2013 was an interesting year for me. I made many life changes and forged on with invisible gallery. Accepting a job at a gallery, Ruiz-Healy Art, for half of the year, I have spent my time primarily fluctuating between working on RHA or invisible. It has been a fascinating experience, learning from a commercial gallery many lessons I can apply to my artist run gallery. While my schedule was a little more stable, I have tried to continue travelling as much as time and my finances would allow. It felt like my travel had decreased dramatically, but after trying to recall my trips writing now, it seems I still traveled frequently. While that also seems to be repeatedly to the same locations, I had a unique trip every time. Since I mainly plan my travel around exhibits, art fairs, and temporary installations, it is easy for a fresh experience.
Places I traveled to see art in 2013:
Houston: Picasso Black and White at MFAH in March, James Turrell at the MFAH in July, Houston Fine Art Fair in September, and the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in October, Luc Tuymans’ Nice. at the Menil , and Houston Artcrawl Studio Tours in November
Ann Arbor, MI: UMMA (University of Michigan Museum of Art) in June
This year was primarily spent travelling around Texas, Houston being where I traveled the most. While most of my travel this year has been much closer to home, the art I experienced was fantastic. Not leaving the country this year did not lower the quality of art I saw. The diversity in what I went to see was pretty extreme. This year included many large scale installation and pieces from the James Turrell Retrospective and the permanent installation of Dan Flavin, Cindy Sherman’s huge photography, Louise Bourgeois and her large spider sculpture…the list goes on. While none of these pieces were created this year, size seems to be the theme in what was being exhibited, either touring or displayed from a permanent collection. Working on a large scale with my sculptures as well, it is always interesting to see art that influences your work. I will always expose myself to as many different medias of art as is available to me. Inspirations and ideas should come from all sources. I am also interested in learning about themes or ideas that are different than my own, including the use of materials. Art is a thought intensive process that I appreciate and enjoy experiencing greatly. I am very fortunate that I have many friends that support this and often are the reason I can travel as much as I do.
The top 5 posts read this year:
- 1 Seeking Refuge: Twombly, Flavin, and Picasso
- 2 Cindy Sherman at MOMA
- 3 Banksy hits NYC by Jonathon A. Sims
- 4 Cindy Sherman Comes to Texas
- 5 Heading to the Big Easy: New Orleans
My 2nd year documenting my art experiences has continued to remind me of all the wonderful and exciting things that are waiting to be explored. By continually exposing myself to new thoughts and ideas is how I keep growing. As I open myself up to new experiences, I find many new opportunities arise. At the end of this year I find myself in a much different place. I am (currently) more stable, slowly pulling invisible together in a more secure direction, while trying to continue making my own art. Personally, I have also been going through a divorce this year, another major change in my life. Art has affected my life in various ways and I feel fortunate to feel so passionately about something. My life takes a lot of planning and patience, as well as unpredictability and chance. It’s a slightly crazy balance I don’t think everyone can handle, although I know plenty of people who happily do. It is very difficult to juggle everything, but I feel a little lost when I don’t have several project going on. Sometimes I wonder if I have a short attention span or just really that many ideas. Although finishing several major projects to completion every year, I will go with I have that many ideas. As I visual person, I work best with constantly new imagery to stimulate me. As an artist that likes to discuss ideas of repetition and multiplicity, I notice people patterns everyday. New environments are just as exciting to me as new ideas. This was another unpredictable year. Only so much can be planned, the rest I figure out as I go along.
