We all recognize the flags, targets, numbers or colors, these motives Jasper Johns has used in his art since the mid 1950s. They are omnipresent signs in our everyday life. We are drawn to them instinctively as they are instantly recognizable and neatly sum up abstract concepts we may find hard to describe with words. We see the signs but are we fully awake to the concepts? Try this with the American flag, for instance. If you think about it long enough, one ideal and many ideas are encapsulated in this flag…
Not only are Mark Bradford’s typical works monumental in vertical and horizontal scale, they are also layered, built-up thick, oozing a palpable density. These layers can be pages from old comic books, newspaper prints, all glued down and up with shellac. Mark Bradford then works on taking his paper strata from collage to decollage.
I have never really been a fan of Damien Hirst. Or rather I have always felt attraction and repulsion in equal part, without understanding what the hype was about. Yet I am one prepared to give the benefit of the doubt, do some research to form an educated opinion. Since I have done it for Jeff Koons here, I went to look at Damien Hirst’s Veil paintings. Oops, he did it again! 24 monumental canvases, visual eye candies for sure and which sold out almost immediately. Easy work, easy sell, what’s not to like, right?? Well, for a start Damien Hirst cites Seurat’s pointillism and Pierre Bonnard’s approach to colors as main inspirations for his Veil Paintings at Gagosian Beverly Hills.
James Turrell’s installations are made of empty, titanium white painted rooms where embedded LED and fiber-optic lights project an array of programmed changing colors on the walls. Photography is never allowed. Others, like the one I am bringing you today called Dividing The Light, are constructions with an opening cut-out in the ceiling (skyspaces). Spectators can view the sky by day and night, observing its variable color as time progresses but also as the colors of the inside walls change. And that’s where you almost cannot believe your eyes : seeing the sky a given shade of mid-blue one moment, how can it suddenly look grey and diaphaneous as the walls turn purplish red? How can it shift to a darker blue when the walls go from white to yellow to brown, turning the sky almost black and opaque in the process ?
When it comes to colorful art, Yayoi Kusama pretty much obliterated 2017. People flocked to her travelling exhibitions, queued hours to spend 30 seconds in her mirrored infinity rooms and used her bright patterned artworks and polka dots to take awesome selfies and be happy. Quite an awesome accomplishment for art that is produced as the only way Kusama found to resist suicide and survive the hallucinations that have plagued her life since being a young girl. “With no distinction between her as an artist and the product of her art, this is the intensity we can’t help but feel striking us all” was how I described it in my blog last year. Another artist who produced what we perceive as colorful art but which is in fact a form of therapy to alleviate darker life events is French-born Niki de Saint Phalle. Her Coming Together sums it up for me.
The year that was 2017 is drawing to a close very fast. Oh what a year! I started it with two resolutions: 1/ Launch my art appreciation blog. 2/ Run my first marathon. I am proud I made good on both counts. The marathon was hard but the discipline helped me fill this site with more than 50 articles spanning so much art and so many very different artists. Looking back, I hopefully made you travel from Monet’s Impressionism and Seurat’s Pointillism to the Art Nouveau of Tiffany glass vases. I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite artists with you, including Korean artists Do Ho Suh’s work on displacement and Nam June Paik’s media art. Along the way, this fitted with reflecting on subjects close to my (he)art which I live by in my daily life: how to bring up kids in museums in a fun way and how pop up art experiences may or may not fit the bill as true art.
If you think you can walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Venice canals without crossing the street, you’ve either lost your mind or you’re in Las Vegas. Maybe both experiences are one and the same thing, actually. With Las Vegas being mostly all about walking endlessly through hotels and losing oneself (and more!) in the sprawling casinos, what’s real and what’s fake soon amounts to the exact same thing. It can be hard for your brain to know which is which. Disoriented by permanently dimmed lights, a pervasive smell of cigarettes and constant chimes from slot machines, it is quite hard even knowing what time of day it is. Las Vegas being a place where very little brain power is required, what little you bring, you’re encouraged to loose. Nevertheless, ask most people and they will tell you they associate Las Vegas with epic memories, usually rooted in excesses of all kind such as gambling, drinking, spending, but memories all the same. The infamous “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” sums it all.