Los Angeles – February 2014

A couple weeks ago I got to go to Los Angeles and check out the art scene.

It really was a great trip. I did manage to get a little business done while I was there but mostly it was a chance to enjoy visits with friends, walk along the beach and watch the dolphins, check out the restaurants and shopping, and see a lot of artwork.

Everyone knows that L.A. is a big city and it is really spread out – well, that carries over to the art scene. It seemed like everything I wanted to see was 45 minutes away from wherever I happened to be. I didn’t always make a game plan and, as a consequence, found myself sitting on the freeway & showing up at places on the day that they were closed. I didn’t mind though because it was sunny and 75° with a nice breeze coming in from over the water (it’s been a great ski season in Colorado, but still it’s nice to take a break from the cold.)

There is so much to see at The Getty Museum and at LACMA that I wound up visiting each of them twice. I also managed to get to The Hammer Museum, The Santa Monica Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown L.A near the Disney Concert Hall and the new Broad Museum, still under construction. For galleries, this time I checked out downtown, Culver City, Wilshire Boulevard and then Bergamot Station over in Santa Monica.

Museums

“Past Tense” works by Hiroshi Sugimoto at The Getty – this exhibit brings together three series: habitat dioramas, wax portraits, and early photographic negatives. I especially liked the portraits: Sugimoto places wax figures of Queen Victoria and then of King Henry VIII and his wives.  This clever series brings portraiture full circle: Madame Tussaud’s figures are created using old master portrait paintings. Sugimoto then places the statues in front of black backdrops and photographs them in order to create “historical” portraits.  He employs a 9-minute exposure to capture all the life-like details of the statues and costumes.

A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography at The Getty – Queen Victoria was the first of the monarchs to have her reign documented by camera. She was an avid collector and had a passion for photography that resulted in a collection of some 20,000 images.

Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic at LACMA – This is a retrospective that shows work from 4 decades of this iconic artist’s work.

Keltie Ferris: Doomsday Boogie at Santa Monica Museum of Art – Her work combines perspective with contemporary geometric color and graffiti.

Galleries

  1. Edge & Surface by Claudia Meyer at Fresh Paint Art Gallery
  2. Hydrographics by R. Dean Larson at DNJ Gallery
  3. Unexplored Territory by Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis at Kopeiken Gallery
  4. Michael Kenna at Peter Fetterman
  5. Marcia Roberts: From the Beginning at Rosamund Felson
  6. Beverly Semmes 1992-1994 at Shoshana Wayne
  7. Dustin Yellin at Richard Heller
  8. Los Gigantes at Frank Lloyd – this included works from 5 of the galleries longstanding artists: Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, John Mason, Ed Moses, and Peter Voulkos
  9. Group show at 1301PE – included Fiona Banner, Fiona Connor, Kirsten Everberg, Ann Veroinca Janssens, Jorge Pardo, Blake Rayne, Jessica Stockholder, Diana Thater, Rirkrit Tiravanija
  10. Robert Reynolds Studio
Barbara Kruger at Hammer Museum

Barbara Kruger at Hammer Museum

Nancy Rubins at MOCA

Nancy Rubins at MOCA

Charles Ray "Boy with Frog" at Getty Museum

Charles Ray “Boy with Frog” at Getty Museum

Dustin Yellin at Richard Heller

Dustin Yellin at Richard Heller

Keltie Harris at SMMOA

Keltie Harris at SMMOA

Diane von Furstenberg at LACMA

Diane von Furstenberg at LACMA

Calder at LACMA

Calder at LACMA

Hiroshi Sugimoto at The Getty

Hiroshi Sugimoto at The Getty

Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer

Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer

Richard Serra

Richard Serra

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

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Art to Buy Now – A Look at the Past Year

Over the past year I have written about art I have seen during my travels across the country. I created the following postcards to serve as my visual “notes”

Art to Buy Now – A Look at the Past Year:

Picture1 Picture7 Picture8 Picture6 Picture5 Picture4 Picture3 Picture2

Telluride – January 2014

Last week my partner & I took a few days off to go explore Telluride and do some skiing.  It wound up being the perfect time to go because we were between weather systems –  there was snow on the ground, but the skies were sunny and the temperatures warm.

Telluride was settled with miners back in the mid-1800s and it still has much of it’s old town charm. While the mountain village overflows with tourists, I got the sense that the actual town itself is a community of locals. There are plenty of restaurants, shops and galleries to appeal to visitors and residents alike.

Of course, I took a few breaks from the slopes to check out the local art scene, a half-dozen galleries and a handful of studios.

