Time we don’t have and don’t take. Time we can’t get back and most crucially time we can never acquire…I knew nothing of Valeska Soares and her art but how apt that her works poetically speak of time and memories. Since I saw her exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum, her pieces have lingered on my mind so much that I am in no danger to ever forget her name. And her world might just bring you a welcome dose of mindfulness as we all get ready for a bit of summer madness…before it’s time to face school supplies again.
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.
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.
Earlier this summer, I watched the movie Monet and I on the plane back from Europe. The following day, at a routine vision appointment, I was told I had typical California sun damage AND cataract on both eyes. The drama queen in me immediately thought about Monet and how cataract actually plagued his life, altered his perception of colors and pushed him slowly but surely towards the abstraction visible in his Grandes Décorations (1914-1926) at L’Orangerie. But let’s face it, cataract is no big deal nowadays. I won’t need the routine operation for another 10-15 years so what did I do? I got some cool glasses instead. Then I got a nasty inflammation on my sun damage areas and got to wear my cool frames a lot! This made me think about how much I rely on my eyes. And just like that, I was back thinking of Monet.
Do yourself a favour, go see a point of view from Saudi Arabia that’s mainly ignored by the media these days. Pause by Abdulnasser Gharem is at LACMA. Rush to it before it closes on July 2, 2017. Here is why… September 11, 2001 changed the world as we knew it, for all of us. And here it is, creeping in, the “us” which goes with, or rather against, “them”. The self-perpetuating lack of understanding feeding only more violence. That knee-jerk reaction of protecting ourselves by closing off when we are in a state of shock and feeling under attack. We can’t begin to understand what happened and is still going on to this day… Don’t you wish we could hit Rewind and Stop? Erasing the bad dream… Instead, hit Pause at LACMA and look intently at Abdulnasser Gharem ‘ s powerful perspective. Gharem is from Saudi Arabia. He is a Muslim, an Arab, a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi army and he discovered that two of the 9/11 hijackers were old classmates.
Give me the kids on holiday or a 3-day long weekend and I invariably ask them (in vain!) to spring clean their bedrooms. After the usual outcry and refusal this week, I came with a cunning plan to make us all see our bedroom in a whole new light. We headed to the Pasadena Norton Simon Museum to look at the second version of Van Gogh’s Bedroom, never before exhibited on the West Coast. But wait a minute, second version?? Yes, Van Gogh painted 3 versions of his famous Bedroom. This puzzled my 10-year-old daughter since she described her bedroom as unique as, and I quote, “a chest of awesomeness, fun and feelings”. So what exactly happened with Van Gogh? The first version, called Amsterdam version, was painted in 1888. Van Gogh was experiencing a renewal. Settled in Arles, he was happy, full of hope that Gauguin would come to move in the adjacent bedroom, that together they would paint the town as yellow as the house! The Bedroom is therefore his way to present quite a “mature” life project. Never before did Van Gogh stay in the same place for long as he always struggled in all relationships. Interestingly, […]
A large David Hockney retrospective recently opened at Tate Britain. This is not a review of an exhibition I won’t be able to see in person, instead let’s focus on Hockney’s “perspectives”. These should make YOU want to go check out his work, in London before May 29, 2017 or elsewhere. A quick word on depth and perspective. Artists had not figured it out before the Renaissance so they resorted to stacking figures of pretty much equal size in what’s called medieval overlap. Everything looks quite flat and rigid. With the Renaissance came Brunelleschi and Da Vinci. They worked out linear perspective and vanishing point. Have a look at the picture above: even though you know the pier is made of two sets of poles which remain at the same distance from one another, as it recedes in the distance it looks like they shrink and converge into one point, the vanishing point on the horizon line. It’s called monocular perspective. But David Hockney calls it “cyclopic perspective”. Why is that? In his art, David Hockney wants you and him to be “looking with both eyes”. So let’s dive from multiple vantage points. In the 1980’s, Hockney used Polaroid pictures […]
Superficiality, distortion and lack of authenticity are plaguing our world, our news and sometimes our relationships with people. Maybe technology makes everything available but it also buries us under an avalanche of impersonal content with little substance. So, with this in mind, I give you the very personal art of Do Ho Suh and his many variations on the theme of displacement. Have you ever moved to a different country? Have you ever had to leave your comfort zone to start from scratch at school, at work, at the grocery store? I am French, married to a Brit and after living in quite a few countries, we are currently in California. It is not the most extreme expatriation by any means, but displacement knows no geographic measure. For me, Do Ho Suh sums up the many shapes of displacement in this little house landed askance on the roof of a building. His artworks always resonate up close and personal and they’ve helped me long after the exhibitions have closed. I saw his Apartment A (2011–2012), Corridor and Staircase (2011–2012), and Unit 2, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA (2014) during an exhibition at the MCASD last year so I will use my pictures to describe what I feel may […]