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Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Barry McGee in Venice

Barry McGee has quietly opened a new solo show at Worshop Arte Contemporanea, a new gallery in Venice, Italy. The show marks a continuation of the artists shift in presentation.  Rather that engulfing space in wall to wall panel installations,  McGee is increasingly moving toward single isolated pieces, consisting of clusters of paintings on wood or framed photographs, and a greater use of white backgrounds as opposed to his past practice of overwhealming viewers with dizzying geometric color patterns. Recent exhibits at Modern Art (London) and Ratio 3 (San Francisco) also signal this move. The show runs through October 14.

Barry McGee
Sept. 3 – Oct. 14
Workshop Arte Contemporanea
Dorsoduro 2793 / A, 30123
Venezia, Italia

All text © Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors
Images via  Workshop Arte Contemporanea

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Exhibition, Openings, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Preview :: Around Town with Viva La Revolucion

JR installation in progress (Image: Geoff Hargadon)

Here are early images of several works in progress for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s upcoming Viva La Revolucion exhibition, including a glimpse of outdoor pieces in progress (sanctioned and not) and museum installation shots from Os Gemeos, Swoon, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Space Invader, JR, and Vhils.

In addition, Invader has unveiled a trailer for The Space Invader Walk, a virtual piece which will be presented in the museum as a movie. Watch it here:

Viva La Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape opens this week with a members preview ($20 non-members) Saturday, July 17, and general admission beginning on the 18th. On Thurs, Aug. 12 the museum hosts a party featuring live music from Wavves (for the kids). (Click through for additional images)

Os Gemeos (Image: Allasia Brennan)

Space Invader (Image: Invader)

Read on for more…. Read the rest of this entry »


Monday, July 12th, 2010

Barry McGee + Todd James Reunite in Copenhagen

Brush Strokes, a joint exhibit from Barry Mcgee (under his Lydia Fong moniker) and Todd James opened this past weekend at V1 Gallery, Copenhagen. Though there are only a couple of collaborative moments, the themes explored by the two long time friends are a perfect match. Mcgee’s street photography and tag-like block lettered text paintings act as a crucial declaration of identity alongside confusing geometric patterns that mimic the mind numbing, dumbing down effects of constant entertainment and media bombardment. Laying somewhere between Saturday morning cartoons and a Noam Chomsky dissertation, the happy faced war planes, bloody sword wielding tanks and gumball filled soldiers of Todd James’ cartoon drawings provide a darkly satirical commentary on the culture of violence and militarism spoon fed by western media in easily digestible packages.

This is not the first time McGee and James have show together. In 200o the two worked with fellow graffiti turned gallery artist, Stephen Powers (ESPO) on their Indelible Market installation at the University of Pennsylvania Institute of Contemporary Art. The trio expanded the concept for Street Market, a large scale exhibition with Deitch Projects the same year, and were later reunited for the Beautiful Losers museum exhibitions.

Up next for McGee – Looks like he’ll be coming to New York soon 😉

Read on for images from the show… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Exhibition, Galleries, Graffiti | 2 Comments »


Friday, June 25th, 2010

Preview :: KAWS Creates His Largest Onsite Mural for Aldrich

KAWS – The Wall (detail), 2010. (Image: Courtesy of the artist)

By now you’ve most likely heard about the debut of KAWS’ first museum exhibition,  debuting this Sunday at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. The retrospective will survey the artist’s earlier work, products, and most recent paintings, including some never before seen pieces. While, details have been quite tight, the first image from has finally surfaced, providing a glimpse at KAWS’ largest onsite mural to date. More to come….


Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Pop Will Eat Itself :: Lichtenstein’s Still Lifes at Gagosian

(All photos: Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors)

Though Roy Lichtenstein is most remembered for his pioneering contributions to the early American pop movement of the 1960s, he continued to make new art up to the 1990s. From 1972 – 1986 he produced a large body of painting and sculpture that can be described as pop still-lifes. Technically, these were rendered in the same style of his popular comic-book based art, mimicking mechanical methods of production through the use of vivid primary colors, sharp lines, and his trademark simulation of the Ben-Day printing process. Thematically however, Lichtenstein’s subject matter veered away from mass culture and the recreation of commercial imagery. In place of D.C. comic panels we find the objects of traditional still life painting like fruits, vases or items arranged on tables.

Make the mistake of reading too carefully, and you might think there was some grand message here – that in the same way mass media has, the stuff of these works too has become part of our collective consumer conscience. However, like the rest of his art, Lichtenstein was quick to question any profound reading of this series, noting, “When we think of still lifes, we think of paintings that have a certain atmosphere or ambience. My still life paintings have none of those qualities, they just have pictures of certain things that are in a still life, like lemons and grapefruits and so forth.”

For a body of work whose deeper meaning even the artist was quick to denounce, this is truly a site to behold. In the first exhibition devoted entirely to this series, Gagosian Gallery’s presentation of some fifty still lifes is one that rises to museum standards and deserves to outlive its summer gallery viewing. That being said, reflecting on his art with John Coplans in 1972, Lichtenstein remarked, “I don’t think that whatever is meant by it is important to art.”

