Sunday, July 31, 2011

Was ist los?

Helmut Lang -- yes that Helmut Lang -- at  
Make it Hard - organized by Neville Wakefield

Helmut Lang walked away from the fashion empire that still bears his name in 2005. He moved to East Hampton, regrouped and has now emerged in his latest iteration: visual artist. Showing now at The Fireplace Project in Springs, Austrian-born Lang has eviscerated some 6000 of his own iconic fashion statements and repurposed the shreds into totemic sculptures, 16 of which are on view here.

The columns stand like sentinels throughout the two main galleries while video documentation grinds away on a flat screen television in the front room. In it, garment after garment is sucked into the teeth of a bulk-load shredder and pulverized into the raw material that will eventually become these columnar forms. The scraps -- bits of fur, fiber, plastic and hair --  are mixed with a binder and extruded through pipes to emerge as something that looks pretty much like gigantic standing bratwursts. They are Nietzschean, visceral and not so vaguely intestinal. The belly of the fashion beast?

But standing in front of these floor to ceiling extrusions, they have a hypnotic presence; one that is beautiful in the way decay is beautiful. Ambiguous, hermetic and in some strange way -- regenerative -- the totems read like a testament of sorts. An ashes to ashes manifesto. The ways in which art is restorative are pretty endless. Definitely worth a trip uptown.

Friday, July 29, 2011

String Theory

Chris Duncan: Patterns & Light at Halsey McKay

Last chance to see the shimmering reflections, endless prisms and luscious, radiant color of Oakland based artist Chris Duncan. His work is smart and seductive in the way it draws you inside -- it is meditative without being ecclesiastical, deductive but not analytical. 

Duncan's installation is dazzling and refreshing. It possesses an elusiveness that keeps viewers guessing all the way through. It's especially smart in the way it borrows from Robert Smithson and Pink Floyd at the same time; contemplates Buckminster Fuller, Brancusi and Fred Sandback all at once but somehow manages to retain its own playfulness and wide-eyed curiosity. 

I like this work. Last weekend to check it out -- and try to see it at night, too. It's completely magical.

Prism Schism, 2011

a little cosmic dust....

window treatment...
mystical packing tape -- how cool is that?
mirrors are fascinating

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lucian Freud dies at 88

Lucian Freud, British painter of the human form

Few painters of modern times have received the honors and riches that came to Lucian Freud, the deeply talented and mysterious grandson of Sigmund Freud.Often considered the greatest living master of the human form, Mr. Freud painted many hundreds of portraits that were seldom flattering but that revealed their subjects in searing, sometimes brutal honesty that might have made his grandfather proud. 

But he wasn’t just the heir of the father of psychoanalysis. He managed to re-create and expand the tradition of classical portraiture in his paintings, which penetrated masks of pretense and seemed to pierce to the soul.
Mr. Freud, who died in London on Wednesday at 88, had found moderate success in Britain early in his career. He was a leading figure, along with Francis Bacon, in the London School of painters of the 1960s who concentrated on the human form. 

It wasn’t until a 1987 retrospective at Washington’s Hirshhorn Museum that Americans began to notice the depth and power of Mr. Freud’s work. A new continent of art lovers was astonished by paintings that seemed to defy prevailing conventions, as well as time itself. 

“They stop you where you stand,” Washington Post critic Paul Richard wrote at the time. “It is as if gravity itself had somehow been increased. . . . Freud’s pictures have a sense of time expanded, not easily explained. Anchored to the present, they seem to preexist the photograph.”

Time magazine critic Robert Hughes called Mr. Freud “the greatest living realist painter.” From then on, despite frequent feuds with galleries and his reluctance to be interviewed, Mr. Freud became an art-world sensation.

He slathered paint onto canvases in thick layers of impasto, creating a brushwork style that seemed to echo the heaviness of the figures he represented. Girth deepened into gravity in a Freud portrait, and the disturbing grays, greens and purples blending with pinks and other flesh tones only added psychological depth to his figures.
Mr. Freud’s paintings have a rough incandescence, an oxymoronic ugly beauty from which people cannot avert their eyes — or close their wallets. In 2008, his portrait “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” was sold by the New York branch of Christie’s auction house for $33.6 million — the most ever paid for a painting by a living artist.
Many of his works, including self-portraits, showed his figures in the nude — or “naked,” the term he preferred. He sometimes asked his subjects back for as many 80 sittings, coaxing them out of their clothes under a harsh light during intimate, all-night sessions.

Often irascible with the press, Mr. Freud could be charming and solicitous — almost therapeutic — to his portrait subjects. Posing for him, one model told Britain’s Express newspaper in 2008, it “felt like being an apple in the Garden of Eden. When it was over, I felt as if I had been cast out of Paradise.”

He often painted people with their pets, with the animals usually looking more dignified than their owners. His works were frequently very small — a 1998 portrait of a pregnant Jerry Hall, then the girlfriend of Mick Jagger, was four by six inches — but other portraits measured several feet across. Some of his famous subjects, such as Hall and model Kate Moss, were well known, but Mr. Freud more often portrayed his otherwise little-known friends, relatives and lovers, of whom there were many. He turned down requests from Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II, but he completed a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in 2001.

