Friday, June 11, 2010

The "Key" to Public Art in NYC

A time-honored tradition of recognizing dignitaries by giving them a key to the city has become the theme of a new public art project in NYC. In collaboration with the nonprofit group Creative Time NYC-based artist Paul Ramirez Jonas created "The Key to the City," which runs through Labor Day.

Keys (available for pick up at a Times Square kiosk until June 27th) unlock hidden museum rooms, private gardens, and more (specific sites include a concealed door to an exhibition of Faberge jewels at the Brooklyn Museum and a private vegetable pot at a community garden in the Bronx). The interactive project encourages people to give the keys to others in honor of a certain deed or trait.

Jonas discussed his unique project,

"One to one, one at a time, thousands of keys will be bestowed by thousands of people for private reasons that deserve to be recognized."

Mayor Bloomberg also commented on "The Key to the City," stating,

"[The project] will provide New Yorkers with a new way to experience some of our cultural organizations, city landmarks and small businesses."

The keys unlock about two dozen "doors" in locations throughout the 5 boroughs - which must be visited during their open hours. Each master key can open all of the locks. While the initial publication run is for 25,000 keys, more will be created if needed to match demand.

Get involved in the intriguing project; pick up a key today and explore the city like never before.

READ the entire article associated with this post

SEE other public arts projects throughout NYC

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Three Films, Two Thumbs Up, One Wilcox Exhibition

If you're looking for a romantic comedy or horror flick, go check out your local movie theater. But, if you're looking for an engaging film exhibition, you may be interested in visiting Metro Pictures... a fabulous venue in Chelsea that's known for its film and video installations.

This month T. J. Wilcox introduces three new films: The Heir and Astair, L'eau de Vie, and Yours, Pasty Cline at his Metro Pictures exhibition. Each of the films is being projected in its own room of the gallery, and accompanying photographic pieces are mounted in strips of freestanding, hinged wooden panels or folding screens in the associated rooms. In the films, Wilcox engages in his singular method of filming idiosyncratic subjects scrutinizing his art works as to reduce and refine each of his works to a visual and narrative essence. The subjects represent the artist's own personal varied interests.

A little about each film:

The Heir and Astaire is a biographical depiction of Adele Astaire, sister and dance partner of Fred, and the biggest vaudeville star of the early 20th century. Combining period film and still images along with video, the Heir and Astaire also includes the artist's interview with the 90-year-old "Dowager Duchess of Devonshire," who was the last family member that knew Adele during her Lismore period (which began after Adele married the son of the Duke of Devonshire and moved to the ancient Lismore Castle in Ireland).

L'eau de Vie is a three episode allusion to nature films comprising a story of a young girl who discovers an endangered turtle in her swimming pool, a history of Ukai (a 1,300-year-old Japanese method of fishing), and documentation of Wilcox's own backyard attempt at making pear brandy.

Yours, Patsy Cline celebrates the long-lasting appeal of the great (title) country western singer, who died tragically 50 years ago at just 30 years old.

Click HERE to read more

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Bustling Bamboo Jungle in NYC--!?

Usually, I'm not surprised by what's going on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After all, the Met is universally known as a prestigious and comprehensive mega-museum displaying pieces from its vast collections and showcasing tons of eclectic exhibitions that present art from different centuries and various cultures. (For example, the Met is currently exhibiting "Sounding the Pacific: Musical Instruments of Oceania" along with "Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage" and several other wildly diverse shows).

However, it seems the Met is taking its admiration for uniqueness and desire to present art in all its forms to a new level: the roof! New Jersey-bred identical-twin-brothers / artists Doug and Mike Starn have created "Big Bambú: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop," a complex installation that's part performance, part architecture, and part sculpture.

The installation, which opened yesterday, is actually a work in progress. The public will be able to witness "Big Bambú's" metamorphosis throughout the summer, as rock climbers continually add to the work until it forms a cresting wave covering an area of 100 x 50 feet and soars 50 feet above the Met's roof.

