Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Two Artists United by Devotion to Women

Wallace Berman
, "Untitled (Al Marilyn Monroe)," 1970

I was not familiar with Wallace Berman work but, after reading this article, seen some of his work and doing a little research, I will try to get my hands in some of his work. It has a raw 60's and 70's quality that a lot of new (sick of the word emerging) and contemporary photographers try to emulate.Please read article written by Randy Kennedy of the NY Times

Published: December 22, 2008

As artists’ biographies go, those of Wallace Berman and Richard Prince could hardly be more different. Berman, who died at 50 in 1976, the victim of a drunken driver, was a kind of Beat guru flying just below the radar, showing his work in only one conventional gallery exhibition during his lifetime and popping into rare view in strange places: a cameo in “Easy Rider”; the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” where his face is wedged next to Tony Curtis’s, just below Jung’s.

By contrast Mr. Prince, 59, labored in obscurity for years but not exactly by choice: he wanted a larger audience and found it. For more than two decades he has been one of the most influential contemporary artists, and his work — paintings, photography, car-centric sculpture — has sold for many millions of dollars, allowing him to create an impressive studio complex in Rensselaerville, N.Y., in Albany County.

But Berman’s eccentric, highly personal art and career has long fascinated Mr. Prince, who has painstakingly collected copies of his signature work, Semina, a kind of early California zine that Berman made with — and mailed only to — his friends, from 1955 to 1963. For Mr. Prince, a bibliophile with a special love for the Beat years, the fascination stems partly from Berman’s Zelig-like connections in those years: his circle included Allen Ginsberg, Dennis Hopper and Henry Miller. One of Berman’s collaborators was the artist known as Cameron, whose first husband, Jack Parsons, as Mr. Prince notes, was a friend of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

But these days Mr. Prince seems to be drawn to Berman as much for what his life represented, an almost ascetic pursuit of art for art’s sake that seems increasingly distant from today’s art world. Berman’s work “was very word-oriented and a lot of it was free,” Mr. Prince said in a recent telephone interview. “It had nothing to do with the market, and it had to do with a lifestyle that was very anti-establishment.”

For the first time Mr. Prince’s work will appear alongside Berman’s in a show called “She” opening Jan. 15 and running through March 8 at the Michael Kohn Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition focuses on a common subject where the two artists overlap in odd and unexpected ways: women.

Berman surrounded himself with women and loved photographing them, seemingly just for the pleasure of taking the shot; most of his pictures were never even printed during his lifetime. He made romantic portraits of his wife, Shirley, and erotic ones of the painter Jay DeFeo and unlikely ones of the young actress Teri Garr, a friend to whom he regularly mailed artwork. “He was a great person,” Ms. Garr recalled. “He was always saying, ‘Just make things, just make things.’ ”

His collages often relied on found imagery of women in magazines. And it was a borrowed image of a woman — a sinuous drawing of a demonlike one and a man in flagrante delicto — that led to Berman’s arrest and conviction in 1957 on obscenity charges during his first commercial show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, establishing the twin themes of his career: exploring the fringes of American society and shunning the attention of the mainstream.

Like Berman, Mr. Prince mines the ways that society has portrayed women and how women have seemed to want to be portrayed. But his obsessions — images of half-clothed women taken from pulp fiction, biker magazines and other subculture publications — toy much more ambiguously and provocatively with sexism, exploitation and the conventions of pornography than did Berman’s. And Mr. Prince constantly pushes buttons to keep those ambiguities alive. In a question-and-answer session included in the show’s catalog, he is asked whether he has any female friends. He says no. Asked when he thinks a girl becomes a woman, he says it is when she starts baby-sitting.

“I think he likes to be mischievous,” said Kristine McKenna, a writer and curator who organized the exhibition with Mr. Prince and Berman’s widow. “When Richard makes this kind of work, you get the impression that it’s very playful, that he goes into it to figure out what it’s going to be.” (Ms. McKenna recalled that when she first met Mr. Prince in the 1980s, while he was living in the Venice section of Los Angeles, his spare, suburban-style house was “strewn with copies of all these weird specialty magazines like Parakeet Fancier.”)

She said the idea for the show came about because she knew of Mr. Prince’s longstanding interest in Berman and thought that their mutual focus on women and sensuality would be an interesting way to put their work together. After many years of newfound interest in Berman’s art, this also seems to be his moment. His work is included in an exhibition now on view at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and in shows that closed recently at the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Camden Arts Center in London. Galerie Frank Elbaz, a contemporary space in Paris, is planning a show, and “Semina Culture,” a traveling exhibition organized in part by Ms. McKenna from 2005 to 2007, was well received.

Mr. Prince said he agonized over the work he wanted to include in the Los Angeles exhibition, submitting and then withdrawing hundreds of pieces before settling mostly on recent collages that take a familiar theme of his — covers of naughty nurse novels — and combine it with pornographic images, tame compared with most things floating around the Internet but most still too explicit for a family newspaper.

While his work and Berman’s are very different, Mr. Prince said, he sees an affinity in the frankness of their approach to carnality, a subject that art too often dances around. “I’ve never wanted to be transgressive or to make an image that was unacceptable or that I would have to censor,” he said. “But that being said, I think a lot of the imagery I do create is sexual, and I hope it does turn people on.”