With the new year ahead of me, or maybe I just got the itch to travel, I planned an impromptu trip to New Orleans. I was planning a regular trip to Houston to visit a friend, when I decided to go to New Orleans for a relaxing time. There is also the New Orleans Museum of Art, which I have never visited before. So I rented an apartment, headed to Houston for free on the Megabus (there is a promotion for free travel if seats are available, through Feb 29! Promo code: TRYMEGABUS), where a friend picked us up, and we drove about five more hours, into New Orleans. Although, quickly, some (fun) work is added. On the way there, I get an email confirming Antonio Diaz from Austin is still in Seven Minutes in Heaven II. It has been a while since I invited him, so I am glad he will still be joining the group. I found his prints insinuating and erotic, a perfect fit for SMIH II. I also get a text from the Southwest School Gallery Shop, my now former job. I have been on the list to purchase some of the display pedestals. Everything from the store is for sale, since it closed. Of course, I would be out of town, and unable to go in and pick them out now. Lucky for me, I already know what’s there and what I want. Making some quick decisions, I make some purchases through text, calling after we arrived to pay by credit card. Since Vanessa Centeno, one of the Seven Minutes in Heaven II artists, is living there, working on her MFA at the University of New Orleans, I set up a little more work, meeting her at a local spot. It is great to see her, it has been since last April, when I originally invited her. Already known in San Antonio for her paintings, she presented her idea for video for SMIH II, which I am excited about. My curating style of working with solid, intelligent artists makes it easier to encourage experimentation. I want to work with artists pushing limits and that often involves unpredictable results. A lot of risk taking is involved in making and exhibiting provocative, thought-provoking art. Unfortunately, the weather was anything but ideal. It was chillier than we would prefer and it is foggy as hell. Standing at the water, you can only see about a hundred feet into the Mighty Mississippi. That was a little disappointing. However, everything else was absolutely fabulous! Our two bedroom apartment was cute and walking distance to everything. There was plenty of amazing art, beautiful cemeteries, fantastic buildings, great food, and definitely interesting people! NOLA never disappoints! Visiting the New Orleans Museum of Art is high priority for me. The building that it is located in is beautiful. My friend, Katherine Marquette, worked here prior to moving to San Antonio. How amazing would that be to come here every morning? Is that too much to ask, to work in a historical building surrounded by world-class art? Sigh. That is
the goal one day. They had an amazing exhibition up, “Lifelike,” that I really enjoyed. The exhibit focused on contemporary realism, comprised of objects that were distorted by their scale. Spanning from the 1960’s to the present, the work discussed various ideas from over fifty artists. Unfortunately, there were no photos allowed and the gift shop was currently sold out of the catalog right then, but said I could buy a copy on Amazon. I will have to do that. Their permanent contemporary collection was also impressive, including Yves Kline, John Chamberlain, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, John McCracken, Basquiat, and Warhol. These artists are always incredibly inspiring to me, I have previously posted about most of them already. Mitchell is an artist I wish I had an opportunity to see more of in person. Her bold, gestural work is beautiful to look at up close. I think this may only be the third piece I have had the pleasure of viewing. I was fortunate to see Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series in Fort Worth last year. The layered, worked over, and revealing subtractions are what I find the most interesting about his work. John McCracken always reminds me of a contemporary art class I took in college. One student looked at photos just like this one and kept asking “what color is it?”, because of the light reflecting on it. Even this photo shows light and dark gradations due to the lighting. Isn’t that the point of using such a highly reflective surface? I’m so glad to be out of school. But I guess I do have some affection towards McCracken, I did also post a photo of his beautiful red piece at SAMA. The slick, polished Minimalist planks are perfectly crafted, made using industrial materials. I enjoy the simplistic expression of Minimalism. I could never explain anything that basic, my layered work relates to what a complicated person I am. As with Donald Judd, I am particularly attracted to the simplicity of the presentation, perfect aesthetics, and exploration of space. The space these pieces occupy interests me because they simultaneously engage two spaces, placed on the floor like a sculpture, but also positioned on the wall, a place normally reserved for paintings. This is characteristic of this particular series, his other work is comprised of free-standing pieces. A surprise for me was the largest collection of Joseph Cornell I have been able to view together. Considered a pioneer of assemblage, Cornell’s pieces interest me because he has assembled objects once considered precious, often still recognizable, invoking feelings of nostalgia, while at the same time, their original beauty, and sometimes use, has been lost. The raw, real, everyday objects discuss collecting and time, while creating enigmatic narratives. The format of assemblage put together in boxes is also very inviting. I want to further investigate these collections of things. His work extends also into collages, which I consider 2-D assemblages, or assemblages as 3-D collages, connecting by creating new thoughts out of existing remnants. They are fun to view, placed in a room on their own. Since Marfa, I appreciate a little more when a larger collection of an artist is kept in context of their own work to contemplate together.
