Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nude sculpture under attack!

Edward Winkleman reports that "in Frisco Texas, Sydney McGee, a 28-year veteran art teacher, has been pushed out of the school system because one of the 89 fifth-graders she took on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art (at the principal's urging, mind you) saw a nude statue while there and complained to his/her parents."

"But seriously, for the parent who signed off on the field trip (and, one assumes, without having researched the collection before doing so) to then complain to the school is virtually criminal. And even as I write that (trying very hard to give all due respect to parents' rights), I'm thinking if a parent truly objects to having their 10-year old view a statue of a naked person in the context of an art museum then the system has failed that parent as well as that child."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Gone to Croatan" (2004) by Paul Jacobsen

As far as I can tell, Paul Jacobsen (Denver CO, 1976, USA) has only had a few group exhibitions. He used to be a painter for Jeff Koons and artist assistant to Sean Scully.

Jack the Pelican writes that "Paul Jacobsen casts a glint of sunlight in the starring role of Gone to Croatan, his painting of a buxom maiden sprawled in the lush valley of futureworld."

It's a really great painting.

"Seven up Sally" (2006) by Mel Ramos

Mel Ramos exhibition at Galerie Ernst Hilger in Vienna, Austria opens 5 October 2006.

"Self-portrait, Providence, Rhode Island (Painted arm)" (1975-76) by Francesca Woodman

This photo by Francesca Woodman will also be auctioned at Sotheby's in New York in the Photographs Auction, Session 2 on 17 October 2006. This one's estimated at 7,000—10,000 USD. (Update: sold for 12,000 USD)

"Virginia (nude)" (1933) by Edward Weston

This photo by Edward Weston will auctioned at Sotheby's in New York in the Photographs Auction, Session 2 on 17 October 2006. It's estimated at 12,000—18,000 USD. (Update: sold for 18,000 USD)

From the catalogue:

According to Amy Conger, 'There is no conclusive information about the identity of Virginia. She seems to have modeled for Edward on one occasion, and that was apparently in July 1933. She was tall with angular hips, heavy breasts, and dark hair. Although full-figured, she seems to have been involved with dance' (Conger, fig. 751).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Nude", "Rubber Catsuit" and "Distortion Pedal" (2005-2006) by Coop

Rubber Catsuit (study for Goodyear), 2006
Ink on paper
24 x 19 in. / 26 x 21 in. framed
Distortion Pedal, 2006
Ink on paper
19 x 24 in. / 21 x 26 in. framed

In his third solo exhibition at sixspace in Culver City, CA, USA, Coop presents new acrylic-on-canvas paintings and ink-on-paper works in Brand Recognition. 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. Concurrent with main exhibition, the gallery's project room space will feature the debut showing of his preparatory sketches.

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.

See all posts on Coop.

Monday, September 18, 2006

"A Young Girl Defending Herself against Eros" (1880) by Adolphe William Bouguereau

A young nude woman sits with her arms outstretched, pushing away a winged boy. He is Cupid, the god of love, holding up an arrow to pierce her. The title suggests that the young woman is trying to defend herself, yet she smiles and struggles unconvincingly against the mischievous little god.

Visitors to the Paris exhibitions of the 1870s and 1880s loved Adolphe Bougereau's paintings. The Getty Museum's painting repeats a larger composition that Bougereau made for the Paris Salon in 1880; a viewer probably saw the larger version there and requested a smaller one for private viewing.

Bougereau placed his mythological fantasy in an idyllic, Arcadia-like landscape. In fact, he made this composition in his studio, copying the landscape from the neighboring French countryside and using one of his favorite models.


"Pet Thang" (1991) by Tracey Moffatt

"Pet Thang #4" (1991) by Tracey Moffatt, #4 from a series of 6 images, photograph, 110 × 71cm, Edition of 30

Tracey Moffatt (1960) is an Australian artist who primarily uses photography and video. Her work is held in various international private and public collections including MOMA (NYC), Tate Modern (London) and Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles).