If it is pornography, he said of his and Berman’s work, he hopes it is a better kind. “Ultimately I find porn boring,” he said. “An erotic painting by Picasso is infinitely more interesting to me. Pornography is only functional. What I’m looking for is a picture that dreams and imagines.”

Feliz Navidad !

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Art Collecting Turns into a Nightmare!

Photo by Ruben Natal-San Miguel

ARTmostfierce recently has experienced several nightmares while collecting works of art.

One of them was a dealer from out town (will never mentioned names) sending me a photograph without any signature or edition number at verso.
The information was clearly specified on the site. Then I get a letter in the mail with a sticker label and you can tell clearly that the label was printed with the electronic artist signature...tacky ...right?

To make things worst, the label and the web site indicated that the photograph was 20 x 24 inches...well, I measured it and it was more like 22 x 27 inches. So what kind of validity this photograph has for collecting purposes...F****g ZERO !

I had to send a quite nasty e-mail in order to get my point across (was so close to call Credit Card and claim fraud) and now, I have to send the photograph back to get proper information that I originally paid for . Collecting art is my hobby folks , this is already turning into work and, I already have a job !

Then I get another photograph from an auction supposed to be 20 x 24 , called the dealer while on the road and tell me to measure it myself...well thank God because when I did it is 23 x 29 inches ..ok.

My question is who is responsible for this?
Are artists so delusional that don't have a clue of what they are creating?
Are the Art Dealers just pushing work for collectors not knowing the true details of what they are selling?
Can Art Collectors trust this type of interaction?...The answer is NO!
Then to add insult to injury, I am told how lucky I am to get the work @ such price...well it is more like how lucky you are that I purchased and recognized your work (in this ecomomy) when nobody else was paying attention to it.

I have a whole pile of artworks that, I intent to frame over the holidays and after these type of incidents, I might have to put it off altogether unless, I get a holiday bonus for this type of extra work .

What is supposed to be fun and a pile of Christmas presents is, turning into a true nightmare!

I expect Art dealers to know the whole product that they are selling inside out.

Artists should know better while printing the work to provide EXACT information about the work.They should also know that standard sizes like 20 x 24 are easier more affordable to frame.
For art collecting purposes all art work data needs to be accurate. Folks ...I am not hanging only pretty pictures at home...I am investing in ART too!

Amy Stein and I had a conversation last week about one collector that actually chopped off one of her photos to a more standard size . I heard this and was totally horrified!

I will not get into such practices but, I can understand why it was done. Again, the standard size issue comes into play.

Whoever is reading this please be aware of the pains and annoyance it causes. If you want me to buy your work or continue buying it (in this current Economy climate, artists and dealers should be kissing every body's ass for a purchase) , please take this on consideration.

Aperture Foundation is one of the very few organizations that does this so professionally, you really know what are you getting . They provide image size and paper size...please take a clue from them! That is why I will continue buying from them...I know what I am getting instead of b******t.

Another thing I was told was, to mount a photograph on a board...Never!
Do some people have a clue of what true Art Collecting really entails?

I will never mount a photograph on a board to frame!
Devaluation the of work..never!

All these happenings are almost motivating me as Amy Stein suggested me ( I wish all the artists were and think like her) to write a book about ART Collecting. With 2009 coming and people being so clueless or misinformed, I just might!
OK... enough bitching!
Have a Happy Holiday and make mine better by being more professional about your work and what you try to sell!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hannah Withaker'' As We Came Together We Will Go Together'' @ The Wild Project

Photo by Hannah Whitaker

ARTmostfierce felt in love with this Hannah Whitaker photograph seen here@ The Wild Project Gallery. This is her first solo show sponsored by Humble Arts Foundation

''As We Came Together We Will Go Together ''

On View: Saturday, December 18 – January 25, 2009
Hannah's photographs are captivating, enticing in a elegant and settle demeanor. It is not in your face type of photography but , the kind of work that has classic and lasting quality.

Go and see it!

The Wild Project
195 E. 3rd Street
(212) 228–1195

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Out With the Fat, in With the Hungry

Photo- William Eggleston

ARTmostfierce does not fully agree with this assesment of Art events and shows but, here is Holland Cotter from the NY Times point of view.

Published: December 19, 2008

IN the past eight years American art and American politics had a lot in common. Both favored big money, insularity and retrograde conservatism. Now come changes.

The Year in Art
In politics the old order was voted out. In the art world money is running out. Auctions are iffy. Galleries are closing. Museums are in slash-back mode. So 2009 could be 1989 all over again. Important to remember: The last crash opened the art world’s tightly guarded gates to a wave of upstart talent and radical new ways of thinking. That was great. It could happen again.

Meanwhile here are some notable events from 2008, a year that may go into the history books as the first catastrophic fall, but also the first vital correction, for art in the new century.

A MET LEADER Thomas Campbell was named the new director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He’s not well known, but what’s known is good: excellent curator, fine scholar, nice man. His job will be to firm up an institution that has come to rely too heavily on the lulling allure of imported luxe. He will want to find ways to make the museum’s permanent collection galleries look like special exhibitions: smart, fabulous, constantly changing shows, spiced with maybe a few sexy loans. The Met’s Chinese galleries have set a sterling model. If he will trust in the imagination of his curators, and let them go nuts once in a while, he’ll do fine.

