Friday, August 21, 2009

Giorgione and Titian or Cariani ?

Who really painted Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman
This drama reminds me of a long forgotton TV show, What's my Line? Whatever, Tyler Green has a nice series of posts on Modern Art Notes about the latest round in the attribution of this painting. Personally I think the attribution to Cariani is wrong, but what do I know? I'm no expert on the period. To satisfy my curiosity I ran it through the gridmaker.

Giorgione and Titian
Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman, c. 1510
oil on canvas
Overall: 76.2 x 63.5 cm (30 x 25 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

The yellow divisions are the Golden Ratio's of the height and width (.382 and .618). The reddish lines are 1/4 and 1/2 divisions and the 1/2 diagonals. The green and cyan are 1/3, 1/6, 1/9 divisions and the 1/3 diagonals. The National Gallery link has photographs and more information

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paul Cezanne - Large Bathers

Residual influences from the academy and good eyeballs at work here.

Paul Cezanne
Large Bathers
Oil on canvas
81 7/8 x 98 in (208 x 249 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

The yellow divisions are the Golden Ratio's of the height and width (.382 and .618). The reddish lines are 1/4 and 1/2 divisions and the 1/2 diagonals. The green and cyan are 1/3, 1/6, 1/9 divisions and the 1/3 diagonals.

Piero della Francesca - Baptism of Christ

This panel was the central section of a polyptych. It may be one of Piero's earliest extant works. Side panels and a predella were painted in the early 1460s.

Piero della Francesca
The Baptism of Christ
Medium: Egg on poplar
Dimensions: 65.75 x 45.7 in (167 x 116 cm)
Collection of the The National Gallery UK

The yellow divisions are the Golden Ratio's of the height and width (.382 and .618). The reddish lines are 1/4 and 1/2 divisions and the 1/2 diagonals. The green and cyan are 1/3, 1/6, 1/9 divisions and the 1/3 diagonals. The National Gallery link has photographs and more information

PIERO della FRANCESCA - Resurrection

One of Piero's little gems. I moved the boundary in a bit to allow for the decorative architectural borders.

Mural in fresco and tempera
Dimensions: 88.6 x 78.75 in (225 x 200 cm)
Pinacoteca Comunale, Sansepolcro

The yellow divisions are the Golden Ratio's of the height and width (.382 and .618). The reddish lines are 1/4 and 1/2 divisions and the 1/2 diagonals. The green and cyan are 1/3, 1/6, 1/9 divisions and the 1/3 diagonals. It's just a coincidence that a lot of stuff lines up?

Jan Gossaert at the National Gallery

Another compositional workup on the painting The Adoration of the Kings by Jan Gossert (aka Mabuse)

Jan Gossaert
The Adoration of the Kings
Medium: Oil on wood
Dimensions: 69.76 x 63.5 in (177.2 x 161.3 cm)
Collection of the The National Gallery UK

The yellow divisions are the Golden Ratio's of the height and width (.382 and .618). The reddish lines are 1/4 and 1/2 divisions and the 1/2 diagonals. The green and cyan are 1/3, 1/6, 1/9 divisions and the 1/3 diagonals. It's just a coincidence that a lot of stuff lines up? Click on the link to go to the National Gallery UK website for more images.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Man on the Moon 1969

It was forty years ago, July 20 1969 that man first set foot on the moon. "It's some kind of dust I can kick it with my feet"

View of Earth rising over Moon's horizon taken from Apollo 11 spacecraft
This view of the Earth rising over the Moon's horizon was taken from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. The lunar terrain pictured is in the area of Smuth's Sea on the nearside. Coordinates of the center of the terrain are 85 degrees east longitude and 3 degrees north latitude.

The whole world was glued to their television sets, watching the event live, in real time, as Buzz Aldrin took that first step into the dust that covered the moons surface. I was in art school and we all watched together in awe and fascination, as boyhood dreams came true in the grainy black and white image relayed back millions of miles from the lunar surface.

This day a very special meaning for me because in the year before entering art school I worked on the Apollo Project. I was just a draftsman, but I drew the blueprints for a small obscure part which fit together with thousands of other parts which together made the lunar landing possible. Aside from the visible heros, there were thousands of us, scientists, enhgineers, mathematicians, machinists, electricians, philosophers, you name it, all working together with one single goal. Get him to the moon AND get him back safe.

