The work of 74-year-old painter PETER SAUL reveals an artist whose vigor for wild Cartoon Expressionism remains undiminished by age. A pioneer of Pop Art who wears his pulp influences on his sleeve, Saul has created some of his finest modern work in this show of mostly large scale new paintings now on display at NYC’s venerable DAVID NOLAN GALLERY, all of which explode with the trademark color and humor inherent in all of the artist’s most memorable work. Rightfully, the paper of record has taken notice:
The irrepressible Peter Saul, now 74, continues his cheerfully acerbic, riotously goofy ways. The paintings in this entertaining show are made in Mr. Saul’s signature Pop-Surrealist cartoon style. With their rubbery, pneumatic forms neatly rendered with a spongy, semi-pointillist touch in glowing colors, they are like much-enlarged stills from a twisted animated film.
There are three different types of pictures: weirdly personal, violently political and insouciantly art historical. In “Viva la Difference,” a grinning bon vivant in pajamas with a martini in one hand wraps his arm around an amorphous blob that sprouts multiple breasts and is perforated by numerous vaginal orifices. (Talk about your male gaze!)
On the political front, there’s “Stalin & Mao,” in which the dictators are represented as giants punching the heads off enemy soldiers. As for art history, “Better Than de Kooning,” a translation of de Kooning’s “Woman” paintings from the 1950s into a picture of bulging, writhing, tubular forms, is visually captivating and amusingly Oedipal.
“Beckmann’s the Night” is based on a 1919 painting by Max Beckmann. In Mr. Saul’s version, a green maniac armed with a knife and a pistol attacks a naked blonde tied by her wrists to an overhead beam, while Beckmann himself licks the swollen foot of a half-naked man who hangs by the neck. A careening bullet rips through the flesh of the strung-up victims. Mr. Saul’s picture reminds us that few sights are more gripping to behold than scenes of horrific carnage.
—KEN JOHNSON, NYTimes
On display until May23rd, consider this a must-see show of the highest order. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Our own SHEPARD FAIREY has been a near constant presence on Supertouch of late, but what can we say, the last year has belonged to him. Capping off an epic string of career milestones beginning with his street level branding of the Obama campaign to being inducted into the Smithsonian and the attendant media blitz that ensued–most famously with his appearances on The Colbert Report and Charlie Rose, Ol’ Shep managed to cap it all off last nite with the VIP preview of his career retrospective art show “Supply & Demand” at the INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON. Of course there were even more media microphones and cameras there (that’s after doing two days of press before hand), but this time so was his loyal legion of diehard fans, which made it all worthwhile. Just to up the irony factor, local government just unveiled a massive Shepard mural outside the entrance of historic City Hall with the Mayor presiding over the occasion. Looks like art crime pays after all. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
As the year we’re all ready to forget comes to a tantalizingly close finale, LA offered one last incredibly bright spot on the artistic horizon with the debut of underground art legend RAYMOND PETTIBON‘s show of new color works “Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II” at West Hollywood’s REGEN PROJECTS. A counterpoint to his epic show of early 1970s & 80s black & white ink drawings at the gallery in September, Pettibon’s installment of new work was awash in shockingly bright color, and armed with the poetic malaise and pointed cultural insight that is the hallmark of the artist’s oeuvre. With wildly diverse subject matter ranging from the Bush administration, dogs & polar bears, Easter Island Moai heads, fighter jets, and baseball players & surfers, to the Notre Dame cathedral perched atop a military aircraft carrier, this SoCal hardcore punk art legend proves that innovative aesthetic evolution is a good thing, and that this year’s overarching theme of “change” is indeed a motto to live by. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
The zen master hard at work... The legend of RAYMOND PETTIBON looms large in the psyche of Southern California music and art culture, but few figures have proven easier to get close to than this enigmatic and elusive artist. Renowned for his stark, minimalistic, text heavy black & white ink drawings that would become an integral part of the visual lexicon of 1980s hardcore music, Pettibon has in recent years expanded his repertoire to include deeply layered color work that oftentimes incorporates elements of collage. This evolution of Pettibon's vision is the focus of "Cutting Room Floor Show: Part II," a massive exhibition of new work debuting this Saturday nite at REGEN PROJECTS GALLERY in West Hollywood that serves as a counterpoint to his recent show there of vintage '70s & '80s work. Having transformed the gallery space in recent weeks into a giant makeshift studio, Pettibon has very quietly been putting the finishing touches on literally hundreds of pieces of art in record time. It was here that we caught up with the elusive master for a sneek peek.Read More
