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15 posts from February 2006

February 28, 2006

More March Art Auction Mania?? Maybe!

First off... Happy Fat Tuesday & Mardi Gras Everyone!

Secondly.. Tomorrow, March 1st, is the next MAO Art Quiz.. and seeming the last quiz was answered correctly by several astute MAO readers within 10 minutes of the quiz post.. you can expect this month to be just a bit more difficult! Good Luck All!

Well.. I was quite depressed last week.  For the first time in probably over 5 years I didn't win even Steichen one freaking lot at all the February Photography Auctions.. I came close on a few.. that $2,928,000 Edward Steichen's "The Pond - Moonlight" was almost within my grasp, granted I would of needed to sell Dr. Quiz into slavery our East Hampton House (aka.. Pupschwitz) to pay for it.. But for some strange reason, insanity frugalness got the best of me! Go Figure !! Who knew I had such remarkable restraint and could actually stop bidding once they started setting new record high prices.

C'est La Vie.. March is a new month!! Which means new opportunities to waste spend Dr. Quiz's hard earned money at the art auction. 

Here's a few of the NYC coming attractions...

  1. Phillips - Artist for Chinati, Contemporary Art March 13th
  2. Phillips - Under the Influence, Contemporary Art, March 14th
  3. Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction, March 15th
  4. Christies - First Open, Post War and Contemporary Art, March 16th
  5. Christies - Modern and Contemporary Art March 30th
  6. Sotheby's Contemporary Art Asia : China Japan Korea March 31st

February 24, 2006

Ethics and Greed at the Biennial??

Question : So why was the Lion walking behind a herd of elephants eating the elephant dung??

Answer : Because it had just eaten a 2006 Whitney Biennial Co-Curator and wanted to get the bad taste out of it's mouth.

Edna Well.. I know this is just possibly rumor and speculation by one smart tipped off Anonymous Militant Art Bitch blogger.. But you've got to read Edna's Post today!

Even if they didn't profit intentionally.. it smells pretty bad and the co-curators should have known better!  As a frequent Whitney Museum donor..it's depressing (but not too surprising) to think the heralded Biennial has been corrupted for personal gain by one of it's curators.

February 23, 2006

The Art Show - ADAA

The Art Show at the 67th Street Armory. February 23-27th. Just A bit boring this year!

Well... Nothing too new here... The show was high on attitude, pretense, but actually very low on viewers.  I went at 5:30pm yesterday.. I could hear a pin drop.  Well, almost, if it weren't for the Vivaldi Musak, and lots of uber self important art dealers busy chattering on their cell phones (of course doing their very bitchy best to totally ignore me) there wouldn't have been a peep!!  I guess the UES Blue hairs were busy dinning at Daniel or some other overpriced place.  Interestingly, it didn't look to me that many of the works were sold yet.  But this story( Download TheArtShow06.txt) by Bloomberg News does suggests otherwise.

Theartshow_1 All I can say, to all the disgruntle, un-invited Art Blogger community, you didn't miss much!  This space always seems small, cold and cramped to me.  And even with 70 galleries presenting, there were few new interesting works.  Many of the galleries, were unfocused, and had the same exact works they had last year, which they also brought to Art Basel Miami, and at the Amory Pier Show last year. For example.. Luhring Augustine brought the same Gregory Crewdson dull work.. that I've seen and hated at every fair!  Also.. AN FYI.. The average price in most booths was about $100k, so as expected, this is not a fair for most humans on the planet.

Some of the only standouts (in my very biased order of preference) were the single artist booths....

1. Man Ray by Zabriskie Gallery

2. Francis Picabia at Michael Werner

3. Alex Katz at Pace Wildenstein

4. One Huge, James Rosenquist Painting at Richard L. Feigen & Co.

So my advice.. unless you're shopping for another Multi Million dollar Jasper Johns (like the one shown by Matthew Marks) for your living room.. save yourself the $20 admission fee, the time, and the attitude for March 10th - The Big Armory Show, or Pulse, or ~scopeNewYork ... they should be a bit more interesting.

February 22, 2006

P.S.1 - MAO Collection - Wolfgang Tillmans


So, I've been meaning to post some new additions to The MAO family collection for a while.  I'll start with these photographs by Wolfgang Tillmans.  He's one of my favorite living artists.

First off, everytime I read his name in any press it's always followed by "2000 Tate - Turner Prize Winner". Well.. since the Turner Prize was awarded to "the person who, in the opinion of the jury, has made the greatest contribution to art in Britain in the previous twelve months".. I guess it's impressive for a German Photographer to win! Or is it more a reflection on there being so few decent new accomplished British artists?? Hmmm... not sure..

