Our friends at GUILLOTINE were on hand at the opening of KAWS‘ eponymous show of three new large-scale monochromatic paintings at esteemed Madrid GALERIE JAVIER LOPEZ. As predicted, KAWS spent a good part of the evening signing autographs for the throng of fans awaiting his first Spanish appearance where his presence was also felt at the concurrent ARCO art fair…
*Additional photos by Sinfe…
KAWS AT ARCO:
Supertouch buddy KAWS has just dropped a quick sneek peek of the installation of his eponymous new show of three large paintings in Madrid, Spain, at the esteemed GALERIA JAVIER LOPEZ opening February 17th (to coincide with the kickoff of ARCO Madrid). This show comes as a brief preview for what’s to come at the artist’s upcoming first ever museum show at THE ALDRICH MUSEUM opening June 2th. Meanwhile, here’s what the gallery has to say about the Jersey boy:
“The three monochromatic paintings in this exhibition mark the newest works on canvas by the artist, each using gloss line on a matte background. The two black works, “Nightime Office” and “Through the Door”, reuse the artist’s signature Kawsbob and Chum characters. Inserting them into claustrophobic compositions, these figures violently break through architectonic frameworks into the space of the viewer, pulling shattered material with them.
The largest work in the show, “Dead Wrong”, builds upon the rectilinear sections of the other works, yet combines both characters. Here, space becomes disjointed, conveying a stronger sense of collaged imagery. The fragmentation suggests a recombining and reconfiguration of separate paintings into an overall visual assault. A diminutive set of Kawsbob’s hands seem to pull the fabric of the canvas itself to cover his eyes from something imminent. The graphic Chum looms ominously in the background, rendered flat yet threatening.
By augmenting imagery whose origins are innocuous, Kaws subverts popular culture and presents a vision of panic and anxiety. Incorporating his signature “X”ed out eyes, the figures become premonitions of their own deaths, merging childlike imagery with abstract concept. High art strategies and popular icons become interchangeable. KAWS’ paintings at once recognize the way that popular images inseminate our lives and suggest the collapse of visual culture.”
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
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
Superhuman painting talent ERIC WHITE brought his unique brand of cinematic surrealism to the sunny climes of Barcelona where his solo show of new work “Eclecticismo: Virtud o Defecto?” (Eclecticism: Virtue or Defect?) opened alongside a concurrent exhibition by art buddy Gomez Bueno at IGUAPOP GALLERY last weekend. Consisting of seven brand new 24″ x 24″ paintings (save for a lone 36″ x 36″ exception) and two recent large scale pieces, the majority of the show is divided between White’s recent “windows” theme and his unique “photo negative” painting effect whereby the Michigan native painstakingly renders portraits in a film negative colorshceme that translate to perfectly accurate color versions when viewed as inversions. The unusual imagery is a true testament to Mr White’s rendering prowess considering that the accuracy of his color positives is never tested until the last brushstroke on the negative has been laid (see below for an example). HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Spanish born LA transplant GOMEZ BUENO is wild card artist extraordinaire whose Pop Cultural visual musings never cease to amuse. For his newest solo show, “Películas y Musicales de los Estudios Gómez Bueno” (Movies and Musicales from the Gomez Bueno Studios), at Barcelona’s IGUAPOP GALLERY finds the artist reimagining some familiar entertainment world iconography in his own inimitable style via a lengthy series of oil paintings and pen on paper drawings taking the piss out of everyone from Ed “Big Daddy” Roth to Johnny Ramone. Running alongside a concurrent exhibition by art buddy Eric White, the show is a testament to Bueno’s atypical thought process that one can only begin to understand through careful, up-close-and-personal study of the man/maniac himself. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
In a sure sign of the state of the modern art world, the single artwork attracting the most attention at ARCO (the Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair) that opened today was not a masterpiece by DAMIEN HIRST, but rather a parody of the UK bad boy artist by EUGENIO MERINO depicting the master financial strategist encased in one of his own white display cubes, shooting himself in the head. Titled “For the Love of Gold” in reference to Hirst’s $100 million diamond encrusted skull “For the Love of God,” the hyper-realistic yet oddly contorted piece incorporates real human hair, glass eyes, and realistic blood pouring from a gaping hole in the cranium and was quickly snapped up on opening day by a Florida collector for $33,500 USD. Sounds like Damien’s busy decorating his Miami winter home…
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.
Shipping off to Madrid, Spain today for his solo show of new paintings and sculpture at EMILY MURPHY FINE ART in September is DZINE‘s latest masterpiece of lowrider bicycle fabrication that must be seen in person to be believed. Dripping with gold and kandy paint, the pedal pusher gets 1,000 times the mileage of a Prius with infinitely more style. Keep an eye out for updates as we draw closer to showtime. Meanwhile, set your eyes to work. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Hot off his massive installation at England’s TATE MODERN and his general huge-scale bombing of London, French photographer and street artist JR has just completed his latest epic project, “Los Surcos de la Ciudad” (“The Grooves of the City”) in Spain. Seeking to tell the tale of the ancient Spanish Mediterranean port city of Cartagena in the region of Murcia through the faces of its oldest residents, the 25-year-old artist spent three days photographing the city’s elders and then transferring the giant-sized portraits onto the city’s walls both new and old and in various states of decomposition. Completed in time for the city’s 14th annual The Sea Music Festival, the grand narrative project helps reaffirm JR’s assertion that “the facades and walls with all their cracks and grooves can tell the story of a city” and so too can its inhabitants. HAVE A LOOK: Read More