The most fantastic discovery of all was the Sculpture Garden. I finally got to see one of Louise Bourgeois’s “Small” Spiders. There are quite a few of them displayed throughout the world. While a small one, it stands above me as I walked in and out of her long, elegant legs. I have seen many of her pieces, however, this is the first outdoor, large-scale piece I have seen. She is represented in most collections, considered an important artist, discussing fears, anxiety, confusion, and sexual desires in her works. Of course, it is always exciting to see Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Their massive sculptures of common, everyday objects are elevated by being increased to a monumental scale. At 21’, Safety Pin towers over the park, demanding your attention, one of my favorite characteristics of Pop Art. It’s always fun to see their pieces, I love their Horseshoe in Marfa. It is not clear in the photo, but the Ladder piece by Leandro Erlich is not held up by anything in the back. It is amazing to look at. There are so many pieces I could discuss. This fantastic Sculpture Garden was so fun to explore. There were many other great sculptures, including pieces by Rene Margritte and Fernando Botero. Nearby the museum, we randomly find St. Louis Cemetary #3. New Orleans cemeteries are beautiful. There are graves, as well as places where ashes of families are together that range from boxes to buildings. French influenced, many of the above ground structures remind me of the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. There are still many differences that make it unique to NOLA, which is what I want to capture. When I go to cemeteries in different regions or a different country, I am searching for how that culture celebrates death and those who have passed. Marble, sculptures of Saints and Angels adorn many sites. It doesn’t take long to discover some rituals that you would only find in New Orleans. One site has Mardi Gras beads strewn around. I bet during Mardi Gras the grave sites will be covered with them. That would make some nice photos. Another has simply a bottle of oil, something I have never seen before, and I wonder if it has something to do with Voodoo. One site has a jar of some kind of food. It looks odd, and may be aged, rotting food left a while ago, or something else possibly related to Voodoo. I am excited to find new customs that I have not seen before.
At this point, I have been working on this large cemetery photo project for about twelve years, possibly towards an exhibit or book or, hopefully, both. My fascination with cemeteries has been since I was in high school. It’s interesting to think how something cultivates and captures your attention for that long. I have always found them beautiful. When I was in Munich a few years ago, there was an exhibit on Hermann Obrist at the Neue Pinakothek. An accomplished Art Nouveau sculptor and designer in Germany, this exhibition focused on his sculptures and “funerary monuments.” Unaware of who Obrist was, running into that show was purely coincidental. I squeezed in the Modern and Contemporary Art by myself on a day off. It was nice to see I wasn’t the only one who appreciates the beauty that lies inside the cemetery gates.
This was a quick few days during the week, but that didn’t stop it from being a fun, inspiring, and productive trip. It’s been about ten years since I was here last and it was just as fun as I remember. There is definitely still a lot to explore – gallery spaces, plenty more cemeteries, architecture, and the vibe that the entire city gives off. I will definitely be back.
Last year was crazy, unpredictable, and exciting! All that without a full plan. Well, that’s not entirely true. I work pretty hard at what I do, whatever that is, put myself out there , and accept most opportunities that I’m lucky enough to have come my way. A new year to me means new opportunities and adventures. I do not return to the same boring desk job after Christmas. I get to plan my year out however I would like. I am very lucky.
