Category Archives: Painting and Sculpture

Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Walkaround TimeA day trip to Philadelphia to see Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp was filled with subversions, underminings, deconstructions, and sincerity.

The exhibition brings together masterworks, collaborations, and homages by these important and influential artists who wanted to challenge the notion of art. They experimented with what is defined as art, how art is created, and how it is experienced.

Throughout the exhibition of over 100 pieces, it is evident the star is Marcel Duchamp. He is the genius who wished to debunk “preexisting ideas about art, which he believed should appeal to the intellect rather than the senses.” He turned the art world on its head with his notion of “readymades” – objects that he found to be art, the most famous being Fountain, 1917. These pieces, as well as other work including drawings, paintings, photographs, scores, and installations tested originality, concept, and taste.

Marcel Duchamp Door 11. Rue Larrey, 1927

Marcel Duchamp, Door 11. Rue Larrey, 1927

The remaining four artists were very much influenced by Duchamp, but also – not knowing all of his entire oeuvre – their thought process in making art in ran parallel in some regards.

In one example, John Cage and Merce Cunningham did not realize that Duchamp had used the idea of “chance” in his artwork. The concept of “chance,” made famous by Cage and Cunningham explored how the outcome of the an artwork was dictated by the unknown. Certain parameters were put in place and the rest was up to chance – whether it was musical notes or silence, or movement or stillness and so on. And so, when Cage found out about Duchamp’s use of chance, realizing that it occurred in the year of his birth – he did not find that to be a coincidence.

In another example, Duchamp’s concept as key, exploring the distinctions between original and replica, object and idea is examined by Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Rauschenberg created “combines” – sculptures made from nontraditional materials while Johns made paintings that explored what you were looking at as a physical representation.

One of the most interesting aspects of this exhibition is the interplay between the artists. They all influenced or collaborated or co-opted certain aspects of each other’s work. The portraits by Rauschenberg were so interesting and so spot-on in my opinion. I also enjoyed how Johns used the mold from Duchamp’s Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau / 2° le gaz d’éclairage in his paintings.

And maybe the most meaningful thing I took away from the exhibition is how sincere these artists were about art. They were dedicated to exploring, experimenting, and pushing the bounds. They did not hold back, they learned from each other and challenged each other. I believe that because of that, their influence is pervasive today.

All in all, I thought the exhibition was a unique opportunity to see spectacular works – shown in conversation with each other – by Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and of course, Duchamp.

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Critter & Guitari: ONOMONO Party at Cristin Tierney

On Saturday night, Critter & Guitari hosted a party, pop-up exhibition, and concert at the Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York City.

Critter Guitari Onomono Party

The ONOMONO Party has begun with installations by Ali Osborn, Raphael Griswold, Teddy O'Connor and Alois Kronschlaeger.

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Chris and Owen introduce the lineup of talented acts performing

Orit Ben-Shitrit ONOMONO

Orit Ben-Shitrit presents ONOMONO

Erika Spring Melanie Moser

Erika Spring and Melanie Moser perform

Pat Noecker

Patrick Noecker also known as RAFT performs

Critter Guitari ONOMONO Finale

The final performance of the evening

All in all, it was an awesome party to culminate an exciting year. Thanks to Cristin Tierney, Main Drag Music, The Original Moonshine, Orit Ben-Shitrit, Ross GoldsteinJoe Grillo, Raphael Griswold, Melanie Moser, Patrick Noecker, Teddy O’Connor, Ali Osborn, Tonito Santos, and Erika Spring. Special thanks to Alois Kronschlaeger for my beautiful gift. Extra special thanks to everyone who wore sequins!

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Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art

Diego Rivera Portable Mural Infrastructure

X-rays of Agrarian Leader Zapata, 2011

The Museum of Modern Art has a new exhibit exploring the murals that Diego Rivera created for the Museum in 1931-1932 – only the second monographic exhibition in MoMA’s history.

One of the first – and probably coolest – items one sees is an x-ray of one of Rivera’s “portable murals” made especially for the Museum as there was no space to have permanent murals. The wall text reads, “These x-rays reveal the internal skeleton of one of Rivera’s portable murals for the first time. A metal armature composed of horizontal and diagonal bars, iron mesh, and a rigid steel outer frame provide a torque resistant support for multiple layers of cement and fresco mortar.”