In my opinion sending a man to the moon, and getting him back safely, is the single greatest technological feat in human history. We take it all for granted now, but in 1969 inspired forward by President Kennedy, this nation committed itself to a project which for all intents and purposes required a technology beyond what we had or could reasonably expect to have in the near future.

It was this monumental commitment to achieving the goal of putting a man on the moon which made the project successful. There is a lesson here for those of you born after this date. There is no doubt that some time in the future, humanity, not just a politic, will need to achieve the impossible. Going to the moon should serve as an inspiration.

Apollo 11 Bootprint
The bootprint marks one of the first steps human beings took on the Moon in July 1969. It was made by American astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission. *Image Credit*: NASA

Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the Moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" during the Apollo 11 exravehicular activity (EVA). Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar orbit.

The following selected items are from the Bonhams & Butterfields Sale #17402 - The Space Sale held in New York on Jul 16, 2009

Lot No: 167
Flown Apollo 11 Lunar Surface Star Chart, a circular device, 9 inches in diameter. Consists of 2 thin plastic discs rotating around a central rivet. The lower disc shows the Earth, sun, planets and star patterns against a black background. The upper disc is a semi-transparent overlay. The back of the chart has a square patch of Velcro at the center and an inscription in ink by Aldrin.

The navigational chart used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to determine their exact position on the lunar surface just after their historic lunar landing. One of the few flight devices returned from the lunar surface to have come onto the market. The companion device used some 20 hours later to update Eagle's navigational equipment just prior to lunar lift-off is currently displayed at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Accompanied by a Typed Letter Signed by Buzz Aldrin, which reads: "Accompanying this letter is the actual star chart that Neil Armstrong and I used to determine our precise location just after we made history's first lunar landing on July 20, 1969. It is a circular device that has a movable translucent overlay with six over lapping circles. The stars and constellations are projected onto a black background above and below lines defined as the ecliptic and the lunar equator. The Sun, Earth, Venus, and other planets are marked as to their relative positions along the ecliptic plane. This star chart was the single most critical navigational device we used while on the Moon.
The chart has LM-TD+2 STAR CHART (A), LAUNCH JULY 16, 20 JULY 20:17:11 GMT printed near the edge of 270 degree point. TD was short for Touchdown with +2 meaning that the chart had its highest accuracy within 2 hours of landing. Touchdown was to be 20:17:11 Greenwich Mean Time on July 20, assuming a July 16 earth launch. We landed at 4:17 pm Eastern Daylight Time (20:17 GMT) which was within a minute of the planned time.
During the landing phase, we had several computer program alarms. They were unexpected and of the type we had never experienced during any training simulation. These alarms preoccupied Neil and I so much that we were concerned with a potential abort. Then Neil had to take command from our flight computer as it was sending us into a large boulder-filled crater. We landed with just seconds of fuel to spare, but well past our target point. I commanded the computer to give us our landing point then recorded that information on page 10 of our LM Timeline Book. That turned out to be the first writing by human hands on another celestial body.
Our Lunar Module's gyroscopic guidance equipment lost precision over time. It was imperative to re-align this equipment just after landing in case of an emergency lift-off or our inability to make such an adjustment for the scheduled lift-off some 22 hours after landing. We used this star chart in conjunction with our Alignment Optical Telescope (AOT). Neil logged over 30 measurements in our LM Data Card Book that I provided while using the AOT. Those circular areas on the chart overlay showed the AOT's field of view when moved to one of the six positions known as detents.
We did a series of dual star sightings using the AOT and this chart, then keyed in that information recorded in the LM Data Card Book while performing the P57 alignment procedures as define in our guidance dictionary. Completion of these tasks enabled us to carry out our lunar timeline and allowed Neil Armstrong to become the first human to set foot upon the Moon.
On the back of the star chart, there is a square velcro patch. It has an overall tint of gray with darker grayish material embedded within. Those gray areas are most likely lunar dust that came off our space suits or from various equipment such as the sample return container. I have inscribed and signed this side with: This star chart was used by Neil Armstrong and myself while on the lunar surface during July 20 - 21, 1969. Buzz Aldrin, Apollo XI Lunar Module Pilot."

Sold for $218,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
Photo:Bonhams - 3 views stiched together.

Lot No: 217
"Tranquillity Base: Surface and Experiment Locations Map," Mapping Sciences Laboratory, MSC, 1970, 22 by 17 inches.