With that in mind, how do I begin to plan for the new year? Some things are already on my calendar, such as Seven Minutes in Heaven (SMIH) 2013, which will be March 2, 2013, my first CAM studio tour on March 24, 2013, and the show I am curating at Alex Rubio’s gallery, R Gallery, of my five artists July 13, 2013. That’s a lot to be excited about already, but doesn’t take up nearly enough of my calendar. That means work to do and new opportunities to find.
Beginning January 1, Megabus put up travel through April, so travel is my next stage of planning. My husband and I are heading to New Orleans in a week with friend, although we will be driving there. Then I head to Dallas before the month is over for a music show with a friend. Both trips include meetings with artists in SMIH and visits to the Museums of Art. Technically “pleasure” trips, work and art are, as usual, always included. I know I will be in Austin for a music show in March, a few days after SMIH. I know the West Austin Studio Tours are in April this year, and last year was so much fun, I won’t be missing that! In May I will be heading back to Dallas for the Cindy Sherman exhibit. That will be such an exciting trip! I spent several hours in the exhibit at MOMA last March and look forward to doing that again.
I will also be in Detroit visiting someone very dear to me, I think in the beginning of June, but I will be flying there. However, it would be really easy to hop on the Megabus to Chicago. I have visited both cities before, although not in quite a while. I was lucky enough to see Throbbing Gristle perform in Chicago a few years ago. That was a pretty legendary show I was lucky enough to attend. Detroit has some great art to visit such as the DIA, Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art, and cool galleries like CPOP. In Chicago, there is the Art Institute, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit my friend, artist, Grayson Bagwell, currently attending Grad School at Columbia. He is in SMIH this year. I keep dragging him back to San Antonio to exhibit. And I keep visiting him. He used to live in Brooklyn, so of course I would pop up there. When he attended Pratt he was fantastic enough to take me on a tour and to the Grad office. It is the school with my dream program, a dual masters program in Art History and Information Sciences (Library Sciences). They offer a summer program to study in Venice and do internships with the Met. Their main campus is in Brooklyn, but their Art History campus is on Manhattan. It would be perfect since my husband is also interested in attending Grad School in New York, at the New School. He is an experimental writer looking for an untraditional program. Although with his high GPA and great references, I’m pretty sure he could get in anywhere. It’s me I’m a little worried about. My GPA is slightly lower due to not dropping a one class in time. Really. That killed my GPA for a few semesters. I am now just thrown in the average pool. Which is why I am hustling everyday, trying to build my resume and get my name out there so I stand out when I do apply. I need scholarship money to live in New York. Oh yes, please let me learn all about curating in New York!
And what about “work?” I mean, I am always working, always glued to my phone or laptop, always attending art exhibits and meeting people. What I really mean is paying work. Regularly. Money is a funny thing. I swear I don’t live by it, but it sure does make my plans come together much more smoothly. As of now, I don’t have anything scheduled until February. January is always the slowest month for me work wise. Everyone has already taken their vacations during December and won’t take time again until the summer. It’s a little tough financially, but I always have a lot to do. Last year I learned I better focus on SMIH or it definitely catches up with me all at once. Not to mention I need to organize my life again. Spring cleaning is serious business to me, after the whirlwind of my first open studio, the holidays, art events, and parties, I am completely disorganized. My house and studio are normally a wreck. So is my brain. I will set up my calendar and travel, begin to work on my house so it no longer looks like a war zone, clean my studio, go back to yoga to relax my mind, oh, and breathe. I have to be able to clear through some of these things before I can focus on my art again.
Being self employed is not for everyone. You have to be a go-with-the-flow kind of person, which I am only sometimes, and have lots of confidence, which I do most of the time. Inviting people you’ve never met before to work with you at a place/event they have never heard of (mainly out of town artists), you have to sound like you know what you’re doing, or they’re not interested. Sometimes they’re not interested even when they do know you and what your doing. Marketing to strangers. Yes, I have definitely built up this skill in the last year. Also fundraising. I could not possibly afford everything I want to do, so I do need help. I’m very fortunate to have people believe in me. I have produced a few events now, worked with quite a few artists, and have had a good track record by showing up and supporting many artists and art events. Believing I will make enough money by the end of the month to pay for my studio rent, my art supplies, and any art events/parties I am throwing. That is the most go-with-the-flow-part. Sometimes that gives me a huge headache, but again, I am learning to breathe and take it one day at a time.