The 48 year-old brothers, who have worked together as artists their entire lives, developed the idea for "Big Bambú" after finishing their project "Sphere of Influence," a 1991 creation that consisted of a rotating globe about 14 feet in diameter made of metal pipe clamps juxtaposed against sheets of transparent photographs. "Big Bambú" is organic, and Doug Starn recently stated that its about, "... all the things in your life, including those that aren't planned."

The artists chose bamboo as their medium because its light, yet incredibly strong (and can withstand all types of weather). The installation is titled after after the brothers' nicknames in high school, Cheech and Chong, whose albums included one called"Big Bambú."

Museum officials are anticipating that some 400,000 people will see "Big Bambú" throughout its duration (it will be dismantled at the end of October). All visitors will be able to stroll the roof's main level. However, the paths above will be limited to guided tours of 10 to 15 people, twice an hour.The project is quite the daring feat - even for the Met. While there have been sculpture exhibitions by artist such as Jeff Koons, Ellsworth Kelly and Roy Lichtenstein on the roof, this is by far the most ambitious roof-top exhibition.

So why did the Met agree to such a thing?

Associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Met, Anne L. Strauss, answers this question - stating,

"Because the Starns' piece is its own microcosm with all its inherent complexities set against Manhattan with its own complexities, I thought it would be a fascinating dialogue."

Mike Starn discussed the unique project,

"['Big Bambú' resembles] the arteries in your body or in the city subway system... We're also talking about Western civilization, the interconnected dependency we all have on each other but which is changing all the time."

Click here to read the entire NY Times article associated with this post (including more details on the exhibition, how the artists / museum / city collaborated and prepared for the installation, and to view visitor "rules")

Monday, April 12, 2010

April Art Auctions

NYC's art scene is always bustling, and it's often hard to keep up with the massive number of current and upcoming art events going on in the "City that Never Sleeps."

Check out the major art auctions going on throughout the rest of April in NYC:

Sotheby's New York:
  • Photographs - April 13th, 10am and 2pm
  • A Celebration of the English Country House - April 15th, 10am and 2pm
  • Russian Art - April 21st - 22nd
  • 19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Ceramics, Silver and Works of Art - April 22nd, 10am and 2pm
  • 19th Century European Art - April 23rd
  • Prints - April 29th - 30th

Christie's New York:
  • Three Decades with Irving Penn: Photographs from the Collection of Patricia McCabe - April 14th, 2pm
  • Photographs - April 15th, 10am
  • Selections from the Balo Collection of Photography - April 15th, 10am
  • Photographs Sold to Benefit Friends in Deed - April 15th, 2pm
  • 500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe - April 20th - 21st, 10am and 2pm (both days)
  • Russian Art - April 23rd
  • Prints and Multiples - April 26th - 27th , 10am and 2pm (both days)
Bonhams New York:
  • An Important Private Maritime Collection: Including Maritime Paintings and Shipbuilders' Models - April 14th, 1pm
  • European Paintings - April 21st, 1pm
Doyle New York:
  • DOYLE+DESIGN - April 20th, 10am
  • Books, Photographs and Prints - April 28th, 10am
Phillips de Pury and Company New York:
  • Photographs - April 16th, 10am and 2pm

Swann Auction Galleries:
  • Old Master Through Modern Prints - April 27th, 10:30am and 2:30pm

Friday, March 26, 2010

NYC's Newst Art Space / Jean-Francois Rauzier Exhibition

The Goldman Projects Space, located in Manhattan's Soho Building at 104 Green Street, is NYC's newest dedicated art space. Preservation developer, Tony Goldman initiated the Soho space in order to offer New Yorkers a new major space where they can enjoy contemporary art in a setting designed to be both imaginative and accessible. Goldman is extremely excited about his brainchild, recently stating,

"The project space is a tangible expression of how important art can be in providing a cultural and creative focus for landmark buildings in historic landmark districts here in the city, and for the people who use them"

In collaboration with the London based art dealer Waterhouse & Dodd, the new Goldman Projects Space is hosting a unique exhibition of Hyperphotos by French artist Jean-Francois Rauzier.The innovative exhibition brings together 20 works by the leading French artist - an acknowledged pioneer of photography, painting and technology. Rauzier's works are groundbreaking and combine both the big picture and close-up views, opening up new pictorial possibilities in composition and scale. His C-Type photographic prints are of extremely high quality. Rauzier presents his photos in editions of 8 and has executed them in a format that can be printed as large as 30 by 10 feet without altering the quality of the image.

