Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Banksy coming to New York

Banksy, the Bristol-born graffiti artist, has a show opening December 2nd at the Vanina Holasek Gallery in Chelsea. If you've been to Angelina Jolie's rumpus room recently you might have seen his work hanging on her wall (she bought one of his paintings at his LA show) or you might have bought one of his books at Urban Outfitters. Either way, you must have been struck by all the issues he raises in his work the fuck pays £200,000 for spraypaint-and-slogan sophomoric crap? (To be fair, it did feature a white family having a picnic and African orphans, two things the Jolie-Pitt household loves.) But Banksy's art isn't just issue-based, it's also a god investment, as per a press release for the show: "His art has escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man." Also, "Banksy images are even being used to sell 900k condos in Williamsburg." Suck on that, Andy Warhol!

Laughing all the way to the Banksy. Think you haven't heard of Banksy? Think you don't know who he is? Let us remind you; whilst others spray their names, Banksy paints pictures, pictures that have made Banksy a household name. He is the most controversial and downright interesting graffiti artist at large in the UK today and the chances are that you have already heard of, or seen some of his work, smiled and moved on. Variously described as a "guerrilla artist", an "art terrorist" or - by those of a more prosaic turn of phrase - as a "prankster" Banksy is someone for whom celebrity is anathema. So much so that he has never let the world know his real name - and he has never even posed for a photograph.
And yet everybody is talking about him...he is unknown but his work is unmistakable.
He's the maniac who got on the news for managing to smuggle one of his pieces of art into Tate Britain and embarrassed everyone because nobody seemed to notice...He's the wit behind the stencilled "Mind the Crap" writing that appeared overnight on the steps to Tate Modern. He is the prankster who smuggled 500 alternative copies of the Paris Hilton CD into record stores. He is the subversive who placed a life-size replica of a Guantanamo Bay detainee in Disneyland. He's the jester who gave LA a painted elephant. He is the trickster whose hoax cave painting of a man pushing a supermarket trolley sat in the British Museum unnoticed for three days. He is the infiltrator who disguised as a pensioner hung his perfectly framed pieces in the Metropolitan, MOMA, Brooklyn Museum and his "dead beetle with glued on sidewinder missiles and satellite dish" had pride of place in the Museum of Natural History NYC. Get the picture, get this. Banksy images are even being used to sell 900k condos in Williamsburg.

Is Banksy the new Warhol? Following record auction sales of both Warhol and Banksy, critics have examined the similarities in both aesthetic and content between the two artists, their interest in celebrity culture, and their examination of social values. Like Warhol, Banksy has become a darling of the stars, with his works gracing the homes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jude Law, Damien Hirst, Kate Moss, Robbie Williams. Banksy is undoubtedly a major player in terms of advancing the envelope of what art is with the result that over the past several years, his art has escalated in value faster than pretty much any substance known to man.

He is a visionary, the leader of a new artistic movement and the anonymous poster boy for free speech. Come and see what all the fuss is about.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Vincent Van Gogh's letters in Morgan Library

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
September 28th - January 6th

Painted with Words is a compelling look at Vincent van Gogh's correspondence to his young colleague Émile Bernard between 1887 and 1889. Van Gogh's words and sketches reveal his thoughts about art and life and communicate his groundbreaking work in Arles to his fellow painter. Unseen for nearly seventy years, and never before exhibited, the twenty letters document the close, vital friendship of the two artists.

Van Gogh's letters to Bernard reveal the tenor of their relationship. Van Gogh assumed the role of an older, wiser brother, offering praise or criticism of Bernard's paintings, drawings, and poems. At the same time the letters chronicle van Gogh's own struggles, as he reached his artistic maturity in isolation in Arles and St. Rémy. Throughout the letters are no less than twelve sketches by van Gogh meant to provide Bernard with an idea of his work in progress, including studies related to the paintings The Langlois Bridge, Houses at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Boats on the beach at Saintes-Maries, The Sower, and View of Arles at Sunset.