The three that really caught my eye were

  1. Gallery 81435  I am still not sure who was manning the store – I went in twice and never did see anyone else there.  The show was beautifully minimal, with black and white sculpture, woodblock prints and photographs.  I fell in love with Antonio Marra’s sculpture and Meredith Nemirov’s drawing series of tree details.
  2. Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery  This gallery was a treat: the series of rooms were filled with landscape paintings from regional and national artists.
  3. Telluride Gallery of Fine Art  Probably the most commercial of the galleries, they focus on contemporary photography, painting, sculpture and jewelry.  I caught the tail end of their winter “White” show and especially liked the ceramic works by Marc Leuthold and the encaustic panels by Shawna Moore.
Oh Be Joyful Art Gallery

Oh Be Joyful Art Gallery

Marc Leuthold at Gallery 81435

Marc Leuthold at Gallery 81435

Shawna Moore at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art

Shawna Moore at Telluride Gallery of Fine Art

Marshall Noice at Lustre Gallery

Marshall Noice at Lustre Gallery

Telluride

Telluride

Views everywhere we turn in Telluride

Views everywhere we turn in Telluride

Skiing in Telluride

Skiing in Telluride

Art in NYC – December 2013

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Last week I got back from a week-long trip to  New York; I went to check out the exhibits, visit friends and enjoy spending time in the city during the holidays.There is nothing quite like the hustle and bustle of Manhattan in December: the displays on 5th Avenue, the lights in Columbus Circle, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the ice skating in Central Park, the shoppers on Madison and down in SoHo. I fell in love with the tagliatelle Bolognese at Cibo e Vino on the Upper West Side and enjoyed the moules frites at MARKT down in Chelsea. An afternoon trek over to Murray Hill yielded a variety of cinnamons for me and a look at some 4,000 different spices at Kalustyan’s.

I practically ran myself ragged rushing through the museums and galleries to see as much as I could – this time at break-neck speed I went to 8 museums and about 50 galleries.  Of course, the must-see for anyone who is going to be in NYC over the next few weeks are the Vermeers; 5 of them are on view in one room at the Met and 4 of them are at the Frick, including “Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

Other shows that really stood out for me were:

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS

Christopher Wool at the Guggenheim – this is the artist I would want to be if I were not the artist I am.  I loved his photographic documentation, his obsession with patterns, his judicious use of color and his obliterative erasures.

Chris Burden: Extreme Measures at The New Museum – This was the one show during my trip that made me really slow down to take it in. I guess I knew he was the guy who shot at airplanes and I vaguely remember hearing about when he crucified himself onto the Volkswagen beetle back in the 70’s. Beyond that, everything else was basically new to me.   I am so, so glad I saw this because seeing his work really is like taking primers in performance art, installation art and modern sculpture.

Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital at Museum of Arts & Design – This exhibit is worth a look. It focuses on the rapidly developing area of digital fabrication and showcases best examples of printing, cutting and knitting.

Robert Indiana: Beyond Love at the Whitney – Most of us are familiar the iconic “LOVE” sculpture. This exhibit takes a look into Indiana’s career-long fascination with American identity and how that relates to justice and equality. I was particularly interested in his use of words and numbers to develop paintings that are symbolically complex.

Isa Genzken: Retrospective at MoMA – I am always interested in taking a look at artists that are better known outside the US than they are here in the States.  This exhibit offers a chance to explore the work of one of the most influential female (German) artists of the past few decades. I was fascinated by her assemblages, but ultimately more in love with her sculpture.

