Below are a selection of the drawings a Fragonard exhibit from a 2016 show. Had a ball with all the fabulous and fashionable older Parisian set at this quaint little museum right inside the Luxembourg Garden.
I was recently bowled over by the powerful work of Adrian Piper currently on display in Venice. A conceptual artist with a PhD in philosophy from Harvard, Piper was born in New York City and works out of Berlin. Her art opens eyes and seeks to build bridges between people. Last week at the Biennale, she received the Golden Lion for best artist for her efforts.
Among the group of pieces is an interactive installation titled “Rules of the Game” which called on viewers to sign life-long contracts at three separate desks, with one of the three rules:
I will always be too expensive to buy
I will always mean what I say
I will always do what I say I am going to do
In another room, objects were covered with the words “everything will be taken away” and hung next to a giant photo of the Nazis at their Degenerate Art Show. I was taken, as is often the case, by the way the work effected the audience, or didn’t. You can see in the photo at the top of the post, viewers standing around blankly, while the man on the right talked loudly on his cellphone for the entire time I was viewing at the work. Her ominous prediction sees so much more probable in this setting. After a week of contemplating the theme of All the World’s Futures, I found Piper’s directness on the topic hard to describe as anything less than courageous and superb.
by James Lipovac
This image of a giant Venus Fly trap dwarfing a man in a trench coat standing underneath a menacingly heavy sky was a stand-out at Ghenie’s speculator painting performance at the 56th La Biennale di Venezia in the Romanian Pavilion.
I first came across Adrian Ghenie’s work at Pace in New York in March of 2013. A painter friend of mine encourage me to check out the show. The strength of the work is Ghenie’s ability to harmonize elements of abstract figuration and more realistic interpretations all in the same canvas.
I was excited to see what a fellow painter would do given the chance to represent their own nation, in this case, Romania. In his show “Darwin’s Room” Ghenie uses Darwin, evolution, and survival as themes for his grand brushwork and sheets of oil. He switches between and harmonizes intimate slow moments of finessed detail, larges areas of squeegeed paint, and thick sections of impasto.
Chiharu Shiota’s “The Key in the Hand” installation is a bold vision of the the dark beauty of the human life lived. This Berlin-based artist was born in Osaka Prefecture in 1972.
Curator, Hitoshi Nakano- “After being confronted with the deaths of several intimate friends and family in recent years, Shiota has converted these experiences into the lingua franca of pure and sublime art without averting her eyes from the reality that all human beings must face “life” and “death” but that each of us must do so individually. “
His practice is to create a drawing a day. Originally this charge came from writer friend, Héctor Abad. Abad proposed a collaboration where Suárez Londoño would make work to inspire the author’s writing. At the end of each month, Suárez Londoño was to share his drawings with Abad, who would then create a work from these 30 or so drawings. In the end, at least in the story we were told, the output coming in proved too overwhelming for old Héctor, who backed out of his end, even though it seems to us that our guy was doing all the heavy lifting. Still the Labs sends many thanks to Abad for inspiring Suárez Londoño to make these intimate, outstanding, imaginative, tedious, whimsical, and mysterious gems.
Suárez Londoño remained engaged in the rigor of this encyclopedic way of working, and decided to continue making daily work tied to his daily readings, starting with Brian Eno’s A Year with Swollen Appendices. The images pictured here are from his collection “Franz Kafka, Diaries II, 1914-1923”. Our understanding is that there are 365 of these bad boys, all done in 2000, all mixed media, all 13 x 20 cm, and all better than anything you made all year!
From the Mass MoCa website:
Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007. These occupy nearly an acre of specially built interior walls that have been installed—per LeWitt’s own specifications—over three stories of a historic mill building situated at the heart of MASS MoCA’s campus. The 27,000-square-foot structure, known as Building #7, has been fully restored for the exhibition by Bruner/Cott & Associates architects, which has closely integrated the building into the museum’s main circulation plan through a series of elevated walkways, a dramatic new vertical lightwell, and new stairways.
The works in the exhibition are on loan from numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Yale University Art Gallery, to which LeWitt designated the gift of a major representation of his wall drawings, as well as his wall-drawing archive.
Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, states, “Watching this grand installation of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings progress over the past six months has been nothing short of thrilling. In addition to providing an enduring exhibition of great beauty, this retrospective will enable visitors to behold for the first time the full trajectory of a major aspect of Sol’s artistic career. Until today, the only way to view multiple LeWitt wall drawings has been to travel far and wide, pursuing them individually in situ or in temporary museum exhibitions. Now, visitors will be able to return to MASS MoCA again and again to experience this visual feast of Sol’s wall drawings in a single location, doing so at their leisure over the next twenty-five years.”
