October 14, 2016

The Secret Lives of Buildings

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Marc Yankus loves the built environment of New York City—as I do,—and his new show, “The Secret Lives of Buildings,” is a paean to the strong silent occupiers of great space in the city. His large format photographic prints of iconic buildings like the Dorilton, Ansonia and Flatiron compel one to contemplate their essence, devoid of commerce, schmutz and motion. They are the silent stoic guardians of the city.

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With an omnipresent perspective (unseen from the street views of mere mortals) Marc also plays with the mundane, portraying some of the unremarkable architecture of Herald Square amidst the scumbled pastel light of overcast days. He considers other micro-neighborhoods, digitally mirroring and collaging edifices,brick textures, and other aging materials. He also isolates the jewel boxes of the city, like the former Parthenon of a bank, now abandoned, that still stands majestically on the corner of 14th and Eighth.

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The show—the inaugural exhibit at the freshly painted storefront Clampart Gallery near Madison Square Garden—is for both natives and other denizens of the city—Yankus’ photographs are puzzles to interrogate—we know these dreamlike characters subconsciously, and lingering in front of these portraits, we fill in their contexts and learn their identities.

March 06, 2016

Café Olé!

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Like my idol Saul Steinberg, I’m enamored of the beauty of the mundane and practical. Like him, I collect and perennially observe still life items like a paper coffee cup from City Bakery. This particular cup’s softer shade of navy blue, the way the graphics and typography integrate with its stocky form, and the deliberate cutting of the word,” Bakery” are an appealing combination. The cup is a permanent fixture on my table.
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So for a new exhibit, “Coffee as Muse,” opening today, I created a series of four postcard-sized portraits of the cup, each in a different medium: cross-hatched ink, pen and ink, watercolor and colored pencil.  And I also did a small abstract painting using concentrated French Italian dark espresso.

Forty artists have contributed to this coffee-fueled and inspired show. The second annual “Coffee as Muse” runs from now through April, at No. Six Depot, a café, roaster, art gallery and cultural mecca in West Stockbridge, MA. Come see the show and have a cup of Heart of Darkness with an orange olive oil muffin.

February 10, 2016

Shot on (My) iPhone 6‏

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I’m excited and honored to have four pieces in iMotif, a juried show of iPhone photographs in square configurations. The exhibit features the work of 75 photographers and some 350 10” x 10” framed prints.

For me, the winnowing process was a challenge; it took a long time to review hundreds of images I took on the iPhone, honing the final selection down to merely 12—the maximum entry for this juried show. Should I go for scenes of nature? Urban palimpsests? Still lifes? 

Originally, five photographs I entered were selected, but HRA (below) taken on West 13th Street one morning did not print as well as imagined.

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The other four images also capture the flavor of micro neighborhoods, down to the block.  Houston Street is almost a trompe l’oeil image of a layers of posters on a wooden gate impaled by a chain. West 22nd Street, a tableau of a Chelsea dog-sitting parlour, took on the feeling of a dreamlike shrine. Columbus Avenue was caught one morning on a corner at 107th Street, just as school was starting or startling! New Whitney was snatched at one of the openings for the new building.

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The pieces—two and two—are on display at two locations: Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox, MA, January 23 – March 21, 2016, and the Gallery at Hotel on North in Pittsfield, MA, February 2 – March 2, 2016. The photographs are signed, framed and for sale in editions of ten at the Sohn Gallery.

January 11, 2016

Rosen @ Room & Board

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Through yet another moment of managed serendipity, I now have the opportunity to share my work with a national audience. Home furnishings retailer Room & Board has launched a collection of limited-edition prints I created. The collection is being rolled out in their stores in major American cities, and online. Based on collages I made from elements found on the sidewalks and streets of New York City, the six pieces—Mint, Aisle 04, Seperation, Locally Packed, Pastelotto, and 411—are pop, poster-sized, signed and framed, in editions of 20. Not only are they colorful, but the collage prints are filled with puns and other lingo, waiting to be decoded. If you’ve been contemplating a blank wall for a long time, and/ or are in the market for a modern sofa, please visit your local Room & Board showroom, or shop here.