GALLERY SHOWS

  1. Ad Reinhardt @ David Zwirner – I was in love with these black paintings; they immediately reminded me of Rothko Chapel ( see https://myartlook.com/2013/01/08/the-menil-collection-art-in-context/), although I guess it is the other way around since he did these back in the 60’s.
  2. Kaws @ Mary Boone Chelsea – the 2-story “Companion” sculptures dominate the sky-lit gallery
  3. Thomas Demand: Dailies @ Matthew Marks – these images were sourced from Demand’s cell phone images. These photographs were all printed using a dye-transfer process that provides a richness to the colors and luminosity that is absolutely gorgeous.
  4. Brice Marden: Graphite Drawings @ Matthew Marks – 22 of his early works on paper.
  5. Nicola Hicks@ Flowers – Her sculptures of animals are amazingly expressive. They are generally made from plaster & straw and then cast into bronze.
  6. Michael Leavitt – Empire Speaks @Jonathan Levine Gallery – Imagine Hillary Clinton as a stormtrooper.  This exhibit imagines many of today’s figureheads as characters from Star Wars.
  7. Peter Saul @ Mary Boone – These paintings from the 60’s & 70’s mix pop with absurdist humor.
  8. Willem de Kooning:Ten Paintings 1983-1985 @ Gagosian; I love the loose brushstrokes of the paintings – some of the telltale colors are there, but overall compositions are light and airy.
  9. Tony Feher @ Sikkema Jenkins & Co – I missed his retrospective at the Bronx Museum, so I was thrilled to get to see this show. A post-minimalist, his sculptures show his fascination with the aesthetic qualities of cheaply made, mundane objects like plastic patio tables, and pressed glass candy bowls.
  10. Cyprien Gaillard @ Gladstone – His fascination with progression/regression; evolution/decay; construction/destruction makes for one of the more compelling exhibits. Gaillard’s massive sculptures made of excavation machinery and carved calcite & onyx stand as giant fossils giving clues to the birth of a dystopian society.
  11. Simon Hantai @  Paul Rodgers/ 9W – this abstract painter was a contemporary of Pollock; he devoted himself to automating painterly gestures.  By folding his canvases, he was able to achieve repetitive patterns that reminded me of cutouts.
  12. Christian Marclay @ Paula Cooper – this was a bit of a surprise for me. Marclay is known for his work with music & video, so I wasn’t expecting to see these vibrant screenprints.  The splashes of color are emblazoned with sound bubbles (think comic strips that read “Wham!” or “Pow!”) which are actually onomatopoeias of paint being applied to the canvas: “Plop”, “Whoomph!”, “Splat!”
  13. Kelly Reemtsen @ De Buck Gallery there is something slightly sinister about these brightly painted women in vintage skirts. Firstly, they are all anonymous (we don’t see faces, or even their heads) and then they are all carrying axes and chainsaws and garden hoses. They are so cheerfully creepy!
  14. Richard Serra @ Gagosian Chelsea – only Gagosian could pull off installing these giant sculptures inside the gallery.  I’ve seen them at LACMA and outside (the tuileries I nParis), but I have to say their scale takes on different significance inside the gallery.
Along the Way by Kaws at Mary Boone Chelsea

Along the Way by Kaws at Mary Boone Chelsea

Christopher Wool - The Harder You Look

Christopher Wool – The Harder You Look

Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

David Smith at Gagosian (Madison Ave)

David Smith at Gagosian (Madison Ave)

Envy by Barry X Ball at Museum oh Arts & Design

Envy by Barry X Ball at Museum of Arts & Design

Gabriel Orozco at Marian Goodman

Gabriel Orozco at Marian Goodman

Isa Genzken at MoMA

Isa Genzken at MoMA

Richard Serra at Gagosian Chelsea

Richard Serra at Gagosian Chelsea

Tale of Two Cities by Chris Burden at New Museum

Tale of Two Cities by Chris Burden at New Museum

Thomas Demand Dailies at Matthew Marks

Thomas Demand Dailies at Matthew Marks

Tony Feher at Sikkema Jenkins & Co

Tony Feher at Sikkema Jenkins & Co

Twisted Dump Truck by Wim Delveye at Museum of Arts & Design

Twisted Dump Truck by Wim Delveye at Museum of Arts & Design

All the Submarines, 1987 by Chris Burden at New Museum

All the Submarines, 1987 by Chris Burden at New Museum

Bura II, 2001-2005 by Susana Solano at Jack Shainman

Bura II, 2001-2005 by Susana Solano at Jack Shainman

Liam Gillick with Louise Lawler at Casey Kaplan

Liam Gillick with Louise Lawler at Casey Kaplan

Rotary Demisphere, 1925 by Marcel Duchamp at MoMA

Rotary Demisphere, 1925 by Marcel Duchamp at MoMA

Willem de Kooning at Gagosian

Willem de Kooning at Gagosian

Rembrandt's Night Watch, 1974 by Peter Saul at Mary Boone

Rembrandt’s Night Watch, 1974 by Peter Saul at Mary Boone

During Denver’s Coldest Week, the Art Shows are Hot!

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Arghhhh! I got back from Washington, DC the other night to arrive in Denver on the coldest night of some 40 years…brrrr! I was tempted to stay in wait for it to warm up (like maybe another week), but then I ultimately felt the pull toward the galleries…so like a moth to the flame, I went in search of the light.

Luckily, the galleries are mostly warm – a couple of them have space heaters going, but for the most part, they provide a great opportunity to get in from the cold and enjoy some of the very best Denver has to offer.

They are all very different shows and so I have to point out that I am not listing these in any particular order because I thoroughly enjoyed all of them.

