Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jeremy Earhart at Goff & Rosenthal

Sometimes an artist has the "it" talent factor-- one where they possess not only inherent ability, but also the knowledge of how to market their creations. Take the case of one Jeremy Earhart of Goff & Rosenthal Gallery. This past weekend the artist opened his Brooklyn studio space to a small group of press and led us on a tour of his inspirations, as well as his process.

Given the current state of the art market, it really is an ingenious promotional undertaking for the gallery. For not only did this give potential critics a chance to enjoy a night away from the city, but here you are no longer simply doing a "show review," but learning about what makes up the entire artistic process-- from initial design to completion. From the moment I received my hand-written Valentine's Day invitation, my interest was piqued. In this case, Goff & Rosenthal has raised the bar for other galleries.

Earhart struck me not only as quite personable, but also an artist who is propelled by an unparalleled dedication to craft. Working with plexiglass and phosphorescent auto paint that glows under black light, his labor-intensive works have a magical and theatric quality not unlike that of a sci-fi movie set, or at the very least an out of control rave, circa 1993. What I liked the most about Earhart's works weren't necessarily their glo-worm aura, but their topical humor and tongue-in-cheek references to popular culture.

The outside window of the gallery included one rocking Liberty Bell done in day-glo pink over a blue backdrop. Feeling as if you've taken one too many hits of LSD tabs on a bender walking the streets of Philadelphia, it successfully sets the mood for 2009. For herein lies an era of change in so many facets-- from the poltical, to the very makeup of the art world itself. For whom is the bell tolling in this case? Larry Gagosian, you have been warned.

Certainly the days of the mix tape are long past, but in the case of Earhart, they're still going strong. Any music-loving collector would lick their chops to get their hands on one of these. I picture these Maxells including a few Happy Mondays songs, amidst some Stone Roses gems.

I also enjoyed examining several works where layers of multi-colored arrows converged upon a circle aflame-- a nice reference to the naughty, as well as nudge to the topic of "general direction." For in a world of GPS-dictated movements, where DO we go from here?

The dragon-eyed beauty above also reminded me of the Art Nouveaux period, with undulating waves and curves seemingly referencing Beardsley's lush "Salome," as pictured below.

I liked Earhart's personal touch throughout his studio. He took time showing us his drawings and maquettes, then showed us how he cuts out the stencils, shapes the plexi, which is then pressed, painted and sealed.

All in all, a great time had by all. I highly encourage you to check out the above links, as well as see the great photographs of Tod Seelie, whose work I've highlighted in the above posts. All other images are taken from the gallery website.

Friday, February 20, 2009

When the damage is duh-huh-huuun, you're damaged goods

After going to Gladstone on 21st today, I believe firmly that Thomas Hirschhorn has seen his fair share of Juliana Hatfield videos.

No need for a review here. Just look at some of the song lyrics.

Beauty can be sad. You're proof of that.
When the damage is done, you're damaged goods.

Sweet. sweet pain comes with the sun
Lie down and soak it up, Burn off layers of insulators
Exposed nose to the cold, I'm bleeding pretty colors
yeah, all over myself

A heart, a heart that hurts, is a heart, a heart that works.
A heart, a heart that hurts, is a heart, a heart that works.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Doppelgangers at Mike Weiss

(above, Martin C. Herbst at Mike Weiss Gallery)

(above, ManRay)

I've been thinking of reference a lot lately when I go to shows. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Walking by the Martin C. Herbst show at Mike Weiss Gallery I have to say I was intrigued by the art at the end of the space. I literally thought, "Oh, look, it's Metro Pictures' new Tony Oursler exhibit." Alas, I was quite wrong. But I couldn't shake a bit of an unclean feeling. When art references an influence, it's one thing; when it appears a doppleganger, it's another. Wearing one's heart on one's sleeve can be kismet.

So even though I was a bit disheartened at first, I must admit-- to quote Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber," now, "Ah like it... Ah like it a laht." Of course, Mr. Oursler himself is not necessarily always one for "originality" either, as seen below. I'll let you decide for yourself.

