Thursday, August 31, 2006

Two works by Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović, Balkan Erotic Epic (detail) (2005), video projection

Marina Abramović (born 30 November 1946, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia) is a performance artist who began her career in the early 1970s. Active for over three decades, she has recently begun to describe herself as the “grandmother of performance art.” This assertion has been neither disputed nor challenged. Abramović's work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. (source)

In her latest work, Balkan Erotic Epic, Abramovic creates new, surprising perspectives on archaic rituals that used erotic powers to influence fate and fortune. These powerful images talk to us about the disavowal of ancient practices, and about something buried deep in our consciousness.

Two paintings by Barend van Hoek

Barend van Hoek, details unknown.

Barend van Hoek (1969, The Netherlands) studied at the Kunstacademie in Den Bosch. He makes large paintings drawings on canvas and paper that feature a distinctive cartoonlike distortion. He's represented by this and this gallery.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Work by Juan Davila (update)

Juan Davila, “Guacolda del Carmen Gallardo” (2004), oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm, Courtesy of the artist, © the artist

Reference photography by Richard Francis for Chilean artist Juan Davila (pictured at right), including Spiderwoman (left) and a series of paintings relating to Australian bushranger Ned Kelly (centre).

Juan Davila is one of the most innovative and influential painters to have worked in Australia over the past thirty years. Arriving in Australia from Chile in 1974, his consistent interrogation of cultural, sexual and social identities has resulted in a rich, complex and provocative body of work. A firm believer in the political role of the artist, Davila’s paintings have critiqued directly the Australian political system, the cultural aspects of late capitalism, the structures of the art world and the hegemony of Western art history, the representation of sexuality, and more recently, the treatment of refugees in Australian detention centres. (source)

Here's a somewhat different perspective from "The worst art show ever" by Richard Dorment ("Richard Dorment searches desperately for signs of artistic talent at the 12th 'Documenta' show in Kassel, Germany"):

And that brings me to the question of taste. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how many works there are on show by the Chilean-born Australian painter Juan Davila, an artist whose high-camp imagery is best characterised as pornographic folk art. His heavy-handed satire is what you'd expect in the work of a political cartoonist, only Davila is a crude draughtsman, uses a paintbrush as though it were a sledgehammer, and isn't remotely funny. Until this show, I didn't think it possible that his work could receive attention outside Australia. (source)

"Olympia" (1863) by Édouard Manet

With Olympia, Manet reworked the traditional theme of the female nude, using a strong, uncompromising technique. Both the subject matter and its depiction explain the scandal caused by this painting at the 1865 Salon. Even though Manet quoted numerous formal and iconographic references, such as Titian's Venus of Urbino, Goya's Maja desnuda, and the theme of the odalisque with her black slave, already handled by Ingres among others, the picture portrays the cold and prosaic reality of a truly contemporary subject. Venus has become a prostitute, challenging the viewer with her calculating look. This profanation of the idealized nude, the very foundation of academic tradition, provoked a violent reaction. Critics attacked the "yellow-bellied odalisque" whose modernity was nevertheless defended by a small group of Manet's contemporaries with Zola at their head. (source)

All posts on Manet.

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"CI 42045" (2000) by Marta Dell'Angelo

Marta Dell'Angelo was born in 1970 in Pavia, Italy. In July 2000 her first personal exhibition was held at la Tartaruga di Plinio De Martiis Gallery. In 2002, she won (along with Sara Rossi, Matteo Basilè and Chiara) the first edition of Premio New York sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and The Italian Academy at Columbia University; in the same year she showed at Assab One, curated by Roberto Pinto and Laura Garbarino in Milano, at Solitudes at Michel Rein Gallery in Paris and at the Le Case d'Arte di Pasquale Leccese Gallery in Milano where she presented her work Classe III H. (source)

Actress Elina Löwensohn (1966)

Elina Löwensohn in Amateur (1994) by Hal Hartley

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"Hiropon" (1997) by Takashi Murakami (updated)

"Nothing superflat about Hiropon (1997), a green-haired babe skipping a rope formed from milk squirting out of her enormous breasts." (source)

