Archive for November, 2008
If the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION has its way, a giant fine art version of SHEPARD FAIREY's iconic portrait of the now-president elect BARACK OBAMA will enter the collection of its NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY as the first official fine art rendering of the future president. The only hitch? Money. The $75,000 price tag for the piece, which was created by Fairey as the centerpiece of his "Manifest Hope" Obama art show that took place in Denver during this year's DNC, must be raised through donations, though word on the street is that the museum is close to meeting this figure. As if having a street artist with a criminal record branding a presidential campaign weren't enough, this move can definitely be filed under the headers of "Hope," and "Progress."
The undisputed masters of vintage and mid-century typography, HOUSE INDUSTRIES (the Delaware-based brainchild of designers RICH ROAT and ANDY CRUZ), proved that "Font's Not Dead" last weekend when their "Letters and Ligatures" show opened at SHEPARD FAIREY's own SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS GALLERY in Echo Park. Billed as "A new exhibition of prints, patterns, installations and sculptures based on House Industries’ 15-year excursion into the alphabetical world," the show proved to be a typographic wonderland for font freaks and design nerds who live by the company's maxim that "without standardized lexigraphy, we could not create the essence of truth, allowing history to pass on the tongues of those who change it to suit their needs." HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Speaking of design nerds, one would be hard-pressed to be counted among the ranks of the typographic elite without this sand-cast 6 1/2 lb aluminum AMPERSAND SCULPTURE by Delaware's own HOUSE INDUSTRIES on your shelf as a badge of honor. The perfect accessory for hurtling across the room during a domestic dispute or simply as a weight in a pillowcase to beat back escaped convicts with, the glory that is this sexily rendered ampersand (even the word is sexy) is the perfect gift for that font fanatic in your life. Or, if it's used in the aforementioned pillowcase, to remove them from it.
Supertouch homies ROB & CHRISTIAN CLAYTON are some of the art world's most talented emerging artists who in the past 10 years have produced an exceptional body of fine art mining the brother's myriad graphic influences from classic Americana & tattoo imagery to skateboarding. Which brings us to this amazing guest artist collaboration with OG skate god MARK GONZALES' inimitable KROOKED SKATEBOARDS. Designed as a pair of decks to be displayed as one work known as "Any Given Night," the set is available now through the Clayton Brothers' website as a signed, numbered, and hand-stenciled limited edition of 25. Each pair of decks includes a custom wall-mounting bracket, mounting hardware and a certificate of authenticity. Don't sleep...
It took visionary artist MARK DEAN VECA a solid month to paint his entire "Phantasmagoria" installation at the OTIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN's massive BEN MALTZ GALLERY, and now you can watch him paint the entire thing inside six minutes like a hampster on meth. The show is open until December 6th, don't miss it...
From Italian designers FABIO BORTOLANI and ERMANNO RIGHI of DOVETUSAI, Comes this incredibly mod fixie known as the PLUS BIKE that incorporates internal light projectors into the oversized top tube. It doesn’t look fast but it definitely looks cool. We’re guessing it’s for featherweights only.
"The story was basically about a guy who lands in St Barth, gets off the plane, is immediately told that there's been a nuclear holocaust in the rest of the world, and he looks at his family and says 'We can't go back.'" —Richard Prince
Art world chameleon RICHARD PRINCE changed aesthetic gears again last Thursday when "Canal Zone," his show of new paintings and a car "sculpture" debuted at the mighty GAGOSIAN GALLERY. His most directly biographical work to date—the artist was born in 1949 in the Panama Canal Zone—the new series explores the area’s dark colonial past through a fictitious, post-apocalyptic visual narrative populated by naked women and dreadlocked natives that seems to be headed for an inevitably dark, yet unknown ending. Of course the beautiful people of NYC turned out in droves for the reception and the clash of tidy blonde fashion models against Prince's ominous multimillion dollar doomsday scenarios was quite a fitting sight. The protesting sandwich board-wearing pink bunny outside the gallery was just performance art icing on the cake. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Opening last weekend at the massive new DEITCH PROJECTS Long Island City outpost was KEITH HARING's epic and rarely-seen “Ten Commandments” painting series, in what was one of the most impressive and timely showings of the pioneering pop artist’s work since his death in 1990. The works, originally created in 1985, portray the Ten Commandments from Haring’s point of view, combining a traditional Biblical interpretation with the artist’s liberating spirit and apocalyptic vision. The series was painted for Haring’s first solo museum show, an exhibition at the CAPC, Bordeaux, a reconverted wool warehouse with a span of twenty-five foot high archways supporting the roof. Thinking about how to best use the space, Haring was inspired to order ten tablet shaped canvases to fit within the building’s arches. While on the dance floor at the Paradise Garage the day before leaving for Bordeaux, he had a vision to paint The Ten Commandments. The artist, however, did not remember all of the biblical decrees, and he ultimately decided to interpret some of the commandments metaphorically rather than literally. For some, like the mandate “Thou Shall Not Steal,” Haring decided to portray the antithesis, and chose to portray a thief in the act. Other commandments, like “honor the Sabbath,” were given a more abstract visual treatment. Additionally, Haring used the color red, which he viewed as a representation of power in all its forms, both good and bad, to link the imagery throughout the ten panels. This is the first time that The Ten Commandments have been exhibited in the United States as the works remained in France following their creation. Given the current state of the world, they couldn’t have resurfaced at a more appropriate time. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Roadtripping in NYC last week it was easy to get caught up in the flourish of first-rate openings while falling behind on the blogging. Time to play a bit of catch up now starting with the opening of KAWS' eponymous show of new work at the esteemed GERING & LOPEZ GALLERY, located, most appropriately, in a suite of the Playboy Enterprises building on 5th Avenue. The artist's first proper show of art since his seismic debut at the New Museum in 2000, this collection of new and mostly large-scale paintings finds the Brooklyn-based artist and Pop Culture provocateur mining new artistic territory by breaking down the structure of his now-iconic cast of miscreant characters in a series of abstract paintings. Breaking from his recent streak of strict figurative renditions of classic cartoon characters in portrait series that portrayed and parodied the Simpsons, Fat Albert, Spongebob, and The Smurfs, among other, KAWS has now reduced his own player's bodies & limbs to broken components of bigger and more colorful geometric compositions. Keeping true to his commercial aesthetic, the linework and color fills in all the works is so precise that it could easily be mistaken for a silkscreen or other mechanically-produced print, a further commentary on the commodification issue KAWS relentlessly addresses in all of his work. Adding some distinct physical presence to the show is a new 7-foot-tall sculptural interpretation of the artist's classic "Chum" character alongside a series of thirty-three kandy-colored bronze replicas of his own head, displayed in neat rows like ancient Aztec trophy skulls for all his fans to see. Despite the highbrow environment of the gallery, KAWS' starpower remained undiminished throughout the evening as a seemingly endless throng of young fans queued up for over three hours to get all manner of ephemera signed by the elusive phantom himself. Keep an eye out for our in-depth interview with KAWS dropping later this week. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Speaking of guns, now seems like the perfect time to reflect on the incredible ballistic art of the Northwest's favorite son, CHARLIE KRAFFT. An accomplished ceramicist with formal training in the ancient art of Dutch "delft" pottery, Krafft has channeled this classical aesthetic into the production of realistic porcelain weaponry and military paraphernalia all decorated in the genre's classical blue and white motifs. We can only imagine that receiving a package of these in the mail puts you on the FBI's most-watched list for life...