I am excited to work on my art again. I have several big projects that I am working on and now have the space to begin to put them together. I have to be ready with my work for the studio tour in March. Both displaying my older work and really putting in some time on my newer projects. The studio tour is in about eleven weeks and I want to have something to show. I have been fortunate to receive so many opportunities when I have shown I am serious about curating. Who knows what will come up when I show I am interested in showing my art again. The last few shows I have been in were invitational group shows, but I will be ready this year to exhibit some of the major projects I have been working on.
So I begin to prepare for the new year. Whatever that means.
This year has been exceptionally crazy and ambitious for me! I began 2012 by starting to write this blog. Not too sure what I was doing, my purpose was to document my self employment endeavors, encouraged by a friend. Looking back, the things I did this year amaze me. Five years ago, two years ago, or even just this past year, I could not have predicted the directions in which my career has been expanding. It’s an incredible feeling and I love the unexpected opportunities that constantly come up and having the ability to accept them.
Places I traveled to see art in 2012:
- Fort Worth: Caravaggio and his followers in Rome at The Kimbell, Jan; Lucian Freud at The Modern, September
- Houston: Moody Gallery, CAMH, Jan; Ai Weiwei Zodiac Heads at Hermann Park, MFAH, CAMH, May; Houston Fine Art Fair, Silence at The Menil, September; Houston Artcrawl, November
- Berlin: Gerhard Richter Panorama at Neue Nationalgalerie, Hamburger Bahnhof (Museum of Contemporary Art), Berlinische Galerie, Judische Museum, March
- Budapest: Marina Abramovich Eight Lessons On Emptiness, March
- New York: Cindy Sherman Retrospective at MOMA; Georg Baselitz, David Lynch, David LaChapelle, & Frank Yamrus in Chelsea; March
- Austin: West Austin Studio Tours, May; Hybrid Forms, Austin Museum of Art (AMOA), East Austin Studio Tours, November;
- Marfa: Chinati Open House, October
I had a hard time listing them without going through my blog! That is the most travel I think I have ever completed in one year, ever in my entire life. But I hope it’s just the beginning. All of these trips have introduced me to new artists, new spaces, what is going on in the regional, national, and international art world, and best of all, amazing art. Ranging from major shows that have been written about to discovering many new wonderful artists that are local, I have spent the majority of this year seeing and absorbing as much art as possible. It has brought me much insight and inspiration.
However, I didn’t always have to travel out of town to see amazing art.
- Andy Warhol, Fame and Misfortune at The McNay in April
- Agosto Cuellar at Artpace in May
- San Antonio Collects at SAMA in June
- Governing Bodies at Gallery Nord in October
- Franc-tober Fest at Bismark Gallery in October
Those are just a few of the highlights and a tiny portion of art that I viewed this year. I attended, as well, the majority of First Thursdays/Fridays, Second Fridays, and Second Saturdays. I would say 8-10 out of 12 monthly events of each. Then there are the additional shows at the numerous artist run spaces in San Antonio, I seem to meet new people/artists on a weekly basis. At least my pile of business cards, that I swear I will organize soon, keeps growing. The exhibitions I am hired to work at have not even been included. This year, that primarily consisted of the Southwest School of Art.