A highly detailed surface map of the Apollo 11 landing area, partly based on surface photography by the crew. Inscribed "My Footprints! Buzz Aldrin, LMP." He has marked his footprints made during the moon walk, as well as Armstrong's sample collection trek to Little West crater. Eagle's position is shown at the center, and the map shows the locations of the TV camera, US flag, laser reflector, solar wind experiment, seismometer, and most craters.

Sold for $2,745 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Lot No: 141
"Plotboard 1: Launch," sheet from a pen plotter, stamped "Mission only," NASA, December 20, 1968, approximately 30 by 30 inches.

An artifact which recorded history from inside Mission Control during man's first journey to the moon on the Saturn V rocket.
Inscribed by Apollo 8 Command Module Pilot James Lovell: "First men launched to the moon." Additionally inscribed by a North American Aviation engineer with the time it was removed from the plotboard (December 21, 1968, 13:20:56 GMT).
On this chart, the launch vehicle Inertial Velocity in KFPS (1000 feet per second) is the x-axis, the Inertial Flight Path Angle in degrees being the y-axis. Several heavy pencil-lined curves were made prior to launch to indicate the nominal or expected flight paths. Three green line plots were made during the actual launch.
A Mission Control projection device allowed this chart to be viewed during launch on one of the large screens that faced all flight controllers. The green plotting line traces the heavy pencil outline almost perfectly during initial measurements. As the launch progressed, an alarming major deviation occurred about the mid-point on one of the plots. This could have potentially endangered the crew but was determined to be the result of "noisy" telemeter data. The mission was allowed to progress to the moon.

Estimate: $4,000 - 6,000

Note: This was from the Apolloo 8 mission in 1968, but I thught it was a nice drawing.

Lot No: 1
Model of the Mercury spacecraft, steel, fiberglass and plastic, 32 inches tall when assembled and on a white-painted wood stand, with 3 major components:
1. A gray conical spacecraft, 9 by 8 inches, featuring a retro rocket package at the base of the heat shield, a 6 by 4 inch curved window showing a blue space-suited astronaut inside the pressure vessel in a form-fitting survival couch, controls next to the couch at the astronaut's fingertips; below oxygen bottles, fuel tanks, and various electronic equipment, the interior walls with outlines of the entry/exit hatch, an additional control panel, and a viewing window.
2. A cylindrical recovery compartment, 4 by 3 by 3 inches, which would hold the recovery parachute and other related equipment in the actual flight vehicle ñ each end with a set of three key-holes for attachment to the pressure vessel and the escape tower.
3. A capsule emergency separation device or escape tower with rockets, 18 inches long, that consists of a black metal tower assembly and a gray fiberglass rocket package with three small red nozzles, the base of the tower with three notched pegs marrying up with the recovery compartment.

Identical to the Mercury spacecraft model shown at the first public announcement of the seven pilots selected to be astronauts for Project Mercury. The press conference was held in Washington, on April 9, 1959, and was the climax of screening over 500 military test pilots beginning in 1958. During the press conference a reporter asked which astronaut was ready to go into space at that moment. All seven raised their hands and the press cameras clicked away. In that photograph, a model identical to this one is in front of the astronauts.

Sold for $21,960 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Lot No: 107
Apollo Command Module rocket engine, made by Rocketdyne, Model SE-8, steel and ablative material, 14 inches long and 3Ω inches wide at nozzle base. Fuel and oxidizer valve assemblies are at the top with the associated electrical wiring connections. An ablative nozzle is at the bottom. Internal components consist of a block of ablative material and sleeve, refractory throat insert, and a stainless steel shell. A Rocketdyne ID label reads in part: "Propulsion System Component, Part Name: Rocket Engine Assembly, Part No. 99-106003, Model No. SE 8-2, Date of Mfg. 2Q 64 (second quarter, 1964) Serial No. 4058366."

A set of 12 of these bi-propellant engines provided the Command Module with rotation control, rate damping, and attitude control after separation from the Service Module and during re-entry. The engine has had several test firings.
Signed by Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra, and Tom Stafford on the engine casing with their Apollo mission numbers.
Sold for $7,320 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Lot No: 109
Positive expulsion titanium fuel tank. Approximately 25 inches tall and 12 inches in diameter. A metal ID tag reads: ìBell Aerosystems Company, Division of Bell Aerospace Corporation. Item Name: Tank (N2H4, UDMH) Positive Expulsion Ö Manufacturing Date: 12-15-65, Contract No. - NAS9-150.î The tag also has additional identification, pressure ratings and control numbers.

