Christopher Wool at Guggenheim

Word pieces are among most recognizable and interesting works produced by the artist.  Other works are less interesting. Some recall New York subway graffiti mixed with Andy Warhol, but not much style here. Photographs empty and mostly ordinary and one may wonder why they included in show at all. I remember seeing Picasso and Spanish exhibitions in same building, the Wool exhibit looks dull and empty in comparison. Just too big building and just a few types of works multiplied. How great/different/varied was Picasso, true genius…

Richard Serra – New Sculpture – Gagosian Gallery

I was thinking should i put note on this one… Works is large, scary (You walk with a feeling of danger around, some sculptures look just not stable enough) form is primary but beautiful, material is complex – so why not to call this one of the best shows? The reason i won’t call it is simple – seen this before. Serra does not evolve he just turning sculpture after sculpture like BMW production plant – same models with few changes in design each year. Such production is dangerous for artist – it erases essence of art – unique sensual/intellectual experience. Maybe I’m wrong – could be, but artists should not turn into production machines feeding dealers with the material they could sell easily, no. Artists should not turn themselves into slaves of one style – it becomes not interesting to look at same thing every season, like to look at new winter every year – yes all winters are the same cold and snowy, but art is not the same experience every time it’s something new.

Ad Reinhardt – David Zwirner Gallery

While most New York critics probably praised dazzling and populist work by Yayoi Kusama exhibited in the same time at Zwirner there was no lines to see Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings.  There was Robert Storr signing copies of books as well. Not much interest. But i liked overall impression of the show.  Minimal, subtle, inspiring works. Always liked black paint, there is nothing like it, it is a queen of all paints. Contrary, Kusama’s canvases looked overpopulated by bright colors and decorative imagery, something that kindergarten children often would do. It’s not bad to have child in the room- but for me it was too much of it. No, really, i support serious art. What would Kusama look like next to El Greco? That someone lived 500 years earlier had more depth and style?

Raqib Shaw – Paradise Lost – at Pace Gallery

Ambitious exhibition by Kashmiri-born London Artist Raqib Shaw. Exhibition occupies 3 Pace venues. Works are mainly depictions of anthropomorphic beasts (inspired by Indian miniature and mythology) populating classical ruins. Raqib Shaw had numerous exhibitions worldwide and a quite commercially successful artist. While works definitely poised to impress viewer, there is something wrong  in that impression. There is way too much glitter on canvas. While compositions is full of small elements they create some sort of noise rather than notion of finished and well composed piece. But i was rather impressed by exhibit – Chelsea don’t often present something that tend to duplicate old masters achievements, and Raqib Shaw effort is at least worth looking.

Gagosian Gallery: The Show is Over

Gagosian Gallery, London showed “The Show is over”, its 4th exhibition on abstract art series on October 15 to November 30, 2013 at Britannia Street gallery. The previous shows were presented in 2005 (title: Imageless Icons: Abstract Thoughts), 2010 (title: Crash) and 2011 (title: Malevich and the American Legacy), where themes of contemporary art history was traced from the beginning of Modernism. The curator of the show is Mr. Mark Francis is a writer and director of Gagosian gallery. London.

The Show was arranged with 35 renowned modern and post modern artists of mid-twentieth century of several generations from Europe and America with their various styles and types of mentionable art-works. .

The show press release tried to focus on the historical background of “negation of painting” . This theme was emerged through the last painting of Francis Picabia (1879-1963), the notable French painter, poet and typographer , who was associated with abstract art, cubism, Dadaism and surrealism.