The end of the year brought a lot of mixed feelings for me. With my only regular part time job disappearing, I started to feel depression sinking in. Rejection is always difficult, and I am facing the fact that I don’t have another job lined up. The way I know I felt depressed was because when I would start to discuss all my ongoing projects (as I learned in my online class – never answer with just ‘I’ve been so busy’, be specific), it always ended with “and I don’t get paid for any of that.” I can’t say why I decided to be so revealing, I think some of the stress was starting to unnerve me. Apparently, I needed to vent and I’m glad that I did. The responses were amazing, such as being told that I’m doing a fantastic job, I’m doing things that nobody else is doing, and if I can financially afford to keep going, then do it. Overall, I received a positive response and people telling me they admire what I’m doing. I will always be the first to admit that I fall apart sometimes. The stress can be overwhelming, always believing in what you are doing and feeling confident you are heading in the right direction is not always easy. The trick is to learn how to deal with it, because it will not be ignored.
But I would not trade any of this for anything in the world. While those moods set in occasionally, I know I am the girl in the car dancing and singing as I drive to work most mornings. I have also had a few personal career triumphs this year as well. Seven Minutes in Heaven was quite an accomplishment for my first huge public event, I couldn’t have been happier. Getting my own studio space outside of my house for the first time is something I have been dreaming about for quite awhile now. Biding my time and being patient really paid off – a 1000 sf studio space is pretty fantastic! Shortly after getting my space, I went to the East Austin Studio Tours and the Houston Artcrawl. I couldn’t help notice that I had a larger space to work in than 80% of the studios I visited. Of course, you don’t need to have a huge space to create great art, but it sure is nice to have it! So, do I have anything to complain about? Absolutely not!! The more I think about getting depressed about not making money, I laugh. Who am I kidding? I have been working on installation art pieces that are NFS (not for sale). I really haven’t spent too much time or effort job searching or applying, I have too many projects that I have created on my own to work on. I work on my own terms, and for 70% of the work year, I answer only to myself. I get told regularly that I could do portraits when people see the graphite drawing I did of myself as a student. Yes, I could make some money doing that, but it doesn’t interest me. I am a very lucky girl to have the support of my husband for all of my crazy dreams.
I have also realized I have an interesting audience for my blog. Every single day I have readers from around the world. Of course, the US has the most views, but the list of other countries that have viewed my blog is pretty large, 73 different countries, in fact, since I have begun publishing. I started writing my blog in January, but officially publishing it just 6 months ago in June. My most viewed blog entry this year was about Cindy Sherman in New York, followed by Kreuzberg, Berlin, Chelsea, New York, and Agosto Cuellar, San Antonio.
- 1 Cindy Sherman at MOMA March 2012
- 2 Kreuzberg, Berlin: Street Art March 2012
- 3 Exploring Chelsea – Do Bigger Names Mean Better Art? March 2012
- 4 Artpace – Agosto Cuellar taking over May 2012
- 5 Seduction & Private Moments July 2012
Concluding my first year of trying to document, well, at least, something about what I do, has been quite interesting. Many things get easily forgotten when trying to write a self employed resume. Am I any closer to creating a good, representational resume? Probably not. But do I have a better grasp on what I am doing and getting better at setting my future goals? Absolutely! I still have no idea where I will end up, and that is half of the excitement. If life where all planned out for you, what would be the point of living it? I will enjoy where the ride leads me, trying to take in all I can. This year has lead me on some great adventures. I just try to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me that fit and so far, that has led me to a pretty happy life. The main lessons I have learned this year are planning ahead and just going for it. My instincts have led me to an interesting place that I know I have just begun to explore. I am so excited for the upcoming year!
The last few days had cool weather, perfect to stroll through the galleries in Chelsea. I always love Chelsea, the original art area of New York. Even though it is very different now (try unaffordable for artists), there is still something special about this area. It’s still a dream of most artists to show here. If you have never been here, it may be accurate to describe this area as gallery stacked upon gallery. Huge warehouses and office buildings are clustered together, each housing normally several galleries. As I walk into gallery after gallery without ever being acknowledged, I remind myself, You’re in New York. The pretension makes me laugh. There were some big names showing in the galleries this month. I decided to see what they had to offer and to see if they were worth the price I know these galleries paid to have them there. Of course, not out right payment, but after promotions, catalog printing, shipping, huge opening reception, flying in the artist, etc. It adds up very quickly.