To complement the letters, more than twenty paintings, drawings, and watercolors by van Gogh and Bernard are on view. These works document their dynamic exchange of ideas—among them are paintings and drawings discussed and sketched by van Gogh in his letters to Bernard. The works of art are drawn mostly from collections outside of New York, and feature numerous works not recently shown in the U.S.

Jacqueline Rosenberg - Tripping the light Fantastic

Tripping the Light Fantastic: The Fine Art Photography Exhibition
Reception: Thursday, November 29, 2007 6-8 PM
Exhibition Dates: 11/20/2007 - 12/11/2007

Agora Gallery
530 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001

Shut Down, Self Portrait
Mixed Media Print on Canvas, 23.4" x 15.6"

Mixed Media Print on Canvas, 46.8" x 31.2"

“The beauty of people in photography goes beyond the reality,” Jacqueline Rosenberg states, “but that's why we love it.” Rosenberg’s two decades as a fashion photographer served as a sort of vocational training for her artistic career; and her trade has now been fully converted into passion. She takes as her subject matter women of varying types—but all strong, all emancipated in their femininity. Before transferring her photos onto canvas, Rosenberg superimposes upon them images of beads, jewels, geometric figures, out-of-proportion body parts from other photos—a practice that results in framing the internal discourse of each piece, allotting a viewing experience that is more than the sum of its parts.

Her approach reminds one of Picasso and how his distortions were always meant to convey information, to guide the encounter. If there’s a message Rosenberg hopes to convey, it’s that we should accept people of all kinds, and that we ourselves should be* *independent and free in our self-expression, our passions, and our joys.

Alyssa Monks

November 1st - December 1st at DFN Gallery
210 11th Ave. 6th Floor
New York, 10001 USA


DFN Gallery is pleased to present “New Paintings” by Alyssa Monks. This exhibit includes large-scale paintings derived from old photographs of her family at play, as well as a series of small, abstract, partially submerged figures on panel.

In Monks’ familial images, children swim alone or interact with family members. Her use of photographs casts her as creator and observer, veering away from the abstracted forms seen in her small works. These more straight forward interpretations of bodies in water are reminiscent of David Hockney’s pool series. Together, the large scale paintings speak of personal relationships and underlying currents found in every family.

Monks small paintings are ambiguous, self portraits with compositions evocative of JoAnn Verburg’s cropped, black and white photographs of swimmers. Bodies appear angled, cropped, and distorted by reflections in the water and by the form breaking the surface in the panel pieces. Some figures are seen from an underwater perspective creating an almost unreadable form. The distorted body becomes abstract and reveals Monks visceral enjoyment of touching paintbrush to ground. Her love for color and luscious paint evokes the work of as Jenny Saville and Lucien Freud. According to Monks,

I’m challenging myself by using photographs that aren’t so clean and perfect because it forces me to be more painterly, to look at the abstract forms more and to become more free with the paint. I use the paint to create the water surface instead of drawing it in. It saves me from an almost photorealistic look because when you see them up close, they are actually loose and the paint is quite visible.

A MFA graduate of the New York Academy of Art, Alyssa Monks has trained with Vincent Desiderio, John Jacobsmeyer, and Deane Keller. She received her B.A., cum laude, from Boston College in 1999. The artist’s paintings have been exhibited nationally and can be found in many private collections. This is Monks’ second solo show at DFN Gallery.

An opening reception for the artist will be held on
Thursday, November 1st, from 6-8 pm.

Georges Seurat: The Drawings at MOMA

Georges Seurat: The Drawings
October 28, 2007–January 7, 2008

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street,
between Fifth and Sixth avenues
New York, NY 10019-5497

Once described as "the most beautiful painter's drawings in existence," Georges Seurat's mysterious and luminous works on paper played a crucial role in his short, vibrant career. This comprehensive exhibition—the first in almost twenty-five years to focus exclusively on Seurat's drawings—will present over 135 works, primarily the artist's incomparable conté drawings along with a small selection of oil sketches and paintings. Surveying the artist's entire oeuvre, from his academic training through the emergence and elaboration of his unique methods to the studies made for his monumental canvases (such as the renowned A Sunday on La Grande Jatte), the exhibition will also present important new research on his artistic strategies and materials.