LOS ANGELES MUSEUMS, PLUGGED IN AND ALMOST UNPLUGGED Michael Govan, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has trusted imagination, and that paid off. The new Broad collection display is a boilerplate bore, and the museum still looks all over the place. But this year it also felt wired into the city around it, with a feisty show of young Chicano artists, a (tiny) first-time African display and reinstalled pre-Columbian galleries. Jorge Pardo’s design for those galleries has problems, but it got people talking and looking. People were also talking about the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, because it may disappear. It’s a funny place, with its internationalist sheen and market-driven program occasionally interrupted by inspired, could-only-happen-here shows. The city needs a contemporary museum, no question. But is this the right one?

CHINA’S EXPERIMENT When Chinese contemporary art went international a decade ago, it had a manic energy and few rules. Today the gallery scene in Beijing is all but identical to that in New York: same spaces, same hype, same percentage of bad product. Far more interesting are new finds of old art — bronzes, ceramics, sculptures, entire cultures — coming out of Chinese soil. Provincial museums are experimenting with fresh ways to exhibit the material effectively, the biggest challenge being how, or whether, to make discoveries like tomb murals, too fragile to be moved, accessible.

INDIA BOILS Indian contemporary art went at record auction prices, even as its best-selling artist, M. F. Husain, remained in exile. Mr. Husain, 93, left India for Dubai two years ago to avoid lawsuits and personal threats from religious nationalists who accused him, a Muslim, of painting blasphemous nude images of Hindu goddesses. In May an Indian court dismissed obscenity charges, though the situation remains volatile. Coincidentally three paintings by Mr. Husain that hung in the lobby of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai were destroyed in last month’s terrorist siege.

REASCENDANT PAINTERS Judiciously scaled exhibitions of two artists too rarely seen in the United States were season highlights: “Poussin and Nature” at the Met, and the Peter Saul retrospective at the Orange County Museum of Art in California. Poussin turned Classicism into Romanticism, and gave Gustave Courbet — the subject of his own T. rex of a Met survey — a target to shoot at. Mr. Saul, our most scathing and elusive history painter, tackles global politics and personal weirdness with the same awful relish. He might well have invented Rod R. Blagojevich.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MAGIC William Eggleston took us on an acid-trip tour of the Deep South in his Whitney retrospective. The curator Okwui Enwezor offered a morgue-cold view of the modern world in “Archive Fever” at the International Center of Photography. Both cast an unshakable spell.

FEMINISM LIVES Strong exhibitions of work largely from the 1970s by Judith Bernstein, Lorraine O’Grady, Barbara T. Smith and Martha Wilson demonstrated that art emerging from early feminism was and is The Source. A HOLE IN THE FLOOR For his show titled “You” at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Urs Fischer destroyed the gallery floor with jackhammers, then excavated the earth beneath. Gallery visitors climbed down into an open pit. Footing was uncertain and sharp rocks poked up. Who knew what pollutants lurked? This was art after the bottom fell out.

ADIEU TO AN ALTERNATIVE Triple Candie, Manhattan’s one truly alternative alternative space, closed. Located in Harlem, it began with solid, traditional shows. By the end it was showing anonymous work by real artists and signed work by fictional artists. In the process it exploded the meanings of creativity, history, authenticity and value. And it gave lessons in advance on how art and artists can survive, even thrive, in hard times, which of ccourse they will.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Juliana Beasley Holiday Limited Editon Print Extravaganza Sale Continues...

Toe Truck - photo by Juliana Beasley from the Eyes of Salamanca Series Edition of 17 , 8 x 10 inches $150.00

Holding Hands- Photo by Juliana Beasley from the Eyes of Salamanca Series
Edition of 17 8 x 10 inches $150.00

ARTmostfierce might do a little Christmas shopping tonight . And with the current winter storm nothing better than shopping on -line...Which brings to Juliana Beasley Limited Edition Print Sale. She has now smaller (Hell Yeah!) 8 x 10 5 new print editions from the series Eyes of Salamanca edition of 17 for only $150.00.
To know more about this photo series please click here

Also the Rockaway series print sale continues and a few more images were added.

Not only do these sales support Juliana's current living and economic situation (we are all going through hard times, some more than others) , but also support new projects like the Mennonites and cessation of the Rockaways.

You never know what you can find under Juliana's Christmas shop for the holidays!

Artists Vs Collectors Vs. Galleries

Maria String - Photo from the Holiday Edition Sale of Juliana Beasley
The Holiday Season ART Sales...OMG !

They do get better by the minute!

One thing that concerns me is that several artists are having Holiday Limited Edition Sales which, I support and encourage 100% except for the fact that the ART establishment (gallery, owners, art dealers , managers, non- profits org and gallerinas!)are quite upset about it!

The question is what are these organizations doing to save their galleries and feed the artists?

Are they making the smartest business decisions for themselves and the artist?

We know the rents and the artists reputations are high.On the other hand, the Economy is not and several gallery owners keep encouraging the artists to keep creating large photographs in order to attach the high price tag to it. It is not the way to go now folks!

The works of art in this case photographs, will not sell for obvious reasons (not because the work is bad) and the artwork will collect dust till the gallery goes out of business.

In order to sell properly, group shows (which several galleries had done) and smaller artworks (no bigger than 24 x 30 ) is the way to go.In addition I think, being honest and discounting the work before the show will generate better sales than doing backdoor business.

