Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Master of Photorealism


Whitney Gala 2010

What makes me incredibly happy and filled with lust for life is when I see people who is having a great through whatever could have limited them.
Chuck Close is one of them, of all the guests at the annual Whitney Gala dinner last night I think he was the one who had the most fun! 
Guests like Jeff Koons, Jane Seymour, Tony Bennett and Glenda Bailey (who sat at my table) were there. At the dinner we got gift certificates at Saks Fifth Avenue, which I to my horror think I lost....
(how mad, I am at myself). Feeling quite young at the upstairs dinner, one felt much older as soon as we ventured downstairs to party, where there were a much younger crowd dancing to whatever the DJ's from the Roots played.

There was also Chuck Close dancing and laughing in his wheelchair. Chuck Close had a spinal artery collapse in 1988 that left him severely paralyzed, but that never stopped him from continuing his creativity. I am therefore tributing todays post to him and for the inspiration he should be to all of us.

Kate Moss (2003)
ink-jet print

Chuck Close is defying his disabilities by having found other ways of using his creativity like painting with a brush taped to his wrist. 

Lucas (Rug) 1993
Silk and linen

A young Chuck Close in front of a portrait of Philip Glass 
(from a photo of the composer from 1969)

Emma (2002)

I am ending this post with "Emma" and the pure innocence and happiness that this painting is showing.
Can I tell you how in awe I am about this warm and kind looking genius of a man?

With Love

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The marquis and a bearded dominatrix with a cake in the oven

Dreams of flies (Yellow, black) 2010
Embroidery on silk shantung stretched over linen

Galerie Lelong

Angelo Filomeno's exhibit just closed this weekend unfortunately. I just managed to take a peak last Thursday. Still I thought that I had to share this artist with you. It held a certain wow! feeling with me when I walked through the door. The bright happy yellow with the dark shiny black, such contrasts! Still the closer you got to the art the more intricate it became. The details and precision in the stunning embroidery is taken to a whole new level of what you would expect. The morbid and the danger is seeping out of this show, whips, skulls, skeletons and parasites. Still it is reflected with a bright sun, like even death has some sort of hope? 

 Dream's Essence, 2010
Bronze, smoky quartz

 Overview of the gallery pace, on yellow wall:

I am feeling cold (2010)
 Embroidery on silk shantung with crystals stretched over linen

"Angelo Filomeno’s embroidered “paintings” depict fragments of animals, plants, and skeletons, which are juxtaposed to symbolize epic struggles between life and death, sexuality and decay, evil and redemption. Despite their psychological tension and implicit brutality, the works are highly ornamental with luxurious threads and glass crystals masterfully sewn and appliquéd in neo-baroque designs onto sheets of Shantung silk. As do the works of nineteenth-century decadents Fernand Khnopf and Aubrey Beardsley, Filomeno’s stylized and seductive forms produce a classic tension between Eros and Thanatos—life and love versus death and nothingness.

Filomeno was born in 1963 in the southern Italian town of Ostuni. He began to learn needlework when, at the age of seven, he was sent by his parents to work for his godfather, a tailor. While the rambunctious child was dismayed at not being allowed to play with his friends after school, his parents told him that by sending him to learn such a useful trade “we put gold into your hands.” After his childhood apprenticeship, Filomeno earned his MFA in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lecce in southern Italy, and then worked in the fashion industry in Milan. Upon moving to New York, Filomeno made his living by producing theater costumes. He has exhibited widely in New York and Italy, and his works were featured in the 2007 Venice Biennale."
-Mark Scala, Chief Curator of Frist Center for the Visual Arts, on Filomeno's "Eros and Thanatos" 

 By the Side of the Last Ocean Ready for Sunset (2008/2009)
Hand blown glasss, leather, crystals, wooden table and mirror.

 (table insert)
 (Table insert)
 (Table insert)

 Dreams of Flies (yellow) 2010
Embroidery on silk shantung stretched over linen

 Laughing philosopher (facing right, 2010)

 Parasite God (2010)
Embroidery on silk shantung with crystals stretched over linen

 Rapture of the Skin (2010)

Days of pain (Wednesday, 2009)

I am curious about what Angelo Filomeno will come up with next.
First Whitney Gala dinner tonight, and of course I am excited:)

With Love 

Monday, October 25, 2010


Jean Miotte
Insurrection, 1996 (insert)


Just hours after I had seen this exhibit at the Chelsea Art Museum, an interesting question came up in my"Art Market today" class (at NYU). 

There are about 5 new Art centers being built by star architects in Abu Dhabi: 

Zaha Hadid: Performing Art Center
Foster + Partners: Zayed National Museum
Tadao Ando: Maritime Museum
Jean Novel: The Desert Louvre
Frank O. Gehry: The Guggenheim

What will the Abu Dhabi museums collect and show?

These are enormous new institutions for Art, and they are expecting to be respected on the same level as other such museums around the world. Except for the Zayed National Museum, there will have to be a great deal of international art collected to fill these museums.