Takashi Murakamimi, Hiropon (1997)

Takashi Murakami is often associated with and draws on manga and otaku, the ultrasophisticated Japanese subcultures of animation, comics, and technology. His work brings together such diverse elements as plastic models, cartoons, advertising balloons, Pop Art, and Conceptual Art strategies. Murakami uses this mass-media imagery and the charms of media communication to highlight the specificity and the contradictions of Japanese culture, particularly in its encounters with the West. For instance, his creation of the unique cartoon character DOB, based in part on Mickey Mouse and the Japanese cartoon character Astro Boy, comments on the "Disneyfication" of society and how the cuteness of a product is one way to guarantee its success. Murakami's Hiropon (1997) and My Lonesome Cowboy (1998) are figurative life-size cartoon sculptures that celebrate sexual-spirituality. Art critic Dave Hickey, writing for Artforum in December 1998, compared the baroque extravagance of My Lonesome Cowboy to Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. Murakami uses popular iconography to challenge and update traditional Japanese and Western art as he explores three-dimensional representation. His work was included in the 1999 Carnegie International. (source)

Featured comment by Emilio Sustierras :

Of course, make no mistake about the title, which is a brand name of methamphetamine developed in 1941 and commonly used by soldiers and, allegedly, the tokkôtai suicide bombers in WW2.

First two photos found here.

"Breastplate" (1992) by Cliff Bernie

Cliff Bernie, BREASTPLATE (1992), Dimensions: L-13"; W-13"; D-6", Stone: Limestone, Acrylic Paint

"Blonde Woman with Bare Breasts" (1878) by Édouard Manet

Édouard Manet, Blonde Woman with Bare Breasts (1878), Oil on canvas, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

All posts on Manet.

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Yakshini (2nd c. AD)

Rail Post with a Yakshi, India, Mathura region, Red sandstone, Kushan period, 2nd c. AD (source)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yakshini (ca. 200 B.C.)

Yakshini, ca. 200 B.C. (source)

Yakshinis (also called yaksinis or yaksis) are benevolent mythical beings of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain mythology. A yakshini is the female counterpart of the male yaksha, and they both attend on Kubera (also called Kuber), the Hindu god of wealth who rules in the mythical Himalayan kingdom of Alaka. They both look after treasure hidden in the earth and resemble that of fairies. Yakshinis are often depicted as beautiful and voluptuous, having large curves and wide hips. In the Uddamareshvara Tantra, thirty-six yakshinis are described, including their mantras and ritual prescriptions. A similar list of yakshas and yakshinis is given in the Tantraraja Tantra, where it says that these beings are givers of whatever is desired. (source)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"The Lonely Doll I" (1998) by David LaChapelle

"Well, there’s a lot of different statements going on, I mean, there’s celebrity images, pictures of some of the most famous people that make up our world. Madonna, Elton John. There’s also the most obscure people, people that are marginal, like Sharon Gault, who’s a very large woman and looks like a gigantic doll. I did her as a lonely doll on a hillside (Gault was the make-up artist Madonna giggled at in the In Bed with Madonna movie after she told her, 'I woke up and my butt was bleeding')." (link)

"In 'The Lonely Doll,' a chubby nude woman lies under a plastic dome in a vast plowed field. Something is terribly wrong with her right hand." (link)

"Eran and I" (1998) by Elinor Carucci

Elinor Carucci, Eran and I, 1998 - Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Six nudes (1917-1919) by Amedeo Modigliani

Red Nude (1917)

Seated Nude (1917)

The Big Nude (1918)

Reclining Nude (1919)

From his Wikipedia article:

"Aged 16 he made his first sexual conquest with a young Norwegian tourist and embarked on a path of debauchery from which he would never deviate."

"Modigliani had a turbulent 35 year existence, he battled childhood illness and family depression, seduced a phalanx of models and artists and fathered at least three children before the drugs and alcohol which fired his creativity ultimately ended his life in a squalid, untidy flat."