Anyway, Wolfie has been on the MAO hit list for a long time. Ever since picking up his 1998 book BURG, I've been a fan and collector.  There's just something about his still life's and human culture images that just connected with my contorted NYC aesthetic me.  I find his ability to  make the ordinary, special, most appealing. 

This first photo was a recent bargain auction purchase, and one I've wanted for a long time, but it had been sold out for years. 

(Photo #1, Window Caravaggio, 1997)

These next 2, are newer works.  The first one I got suckered into spotted at Art Basel Miami. It's amazing what a few too many martini's at lunch poolside can do for art sales.  Yes.. I know Dr. Quiz.. I'll leave Rocco the credit card at home this year!  (Photo #2 Faltenwuf, "Twisted", 2000)


So for all you Wolfgang Tillmans fans out there.. You're in luck.. He's got his first major American museum show opening up at P.S. 1 on February 26th and running to May 29th. The show's titled "Wolfgang Tillmans : Freedom from the Known"

It sounds like the show is going to include 25 new large-scale abstract works, plus some older figurative works, from the series Empire taken from 1991 to 2002.

Special Event not to be missed : On March 2nd at 6pm Wolfgang Tillmans will lead a gallery walk/discussion through the show... It will be interesting to hear what the artist has to say about these purely abstract photographs.. because I for one, have never fully understood them! But then again... I'm easily confused!

The third photo, added to the collection, was also a new work. It just had a certain raunchy fantasy appeal.. I'm not sure why... (Photo #3, Stripped, 2003)

But, lastly.. for those like me who love his early work, there will be a major retrospective of Wolfgang Tillmans coming up soon! The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago will present a full retrospective, opening on May 20 - August 13, 2006. Chicago summer road trip anyone??

February 19, 2006

Happy Birthday Dr. Quiz!! & Edvard Munch

HAPPY Birthday Dr. QUIZ!!

Munch_scream OK.. you'll have to call and wish her a Happy Birthday for yourself.. and YOU can ask THE QUESTION..!!  cause if I ever put her age on this blog.. my 11 year relationship would never make it to a dozen!! Now I just need to find a birthday cake large enough to fit all these damn candles !!

So, I went to the preview (with all the rest of NYC) Thurs night to see the "Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul" show at MOMA.. on view now till May 8th.  amazing show.. too many people (most drinking at the free bar and talking too much..). But the show was great.. I had never seen so many of these works in person before, cause, like who ever goes to Oslo?  Where?? So don't miss your chance to see it here! The only disappointment with the show is there's no SCREAM painting.. just 2 litho's in The back.. (NYT- review)

   But bring some good friends (or some Prozac) with you to see the show.. cause the work is powerful.. but such depressing images !! Yikes!

February 15, 2006

William Kentridge At MOMA

Keeping with this week's MAO political theme postings...

Tonight started a 6 day showing of all the William Kentridge Films at MOMA. I've not seen all these short films yet.. but just picked up tickets for Monday night.... I believe the Public Art Fund showed these films this summer in Central Park.. but it poured down rain.. See slide show of People sitting in the rain watching the films. Yuk! Think hot,wet, crowded, and buggy.. not fun.

Kentridge01aThis is the South African Artist's deeply personal animated films about the complex and often violent history of apartheid. Show times : Wednesday, February 15, 8:30; Thursday, February 16, 8:00; Friday, February 17, 8:00; Saturday, February 18, 6:00; Sunday, February 19, 5:00; Monday, February 20, 8:00.

Here's MOMA's brief description of this 78 min film :
    William Kentridge’s 9 Drawings for Projection (2005). This feature-length 35mm film, composed of nine short animated films made between 1989 and 2003, traces the public and private life of Soho Eckstein, a mine owner, land developer, and cuckold, against the ever-changing social and political realities of South Africa. Kentridge (b. 1955, Johannesburg) begins his films with a single drawing that he alters, adds to, and subtracts from, bit by bit, photographing each change.

Also... William Kentridge has got a new show at Marian Goodman Gallery...WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: The Magic Flute: Drawings and Projections, which runs till Feb 25th.  This show features 50 working drawings, fragments, a 20 minute film, and a complete working mini-theater model which were used in the production of Kentridge's recent interpretation  of the Mozart opera (Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels, spring 2005).
Here's a review by...
                Art In America by Faye Hirsch

February 14, 2006

Impact of Blogs on Art Auction Market

WOW !!! It's amazing the effects a blog can have on the Art Auction Market...!!!

