January 24, 2012
A friend recently asked – Have you seen any good art shows recently?
I remember she was really asking if I had seen the exhibition Willem de Kooning: A Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art – MoMA (September 8, 2011 – January 9, 2012).
Yes, I saw the de Kooning show. I love the way he painted – and the works are so strong and still looks so fresh!
The two images above are my favorites. The top image is titled “Painting.” It’s oil and enamel on canvas (1948) 42 x 56 inches. The 2nd image is titled “Woman I” – it’s oil on canvas (1950-52) 75 x 58 inches. Both images: the Internet.
If you didn’t see the exhibition, visit the MoMA website which reviews de Kooning’s major themes, includes a timeline with images, and information on the artist’s methods and materials.
I enjoyed reading the NY Times art review by Holland Cotter (Sept. 15, 2011).
Cotter talked about de Kooning’s third “Woman” series as outrageous busty Gorgons with equine grins that caused fits when first exhibited.
Those are the ones I love. I went to the show to see de Kooning’s busty Gorgons – and the lush black and white abstractions.
DE KOONING AT ABMB
I checked the Internet and found a terrific art blog that talked about de Kooning at MoMA and recaps ABMB.
It opens with a rave review of the de Kooning retrospective (also saying it was easier to get into ABMB than get into MoMA to see the de Kooning show).
There’s an image right away of de Kooning’s Marilyn (Marilyn Monroe) titled “Woman” (1964), 24×18 inches, charcoal and pencil on paper, seen below. Image: the Internet.
Right next to de Kooning’s Marilyn are 2 Vic Munoz Marilyns (Munoz was one of many artists inspired by de Kooning).
A little further into the blog is a large, late de Kooning seen at ABMB: “Untitled XII,” oil on canvas (1985), 80×70 inches. Image: the Internet.
HAVE YOU SEEN ANY GOOD ART RECENTLY?
Back to the question I was asked – have you seen any good art shows recently?
It took a few seconds for me to reply – YES – I saw the best art show ever at ABMB in December 2011.
Every gallery was out to impress.
There was so much art to see that my eyes hurt by the end of the day.
I loved the ingenious installations, the glitz and the panorama.
I got to see a lot of great collage.
Almost immediately, I came face to face with a large Mark Bradford collage, titled “A Thousand Words.”
The image above is the collage, seen in NYC at the Sikkema Jenkins Gallery. The image shows it’s scale.
Here’s a link to a great video-rich website starring Mark Bradford, organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts. Check it out. It’s cutting edge.
Read my blog about Mark Bradford, written March 11, 2011.
The image above is me in front of a wall of collages. Each work was a mini masterpiece. Image: Mary Hunter.
I found enough collage to make me happy, including collage on sculpture. I took the image below.
TOP PLAYERS ARE THERE
I walked inside an installation by Theaster Gates – titled Glass Pavilion – and found myself looking up at glass lantern slides. I spoke with Kavi Gupta; The Kavi Gupta Gallery represents Gates (Chicago and Berlin). See more images at the gallery website…
There is a lot of buzz about Theaster Gates.
Read an article titled Theaster Gates in the Studio with Lilly Wei (Art in America, December 2011).
Lilly Wei is a New York-based writer and independent curator.
Thanks for reading and your comments.
March 8, 2011
Recently I visited the Studio Museum in Harlem at 144 West 125 Street, NYC, hoping to see Mark Bradford’s super sized abstract collages. I was sorely disappointed because I saw really small collages, each a letter from A to Z, installed horizontally in the gallery. The exhibition is titled ALPHABET (November 11, 2010 – March 13, 2011).
The Museum produced a very handsome 4-color exhibition folder: A is for Alphabet. A is also for Angelenos. Mark Bradford is an Angeleno, born and raised and still living in Los Angeles, CA.
He calls himself a painter, but he rarely uses paint. Paper is his media.
He works without prepared drawings. He layers papers, then tears away and sands away his surfaces, building up and tearing down.
The colors in his palette are the colors in the scavenged papers he finds on the streets, on signposts and mom & pop shop windows in his South Los Angeles neighborhood.
Bradford’s process is collage/decollage – it is constructive and also deconstructive.
He says he creates maps of the imagination.
The image above, part of his Merchant Posters series, is a detail of a large work titled “Ridin’ Dirty” (2006). It’s mixed media collage, in 78 parts, 109 x 336 inches combined.
If you like text and collage, topography, texture and layers, these are amazing works. The Museum bookstore sells a very handsome exhibition catalog titled Mark Bradford: Merchant Posters, with 97 color reproductions. You can also get the book online.
The image above is from the catalog and is Untitled (2007), mixed media collage, 19×22 inches.
In Mark Bradford: Merchant Posters, in the introductory essay, “Border Crossings,” Ernest Hardy wrote:
“To create his Merchant Posters, Mark canvasses Los Angeles, specifically the once-White-Only-then-primarily-Negro-now-equally-Latino part of South Los Angeles (formerly and infamously known as South Central) in which he works and still lives. It’s where he harvests the hand-made advertising signs that he finds on telephone poles, on the fences and wood barricades that block off construction sites, and in the windows of mom & pop stores…
…we see flux. It’s the dynamic of static vs. fluid (old ways of existing vs. emerging survival tactics; a once largely mono-race space absorbing new cultures and languages, trying to make sense of it all) unfolding in his own neighborhood, where years of political indifference and corruption are being jiggled by longstanding economic hardship, forces of gentrification, and the presence of immigrants from throughout Latin America who are adding new contours. The posters force us to pause and ponder…”
Bradford was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1961. He attended and received his BFA (1995) and MFA (1997) from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He still lives and works in Los Angeles. In 2009 he was awarded the MacArthur Genius Award.
The image above, titled “Orbit” (2007) is mixed media collage, 72×84 inches.
PERMANENT-WAVE END PAPERS FOR COLLAGE
In his early abstract paintings, Mark Bradford used permanent-wave end papers, hair dye and foil, supplies from a hair dressing salon. The collages were covered with rectangular papers from end to end in a linear grid (think Agnes Martin and Ellen Gallagher).
He works in a studio in the same building that was his mother’s beauty salon.
The first major survey of Bradford’s work, including his large map-like collages, was organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, in conjunction with his selection in fall 2009 for the Center’s Residency Award in visual arts. The exhibition is currently installed at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA (it closes March 13), and travels to the Museum of Contemporary art in Chicago, IL (summer 2011), continues to the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX and concludes at The San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA.
Check out Bradford’s work online. The presentation, organized by the Wexner Center says you can explore 4 different ways to get closer to the work, the artist and his process.
At the site you’ll Learn about “Duality” – the different layers – formal and social – that make up a single work of art – and you’ll see Bradford and hear two voices simultaneously – the presentation is so cool.
There’s a soundtrack behind the image and text for “Method Man” (2004) 125 x 125 inches, seen above. Media is mixed, including billboard papers, photomechanical reproductioins, carbon paper, acrylic gel medium, bleach and more (private collection).
ON LINE SHOWS ARE GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME
On-line shows are getting better all the time, but there is no comparison to seeing the work in person. I can’t get to Boston in time to see the show that closes March 13. I think I have to plan a trip to Chicago or Dallas to see the works with my own eyes.
Please add your comments below and let me know what you think of this artist’s work and the on-line exhibition.