Rest In Peace, Michael Wolf. It was reported Monday that the Hong Kong-based German photographer had died at 65 years of age. His passing is a shock.
Wolf was already an accomplished photojournalist living in China in the early 2000s when he started to turn his camera lens toward the city he had made home for nearly a decade in an effort to document the city’s spectacular urbanization.
He captured the lives of its residents who lived in severely cramped quarters in a densely populated metropolis dominated by soaring residential skyscrapers.
In doing so he presented a distinct visual and aesthetic perspective on contemporary life in Hong Kong in the context of China’s hyper-rapid economic growth and overwhelming urban density. This culminated with his renowned and iconic images of tall and colorful high-rises packed together in a series titled the “Architecture of Density.”
We’ve never heard of Alberonero. Have you? No? We didn’t think so. But now we have, and you have, too. And we’re all the better for it.
The artist’s building-scale abstract murals play with color palettes and geometric forms. These create the effect of colorful pixelation on the urban landscape.
Born in Lodi, Italy, Alberonero studied interior design at Milan Polytechnic. But his first foray into painting was through graffiti art as a teenager. Check out more of the Alberonero’s work on the artist’s website.
Raymond Dunlap’s “Awake of the Whales” is a high-water mark in the Houston, Texas-based artist’s two-decades of output. It’s one of a collection of his abstract-expressionist paintings on view later this month at the Amano Gallery in Osaka, Japan. Dunlap once lived in Japan, and its influence informs his body of work in deeply embedded ways that are not immediate or obvious. Native-American spiritual traditions, folk tales and nature are reflected in his paintings, as are Japanese shintoism and spirituality. Find more of his Dunlap’s work on Instagram @dunlapian
Yeah, probably. That the question is even being asking is telling in and of itself. It’s still early days in 2019, but the year already has witnessed a grand watershed moment in the City of Angels’ cultural capital.
Last month the Frieze Art Fair was held for the first time in Los Angeles. Aptly enough, the venue was the backlot of the legendary and Paramount Pictures film studios.
We’ve been watching L.A.’s art scene for years. It has dramatically changed over the past decade. Especially in the past few years. Since 2015 there has been an ever more accelerated expansion. Two significant new museums have opened, the Broad and the Marciano Art Foundation.
Its current major museums and galleries are either being renovated, re-invented or have expanded or are planning massive expansions. These include the Hammer Museum, LACMA, MOCA and the ICA (formerly the Santa Monica Museum of Art now in Downtown LA’s Arts District). These have attracted bigger, bolder names to its spaces with more LA-specific, and more ambitious, exhibitions.
And the number and footprints of major galleries have grown, as have its art fairs and events. London- and Berlin-based Spruth Magers opened a massive gallery across from LACMA. L.A. is now home to Deitch Projects. Add to all this, the city’s profile as an art-world town in popular culture is growing (beyond the film-TV-music-entertainment world) as seen in the recent Netflix film “Velvet Buzzsaw.”
British artist Matthew Stone‘s paintings are not really paintings. His epic images look like paintings but look closely at the canvas and you’ll notice something is off. Things are not what they seem. Stone’s pictures are really digitally-manipulated and printed images, pre-composed and affixed onto linen canvas.
The images themselves are compelling, surreal distortions of photo-real human bodies, incomplete and segmented parts of bodies, partially clothed or bare. Images rendered as if cut-out from Renaissance painting and re-composed in blank space without context. It’s a neat trick that that in and of itself is not enough, but here, coupled with Stone’s stunning vision and imagery, the artwork sucks you in.
The painting in the photo posted above was recently on view at New York gallery The Hole‘s space at the Art Los Angeles Contemporary art fair. The painting is part of the “Neophyte” series at Stone’s show at the Hole in NYC last year.
This artwork by artist Urs Fischer’s boldly stares at you with an equally bolder collage of photographic and graphical colors and patterns. Large art installations and sculptural objects are more typical of Fischer’s body of work, though more traditional, flat 2D images that hang like paintings are part of his catalog too. This one is titled “16 Handles” and is on view as part of the permanent collection at the Marciano
Foundation of Art in Los Angeles.
It’s a question you have to ask, right? Look at this painting! It’s a masterpiece of post-modern art. The painting is a major work of abstract expressionism by artist Helen Frankenthaler. (You can find it in the permanent collection of LACMA in Los Angeles.)
Titled “Renaissance,” it’s a beautiful mix of juicy, sultry red hues like crimson, burgundy, and scarlet, to name a few.
But look carefully, gentle reader, and you’ll see that it is plausible that Frankenthaler simply knocked over a few bottles of red wine and maybe a bowl of beets onto a canvas to create this artwork.
So how did this happen? Perhaps it happened like this: In a fit of painter’s block, the artist took a lunch break. On a table nearby sat a selection of wine bottles. She dined on beet salad (an unusually large beet salad!). As she dined and sipped an earthy Cote du Rhône from a glass, she thought about her painting and her vexing drought of ideas.
Suddenly in an act of frustration she upturned the dining table like a Real Housewife does a table flip. Wines and very unusually large beet salad went crashing onto the canvas as it lied on the floor. Her work was done.
If only this is how it happened. But alas the process was probably very different. And way more complex.
This epic mural adjacent to a couple of rental-car parking lots in Santa Monica, in Los Angeles, is impressive and sweeping. But at a glance, if you squint a bit, it looks like the artist has appropriated the style of almost any painting by the late Austrian artist Gustav Klimt? Is it just us?
This massive hanging canvas by Takashi Murakami is like nothing else the Japanese artist has exhibited before or that we’ve seen from any contemporary artist. It’s a painting on an epic scale and largely characteristic of Murakami’s 2D style except for elements of graffiti art and tags visually woven into the composition. The painting is two-sided. In that sense, it’s like two paintings on a single canvas, each side different in tone from the opposite side. The artwork is hanging in a way that forms a semi-circle and a kind of alcove for the viewer. As Murakami’s artwork goes, this is distinct vision, a nightmare, strangely compelling and stunning, where the artist’s usual visual grammar and symbolism has been put through a filter, as it rendered in a fever dream or a drug-induced state. In any case, it’s a masterpiece. It’s currently on view at the blockbuster Beyond the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles.