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A New Start- Comments on the Art World

June 2, 2017

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot recently. Mostly because it seems like everyone and their mother has started a blog and I haven’t written in this one in years. I mean I’ve updated things that I’ve written on other places & given hyperlinks but nothing really of substance. Recently I’ve been thinking about what to write.

I’ve now been in the art game almost exclusively for seven years. I’ve dabbled in design over the years but primarily fine art is my business. I know a lot of art people who know art people. I go to the fairs and the exhibits and the gallery shows (even though technically artists really should not go to the meat market that is the art fair).  I see and experience a lot of art and art as a business. I look at art not only as an artist (and the skill that it takes to make the work) but also as a collector. Sometimes it can be confusing because I switch hats so often – but most recently I wonder where the art world is headed. Yes, the business of art has changed tremendously over the years. The heyday of experimentation and experiencing art for art’s sake is long gone. And that’s what is so disappointing.

The artists who are trying to push Art to a new level seem few and far between. Mostly it seems like artists now are trying to make a quick buck to appease whoever it is that is buying. They are not thinking about how this medium or subject can be pushed to create something new and exciting. They’re thinking ‘how can I make money’ – and I don’t blame them.
However there has to be some light of hope at the end of this creative tunnel. Art isn’t all about making money. It has never been about making money. Its purpose has been to change someone’s perspective. Change the way they see life. Experience life. You think Picasso experimented with changing perspective to create cubism because of money? DE00050_10
Or do you think Jean Michel Basquiat was some dumb ‘street kid’ who was not artistically gifted? While the latter example probably did have something to do with money, it was also an example of an artist saying to those who looked at his art “go fuck yourself if you don’t like it”. We need more artists like that nowadays. We need artists that want to say something. Change something.
It seems to me like collectors of art have been given too much power. Their advisers have been given too much leeway. For those of you who are not familiar with what I’m talking about, people who supposedly know a lot about art often advise people who don’t. While this is not always the case, a large percentage of the art buyers have someone in their ear. On the other side of the coin, some people believe just because they’ve read a healthy collection of art books, it makes them an expert. These people advise regardless of their knowledge or qualifications to buy pretty pictures because that’s what they are, pretty. These images that are pleasing to the eye or match the furniture in the room or can be ignored and were hung just so someone could have something on the wall. The work is not influential, they are not game changers, they just look good in a living room or hallway or even a bathroom (which by the way never do because it ruins the art).

The other day I saw two things which made me upset with the art world. Both have to do with the artist Jeff Koons. If you have read anything I have written about Jeff Koons, you know I’m not a fan. He is a sensational “artist” who actually does not make art. He creates the definition of Pop Art so appetizing it can appeal to a toddler – much like a Disney film.
The first thing I saw was Jeff Koons’ new sculpture in Rockefeller Center. A large, shiny- skinned, golden-haired ballerina that looked like a Christmas ornament was sitting front and center in one of the most iconic, touristy spots in New York. What upset me about this was, what was the lack of differentiation between this piece and anything you’d see anywhere else? The answer to the question was simply that it’s larger. It’s not witty or complex or overwhelmingly, breathtakingly beautiful. It seems outdated and a little strange considering the political climate and the challenging roles that women are facing. But it is big and shiny and sparkles in the sunlight so that people can take their selfies and post them to social media. You might even see smaller versions of this sculpture being sold around the Holidays so people can relive the magical moment that they stood in front of the big ballerina. Seeing this was so disappointing on so many levels.
The second Koons’ anecdote also had to do with Jeff Koons appropriating some of the most famous works of art for his “collaboration” with Louis Vuitton. Many years ago Takashi Murakami did a collaboration with Louis Vuitton. He changed the way the monogram logo looked, he created a new colorful pattern, he created new characters to incorporate with their brand. He transformed the idea of a collaboration with an artist to something that had never been done before.  murakami_LV
Jeff Koons’ answer for the same question was to take images of famous works of art throughout history (which he did not create) and put them on bags. My questions to Jeff Koons would be how does this help the art community? Do you think you are educating people with these new uses of famous paintings? Giving them a sort of art history lesson so that they can maybe, sort of identify parts of paintings?

Throughout history the concept of ART has become a brand of innovation and revolutionary theories. Artists have changed not only the way humans see, but the way they function on this planet. So another question arises when I look at what one of the most famous artists in the world is producing – which is ‘how can artists push boundaries when the most influential of us is dumbing down the work?’ Maybe I’m different. Maybe I’m thinking about art all wrong. Maybe I should just be thinking about art in a very short time span and not think about how to strive far beyond what we’ve previously seen.

The last seven years have not been easy in the art world but I do know that being part of a creative community is a wonderful experience and I would hate if we were all just making art to satisfy some brainless, uneducated buyers. As artists, collectors, critics, curators and art dealers…can we all make a pact to start encouraging art to grow? Can we dig a little deeper and present ideas and themes that would make our world better, more exciting and a more vibrant place to live? I guess only time will tell and hopefully I’ll keep you updated along the way.

Art on Paper-ish

March 7, 2016

This year I dragged myself to the other side of Manhattan -Pier 36 exactly- to attend the art fair, Art on Paper. Seeming that I am an artist who does work with paper, I was curious to see a large group of artists that did the same. However the definition of this art fair was painted in broad strokes. There was a lot of work with and on paper but there was also fabric, ceramic, and video art. Searching through the oddly placed I was able to find some wonderful pieces made by some impressive artists.

Li Hongbo
Rainbow, 2015, Paper
Valentino De’Matha

Entanglement no. 4, 2015, Woven process painted photographic paper, 53 x 53inches
Michael Buscemi

Spencer Finch

Back to Kansas, 2015, Color aquatint and chine colle, 43 x 60inches
Wataru Ito

Circle, 2015, Kent paper, panel with acrylic box frame, 17.75 x 1.5inches
Jaq Belcher

Omar Chacon

Joseph Raffael
Moving Toward the Light I, 2015, Watercolor on paper, 45 x 94.5inches
Carolyn Brady

Red Poppies, 2001, Watercolor on Paper, 6.25 x 9.5inches
Crystal Wagner
Aether, Hand cut screen-printed paper in custom made UV resistant plexi terrarium, 60 x 7 x 42inches

Armory sharmory

March 5, 2016

Every year when I attend the Armory Art Fair I usually keep my expectations low. I do not think every year will truly be awful but, because being overwhelmed by seeing masses amount of art in an atmosphere where people should not really see art and, where many art dealers only show what they think will sell- the experience can be daunting and a little depressing. This year the old standards were definitely still around however, the atmosphere seemed to be a bit lighter and more exciting. Here is what I found.

Ian Davenport
Colourcade Buzz, 2015, Etching with chine collé on Hahnemühle Bright White 350gsm paper, 115.0 x 165.8 cm / Image 96.8 x 149.5 cm
Helmut Newton
Charlotte Rampling
Bryan Graf
2015, Photogram
Rachel Perry
Chiral Lines #18, 2016, Graphite, marker, ballpoint, colored pencil on paper, 50 x 38inches (panel), 50 x 76inches (overall)
Lita Albuquerque
Ultraviolet Acceleration, 2015, Pigment on panel and white gold leaf on resin, 60 x 60inches
Auric Field, 2010, Pigment and 14k white gold leaf on panel, 24 x 24inches
Dustin Yellin
Three Landscapes
Claudia Wieser
Untitled, 2015, Mirror on MDF, 78.75 x 118.125inches
Michelle Grabner
Untitled, 2016, Flashe and gesso on canvas, 80inches (diameter) x 2inches
Robert Longo
Untitled (Astronaut Tereshkova, First Woman in Space), 2015, Charcoal on mounted paper, Each 94 x 48 inches
James Rosenquist
Fractals Caught Approaching Zero, 2013, Oil on canvas, 82 x 77inches
Jules de Balincourt
Space Investors, 2015, 58 x 78.25 x 2inches
Ori Gersht
On Reflection, Virtual EO3, 2014, Light Jet Print, 72.5 x 73.125inches
Ryan McGinness
Louise Despont
Ruby Sky Stiler
Reed Anderson
Once or Twice in the Garden, 2016, Acrylic and collage on cut paper, 79 x 72 inches
Andy Warhol
Life Savers, 1985, Synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 22 x 22inches

Gifts For Artful Giving

December 18, 2015

Are you becoming stressed out by the gifts that you have not yet bought? Are you continuously racking your brain for the perfect gift? Well look no further then the list below. Giving art-inspired gifts to those you care for will not only make you look cool but, will ultimately make you seem infinitely more cultured than you probably are. Listed below is the continuation of the gift list I made for the Sixty Hotel group. Hopefully one of these lists will be able to satisfy your needs.

For the Foodie
One of the best things about strolling through the Big Apple is experiencing all the different types of food it has to offer. While you cannot take all of them home, the Christina J. Wang scarf that is covered with illustrations of New York’s most delectable goodies is a great way to preserve the memories.
For the Accessories Lover (Woman and Man)
Featuring Barbara Kruger’s text-based imagery these red and black sunglasses are sure to add a bit of artistic flair to any outfit. kruger_glasses
Deborah Kass’ OY/YO cufflinks may not be for everyone but this version of her Pop Art OY/YO paintings and sculptures are certainly one of the most playful and luxurious accessories that anyone could wear.Kass_cufflinksFor the Kid in your Life
In celebration of the 150-year anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Adventures in Wonderland, an oversized full color illustrated hardcover edition has been released for a new generation. Experience this magical journey through the eyes of a wonderful artist in this exceptional gift.alice_in_wonderlandFor the Retro Homemaker
No kitchen is complete without a Kit-cat clock. Invented in 1932 by designer Earl Arnault, this clock continues to fascinate viewers with its signature wagging tail, rolling eyes, and contagious smile.
For the Co-Worker
Help your co-workers step up their mug game with a beautiful design from the MoMA. Any of these eye-pleasing designs are sure inspire as well as make a splash when hanging by the water cooler.
Mug Van Gogh Starry NightFor the Ugly Sweater Competition
This season it is hard to please everyone. So when all else fails, let them eat cake! Fruit cake that is. With this silly and endearing sweater you are sure to melt even the most frozen heart.