 

December 02, 2015

The Sacred and the Pop

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Pope Francis would have loved her. Sister Mary Corita Kent (1918-1986) was an alembic—a distiller of the visual, spiritual, intellectual and social, who found and illuminated the spiritual in making art. A Catholic nun, inspiring art teacher at Immaculate Heart College, and social activist, propelled by the reforms of Vatican II, Sister Corita was a pop artist. Her vibrant, graphic silk screened prints of the 1960’s and ’70’s weave popular advertising slogans with the more resonant texts of Daniel Berrigan, e e cummings, Thomas Merton—among others— to produce a body of work that invites closer inspection, and then introspection. The meaning of language she extracted from the commercial realm is exalted in her art.

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I made an exhilarating daytrip to Boston to see (before it closes January 3, 2016),
“Corita Kent and the Language of Pop,”
at the Fogg. Well-documented, the exhibit features more than 60 of her screen prints, alongside pieces by mostly male pop artists of her time, with some gems by Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Ruscha.

imageimageimageOf special significance, on display was a coffee can-sized maquette of Corita’s gargantuan public art icon, the rainbow splashed gas tank outside of Boston. Slide images and videos are powerful testimony to Sister Corita’s social activism in Mary’s Day art be-ins, her art instruction methodology and rapport with students. I wish I could have studied with her.

 

May 13, 2014

Brimfield, Opening Day

imageA return to the Woodstock of the antiques and collectibles world, Brimfield in mid-Massachusetts. Today, the first day, the dealers were blissful, the buyers so sated. A sensorial all-you-can-eat buffet that spans perhaps a mile, it is exhilarating to take in the profusion of stuff, amusing to see the absurd combos of items in arbitrary tableaux, and inspiring to experience the exploding encyclopedia of textile prints and typography. Warholian spores wafted and pervaded the fields of booths. What popped out for me thematically were needlepointed items, giant versions of things, vintage military, work and sports uniforms, technical tools, stripes, jewelry from all eras and countries, gardening decor and vessels, beaded and non-beaded handbags, and barkcloth. Even though there were enterprising porters dragging rickshaws of choice hauls, many attendees had to sit, retreat and regroup from the long day of stimuli and transacting.

April 09, 2014

The Heart of Wetness

imageThis evening, we sipped Curacao-tinted Prosecco at the chapel of the surf—a magnificent, torrential, calligraphic Raymond Pettibon show at Venus over Manhattan on Madison Avenue.  Spanning 25 years (1987-2012), the show aggregates 40 of Pettibon’s surfer-thermed paintings ranging from intimate black ink wash images to colossal indigo-slashed pieces often accompanied by handwritten poetic Lichtensteinian texts, that put one at the core of the wave, feeling at once powerful, vulnerable and alone.

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November 20, 2013

Mirror Man

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Art Spiegelman’s retrospective at the Jewish Museum is a revelation, of the inner workings—anguish, humanism, intellect, humor—and the eloquent, prolific output of this storytelling artist and genius. For Spiegelman, the explored life is worth living, and he lives up to his name,“mirror man” in German—let alone his first name. A well-written, organized and documented show—you should see it.

November 16, 2013

Balthus, Cats & Girls

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The best part, perhaps the most genuine component of the Balthus: Cats and Girls show now at the Met is its coda, a separate room labeled Mitsou. Based on his found and lost stray cat—these beautiful 40 pen and ink drawings resemble woodcuts, and show a precocious talent, as they were made when Balthus was just 11 years old.

April 04, 2013

42nd on Warren



One of my pieces, 42nd 5th & 6th, a collage made from ephemera I found on that street, will be in Well Put Together: The Art of Collage & Assemblage, a group show at the CCCA Gallery, 209 Warren Street, Hudson, NY. The opening reception is April 6 from 5-7pm. The show runs through May 17.

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