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Auction, London Feb 10th, 2006..Sets 7 new artist records!! But this should be NO Surprise to the Wise Jan'06 MAO Readers...  Here's an excerpt from an ArtInfo.com Story...   But the clear best buy of the night...??? Hmmmm... Looks familiar...?? Hands down.. goes to Lot #12

Mao_7_warhol  Andy Warhol, Mao 7; Sold for: £1,464,000/$2,554,387 (est.£400-600,000)

This 50-by-42 inch acrylic and silkscreen ink painting is from 1973, executed at a time when the Cold War and threat of a Communist world order was very much part of the popular culture—making Mao’s glamorized image a radical parody. And Icon of  a well known NYC based Art Blog.

Instead of the black-and-white propaganda tones of the great leader’s appropriated image, Warhol "tarted" it up with hand-painted passages of pinks, greens and yellows.

Fresh to the market, the riveting "blog icon" portrait triggered intense bidding. New York art trader (And clearly a Regular MAO Blog Reader !!!) Alberto Mugrabi , a major player in the Warhol market, bought the painting at more than double its high estimate.

Mugrabi also acquired Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes [lot 51] (est. £250-350,000) later in the sale for £612,800.

"Brilliant" Quotes from the Auction Crowd : “I am totally confused by the market,” said New York dealer Barbara Mathes who bought at the auction, but preferred not to identify her purchase. “You wonder how long the prices can keep going up, yet there seems to be insatiable demand, and price doesn’t get in the way.”.

Warhol is a global artist in an increasingly global market,” said New York art dealer Larry Gagosian.

2 NY dealers.. One's confused, the other uses the word GLOBAL twice a 10 word statement.. Someone tell these 2 old timers.. they clearly need to read the art blogs if they want some real art insight!!

February 13, 2006

Baghdad Journal By Steve Mumford - MAO Book of the Month

Happy Valentines Day All MAO Readers!  So, did you all hear how Dick Cheney is capitalizing in on this shooting accident for Valentines Day? The Republicans are rolling out a new Dick Cheney cologne.. It's called DUCK!  Actually, Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, a 78-year-old lawyer. When everyone found out he shot a lawyer, his approval rating went up!

OK.. well.. as they say.. All is fair in love and war..I know I've had a few dozen war filled rationships..MAO Heart's Dr. Quiz... so what better choice for an Art Book of the Month on Valentines Day than..

Baghdad Journal, An Artist In Occupied Iraq by Steve Mumford. It's has been out for a bit, released in late 2005 by Drawn & Quarterly Books, Montreal... but I just got a copy this weekend.

189659790401_aa240_sclzzzzzzz_Many Artnet.com readers my be familiar with some of these artworks.. Or maybe you were lucky enough to see a few of these at the Greater NY show this summer at P.S.1. That was the first time I had ever seen any Steve Mumford's work.  In short.. it's Photo-Journalism.. but this time done without photography and by a skilled watercolor artist!  Actually I think this body of drawings work better in book form than in a gallery show. The results of seeing the entire project.. I found amazing. 

Mumford embedded himself with many US Military units as a documentary artist.  While the book is not overly political, it's images are powerful. The work includes 4 years of watercolors and drawings spent in wartime Iraq.  Steve Mumford documents everyday life activities of both the local population, other journalists, local artists, Iraq insurgents, as well as many US soldiers. He also documents US Patrols on raids, and combat missions. I found the images of the war aftermath the most moving.. images of wounded civilians, burning buildings, and  POWs.

Baghdadj02The book is filled with a narrative directly lifted from Mr. Mumford daily journals which vividly describe almost every image.

There's a definite photographic eye Mumford has used when picking his subjects.  We've all been bombarded with war time imagery from TV coverage of the Iraq war, these watercolors look as if they are almost caricatures of TV broadcasts.  But there is a unsettling beauty seeing  watercolors...which are most typically the medium for pretty pastoral landscapes and flowers, appropriated to document the horrors of war. Very Powerful.

Mumford The most disturbing example is the image of detainees, with hoods over their heads, titled simply “Suspects,” and presented without comment. While Mumford generally avoids a strong political message, this image does give strong reference to the Abu Ghrib prisoner abuse.

NYT critic Michael Kimmelman wrote of his work presented at PS1...“They announce a mature artist looking closely at what is urgently unfolding around him. Their traditional sobriety stands out in a show that, like the burbling young art world now, seems gladly co-opted and almost too able to please.”