A flight-qualified tank designed to supply fuel to the attitude control rockets which were mounted on the exterior of the Service Module (SM). The SM reaction control system had four sets of four rocket engines that used hypergolic propellants. This is one of eight tanks designed to supply Unsymmetrical DiMethyl Hydrazine (UDMH) fuel for those engines. During flight operations, a teflon bladder inside the tank would be pressurized with helium to force the UDMH contained inside the tank out to the rocket engines. This was required due to the weightless conditions of space flight. With a copy of an Bell Aerospace description of these tanks.

Sold for $1,220 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stuart Semple at Anna Kustera

"Everlasting Nothing Less" an exhibition of paintings and sculpture by the young British artist Stuart Semple is on view at the Anna Kustera Gallery, 520 W. 21st Street, NYC, from May 16 through July 31, 2009 (extended date)

I first ran across Stuart Semple's paintings in a 2007 group exhibition "The Black Market." The earlier paintings attracted my attention for their graphic styling and skillful paint handling. Semple is a multifaceted entrepreneurial artists working in several venues, but in order to keep things simple I am only going to address the paintings.

Semple's paintings do possess certain stylistic affinities with the artists of 20th Century Pop, Warhol and Koons have been suggested by some. However the essence of his approach is significantly different from his historical antecedents.

Pop Art in the last century came at the tail end of the Modernist Era (Modernism, including Postmodernism) Viewed from a functional point of view, Pop Art was a methodology which reintroduced the representational image back into advanced painting, the old avant guard.

In this process, the Pop artists utilized images from the culture in the same way they might have used nature, as a still life, rendering them as iconic. The crossover influences of formalism are evident, in particular in certain paintings by Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rosenquist.

While still present by insinuation, narrative was downplayed in favor of a formalist or iconic approach with a ample dash of irony thrown in to fend off the Avant Guard and Kitsch [1] [2] crowd with their elitist ideas that Art belonged solely to the upper class. It is ironic that Pop Art became the most widely popular style of art in the 20th Century.

Today, a young artist looking back upon the early years of Pop Art, might realize the process is similar to the Pop artists looking back at the start of Cubism, it seems so near, yet so far away. The cultural context is continuously changing and Pop Art no longer can exist in the way it did 40 years ago, our acceptance of the cultural image has become commonplace.

21st Century Pop

In todays world, advertising has lost the fascination it may have had in the middle decades of the last century. We are overstimulated by an exponential increase of media images to the extent that we now may find them repulsive, or at least the target of our criticism.

Yet, what Greenberg labeled as Kitsch:
"popular, commercial art and literature with their chromeotypes, magazine covers, illustrations, ads, slick and pulp fiction, comics, Tin Pan Alley music, tap dancing, Hollywood movies, etc., etc."
describing it as
"a product of the industrial revolution which urbanized the masses of Western Europe and America and established what is called universal literacy."
is rapidly becoming the source for a new mythology. A mythology transmitted through the technological media rather than an through an oral tradition as the information revolution puts an end to Modernism and the industrial age.

Irony is a device artists can use to introduce elements, symbols or ideas into an artwork without taking direct responsibility. A slight of hand. This is not a value judgment but an observation of the process.

In his work Stuart Semple utilizes Pop styling, the familiar connection with commercial imagery but without the irony. It's not that there are no bits of recursive visual humor, like the hand painted emulation of the printing process, but overall, I had the sense that Semple takes responsibility for his images, their juxtaposition and their virtual narrative.

Also characteristic of 21st Century Pop, Semple uses commercial imagery without celebrating the subject nor reducing it to just another layer of imagistic texture like the painter Albert Oehlen.

The media references, visually or as subject matter, act metaphorically allowing the viewer a point of entry into the painting without necessary knowledge of the artists private world. It is a form of enabling, similar for example, to ones ability to locate costume in time, we accept this knowledge and move deeper into the metaphor.

Semple's stylistic choices, his use of media references and styling, help to locate his paintings in the near present. With hints of film noir his paintings present a contextual experience which moves the viewer beyond the purely visual into the more literary realms of psychological associations and memory. No painting is complete in itself, it needs a viewer to close the circle of experience.