David Lynch had a show at the Tilton Gallery. His work was as crazy and deranged as I was hoping. The desolation seeped off the walls of the posh gallery space. With phrases such as I don’t love you and
everything is fucking broke, there was no perfect art here. Most pieces were made on cardboard using charcoal, found objects, and other unidentifiable mediums to create the grotesque figures that reside in Lynch’s head. I have been a huge David Lynch fan since watching the Twin Peaks series and immersing myself in his films. The dissension he draws you into is like walking into an unknown dark alley. You will meet seedy people, get into a complicated situation, and before you know it, you’re in deep. The show had just opened the previous week.
David LaChapelle also had a show up of his large scale still life photography at Fred Torres Collaborative. Known for creating over the top celebrity fantasy worlds, these
pieces were much more subdued, although still had his characteristic absurdity imbedded in each photo. The still life began with a traditional flower motif, but quickly updates the idea of what should be documented. His color palate starts with the flowers and extended into the modern items placed in the composition. Mylar balloons, a child’s toy, the uneaten half of fruit, candles, a burning American flag, plastic items, lots of plastic…and this is all in one photo. In fact, so many plastic items were used, I questioned if it was a direct commentary or just pure coincidence, a documentation of real life, as no items were completely unknown or unusual. I am immediately drawn to the suffocating bouquet, wrapped in plastic, surrounded by medicine bottles, plastic tubing and other familiar, yet out of place objects.
I was very excited to hear that Georg Baselitz had work up at the Gagosian Gallery (number one). He is a German painter considered a pioneer of Neo-Expressionism. I have only seen large exhibits of his work in Germany, never in the US.
The scale of his work was so immense! The main image on most of his pieces are people, but what the eye immediately recognizes is just the surface of Baselitzs work. His paintings confront what is reality through rough, expressionistic depictions. The emotion and chaos take over, ruling the twelve foot canvases.
The show at the (second) Gagosian Gallery was Roy Lichtenstein. They were exhibiting the Chinese Landscape series he did apparently the year before he died. While the pieces are done in Lichtenstein’s stylistic benday printing dots, the subject has changed from moments of biting wit to serene landscapes. This was the only photo I was able to take before I was told no photos were allowed. I felt this was a little silly – you can take pictures at one Gagosian location, but not the other? But working in galleries, I’m sure it had to do with artist stipulations or who lent the work, etc. I know how this works.
There was a lot of interesting art spread out in the galleries. How did the big name artists compare? David LaChapelle and Roy Lichtenstein both displayed worked that differs from their normal repertoire and I found this exciting to look at, not to see the same work over and over, just in different colors. David Lynch, well, his work was exactly as I had expected yet still there was never a dull moment. The creepy world of Lynch will always intrigue me. Georg Baselitzs work was done in his traditional style, yet the scale is what was captivating to me. Anything smaller would have undermined what he was trying to do. While I made a point to see these shows, by no means would I ever pretend to like the art because someone famous made it. There was not one of these shows where I loved every piece, but it was definitely an interesting day.
Although just coming off a long trip, I could not pass an opportunity to stop in New York City to see amazing art. The Cindy Sherman Retrospective at MOMA was my main goal and first stop. It was amazing. Her body of work is very extensive. Each room led you through a new series that explored a different set of characters, discussing different ideas. There was a great audio guide that included interviews with Sherman as well as the Curator of the show. Displayed chronologically, Sherman’s work began as smaller pieces, all done on film. As she trades this in for a digital format, her works increases in size. Her last series of Society Portraits were larger than lifesize. I have admired her work for a while, enjoying how Sherman is a chameleon of disguise.