In case some artists and gallery owners have not got the memo,Everybody, I mean everybody from Warhol to Basquiat to Damien Hirst is being currently discounted.
I don't think the work is devalued , is revalued to meet current art market needs for the art market to survive!

Last night , at the Women in Photography party, I saw small 8 x 10 works of Amy Stein , Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips among others and I was quite fascinated because for one thing I had never seen works on that small scale from these artists...well let me tell you... I thought they were gorgeous, so intimate and the image was just as strong as any larger size.

I don't blame an artist for going out and making small edition work for sale. In fact, I give them a lot of credit for getting involved in the art commerce. This way I think artists learned to value more of the works and also know first hand who the work is going to.

Collectors get caught up in the middle of this travesty. We feel also the current Economy pinch , we want to continue collecting art and supporting our favorite artists but , we also worry about the ART establishment looking down at us and making us feel that we are betraying the system.

At the end of the day, being an artist myself and also a businessman , I see both difficult sides of the coin. Wanting to support everybody is the ideal way to be but, in this case I am throwing my life saver to the artists...

Let me know your thoughts about this current Art market trend. If you support it or if you are against it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Artmostfierce Christmas Wish List

Jacob- Portrait Photograph by Tema Stauffer

It has been an amazing year!
ARTmostfierce was busy trying to get his hands in every possible artwork the whole year (it is not over or finished yet).

I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to collect art , meet the artists and get to know them through their work.

I had been greedy, naughty and sometimes bitchy but, on the other hand, I had been extremely generous, kind , supportive and more than anything a true friend. So, with that on mind , here is my Christmas Wish List of things that I desire to have,maybe have eluded me or simply since I buy constantly, can't afford now!

1. Marilyn Minter- Once again I goofed @ the ACRIA Auction (I hate auctions!). It would cost me $10,000.00 but, So worth it! I never give up on this one.

2. Cindy Sherman- Another one hard to get. While parting my ass off in Miami , Printed Matter had an auction (another of those damn ones!) and Cindy had 4 works ranging from $1,200.00 to $3,500.00 . I will whip out my plastic in a heartbeat! f**k!
So 2009 I will hunt you down!

3. More and More Zoe Strauss photos!...Never enough! Zoe is my girl!!!

4. A Amy Stein Domesticated Series Photo- Not giving up on this one either. Got to have it!

5. More and More Brian Ulrich Photography!

6. More Amy Elkins photos and more hanging out with her. She is a lot of fun and we are bad together!

7. The lucky seven goes to Tema Stauffer and her portraiture series. One of my picks @ Photolucida's Critical Mass 08, this portraits are a must have!

8. More and More Will Steacy photos! That Porno Theater photo...can't get out of my head!

9. A Thomas Alleman Photo. This guy was one of my favorites of Critical Mass 08!
Great black & white glamorous!

10.A Lia Halloran photo. from the Miami series please!

11.A Susan Meiselas photo (well, that is kind of already under the tree!)

12. A William Eggleston photograph will be nice...

13. More Carlo Van der Roer photography. Love swimming pools!

14. More and more photos from the Embodiment series of Molly Landreth!

15. Some work from Shepard Fairey would be nice too...

16. More Hanna Withaker work...maybe the spider if... I dare to get over my arachnophobia?

17. A Erik Percher photograph

18. About 3 Andrew Bush Vector/Drive photograph series... that would be awesome!

19. Aida Ruilova A-Z relief C-prints series. I settle for the R one!

20. Architect Zaha Hadid artwork. She rocks! but it is quite pricey!!!

21. A Corey Arnold photo ...the one with the cat and the mask on the it!

22. Artwork from Mickalene Thomas it it it. Swarowski and all bling included!...Yeah! very pricey$$$$ mucha mula$$$$

23. At least one single photo from each of the Critical Mass 08 50 finalists (I already own some, so I will be less than 50...

24. To keep my job, health and prosperity for me, family and everybody around me including my little cat Gia!

25. lots of Love, Peace to everybody and maybe along the way, I find the ONE that I haven't been looking for or have not found so far...

Oh and lastly... A new Camera...a fierce one to keep my projects and this blog going!

Well that is it...a pretty simple wish list ...right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alec Soth -Last Days of W -Book and Limited Edition

ARTmostfierce heard this from one of my collector friends Cesar. Here is another Holiday/Stocking Stuffer deal . At the Magnum Store , Alec Soth has the Last Days of W book plus a limited edition Placemat signed edition of 100. For $200.00, Not a bad deal!

Check it out, get one and do not eat on the placemat!

Starn Brothers-Making Artistic Connections at a Subway Station

ARTmostfierce recommends a subway ride to South Ferry and check out the new art-installation work of the Starn brothers.

Please read article by Melena Ryzik of the NY Times

Published: December 14, 2008
In the grays of winter, the last stop on any subway line can have a lonely, ominous feel. But when the new $530 million South Ferry station, the terminus of the No. 1 train, opens in January, it will have some added luminosity, thanks to a site-specific installation by the artists Doug and Mike Starn. Commissioned by the Arts for Transit program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the installation, “See It Split, See It Change,” includes curved floor-to-ceiling glass walls laced with silhouettes of trees, a marble mosaic of a vintage topographic map of Manhattan, and other imagery drawn from nearby Battery Park.

