Tag Archives: contemporary art

PAINTERLY: SARAH CAIN’S MASSIVE MURAL AT ICA FILLS EMPTY DEAD SPACE

“Now I’m Going to Tell You Everything” is the title of this site-mural at the recently opened Institute of Contemporary Art, or ICA, in Los Angeles. The painting is by L.A.-based artist Sarah Cain, and it fills what otherwise might be an unremarkable empty dead space in an exterior courtyard in an unremarkable strip of anonymous industrial buildings in the city’s Arts District. The ICA (the renamed and relocated former Santa Monica Museum of Art) re-makes the space, makes it “remarkable” as does Cain’s massive and energetic mural. The artwork is best viewed in the early daylight hours when the sun directly illuminates it and supercharges the colors.

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ロサンゼルスの現代美術研究所のSarah Cain芸術家による壁画。この作品のタイトルは、「今、私はあなたにすべてを伝えようとしています。

DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION: THE INCREDIBLE DEPTH OF ELLEN GALLAGHER’S “BLACK” PAINTINGS

These paintings by artist Ellen Gallagher speak to us in deep, immediate, profound ways. The black abstractions of these canvases are beguiling in their darkness and textures. They change hue and tone as the viewer inches closer to the artwork and the reflection of light off the surface of oil paint brightens and reveals previously unseen layers of shape and color. These are on view at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Los Angeles’s Arts District. Another one of her “black” paintings is on display as part of the permanent collection of the Broad Museum a few blocks away in Downtown Los Angeles. The artwork pictured here is titled “Kapsalon Wonder.”

HAIRY: WHEN YOUR PERSONAL MODE OF TRANSPORT NEEDS A HAIRCUT

You are looking at this photo and you’re thinking “WTF?” Maybe you’re even mouthing the letters as you think them, a just barely audible sound escaping between your lips.

Maybe you’re vocalizing the question with the actual words instead of the initialism: “What the F*ck?!?!” with an emphasis on the last word. (Assuming you’re at work, your co-workers are glancing towards you for a half-second after you utter this.)

All of these are proper, reasonable responses to the subject of the photo pictured here: A hairy, furry beach-cruisey bicycle parked at the bike rack at the popular Superba restaurant in Venice, Los Angeles.

This hirsute bicycle is either a large fashion accessory, a sartorial lifestyle statement piece extended to one’s transport and/or an art project. Perhaps there’s some functionality — the ride is somehow “softer” (?).  Perhaps it’s all these things. In any case, it looks as if Chewbacca took the form of bike and sprayed Sun In all over his over-follicled body. Amaze.

BROMANCE: THAT TIME WHEN MICHAEL AND BUBBLES WERE BESTIES

In 1988, the artist Jeff Koons created the  brilliant porcelain sculptural object “Michael and Bubbles,” a kitschy, super-sized 3D depiction of late man-child and mega-pop-star Michael Jackson and Bubbles, his famous chimpanzee pet-as-sidekick.

Michael and Bubbles were kind of like best friends for a while. Human and chimp as pals. Cross-species buds. Besties. BFFs way before BFF was even a term that would be abbreviated. Continue reading

LOVE: ELI BROAD’S DECADES-LONG LOVE AFFAIR WITH BASQUIAT

Among the vast art collection of billionaire businessman, philanthropist and art collector Eli Broad is a large collection of artworks by the late, great artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Pictured here are a handful of those Basquiats currently on view at the eponymous Broad Museum of Art in Los Angeles. (Note: You’ll see round, blurry shadow in the lower left of each image. Sorry, that’s due to dust in the camera of our iPhone. Time for a new iPhone!).

Broad is one of the biggest art collectors in the world  and has one of the world’s greatest private art collections, especially of contemporary art, post-modern and pop art. Most of it at his museum in LA. 

Broad was one of the early collectors of Basquiat and has many of the artist great works. You could call it a keen eye for a great artist and great artwork.Or you could call it a love affair.

EPIC : MURAL ATTEMPTS CHEERY POSITIVITY AMID GRIM DEPRESSING VIBE OF WINTRY DOWNTOWN NYC

The current mural at the “Bowery Wall” (a.k.a., the “Deitch Wall”) in downtown New York City is an epic, colorful composition of 3D block letters and abstract 2D graphical shapes.

The massive painting is by the artist Lakwena and its message “Lift you higher” could be describing the artwork itself. It’s a bright, aesthetically cheery artwork that has all the right pleasure-centering amounts of visual flavor crystals added to it.

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OBEY: THE WABI SABI OF OLD SHEPARD FAIREY STREET ART POSTERS

Like a vintage wine, some street art ages remarkably well. Others not so well.

Take for example most wheat-paste street art posters like the one pictured here in Venice, Los Angeles, by artist Shepard Fairey (see all Shepard Fairey posts). It’s classic Fairey. 

But it’s showing its age. It’s worn, fading, and a little tattered from the elements. Although the physical integrity of artwork has degraded, it’s actually made the poster more interesting in a way that’s similar to the way patination on a bronze statue gives it more character or the way a pair of Japanese RPM selvedge denim jeans develop a distinct shape, fade and crease when worn everyday and left unwashed for a year.

Part of street art’s magic is that it’s ephemeral. It comes and goes. It disappears. And part of that ephemerality is seeing it age, bearing witness to its slow destruction.

As Fairey’s Venice Beach poster continues to come apart and fade, it’s takes on a new aesthetic. It becomes more beautiful as it degrades and loses the perfection of it’s original state. The artwork is humbled by the elements and by time. Yet it remains a remarkable image and retains the unconventional nature inherent in art that’s “in the streets.”

Looking at it this way is like the Japanese concept of wabi sabi. And yet the core image persists on the landscape, provoking thought , remaining a subject of appreciation. 

ADVENTURES IN NEON: HOW “DOUBLE AMERICA 2” IS THE PERFECTLY SYMBOLIC ARTWORK FOR THE TRUMP ERA

Artist Glenn Ligon‘s “Double America 2” is among the most profound works of contemporary American art, and it is profoundly American. It’s absolutely brilliant.

The artwork can read on several levels. At its core is the idea of there being two different Americas or American experiences largely due to race, and, more pointedly, to racism, discrimination and its place in the nation’s history.

It points to the psychology of identity, the sense of black and white, rich and poor, haves and have-nots, exterior image and interior reality, something bright — and brightly lit — and ideal versus something gravely wrong, upside down, dark and flickering.

We’ve seen this artwork several times over the years elsewhere in museums around the U.S. and the world. We recently viewed it at the Broad Museum in Los Angeles (pictured here). It’s the first time we’ve seen Ligon’s artwork since the U.S. Presidential campaign and election of Donald Trump, an event that brought the startling breadth of the nation’s cultural, economic, racial and political divides into the sharpest focus. 

“Double America 2” seems a perfectly pointed and symbolic visual meme for the times, for the condition of the United States in the politically divisive, ugly “Trump Era.”