A conflict though that other museums do not have is: the Art cannot contain nudity, sexual, political or religious motives.Therefore the question, what will they show?

 Etreinte, 1959 (insert)

Will it collect a majority of Abstract art like this artist Jean Miotte?

Soledad, 1974

Now, I am not the one to run to see abstract art, it does not hold my strongest affection. Although I did favor the large canvases with their strong use of colors and powerful confident strokes that Jean Miotte creates.

“My painting is a projection, a succession of acute moments where creation occurs in the midst of spiritual tension as the result of inner conflicts. Painting is not a speculation of the mind or spirit, it’s a gesture from within.”

     - Jean Miotte (from his home page)

Dans l'absolu, 1991

But will the title "Insurrection" be a too political message for the Arab World?
Where will the limits be, and how will they make their decisions? Many other questions also comes up like; will they accept gay artists? Will Contemporary artists try to make art that can be sold "easier" to the Arab world?

It will be interesting to see what will happen. 
But, one thing for sure is that they want to be another Art Capital and the money will not only go to the fantastic buildings!


 Je, 1995

Can I make a bet with you?
Then I will bet that Abstract Art will have it´s renaissance in not too long!

With Love

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Small Scale, Big Change

Primary School
Architect: Diebedo Francis Kere
Place: Gando, Burkina Faso

New Architecture of Social Engagement


The organizers of this show Andres Lepik and Margot Weller used about two years of research to come up with 11 projects from all over the world. Projects that can give us an insight to what can be done and are done architecturally as a "Social Engagement". The show represents the change of focus in architecture as a help in changing the mindset of people and society. The need to use what we have, materials and space for a more environmental and a better public outcome. Teaching the inhabitants to better take care of themselves, and brick by brick building their own school like the project above in Burkina Faso, where 80% are illiterate.

"... We have to help come up with innovative ideas and help conserve resources and therefore help nurture a future free of crisis."
                       - Diabedo Francis Kere

Meti - Handmade School
Architect: Anna Herringer
Place: Village of Rudrapur, Bangladesh

Or in Bangladesh a school made of earth, clay, sand and straw.

"Imagine then the human ability to build with nothing but the natural material just under our feet - and with our hands..."
                       - Anna Heringer

Inner City Arts
Architec: Michael Maltzan
Place: Los Angeles California.

The Inner-City Arts complex in L.A. was first an unused garage in the Skid Row neighborhood. It was built in three phases and can be seen as an answer to the cuts that was made against Arts in School. In California 29% of public schools do not offer arts education. Now 10,600 kids takes classes at the Inner-City Arts center every year. What a bright light in a an otherwise unsafe environment. 

Housing for the Fishermen of Tyre
Architect: Hashim Sarkis Alud
Place: Tyre, Lebanon

This beautiful project with 93, 2-bedroom apartments is made for the Fishermen of Tyre who earns about 15$ a day. The Greek Orthodox church agreed to donate a parcel outside of the historic city center (the ancient city is on the UNESCO world heritage list) to the fishermen´s Al Baqaa housing cooperative.
With the help of the architect Hashim Sarkis they manage to build a home with their small budget that represents their lifestyle. 

Casa Familiar
Architect: Estudio Teddy Cruz
Place: San Ysidro, California

At the border of the United States and Mexico, between San Diego and Tijuana they are building; "Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Childcare". What? Senior Housing with Childcare? Is this for real? What a wonderful idea I thought. What better than to age and still have the youngest ones to look at for life and laughter?
This should be an inspiration to many more projects I hope. A great integration in a place where most of us would not even dare to stop our cars. Here they will integrate immigration services, education and job placements as well. 

If there were only more of these projects happening, they found about 12 others that could have been represented.. far from what we can wish for. But, seeing this actually happening makes me so incredibly happy and inspired.

With Love

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guerrilla Girls & Hannah Wilke

Hannah Wilke
Marxism and Art: Beware of Fascist Feminism

Contemporary Art From Their Collection

After my Art Auction classes at NYU Friday, I went by MoMA to see one of the installation they have going on. A Chronological path from their collection with a view on economics, politics, gender and ethnicity.

I ended up focusing on the feministic movement and their late 70´s and mid 80´s humoristic, dark and successfull attempt on reaching the world. Top is a screenprint on plexiglass by Hannah Wilke and below a selection from the Guerrilla Girls portfolio "Talk Back: The First Five Years".

The Guerilla Girls started this sort of "Be Aware" Campaign with posters, books, appearances and bilboards, after a few of the Women had been a part of a Survey about Artists at MoMA. Shocked at how few Women were represented they started the Guerilla Girls.

This poster focuses on the New York Galleries at the time, and reflects on how many Women they were showing over two years. Many of these Galleries still exists. 
Honestly and sadly I don´t think that these statistics are very far from the truth of 2010. 

The Guerrilla Girls does not see a reason to quit... this year they were handed the the "Courage Awards for the Arts" by Yoko Ono. Check out their web site here.

What do you think? Has the Art world changed? Do you think female Artists earn as much as men now?

