The Fabergé Big Egg Hunt is going on now. Scores of artists and designers made eggs to be sold to the highest bidder on the Paddle 8. The event, sponsored by Fabergé, raises money for children in New York City through Studio in a School, and conservation efforts through Elephant Family, saving the endangered Asian elephant and its habitat. More than two hundred of the giant eggs have been collected from around the city and are displayed on Rockefeller Plaza for all to see. To see more of the eggs online and bid go here. Through April 26th. (Via Paddle 8)
Can you IMAGINE the right-wing hoopla if we had homoerotic stamps in this country? Well, Finland’s new stamps feature drawings by Finnish-born artist Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland. Tom’s hyper-masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in the gay genre and had an influence on pop culture and fashion in general. All stamps today are self-adhesive, of course but this reminds of an old joke on SNL’s Weekend update – “A new stamp will be issued to commemorate the world’s oldest profession; prostitution. The stamp will sell for 25 cents, 50 cents if you want to lick it.” The hot new stamps will go into circulation in late summer.
Well, my brother Tad was born the same year, 1964, that the Mustang made it’s debut. Today is the Mustang’s 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Ford put a 2015 Mustang GT convertible onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Ford pulled the same stunt with the original Mustang, but five decades of technological advancements haven’t made it any easier to pull off. The deck is 1,000 feet up, so using a crane is out of the question. And the building’s antennae rules out lowering the car from a helicopter, so that leaves the freight elevator. So, just like they did in 1964, Ford had the car chopped into six pieces for the ride to the 86th floor, where it was reassembled in the wee hours yesterday. The car that ultimately wound up on the roof was stripped to bare metal and meticulously prepped to ensure the paint–a shade Ford calls “triple yellow”–was mirror-smooth for publicity pics. The car is on display yesterday and today and then the crew will take it apart, load it into the elevator and take it out. 2064 anyone? Will we still have cars then? If so, just like the 2015 model here, it will likely not look as good as the 1964 model.
Julian Schnabel’s style of painting has polarized viewers and critics for decades but even today he’s still one of our most famous painters. But his paintings have seemingly taken a back seat to being a film director, lover, father, builder and interior decorator. His films Basquiat, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, for which he won the Palme D’Or and Before Night Falls were popular successes as well as being critically acclaimed. As you can see from the video, he uses anything at his disposal to create a “moment” with his work.
From the Gagosian press release:
“Schnabel’s persistent allegiance and magnanimous, catch-all approach to painting attests to the palimpsest of emotion, memory, and chance that drives a gleaner’s relationship to material and image: from collected words and phrases to allusions to specific moments, places, friends, and family, and narratives of surface, materiality, and studio process. These visceral paintings—where velvet is drenched in sea water, or tablecloths are doused in paint and used as sponges on visibly patched tarpaulins—embody an alternative, iconoclastic approach to “the sacred cloth,” shared with the aforementioned American forbears, as well as kindred spirits Francis Picabia, Yves Klein, Alberto Burri, and Sigmar Polke, to name but a few. There is no substitute for the authenticity of Schnabel’s gesture; twenty-five years after their making, his elegant yet exuberant and intrepid paintings have renewed vigor and urgency, anticipating the gestural, aleatory, and readymade painting so pervasive among emerging artists today.”
Porfirio Munoz’s documentary In The Course of Seven Days is timely: currently showing at the — his first US museum show since the 1980s — and with two solo exhibitions, the Brooklyn-born painter might just be back in vogue – not that he cares. See the video on Nowness by clicking here. “This show is a capsule of what happened, a selection of paintings from the past 10 years, more or less,” says Schnabel of Every Angel Has a Dark Side, which opens at the Dairy Art Centre in London on 25 April. “It’s a continuum of ways that I have made marks, used materials and created images.”
Every Angel Has a Dark Side runs at The Dairy Art Centre from April 25 through July 27 2014. View of Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings, 1989-1990 opens at the Gagosian Gallery, New York (24th Street) on April 17 through May 31. Julian Schnabel: An Artist Has A Past (Puffy Clouds and Strong Cocktails) is at the Dallas Contemporary through August 10. Draw a Family, a book of Schnabel’s paintings of the past forty years, was just published by Karma.
Gagosian Gallery (which I’m plugging again, not that they need it) has a great online shop that always features work by the best artists and they just launched wallpaper by Flavor Paper featuring the work of Andy Warhol. I have NO idea how much a roll costs, as it’s not listed online but I’d love to paper just one wall, a half bath or an entryway with any one of these prints. Check out more designs here.
After going surreal with a René Magritte collaboration last fall, Opening Ceremony has gone more street with the late, Mike Kelley’s work, whose retrospective is now at MOCA. The capsule of sweatshirts, T-shirts, and totes,feature Kelley’s early drawings and are available at Opening Ceremony stores, as well as at the museum’s LA shop.
They call it SPRZ NY – “a launching pad for new products” at Uniqlo. It centers on the 5th Avenue New York flagship store, and will expand into Uniqlo stores everywhere soon – but available online now. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat often collaborated and this yellow shirts features an example of that along with Warhol’s famous Rolling Stones album art on a handkerchief and repeat soup can knee-length pajama bottoms and Keith Haring scarf and bag and more. All of this stuff is SO inexpensive too. $6 scarves and $20 bags and shirts. I ordered some for gifts online but I’m going in to get some of these shirts for me.