Tracey Moffatt first came to prominence in the Australian art world with her series Something More. First exhibited at the Australian Centre for Photography in 1989, the series set the tone and themes of much of her latter work. In a sequence of nine images, Something More is a loose narrative in which the artist puns on the possible meanings of the title and its veiled references to sadomasochism.

Moffatt's photographic series of works such as Pet Thang [1991] and Laudanum [1998] returned to the themes of Something More exploring mixed and sometimes obscure references to issues of sexuality, history, representation and race. Other series of images, notably Scarred for Life [1994] and Scarred for Life II [1999] again tackled these themes but which took the form of book or magazine illustrations with captions offering ironic and humorous commentaries on the images.

(sources: text | photos)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Venus Hottentot 2000" (1995) by Lyle Ashton Harris

For the exhibition Mirage: Enigmas of Race, Difference and Desire (1995), Lyle Ashton Harris in collaboration with Renee Valerie Cox created the photograph, "Venus Hottentot 2000." In this futuristic reinterpretation of the Hottentot Venus, Renee Valerie Cox directly inserts her own body into the historical matrix of Western representations that configured black female sexuality. In the photograph Cox's body is transformed, recalling the Hottentot Venus, with the addition of protruding metallic breasts and an accompanying metal butt extension. The white strings that delicately hold these metallic body parts in place with bow, seem to emphasize the artists' complex and ambivalent relationships to representations of black female sexuality. Cox wears the metallic appendages like a costume or disguise, but her own nude body is simultaneously revealed to the viewer. She stands in profile emphasizing her bodily dimensions, hands akimbo, and stares directly at the viewer.

Quote from Harris:

This reclaiming of the image of the Hottentot Venus is a way of exploring my own psychic identification with the image at the level of spectacle. I am playing with what it means to be an African diasporic artist producing and selling work in a culture that is by and large narcissistically mired in the debasement and objectification of blackness. And yet, I see my work less as a didactic critique and more as an interrogation of the ambivalence around the body.


Buy this book at

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Untitled (Girlfriend)" (2000) by Richard Prince

"Untitled (Girlfriend)" (2000) by Richard Prince, Ektacolor photograph, 40x60 inches

You're excused if you think these are photocopied magazine photos, but please keep in mind that one of Richard Prince's images, "Untitled (Cowboy)", a re-photograph, constructed from cigarette advertisements, was the first "photograph" to raise more than $1 m at auction when sold at Christie's New York in 2005.

Here's what Prince writes about the series these two photos are from at

Practicing Without A License 1977

Rephotography is a technique for stealing (pirating) already existing images, simulating rather than copying them, "managing" rather than quoting them–re-producing their effect and look as naturally as they had been produced when they first appeared. A resemblance more than a reproduction, a rephotograph is essentially an appropriation of what's already real about an existing image and an attempt to add on or additionalize this reality onto something more real, a virtuoso real–a reality that has the chances of looking real, but a reality that doesn't have any chances of being real.

The technique is a physical activity which locates an individual behind a camera, a place from which the individual can view nothing but the collected image, a place that affords the opportunity to view exactly how the audience will eventually see the image as an object and a location from which it is possible for an individual to identify him or herself as much as an audience as an author.

Appropriation 1978

I think appropriation has to do with the inability of the author/artist to like his or her own work. Especially if the work is all theirs. I think it's a lot more satisfying to appropriate, especially if you are attempting to produce work with a certain believability, an official fiction let's say. If you take someone else's work and call it your own, you don't have to ask an audience "to take my word for it". It's not like it started with you and ended up being guessed at. The effect you want to produce is not that different from what an audience sometimes experiences when viewing a good movie. And what's that?

What Cristian Metz called, "a general lowering of wakefulness".

More tits are to be seen in his parties series.