I think the book is better than seeing just a few works on a museum wall.. it gives the reader a differnet perspective on the Iraq war, this time through a painters eye.

"So, Cheney's defense is that he was aiming at a quail when he shot the guy. Which means that Cheney now has the worst aim of anyone in the White House since Bill Clinton"-Jay Leno

February 10, 2006

AIPAD NYC Fair & The 1st MAO : Greedy Art Dealer AWARD

The Curators and Collectors AIPAD Preview yesterday over at the 7th Regiment Armory was a poorly attended event yesterday. The AIPAD Fair is there till Feb 12th.  It looks good, lots of things to see, a few early MAO observations..

1. It seemed smaller than last years Fair.

2. No heat in the building, you could see your breath in parts of the fair.

3. I counted 11 Dealers who had Diane Arbus Prints for Sale, all at pretty high prices.

4. There was a surprising lack of New Color Photography, may dealer were strictly vintage B&W.

Now, I've never been a fan of buying secondary works at Art Fairs. I'm much more of an Auction Junkie. I think it's best to find (one or 2) honest/knowledgeable/trustworthy dealers to work exclusively with to find secondary pieces for your collection.  But there's one thing that drives me absolutely bat shit crazy nuts... Dealer buying something at a very recent auction, and then marking it up immediately to an insane price. I believe there's a funny commercial by Ameritrade... that jokes about this. It's always on CNBC. Which gave me the idea to create something new.

The 1st Official MOA :


Mrgreedyartdealer      Now, as you might imagine, the competition is steep for such a shady prestigious award. And sad to say, there were several worthy contenders at the Fair.  But for this years, AIPAD 2006, it goes hands down to the GREEDY, Irresponsible, Rip Your Clients Off, Should Probably Be Barred From The AIPAD Association, Janet Lehr Inc/Vered Art an NYC/East End LI thief gallery.

So this greedy dealer purchased 2 Robert Mapplethorpe Color Photo's at the Christies October 10th sale. (results attached).. I know.. cause I was sitting right behind them in the auction room.

Lot 230.. Mapplethorpe's "Orchid, 1989" 22.5x22.5 #1/5 signed by the estate sold for $19,200. Now Offered at $85,000 by Janet Lehr Inc/Vered Art

Lot 235...Mapplethorpe's "Jack-in-the-Pulpit, 1988" 26.5x20.5, #2/7 Signed by the artist, sold for $22,800, Now Offered at $95,000 by Janet Lehr Inc/Vered Art

Granted you say.. well they took the risk, they saw the value in these 2 photographs. Maybe, but these are not works by an unknown artist... it's Robert Mapplethorpe's Flower Photos, which are as much of a known value as it gets in photography collecting.   But charging a 443% Mark-UP on the first one, and a 417% Mark-Up on the second photo in a 4 month time period borders on criminal. I'm all for dealers and artists making money for all the great work they do.. but a 400% mark up is not reasonable. It's Predatory !!  And it's sad that people like this make me (and I'm sure others) really distrust so many art dealers for being nothing more than taking advantage of their customers. My advice, stay far away, and never buy anything from Janet Lehr Inc/Vered Art.

Please Don't reward this type of Greedy Unethical Behavior!  And frankly.. I think other dealers should be mad at these stupid greedy people as well.. it gives your profession a bad reputation!

February 09, 2006

Chelsea Gallery Walk Part II

Part II.. the Roaming Continues...

4th Stop..
Zach Fauer Gallery (LFL).. AKA.. The NADA God.. The second show by Jin Meyerson called

Jin Meyerson - "High Cholesterol Moment"  First off... My lame photo's don't do this work justice.. these paintings are mesmerizing and confusing.  The work reminded me of last November's Lari Pittman show at The Gladstone Gallery. I found these painting to be complete visual Over-Stimulation!
Picture_028The details have to be seen for yourself. They are very large works, with intense complex images. They are modern landscapes which have both movement, and congestion.

(photo 1, I believe this one is called LandFall.. my notes were blurred from the rain)

These scrambled images feel a bit forced, almost puzzle like at times, but there's also a certain beauty in their balance and precision.

Next Stop.. was Metro Pictures...

They have a group show.. of completely unrelated work. So it's basically 3 different shows in one.

Cindy Sherman's animated film.."Doll Clothes" from 1975. Which is probably the last time she did anything original. Like, Can this narcissistic woman ever take pictures of someone other than herself? Please!!

OK.. I'm Just kidding!! So please .. no militant feminine man-hater emials. Actually, the film is brilliant, go see it, cause you'll probably never get a chance to see it again. It's only up till February 18th.