In bridging description and evocation, Seurat masses tones to abstract figures, weaves skeins of conté crayon to test the limits of decipherable space, and engages with the Parisian metropolis, illuminating urban types, revealing the ever-expanding industrial suburbs, and offering a tour through the world of nineteenth-century popular entertainment. Most of all, his dramatization of the relationship between light and shadow resulted in a distinct body of work. Though Seurat is perhaps best known as the inventor of pointillism, this exhibition will demonstrate his tremendous achievement as a draftsman and the significance of his working methods and themes for the art of the twentieth century.

Kara Walker - My Complement, My Enemies, My Opressor, My love

Kara Walker Exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American

October 13th - February 3, 2008

Kara Walker, Darkytown Rebellion, 2001. Cut paper and projection on wall, 14 x 37 ft. (4.3 x 11.3 m) overall. Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg. Photograph courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

At her New York debut at the Drawing Center in 1994, Kara Walker unveiled a daring reinvention of image-making in which she incorporated the genteel eighteenth-century medium of cut-paper silhouettes into her paintings. Since that time, she has created a poignant body of works that addresses the very heart of human experience, notions of racial supremacy, and historical accuracy. This exhibition presents a comprehensive grouping of the artist’s work to date, featuring more than 200 paintings, drawings, collages, shadow-puppetry, light projections, and video animations that offer an extended contemplation on the nature of figurative representation and narrative in contemporary art.

Drawing her inspiration from sources as varied as the antebellum South, testimonial slave narratives, historical novels, and minstrel shows, Walker has invented a repertoire of powerful narratives in which she conflates fact and fiction to uncover the living roots of racial and gender bias. The intricacy of her imagination and her diligent command of art history have caused her silhouettes to cast shadows on conventional thinking about race representation in the context of discrimination, exclusion, sexual desire, and love. “It’s interesting that as soon as you start telling the story of racism, you start reliving the story,” Walker says. “You keep creating a monster that swallows you. But as long as there’s a Darfur, as long as there are people saying ‘Hey, you don’t belong here’ to others, it only seems realistic to continue investigating the terrain of racism.”

About Kara Walker -

Kara Walker was born in Stockton, California, in 1969. At the age of 13, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia, when her father took a teaching position at Georgia State University. The move from an integrated California to a part of the country with pronounced racial divisions had a profound effect on the artist. “I became black in more senses than just the kind of multicultural acceptance that I grew up with in California. Blackness became a very loaded subject, a very loaded thing to be—all about forbidden passions and desires, and all about a history that’s still living, very present . . . the shame of the South and the shame of the South’s past; its legacy and its contemporary troubles.” After receiving a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991, Walker moved to Providence, Rhode Island, to pursue an MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Since that time, she has created more than 30 room-size installations and hundreds of drawings and watercolors, and has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award (1997) and, most recently, the Deutsche Bank Prize (2004) and the Larry Aldrich Award (2005). She was the United States representative for the 25th International São Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2002). She currently lives in New York, where she is associate professor of visual arts at Columbia University, New York.

Woman Convicted of Kissing Painting

AVIGNON, France (AP) — A woman who left a lipstick kiss on an all-white painting by the American artist Cy Twombly was convicted Friday of "voluntarily damaging a work of art" and ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

The court in Avignon, southern France, also ordered Rindy Sam, a 30-year-old artist of Cambodian origin who lives in France, to pay damages. She must hand over $1,465 to the painting's owner, $730 to the Avignon gallery that showed it and $1.50 to the painter.

The owner, Yvon Lambert, had asked for more than $2.9 million in damages, which included the value of the painting and the $47,000 restoration cost.

During the trial, Sam argued that she had committed an "act of love" — not vandalism. "I didn't think," she said last month. "When I kissed it, I thought the artist would have understood."

Sam was taken into custody after she kissed the painting at an exhibit in Avignon on July 19.

Twombly is known for abstract paintings, some of which use repetitive lines, graffiti, letters and words. Born in Lexington, Va., in 1928, Twombly has lived in Italy for nearly a half-century. He won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2001.