Travel: Berlin

It is great to see how the Berlin art scene has continued to expand and change at an amazingly fast pace over the last two years. This recent trip confirmed that Berlin is definitely one of the most vital cultural axis of Europe, attracting great talent from all over the world, particularly in the visual arts. The Berlin art scene is unique because it attracts a wide range of artists, from emerging to more established artists. 
There are many new galleries that have popped up in various parts of Berlin, as well as many existing ones which have moved to new locations, often to take over large, cavernous spaces like the Blane/Southern gallery. In addition to the large private collections that are generously open to the public, the Boros, Hoffman and Haubrok collections, there are two new spaces that I find really dynamic and engaging, and are similarly funded by private collectors: The Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin, which focuses on time based art and the Kindl Center for Contemporary Art, a Kunsthalle that will feature engaging one person and group exhibitions focused on contemporary topics. 

Travel: Kassel

This was my third Documenta experience and by far the most engaging exhibition due to the expansiveness of the project and some great international representations. The show is created every five years and is a monumental undertaking. This year Athens was the partner city and by some accounts the more interesting site of the two locations. I personally found it difficult to find a meaningful thread or a meaningful cohesion between the individual exhibitions. The venues were well curated in terms of the placement of the work, however the juxtapositions of imagery did not make sense to me. There were individual highlights in each exhibition, as well as some interesting solo projects, but the incredible effort that was required to reach peripheral sites did not pay off. The strongest show for me was at the Bellevue, as it seemed to have the most consistent theme throughout…..Arguably the most dominant theme of the Documenta 14 was looking at art through the lens of colonialism. This is an extremely timely, yet unruly theme, and walking through the exhibits I got the sense that the curators are preaching to the choir. It would have been better to exhibit fewer works and drill down into some of the urgent themes affecting the irrational state of the world we are living in.

Travel: Dusseldorf

Julia Stoschek Collection: 

It was such an honor to view the collection in Berlin, the show there is titled “Jaguars and Electric Eels,” as well as the 10 year anniversary show “Generation Loss” at the main collection site in Düsseldorf. The Julia Stoschek Collection is an international private collection of contemporary art with a focus on time-based media art. The collection opened in 2007 and comprises installations, videos, photographs, paintings and sculptures. Each year a different exhibition presents, documents and makes different aspects of the collection available to the public. 
Key areas of focus include presenting an academic analysis of the content of the works, highlighting art-historical references within the collection, and revealing connections between individual works. Expanding the collection, restoration and conservation work are also central to the collection’s ongoing activities. At its location in Düsseldorf, there are two exhibition floors with a total of 2,500 m2 available for its public shows.

Studio Visits

Studio Visit: Enrico Isamu Oyama

Enrico Isamu Oyama

"In graffiti culture, a name, composed of stylized letters, represents writer’s alter ego. I remove letter shapes, extract only the flowing line and repeat it to maximize its dynamism. By doing so, I create an abstract motif. Instead of having a new name for my self, I gave a name to the motif: Quick Turn Structure.

What was a name that represented one's alter ego turned into plain visual objects. Lines slash back, spin and interlock. Facet-like surfaces generate three-dimensional depth. Those visual objects create a complex shape through minimal yet spontaneous expansion. Its tightly knit structure multiplies by intrinsic order and grows without hardening up. 

The way QTS generates is not based on a mathematical algorithm nor a random improvisation. Instead, it is based on a methodology that was somatically gained through the experience of numerous practices performed on various media with different scales and materials.

QTS has its own life. Its physical manifestations are channelled into unique art pieces from one specific moment in time. The pieces are called FFIGURATI, a term referring to the word “graffiti” and the Italian expression “figùrati” (literally translated as “figure it out yourself”), numbered in the order of their creation."

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Raymond Pettibon at David Zwirner

Raymond Pettibon is on view at  David Zwirner from April 29th- June 24th, 2017.

"The artist's tenth solo show at gallery TH’ EXPLOSIYV SHOYRT T follows his collaborative presentations with Marcel Dzama at the gallery in both London and New York last year.

