Month: February, 2012

Reinventing the Reel

Cindy Sherman. Untitled Film Still #6. 1977. Gelatin silver print, 9 7/16 x 6 1/2″ (24 x 16.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder in memory of Eugene M. Schwartz © 2012 Cindy Sherman

“I think people are more apt to  believe photographs, especially if it’s something fantastic”, Cindy Sherman said in a 1985 interview with Bomb magazine.  For over 30 years Sherman has posed as her own model, creating fantastic images which comment on our nation’s fixation with beauty, Hollywood glamor and the preservation of youth. She becomes a new character in each photograph (a milkmaid, a Hollywood movie star, a centerfold), revealing the fluid nature of identity and the disconnect (or rather, lack there of) between what we see and what be believe. Sherman’s upcoming retrospective at MoMA will feature 171 photographs by the artist, including the complete collection of her “Untitled Film Stills” (1977-80). The images range from highly glamorous to shocking and grotesque, providing an honest critique of the media’s veneration of superficiality and idealized beauty.

Cindy Sherman will run from February 26- June 11, 2012 at MoMA.

Image provided courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York


Everything You See Israel

Kehinde Wiley, Alios Itzhak (The World Stage: Israel) 2011 Oil and enamel on canvas 96 x 72 in (243.8 x 182.9 cm)

Kehinde Wiley presents a sociological study of race, religion and identity in his upcoming exhibition The World Stage: Israel, which opens March 9 at the Jewish Museum. Wiley is best known for his highly glamorized depictions of young urban men, in which he blends components of hip-hop culture and fashion with stylistic traditions belonging to Renaissance and Baroque portraiture.  For The World Stage, Wiley shifted his focus from young American men to the young men of Israel. He traveled to Jerusalem, Televiv and Lod, searching for his subjects: Arab Israelis and Ethiopian and native-born Jews whom he felt possessed a confidence and modernity which transcended barriers of race and religion.

In the portraits, Wiley incorporates religious iconography with references to contemporary issues of identity. The ornate backgrounds of the paintings, for instance, are inspired by Jewish ceremonial papercuts. The frames of the portraits of Arab men, however, make a reference to more contemporary issues of racial politics. They read, “Can we all get along?”, which was famously said by Rodney King after the acquittal of the L.A police at his trial. The portraits work to honor the past while also establishing the need for understanding and acceptance of the present.

The World Stage: Israel will be on view at the Jewish Museum from March 9- July 29, 2012

© Kehinde Wiley; Courtesy of Roberts & Tilton, Culver City, California 

Sperone Westwater Sculpture Exhibition A Bust-See

Giovacchio Fortini (Settignano 1690-Florence 1736). Latona. marble. 31 7/8 x 26 inches

Sperone Westwater‘s current exhibitions, “Marble Sculpture from 350 B.C. to Last Week” and “Portraits/Self-Portraits from the 16th Century to the 21st Century,” offer a unique juxtaposition of  the classical with the contemporary. The exhibitions showcase the evolution of  two artistic mediums and the ways in which the functions of sculpture and portraiture have changed throughout history . In the portraits, for instance, the works by Old World Masters often romanticize their subjects. They employed allegory and references to ancient mythology as a means of evoking the erudition or elevated status of the sitter. Contemporary portraits often forgo this regality and idealization in favor of emotion and honesty.

When looking at the sculpture collection you’ll notice somewhat less of a dichotomy between the contemporary and classical works. Ai Weiwei’s Marble Doors (2007), for instance, work themselves seamlessly into the program. But, works like Tom Sachs’ marble industrial-sized trashcan, Brute (2009-2010), garner no confusion as to their age. Particularly outstanding works in the exhibition are those by Italian scultore Giovacchio Fortini and Francesco Ladatte.

“Marble Sculpture from 350 B.C. to Last Week” and “Portraits/Self-Portraits from the 16th to the 21st Century” are both on view at Sperone Westwater through February 25, 2012.

Will You Be My Valentine?

Familiar Feeling Anna Howarth 2010 Paper Cut-Out 20.9 X 20.9 INS

Forget Me Not Sardines Kate Jenkins 2011 Crocheted Lambs Wool 9.3 X 9.3 INS

The National Retail Federation projects that this year alone, $15.7 billion will be spent on Valentine’s Day gifts and celebrations. Galleries and museums are trying to get a piece of the action by offering special Valentine’s promotions and gift ideas . At the MoMA, for instance, you and your valentine can enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres followed by a private tour of the museum’s most romantic (that’s romantic, not Romantic) works of art. And like the Neue Gallery and the Met, MoMA is also marketing Valentine’s-oriented gifts such as scarves, jewelry and houseware products. Additionally, galleries like the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in Nolita are exhibiting their romantically-inspired artworks (pictured above), offering yet another (albeit a bit pricier) creative Valentine’s Day gift option.

Images provided courtesy of Rebecca Hossack Gallery, NYC

If the Shoe Fits…

When Dogs Fly, Skewville

On Friday night, Bushwick gallery Factory Fresh held an opening for their new exhibition, Skewville’s 80th Birthday: A Retro Retrospective. Skewville is an artist partnership comprised of two twin brothers who have been creating inventive street art for the past 13 years.  The duo is perhaps  best known for their sneaker project, When Dogs Fly, in which the artists toss painted wooden sneakers (pictured above) over telephone lines in cities across the world. In addition to the sneakers, the exhibition also features signs, stampers, paintings and installations, many boasting tongue-in-cheek witticisms or wry (pot-related) wordplay. The exhibition is a friendly reminder to all of us that the Bushwick art scene (and perhaps stoner culture as well) is not only alive, but continuing to grow and evolve. Skewville’s 80th Birthday: A Retro Retrospective runs through March 11, 2012.