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

Blek Le Rat

Blek Le Rat @ Jonathan LeVine Gallery

I've been mentioning Banksy here a bunch lately, so let me introduce you to the man who influenced him the most: Blek Le Rat. (aka: Xavier Prou) He's a French graffiti artist who was using stencils to create street art 20 years before Banksy. He basically invented the life size stencil that you see everywhere today. He became well known for stenciling rats all over around Paris...hence his rodent inspired title.

Although I find his historical references and tongue-in-cheek social commentary interesting, I found the gallery too sterile an environment for his work. It belongs outside. I was far more interested in the video showing his graffiti work out on the streets, because that's what completes it. Transplanting his stencils into the a simply didn't translate for me.

Jonathan LeVine Gallery: 529 W 20th Street, 9th Floor...Up through November 15th