Pettibon's work embraces a wide spectrum of American high and low culture, from the deviations of marginal youth to art history, sports, religion, politics, sexuality, and literature. Taking their point of departure in the Southern California punk-rock scene of the late 1970s and 1980s and the do-it-yourself aesthetic of album covers, comics, concert flyers, and fanzines that characterized the movement, his drawings have come to occupy their own genre of potent and dynamic artistic commentary.

The exhibition includes drawings and collages—a relatively new introduction within the artist's oeuvre—in Pettibon's characteristic bold style. The title (here rewritten using the artist's personalized spelling) refers to a 1963 book by legendary American football coach Homer Rice, which details his variation on the so-called T-formation, the precursor to most modern offensive formations in the sport. The potent and aggressive associations of the phrase are echoed throughout the works on view, which shrewdly address facets of contemporary American life.

In keeping with Pettibon's practice, most of the works pair image and text, with each informing the other in a circular fashion. Ranging from a few words to a number of paragraphs, the often rhythmic prose reflects the artist's longstanding interest in poetry and philosophy. Quoting freely from sources such as John Ruskin, Walt Whitman, Jacques Derrida, the Bible, and social media, and often adding self-coined expressions, the handwritten words complement Pettibon's bold imagery in adding humor and unexpected layers to the subject matter. Vintage cartoons by artists such as Charles Addams and Peter Arno are a new influence behind some of the works included in the exhibition, presenting an additional narrative component to his motifs. "

 

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Pope. L at Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Pope. L on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash from May 23rd- June 30, 2017. 

"Pope.L began making Proto-Skin Sets and Communication Devices in the 1970s and 1980s while he was a student at Montclair State University in New Jersey and continued working with them throughout his teaching tenure at Bates College in Maine. Using language and writing as a starting point, these works anticipate his ongoing project “Skin Sets,” text-based works that employ language to construct pointed, absurd, and layered messages about the vagaries of color.

The Proto-Skin Sets use found materials like local newspapers, commercial poster boards, and billboard advertisements as a point of departure to examine the possibilities of language. Pope.L interpolates the methods and uses of writing, both visually and literarily. Seeing language as image and image as language, Pope.L uses texture and mark-making to make these definitions concrete. He incorporates organic materials to speak about duration—for example peanut butter, semen, and human hair—in several of the works, something he has done subsequently throughout his practice."

Wordy Advertisement, 1983-2013

Wordy Advertisement, 1983-2013

Mal Content, 1992

Mal Content, 1992

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Yet Another Excuse, 1989-2013

Yet Another Excuse, 1989-2013

Studio Visit: Aaron Taylor Kuffner

I had the pleasure of visiting Araon's Studio with Deborah Iskandar and Melody Zhang. We were fascinated by the multi dimensional approach that his work offers. For me the works exist between installation, composition, sculpture and performance, all of which are referencing ancient instrumentation through contemporary technology. Here is what the artist says about his own work: 

“Gamelatrons draws on the thousand-year-old sonic tradition of Indonesia–Gamelan–and the emerging field of robotics to create magical, viscerally-powerful, site-specific performances, installations and stand alone art works. Handcrafted, masterfully-tuned orchestras of vibraphones, drums, chimes, bells and resonating bronze gongs are played by mechanical mallets installed to immerse the audience in living kinetic sculptures.

The artworks’ mission is to expand the legacy and creative cultural power of gamelan through innovation. The Gamelatron Project exposes us to the rich and profound nature of resonance and its effect on the psyche. The Gamelatron’s contrasting materials and mechanisms tell us a story of globalization and modernization. Principal artist Aaron Taylor Kuffner uses exhibitions of the Gamelatrons to create sanctuaries both in public and private spaces.”

 

 

Southwind Projects Special Editions Portfolio

It was such an honor to host the opening presentation of the Southwind Projects Special Editions portfolio on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.  Southwind Projects is pleased to present its first special editions portfolio featuring prints by 17 artists from 10 countries, which supports the launch of the Southwind Projects exhibition and residency program in Valladolid, Mexico. Founded by Juan Luque in 2017, it provides a platform for artists and indigenous communities of the Americas to support and interact with each other, focusing on the preservation of the pre-hispanic healing arts and the plants, rituals and techniques.