And talk about fruity tooty..Olaf Breuning's installation, "A Group of Unstable Lemon Pigs" (see photo's 2 and 3)

It's like the California Raisins..come to Chelsea.

It's very funny work, and is stemming from an edition Olaf did for Parkett Editions in 2004. These smiling pigs (aka Lemmings) march up the stairs and walk off the blank, smashing onto the floor. Very subtle!!

Their 3rd artist show.. I hated.. so not worth writing about!

    Next Stop..

Stux Gallery..  to see the Ruud Van Empel Show..Perfection/Imperfection: New Photographs
on view till February 18th. All I can say.. is this artist is Hot, Hot, Hot, See previous MAO posting on Photo LA..

Ruudvanempel_world2 Well, It is very interesting work.. it's like Loretta Lux but on Digital Steroids.. Or is it a photographic/Digital Henri Rousseau?  I'm not sure.. But, talk about tweaking the hell out of an image up! These photo's are amazing to see. But is it art?? These Hyper Color's that are so glossy, and slick, but the images are still tender with a storybook ideal.

So, with any Hot Artist.. as expected, so to are the equally shocking hot prices.. This one was already up to $24k (edition of 9) OUCH! That's insane a lot for a new artist's digital prints. Has any of this work even been in a museum show once yet?? Well.. YES, I guess (Thanks to ArtInfo Weekly today) we're about to see some at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art just outside Kansas City... See story.  Also, the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY will have a show featuring the work.

Last and Final Stop for the day..
Daniel Cooney Fine Art.
"Sarah Pickering Explosions"..on view till February 25th.
Pickering Don't mess with this chick.. her photo's are packing quite a punch!
The show has had great rewviews.. Soo Artforum Critic's Picks, Washington Post and Gallery Hopper. They have already  blogged a bit about how cool this show is.. I agree.

These large images are much better in person than anything you'll see online.

While I was there gossiping talking with Gallery Owner Dan (way too nice to be an art dealer).... phenomenal Photo Artist, Bill Jacobson stopped by.. and what's funny,

He said "These Sarah Pickering work remind me of the Wizard Of Oz.." Maybe that's why one dealer once told me Bill was a Friend of Dorothy's... Hmmm...

February 08, 2006

Chelsea Gallery Walk - Part I

Picture_009Alexander and Bonin Gallery

Anyone Loose a pump?? Will you might ask Artist Willie Cole.. Cause he's collected just a few!

His new Show.. Willie Cole : Sole to Soul

On view till February 18th.  I just loved this show.. very fun. (Photo #1, of "The Difference Between Black and White, 2005-06, Made of Shoes, wood, metal, screws,and staples, 85" in Diameter) It's meant to look like a Lotus Blossom, and the work has some "loose" Buddhism references. But I find them a more interesting commentary on our consumer throw-away society. His work will be the subject of a 40 work retrospective show, named "Anxious Objects: Willie Cole's Favorite Brands", organized by Payless Shoes The Montclair Art Museum, which will tour the county starting in March'06, with an illustrated catalog.

Next stop.. Alec Soth at Gagosian...  His new show "Alec Soth : NIAGARA"

I like the work.. makes me think of what a 2006 Walker Evans might look like.. except it's big, and in color!  But I didn't like this show as much as his first major project "Sleeping by the Mississippi." 

FYI.. don't even try to ask for help at Gagosian..I did.. got the hand nothing, you won't get anything but attitude here....but, that's as expected.
So, if you know anyone interested in these works..My suggestion, call Weinstein Gallery in Minn MN. They are super nice, and actually very helpful!

Also, there will be a 144 page, 50 color photo monograph book published by Steidl of this NIAGARA series. Pre-Sale signed copies at Dashwood Books.
      Photo prices run from $5,000 for the 24x30" Edition of 10, with 3 A.P., and $12,000 for the larger 40x50" Edition of 7, with 3 A.P. A bit high for a relatively new photographer.. But you've got to factor in the Gagosian Premium!

Some of these photo's are pretty magical (Photo #2). But looking at all this running water.. made me want to pee!

Stop # 3..  Across from Gagosian... and above an auto-repair shop to DCKT Contemporary.  Someone send these guys some fresh air.. Those gas fumes were killing me!! and I think it's affecting them too.. cause that girls boy's blog is just so crazy!!!