Although it is the first public artwork by the Starns, 47-year-old identical twins who work in Brooklyn, they view it as integral to a continuing project, “Structure of Thought,” rooted in their preoccupation with time and natural bonds. “The tree series goes back about 10 years,” Doug Starn said on a tour of the station last week. “It’s about —— ”

“It’s about the conveyance of something,” Mike Starn said. The brothers finish each other’s sentences as a matter of course. “We saw the subway system as a conveyance, where connections are made.”

“Tubes and things,” his brother added.

The work at South Ferry, more than three years in the planning and execution, is among the largest Arts for Transit has ever undertaken. And at more than $1 million, it is the most expensive to date, said Sandra Bloodworth, the program’s director, who said she hoped it would also be among the most durable.

“We believe in building it for it to be there forever, without any intervention by man,” Ms. Bloodworth said. The South Ferry terminal, which is entirely new, was built beneath the existing 103-year-old South Ferry station and financed mostly by the federal government as part of a broader effort to rebuild Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 attacks. (The opening date has not yet been scheduled.)

When the Starns were first approached by the Arts for Transit program in fall 2004, they were busy with other projects and not particularly interested in participating, Doug said. But the brothers came up with a proposal at the last minute and won the commission the next year. Ms. Bloodworth said the Starns’ proposal was chosen on the strength of its imagery, its melding of high technology and organic and urban history, and its sturdy materials.

Despite the high price tag, Doug said, “we lost a lot of money” in terms of the hours and energy spent. His brother added, “It’s a labor of love.”

The main part of the installation, the curved walls that hug the station, was made using a new and unusual fused-glass technique, like laser printing but with glass powder instead of ink. It gives the panels a layered quality: against a background of cream and celadon— the colors of a winter dawn — the black branches seem to echo one another. For inspiration, the brothers photographed trees in Battery Park; they said they didn’t know what kind. “We just go out and shoot good-looking trees,” Mike said.

The fused glass was the project’s biggest challenge. Even the fabricator, Franz Mayer of Munich, a 160-year-old firm known for its expertise in architectural glass and mosaics, “didn’t really know how to work with it,” Mike said. “And we didn’t know how to work with it. It was trial-and-error, and one year of testing.” Still, they did not consider scaling back to a more traditional industrial technique. The tiny bubbles, striations and other imperfections in the finished panels are part of their charm, Doug said. “It feels more alive.”

The 20-foot-wide topographic map of Manhattan is focused on the island’s southern tip — it’s like a downtown-to-uptown version of Saul Steinberg’s famous New Yorker cartoon — and based on a 1640 map that the twins found. Theirs is overlaid with the contemporary street grid, with the grout making a fitting stand-in for pavement. Placed in the stairwell, it’s meant to be the first thing commuters see when they come into the station, invoking the area’s history as the first part of the city to be settled. (A portion of an 18th-century seawall uncovered during construction of the station hangs on the wall outside the turnstiles. It is not part of the Starns’ installation.) Near the map is another glass panel with a large image of a decomposing leaf, in oranges and purples.

“We’re working with the idea of the splitting and changing” of tree branches and of branches of the subway system, Mike said. “It’s something that happens in time as well as space.”

The Starns have been navigating these themes since the 1980s, when they became known for exhibiting taped and torn photographs. The scale and the substance of “See It Split, See It Change” have influenced their other projects. “We’ve always worked in fragile materials before this,” Mike said. “It’s always about the change it will experience.”

Now, in a newly acquired studio in Beacon, N.Y., they are building an “endless tower” sculpture, like a Slinky you can climb in, out of 2,000 bamboo poles. (They have a unified artistic vision, but the Starns don’t always get along when they’re creating. “When you do something, you argue with yourself,” Mike, the more talkative of the two, said. “We do that.”)

Although their main studio, in Red Hook, Brooklyn, is visible from outside South Ferry station, neither Starn expects to make much use of the terminal once it opens. They said they thought about other commuters when they conceived the project.

“We did want to make something that could be entertaining day in, day out,” Mike said. “It’s simple and it’s complicated at the same time.”

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Robert Frank-Snapshots From the American Road

“Funeral — St. Helena, South Carolina” (1955), from Robert Frank’s book “The Americans.”

After reading this article, I am almost feel drawn again to start collecting exclusively black & white photographs. Robert Frank is one of the masters.

Coincidentally today, after opening a tube containing a black and white photograph of Cara Phillips UV portrait series that I just won @ the i-Gavel Emerging Artist Auction sponsored by Dan Cooney Gallery, I realized how elegant and timeless black & white photography can be. Please read this NY Times article by Philip Gefter about Robert Frank and interactive link in which you can hear him talk ...great!

Also if you don't own any black & white photography...I suggest you start acquiring it now!
It is coming back and strong!

Published: December 12, 2008
WHILE his dark, penetrating eyes still radiate intensity, Robert Frank, at 84, is not as mobile as he used to be, shuffling in slow motion around a modern one-bedroom apartment in a high-rise on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His wife, the artist June Leaf, explained that they rent the apartment because it is harder for him these days to navigate the nondescript three-story house where they have lived, a few blocks away, since the 1970s.

On the Road
The living room is spare, a white box with just a few pieces of well-worn furniture — a lived-in couch, some old chairs and the old wooden table where Mr. Frank recently sat for an interview, near a bank of windows yielding an unobstructed view of Midtown, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building off-center in the frame.