(above, Herbst at Weiss installation photo)

(above, Tony Oursler)

Oursler opens February 28th at the above link. The Herbst show runs through Feb. 21st.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Why I love J-No


(The new "in" of Spring 2009, Ms. Hutton graces Ellsworth Kelly's Matthew Marks showcase)

I have many reasons to love J-No, the incognito super stealth paparazzo of the art world here in NYC. He moves to and fro like a phantom, stamping guestbooks left and right with his little J-No logo. But whenever I can't make a show, his Flickr page is the first I go to to see the best images and beautiful people shots. Sure, on occasion I have to wade through the cleavage and stiletto-clad leg shots to get to the artwork at hand, but that's why I just love the guy. He makes me laugh, and just totally rocks the joint. So J-No, rock on with your bad self. Oly loves ya.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Artist of the day - Richard Eagan


I really cannot say enough about my friend Richard Eagan, and his loveable alter-ego Kay Sera. A longtime Brooklyn artist who's had many a hand in the preservation and responsible redevelopment of our treasured Coney Island, his recent solo show at Park Slope's 440 Gallery made me nostalgic for the boardwalk of yesteryear and a time I unfortunately have never been able to experience firsthand.

Like revisiting Steeplechase Park, Eagan's works are unique sculptural assemblages that incorporate a remodeling, if you will, of what once was. His "rennovations" include obscuring words on signs, such as the above Funhouse. Awash in weather-beaten greys and splashes of carnival colors, their vibrance seems to take in the unique quality of the southernmost tip of Brooklyn itself, reinventing itself for a new century, while still referencing its storied past. I can't say enough about the tragedy that unfolds before us in the loss of so many memories for what's destined to become another parking lot. It represents a time when families of all income levels, ethnicities, and ages could gather together for the simple love of a good time had by all.

Eagan's show runs through Sunday at 440 Gallery on 6th Avenue in Park Slope. I highly recommend getting there to check it out. He and his art are well worth knowing.

Check out my previous post on the old blog to see more examples of his genius.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Colin Huggins-- the new "street" art


Colin Huggins (aka The Crazy Piano Guy) is a true street artist who tickles my fancy at least once a week on my way home. If you've never seen him in action, check these videos out. Yes, the man brings full-size pianos on the subway platform to play for his captive audience. The dude does describe himself as "crazy." But the best part about Huggins is not the quirkyness of his performances' location, but that the man can really PLAY. Check him out. He's all over the city.


Rist and Dumas -- My take is backwards from most all other reviewers


I realize I'm a bit late in the game to join in on the whole Marlene Dumas fray, but I saw her retrospective at MoMa last week, Measuring Your Own Grave, and quite enjoyed it. It wasn't anything earth shattering by any means, but it was certainly worth the admission price (free, in my case.) If you like cadavers, morose subject material, and basic visual diagrams on proper use of light and shadow, this is your show. It's up through ther 16th.

On the other hand, the Pipilotti Rist show bored me to tears-- floating strawberries, naked feet, dirt, flowers and nipples, oh, my! Next. It was basically a combination of texture and objects, and not much else, but on a massive scale. I personally do not think that massive scale equals great art. Truly great Rist work is when she deals with feminine anger straight on, such as the below legendary Ever is Over All. Now THAT has personality. You can keep your flowers, boobies, and dirty furniture filled with lazy people leaving their bacteria all over. That, in a nutshell, is my Rist MoMa review.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cave and Sandback -- a nice study in contrasts


The phrase "no common thread" easily comes to mind when I look at these images.

From an artist's utilization of the very least (Fred Sandback at David Zwirner) to the very complex (Nick Cave at Jack Shainman) here are two strong examples as to why great contemporary art is so subjective. But in each case, the shows deliver a knockout punch.

Sandback here-- an eternal fave of mine-- is excedingly brilliant and peaceful in his dissection of space and time itself with his only tool being a piece of string. You'll never be more conscious of your place on planet earth than when it's literally mapped out before you in plane geometry. Sandback's intersections function as an almost pre-GPS modality, exacting location to the most miniscule of measurements. I can never walk through a Sandback work without doing a double-take, for one can never be quite sure of what might happen if you stick your hand or foot through his portal. I wish Sandback were still alive today. It would be so exciting to see what new creations he'd have up his sleeve.

Cave, on the other hand, brilliantly references African tribal dresswear, and turns it on its head, enmeshing itself with vibrant color and texture. For these are "soundsuits" precisely because of the noise they make when worn, not unlike a seashell belt clanging to the rhythm of its dancer's motion. Cave here does a fantastic job enmeshing the fragility of the human physical form with a protective outer candy-coated shell, serving as both decoration and protection from the outside elements. Protection here could reference anyone meant to do physical, mental or spiritual harm. No showgoer has come out of Shainman in the past few weeks with mouths not agape. It is a true celebration of color and culture, as well as skilled craftsmanship.

Both shows are a mandatory do-not-miss, and each for their very different reasons. I've included more pics for your enjoyment here. But don't just listen to me. I recommend you experience these shows firsthand to understand.


Monday, February 2, 2009

It's all about the knitted horn holders


Welcome America to the "arts and craftsy" girl.