In support of negation of painting, more artworks and artists presented in the exhibition were :

Acrylic on canvas, titled Concetto Spaziale, attese ( Spatial concept, experimentation-1959) by Lucio Fontana (1899-1968), Argentine -Italian painter and sculptor ( best known as founder of Spatialism and related with Arte Povera),

Plaster work titled Achrome (1957-58), by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni (1933-1963),who has “ironic approach to avant-grade art “and “quest for neutral materiality in the Achrome”,

Untitled, paint and newspaper on primed cotton by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008)

Conceptual monochromatic artwork by Yves Klein (1928-1962), French artist and forerunner of minimal art and pop art,

Oil on canvas titled  Grey-1970 by Gerhard Richter(1932- ) German artist , famous for his painting in shades of grey and also known for his blurred paintings and making traditional art modern using technology and photography.

Paint stick on handmade paper titled Elevational weight, 2010 by Richard Serra (1938- ) American minimalist sculptor and video artist, known for large scale assembles of sheet metal.

Anarchic and “urban Punk movement “ and various experiments of late 20th century in painting was described as the “spirit of negation” and the paintings of Steven Parrino (1958-2005), Kim Gordon (1953- ), Ed Ruscha (1937-) were included as representative of that time and trend.

To represent the challenges to the limitation of painting in reality and imagination, and the new ways of negating pictures in painting were exhibited in the show . The included painters are : Wiilem De Kooning, Dan Colen, Jeff Elrod, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Mark Grotjahn, Wade Guyton, Gregor Hildebrandt, Neil Jenny, Mike Kelley, Roy Lichtenstein Nate Lowman, Brice Marden, Adam McEwen, Albrt Oehien, Sigmar Polke, Richard Prince, Robert Ryman, Frank Stella, Rudolf Stingel, Blair Thurman, Cy Twombly Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool, Richard wright.

The title of the exhibition “The Show is Over” was taken from the definition of ‘nihilism’ of Vasily Razanov in 19th century, and also stated in painting of Christopher Wool . The exhibition Press release says,” This is about abstraction and end of painting, often proposed but never concluded. Actually Life and death is a endless journey as well as art and painting. Long live painting.

Overall it looked like redeploying trash became inspiration for way too many artists. It is good when you see it once (Robert Raushenberg made great art out of trash), but boring and repetitive when you see it everywhere. Sometime trash is just trash. Yes painting is long dead for some people unable to produce good one. You could be either Tintoretto or Tiepolo and create something above human capabilities or be a nihilist selling well your philosophy, if venue allow.

And, maybe for Gagosian show is really over. He became old and seem to have lost his edge. Is he?

References :–october-15-2013

Matthew Day Jackson at Hauser & Wirth: “Something ancient, something new, something stolen, something blue”

Hauser & Wirth, New York recently (6 September to 19 October 2013) presented a ‘supersized show’ titled “Something ancient, something new, something stolen, something blue” major new works of multimedia artist Matthew Day Jackson in its Chelsea galleries of downtown venue at 115 West 18th street. In exhibition press release artist Matthew Day Jackson was called as “a modern American frontiersman”. Jackson works with several media such as sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, installation, digital photography, performance and video and “uses both traditional craft techniques and cutting edge computer mapping”. His signature themes encompass “space exploration and war machinery to advanced anatomy”. He explores “dark relationships between technology’s abstraction and the palpable effects of time.”

Extensive three galleries of Chelsea were well-arranged with the distinct and captivating

works of Jackson. The first thing was “Victa” — an installation viewed by visitors, suspended from nearly 10 ft. of the ceiling on a steel beam. It is a hand-made race car constructed by Jackson’s cousin Skip Nichols from the design of Jim Nichols, his recently died uncle. Exhibition press release described it as “a sort of physical thesis and a material expression of the exhibition’s title”.

Jackson’s 3 newly-built sculptures showcased in the exhibition were made from the digital photographs with Basaltic ash, magnesium chloride, polyurethane foam, epoxy and steel. The sculpture “Scholar’s Rock” is a duplicate form “Scholar’s Stone”. These stones were honored as “spirit stones” in ancient times and believed as the representation of impassable, desolate “paradise” — “Immortal” souls lived with white clouds on high peaks of mountains, the “dream destination” for mankind.