No one has had a greater influence on photography in the last half-century than the Swiss-born Mr. Frank, though his reputation rests almost entirely on a single book published five decades ago. While he has produced other volumes over the years and made 31 films and videos, all roads in his career lead back to this masterpiece, “The Americans,” an intimate visual chronicle of common people in ordinary situations drawn from several trips he made through his adopted country in the mid-1950s.

He didn’t seem interested in reflecting on why the book continues to have such an afterlife or why it has become a cultural touchstone, but chose instead to explain why it is still meaningful to him. “I’m very proud of this book because I followed my intuition,” he said, speaking with the clipped inflections of his native Swiss accent. He added that the idea of making a photographic chronicle of America wasn’t simply to take one picture at a time; it was a larger endeavor, “a matter of putting a book together the way I saw it.”

Whether he welcomes the public attention, activities are swirling around the 50th anniversary of the English-language publication of “The Americans.” In January a comprehensive publication, “Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans,’ ” will accompany a major exhibition in Washington at the National Gallery of Art, where all 81 contact sheets (out of the 767 rolls of film) from “The Americans” will be presented. The exhibition will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art later in the year. And Mr. Frank was not averse to making a trip to Germany to approve proofs for an anniversary edition of “The Americans,” recently published by Steidl and the National Gallery.

Until Mr. Frank came along, the hallmarks of good documentary photography were sharp, well-lighted, classically composed pictures, whether serious war coverage, social commentary or homespun Americana. Life magazine photographers like Margaret Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt and W. Eugene Smith had been setting a standard for the picture essay, though Magnum, the photography collective founded in 1947 by, among others, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, was challenging that standard with a more candid approach to topical or socially conscious material.

When Grove Press first published “The Americans” in 1959, a chorus of critical disdain rose from the few who bothered to write about photography at the time. Popular Photography magazine derided Mr. Frank’s black-and-white pictures of isolated individuals, teenage couples and groups at funerals for their “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons and general sloppiness.”

Critics considered the book an indictment of American society, and his pictures did strip away the veneer of breezy optimism reflected in magazines, movies and television programs of the period. Mr. Frank, who was 23 when he moved to the United States in 1947, said he found America, during his travels cross-country, to be a much harsher place than Europe. “Here it seemed that everyone was sort of alone more,” he said, in contrast with the more social Europe he remembered, where everyone was friendlier. “I didn’t think it was a sad experience, but it was different than Europe.”

He noted the difficulty people had just making a living in this country. “There wasn’t that much sunshine, even in California,” he said. “They have to work harder to have an existence that’s above the minimum.”

Still, the social critique he was thought to level at America was essentially a romantic quest to honor what was true and good about the nation. “I thought I was qualified to make a picture of America, and people thought I hated America,” he said, adding that the responses he was most proud of “came from young people who said that it’s a good book.”

Photographers, critics and scholars have long since concluded that Mr. Frank liberated the photographic image from the compositional tidiness and emotional distance of his predecessors. The ordinary, incidental moments captured in his pictures — and their raw, informal look — paved the way for photographers like Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand a decade later. Today Mr. Frank is viewed as a pioneer of the snapshot aesthetic, a term coined in the late 1960s to denote the spontaneous style and modest subject matter that came to dominate black-and-white photography of that period.

Twenty years after “The Americans” was published Gene Thornton wrote in The New York Times that “The Americans” ranks “with Alexis de Tocqueville’s ‘Democracy in America’ and Henry James’s ‘The American Scene’ as one of the definitive statements of what this country is about.”

When Mr. Frank arrived in New York from Zurich, he had been an apprentice for several design and photography studios and was well tutored in the visual ideas that defined Modernism in Europe between the world wars. He said he emigrated because he felt that Switzerland was “too closed, too small.” Sarah Greenough, curator of photographs at the National Gallery and the author of “Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans,’ ” writes that “like so many others of his time, his philosophical and moral stance was also deeply affected by existentialism.”

Mr. Frank’s first photographic assignment in New York came from Alexey Brodovitch, the legendary art director of Harper’s Bazaar. He urged Mr. Frank to discard the formal aspects of Modernism that he had been taught in Switzerland in favor of a more emotional, spontaneous style. In the early ’50s Mr. Frank cultivated relationships with Edward Steichen, then director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, and Walker Evans, then picture editor at Fortune magazine, who encouraged him to apply for the Guggenheim fellowship that would finance his cross-country trips.

KARINA WISNIEWSKA @ Sara Tecchia Gallery 12/18/08

Karina Wisniewska

Acrylic, lacquer, quartz sand on canvas
59 x 31.5 inches/ 150 x 80 cm

Ok Enough of Miami Basel, ready for New York,
ARTmostfierce will be @ the opening of this show !

December 18,2008-January 31, 2009 

Please read info about Karina Wisniewska
Born to Swiss-Polish parents in Venice, Karina Wisniewska began playing the piano at age five, going on to become a professional pianist and recording ten audio CDs. In 1997, she won the title Swiss Musician of the Year and was a celebrity within the classical music circuit but a freak accident interrupted her career as a professional musician.