It was a pleasure to be the first curator of Southwind Projects. The artists in this collection are engaged in an active studio practice and generous contributors to their art communities. This visually rich portfolio embodies unique global visions of artists working in many different media including digital animation, painting, drawing, photography, textile, sculpture and installation. The subjects of the prints explore identity from a variety of perspectives: relying on archetypal forms and shapes or the fragmentation experienced in our digitalized culture. Compelling images of the body and nature are woven together to create a complex vision of humanity.  

The Southwind Projects Special Editions portfolio features the following artists: 

Haffendi Anuar (Malaysia)Shay Arick(Israel), Anna Freeman Bentley(UK), Juanli Carrion(Spain), Miriam Castillo(Mexico), Jared Flaming(US), Alastair Gordon(UK), Sheree Hovsepian(US), Robin Kang(US), Zebadiah Keneally(US), Minstrel Kuik(Malaysia), Juliana Cerqueira Leite(Brazil), Carlos Martiel(Cuba), Julia Oldham(US), Siebren Versteeg(US), Jason Wee(Singapore), and Bai Ye(China) 

We would like to extend a special thank you to Richard Koh Fine Art for the artists Haffendi Anuar, Minstrel Kuik and Jason Wee. 

The limited edition 50 prints will be available as a complete set of 17 (Ed 1-10) or individually (Ed 11-50). 

More information can be found at southwindprojects.com

Haffendi Anuar

Haffendi Anuar

Robin Kang

Robin Kang

Carlos Martiel

Carlos Martiel

Mariam Castillo

Mariam Castillo

Anna Freeman Bentley

Anna Freeman Bentley

Studio Visits

Studio Visit: Marcia Hafif

I spent a wonderful afternoon at the studio of Marcia Hafif in Laguna Beach, CA this March and had a chance to interview here about her 70 plus years of art making. We also spoke about her ideas for upcoming shows, ones that will also feature her extensive drawing practice, as well as new color digital photograph diptychs made with her iPhone camera. I will be posting a video interview with her on my website soon. Please stay tuned for her upcoming interview I wrote in PARNASS art magazine. 

Here is a piece of writing as an introduction to her work "The Inventory" on her website: 

ABOUT THE INVENTORY

THE SERIES

The Inventory is a listing by series of works in the approximate order they appeared. One series followed another at approximately two years intervals, in idiosyncratic order, building my project of examining the methods and materials of Western Painting in the form of works of art.

In 1972, in order to start at the beginning, I covered a vertical sheet of drawing paper with vertical pencil marks starting from the top left and ending at the bottom right. Each drawing developed in a slightly different way leading to unexpected patterns within that same procedure. I turned to paint, acrylic at first presenting a palette of fourteen colors on fourteen canvases then oil in The Extended Gray Scale, 106 canvases graduated from white to black.

About this time I was lent Max Doerner's book, The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting that led me to experiment. I bought every color in powdered pigment that I could find using a glass muller to grind them one by one into linseed oil making my own paint. Each color was painted on prepared canvas on a ready-made stretcher each element referring to Painting. Wall painting came next, then grayed colors, the color of "the most beautiful black," and the color of skin in European painting each displaying some technique such as egg tempera, encaustic, watercolor, glaze or scumble.

ABOUT HANGING

I do not make paintings so much as I make installations. Each series has its inherent way of hanging though it is difficult to make any firm rules. In each case - with one work or many - I look for the way the painting(s) will join with the wall to unite the space. Every location is different, high ceiling or low, long or short walls, with different windows, light sources, doors, obstructions. I use a center height through all the works, one that will be not too high for viewing with approximately the same distance between ceiling and floor. 

In addition each series has its own needs: An Extended Gray Scale is hung in sequence with narrow spacing though the rows can be installed above and below or a section can be displayed separately. The large Mass Tone Paintings represent History Painting or Portraiture. The Table of Pigments, or elements of paint color is displayed in rows and blocks but each work can also be seen alone. The Neutral Mix Paintings are intended to be hung above and below each other in Salon Style. 