“At one point I remember saying to [the queen], ‘You probably think I’m going in­cred­ibly slowly,” Mr. Freud told the London Times in 2006, “ ‘but in fact I’m going at 90 miles an hour and if I go any faster the car might overturn!’ ”
Lucian Michael Freud was born Dec. 8, 1922, in Berlin and went to England with his family in 1932. His father was an architect. Young Lucian saw a good deal of his celebrated grandfather while growing up and gave him some of his paintings. “I liked his company very much,” Mr. Freud recalled of his grandfather, who died in 1939. “He was never boring. He told me jokes.”

Mr. Freud served as a seaman in the British merchant navy during World War II and studied at several art schools. Although he sometimes pretended not to know their work, he was influenced by the between-wars tradition of such German painters as Otto Dix and George Grosz. 

After his first gallery shows in the 1940s, Mr. Freud developed his signature style of thickly applied paint, coupled with an unsparing, straightforward gaze that exposed deep psychological currents.
In 1948, he married Kathleen Garman Epstein, daughter of sculptor Jacob Epstein. They had two daughters before their divorce in 1952. A year later, Mr. Freud married writer Caroline Blackwood, from whom he was divorced in 1958.

In recent years, it was revealed that Mr. Freud was a rake of epic proportions. He had at least 12 illegitimate children and, if the British press is to be believed, as many as 40. In his 80s, he was seen in the company of women who were young enough to be his granddaughters.

He often returned to museums to view the painters he considered his inspiration and, perhaps, his equals: Titian, Rembrandt, Ingres and Degas. Almost to the end, Mr. Freud remained a feverishly busy artist.

“I like it,” he said in 2006, “if people say very contradictory things about my work: ‘It’s very ugly.’ ‘It’s very beautiful.’ ‘Do you get your models from an asylum?’ ”

Renowned portraitist and grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian Freud died yesterday. His paintings of Leigh Bowery are some of the most brilliant from the late 20th C. but this tidbit from his Wikipedia profile is pretty delicious:
Freud is rumored to have up to 40 illegitimate children, although this number is generally accepted as an exaggeration.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

does it get any better than this:

Longhouse Reserve
20th Anniversary Gala

really -- is there any place more seductive than Longhouse on a balmy summer eve? congratulations to Jack Lenor Larsen and everyone involved for 20 years of celebrating the natural world.
greeted by adorable young men in blue ties...
nature providing a type of glamour all its own...
sea of blue books
Taking breath away -- this other worldly ship by sculptor Dale Chihuly, honored this year alongside Barbara Slifka

...lonesome dove
legendary New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham and New York Ballet principals
Hope Sandrow, awardee, Best in Show, Planters: ON&OFF the Ground IV; Bravo Hope!

good night world...

very cool on Newtown Lane

John McWhinnie & Glenn Horowitz in a combined effort = Local 87
Opening night for Local 87 was a fantastic mash-up of some of our favorite East End artists as well as an international brew of cool, cooler and a good way. A few pics:
Harland Miller -- perfection
Barbara Dayton and Adam McEwen
Matt Satz: tarred, feathered and smoked out
Back room racks...
Jameson Ellis: slip and slide
Peter Dayton...magic vinyl w/slipcase...memory lane redux.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

the noses have it:

Buckle up for 

                                               Airplane chairs and video by Viejas del Mercado

back room with Saner, Jane Dickson, Swoon, Juan James (background), Aiko
over there with Peter Dayton
Juan James & Co.
Carlo McCormick and David Kennedy Cutler
Eric Firestone, Kyle DeWoody and + 1
Carlo's friend
nothing like a little commotion in the back...and all around high praise for Eric and Carlo
on this unconventional and very cool show of reinvented military aircraft parts.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More better

The ubiquitous art fair: what a difference a week makes. ok, ok -- it's not  a m a z i n g,  but sharper, better, a little more select. Loaded opening reception -- you know, all the little bells. 
Call it what you will, we had fun. Here are a few pix:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    a lot of cool
                                                                                                                                                                                              With eggroll?
                                                                                   How could I resist?

                                                                                                                                                                                     Love me not

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cy Twombly 1928-2011

from an ambitious project collapsing

Art Fair redux

Art Hamptons 2011
not especially Hamptony, this idea of a Hamptons art fair, but the crowds still showed. 
In a sea of pretty prosaic stuff, there were a few surprises. Special kudos to  
Kate Mueth and the Neo-Political Cowgirls,
who got the balls rolling on opening night....

before the crowds: opening night to benefit Longhouse Reserve -- a satellite comfort zone of gorgeous stuff to sit on and be surrounded of the best sites.

a little night music
a little color
a little art (thank God)'s Chris Duncan at Halsey McKay #177

a few's Retna at Eric Firestone, #102

Chapter 2: next week's artMRKT, also in Bridgehampton...