Monday, September 19, 2011

numbers game

Karen Shaw: Quantum Gravy
Islip Art Museum
 Opening reception: Sunday, September 25, 2-5pm  

The artist in Karen Shaw began to emerge in the 1970s as she mulled over a stack of grocery receipts that lay across her Long Island kitchen table. Applying a simple rubric to these random numbers, she began to make cryptographic poems in which arbitrary sums were composed into pithy word aggregates. The poetry found its way on to bingo cards, supermarket flyers, football jerseys and lottery tickets. Selected works are on view through November 13th in Karen Shaw: Quantum Gravy at Islip Art Museum.

Her Summantic Vocabulary codified numbers and words with a simple equation:  A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, and so on. Like Gematria, an ancient Cabbalistic form of numerology in which Hebrew letters are translated into number equivalents and then used to decode sacred texts and ancient manuscripts, Shaw's word amalgamates seemed to expose the hidden truths and deeper meanings that lay outside the margins of popular culture.

Rejigging the ironies of life and history has become second nature for Shaw, whose visual tropes are cheeky and smart. Definitely worth a trip to Islip Art Museum.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

mr. goya and the sleep of reason

 Francesco Goya 
Los Caprichos 

Featuring an early first edition of Los Caprichos, a set of 80 etchings by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya y Lucientes that was published in 1799. It is regarded as one of the most influential series of graphic images in the history of Western art.  

Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA, in association with Denenberg Fine Art, West Hollywood, CA.
From the Nassau County Museum website: “Capricho” can be translated as a whim, a fantasy or an expression of imagination...
Enigmatic and controversial, Los Caprichos was created in a time of social repression and economic crisis in Spain. Influenced by Enlightenment thinking, Goya set out to analyze the human condition and denounce social abuses and superstitions. Los Caprichos was his passionate declaration that the chains of social backwardness had to be broken if humanity was to advance. The series attests to the artist's political liberalism and to his revulsion at ignorance and intellectual oppression, mirroring his ambivalence toward authority and the church...

"In his essay accompanying the exhibition, Robert Flynn Johnson, curator in charge, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, states:

Francisco Goya should be seen as the first modern artist--he chose to go beyond depictions of religion, mythology, and history, and even beyond observation of the visible world, turning instead toward the psychological demons that have always inhabited men’s souls. Until Goya, these demons had rarely been made artistically visible--Goya had the courage and the genius to depict them. Los Caprichos stands as the greatest single work of art created in Spain since the writings of Cervantes and the paintings of Velázquez over one hundred fifty years earlier. 

see the movie:

Francisco Goya: Los Caprichos
opens at
Nassau County Museum of Art on Saturday, September 17 and remains on view through Sunday, November 27.

Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive (just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road) in Roslyn Harbor. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

how sweet it was...Richard Hamilton, gone at 89

Every art history student in the western hemisphere has this image burned in their image bank:

Mr. Hamilton was often called the “Father of Pop Art” — Britain’s answer to Andy Warhol — and he was credited with coining the name for a movement marked by its ironic and iconic use of commercial and pop culture imagery. He died today, September 13th, 2011.

Mr. Hamilton was born in London on Feb. 24, 1922. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools and the Slade School of Fine Art, and made his name in the 1950s with “Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” The collage shows a physically idealized naked couple — with the man holding a red lollipop marked “Pop” — in a product-laden home. It was a seminal work of Pop Art.

For a half-century Mr. Hamilton produced images that were striking and often political, including Mick Jagger in handcuffs after a drug raid, portraits of prison protesters in Northern Ireland and an image of Blair as a cowboy in a 2007 piece titled “Shock and Awe.”

“I was really disgusted with his performance after starting the Iraq war, and being involved in starting it, and his hypocrisy,” the artist told an interviewer last year.

Still seething at Blair’s alliance with then-President George W. Bush, Mr. Hamilton said:
“When [Blair]went to America and was staying with Bush, he stayed at the ranch, and they came out for a walk for the cameras with their thumbs in their pockets.”

He added that Blair “was so pleased with himself.”

“Thinking of his role in relation to the Iraq war, I began to see this gunslinger as something like a cowboy,” he said.

The image was made using a photograph of Blair’s head. The rest of the figure was Mr. Hamilton’s assistant, who was “about half the size of Tony Blair, but with a computer you can stretch things.” The assistant wore a cowboy shirt someone had given Mr. Hamilton, as well as guns and holsters bought from an Arizona mail-order company.

One of Mr. Hamilton’s best-known works is the antithesis of Pop Art’s colorful cacophony: the monochrome cover of the Beatles’ 1968 “White Album,” a simple white square embossed with the band’s name. Mr. Hamilton also designed the collage-style poster that came with the album.

Mr. Hamilton also worked for decades on a mammoth project to illustrate James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses.”
He told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that acclaim had come because “I’ve lived longer than all my peers.” But others saw him as a major artistic figure.

richard hamilton
shock and awe
inkjet print on hewlett-packard premium canvas
200 x 100 cm
© 2010 richard hamilton

All ramped up

courtesy designboom

aerial view of lang baumann's transformative installation of the strelka bar in moscow, russia

the swiss-american art duo lang baumann (sabina lang and daniel baumann) have made over strelka bar in moscow, russia as part of 'bistro 16', a collaborative project with fashion designers and artistslang baumann transformed the outdoor street and interior of the bar with iconic, simple and ergonomic forms, adding a burst of light and color to the environment, while also maintaining an naturalness - the streamlined forms highlighting the architecture and mimicking the lines of the surrounding road. their flat installation continues their interest of integrating psychedelic geometry into unexpected spaces.

general view of lang baumann's outdoor installation at bar strelka

Sunday, September 11, 2011

something missing

something found

     SNOW AND TAXIS, courtesy and gold panda 

Friday, September 2, 2011

I know a place

 Islands of Memory 
at Art Solar

On the eve of hurricane Irene, the hale and hearty came out to celebrate new works by Darlene Charneco on view at Art Solar in East Hampton. Charneco's assemblages bounce between past and future tense -- think zip codes or district maps from a parallel universe -- as if the artist has gotten her hands on a live feed from another solar system. Hovering among pools of thick resin, geometric forms and tiny house-like shapes assemble into colonies or village communities. Skewed perspectives torque the imagery from proscenium to aerial views and back again. "Pushpins" dot each territory as if fixed on an area of special gravity. The results are fresh and sort of zippy, with subject/content/meaning that is frank and unfettered. At the same time there is something exceedingly covert here, as if small truths are buried inside the logic of each panel. In other words, they seem to be communicating something very specific -- like a game board or an electrical schematic -- with a missing instruction page.
Charneco talks about memory and the collision of technology, community, identity and tangible resources for thinking and learning. She has called her works "clusters of thought-forms" and referred to her methodology a "chunking of concepts."  

What's not to love?

The artist
Islands of Memory is on view through October 24