"Lindner Doll" (1965) by Jann Haworth

During the 1960s, Jann Haworth (1942) experimented with a series of cloth work 'celebrity' dolls in which she captured the spirit of the 'swinging sixties' and Pop Art. Alongside Richard Hamilton, David Hockney and her husband Peter Blake, Haworth was a major figure in the first decade of British Pop Art, exploring the imagery of comics, pin-up magazines, consumer advertisements. Two of her cloth work sculptures of this period appear in the foreground of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, a photo-collage which she co-designed with Peter Blake. She explained in an interview with David Lister:

Peter and I were there at the time, talking to Paul and John, and working out what the Pepper cover would be... The old lady and Shirley Temple figure in the foreground were mine, and the idea of going for 3-D figures in a setting was something I was doing at the time. The crowd concept was Peter's. (London, 2000)

The Lindner Doll, clad in her raucous, breast exposing corset, is a play upon the bizarre images of women found in the work of the American Pop Artist Richard Lindner. Jann Haworth continued to work in three dimensional needlework and appliqué throughout the following decade, when she worked with The Brotherhood of Ruralists. Haworth left the Brotherhood around 1980 and returned to the United States, where in Utah, she founded the Sundance Artshack Studio. (source)

It's for sale for £30,000 (56K USD).

"El Trapo Negro" (1986) by Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Found another one! Accidentally actually. The English title is "The Black Cloth". Also check out the other posts on Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"Beach 150" (2005) by Hilo Chen

Hilo Chen (1942, Taiwan) is a Photo-Realist painter. Between 1961 and 1966 he studied Architectural Engineering at Chung Yien College in Taiwan. In 1968 he moved first to Paris, and then to New York City. His work is in the collection of the Guggenheim New York.

Is this fine-art? Here's a quote from Modern Art in the Common Culture by Thomas Crow:

"But the vernacular-based nature of its means of representation (which distinguished it from most Pop painting), meant that it could not remain securely within a fine-art context. Its brief prominence provided a license for certain forms of out-and-out kitsch (the California pin-ups of Hilo Chen, for example), which had the effect of dragging the meaning of the whole practice back into the realm of the uncultivated and naive."

Observations that Chen's work might be a commentary on commercial culture are probably a stretch. His paintings are primarily exercises in technique applied to popular imagery. A painter would question why one would want to paint a photograph. Didn't photography release painting from the drudgery of documentative realism?

Galleries representing his work, and more images, are here and here, and a discussion of his work featuring commenters screaming 'offensive!' and 'porn!' is here.

Read more about contemporary photorealism in this book:
Buy this book at


Friday, September 08, 2006

"Westminster" (2006) by Erik Sandberg

Erik Sandberg (Quantico, VA, USA), "one of the most brilliant young painters in the Washington area" according to Fraser Gallery, lives and works in Washington, DC. He is a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts, George Mason University (1995), a recipient of the Morris Louis Fellowship (1999) and has a Masters in Fine Arts in Painting, George Washington University (2000).

The Washington Post writes that "Sandberg is a gifted young painter whose small, dark oils depict in exquisite detail people in various stages of undress performing a variety of contortions and acts that cannot be mentioned or shown in a family newspaper. Think Hieronymus Bosch meets Madonna at a leather gym. There's nothing easy about these works that seem to depict a multitude of virtues and vices, but it's hard to look away."

You can buy a print of the work above for 45$.

If anyone knows where to find larger versions of these paintings please leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Untitled (2005) by Erica Eyres

Erica Eyres (Canada, 1980) completed her BFA at the University of Manitoba in Sculpture in 2002. In 2004 she finished her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art. (source)

Eyres speaking about her drawings:

Most recently I have been working on a series of drawings that focus on women and how they portray themselves through self-portraits, and how these images reflect their sexuality and their self-esteem. These women straddle the border between being pitiful and hilarious so that they demand both empathy and uncomfortable laughter.
The drawings are inspired by men’s magazines, with photo spreads such as "Real Girls to Phone and Date". Women are encouraged to submit photos of themselves and to describe their ideal man, or why they’ll "do anything". I am interested in the low production quality of these images (some taken with mobile phone cameras), and how they become self-portraits that reveal the women’s insecurities and clumsiness. The original context is removed from the drawings, depicting young women who pose awkwardly in their underwear, displaying deformities that could be either major or minor (depending on how we choose to see them). Despite their awkwardness, however, the women stare back at the viewer with a kind of ease, rather than a resignation. They appear eager or expectant, implying that they are awaiting the viewer’s approval. The viewer becomes uncomfortable, not sure if they should find the women attractive, ugly, melancholy, or threatening.