People have been collecting and displaying decorative plates as long as there have been food and walls, I would imagine. But plates featuring the work of contemporary artists, whether mass produced or limited edition, are a relatively new phenomenon. Featured here are some of my favorites, available online at MoMA, Other Criteria (Damien Hirst’s online shop) The New Museum,Gagosian, Grey Area, and The RePop Shop (which is my own online shop) In 2009, I produced 7 different plates for Anthropologie – now sold out, I sell a signed edition of the few I have left. Some others, like the Magritte melamine ones at MoMA, can be used to eat on even, but most are for display only. I think it’s a great way to collect established or out-of-reach artists like Jeff Koons (I want that Michael Jackson and Bubbles plate) or Maurizio Cattelan, who is now retired and not making work anymore. I recently ordered Kenneth Pietrobono’s Rose Commemorative plate through Kickstarter, featuring “The Congressional Disapproval Rose“. With each plate purchased, one is also sent to your congressman of choice (something tells me, John Boehner is going to have service for 50) Some plates are relatively inexpensive, produced in mass like Catelan’s metal “finger” plate at MoMA and others are signed limited editions, like John Waters Farrah doll, which sells for $500. Anyway, have a look – that is free.
An elderly Toronto woman is selling her home. No big news, right? Except that it is in PRISTINE condition after having been lovingly maintained for 72 years by the home owner, despite her 96 years. This gem is frozen in time and you’d think the photos are vintage but they are recent. I hope it comes fully decorated. Reminds me of the East Coast version of the pics I recently posted Jayne Mansfield’s Hollywood house (minus the heart-shaped pool and furry bathroom.) Feast your eyes!
New Film Stills opened last night in New York. It present a series of photographs made by James Franco in 2013, recreating Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills from 1977-79. “Like Sherman’s characters,” says Frank Bidart in the catalogue, “the figures [Franco] portrays outrun one’s naturalistic expectations in their stoicism and defiance, in their mystery. Somewhere in their expressions they keep an awareness of ‘a connection to the void.’ With this book Franco has made something profound.”
Well, I like Franco but I’m going to cry “bullshit” at “profound.” Sherman’s Film Still series transcended photography and made her into a world-wide art superstar. Her work sells for millions and I really do like it. It’s art history now, no arguing that.
James Franco says, “Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills broke new ground in so many ways: they can be read as critique of portrayals of women in film, a critique that goes hand in hand with the work of critic Laura Mulvey; they can be read as performances; as photographs; as examinations of types; they are both humorous and earnest. Cindy is an artist who used cinema as a source for her work; she ‘played’ at being an actress. I am an actor who inserts himself into his work. Where Cindy used cinema as a starting place, I use art as a starting place. She, like so many of my favorite artists (Douglas Gordon, Richard Prince, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, Paul McCarthy) uses cinema in her work, but she comes at it from a position outside of Hollywood. I am fully embedded in Hollywood, but these photos allow me to take a step to the side, look back, and refashion the work I do in Hollywood. I am at the same time actor, critic, artist, and character.”
Yes, I agree with all of that, she’s the conceptual female Warhol of her generation. People LOVE her work, but in the art world and especially in photography, she is WAY too overrated, in my book. Yes, her work has layers but there’s always been something so “art school and academic” about it, to me. Maybe that why she’s liked, and in photography and art classes has been SO imitated. This series is already a copy of a copy. The film stills that she apes, are imitations of life. So, this “new work” James Franco is exhibiting has been copied like a xerox machine set on 1000. Take a look for yourself at the examples here. I may have included one too many but I wanted to emphasize that this is FAR from a new idea. At what point does the copy fade out entirely. I think the toner cartridge is getting pretty dang low by 2014. Franco's actual fame is the extra ingredient – the thing that elevates and adds that extra flavor to his series. But it has a strange aftertaste like most of his stunts.
For me, Madonna and photographer Steven Meisel did this MUCH better 20+ years ago with their SEX collaboration. She was THE most famous woman in the world at the time, and there she was, having every kind of sexual encounter – and the best image of all – naked, hitchhiking. Franco is one handsome, lucky devil – starring on Broadway and opening in Chelsea at the same time – and you wake up in the morning looking like THAT. No wonder he’s confident. James Franco: New Film Stills is at Pace Gallery from April 11 through May 3, 2014. To read an interview with Sherman on the origins of her famous series, go here.
Richard Phillips’ paintings combine sometimes lurid pop imagery with a refined, academic almost-too-slick painting style. He takes material from sources like soft porn, advertising, fashion, celebrity culture, and Pop art and translates it into glossy, photorealist works with stylized, close-up figures rendered in vivid colors. His portraiture ranges between political figures like George Bush and pop culture icons like, Lindsay Lohan (above and below) Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus. In his first US solo museum exhibition, Negation of The Universe, Phillips brings his polished exploration of pop culture to Dallas. The exhibition will feature both past and new works that emphasize his career-long "exploration of political and social identity, consumerism, eroticized desire and social constructs". In tandem with the exhibit, his monumental outdoor sculpture, Playboy Marfa, which will be installed outside Dallas Contemporary. (If you recall, the Texas Highway Dept. ordered the removal when it was installed outside Marfa, as it was deemed “advertising”, which won’t be in problem in the city limits of Dallas, I guess.) The exhibit opens tomorrow and runs through August 10, 2014.