Exene Cervenka : America the Beautiful

This show had previously been at the Project Room of the Santa Monica Museum of Art. (Photo # 3, Mixed Media Collage, 14.75" x 11.75")

In the press release.. it says.. This girl is one of the founding members of the "seminal" LA Punk Group X..   OK.. like who?  But she has her own website. So she's probably way too cool for an art/finance geek like me!

I guess she was an ICON of the 70's LA punk scene. OK.. Well, That was a bit before my time.. but these Collage's were all pretty interesting.  Some were very funny and punk nostalgic, if you like that sort of thing.

OK.. So stay tuned for more of the MAO Chelsea Gallery Roam tomorrow..

Anyone going to the Sothebys Metropolitan Museum/Gilman Collection - Photography Preview Sale tonight?

Or the AIPAD Collectors preview or Benefit tomorrow? This is the big International Photography Dealers FAIR, which is going to be at the 7th Regiment Armory (Park & 67th) Feb 10th-Feb 12th??

February 06, 2006

Alexander Calder's Large-Scale Sculpture

"Alexander Calder : From Model to Monument", PaceWildenstein (534 W 25th Street).
This weekend I got to spend some time roaming the Chelsea galleries alone in the rain, yes all my "friends" did abandoned me! 

So in keeping with my theme of outside free art is the best art, and considering how much everyone almost unanimously hated my first large public sculpture pic (MAO Quiz #2) of Damien Hirst "The Virgin Mother," I thought maybe something a bit more simple, pretty abstract might please the picky discerning MOA readers.  So, the most impressive show in Chelsea this weekend was by far at PaceWildenstein. It opened on Feb 3rd, and runs through till March 4th.
Picture_015     They have over 30 Caler stabiles made from 1956 to 1976. Most of these rarely exhibited works were the unpainted maquettes which the artist used to develop the large scale works.

For all those clueless like me, who had almost no idea what the hell a MAQUETTE is.. I looked it up.. thank GOD Gates for wikipedia!

A maquette is a small scale model for a finished sculpture. It is used to visualize and test shapes and ideas without incurring the cost and effort of producing a full scale sculpture. It is the analogue of the painter cartoon or sketch.
For commissioned sculptures, especially monumental public sculptures, a maquette may be used to show the client how the finished work will fit in the proposed site.
A maquette may also refer to a prototype for a video game or any other type of prototype.

Additionally they have 3 mid-size maquettes.

The first mid-size work, (Photo #1 above, presented in Black) Gwenfritz 1968, an Object in Five Planes, is shown along side it's small model.  This work was commissioned for the Smithsonian Institution Museum of History and Technology. Gwenfritz, like the other 2 intermediate works are all in a 1:5 scale.

Picture_012The second intermediate maquette is Trois Pics from 1967. (Photo #2, presented in Black) This work was commissioned for the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble.

Here's a photo of the full sized Trois Pic's Monument in FranceTroispics I found on a travel website (photo # 3 to the right)

They also have a third  mid-sized work, Monsieur Loyal  1967. (Not pictured in the gallery...sorry.. I'll check  the Internet for an image of this one) A Monsieur Loyal is a main performer in a Circus, as a clown.  This work is also in Grenoble France, and was commissioned for Lycee Jean Bart. Monsieurloyal The Monument is 8 meters high. Here's a tourist photo of it I was able to find.  (Photo #4 to the right)

Lastly the Calder Family has loaned a huge (but yet only 1:3 size) model of Jerusalem Stabile 1976.

Picture_011  This was one of Alexander Calder's last works. (Photo # 5, shown in RED) It is a 24 foot sculpture, but seeing this work inside, just makes it feel that much bigger.  This work is also used for the cover of this new shows catalog.  Where an essay by Marc Glimcher is featured, and the artwork renderings are by Motohiko Tukuta.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to see such a broad collection of large size Calder Stabiles, they are really quite whimsical. Not too many Museums/Galleries have this type of grand exhibition space to display these work inside, which makes for a nice escape from the NYC winter!

For more info check out the Calder Foundation website

February 05, 2006

Sugimoto Show at The Japan Society Gallery

The History of History, by Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Japan Society Gallery (Sept 23- Feb19th) It travels to the Smithsonian Institution next month. It's been described as "a unique investigation into the experience of time & history from a perspective of internationally acclaimed artist Hiroshi Sugimoto."