”Magnificent Desolation (2013)” is Jackson’s another major sculpture. It focused to the sculpture of Auguste Rodin’s landmark of 1889 “Les Bourgeois de Calais”. Here Jackson created a moonscape for the six heroes of Rodin as to save them from melting with the “heat of the sun”. The bronze-made sculpture reminds the historical heroism of burghers.

The sculpture “Pieta (2013)”, rebuild by Jackson inspired from Michelangelo’s Pieta of 15th century, a masterpiece of renaissance artist Michelangelo . It was made from the photograph of original Pieta with concrete, ceramic, brick, thunder eggs, glass and steel, It is called as “modern day fossil” in the exhibition press release. The sculpture symbolized Mother Mary with crucified body of Jesus Christ in her lap.

Five human figures displayed in tall five glass cases were Jackson’s painting of ‘Anatomical Man’ series. Human veins, nerves, muscles and body was sculpted and preserved separately in the glass cases. To make these sculptures Jackson uses Steel, aluminum, lead, copper, porcelain, metal halide fixture, silicone, pigment, fabric, wood, human hair, two way mirror etc.

In the half figurative half abstract paintings titled “Inside/outside”, “Inside/Outside(Quartered)”, “Reclining Nude” shows inner views of human body, created with scorched wood, yarn, twine, rope, wood glue, lead, silkscreen on panel, stainless steel frame etc. In “Study Collection X”,

displayed “human body and flesh with clothing and tree branches” created with Stainless steel, scorched fabric on plywood, bronze, plastic, wood, bamboo, silicone, pigment, cedar bark,

fiberglass, yarn, porcelain.

The “Looking at Yosemite Valley” made of scorched wood, yarn, twine, rope, wood glue, steel, stainless steel frame presented the glacial valley in Yosemite National Park.

“Trophy (2013)” is Jackson’s heads created with collaboration Swedish forensic scientist Oscar Nilsson. Stainless steel, silicone, pigment, human hair, steel, porcelain, glass, lead, copper are used to make Trophy.

“Far Side II” , “Nearside”, “Enshrouded Paris”, “August 6th 1945” are the new large-scale paintings of Jackson . “Enshrouded Paris” is aerial view of the city with deep blue color, constructed with Plastic, carbon fiber, IKB, steel, stainless steel frame. Aerial photograph of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 after atomic bombing painted in “August 6th 1945” with

Scorched wood and lead on panel, framed with stainless steel.

Other art objects are presented in the exhibition were “We, Us, Them”, “Hand to Mouth (after Neumann)”, “Alone in Relationship to the Absurd”, “House”, “Helmet -3”, and “Me, Dead at 39”, Many of the viewers, visitors or critic praised and many of them criticized the presented works. According to The New Yorker it is a “very big show of very bad art,” art critic Jerry Saltz said it it “dolefully atrocious,” and Hyper allergic saw it as “a confused medley of disconnected work.”

“Time Out” highly admired Jackson and his exhibition. They said, “A true Renaissance man, Matthew Day Jackson is a multidisciplinary artist who seems to have no limits. This is his most ambitious show to date, mixing technique and technology to mash up art, history, science and philosophy.”

However, this exhibition, despite grandeur,  showed lack of own imagination by Mr. Jackson. It recalled Chinese replica town based on same in Switzerland recently developed by Chinese. Masters, masters, we know them well. Michelangelo, Rodin, most memorable works in this show just a bleak replicas of them. Good luck with the sales Mr. Jackson, but keep in mind – place in art history reserved mostly for own unique creatures. And if stolen- stolen well.

7. day-jacksons-capture/

Jean Michel Basquiat

Jean Michel Basquiat was an American Artist. Jean was born on December 22, 1960 in Brooklyn, New York. Jean’s one of the main inspirations was his different cultural heritage. He has learned everything himself and became an artist. Jean started drawing at an early age by himself. He was a brighter child than his siblings in his family. Basquiat’s mother and his teacher had recognized his interest towards art and encouraged him. At the very young age itself he was able to speak, write and read English, Spanish and French.