I've looked at a lot of paintings by young artists over the last month or so, most are competent cookie cutter variations of the current painterly zeitgeist. I felt Stuart Semple's exhibition was an exception. While I personally favored some paintings over others the overall direction his work is taking is fresh and interesting. It bears watching and is collectible.

Stuart Semple
For The Broken, 2009
Acrylic, charcoal and vinyl on canvas
47.25 x 47.25 x 2.75

Stuart Semple
Do you want to know... know it doesn't hurt me?, 2009
Acrylic, charcoal, chalk, spray paint and paintmarker on canvas
67 x 94.5 x 2.75 inches

Stuart Semple
Wanted To Believe In Something, 2008-2009
Acrylic, charcoal, chalk, household gloss and sanguine oil on canvas
47.25 x 47.25 x 2.75

Stuart Semple
Angelus, 2009
Acrylic, charcoal, chalk, graphite, vinyl. and paintmarker on canvas
67 x 94.5 x 2.75 inches

Stuart Semple
Everybody Sees You're Blown Apart, 2009
Acrylic, vinyl, charcoal, chalk and paintmarker on canvas
86.5 x 86.5 x 2.75 inches

Stuart Semple
Ding Dong (Maggie's Dead), 2009
Mdf, plastic, gloss paint, leather and electronics on aluminum
65 x 83 x 47 inches (overall dimensions)

Earlier works from "The Black Market" exhibition" at Anna Kustera Gallery in the summer of 2007.

Stuart Semple
Kurt Lied, 2007
Mixed media on canvas
47 x 35 x 3 inches

Stuart Semple
Sacharine, 2007
Mixed media on canvas
47 x 35 x 3 inches

All photo's ©Stuart Semple.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Andy Warhol at Ferus Gallery 1962

It was a hot LA day in July of 1962, when by chance I found myself at the Ferus Gallery and saw my first ever exhibition of POP Art, the Andy Warhol Soup Cans. It was a long time ago but my reaction was something along the lines of "wow these are cool." I took home the little letter-sized poster announcing the show.

Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987)
Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962
Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two canvases,
Each canvas 20 x 16" (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Collection: Museum of Modern Art, NYC
Gift of Irving Blum
© 2009 Andy Warhol Foundation / ARS
In the years that followed much has been written about Andy Warhol and his artworks. In this process, theory gets piled upon theory, stories become embellished, and eventually the history becomes a cultural myth that each era will interpret in their own way.

The other day, again by chance, I came across a copy of the Henry Hopkins review of the exhibition, as originally published in the September 1962 issue of Artforum.
Andy Warhol, Ferus Gallery: To those of us who grew up during the cream-colored thirties with “Big-Little Books,” “Comic Books,” and a “Johnson and Smith Catalogue” as constant companions; when “good, hot soup” sustained us between digging caves in the vacant lot and having “clod” fights without fear of being tabbed as juvenile delinquents; when the Campbell Soup Kids romped gaily in four colors on the overleaf from the Post Script page in The Saturday Evening Post, this show has peculiar significance.

Though, as many have said, it may make a neat, negative point about standardization it also has a positive point to make. To a tenderloin oriented society it is a nostalgic call for a return to nature.

Warhol obviously doesn’t want to give us much to cling to in the way of sweet handling, preferring instead the hard commercial surface of his philosophical cronies. But then house fetishes rarely compete with Rembrandt in esthetic significance. However, based on formal arrangements, intellectual and emotional response, one finds favorites. Mine is Onion.

--Henry T. Hopkins, © Artforum, September 1962, vol. 1, n. 4
As I read Mr. Hopkins rambling first sentence, it resurrected memories, from my childhood, which reveal something we generally forget when looking back on historical moments. It was a time before the JFK assassination when in spite of our nuclear fears most Americans were optimistic about the future. "Progress" still seemed like a real possibility along with owning your own home, a new car and a television set.

To me, digging caves in the vacant lot and having “clod” fights... is something right out of my childhood. In those years, there were "vacant lots," urban sprawl hadn't quite caught up to empty space. Comic Books, LIFE Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, black and white television with 'live' commercials, all were part of the cultural environment of this time. These were part of the visual culture of that era and in our fascination with the new medium of television and four color photographic printing, advertising and commercials were no where as nearly as intrusive as we find them today.

In the this context of postwar optimism, a decision by artists like Warhol or Lichtenstein to dip into the culture of commercial imagery was made because they liked the subjects, we thought they were "cool" (might have been "hip").