With Love

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A day in the Old Kingdom

Memi and Sabu
Dynasty 4 (ca. 2575-2465 B.B.)
Painted limestone
Probably from Giza

New York

A bit quiet from my corner of the world this week, part of it because we have some wild plans about the future. I will have to tell you all about that later and also because I made myself a perhaps unrealistic goal of an autodidactic venture of the "whole" of Metropolitan Museum. Supposedly the largest Museum in the Western Hemisphere and not only that but perhaps the greatest and broadest encyclopedic collection of art.

That said I began last Friday, enthusiastic and inspired. After 5 hours without any break I had only gotten myself to the time of Hatshepsut (1508 - 1458 B.C.) and even then I felt slightly I rushed. 

To share some of the Ancient Egypt´s treasures with you, I took some pictures and here are my highlights so far:
Seated Woman Nquda II ca. 3650 - 3300 B.C.

Notice the ankle bracelets and the hair, supposedly a wig of unknown substance.

Ornamental Comb
End of the Predynastic Period, ca 3200 B.C.
Ivory, probably elephant

The comb has lost it´s teeth, but what is interesting here is that combs are actually some of the oldest surviving tools. This comb is especially important with it´s beautifully detailed inscription, it not only describes the beginning of writing but also a sort of order between the tamer and the hunter. Illustrating elephants standing on serpents at the top, storks, a giraffe, hyenas, wild bulls and wild pigs.

Mud Turtles Ca. 3650-3500

Greywache is a variety of Sandstone. Supposedly a very hard and dark stone and difficult to work with.
I thought this piece was so adorably different that I had to add it.

Funeral Boat Paddling (Ca. 1981-1975 B.C.)
Dynasty 12
Painted wood
Model chamber, tomb of Meketre
Western Thebes

These boats are incredible, there were several of them that had been in the same tomb.  Illustrating the different boats a king would have to bring with him into afterlife. One for cooking, one for leisure another for sporting, this boat is possibly the funeral pilgrimage.
The Bakery
Dynasty 11, c. 2009- 1998 B.C.
Some sort of Study with Papyrus rolls 
2nd. room a place where they dump sacks of grain
(don´t remember the title, unfortunately)
Dynasty 11, c. 2009-1998
Slaughter Room
Dynaty 11, c 2009- 1998 B.C.

Even back then, the cows were fattened up before they were slaughtered.

Dynaty 11, C. 2009-1998 B.C.

These wooden boxes are incredible. What a fantastic way to study how their life was then. Stunning how intact the boxes are, even part of the linen the figures were originally wrapped in survived the 4000 years in-between. The Garden with its pool and the surrounding sycamore trees a sacred little heaven.

Offering Bearer
Dynasty 12, early reign of Amenemhat I
ca. 1981-1975 B.C.
Painted wood, Western Thebes, tomb of Meketre.
Excavations 1920.

The interesting aspect of this statue is that she is a bearer and therefore can seem as a servant of some kind. But she has a dress on that looks like it was made of feathers and she strides purposely forward. Normally, the statues of this time the Women looked stagnant and the men as more action driven with their one foot in front of the other.

King Wha´s necklace 
What men wore then...
Large and small tubular wig ornaments
Dynasty 12, reign of Senwosret II-Amenemhat III
ca. 1887-1813 B.C.
Gold, modern wig.
A fabulous restored wig.

Mummy room
From Meir, Between Luxor and Cairo
Dynasty 12, Ca 1878-1786

This mummy room is filled with boxes decorated with hieroglyphic text, where they idealized the life the person had led on earth.
The mummies underwent a removal of internal organs, and water and body fluids before they were filled with sodium carbonates. Embalmed and wrapped in white linen.
A Cat scan of the mummies show an average age at death to be between 35-45 years, and an average height of 5"6. This sounded very tall to me, I feel like I have always been told that we are much taller now than in the past? 
Through Cat scans they can also figure out the death reason, trauma, infection etc. Incredible.
Statuette of a Dancing Pygmy
Mid-Dynasty 12 (ca. 1900-1850 B.C.)
This dancer was originally part of four such dancers. Somehow they had a string mechanism that allowed them to be rotated. 
The Female Pharaoh Hatshepsut
Ca. 1479-1458 B.C.

I have always been thrilled by the existence of Hatshepsut "Foremost of Noble Ladies", since I read a book about her in the early 90´s. I think it was the Novel "Child in the Morning" by Pauline Gedge. Not for sure but it released a Hatshepsut revival in Oslo at the time with an exhibition on Aker Brygge, if I don´t remember wrongly...
She was regarded as the most successful of pharaohs and reigning longer than any other women from the Egyptian dynasties and also throning in the peak period of Egyptian arts. Incredible that so many of the statues of her still exists, since the next ruler Thutmose III ordered an elimination of Hatshepsut from the historical records.
Deep in some Hatshepsut dream I just sat in the Hatshepsut room and watched her while a young man took a picture, unnoticed by me. After he came up and showed it to me saying "See, you are sitting just like her, you look like her".
A flattering comment after a rich day of living yourself into another world, another time.

With Love