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.

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