Wisniewska's abstract quartz sand works combine music and painting to form a lively symbiosis. The paintings are sonorous; the spaces and lines of color - acrylic streaks enriched with natural or dyed quartz sand - are full of apparent fluidities, reflections and intangibilities. There is nothing concrete to identify, but neither are they governed by a chaotic juxtaposition of lines of force and color, or of geometric and magical vagaries. All is open and all, at the same time, seems structured. They are an order of chance and structure that creates a new reality of space and time. She describes her meticulous process by saying that she "work[s] by tying a small bottle with a mixture of acrylic and lacquer onto a brush so the paint flow never stops. I draw free hand without any rulers or compasses on the canvas. The difficulty is that the time to fill the drawings with quartz sand is very short. The liquid dries up very quickly and builds an impermeable surface. Thus, I need to draw, then stop, then fill it up with sand and be very careful with continuing with the other marks. The crossings are very, very difficult."

Wisniewska's work can be found in the UBS collection in Zurich, Switzerland, the Musee Abbatiale de Payerne and in many well known private collections. The paintings have also been presented at Art Basel Miami, Art Cologne, Scope Miami, Scope New York, Art Dubai and Art Shanghai among others.

See you @ the opening!

Ellis Gallagher takes over the sidewalks @ South Beach during Miami Art Basel

Here is Ellis Gallagher @ work!
Don't mind the photo, I was drinking between parties when I ran into him!

ARTmostfierce saw Ellis Gallagher work everywhere in South Beach. I mean, he was busy!
It was kind of great walking on Collins Avenue where a lot of the small satellite Art Fairs happened and during the night most of the parties took place, you always were able to see Ellis street graffiti even after having too many drinks!

It was not only a refreshing visual experience but , the graffiti art displayed mostly on the sidewalk, was a great transition statement between the art fairs with the parties. He is represented by Sara Tecchia Gallery in NYC. See more information below about Ellis.


Ellis Gallagher is a native New Yorker. As a former graffiti writer, his work can be found in New York City and beyond, in Autograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers by Peter Sutherland (Powerhouse Books 2004), as well as in numerous newspapers, magazines, on television and in films.

Currently a Contemporary/Street Artist known as (C)ELLIS G., Gallagher's work has appeared on the cover of Time Out New York, in the New York Daily News, The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, The Brooklyn Paper, Mass Appeal Magazine, Artnet Magazine, Overspray Magazine, Der Spiegel Germany, The Area Revue France, H Magazine Spain, as well as on NY 1, RAI TV Italy, Chinese News Network, NYCTV, The Hallmark Channel, Current T.V., WPIX 11 (NYC), NBC 4 (NYC), WNET 13 PBS(NYC) and the streets of New York City and beyond.

Gallagher will publish his first book "Adhesives," the ultimate compendium of graffiti, graphic design and street art stickers with Miss Rosen Editions for Powerhouse Books.

Come and check out Ellis Gallagher's site-specific installation at the gallery. It involves a hanging bike and shopping cart...,tucker,78874,2.html

ARCHITECTURE-For I. M. Pei, History Is Still Happening

Museum of Islamic Art By I. M. Pei Architects

ARTmostfierce always has been a big fan of I.M. Pei Architectural designs and this one in particular comes as no surprise. Please read article by Nicolai Ouroussoff of the NY Times.

Published: December 12, 2008
DOHA, Qatar

Connecting the Past and the Present
I CAN’T seem to get the Museum of Islamic Art out of my mind. There’s nothing revolutionary about the building. But its clean, chiseled forms have a tranquillity that distinguishes it in an age that often seems trapped somewhere between gimmickry and a cloying nostalgia.

Part of the allure may have to do with I. M. Pei, the museum’s architect. Mr. Pei reached the height of his popularity decades ago with projects like the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Louvre pyramid in Paris. Since then he has been an enigmatic figure at the periphery of the profession. His best work has admirers, but it has largely been ignored within architecture’s intellectual circles. Now, at 91 and near the end of a long career, Mr. Pei seems to be enjoying the kind of revival accorded to most serious architects if they have the luck to live long enough.

But the museum is also notable for its place within a broader effort to reshape the region’s cultural identity. The myriad large-scale civic projects, from a Guggenheim museum that is planned for Abu Dhabi to Education City in Doha — a vast area of new buildings that house outposts of foreign universities — are often dismissed in Western circles as superficial fantasies. As the first to reach completion, the Museum of Islamic Art is proof that the boom is not a mirage. The building’s austere, almost primitive forms and the dazzling collections it houses underscore the seriousness of the country’s cultural ambition.

Perhaps even more compelling, the design is rooted in an optimistic worldview, — one at odds with the schism between cosmopolitan modernity and backward fundamentalism that has come to define the last few decades in the Middle East. The ideals it embodies — that the past and the present can co-exist harmoniously — are a throwback to a time when America’s overseas ambitions were still cloaked in a progressive agenda.

To Mr. Pei, whose self-deprecating charm suggests a certain noblesse oblige, all serious architecture is found somewhere between the extremes of an overly sentimental view of the past and a form of historical amnesia.

“Contemporary architects tend to impose modernity on something,” he said in an interview. “There is a certain concern for history but it’s not very deep. I understand that time has changed, we have evolved. But I don’t want to forget the beginning. A lasting architecture has to have roots.” This moderation should come as no surprise to those who have followed Mr. Pei’s career closely. I recall first hearing his name during construction on his design for the Kennedy Library in Boston in the mid-1970s. The library, enclosed behind a towering glass atrium overlooking the water, was not one of Mr. Pei’s most memorable early works, nor was it particularly innovative, but the link to Kennedy lent him instant glamour.