All of the murals are set inside the wall to mimic the mural effect with the cement glittering under the lights. Their subjects range from Mexican politics to New York City at its height of high-rise construction. Interspersed between these murals are very small notebook drawings that are powerful in their small scale and often very telling of Rivera’s political leanings.

All in all, the exhibition is interesting with its regard to the history of MoMA.

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Painting the American Vision at the Peabody Essex Museum

The Harvest Moon, 1860 Louis Rémy Mignot

Louis Remy Mignoy, The Harvest Moon, 1860.

But I would have it remembered that…though American scenery is detitute of many of those circumstances that give value to the European, still it has features, and glorious ones, unkown to Europe. – Thomas Cole, 1836

The above quote comes from the exhibition, Painting the American Vision, at the the Peabody Essex Museum, a gem of a museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The exhibition looks at the Hudson River School’s landscapes from the 1800’s with paintings by Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Asher B. Durand among others. All the works in the exhibition come from the (soon to reopen) New York Historical Society’s collection.

1858 Thomas Cole course of empire destruction

Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire: Destruction, 1836.

The works serve to document and highlight the beauty of the American landscape – mostly untouched in the 1800’s. The exhibition of 45 realistic depictions opens with Thomas Cole’s impressive series from 1833-36, “The Course of Empire” and flows through to landscapes and seascapes through the late 1800’s. The most notable aspect of these paintings, aside from the incredible detail, is the illumination of the scene. The varying degrees of light that the artists captured, emanating from the sky and reflecting upon the landscape, is quite impressive. It is as if they were able to take a snapshot to capture a fleeting moment.

nahantrockseashore_kensett

John Frederick Kensett, Nahant Rock and Seashore, 1855.

All in all, I loved engaging with the history and beauty of these paintings.

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Spire by Alois Kronschlaeger

Way back in January, I described my week with Alois Kronschlaeger, installing Allotropisms at Cristin Tierney and now I would like to share his latest project, Spire.

In April, Alois was asked by his friend Paul Amenta, founder of the nonprofit arts organization SiTE:LAB, to do an installation in an abandoned building in downtown Grand Rapids for ArtPrize 2011. Of course, Alois jumped on the opportunity which has enabled him to create his largest work to-date.

Alois’ idea was to create a giant installation that connected the entire building by assembling his biomorphic sculpture in the elevator shaft starting in the basement and extending through the roof. Once this idea sprouted, he built a scale model, gave a lecture at SVA, wrote a blog, starred in a documentary, broke through the roof, constructed Spire and then made the front page of the Grand Rapids Press.

Now all he has to do is win.

spire laneAll in all, I am so proud of Alois for accomplishing this amazing feat.

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Joe Grillo & Jason McLean at Allegra LaViola

Joe Grillo o-pee-chee dirt pileLongtime friends, Joe Grillo and Jason McLean opened a new exhibit at Allegra LaViola on the Lower East Side entitled O-Pee-Chee Dirt Pile. The exhibition is comprised of drawings, collage, painting and installation works by the two artists both collaboratively and solo.

The exhibition is a playground for the eye, with hundreds of individual, colorful works lining the walls of the expansive LES space. Individually, the artwork is playful and familiar with intricate, hand-drawn lines. There is also a wall that has reference pieces for the work and one wall comprised solely of drawings of red-orange bats.

Also of note was the graffitti wall in the back courtyard that was actively painted on throughout the show. Somehow I left the reception with drips of blue spraypaint all down my right arm…

All in all, the work is entertaining as always.

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Wepa Wednesday at el Museo del Barrio

El Museo del Barrio Wepa WednesdayEvery Wednesday night, el Museo del Barrio hosts “Wepa Wednesdays” where the museum stays open until 9 pm with free admission. Since I had never been there and have a friend who works there, I decided to check it out.

The museum’s current exhibition is the sixth Bienal of El Museo entitled, The (S) Files – the “S” this time meaning “Street.” As the website says, “The (S) Files 2011 explores how the boundaries between public/private and personal/universal are blurred by urban culture, and examines the street as catalyst for change in mainstream culture.”

The work spans ages and cultures, looking mostly at New York’s streets. There is “high” art including oil paintings and art made of found objects and sculpture pieces to interact with. It is a hodgepodge of works exploring “the street” through various Latin American lenses.

All in all, I enjoyed visiting the museum. The only drawback is that the exhibition will be up through January so it looks like there is no need to return to the museum until then.

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