Hieronymus Bosch: The Garden of Earthly Delights, brought to life

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I happened upon this video for the band “Odonis Odonis” which takes Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece “The Garden of Earthly Delights” and brings it to life via animation. I can’t find specific information on who did the animation, but the video was directed by Lee Stringle for Odonis Odonis, an industrial punk combo out of Toronto.

It’s pretty cool to see a painting that previously only existed in a static, two dimensional format suddenly come to life via this animation:

Cats at the art fairs

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?", Kitsch Art, Sculpture

I’m still sorting through pictures from going to a number of the art fairs two weeks ago, and noticed two artists making work with the theme of cats. The first, which you can see below, is a piece featuring three white cats on a pedestal by Alix Pearlstein. The title of this piece is “Cat Object-1 (adrift), Three white supremacist cats set adrift on a new iceberg in a warming ocean … a fragment from Larsen C …somewhere near Antarctica,” 2017. It’s not just a long title, it’s political commentary. But I’m not sure I understand the use of cats to make this political statement … it’s like an internet cat meme come to life as a sculpture.

Alix Pearlstein Cats Adrift

The next artist working with cat imagery is Ryosuke Kumakura, whose t-shirt paintings we saw the other day. I would guess that the placement of these paintings on top of the piles of stacked papers and canvas stretchers is part of the work, but the meaning is not clear, just like the meaning of the t-shirts were not clear. But there’s something about the little black cat painting that I like, the sentimental style of this cute little kitten with a focus on its eyes and white patch of fur on its chest brings to mind something like a feline-only Margaret Keane painting.

cat paintings at NADA art fair by Ryosuke Kamakura

Radamés “Juni” Figueroa and his Clemente jersey

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Sports, Art Fairs, Artist Spotlight

I saw a series of paintings on cut-out wood shapes by Radamés “Juni” Figueroa at the NADA Art Fair a couple weeks ago, and there’s something about their bold simplicity that still appeals to me. As you can see from the first picture below, he has a range of subjects, from a New York baseball hat, prescription drug bottle, a cigaratte, a guitar, and a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey. Scroll down for more …

paintings by Radames Juni Figueroa at NADA 2017

I especially liked the Pirates jersey, and the way the spot light created a dark halo around it. The “halo” effect gives the effect of a somber tribute, which seems appropriate since this represents the jersey of Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. I don’t know if the lighting was done this way on purpose, but it works for me. As I looked for pictures of Clemente, I noticed that most of them showed him wearing a sleeveless version of the jersey, which I think was more-common in the late 1960s before the short-sleeved jerseys became common in the 1970s (baseball fans, feel free to correct me here if I’m wrong).

I like this painting even more since it’s just the jersey, and not a full portrait of Roberto Clemente … it allows the viewer to mentally fill-in the rest. At any rate, you can see more of Radamés “Juni” Figueroa’s work at his gallery’s website here.

Robert Clemente and a painting of his jersey

A darker Gauguin: art by Alan Prazniak

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Artist Spotlight, Finding visual references, Making an art history comparison

I saw some paintings by Alan Prazniak at the NADA Art Fair, and there was something about this one in particular that felt like a darker, people-less Gauguin … I think a big part of the Gauguin feeling is that the texture of the canvas (or is it burlap, as Gauguin sometimes used?) comes through the paint, so the painting has a strong tactile presence.

painting by Alan Prazniak

Since I’m making the comparison to Paul Gauguin, I should show you a few Gauguin landscapes, so you can make your own judgement. Below left is “Tahitian Landscape,” 1891, and below right is “Landscape from Tahiti (Apatarao),” 1893.

landscape paintings by Paul Gauguin

I can’t find the title for Prazniak’s painting, but you can see more of his work here. As you will see at that link, not all of his paintings are dark, and not all of them look or feel like Gauguin … it was primarily my reaction to this one painting above … but I do like the work and would like to learn more about this artist. I find it a little surprising, though, that the artist’s website doesn’t give any information about the artist – no bio, no explanation of the work, no mention of gallery representation … but it is a beautiful collection of paintings.

