Matthew Day Jackson, The Tomb, 2010
The Tomb, a large-scale work derived from the Tomb of Philippe Pot. Attributed to Antoine LeMoiturier, in the collection of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Tomb of Philippe Pot is considered one of the masterpieces of the Burgundian style of the late 15th century.
Jackson replaces the eight hooded monks who carry Pot’s effigy with astronauts that are rendered from scraps of wood and plastic. They are then compressed into a block and cut with a CNC (computer numerical control) process.
The astronauts shoulder a steel and glass box that holds a skeletal structure based upon Jackson’s own body. The hands and feet are cast from either Jackson’s own extremities or handles from tools. Other elements of the skeleton incorporate biomedical prototypes, various industrial materials, and found wood. Viewed through a one-way mirror, which allows the viewer to simultaneously see one’s own reflection and the effigy’s contents, Jackson’s skeleton provides both autobiographical reference and explores the interconnectivity of disparate forms and narratives.
The Tomb can also be seen as Jackson’s exploration of the
“Horriful”—his belief that everything one does has the potential to evoke both beauty and horror at the same time. For Jackson, the allusion to death is not a “Memento Mori,” but a claim to “Carpe Diem.”
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Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Christopher Burden On My Shoulders, 2012
Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Christopher Burden On My Shoulders, 20 January – 18 February 2012
Having graduated from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts last year, Høibo has made herself known for installations that rely on a layering of disparate elements and combining among others sculptures, framed works and textile works. While starting off studying the craft of tapestry weaving, her first solo exhibition aims at diffusing the distinction between that which is industrially, mechanically, or manually produced.
In 2002 the Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet was given the award for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in the movie
“Le fils”. Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne the film had Gourmet portraying a carpentry teacher in a training school for troubled teenagers. With the camera entirely in synch with his pace we would follow him around the workshop and with an equally extreme attention to details we would learn of the trade and manual labour of woodworking – the grain of timber, the density of various wood types, and the mundane, yet meticulous, work of cutting and carrying planks. The result was a sheer ordinariness where matter-of-factness turns materials into facts.
Høibo’s choice of objects, such as instant noodles, synthetic leather and IKEA shelving units, have in common that they fit the description of ‘inferior goods’. The term stems from consumer theory and refers to a good that decreases in demand when consumer income rises (as opposed to normal goods, for which the opposite is observed). Inferiority would here apply to an observable fact relating to affordability rather than a statement about the quality of the good.
“As a rule, these goods are affordable and adequately fulfill their purpose, but as more costly substitutes that offer more pleasure (or at least variety) become available, the use of the inferior goods diminishes”. These make-shift industrial materials objects serving during times of less, could not be at a further distance from the trade that Gourmet’s character is teaching in “Le Fils” or the trade that Høibo learnt herself. The textures and rhythms of manual labor, whether it be weaving and carpentry, are at once irreducibly physical and saturated with an almost spiritual significance. Contrasting in both method and matter are four framed fragments of tapestries.The work process allows Høibo a material and methodical research that in itself pushes towards permutation. Here, the four weaves are stripped down beyond structural foundation towards disintegration, willingly accepting the category of fragment. Juxtaposed with the bronze sculptures and synthetic leather monochromes they make an odd conversation about a renewed relevance of ‘arte povera’; not necessarily true to stylistic traits of the original movement but true to a time of actual poverty. If a term as ‘recessional aesthetics’ ever had a sense of purpose, there never was a more apt sculptural response than a cast of instant noodles.
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Jeff Koones, Metallic Venus, 2010-2012. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating and live flowering plants
Jeff Koons is reaching back into art history with his new series
“Antiquity,” exploring the goddess of love in huge glossy metallic sculptures such as the turquoise Metallic Venus.
The Painter and Sculptor was showing at two venues in Germany’s banking capital (20 June-23September 2012). Sculptures towering over ancient figures in Frankfurt’s Liebieghaus museum, where Koons’s work was interspersed among sculptures from antiquity to the 19th century.
Jeff Koons plays with ideas of taste, pleasure, celebrity, and commerce.
“I believe in advertisement and media completely,” he says. “My art and my personal life are based in it.” Working with seductive commercial materials (such as the high chromium stainless steel of his “Balloon Dog” sculptures or his vinyl “Inflatables”), shifts of scale, and an elaborate studio system involving many technicians, Koons turns banal objects into high art icons. His paintings and sculptures borrow widely from art-historical techniques and styles; although often seen as ironic or tongue-in-cheek, Koons insists his practice is earnest and optimistic. “I’ve always loved Surrealism and Dada and Pop, so I just follow my interests and focus on them,” he says. “When you do that, things become very metaphysical.” The “Banality” series that brought him fame in the 1980s included pseudo-Baroque sculptures of subjects like Michael Jackson with his pet ape, while his monumental topiaries, like the floral Puppy (1992), reference 17th-century French garden design.
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Go Figure, Curated by Eddie Martinez, 6 October – 13 November, 2011
Dodge Gallery, New York
“painting is dead” and within that figure painting is mummified. Since painting began, we have used the figure to let people after us know that we existed before them. This is clear when we look at cave paintings wherein the “painted” people and animals and other symbols represented life. Looking at where figurative painting is today, there is more room for creativity and imagination. Take for instance the approach of artists in this show from Erik Parker’s weirdo psychedelic melting faces to Jamison Brousseau’s take on the figure represented by R2D2 from Star Wars. Gina Beavers current approach to the figure looks like studies that would have been done by someone enrolled in the “art students league” in New York City in the 1950’s. Another interesting component of the work in this show are the materials used and the execution of the works. For example Allison Schulnik’s technique is to use paint sculpturally to create her figures. She lays on thick impastos, whereas Daniel Gordon uses photography and collage to manipulate the look and feel of his work, often leaving the figures disfigured and mangled. Denise Kupferschmidt’s drawings evoke a re-imagined historical feel with paired down, Egyptian-meets-sci-fi characters.
Joshua Abelow, Derek Aylward, Gina Beavers, Brian Belott, Katherine Bernhardt, Jamison Brosseau, Ted Gahl, Daniel Gordon, Joseph Hart, Denise Kupferschmidt, Jose Lerma, Erik Parker, Allison Schulnik, Michael Williams
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