The Fair without a Name- Untitled 2015

December 10, 2015

Untitled is a relatively new fair for which a tone has not been established. While the airy tent is well curated with galleries from across the globe, it does not have some of the polish that other fairs have. It feels like it has more independent ideals and appeals to the less commercial side of art without fully making the jump to work that feels unfinished or anti-art.

Dennis Koch
Untitled (Versor Parallel), 2015
Color Pencil on Paper
68in x 48in
Laura Krifka
Jiri Georg Dokoupil
Kelsey Brookes
On top:
Mean Ratio, 2x 24in. No. 4, 2015
Acrylic on Canvas
24in x 24in

On bottom:
Sati No. 9, 2015
Acrylic on Wood Panel
25.25in x 25.25in
Hassan Hajjaj
Ben Stone
Trip Ship, 2013
Painted Cast Resin and Plywood
Sasha Pierce
Jochen Hein
Ocean Surface XXXIV, 2015
Acrylic on Cotton
51.25in x 70.75in

A Glimpse of Pulse 2015

December 9, 2015

Pulse is one of those fairs that usually lean towards the tech/light installation/interesting process side of art. While this year there were more painting/photography, the fair still felt like the booths had a more modern and design oriented feel. The artists who were exhibited are a good mix of emerging to mid-career artists. Being in that position makes them more prone to taking risks and more exciting for a viewer. The following images are some of my favorites from the fair.

Matthew Abbott
The Rights, 2014
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas
50in x 50in
Jose Parla
Mark Wagner
Year Zero, 2015
Currency Collage on Panel
40in x 30in
Alyse Rosner
Mirage, 2015
Graphite, Fluid Acrylic and Ink on Yupo
60in x 144in
Simon Schubert
Untitled (Poe House Boston), 2015
Graphite on Paper
David Price
Sky Painting No. 5
Oil on Panel
29in diameter
Lily Kelly
Tali (Sandhills), 2009
Acrylic on Linen
Samuel Stabler
Untitled (Yellow Cut-Out), 2015
Hand-cut paper with Acrylic on Verso
30in x 22.5in

Best of Art Basel

December 7, 2015

As I have said before the Art Basel Art Fair is the most commercial and the largest of all the art fairs during the art week in Miami. This year 70,000 people are estimated to wander amongst 267 galleries representing 32 countries where about $3 billion in art will be exhibited. The fair appeals to collectors who are ready to spend serious money on art -meaning thousands to millions of dollars. These are corporate collections, institutions, and people who have made the commitment of time and knowledge to art.
This year there was a lot of abstraction and concentration on texture in all forms. Also there were a number of Frank Stella pieces because of his recent retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. However, I am always attracted to the brightly colored, offbeat and interesting pieces that are not widely shown in the setting of the fair. While my documentation of Basel could have been more inclusive to give you an idea of the entire fair, below are the pieces that stood out to me.

Peter Saul
Cold Sweat, 1999
Acrylic on Canvas
55.125in x 77.875in
Ian Davenport
Black Hydroxate, 2015
Acrylic on Aluminum
78.75in x 78.75in
Walton Ford
Zurichsee, 2015
Watercolor and Gouache on Paper
41.5in x 59.75in
Shepard Fairey
Power Bidder, Plate, 2015
Hand-rubbed, rolled, and transferred ink on photo-etched magnesium plate
32.25in x 24in
ShepardFairey_Power Bidder_blog
Hank Willis Thomas
Counterbalance, 2015
Yoan Capote
Isla (calma), 2015
Marilyn Minter
Doll Part, 2014
Enamel on Metal
44in x 38in
Harold Ancart
Untitled, 2015
Oil stick on Paper
51.125in x 35.375in
Robert Longo
Xu Zhen
Under Heaven –3320NU0147, 2014
Oil on Canvas, Aluminum
78.6875in x 55.0625in x 5.875in
XuZhen_Under Heaven_blog
XuZhen_Under Heaven_detail_blog
Fred Tomaselli
Double Landscape (Large), 1995
Saccharin, Acrylic, Resin, Wood Panel
48in x 48in
Daniel Arsham
Ash Selenite Basketball Jersey, 2015
Volcanic ash, Selenite, Hydrostone
31in x 20in x 13in
Keiichi Tanaami
Vision in the Womb, 2015
Acrylic paint, Digital Pigment Print, Silk Screen Print, Glass Powder on Canvas
39.375in x 80.125in
Andreas Gursky
Dubai World I, 2007
120.875in x 87.9375in
George Condo
Blue Painting, 1986
Oil on Canvas
59in x 59in
Robert Longo
Untitled (Marie), 2014
20in x 20in
Jacob Hashimoto
The Earliest Memories of the Universe, 2015
Acrylic, Paper/Dacron, Wood
72in x 72in x 8in