Jean had enrolled in Brooklyn Museum of Art and got good exposure to various artistic disciplines and practiced at the early age himself. Basquiat has started his work with cartoon caricatures; he took the character from Alfred Hitchcock films. He frequently used to read all sorts of literature. Not only literature but history, mythology and poetry. His reading interest was varied as it included even medical text. Jean had an accident in 1968 and he broke his arm and had multiple injuries. The accident had much influence in Jean’s life later, in the name of his band and several of his works.


At the age of fifteen there was a tremendous change in the life of Basquiat. He was different from the other similar young artists of his age. Jean has five years long collaborated with Al Diaz, who was a friend and his fellow street artist. The two had begun graffiti spray painting together in Lower Manhattan named under SAMO. SAMO stands for “Same Old Shit”. Jean has created a character for his comic with SAMO. The SAMO character had made a fake religion. SAMO works had highly meaningful and the content often consists of short phrases.

SAMO was tagged and made public throughout the city. Poetic text and images were made political, horror and funny. There was a change in the work from walls of streets and the white walls of the gallery. Jean committed himself to publicity and art while Al Diaz was committed towards graffiti and anonymity. Jean started tagging painting and drawings on canvas and paper of his own. SAMO partnership ended in 1979. “SAMO is dead” was sprayed by Jean on the New York streets.

Jean has experienced a kind of name, fame and popularity at the very young age in the visual arts. Jean met “Glenn O’Brien” in New York who became very important for him in his downtown scene. Jean appeared in Glenn O’Brien’s “TV Party” show in 1979 later even in his film “New York Beat” and later re-named it to Downtown 81.

Jean started an art noise band called Gray with Shannon Dawson and other Michael Holman, Nick Taylor and Wayne Cliffort. They started performing in all important downtown clubs such as the Mudd club, Max’s Kansas City, Hurrah and CBGB’s. Later he was invited by Annina Nosei to her gallery in the heart of SoHo. There he got the studio. His first exhibition of imaginative work in a group show was in the gallery in 1981 and the following year he had his first solo exhibition gallery “Public Address”.

Jean Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol

Basquiat has met Andy Warhol in 1981 through a mutual friend. He started collaborating with his series of paintings with him. Olympic five-ringed symbol was created by Warhol which was opposed by Jean. 1984 Jean started using drugs which worried most his friends about his future. This habit has made Jean feel that he would become a fad artist very soon. He was much worried about his artwork would be stolen or taken by others. Later there was a rift in his friendship with people around him.

Basquiat was very fearful of the racial reality in America and there was no small amount of danger for him. Most of his feelings were presented in art work which was politically and socially charged. With the death of his close friend Warhol in 1988 Jean became worse. He painted “Gravestone”. He used drugs more frequently due to the problems he was facing both as an artist and personally. Jean Michel Basquiat passed away in New York in 1988. The cause of death was an overdose of drugs. Drugs have eaten a world famous artist. SAMO is dead forever.

Sources & Citations:

Piero Manzoni

Piero Manzoni was best known as an Italian artist. Born at Soncino in Italy in the year 1933, he started to paint at the age of seventeen. Piero enrolled himself at the Academia di Birera in Milan to study law but out of his interest he has switched to art and philosophy. Piero made portrait and traditional landscape paintings during his studies. In 1954 he was inspired by Fautrier, Burri and Fontana, he started experimenting with plaster, oils and enamel. In 1957 Manzoni and Fontana joined “Gruppo Nucleare” which was created to combat academic art of all kinds. He was much impressed by Yves Klein’s monochrome works. Piero started his first Achromes Canvases.


