Archive for April, 2009
Unfortunately for the frighteningly stagnant LA art scene most of the great shows of the last few years have been by non-LA artists. Luckily for LA, we get a regular stream of good shows by non-LA artists to keep us happy. The most recent of said exhibitions is by LA-born, but NYC-based painter KEHINDE WILEY whose new collection of figurative masterworks "The World Stage: Brazil" opened this weekend to a packed house at Culver City art hotspot ROBERTS & TILTON GALLERY. Choosing his subjects for this series from the notorious favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Wiley asked each to assume the pose of a local sculptural work on display in the city as a means of interpreting the country's storied colonial history through the images of some of its most vibrant modern inhabitants. The results, as always with KW, were staggering and this new collection of grandiose portraits is exactly the shot in the arm the Southland needs to help kickoff the 2009 gallery season with a fresh breath of colorful optimism. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Just when the innovation level of the vinyl toy market hit an all-time low alongside the economy, MARK RYDEN and TAKASHI MURAKAMI have unveiled killer new signature figures to inject some much-needed vitality into the genre. Coming soon from LONG GONE JOHN's secretive NECESSARIES TOY FOUNDATION is the first vinyl toy from master painter MARK RYDEN. Long ignoring the world of toys—and rightly so—Ryden has finally teamed up with his most avid art stalker to release this diminutive version of his multi-eyeballed pink totem pole that originally appeared in (and derives its title from) the painting "YHWH," that first appeared in his 2004 "Wondertoonel" show. With an expected release date of Summer 2009, young art goths in search of this Holy Grail best start camping out at your neighborhood toy stores now. Meanwhile, Takashi Murakami's "Inochi" figure, produced by Japanese toy giants MEDICOM and based on the artist's character who has appeared in a series of hilarious and surreal Japanese TV Commercials and as a life-sized sculpture in his traveling "© Murakami" art show, has just hit shelves as part of a new exhibition at the artist's own KAIKAI KIKI gallery in Tokyo. With doors open to the public on Saturday, The show made available five Inochi figures in as many different colored outfits in an edition of 200 pieces each that retailed for a whopping $1,500 USD. In the words of Murakami's camp: “Fashioned with an astounding attention to detail, the Inochi action figure is a small-scale replica of the original sculpture, created by world renowned toy manufacturer Medicom Toy. Like its larger counterpart, which was subject to over six years of work before reaching completion, the action figure has been in planning for nearly three years. The result features a level of perfection that exceeds that of a mere toy and accords it the status of a work of art. The figure also comes with costuming, in the form of Inochi’s school uniform and rucksack, both of which are removable. Each figure will be available with costumes in 5 colors, identical to those worn by the original, and also as a special set of 5.” Read More
Lance and Ed Ruscha talk art and Ed plans his next masterpiece based around Livestrong' new bionic clavicle...
There's only one superhuman whose life that headline could apply to in reference to the span of a mere two weeks. Of course, the freak of nature in question just happens to be Supertouch's own resident cycle killer LANCE ARMSTRONG. After debuting his new KAWS designed TREK MADONE in the legendary MILAN-SANREMO race on March 21st only to crash it and his now shattered collarbone in the Spanish classic VUELTA CASTILLA Y LEON race two days later, the seemingly indestructible hard charger is now the proud owner of a new clavicle implant that looks suspiciously like twelve drywall screws and a piece of old bender board. Of course, we gave up a career in professional sports medicine and surgery years ago so our frame of reference might be a bit outdated. Now on the mend and back on the bike in preparation of his scheduled runs in June's GIRO and the TOUR DE FRANCE in July, ol' Livestrong managed to log some bro time at the house in Austin last week with visiting LA art legend ED RUSCHA who was in town for a lecture at UT. Currently hitting the mountains hard at altitude in Aspen, the man with nine lives is proving that the term unstoppable was in fact originally coined in reference to him. Keep an eye on ST for updates from the road, and a sneek peek at Lance's upcoming round of new artist-designed race bikes. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
While the Chinese modern art market of recent years with its fast rising cult-of-personality art stars was ultimately born to fail—and with the recent economic meltdown, fail it has—the shining light of the red country's art world continues to glow in the form of CAI GUO-QIANG. Drawing freely from ancient mythology, military history, Taoist cosmology, extraterrestrial observations, Maoist revolutionary tactics, Buddhist philosophy, gunpowder-related technology, Chinese medicine, and methods of terrorist violence, Cai’s art is a form of social energy, constantly mutable, linking what he refers to as “the seen and unseen worlds.” His newly unveiled retrospective, “I Want to Believe,” at the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, Bilbao (the second stop on a global tour that began in 2008 at the Guggenheim NYC), presents the full spectrum of the artist’s protean, multimedia art in all its conceptual complexity.
Born in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, China, in 1957, Cai studied stage design at the Shanghai Drama Institute. In the 1980s he emerged as a member of the burgeoning experimental art world of China’s postreform era. After moving to Japan in 1986, Cai tapped into a rich vein of international 20th-century art and critical thought. While living there, he mastered the use of gunpowder to create his signature gunpowder drawings and the related outdoor explosion events. These practices integrate science and art in a process of creative destruction and reflect Cai’s philosophy that conflict and transformation are interdependent conditions of life, and hence art. At once intuitive and analytical, his gunpowder drawings and explosion events are intrepid, conceptual, site specific, ephemeral, time based, and interactive—performance art with a new matrix of cultural meaning.
Cai has lived in New York since 1995. While increasing his participation in the global art system of biennials, public celebrations, and museum exhibitions around the world, Cai’s social projects engage local communities to produce art events in remote, nonart sites like military bunkers, a socialist utopianism influenced by Cai’s experience growing up in Mao’s Red China and during the Cultural Revolution of 1966–76. His recent work has expanded to include large-scale installations, allegorical and sculptural, that recuperate signs and symbols of Chinese culture and expose the dialectics of local history and globalization.
