??   

We have these two works of Modern Art. 

- So first, the easy part, identify each artist who created the work, and then both of these 2 works are currently on display in a Museum/Gallery show..

-Secondly, to separate the novice modern art fan from the truly Modern Art Obsessed.. Name the current Museum/Gallery show.

Work # 1. Note.. this 1st work, is a a still from a video..Name the Video, and the Modern Artist

Quiz3_b

Work #2. Quiz3_aA Color Print

The first person to get all the exact correct answers, will win a 1 year general subscription to a Museum of their choosing. 

If you'd like to email your answer, that's OK too. ModernArtObsession@yahoo.com

Good luck.. and as always.. Dr. Quiz will serve as Judge and Jury if there's any question who's the rightful winner.