Manzoni did art work without colour but used primer and texture of plaster that is Achromes Canvases. This Achromes canvases work continued throughout his career. Piero used Achromes as it avoids the risk of repetitively. He experimented with various materials and pigments. Piero used to work with kaolin this is another form of white clay used in the production of porcelain. Later he created Achromes with fiber glass, bread rolls, white cotton wool and rabbit skin. Piero continuously went ahead in search of new ways and materials for his achromes. The Achromes series are filled up with phosphorescent colours and soaked in the cobalt chloride.

Gallery Azimuth:

Piero along with artist Enrico Castellani founded the Gallery Azimuth. Manzoni contributed to the Roman“Il Pensiero Nazional and the first issue of Azimuth Magazine which was published with Castellani. Air Bodies (Corpi d’aria) was the first show at Azimuth gallery. Azimuth second and last issue was published in January 1960. The show was along with Piero and Kilian Breier, Enrico Castgellani, Yves Klein, Almir Mavignier,Oskar Holweck, Heinz Mack. “Edible Sculptures” an exhibition organized by Manzoni in 1960, he signed the eggs with his thumbprint and giving them away to audience to eat. The eggs themselves were titled as Egg with thumbprint. This was the last exhibition at Azimuth for Piero after which the gallery was closed as the lease ran out.

Gruppo Nucleare:

In 1957 Piero and Lucio Fontana joined the Gruppo Nucleare. They published the manifesto for an organic paintings (Per una Pittura organic) and also against the style (contro lo Stile) of writings for Gruppo Nucleare Internazionale.

Manzoni uses new techniques and materials. His works has more and more changes. He created a group of work called lines of a variable length. The line contained in the sealed container with a label indicating the date and duration of making, with a black line printed on them, paper rolls with different length. The longest line Manzoni produced was 7,200 m sealed in a cylindrical zinc container.

Piero signed the living bodies and declared them as “Living Sculptures”. The most negative publicity got the work by Piero “Merde d’ artista(artists shit). He died in his studio on 6th February 1963 in Milan.


Richard Prince

Richard Prince is a painter and photographer. He was born in 1949 in Panama Canal Zone. He grew up in Massachusetts. Then he moved to New York in the year 1977. He worked for Time –life as a magazine clipping professional. Gradually he developed an interest in consumer imagery and advertising. He started creating his own works from various pop culture images that were taken from newspapers and magazines. Richard Prince was well known as the man of Appropriation Art. Richard Prince is also famous for his controversy around the issues of copyright in the world of art.

Richard Prince has worked on various themes and aspects in different media including drawing, sculpture, painting, film, video, installation, and photography. He is a well known writer of fiction and poetry. Prince became famous for his re-photography work that pulled out from other artists work. In late 1970 Appropriation art became popular. The concept of authorship and ownership was redefined by Prince. Using of appropriated imagery in his art – particularly mismatched jokes and humorous cartoons. Most of the work done by him was the text based elements.

Nurse Paintings:

Prince’s most famous works are his “Nurse paintings”. The inspiration for series came from the novel pulp romance. This novel covers and titles are sold at newspaper stands and delis. Prince has titled them for this series like Surfer Nurse, Millionaire Nurse, Dude Ranch Nurse and Naught Nurse. They received a mixed response from the public. Nurse paintings were used by The Sonic Youth album Sonic Nurse and which had a song known as “Dude Ranch Nurse”. To get the canvas he had transferred the book covers, changing the format or color or matching a nurse from one cover with the title from another was his strategy.


The major project of the Richard Prince is Cowboys. This has been re-photographed from Marlboro ads. This is a cigarette advertisement, “Marlboro Man”. The cowboy series is not about cowboys it about the popular culture. The cowboy series which was re-photographed was just Prince removed the picture of cigarette pack. This series has fetched Prince millions of dollars.


Prince has re – photographed the series known as “The Gangs”. In this series he has also used the same technique of appropriating images from magazines as of the Cowboys. He has shown niches in American society.

Joke Paintings:

Later Prince shifted his interest from images to text, in Jokes series.