Roy Lichtenstein – Still Lifes
Gagosian Gallery
May 8 – July 30
555 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

(All text and photos: Jeff Newman/TheArtCollectors)


Monday, June 21st, 2010

Amusing Ourselves To Death :: McGee + Rojas Together at Bolinas Museum

(Image: Bolinas Museum)

Barry McGee doesn’t watch TV.  “These are all things that Americans do, they sit at home and watch television, they go into work the next day and everyone talks about what happened on Taxi—that’s one of the last shows I watched on television, sorry.”

Mcgee is known for overwhelming his audience with an inundation of mind numbing geometric clusters that visualize the psychological and social effects of media bombardment. Like the troubled characters found in them, looking at these works can leave the brain both exhausted and confused in a cognitive haze that Jerry Mander predicted would ultimatley lead to the expansion of power by dominant controllers in society.

Have we been manipulated, or are we to blame? As Neil Postman later distinguished, Orwell’s vision of the future and Huxley’s Brave New World were not one in the same. One warned that we will be overcome by externally imposed domination. The other prophesized something far more unsettling – that we will come to love our oppression, freely trading in our capacities to think for the technologies and entertainment we cherish.

(Image: Bolinas Museum)

Mander urged us to be radical – to “kill our televisions” and dismantle technological civilization. Postman warned it was getting too late – we had already willingly given up and “amused ourselves to death.” Lately, McGee seems caught in the middle. His chaotic wall static has been disrupted, yielding to dense blocks of solid red, with only broken, fragmented shards of pattern remaining. These have given way to simpler forms – a few small floating cubes, a single triangle or an octagon. There are even recognizable objects like detergent bottles – the ultimate sign of the never ending mindless consumer choices that have replaced actual freedom of thought. If the pessimism of his work from the last few years rendered us helplessly adrift in a violent media frenzy, these newer installations show McGee pushing back against the noise, urging us to break through the clutter, recognize our own complicity, and regain control.

(Image: Gamma888)

Partner in life and art Clare Rojas explores similar new territory. The empty interiors of her recent paintings suggest spaces to be filled. Stripped of their belongings, we are pressed to find any identity in what remains in these barren rooms. In one painting a figure lays in bed staring at a TV on a nightstand. Another shows a simple house suspended against a white background. One sad looking woman sits at an empty table, while another  reaches out her hand towards a garden of flowers. In an alcove, a woman’s face is partially covered by window blinds. In the same area, walls are cleverly paneled in central air vents and light switch or outlet covers that take on the look of morse code dots and dashes. But what does it all mean? While McGee reveals the brainwashing of our collective conscience, Rojas projects the effects of this dumbing down onto the trappings of domestic living, where we’ve cashed in our free will for freedom at the checkout line.

(Image: Bolinas Museum)

It is interesting that the Bolinas exhibition is being presented with two separate titles. While this isn’t the first time the artist couple has shown together, the two have joined here to deliver what is there most seamless presentation to date. When asked by fellow artist Andrew Jeffrey Wright where he’d like to be in five years, McGee said he “[hoped] to be entirely removed from society by that time. Off the map. Checked out.” With Leave it Alone we can understand why, and with Rojas’ Together at Last it’s clear that if the time comes, the two will disappear hand in hand.

Lots more images over on TAC member Gamma888’s flickr

Barry McGee – Leave it Alone / Clare Rojas – Together at Last
June 19 – August 1
Bolinas Museum
Hours: Fridays – Sundays, 1 – 5 pm
48 Wharf Road
Bolinas, CA 94924
phone: 415.868.0330


Friday, June 18th, 2010

Murakami to Exhibit in Qatar

(Image: Getty Images)

Reporting from Art Basel, the Art Newspaper says dealer Emmanuel Perrotin has revealed that a Takashi Murakami exhibition in Qatar is in the works for 2012, and will be more substantial than the show set to open at the Palace of Versailles this coming September.

Though Perrotin promises the Qatar show to be “a new concept and much broader,” we wonder just how much further it will go. Both exhibits are partly funded by the Qatar Museums Authority, largely an extension of the nation’s royal family (who were among the VIP visitors to Art Basel this week along with QMA director Roger Mandle). Considering the mixed civil and Islamic law code of the Arab emirate, don’t be surprised with a fairly reserved display showcasing the tamer side of Murakami, perhaps heavier on his smiling flowers and DOB characters, with less of the questionable body fluids.

Murakami tours his 2008 exhibit at MOCA Los Angeles. (Video via MOCA LA)

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Asia, Exhibition, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »


Monday, June 7th, 2010

LACMA to host Baldessari Retrospective

John Baldessari –Sediment: Leg and Shirt, 2010, Inkjet print and acrylic on canvas. (Image: © Margo Leavin /John Baldessari)

American art icon, John Baldessari, is the subject of a new retrospective set to open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on June 27.  From pioneering conceptual text-based works of the 1960s, to his photographic amalgamation of film stills that helped to inform the art of appropriation, Baldessari has been at the forefront of multiple contemporary practices. John Baldessari: Pure Beauty will feature over 150 pieces, highlighting early works as far back as 1962, up to his most recent.  The retrospective will also feature a special installation conceived especially for the occasion.

