Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gilbert & George @ Brooklyn Museum

Gilbert and George are one of those art-dynamic-duos that I'd heard of but didn't know anything about. So I went to their current show at the Brooklyn Museum of art...and, it was weird. They met in art school in London in 1967 and have been collaborating ever since. They're so outspoken and quirky (and lovers) that I think they were simply made for each other. They always include themselves in their large scale photo collages...wearing suits (well, sometimes nude) and looking strangely serious. Many of their pieces include bodily fluids (Oh, there's Gilbert's poo!) blown up on a grand scale.

This was the piece I liked in the show, because I did like their stained glass style. (Whoever designed the Red Hot Chili Peppers album cover for Blood Sugar Sex Magik must have liked it, too.)

But a lot of their work was either way too creepy and aggressive for me...

...or too "we like young boys" pornographic for me.

Um, yeah. No thanks.

MUTO by Blu

This posting is uncharacteristically not about an art show I saw here in New's a video of an animation by an Italian street artist named Blu. Why is it unique? Because he does animations on public walls. I can't imagine how time consuming this was for him to pull off! I especially love how you can see the ghosts of the previous drawings as the animation progresses. This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time, so JUST WATCH IT!

Calder's Circus @ Whitney

I fell in love with Alexander Calder in high school when I saw his work in Washington. Most artists seem like they wouldn't be fun people to hang out with (You know, they're depressed or overly intense or egotistical...) but Calder must have been a delight to be around. He was always creating and playing throughout his life. He's renowned for his mobiles, but the Whitney's current Calder show features work from the time he lived in Paris (1926-1933).

There are scads of wire sculptures depicting faces and figures. With a single wire he eloquently captures a form and personality of a person. (To me they look like living pencil drawings) He makes it look so effortless that it made me want to come home and start playing with my wire coat hangers! Here is one of the numerous Josephine Baker inspired figures...

The centerpieces of the show is his famous circus! All the little figures and animals are manipulated by hand and made of simple materials like wire, pipe cleaners, and bits of fabric. Each element is so simple but so clever! I am partial to the trapeze act, the knife thrower, and the lion.

This video shows Calder performing just some of the acts in his circus...

William Eggleston @ Whitney

William Eggleston has a show up at the Whitney, and it was such a large collection of his work that I didn't even get a chance to see it all! Which is a shame, because I enjoyed his work. He's an American photographer, known for his masterful use of color through his distinct dye-transfer printing method. He shoots everydayness in the South, specifically the Mississippi Delta region.

My favorite image was this one here, because the reds were so vibrant and juicy. It looks so blah here, but that's because his color processing simply doesn't translate in reproductions. The photos simply glow.

My friend Jesse and I loved this photo in particular, with its identical poses but contrasting colors. Who are these men? What was going on?

His photos feel casual because they're mostly taken from eye level, like he just decided to take a picture in the moment of something that caught his eye. The point of view of this one makes me feel like I'm sitting in the booth of that diner waiting for my lunch.

PS--Jesse and I saw Billy Baldwin at this show. A security guard asked us, "So what movies has that guy been in?" We both drew blank expressions.

Street Art Street Life @ Bronx Museum

I ventured all the way up to the Bronx Museum earlier this week to see a show called "Street Art Street Life"'s about street as subject matter. It is mostly photography depicting street life, performances in the street, and artwork presented in the street. I found each image to be rich with narrative!

I particularly loved the photography of Jamel Shabazz from the 80's...

...and the photography of George Maciunas from the 60's.

But this here was my favorite thing: a short film called Ear to the Ground by David Van Tiegham. It reminded me of David Byne's Playing the Building (which I wrote about in July) because here Tiegham is drumming on the sides of buildings streets themselves. Check it out, it's worth a view!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election 2008: The Square Foot Show

Election 2008: The Square Foot Show @ Art Gotham

This was a very interesting show indeed...over 200 artists painted more than 300 square-foot-size canvases on the subject of politics. Simply, politics. The resulting artworks were as diverse and outspoken as the artists that were represented. Sarcastic caricatures, ambiguous abstractions, relief sculptures, text driven collages, timidly optimistic, painfully serious, etc. If you can see this show I'd highly recommend it! With hundreds of political points of view on display, you're bound to agree with one of them.

I was especially amused by all the different versions of Obama...everything from Robin Hood to George Washington, Jesus to Buddha. (It was not a McCain loving crowd of course) Here are come pictures...

I found this an interesting juxtaposition. Obama looking serious and to The Real Plumbers of Ohio.

My dear friend Nancy had a piece in the show! It's in the top center, with the puppet on the stage. You'll have to ask her to explain it all, because I can never wrap my head around conspiracy theories!

Art Gotham: 192 Ave of Americas (6th Ave btwn Spring & Prince)...Up through November 8th

Mary Henderson

Mary Henderson @ Lyons Wier Ortt Gallery

When I first passed by the gallery (it's on the first floor of my building) I thought these images were photographs. Shrug. But then I looked closer and discovered they were insanely photo-realistic paintings of photographs! Incredible. (I dare you to find a brushstroke!) The artist Mary Henderson found these pictures on a website that's used by soldiers and their families to exchange photos back and forth. She wanted to show us the faces of these men and women behind the politics and the headlines...the results are candid and vibrantly youthful. Impressive and poignant!

Lyons Wier Ortt Gallery: 175 Seventh Ave @ 20th Street...Up through November 8th