      As an ICP Focus event, I attended a private viewing of this Sugimoto show last week. This was a joint event, with the MOMA and Guggenheim Contemporary Groups.. Sadly, this crowd was scary not my thing! Unlike most ICP events, which tend to be fun and very casual, this crowd was filled with that UES attitude, little black-dress wearing, bland snappy chattering, socialite type.  Needless to say.. I was under dressed out of my element.  What I found particularly funny, was how few people were looking at the art show.  Most were foolishly feeding standing around the sushi bar in the buildings lobby.  Lucky for me, I thought, I've got the gallery tour almost entirely to myself. Well, as it turns out, I was not so lucky! The show was a dud!

Sugimoto_caribsea          I've long been a fan of Sugimoto's very subtle, minimalist photography.  His recent architecture series, his time-laps theaters, and tranquil seascapes shots are magical. They have an austerity few photographers have been able to capture.  Unfortunately, this show is mostly filled with his new assemblages, taken from his personal collection of Fossils, East Asian Art and other ancient objects. To me, these new works felt very clumsy and manipulated.  Hiroshi Sugimoto is a great photographer, but this show has only 7 large photographs.  And while bigger is not always better for most photographers, Sugimoto photo's are very subtle (see image #1 Carribean Sea). So the large prints give Sugimoto's work power, as your eye can explore the wonderful details. It's disappointing, and a lost opportunity not to see many of them in this show. 

      There was only one theater photo, which was ignored in the basement, poorly lit, and next to the coat check (not even in the gallery space!).  Are they kidding?  While, the works that actually made it into the gallery, I found completely forced and contrived.  Sugimoto's greatest work, focuses our attention to the essence of time, nature and life.  Here they are jammed into new work, he's taken many ancient Japanese artifacts, and forced them together unsuccessfully with modern materials and images.  It's anything but subtle. I found myself almost laughing at these contraptions. It was very heavy handed.

For example.. one new very large prominent work consisted of : a large 7ft phallic stone rod from the Jomon Period, ca. 10,000-300 BCE, which he's set upon a 1950's Shinny Hospital gurney.  It has the ever so brilliant title of "Testament of a Penis" OK! Size Queens! Need I say more?

Sugimoto_time This stupid "large awkward" work.. was positioned in front of 3 large wonderful Seascapes, possibly Sugimoto's most thoughtful contemplative photographs.  This contrast was as artfully coordinated as last years New Orleans flood control team! Even the tour guide had a hard time not blushing, rationalizing explaining this piece! What was he thinking?? 

Another example (see photo #2), was a bit better. And is on the cover of the exhibition's book. The item is named "Time's Arrow, 1987" Here Hiroshi Sugimoto has taken a seascape, and included it into a reliquary bronze fragment from the Kamakure period, 13th century. I couldn't help but think, what was in that space originally? And why did he ruin an artifact from the 13th century for this silly self serving show!

Well.. this was probably the best of the new works in the show. I think Sugimoto should probably stick to photography, and leave ancient artifacts alone.. for history's sake!

Once I saw this, I now knew why everyone from the Contemporaries were huddled around the free Sushi and Saki bar!  At least they had wonderful George Nakashima furniture in the lobby to admire, pretty people to smile at, cold drinks, and fresh sushi!  Maybe those UES attitude, little black-dress wearing, bland snappy chattering, socialite type were not so foolish after all!

The Show Closes on February 19th. I won't miss this one!

February 02, 2006

2nd Art Quiz Winner.. in under 10mins!

Mao_quiz2_b_1She's Both Easy and Ugly!! - Sounds like me on a Sat night!

Virgin Mother 2005, by Damien Hirst
Lever House 1952, Designed by Gordon Bunshaft

Well.. I knew it was going to be a bit easier.. but getting the correct answer in under 10 mins of posting was a surprise. Actually there were 4 MAO readers with the correct answers all within 30mins.

Looks like 35 feet of pure ugly.. seems to be hard for anyone to forget!

So a big congrats go out to MAO Daily reader.. Tim of Bartlett,TN.. he chose a membership to The Dixon Gallery & Gardens in Memphis, TN.

Honorable mention goes out to the ever brilliant blogger Art Soldier, who was first to Google with Gordon Bunshaft.

I think Jerry Salts said it best in "The Emperor's New Paintings" on ArtNet.. review of Damien Hirst's Spring'05 show "The Elusive Truth" at Gagosian Gallery NYC. Here's just a section of Jerry's venom!

Worse than the paintings because it's permanent -- not to mention marring the entrance to the beautiful Lever House on Park Avenue -- is Hirst's hideous Virgin Mother, a 35-foot bronze eyesore of a naked pregnant woman with a cutaway view of her womb. Here, Hirst is doing what he's always done: trying to imitate Jeff Koons. He put things in vitrines after Koons did and started painting realistically after Koons. In attempting to equal Koons's stunning Puppy, Hirst has created something even more revolting than Jim Dine's figures on Sixth Avenue. Virgin Mother should be removed straightaway and those responsible for placing it here should be fired or whatever is done with reckless, imbecilic billionaires.