  • “Dimension & Symmetry” by Clark Rickert at Gildar Gallery  – Clark has long been one of the art stars of Denver art scene and yet his work always seems of the moment. I am enamored with the vibrant colors that he applies to advanced mathematic equations and theories.
  • “Structural Leanings” featuring Haze Diedrich & Lewis McInnis at Space Gallery – the strong architectural underpinnings of both of these artists’ works is very compelling. I have been a fan of both of these artists for years and am in love with these new works.
  • “Flos” by Mia Mulvey at Goodwin Fine Art – I love these sculptures based on Dutch still life imagery and conceived with the very latest technologies.  The juxtaposition of ceramic, felt and 3-D printing connects historical reference to current media.
  • “Altitude” by David Kimball Anderson at Robischon Gallery – I was blown away by these installed pieces that use cast bronze work alongside scrap materials to convey a story of journey and a profound sense of mindfulness.
  • From the “Mandala” and “Buddha” series by Bill Armstrong at Robischon Gallery – these photos are gorgeous! They complement the other shows in the gallery, but are worth a look on their own.  I find them to be contemplative and joyful. They strike me as a bit of a riddle – there is a sense of paradox with the vivid colors presented through a lense that is out of focus.
  • “Cosmic Ebb & Flow” featuring Barbara Groh at Sandra Phillips Gallery – Barbara’s abstractions convey a sense of space, evoking different locations: ranging from Sweden to India to the coast of Maine. This show strikes me as new and different, and yet obviously Groh’s.  The forceful, deliberate brushwork combines with delicate almost whimsical mark making – and the underpinning of vibrant colors restrained by material surface treatments are all signature elements.
  • “Mond:See” featuring Sabin Aell and Jonathan Hils at Walker Fine Art – I fell in love with Hils’ work about 10 years ago and have been a convert ever since. He continues his sculptural explorations of fractal elements and aggregation, in this show with new materials and the use of new technologies.  Sabin’s multi-layered imagery reaches new levels of sophistication – they are delicate and beautiful and the installation on the front wall is stunning.
  • Don Stinson at David B. Smith Gallery – this show about over, but if you get the chance to go down and check out the show, it is totally worth it to see his latest landscapes. Make sure you call ahead because the gallery will only be open by appointment during the holidays.
  • “Refashioned Fables: Icons and Tribes of the Disbanded West” featuring Bale Creek Allen & Tracy Stuckey at Visions West Gallery – another show that is about over; rush over and take a look. The bronze sculptures are really amazing – cast from tumbleweeds. The paintings are take a satirical look at the already re-imagined ideals of western culture.
  • “Fluid” by Frank Martinez at Plus Gallery – I am in love with the level of skill displayed in these predominately black and gray abstracts. The liquidity of the paints captured on panel belies their 2-dimensional restrictions. Looking at these, I get the sense that I can feel the viscosity of the liquids and dip into the visualized space.
  • Jeff Aeling, featuring John Davis and introducing Jivan Lee at William Havu Gallery – I went to check out Aeling’s atmospheric landscapes and wound up really taken with Davis’ sculptures. The three artists present well together.
Barbara Groh at Sandra Phillips Gallery

Barbara Groh at Sandra Phillips Gallery

BUDDHA 714 1of10, by Bill Armstrong at Robischon Gallery

BUDDHA 714 1of10, by Bill Armstrong at Robischon Gallery

Frank Martinez at Plus Gallery

Frank Martinez at Plus Gallery

Furrow by John Davis at William Havu Gallery

Furrow by John Davis at William Havu Gallery

David Kimball Anderson at Robischon Gallery

David Kimball Anderson at Robischon Gallery

Haze Diedrich at Space Gallery

Haze Diedrich at Space Gallery

Lewis McInnis at Space Gallery

Lewis McInnis at Space Gallery

Red Rocker Rider by Tracy Stuckey at Visions West Gallery

Red Rocker Rider by Tracy Stuckey at Visions West Gallery

Looked Back, Not Knowing by John Davis at William Havu Gallery

Looked Back, Not Knowing by John Davis at William Havu Gallery

Mia Mulvey at Goodwin Fine Art

Mia Mulvey at Goodwin Fine Art

Quantum Zone 2013 by Clark Richert at Gildar Gallery

Quantum Zone 2013 by Clark Richert at Gildar Gallery

The Spud Redux, 2013 by Don Stinson at David B. Smith Gallery

The Spud Redux, 2013 by Don Stinson at David B. Smith Gallery

Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties

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The week before last, I got to check out the Claes Oldenburg exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.  I have seen the iconic “Spoonbridge & Cherry” a few times in the sculpture park outside the museum – it has become a symbol of the city’s contemporary art culture. When I think about it, I guess I have seen a fair number of his oversized, highly-polished sculptures of everyday objects. I have been amused by the large typewriter erasers, umbrellas, the bow & arrow in San Francisco’s Embarcadero, a broom & dust pan, shuttlecock, etc. Most of those public works have been created since the 70s.