Whatever "irony" existed was taken with a humorous stance born out of appreciation of the subject matter. Somehow in the years that followed this viewpoint was lost as part of the critical community, fearing that "kitsch" would somehow debase "fine art," polarized the situation and the ironic stance lost its humor and became a cultural weapon of its own.

Regardless, it is apparent that despite the protestations to the contrary, that POP Art has entered into the culture in a significant way, influencing artists as much today as it did forty years ago. It is also no surprise that the wider public still views POP Art with interest. I think because it speaks with them in a familiar language.

Further reading: Henry T. Hopkins artical looking back on the early years.

Francis Bacon at the Met

Absolutely stunning. A must see exhibition

Francis Bacon: A Centenary Retrospective
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
May 20, 2009–August 16, 2009
Special Exhibition Galleries, 2nd floor

Additional pictures are on the Met website linked above.
Francis Bacon (British, 1909–1992)
Study after Velazquez, 1950
Oil on canvas;
77 15/16 x 54 in. (198 x 137.2 cm)
The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection
© 2009 The Estate of Francis Bacon / ARS, New York / DACS, London

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sigmar Polke at Michael Werner

New paintings by Sigmar Polke at Michael Werner Gallery, from May 6 through June 19, 2009. The gallery is located at 4 East 77th Street, NYC.

The reproductions don't do these paintings justice. It is an impressive exhibition.

Sigmar Polke
The Illusionist (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
86 1/2 x 118 inches, 220 x 300 cm
POL 317

Sigmar Polke
Upgrade (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
31 1/2 x 39 1/4 inches, 80 x 100 cm
POL 304

Sigmar Polke
Over the Rainbow (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
54 1/4 x 46 1/4 inches, 138 x 117.5 cm
POL 322

Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
39 1/4 x 27 1/2 inches, 100 x 70 cm
POL 341

Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
35 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches, 90 x 70 cm
POL 335

Sigmar Polke
The Miracle of Siegen (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
78 3/4 x 63 inches, 200 x 160 cm
POL 310

Sigmar Polke
Untitled (Lens Painting)
mixed media on fabric
74 3/4 x 78 3/4 inches, 190 x 200 cm
POL 316

Alice Neel at Zwirner

Wow! this is a must see exhibition, along with the late Picasso's, the best of the season.

David Zwirner is presenting two concurrent exhibitions of Alice Neel’s work, the first since announcing its representation of her Estate.
• Alice Neel: Selected Works at David Zwirner, at 533 West 19th Street, May 14 through June 20, 2009.
• Alice Neel: Nudes of the 1930s at Zwirner & Wirth, at 32 East 69th Street, May 6 through June 20, 2009

Alice neel is a painter I have always been aware of, but almost entirely through the occasional reproduction here and there. Over the last few years I have rediscovered her work. This occurred the best way possible, accidentally, primarily in group shows, as an answer to the reflexive question "who did that?"

So last week when my painter friend Biff Elrod said to me, "Alice Neel has a knockout show at Zwirner" I took the subway uptown and we went to see it together. He was right, the exhibition of Alice Neel's early works at Zwirner and Wirth (69th Street) were gritty precursors to her later paintings.

A few days later we walked over to Chelsea to see the Picasso's, on the way we stopped by Zwirner (20th Street) only to be surprised with the other half of the exhibition. The element of surprise, stumbling upon an exhibition you didn't expect and finding that it exceeds all of your expectations, well that's really nice.

I'm not going to say a whole lot about these works, I've just seen the exhibition once and I am sure that there are other writers who can fill you in on the details of her life. (There's also a video available, which I haven't seen yet)

What I will say is that these paintings stand above almost all other representational paintings made in the latter part of the twentieth century. They represent the full complexity a pictorial image is able to present, both visually, conceptually and psychologically.

The images below are in chronological order. The 1930 painting Rhoda Myers Nude is at Zwirner and Wirth Gallery uptown, and the rest are at the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea.

Alice Neel
Rhoda Myers Nude
Oil on canvas
29 3/4 x 26 inches, 75.6 x 66 cm
At Zwirner and Wirth Gallery (32 E 69th Street)

The next two were painted during the heart of WWII. Sam and Hartley is a poignant image of the darkness felt in those years.