The building’s pure geometries and muscular trusses seemed at the time to be the architectural equivalent of the space program. They suggested an enlightened, cultivated Modernism, albeit toned down to serve an educated, well-polished elite. Completed 16 years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the library’s construction seemed to be an act of hope, as if the values that Kennedy’s generation embodied could be preserved in stone, steel and glass.

In many ways Mr. Pei’s career followed the unraveling of that era, from the economic downturn of the 1970s through the hollow victories of the Reagan years. Yet his work never lost its aura of measured idealism. It reached its highest expression in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building, a composition of angular stone forms completed in 1978 that remains the most visible emblem of modern Washington.

Since that popular triumph Mr. Pei has often seemed to take the kind of leisurely, slow-paced approach to design that other architects, no matter how well established, can only dream of. When first approached in 1983 to take part in a competition to design the addition to the Louvre, he refused, saying that he would not submit a preliminary design. President François Mitterrand nevertheless hired him outright. Mr. Pei then asked him if he could take several months to study French history.

“I told him I wanted to learn about his culture,” Pei recalled. “I knew the Louvre well. But I wanted to see more than just architecture. I think he understood immediately.” Mr. Pei spent months traveling across Europe and North Africa before earnestly beginning work on the final design of the glass pyramids that now anchor the museum’s central court.

In 1990, a year after the project’s completion, he left his firm, handing its reins over to his partners Harry Cobb and James Ingo Freed so that he could concentrate more on design. More recently he has lived in semi-retirement, sometimes working on the fourth floor office of his Sutton Place town house or sketching quietly in a rocking chair in his living room. He rarely takes on more than a single project at a time.

Click to read more about it here-

Zoe Strauss AMERICA talk @ Silverstein Gallery

ARTmostfierce dropped by yesterday afternoon to see Zoe Strauss discuss her new solo show AMERICA:We Love having You Here

Zoe was very articulate, passionate and left a clear and strong impression to the present crowd of what her work is all about. There was an interesting session of questions and answers after the talk it was evident the fascination and interest of what Zoe's show brings to the photography field.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

30 AMERICANS-Rubell Collection

Kara Walker
Camptown Ladies, 1998
Paper and adhesive on wall
97 1/2 x 666 in. (247.7 x 1691.6 cm)
Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Kara Walker
Stockton, CA, 1969 | Lives and works in New York, NY

Kehinde Wiley
Equestrian Portrait of the Court-Duke Olivares, 2005
Oil on canvas
108 x 108 in. (274.3 x 274.3 cm) framed
Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Kehinde Wiley
Los Angeles, CA, 1977 | Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

Hank Willis Thomas
An Unidentified Jamaican Boy Uses the Puma H Street Running Shoe to Run for his Freedom 2003/2005, 2005
Digital C-print, Ed. 2/5
28 1/2 x 36 in. (72.4 x 91.5 cm)
Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Hank Willis Thomas
Plainfield, NJ, 1976 | Lives and works in New York, NY and San Francisco, CA

Mickalene Thomas

Baby I Am Ready Now, 2007
Enamel, rhinestone and acrylic on wooden panel Diptych,
72 x 132 in. (182.9 x 335.3 cm) overall; 72 x 60 in. (182.9 x 152.4 cm) left panel; 72 x 72 in. (182.9 x 182.9 cm) right panel
Rubell Family Collection, Miami

Mickalene Thomas
Camden, NJ, 1971 | Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

ARTmostfierce loved this show!
What a statement !
Look ...over the holidays, hop on a plane for a Miami weekend and see this 30 Americans show @ the Rubell Collection .While there between the sun, Spanish food and mojitos, also check out the Martin Margolis Collection too!
Who said there is no ART to be seen in Miami. These two families will prove you wrong!
Great Art collections!

The Fountain Art Fair Maimi

Nikki Johnson
Me- self-portrait

Nikki Johnson
Patchclose M

Ok, this is one of the installations at Fountain Art Fair...

The Fountain Art Fair in Miami has ways to go. I looked rather underdeveloped and scattered.

Looking more like an abandoned crack house during the 1980's Lower East Side in Manhattan. It tried too hard to be hip and gritty and separate itself from other the more sanitized and organized Art fairs. If the intention was to stand out, it was done the wrong way. The art was hard to see and quite easy to trample on.

The work of Nikki Johnson caught my eye.

A NYC Lower East Side resident with gritty, raw, in your face stylized photographs can be something to consider.


When I first walked in , this was a pleasant surprise

@ Jonathan Le Vine Gallery Booth the work of Shepard Fairey was a sold out success!
Also he had beautiful outdoor murals in the Wynwood area. He was the DJ at a party which I briefly attended. This kid can do it all!

ARTmostfierce did not really loved SCOPE Miami as much as SCOPE Hamptons or SCOPE NY. Perhaps it had to do with the Orlando Disney type of Playground for Kids (I really hated it and was quite appalled by it!)
To make it worst, all the publications were surrounding Kiddie Land...please!

Not only its presence and placement was annoying , so it was the noise that it generated!

Come on!... there is no room for kids play in a ART Fair. Trying to leave a city dominated by strollers now like NYC has become to come to Miami and see that!

The shopping mall or mall rat mall feel was enhanced by this kiddie land presence.
However, there were some great booths with good work like the ones highlighted above.

Come on folks, leave the kids at home and buy art!