Rauzier remarked,

"When you are looking at a Hyperphoto, at first you think you are looking at an enlargement of a panoramic photograph. Not quite. Look more closely and you absorb a strange atmosphere that distances the viewer from the real world and pulls you into a universe of dizzying amplitude"

The show displays a representative selection of the Rauzier's work created since 2000 as well as some works he created exclusively for the exhibition. Tony Goldman has expressed his own personal delight at the space's first show, as he is a great admirer of Rauzier.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Armory Show 2010: "As Good as it Gets"

Art fair mania controlled New York City's art scene this past weekend, with the Armory Show as the main attraction. Like the thousands of excited art-enthusiasts, I too trekked to Piers 92 / 94, crossing the scary West Side Highway to reach the massive Armory Show 2010.

I had never been to the Armory Show before, but it definitely lives up to its "NY's largest contemporary art fair" title. I was overwhelmed at the hundreds of galleries and thousands of paintings I saw... loving some, hating others, and not knowing what to think of a few "overly-contemporary" pieces. (I also have to admit I was a bit offended by one piece - a painting of a black swastika with a yellow background at gallery Nicole Klagsbrun's booth). Regardless, while some reviews say exhibitors "played it safe" this year, I had a wonderful and enriching experience (and kind of wonder what previous less tame armory shows have been like...)

Switching gears now - If you've visited the Armory's Website, you've probably wondered why there are images of either a screw sticking out of a wall, dripped paint on wood or another seemingly un-artistic image. These are actually the works of Susan Collis. Each year the Armory Show commissions an artist to "create the visual identity" of the fair, and this year the selected artist was Susan Collis. Her screw in the wall work, "As Good as it Gets" (below) is the epitome of her creations, as Collis is known for crafting art out of every-day / mundane objects. The artist recently revealed a little bit about the unconventional way she gathers materials for her pieces.

The British artist finds her objects (screws, nails, bits of wood splattered with paint, etc.) by dumpster-diving. She tells NY Magazine that dumpsters are called "skips" in England. Collis admits her assistants help with the dirty work, but she definitely delves in as well in the process (which she refers to as "skip-trawling").

Collis remarks:

"I look at these really disgusting pieces of wood and I imagine that rats had peed on them or something ... in the studio, we held them with rubber gloves the whole time. I do actually encourage my assistants to wear gloves. I am quite a good boss."

Bravo to the 150 + exhibitors. The show was fabulous, and I can't wait for the Armory Show 2011!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wolfgang Tillmans at Andrea Rosen Gallery

Chelsea's contemporary Andrea Rosen Gallery is currently displaying the photographs of famed artist Wolfgang Tillmans. While it is extremely difficult for photographers to create original, deeply personal and instantly recognizable visual styles, Tillmans has successfully done so, transforming himself into an innovative artist-photographer of modern life.

While the photographer has boldly explored various genres, techniques, and subject matters throughout his career (which began in the early 1990s), his eclectic creations all point to a “Tillmans-esque style” (one that is widely imitated and well – known). Tillmans' images portray beauty and nonchalance – accomplished through the photographer’s use of monochrome colors and abstract and fragmented styles. He seeks to create uncontrived pieces and sticks by his belief that photographs should occupy wall space more like a sheet than a piece of art (this is why he frequently leaves his photos unframed).

In his current exhibition, the photographer masterfully adheres to his signature style - as much of the gallery is hung with unframed pictures of varying scale – with some clustered and some isolated. In a recent review in NY Magazine, Jerry Saltz remarks,

“Visiting is like being suspended in a photographic aquarium. Although at first you might think he was just traveling around, snapping the shutter willy-nilly, you soon see that he’s trying, with each picture, to make something powerful and personal out of impossibly clichéd subjects.”