Alice Neel
Sam, Snow (How like the winter)
Oil on canvas
30 x 24 inches 76.2 x 61 cm

Alice Neel
Sam and Hartley
c. 1945
Oil on canvas
30 x 27 inches 76.2 x 68.6 cm

1950's, the male dominated anti-representational period of Greenberg and the Abstract Expressionists

Alice Neel
Ballet Dancer
Oil on canvas
20 1/8 x 42 1/8 inches 51.1 x 107 cm

Alice Neel
Oil on canvas
32 x 20 1/4 inches 81.3 x 51.4 cm

Alice Neel
Rita and Hubert
Oil on canvas
34 x 40 inches 86.4 x 101.6 cm

Alice Neel
George Arce
Oil on canvas
36 x 25 inches 91.4 x 63.5 cm

1960's, the look in the eyes of Cindy is priceless and her handling of the plaid on the dress is wonderful.

Alice Neel
Oil on canvas
28 x 18 inches 71.1 x 45.7 cm

Alice Neel
Jerry Sokol
Oil on canvas
40 x 28 inches 101.6 x 71.1 cm

Monday, April 20, 2009

Regrouping: Art Market at FIT

Regrouping: art world professionals examine the art market
Wednesday, April 22
Symposium: 7:00-8:30pm
Katie Murphy Auditorium, FIT
7th Avenue at 27th Street (d building)

This sounded like it might be interesting:
Following years of wild expansion and commercial vitality, the last six months in the art world - as in all business sectors - have seen rocky auction and art fair sales, abrupt gallery closures and publicly expressed dealer woe.

Our panel, moderated by FIT adjunct faculty member, independent art consultant and co-founder of NADA, Sheri Pasquarella, will attempt to assess where things stand and what the long-term picture might look like.

The selected panelists are Paul Morris, co-founder of the Armory Show, Lowell Pettit, art advisor, Walter Robinson, critic and editor of Artnet, Yvonne Garcia, director of development of the Bronx Museum, and Florence Lynch, curaatoe and director of Florence Lynch Gallery.

FIT on 7th Avenue

A public service announcement

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

John Waters's at Marianne Boesky

John Waters's exhibition "Rear Projection" at Marianne Boesky Gallery from April 3rd through May 2, 2009. The exhibition consists of thirty-six photographs and four sculptures and runs concurrently with his film "Rear Projection" which will be on view at Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles from April 11 – May 23, 2009.

This was a nice exhibition, worth a second visit when maybe I can take some better photographs than those supplied by the gallery which are rediculously small.

John Waters
Installation View, 2009

John Waters
Installation View, 2009

John Waters
Control 2009
Fiberglass, silicone, urethane, acrylic, human and synthetic hair, fabric and wood.
approximately 48 x 30 x 30 inches
Edition of 5

Espèces d’espaces at Yvon Lambert

An exhibition of note: Espèces d’espaces at Yvon Lambert:

A group exhibition featuring works by Robert Barry, Louise Bourgeois, Michael Brown, Stefan Brüggemann, André Cadere, Carter, Enrico Castellani, Liam Gillick, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Bethan Huws, On Kawara, Zilvinas Kempinas, Anselm Kiefer, Louise Lawler, Zoe Leonard, Jill Magid, Brice Marden, Jonathan Monk, Roman Opalka, Christian Vetter, Ian Wallace and Lawrence Weiner.
The exhibition runs from March 28, 2009 through May 16, 2009.

Visit the Yvon Lambert Gallery New York for more pictures.

Espèces d’espaces
Installation view 2009

Espèces d’espaces
Installation view 2009

Robert Barry
Steel Disc Suspended 1/8 Inch Above Floor(#3) 1967
Steel and nylon string
Installation dimensions variable:
Steel disc: 3 inches in diameter x 5/8 inches high

Alan d'Archangelo at Michell-Innes & Nash

Mitchell-Innes & Nash has a very nice exhibition of seldom seen works by the POP artist Alan d'Archangelo (1930-1998) The exhibition runs from April 2 – May 2, 2009.

This is an exhibition which helps to expand the narrow confines imposed by ideas of a "signature style" It was clear from the works exhibited that there is more to d'Archangelo's work than a centerline. An important exhibition which should not be missed.

Mitchell-Innes & Nash has a good set of images from the exhibition on their website.

Alan d'Archangelo
Place of Assination 1965-1967
Acrylic and collage on canvas, metal road sign, cut plastic and objects
99 1/2 x 189 inches
262.7 x 400.1 cm.

The image above gives a better idea of how this piece situates itself in space.