"Lorna on green cushion" and "Lorna and gold lamp" (1964) by Russ Meyer

Russ Meyer, Lorna and gold lamp, 1964/2002 C-print (custom color print Fuji crystal dyecoupler), 14 x 11 inches unframed

"I like women who are epically built, bounteous, super-abundant; who have humongous, conical, sleek, blue-veined giganzos accessorized by protuberant nipples surrounded by aureoles double the circumference of a silver dollar! Bosom Maximus!" These are the criteria Russ Meyer, now 80, and the closest thing America has produced to Rabelais, says he will use to cast an upcoming movie to be called either The Bra of God or Beyond the Valley of Pulp a Go-Go. [..] Variously dubbed "King Leer," "Hollywood primitive," "trash master" and "dirty old man," this self-proclaimed "King of the Nudies" and "glandscape artist" not only defined the sexploitation genre, he practically invented it.


In 1959 he made The Immoral Mr. Teas, the story of a man who can see through women's clothing. Shot in four days for $24,000, the film grossed more than a million. Since then, Meyer has directed 23 films -- most of them moneymakers -- and become a legend. His 1965 classic, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, the story of three go-go dancers who set off on a killing spree, was deemed "the worst film ever made" by the San Francisco Chronicle. John Waters, on the other hand, asserts it's "beyond a doubt, the best movie ever made. . . . possibly better than any film that will ever be made in the future." Best or worst, Meyer, who lives in Hollywood Hills, is currently having his first New York gallery show. The exhibition, a display of 21 black-and-white and color photographs -- some of them stills from movie productions, most studio shots -- is a batty mix of cheesiness, camp, chasteness ("I don't consider what I do pornography. I call it 'tittie boo' ") and over-the-top (and I do mean top) voluptuousness. "I start to get interested at about a D cup," Meyer has said. "Anything smaller than that is just too small for me. It doesn't matter to me if the boobs are real or fake as long as they're huge."

(from the Village Voice article "Bosom Maximus - "Russ Meyer" Feigen Contemporary" by Jerry Saltz, June 3rd, 2002)

"Jaime" (2004) by Katy Grannan

For more on Katy Grannan see my other post.

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"Desire" (1993) by Erwin Olaf

Erwin Olaf lives and works in The Netherlands and enjoys a major reputation in Europe with more than a dozen museum and gallery exhibitions scheduled for the near future in his native country and Russia, Poland, Spain and Denmark. His work is represented in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Gemeentemueum Den Haag and the ABN AMRO Collection among others. "Perverse Elegance", a major retrospective will travel in Australia in 2006. He is directing and producing a new film titled "Captain Tom". His most recent retrospective book is Silver (2003).

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

"Atari" (2006) by Coop

This painting is from Coop's solo exhibition Brand Recognition where he presents new acrylic-on-canvas paintings and ink-on-paper works. Continuing his exploration of re-appropriation, Coop expands on dissecting his own iconic imagery, popular culture, and art historical references with his new series of bold, sexy, and smart paintings.

Brand Recognition deals with the prevalence of corporate logos in contemporary society and how they have integrated seamlessly into our culture. Being both fascinated and repelled by the ubiquity of these logos, Coop addresses how they have moved passed being simple eye-catching advertisements and how they have become a part of how we self-identify in society. Combining these easily recognizable corporate images with his own popular brand, Coop touches upon the duality of himself becoming complicit in the very subject that he often finds so troubling.

Coop came out to Los Angeles from Bixby, Oklahoma in the late 1980s and quickly became regarded as one of the preeminent underground artists of his time - his iconic imagery of devil girls, smoking devil, and cars has solidified his place in pop-culture history. Exhibitions of his work have been held in galleries and museums in Los Angeles, London, New York, Chicago, and Zurich, Switzerland. His most recent solo exhibition, Parts with Appeal at sixspace in 2004, contained an ambitious continuous 78-foot multi-panel painting depicting fragmented and re-constructed images of the iconic figures he has created. Publications featuring Coop’s work have included Artweek, Juxtapoz, Paper Magazine, Playboy, The Los Angeles Alternative Press, and Rodders Journal. 2001 saw the publication of his first book - "Devil's Advocate: the Art of Coop" - and his popular sketchbook "The Big Fat One” was released in 2004.