Postmodern neoclassical painter KEHINDE WILEY wears his vintage European aesthetic influences on his sleeve, and in “Fallen,” Wiley’s new show of massive-scale (up to 25 feet!) oil paintings at downtown NYC’s DEITCH PROJECTS, his inspiration has never been more literal. Based directly on a wide variety of classical European paintings and sculptures by old masters like Diego Velasquez, Jean-Antoine Houdon, Auguste Falguiere, and Stefano Maderno, the “fallen” heroes of Wiley’s new series mimic their source poses almost exactly albeit in the ultramodern context of the urban hip-hop vernacular of urban Manhattan. Wiley’s own explanation for the series is really quite simple: “Down is an answer to the negative views of young black men in American society. It recognizes an idiom that can be seen from a distance as a negative form transformed into something more fabulous and joyful.” To give Supertouch readers a better insight on Wiley’s process, the works from his new series have been presented below alongside their classical source material for closer comparison. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Anyone not familiar with the traveling art circus known as the BEAUTIFUL LOSERS exhibition by now is either living under a rock or just doesn’t care, so we’ll spare you the lengthy explanations here, but the show of seminal American underground artists has energized the creative community in Madrid, Spain after making landfall there this week at the city’s LA CASA ENCENDIDA cultural center. Featuring major works by an array of artists including KAWS, Barry McGee, Thomas Campbell, Cynthia Connolly, Evan Hecox, Jo Jackson, Chris Johanson, Harmony Korine, Geoff McFetridge, Ryan McGinley, Ryan McGinness, Terry Richardson, Clare E. Rojas, Ed Templeton, Romon Yang, Tobin Yelland, Glen E. Friedman, Ari Marcopoulos, and Raymond Pettibon, the show will also host a courtyard skatepark that will be open to the public from December 21st—30th, and a special screening on December 26th of the new “Beautiful Losers” documentary film directed by AARON ROSE and JOSHUA LEONARD and presented by NIKE SPORTSWEAR. Click HERE for a closer look at the installation.
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
As the editor of JUXTAPOZ ART MAGAZINE from 1996—2006, I had a personal stake in scoping out the LAGUNA MUSEUM's "Juxtapoz" retrospective group show "In the Land of Retinal Delights" last nite. Celebrating the so-called "Juxtapoz Factor" in the modern art world, the exhibition chronicled the magazine's golden age, the years when the underground art world literally exploded into public consciousness and began to permeate the fabric of everyday life in the form of ubiquitous art shows, innovative merchandise, and corporate marketing and advertising campaigns. Assembling a roster of over 150 artists including...Read More
French street art provocateur BLEK LE RAT inaugurated modern street art messiah SHEPARD FAIREY‘s newly relocated (and visually stunning) SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS gallery in Echo Park this weekend with his first American solo show, “Art is not Peace but War.” A groundbreaking graffiti writer in the 1980s & 90s, Blek is best known as one of the earliest pioneers of stencil art and his simple monochromatic iconography heavily influenced the street artists from the Bristol scene, most notable of which is the current art star du jour and cash register tickler, Sir Banksy, who adopted not only Blek’s stylistic M.O., but his rat mascot as well. Looking at Blek’s simple, understated imagery, which remains largely unchanged since his early days on the walls of Paris, it’s not hard to see the immediate appeal of the stencil as a graphic tool for street bombing situations and Banksy’s adoption of the once rarified method exploded its popularity within a matter of years spawning a legion of young imitators and monied collectors. With pieces selling briskly at prices ranging from $9,000Ã¢â‚¬â€œ$40,000 for original spraypaint on canvas works and a queue of young punters, hipsters, and would-be street art stars wrapping around the block for the better part of the opening nite, it’s clear that the medium’s appeal shows no signs of waning. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
A SUBWAY WORKERÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S LEGACY, IN ART FORM
By Jake Mooney, Source: NYTimes
Writing about Marvin Franklin, the artist whose work is on view at the New York Transit Museum from this week through March, it feels natural to focus on the details of his premature and unsettling death Ã¢â‚¬â€ Mr. Franklin was a 55-year-old subway track worker who was killed by a train in March Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and on the profound effect that his passing has had on the friends and family he left behind. (A subsequent review found numerous safety lapses and prompted the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to order a series of reforms.)
What can get lost is Mr. FranklinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s art itself, which, by all accounts, was one of the major loves of his life. Friends describe him working at an awe-inspiring pace, filling up a 120-page sketchbook about every two weeks. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was his life. It was the blood that went through his veins,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mr. FranklinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, Tenley Jones-Franklin, said at the museum on Wednesday.Ã¢â‚¬Â¨Ã¢â‚¬Â¨On top of that, colleagues at the Art Students League of New York, where Mr. Franklin studied for the last decade, profess admiration for his ability and work ethic. One, Mark Hagan, whose time at the league overlapped with Mr. FranklinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, called him Ã¢â‚¬Å“a true folk hero.Ã¢â‚¬Â
For all that, though, the exhibit at the transit museum is the first show ever dedicated to Mr. FranklinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s art. Part of that, no doubt, is the result of his belief, expressed to several people, that he was not ready for such a recognition. But it is also, some of Mr. FranklinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s friends say, a hint at the politics involved in New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s art scene, and a sign of the difficulties of an artist following his own muse can face getting noticed. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING…
More of Franklin’s art can be seen HERE…