TITLES

Every piece in The Inventory is related to every other. Titles include the series, the name, the size and often the date and place of making as in The Inventory: Mass Tone Paintings: Viridian, o/c, 72 x 68", New York, 1974.

Studio Visits

Studio Visit: Nancy Haynes

I had the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Haynes for an upcoming article in PARNASS art magazine. It was such a privilege to discuss several bodies of work and I am very excited about her current exhibition "this painting oil on linen" at Regina Rex Gallery, New York.

Haynes continues her unwavering investigation into the painted illusion of light that was exemplified in our previous show, anomalies and non sequiturs (2015) with a range of approaches--from her earlier works using gilding clay and glow in the dark paint to her cast glass sculpture made from uranium glass. Both as a phenomenological exercise and a visualization of the layers of consciousness, Haynes's paintings demonstrate a commitment to a visual progression rooted in stillness and timelessness.
Nancy Haynes was born in Connecticut in 1947 and moved to New York in 1967. She lives and works in New York and Colorado. Haynes will be included in an upcoming group exhibition at Kunsthalle Krems, and a solo show at Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna. An extensive exhibition history beginning in 1978 at the historically significant One Hundred Dollar Gallery and includes selected solo exhibitions at Regina Rex, 3A Gallery, NY; George Lawson, LA and SF; Lawing Gallery, Houston, TX; Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna; Galerie von Bartha, Basel, Switzerland; John Good Gallery, NY; and John Gibson Gallery, NY among numerous others. Haynes?s work is included in the public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and many others. Honors and awards include grants from the Pollock- Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.

Studio Visits

Studio Visit: Jason Bailer Losh

I enjoyed my studio visit with sculptor, painter and successful podcaster (Seeing is Forgetting), Jason Bailer Losh. By using found objects, Losh constructs spindly and tactilely satisfying sculptures and paintings that register as both uniquely charming, and curiously familiar. Here are some notes from his recent Plow Louise exhibition: 

The objects upon each pedestal are found in thrift and second-hand stores. The motley collection is bought by the artist’s father-in-law and boxed and sent to Losh. He uses these items and constructs them into particular compositions, sequences and arrangements.
 
The surface of each component is carved with a distinct history. Cracks, dents and paint abrasions that have accrued over decades distinguish their weathered surfaces. The wall sculptures are laced with ropes and etched with lines that record the artist’s hand.

Travel

Tinker Tantrum – The Show with Pippa Garner

It's fantastic to experience a long overdue show that showcases Pippa's brilliance and cultural awareness. Over the subsequent four decades Pippa Garner has pushed back against systems of consumerism, marketing and waste, creating a rich body of work including drawing, performance, sculpture, video and installation. Her uncompromising approach to life and practice has allowed her to interact with the worlds of illustra- tion, editorial, television and art without ever quite becoming beholden to them.

Pippa Garner’s first exhibition at Redling Fine Art includes a suite of early invention drawings as well as Garner’s original art from her monthly editorial page in Car & Driver (1995 - 2010) as well as in the pages of L.A. Magazine. All in pencil, these works show the breadth of Garner’s dry humor and political thinking. Also on view Garner’s 2007 work the "World's Most Fuel-Efficient Car,” a 1972 Honda 600 retrofitted to be human-powered, and Garner’s latest sculpture “Crowd Shroud”. Through these sculptures Garner toys with concepts of class and waste, pointing to the invisible labor that makes our culture possible, and more specifically the inefficiency inherent in using 3,000 pounds of metal to move 150 pound bodies. These works point to the invisible labor that makes this possible. Alongside these works is a mandala of hand- made t-shirts. These graphic collages and her recent shirts are part performance part mode-of-production, as Garner has con- structed these works daily for over 10 years. Finally a selection of Garner’s video work dated 2013 is in- cluded. In these campy videos Garner portrays both a pre- and post- transition version of herself tackling topics such as procreation, drones, marriage, art, invention and therapy.