I’d love to be a fish in this aquarium! The exhibition runs through March 13th.

Check out other current exhibitions going on in Chelsea

Check out these photography exhibitions now on display at galleries and museums around NYC

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Free Art in Manhattan

Not many things in NYC are free these days, but there are several art-related events going on in the next month that are FREE of charge! So save your spending money and explore NYC's "Free Art Scene."

NY Magazine lists 21 free art events in Manhattan. Some highlights include:

Alex Prager @ Yancey Richardson Gallery - Prager's complex photographs include images of California blondes with weird stares, waxy tans, retro buoyancy and forceful body language. All of the artist's photos were shot in the LA neighborhood where she grew up and the models' clothes came from an actress friend of her grandmothers, adding a uniquely personal touch to the show. (Oh how I love Hollywood Glamour!)

Gelitin @ Greene Naftali - Blindfolded half-naked Austrian artists (all part of the art collective, Gelitin) have composed sculptures of found materials at Green Naftali. Their creative style and chaotic perseverance blend masterfully. Hmm... I can't quite picture it, but it definitely sounds intriguing.

Johnny Swing @ Knoedler & Company - Go see Swing's functional - yet fun furniture, which he crafts from re-purposed materials (like baby-food jars and leather floor tiles).

Thomas Ruff @ David Zwirner - David Zwirner never seems to disappoint - and now is no exception. The influential German photographer, Thomas Ruff, ventures away from his usual portraiture, landscapes and architecture to create fascinating and elaborate visual systems (via computer-generated images depicting 3d curves).

Yaddo: Making American Culture @ the New York Public Library - This ongoing exhibition shows the legendary Saratoga Springs artists' community Yaddo's fantastic array of papers, art and ephemera. Since 1926, the community has hosted thousands of creative people, from Flannery O'Connor to Jacob Lawrence.

Have fun with these freebies!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Alicia Keys Supports "Africa Now" at Bonhams

Last Year Bonhams New Bond Street in London hosted Britain's first ever auction sale of works exclusively by contemporary African artists entitled "Africa Now." Now, famed singer, songwriter, actress, author, and philanthropist (with extreme interest in Africa), Alicia Keys, is showing her support for Bonhams New York, which will host the "Africa Now: Contemporary African Art" sale on March 10, 2010. Keys' charity, "Keep a Child Alive" will partner with Bonhams for a VIP reception, which is sponsored by Afren plc, the African focused independent oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in several African countries.

Keys and Leigh Blake founded "Keep a Child Alive" in 2003 with the mission of providing life-saving anti-retroviral treatment and health care to children and families with HIV/ AIDS in Africa and India. The organization has served more than 250,000 children and families.

Keys talks about her organization's work and her recent trip to Africa,

"It's amazing to return to Africa and witness those who were so ill and near death, being brought back to life because of the medical care they were able to receive. Just knowing that your time and effort has helped build paediatric wings in hospitals and supply medicine to those who might not otherwise receive it, gives me a real sense of purpose."

The "Africa Now" sale at Bonhams New York will be the first commercial auction of African contemporary art ever held in the US and features work by both new and established artists.

CLICK HERE to read the entire ArtDaily Article associated with this post.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Art Adds: Public Art on NYC's Taxis

New York City's taxis are frequently topped with advertisements. However, this month approximately 500 cabs will replace their ads with art in a project called "Art Adds." Las Vegas company Show Media, which owns about half the cones (as their called) that rest on top of NYC taxis, decided to take on the project in order to give back to the people of NYC (at a cost of nearly $100k in lost revenue).

John Amato, one of Show Media's owners, contacted the Art Production Fund (a NYC nonprofit that displays art around the city), asking the organization's co-founders to select artists for the projects. Appropriately, they chose Shirin Neshat, Alex Katz, and Yoko Ono: three New York-based artists whose works fit (conceptually and physically) into the confined spaces of the cabs' cones. Each artist's work will appear on about 160 cabs.

To read more about each artist, how they responded to the project, and the entire article associated with this post, click here.

For a list of art exhibitions going on around NYC, click here.