I did not know that ARTFORUM had commissioned work from Sherman, but decided against printing the Centerfold series. Shot in a typical centerfold magazine size and fashion, all of the women are shot from above, revealing vulnerability. Apparently the editor felt the women had just gotten raped, to which Sherman responded that all of her pieces are Untitled because she does not label them in any category.
Yet, French Vogue had no problem printing her series for them of over done, over partied satirical models in couture clothing. I love the French attitude! She also did another designer shoot for Pop Magazine. Here she is stiff and uncomfortable, playing a slave to fashion in Chanel.
She has the talent to create female characters that are women you can identify with and yet so over the top, you know you have never seen a woman like that before. It feels awkward using the word “character” because these women all exist on their own. I never once moved onto the next piece and thought “Here’s Cindy Sherman, now in a mullet.”
Entering the Historical Portrait room, I am immediately struck by the image of Cindy Sherman as Caravaggio’s Sick Bacchus. It is interesting that just a few months earlier I was viewing the original in Fort Worth. I already know that this is a self portrait of Caravaggio as Bacchus, the Roman name for the Greek God Dionysus, the god of wine, drunkenness, and ritual madness. This is a portrait of Sherman as Caravaggio as Bacchus. Sherman is placing herself in the male role of a god as well as turning an oil painting into the current medium of photography.
Her series of portraits that all looked like they were done at Sears was fantastic! It is her attention to the tiny details that make each woman an individual.
The originality that Sherman puts forth is fresh and exciting to look at. As I continued through her immense show, every room left me wanting to know who she was going to become next. I spent several hours wandering through this exhibit as well as the rest of the amazing permanent collection until I was kicked out at closing.
All photos were taken by me, from the Cindy Sherman MOMA Catalog. Courtesy of J Maldonado.
Stenciling is an extremely popular method because it can be completed in seconds while having the time to design the image. With graffiti, time is always of the essence.
Papering on the walls is one the quickest methods that allows the most details, since the piece is ready in advance. The paper piece, glue, brush, and some darkness is all that is required for a rapid installation.
The wall murals were truly amazing! Several stories high, I can’t even begin to imagine how a piece that large is completed. I saw several pieces that have been included in graffiti books but found so many more than I had never seen referenced in pictures before. I love that I just kept stumbling upon these amazing, huge art works as I explored further into this hidden world. I wonder how many artists it took to create such a monumental piece and how long they spent making it. I’m assuming to complete a project that large they must have the cooperation of the building owner, or at least the residents.
These artists really earned my respect. While there were a few pieces done on store fronts, the majority of the graffiti pieces were done to spread their ideas and love of art. It is common knowledge most artists don’t receive any regular type of compensation for the creation of art and this stands even more so for the artists of the street. This brings up another issue, the anonymity
of the artist, typically hiding behind an alias. Yes, it is illegal in Berlin to vandalize public property. But obviously ignored in certain parts of the city, such as Kreuzberg. Some artists are recognized by their style without a tag. Though in the UK, Banksy comes to mind. He may be the most anonymous public figure, making a “documentary” that was nominated for an Academy Award, “Exit the Gift Shop”, where he blurred his face the entire time. However, there is also Good Ol’ Texas boy, Ron English, an important, preceding figure to Banksy. English differs greatly in the fact that it is very easy to find an image of his face just by googling his name. Yet both artists leave their tongue in cheek opinions in the public, for all to see, comment on, and sometimes add to or alter their art.
But none of these issues have put a cap on the expression that explodes from the neighborhood of Kreuzberg. Paint, paper, glue, stickers, doilies, fake fur…if you can make it stick or paint it, anything goes, anything becomes a canvas. This excursion was very inspirational to me. I am constantly trying to get fresh ideas and renew my thoughts on art. I left with a lot to think about, which directions I can take my art. My head is still trying to process everything I saw and experienced there. This will definitely be a regular stop for me anytime I am in Berlin from now on.