The museum will hold a free conversation with Baldessari and curator Leslie Jones at 2pm, opening day. Tickets for the event will be available on a first-come basis, one hour prior to the program.  In addition, new 324 page exhibition catalog is available now in LACMA’s online shop.

Pure Beauty first debuted at the Tate Modern, London, in October 2009, before traveling to the Museu d’Art Contemporani in Barcelona. After LACMA, the exhibition will continue on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, this coming October.

Baldessari also has a new series of photographic works, entitled Sediment, on view through July 10 with Margo Leavin, Los Angeles. A work from the series is pictured above.


Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Out of the Blue, Into the Air :: Yves Klein Retrospective at Hirshhorn

Yves Klein, Le Saut dans le vide [Leap into the Void], at 5, rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France, October 1960. © 2010 Artists Rights Society(ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photo by Shunk-Kender, © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Courtesy Yves Klein Archives.

It is astounding that there hasn’t been a significant showing of Yves Klein in the U.S. for nearly three decades – almost as many years long as the artist’s short life.  The fatal heart attack suffered by the 34 year old in 1962 signaled the end of a creative career that came and went in under a decade. Still, with little reference to anything that had come before, Klein’s contributions helped inform the transition from modern art’s focus on the tangible, to contemporary conceptual concerns with the theoretical.

The Hirshhorn Museum’s (Washington D.C.) current retrospective is a appropriate homage to such an important figure. Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers, includes major examples from every aspect of the artist’s career, including his Anthropometries, Cosmogonies, fire paintings, planetary reliefs, blue monochromes, sponge reliefs, “air architecture,” and immaterial works.

As crucial as his physical forms, are the ideas Klein communicated through bold and and acutely self-aware manifestos, personal notes, letters and interviews. Here, the museum has resurrected the artist-philosopher, allowing Kelin to share his own story and and ideas through a spirited and dynamic timeline that effectively aggregates multiple online social and media platforms. “We felt it was essential not only to present Klein as the maker of beautiful objects but also as a thinker, a philosopher who paved the way for future generations,” says exhibition co-curator Kerry Brougher, chief curator and deputy director of the Museum.

Selection from Yves Klein: The Blue Revolution. Director: François Lévy-Kuentz. Courtesy Yves Klein Archives. Coproduction © 2006 MK2TV, Le Centre Pompidou, Y Amu Klein/Moquay in association with France 5. Video © 2007 Le Réunion des musées nationaux—EDV 288

Visit the Hirshhorn now until September 12, and access the museum’s social media archive and interactive timeline here

Also essential are the online Yves Klein Archives and Pompidou’s archive of their 2007 exhibition.

Read on for more images Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Exhibition, History, Museums, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Reflecting on Deluxx Fluxx

Most of us around here agree that there is little new in street art  that warrants gallery presentation. That’s not necessarily a criticism of the far too bloated genre. On the one hand, even the best graffiti art can suffer a loss of viability and meaning in formal display. On the other, there are the countless bandwagoneers who have taken to the streets in a soulless pursuit of financial gain within the art establishment – theirs has no legitimate claim to public view.  Simply put, good graffiti doesn’t mean good exhibition art, and bad graffiti is just insulting. These days it can be quite a chore to weed through the clutter – both inside and outdoors.

FAILE has consistently been one of the rare exceptions. The duo have rightfully established themselves at the forefront of contemporary street art, reaching far beyond their early formula of combining Lichtensteinesque comic book mash-ups with masterful in-house printing. Their more recent forays into sculpture and production have yielded a unique brand of pop-Americana that has rightfully breached the confines of the Lazarides camp, winding up in tried and true venues, like Art Basel and even Gagosian.

The Deluxx Fluxx Arcade, their latest offering created in collaboration BÄST, is far from their most compelling work. With recent installations in London and New York, the result is more interactive video art than functional arcade. The only challenge pinball wizards will find here is to make sense of the near seizure-inducing mash-up of Faile and Bast motifs, churned through the rudimentary capabilities of 1980s gaming processors.  Amidst a backdrop of black-light posters, the result is more spectacle than spectacular. One gets the sense this was done purely for kicks, and ideally it was not intended to be passed off as anything more – then again, the hefty price tags are a lot of cash to shell out on a box of fun. At the end of it all, while Deluxx Fluxx falls short of delivering what Faile are capable of, it hopefully signals the natural growing pains of a creative unit back-stepping along the way to something beyond nostalgic retro kitsch.

Up next for Faile, is Cathedral Project, a giant sculptural installation in the heart Lisbon, opening July 16  in conjunction with Portugal Arte 10. We fully expect to see something grand.