Thanks to all for playing..and stay turned for the 3rd MAO Quiz.. March 1st at 9am EST!

February 01, 2006

MAO Road Trip - Wadsworth Antheneum Museum In Hartford, CT


MAO Weekend Sunday road trip to Hartford, CT. Destination The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

So Dr. Quiz, our friend Dutch aka.. The Duchess, Whitey our Jeep 4x4, and I went for the 90 min trek to see a museum in the hinterlands! Like there could ever be decent art west of 11th ave 12th Ave, Manhattan!  Mostly I really wanted to see the Kota Ezawa show, but hey.. we had nothing else better to do.. and Dr. Quiz knew if he didn't go with us, Dutch and I would get into trouble.   Plus even after 11 years of our LTR, Dr. Quiz still doesn't trust me with Whitey.. Can you say controlling?  He sites some crazy excuse of I not having a drivers license anymore (long tragic story.. to be told most appropriately over beers at another time) License?? Who needs a license..?? like we don't have a marriage license either!! But I digress..


Anyway..Much to our surprise the Wadsworth is awesome!  Our first stop was to see the 2 installed project works of Kota Ezawa in their Matrix Galleries. They were very cool. I loved "The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 2005" 16mm film projection. It's kind of a South Park/Julien Opie meets 1960 photo-journalism.  The work is very original, but yet in several ways comments on our human ability to retain mental images of historic events, in a similar way that only the amazing work of Vik Muniz manages to do.  Mr. Ezawa simplifies these video images down to their most very basic shapes and colors, but yet your mind immediately knows the referenced images.
       It's the same for his slide projection project, "The History of Photography Remix, 2005" (Ezawa, After Struth, Pic #3) These works make the viewer realize how much useless art imagery "Visual History" you have stored in the back of your mind. These pictures are all completely familiar photographic icons, and yet you are also seeing these images in a completely new way. I loved the work.. and could have watched it for another hour.


They also had a wonderful Auguste Rodin exhibition which had just opened.  Featuring about 80 of his most notable Bronze works... There are many works from his first big commission, "The Gates of Hell" (The Thinker, The Three Shades, The Falling Man, & The Kiss),  Plus Bronzes from The Burghers of Calais, as well as several Balzac works. They also have several early Busts, and my favorite Rodin work.. Rodin_cathedral The Cathedral (picture #4), along with a few other great hand sculptures.  Actually it was the most comprehensive Rodin show I've ever seen outside of France.  I think this show may even have pulled together more works than whats at the Rodin Museum in Philly.


Lastly, the Wadsworth is also the home of a surprisingly strong 18th and early 19th century portrait collection, but I was most impressed with their Hudson River School Collection. A total WOW ! Certainly more works (over 65) that you can see in the big museums of Manhattan (But the NY Historical Society has an impressive collection , and their "Nature and the American Vision" Hudson River show runs through Feb 19th). Actually seeing these amazing works, made we aware of how lacking some of the NYC museums are when it comes to The Hudson School Artists.  Here's how they describe their collection:

The core of the Museum's renowned Hudson River School collection (the finest of its kind) was formed by two major patrons of American artists who lived in Hartford—Daniel Wadsworth (1771-1848), a picaresque traveler, amateur artist and architect, and founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum; and Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt (1826-1905), widow of arms manufacturer Samuel Colt and the creator of a major private picture gallery during the Civil War Era. Wadsworth became one of the most important patrons of Thomas Cole, from whom he commissioned and acquired seven paintings; he later discovered and launched the career of the young Hartford artist Frederic Church. Wadsworth's private art collection formed the core of the Museum's American painting holdings. Later in the century, Elizabeth Colt worked with Frederic Church to form one of the finest private picture galleries in the country including works by Church, Albert Bierstadt, Sanford Gifford, and John Kensett. The collection of over 65 Hudson River landscapes includes thirteen Coles, eleven Churches, and five Bierstadts.

They also, have a small but nice collection of impressionist works (Photo #5). 

Overall pretty impressive for an art hinterland museum!!!  The Wadsworth Who, Hartford Where?  It was a great time, even though I wasn't allowed to doing the driving! But the best part.. The Wadsworth only charged $10 to get in!!  Worth every penny!  WooooHooo!