The focus of the show at The Walker is on the art he produced right after he moved to NYC that was created in the 60s. While I guess I understood he was part of the movement from AbEx to Pop, I really have never known that much about his earlier works.

Pieces from his first show, “The Street” depict the urban grit of the city and were made from bits of cardboard and materials that he would have actually picked up from the street.

The second show was “The Store.” These sculptures are bright and shiny – the colors are exciting.  While the objects are based on items that might typically be found in the store, he intent was not necessarily literal.  I remember something he said once about sculptures being “form that puts color into space.”

About this same time he was experimenting with live performances and participatory art “happenings.” These interactive art performances were kind of a combination of performance art, flash mob and improv.  These performances called for soft sculptures that he and other participants could interact with.. handle, move and even wear. When his show ” The Store” was re-designed for a larger gallery, he adjusted the size of the sculptures to fit into the space. This was key to all of the subsequent work – his fascination with common, everyday objects, unexpected materials and scale have lasted throughout his career as an artist spanning more than 50 years.  The show includes key pieces from “the Home”: light switches, toilets, electrical sockets, etc.  The geometric mouse is shown in a number of iterations – both as sketches and sculpture.

Of course, Oldenburg is known for his Pop Art sculptures, but he has always maintained an active drawing practice and so the show does dedicate a lot of space to showing his sketches and watercolors – for him that is the begining of all art.  I was particularly interested in his proposed architecture and monuments  – the MetLife building as a giant Good Humor bar and giant banana for 42nd Street.

The show brings together nearly 300 pieces from around the world – it’s well put together and thoughful; really I think it is the perfect primer for anyone that has ever wondered about  the guy whose made his career making those giant sculptures that seem to always make us smile.  I LOVE IT!!!

Claes Oldenburg, The Street, 1960

Claes Oldenburg, The Street, 1960

Claes Oldenburg, The Store

Claes Oldenburg, The Store

Claes Oldenburg, Giant BLT, 1963

Claes Oldenburg, Giant BLT, 1963

Claes Odenburg - Profile Study of Toilet Base - Compared to a Map of Detroit & Mt. Sainte Victoire by Cezanne, 1966

Claes Odenburg – Profile Study of Toilet Base – Compared to a Map of Detroit & Mt. Sainte Victoire by Cezanne, 1966

Claes Oldenburg - Geometric Mouse, Scale A, 1969

Claes Oldenburg – Geometric Mouse, Scale A, 1969

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen,  Bat Column Chicago, 1977

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Bat Column Chicago, 1977

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Big Sweep 2006 Denver Art Museum

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Big Sweep 2006 Denver Art Museum

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Cupid's Span 2006, San Francisco

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Cupid’s Span 2006, San Francisco

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Typewriter-eraser Scale X 1999 Washington DC

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Typewriter-eraser Scale X 1999 Washington DC

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Spoonbridge & Cherry, 1988

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Spoonbridge & Cherry, 1988

Nabil Nahas at Lawrie Shabibi

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Nabil Nahas is showing in Dubai right now – I received a notice of his show in my email today and thought I’d share these images because I personally love them.

(to learn more about the artists and his show, visit the Lawrie Shabibi website: http://www.lawrieshabibi.com/exhibitions/32/overview/ )

Untitled, 2009 (fractal) at Lawrie Shabibi

Untitled, 2009 (fractal) at Lawrie Shabibi

Kind of Blue, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

Kind of Blue, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

Mashallah, 2013

Mashallah, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

Midnight Sun, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

Midnight Sun, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

Serendipity, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

Serendipity, 2013 at Lawrie Shabibi

I see a lot of art…more than most. In the past 10 years, I have seen roughly 1000 museum exhibitions and 3000 gallery exhibitions all over the world; that coupled with books, magazines, websites, television, restaurants, offices, and homes…well, it adds up to a LOT of artwork.  I am happy to assist buyers with finding the perfect piece or pieces to add to their collections. Whether it is to find that specific piece to go into your space or to develop a plan for you to build upon over time, I can help you define your goals and then do the legwork – researching options for you. I will introduce you to artists, dealers, galleries so that you can feel confident in your choices.