Designed by the artist as a site-specific installation, the Guggenheim’s exhibition presents art as a process that unfolds in time and space, dealing with ideas of transformation, expenditure of materials, and connectivity. The structure of Cai’s art forms are inherently unstable, but his social idealism characterizes all change, however violent, as carrying the seeds of positive creation. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
With the most inspirational name in the art world, AL MORAN's vanguard O.H.W.O.W. GALLERY is bringing serious heat to the Miami art scene. Celebrating the lengthy interconnectedness of the tropical city with sister metropolis NYC, their current exhibition, "Better History" takes a look at Manhattan’s storied art legacy, presenting the next generation of youngbloods alongside some legendary veterans in a wide array of media. Guest curated by New York’s NICK POE and the SEVEN ELEVEN GALLERY, the show’s exhaustive roster is a knockout, and includes Tim Barber, Sebastian Bear-McClard, Sebastian Black, Max Bode, Scott Campbell, Eneas Capalbo, Sarah Charlesworth, Francesco Clemente, Billy Copley, Patricia Cronin, Lance De Los Reyes, India Donaldson, Lena Dunham, Judith Hudson, Fab 5 Freddy, Francesco Galetto, India Donaldson, Alex Kalman, Maira Kalman, Tibor Kalman, Mel Kendrick, Victor Kerlow, Barney Kulock, Eva Lewitt, Judith Linhares, Troy Lumpkin, Alex Massouras, Michael McClard, Thomas McDonnell, Harry McNally, Casey Neistat, Van Neistat, Deniz Ozuygur, Peter Passuntino, Grear Patterson, Paolo Pelosini, Nick Poe, Nico Ponce De Leon Dios, Paula Poons, Steve Powers, Alex Rickard, Alexis Rockman, Theo Rosenblum, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Kenny Scharf, Laurie Simmons, Gordon Stevenson, Billly Sullivan, Jon Waite and Robert Waltzer. On view through April 11, the show should be considered required viewing for sunbathing art lovers in need of a downtown fix. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Though the band technically still has four living, breathing members, Metallica has been dead and gone for years. Luckily, stepping in to fill that monstrous gap is Atlanta-based MASTODON whose hybrid hard rock/metal sound is every bit as heavy (and members as hairy) as the name. Released last week, the band's fourth album (following 2006's incredibly epic "Blood Mountain") "Crack The Skye" is a brutally gorgeous seven-track ticket to heaven via a long and twisted road through czarist Russian Hell. Continuing the band’s penchant for thematic content, the new disc focuses on they mythical life of Rasputin, whose existence the Mastodonians embellish with an array of compulsory metal mythology. The record’s story arc is perhaps best described by the band’s guitarist Bill Kelliher:
"There is a paraplegic and the only way that he can go anywhere is if he astral travels. He goes out of his body, into outer space and a bit like Icarus, he goes too close to the sun, burning off the golden umbilical cord that is attached to his solar plexus. So he is in outer space and he is lost, he gets sucked into a wormhole, he ends up in the spirit realm and he talks to spirits telling them that he is not really dead. So they send him to the Russian cult, they use him in a divination and they find out his problem. They decide they are going to help him. They put his soul inside Rasputin's body. Rasputin goes to usurp the czar and he is murdered. The two souls fly out of Rasputin's body through the crack in the sky(e) and Rasputin is the wise man that is trying to lead the child home to his body because his parents have discovered him by now and think that he is dead. Rasputin needs to get him back into his body before it's too late. But they end up running into the Devil along the way and the Devil tries to steal their souls and bring them down…there are some obstacles along the way."
When questioned about the archaic spelling of the word Skye in the disc’s title, Dailor went on to explain that "Crack the Skye" is also meant as an homage to his sister, Skye Dailor, who committed suicide at age 14: "My sister passed away when I was a teenager and it was awful, and there's no better way to pay tribute to a lost loved one than having an opportunity to be in a group with my friends and we make art together. Her name was Skye, so Crack the Skye means a lot of different things. For me personally, it means the moment of being told you lost someone dear to you, [that moment] is enough to crack the sky."
As a bonus for fans who still BUY music, the iTunes version of “Crack the Skye” comes with the to-die-for bonus of an instrumental version of the entire disc that plays like a full-fledged metal symphony in seven parts. Touring across the US now, and throughout Europe this summer with (unfortunately) Metallica, the prehistoric rockers should be considered a must-see for even the most jaded live music fan.
Read the NYTimes review of "Crack the Skye" HERE.
Mastodon were the first Western band to ever record the kazak national anthem...
We at Supertouch aren't too shy about proclaiming our own JAMES JEAN as the next big thing. His painting chops are akin to the hand of God, and his sense of composition and palette are similarly sublime. Following his recent breakthrough art show at NYC's JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY, JJ has been laying low in the Southland quietly putting the finishing touches on a new series of masterpieces, like the just-completed vision we see here, "Excavation." Rendered in acrylic and oil on canvas, this ethereal 3 1/2' x 4' dreamscape merely foreshadows the visual brilliance this nascent fine artist has to offer. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Dropping in for a sneek peek at Supertouch's own PHIL FROST and his upcoming "Paperweight: An Exhibition of Works on Paper" show at JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY in NYC this Saturday reveals the mysterious artist working in top form. The show will be Phil's first exhibition in NYC in several years and will present a gorgeous array of new paintings on paper that are well within reach of the average art collector. The waiting list is already getting long so anyone looking to land a piece from this elusive artist best contact the gallery on the double quick. Expect full event coverage this weekend, meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More