LeWitt—who stressed the idea behind his work over its execution—is widely regarded as one of the leading exponents of Minimalism and Conceptual art, and is known primarily for his deceptively simple geometric structures and architecturally scaled wall drawings. His experiments with the latter commenced in 1968 and were considered radical, in part because this new form of drawing was purposely temporal and often executed not just by LeWitt but also by other artists and students whom he invited to assist him in the installation of his artworks.
Each wall drawing begins as a set of instructions or simple diagram to be followed in executing the work. As the exhibition makes clear, these straightforward instructions yield an astonishing—and stunningly beautiful—variety of work that is at once simple and highly complex, rigorous and sensual. The drawings in the exhibition range from layers of straight lines meticulously drawn in black graphite pencil lead, to rows of delicately rendered wavy lines in colored pencil; from bold black-and-white geometric forms, to bright planes in acrylic paint arranged like the panels of a folding screen; from sensuous drawings created by dozens of layers of transparent washes, to a tangle of vibratory orange lines on a green wall, and much more. Forms may appear to be flat, to recede in space, or to project into the viewer’s space, while others meld to the structure of the wall itself.
Ellen Altfest, born in 1970 in New York, creates modestly scaled, hyerrealistic paintings of still lives, landscapes, and truncated male nudes that are exceptionally labored. All work is done from life, using natural light. Works take months, even years to complete. Futurelab first encountered her work, pictured below, at the 2013 Venice Biennale show, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni.
This John Walker exhibition at the Alexandre Gallery is fantastic. A painter’s painter, these are about the material. These careful abstractions of a real place, a spot he found in Maine, the works are full of creative mark-making that will entice you jump back on the subway and head to the studio to try some of these moves yourself. Or at least that’s how it made us feel. Enjoy!
Bedwyr Williams immersive five room installation looks at the microscope and the astronomic. Its Powers of Ten meets early Mtv. The youtube clip below is an interview with the artist about the piece. Fast forward to 4.0o to see a portion of the video component of the installation.
Konrad Smoleński’s Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More at the Polish Pavilion was one of the Futurelab’s favorite pieces at this year’s Venice Biennale.
At the top of every hour, the bells ring for only first five minutes, followed by ten minutes of feedback and reverb. Incredibly, somewhere in that time, the sounds reverberating in the space reassemble into the original sounds of the bells. This is a must-see of this year’s Biennale. Simple, yet imposing, every element plays an integral role in the experience. If you have the pleasure, don’t leave until its over. Unfortunately, our video got erased over the course of our week in Venice, but this video will give you a sense of things. To see the bells in action, skip to 1.06.
Richard Mosse, The Enclave, 2012 @ the Pavilion of Ireland, Venice Biennale 2013
One of this year’s Biennale favorites of The Futurelab is this stunning exhibition of photos and videos captured with kodak aerochrome infrared color film, an outdated technology once used for military surveillance. aerochrome film is intended to clearly denote the potential enemies in camouflage by turning everything in a landscape that contains chlorophyll pink. The result for Mosse is a haunting collection of surreal gems. Hope you enjoy.
Da Vinci (2012) by Yuri Ancarani is the third part in a trilogy of videos that explore the ritual-like gestures of three unique professions. Currently on view in the Arsenale at the Venice Biennale until September 2013.
If the Futurelab was to give its own Biennale awards, Sarah Sze would have been one of the winners.
This year’s US artist painstakingly transformed their Pavilion with a myriad of tiny objects, suspended from tiny strings, wire, wood, and plastic. There is a real feeling of being inside of another universe where Sze is the benevolent ruler.
Setting the tone for the exhibit, suspended precariously above the entrance to the US Pavilion are several enormous boulders that are situated on narrow boards, held down by only a few straps. One would be forgive for being afraid to come closer. Upon reaching the entrance, the viewer is greeted by another large rock placed safely on the ground, and it becomes obvious that the boulders are not rocks at all, but mere paper imposters. The surfaces are digital paper prints of rock texture pasted over a lightweight structures. And here begins the experience with Sarah Sze’s outstanding performance at this year’s Venice Biennale.
Although Sarah Sze and the US did not win the Golden Lion this year, the Biennale’s top prize, her performance has been well-received.
This year’s prize went to Angola, with an equally stellar performance, with its much more subtle installation at the Palazzo Cini,conceived in 1984 as a house-museum, after a collection of Tuscan masterworks were donated by Princess Yana Cini Alliata de Montereale.)
The theme of the Biennale this year is Encyclopedic, and this is necessary to know when engaging Sze’s installations. One the one hand, there is an encyclopedic cataloging of her own personal objects(tea bags, granola bars, tools, and coffee cups), and on the other hand, obsessive micro representations of the marco (entire galaxies of things orbiting around precarious sun-like shapes. All the elements of our universe and all the elements of human life and death represented by the most unexpected and simplest of things makes for a truly eye-opening art experience.