Folded t-shirts on the wall: Ryosuke Kumakura

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight, Optical Illusions

I saw this pair of folded t-shirts at the NADA Art Fair about 10 days ago … they’re oil on canvas paintings by Ryosuke Kumakura, on display at the booth of Patron Gallery from Chicago. Kumakura was born in Japan, but currently lives and works in Brooklyn. I’m trying to find out what the significance of the t-shirts are … he’s also made paintings of socks and handkerchiefs, among other things, but I can’t find any write-up on either his site or his gallery’s site as to why these materials are his subject matter. Maybe it’s autobiographical, a diary of his possessions and surroundings? I don’t know … seems hard to believe that I can’t find any analytical writing about his work online, but I can’t. If you know anything about his work and would like to share, please do so in the comments below.

oil on canvas paintings by Ryosuke Kumakura

Snow day: feels like an Olivo Barbieri photograph

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It’s a massive snowstorm that’s taking over the northeast coast today, we’ve got at least 6″ of snow already at 9:30am, with a projection of another 12-15″ of snow coming … and it occurred to me that the Italian artist and photographer Olivo Barbieri’s series of photographs from the Alps seems like a good analogy as to how it feels around here today. If you are also caught in the midst of this massive snowstorm, rather than climb a big mountain of snow like these people below, why not just stay in and stay warm with some arts games? Or print out some games for the kids?

Pictured below is “Alps, Geographies and People #18,” 2012, by Olivo Barbieri. For more on this artist, check out his website here.

Photograph from the Alps series by Olivo Barbieri

Yayoi Kusama-inspired sneakers?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art and Fashion, Found art, Photo of the day, Products we'd like to see

When I was at the Independent Art Fair last weekend, I saw a guy wearing bright red pants and these colorful dot-covered sneakers (top left, bottom right). I asked him if I could take a picture, and not only did he say yes with a grin, but he did a little “modeling” for me by lifting his heal to show me the bottom of the shoes.

It certainly seems appropriate to wear sneakers like this when attending an art fair, especially if there are works by Yayoi Kusama on display … while I did see some of Kusama’s work at the various art fairs, these two pictures are just found photos of the artist so that you can see my visual association between the sneakers and her work. I’d love to know if the sneaker manufacturer is also familiar with Yayoi Kusama’s work?

Editor’s note: while I’m not aware of Kusama being involved in the design of any sneakers, she did once paint a piano, which you can see here.

sneakers that remind me of art work by Yayoi Kusama

Tim Okamura’s Rosie the Riveter

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Artist Spotlight, Finding visual references, Historical Figures in Art, Making an art history comparison

I saw this painting by Tim Okamura at the VOLTA Art Fair, below left. It’s titled “Rosie,” and it’s an obvious reference to the J. Howard Miller poster of “Rosie the Riveter” (below right) which was commissioned by the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee in 1942.

Okamura is a Canadian-born artist who has lived in New York City for the past 25+ years. He combines a realistic approach to the figure with a blend of collage, spray paint and mixed media in the background, meant to reflect his urban environment. He has been quoted as saying, “a large number of my subjects have been friends, neighbors, and acquaintances in Brooklyn, either born and raised or transplanted, but all with one thing in common: a compelling story.”

For more on Tim Okamura and his art, please check out his website here.

contemporary take on Rosie the Riveter by Tim Okamura

Young artist making her mark at the 2017 VOLTA Art Fair

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Found art, Photo of the day

As I was wandering around the VOLTA Art Fair this past Sunday, I happened upon one art gallery booth where I saw a young girl of maybe 7 or 8 years of age taping a drawing on the wall between two art works, as you can see below (with a larger detail of the girl’s drawing, inset).

I assumed she was the daughter of the art dealer whose booth we were in, as she was going about her business with no one working there paying her much mind. I couldn’t resist asking her if her art work was for sale, and she said yes, and that she was asking $1 for it. If you look closely, she worked the price into the title (with a few mispellings thrown in). She’s got a backwards number one, followed by “$,” followed by “so many ameogos” – which I assume is her attempt to spell “amigos,” since it was indeed very crowded at the art fair that day.

child art at the VOLTA Art Fair

Fine art and cartoon chickens

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art Fairs, Art That Makes You Go "Huh?"

I was exploring the Armory Show this past weekend, when I saw this piece (below left), titled “Chicken Rotation,” 2016, by Swiss-born artist Urs Fischer. Right away it had an air of familiarity, even though I had never seen the art work before … why? Because I recognized the two top chickens from a Google image search for “cartoon chicken,” the results of which are shown below right. If you’re wondering why I was ever searching for cartoon chickens, it’s because I was trying to find an image to match the look of a church in Madeira Beach, Florida.

I’m not sure which is more absurd, churches that look like chickens or someone making art from cartoon chicken Google search results that is available for sale as a limited edition from an art museum. Don’t get me wrong – I do like some of Urs Fischer’s work, such as his monumental Julian Schnabel candle which melted away at the Whitney Museum, I just think that describing this chicken piece as “an alchemy of correspondences and juxtapositions that evoke the passing of time with a uniquely macabre sensibility” is a bit over the top.

cartoon chicken art by Urs Fischer