Archive for March, 2009
Perpetually one of our favorite young artists, Japanese painter TOMOO GOKITA never ceases to amaze with his unique and fluidly executed monotone visions. Moving effortlessly between pure abstract and his more recognizable hybrid figurative style, Gokita has created a beautiful body of solemn new work for his enthusiastically titled “Champion Carnival” show at NYC’s top-notch ATM GALLERY. Notoriously tight-lipped about his aesthetics and their meaning, the artist as always manages to maintain an air of unfettered mystery about his ghostly works by shunning self-reverent manifestos and self-penned dissertations, choosing instead to observe one of the modern world’s most underrated virtues: silence. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Supertouch buddy JR continues his global street art installation, “28MM: WOMEN” campaign with a new residency in Delhi, India. He checks in with us from the ancient city this week with a sneek peek at his latest handiwork. Fresh off an epic run of installations in Cambodia and Kenya, JR will no doubt have claimed all of Delhi as his personal outdoor art gallery by the time this new stage of his grand global plan is complete. Stay tuned to ST for more updates from the road…
BOSTON VANDALISM CHARGES STIR DEBATE ON ART’S PLACE
By Abby Goodnough, NYTimes
BOSTON — This may be the only place in America where Shepard Fairey, the street artist whose omnipresent portrait of Barack Obama has become a touchstone, is not fully feeling the love.
Mr. Fairey appeared in two municipal courts here this week to fight a cascade of vandalism charges accusing him of pasting his work on public and private property from the Back Bay to Roxbury. While this is not his first encounter with the police — Mr. Fairey has been arrested more than a dozen times for posting his art on whatever surface catches his eye — it appears to be his biggest legal tangle to date.
By Wednesday, Mr. Fairey, who lives in Los Angeles, had pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor and 13 felony charges; his lawyer said the police were pursuing 19 more counts.
In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Fairey accused the police of “gratuitous piling on” and suggested he was being punished for advocating that public space “should be filled with more than just commercial advertising.” On the advice of his lawyer, Jeffrey Wiesner, he declined an interview request.
Mr. Fairey’s court appearances came a month after he was arrested on Feb. 6 as he arrived at the opening-night party for his retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art. His cab was approaching the museum when the police stopped it, handcuffed him and took him to jail overnight. Click HERE to continue reading…
Supertouch buddy LANCE ARMSTRONG is currently busy training in Nice, France, warming up on the epic Col de la Madone for this weekend’s competition at the legendary MILAN-SAN REMO day race. A difficult endurance trial for sprinters, the unusually long run will no doubt be made more palatable by the arrival of Lance’s new ride that will see him across the finish line: the KAWS x TREK MADONE 6.9. Keep an eye on ST for race updates this weekend…
Graphic artist turned fine art phenom RYAN McGINNESS unleashed his latest campaign of visual shock and awe at DEITCH PROJECTS last week with the opening of his epic (and refreshingly straightforwardly-titled) “Works” exhibition. Timed to coincide with the release of his retrospective Rizolli book of the same name, the show finds the young artist in peak form working in an array of different media from his trademark heavily layered silk-screened icon paintings to fluid graphic sculptures in a dazzling spectrum of color and fluid form. Of course the opening was a who’s who of NYC’s downtown hipster elite and with pieces moving at a quick pace it seems that good art indeed beats a dead economy every time. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Amid the current wave of doom and gloom that washed over this year’s annual ARMORY art expo in NYC last week, OG Manhattan art star KENNY SCHARF reminded everyone that the art world was once a fun place to be with his one man “Scharfland” show at PAUL KASMIN‘s booth. Consisting of a wide array of beautiful new paintings, a bronze cat sculpture, an outdoor installation of live spray paintings, and even a golf kart transformed into one of Sharf’s characters, Kenny brought back the spirit of the days when he and friends like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol were literally writing the rules of the art world as they went along. Scharf is yet another artist participating in the “Stages” charity art show to benefit LANCE ARMSTRONG’s anti-cancer LIVESTRONG foundation during his run in this year’s Tour de France. Keep an eye on ST for more details coming soon. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Shockingly, the 7-foot-wide black-and-white watercolor of Ponzi mastermind BERNIE MADOFF by Chinese artist YAN PEI-MING on display at the booth of heavyweight dealer DAVID ZWIRNER failed to find a buyer at its $100,000 asking price. Instead the piece actually seemed to repel viewers from his booth as if it possessed some kind of aesthetic negative polarity. Bloomberg news went so far as to actually refer to it as “creepy” in print. If the 70-year-old Madoff pleads guilty to 11 felony counts in court this Thursday as planned, it’s likely the judge will immediately revoke his $10 million bail and immediately enact a 150 year prison sentence, and this painting might be the last we ever see of ol’ BM again…
Another artist undeterred by the recent downturn in the art market at this year’s annual ARMORY art fair was Supertouch homegirl CAMILLE ROSE GARCIA, whose solo “Ambien Somnambulants” show of new paintings and drawings was a major crowd pleaser at JONATHAN LEVINE‘s eponymous booth at SCOPE. While her goth girl aesthetic tendencies can sometimes be perceived as a downer, this year, her spooky cobwebs and Snow White-gone-wrong dreamscapes seemed impossibly cheery. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
A wise man once said “writing about art is like dancing about architecture,” but in a world where oceans of self-aggrandizing “artspeak” usually says much about an author’s ego and little to nothing about artwork itself, Supertouch‘s own resident legendary art writer CARLO McCORMICK is the exception to the rule. This month finds him penning an incredibly astute piece on SHEPARD FAIREY for ART IN AMERICA from the rarified perspective of a genuinely street-level art world insider more at home on the Bowery than in Chelsea. At a time when the slow-moving mainstream art world and its legion of stiff-jointed scribes are playing years of painful catch-up on the “street art” game, this is a must-read:
By Carlo McCormick | Art in America
In a thank-you note written by Barack Obama to street artist Shepard Fairey for the pictorial provocateur’s singular contribution to branding his campaign for the presidency, the then senator wrote: “The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe that they can help change the status-quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign.”
High praise indeed from such a highly regarded public figure. But what it ultimately says—that there is a cultural equivalence between fine art shown in established venues and artistic expressions put up illegally on private or government property—represents a tacit sanction of street art from the leader of the free world that is a dramatic shift in the perceived role of art as a radical tool of social intervention.
Emblazoned in our collective mind’s eye as a defining icon of optimism and change, Fairey’s Obama Hope poster, certainly one of his most endearing and personable images, is such a signature work that the original collage was recently acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and related images graced the covers of Time and Esquire. It is, however, not a fleeting pop-culture sensation but simply the latest crossover hit in a long line of underground classics.
Fairey has made such an indelible mark on our visual landscape that it is difficult to avoid the platitudes we might otherwise eschew in the discourse of contemporary art. As he comes under greater scrutiny from the art establishment with a major retrospective of his work, now on view at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, it is worth noting that his renown has grown organically from the streets and a global youth culture that the mainstream art world has only a vague grasp of. Click HERE to continue reading…
As Japanese Pop Art master TAKASHI MURAKAMI‘s retrospective “© Murakami” show continues on its epic world tour, the grandiose GUGGENHEIM BILBAO museum plays host to its latest and most daunting stop to date. Settling into the swooping Frank Gehry-skinned art palace, the show—fresh off its recent stop in Frankfurt, Germany—replicates its general outlay previously established at the initial MoCA LA, and Brooklyn Museum stops, but this time the artist’s epic painted and sculptural works are finally housed in a venue as aesthetically compelling as the whole of Murakami’s oeuvre. HAVE A LOOK: Read More