"Vestido Eterno, Mexico" (1999) by Flor Garduño

Flor Garduño was born in Mexico City in 1957 and in 1979 became darkroom assistant to Manuel Alvarez Bravo. She developed her own style while working under photographer Mariana Yampolsky at the Secretary of Public Education, which involved her in visiting the rural areas of Mexico. Since then she has become an internationally acclaimed photographer, and now divides her time between Mexico and Switzerland.

Buy this book at Buy this book at Buy this book at

"Venus" (1977) by Manuel Alvarez Bravo

See other posts on Manuel Alvarez Bravo.

Buy this book at Buy this book at Buy this book at

"La Buena fama durmiendo" (1939) by Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Whether concealed by a fig leaf or locked by a chastity belt, a woman's erogenous area has traditionally been kept hidden from view. Flouting convention, Manuel Alvarez Bravo staged this scene by clothing the model's upper thighs, hips, and waist, and exposing her pubic region. Although this photograph challenges traditional representations of women, it alludes to confinement through the use of bandages around the model's wrists and ankles. These devices can be interpreted as symbols of bondage and lack of free will.

In this seemingly serene setting, the star cacti lined up beside the slumbering model signal pain and danger. The plants impede the woman's free movement, while at the same time protecting her from the sexual advances of a potential intruder. In naming this photograph The Good Reputation, Sleeping, Alvarez Bravo drew upon the Mexican proverb: Earn a good reputation, then rest on your laurels. (source)

A self-taught photographer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902-2002) purchased his first camera at age twenty while working at a government job. His earliest success at photography came around 1925, when he won first prize in a local photographic competition in Oaxaca. He returned to Mexico City, where he had been born, and in 1927 met Tina Modotti, who introduced him to a lively intellectual and cultural environment of other artists from various disciplines. Among them was Edward Weston, who encouraged Alvarez Bravo to continue photographing; Weston wrote to him in 1929: "Photography is fortunate in having someone with your viewpoint. It is not often I am stimulated to enthusiasm over a group of photographs." (source)

Buy this book at Buy this book at Buy this book at

"Triptico de los Martirios III (29958)" (1950) by Lola Alvarez Bravo

Lola Alvarez Bravo (1907-1993) was Mexico's first woman photographer. Her work is exceptional for both its compelling quality and its startling diversity. She began making photographs in 1926 under the tutelage of her husband, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and continued photographing for the next sixty years. Although some of her earliest photographs reflect her husband's influence - they shared the same simple Kodak, and often the same role of film - Lola achieved her own aesthetic during the 1940s and '50s, concentrating on two particularly vivid bodies of work-portraiture and street photography. (source)

Buy this book at

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Five paintings by John Currin

The Bra Shop, 1997, oil on canvas, 48 x 38 in.

Dogwood, 1997

La vieille barrière, 1999, huile sur toile, 193 x 102 cm

The Wizard, circa 1994

There are some wildly different ideas about exactly what Currin is up to—New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman sees him as "a latter-day Jeff Koons" trafficking in postmodern irony while Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker finds him a blissfully sincere artist tapping into the timeless values of "mystery, sublimity, transcendence." But everyone is unanimous about one thing: John Currin can paint. (source)

[..] A few years later he presented an instantly notorious group of paintings of women with basketball-sized breasts and faces done in craggy impasto acting out various soft-porn scenarios. Crass jokes rendered in oil on canvas, they are ostentatiously "bad paintings" done in the defiantly ironic mode of high-concept kitsch. Though the reviews were tepid, Currin got a big thumbs-up from Juggs magazine, which applauded him for "paying attention to the worthy theme of big tits." (source)

Buy this book at Buy this book at Buy this book at