“Dushi” is the title of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman‘s current exhibition, on display until July 4th, 2009 at Gallery West in the Hague, Netherlands. The show is comprised of gigantic stuffed animals “where the change of scale completely changes their function and feeling.” The giant animal motif is not a new one for Hofman, as you’ll see after the jump.
Noah Becker graciously allowed Beautiful/Decay into his Canadian studio to view his new body of work. Becker is about to open a second studio in New York this September for the fall 2012-13 art season. This is a correspondence studio visit, Beautiful/Decay requested the photos and they were provided by another photographer. Although the paintings are clearly portraits, Noah describes his newest work as figurative instead of portraiture. I recognize a few of the faces but generally the paintings aren’t obviously people we should know, and because they aren’t it follows that they can’t be portraits in the traditional meaning of a portrait of a specific person. Noah presents us with a romantic vision of elegant people, people who are good at living! Wish I was one of those, ha. Some of the folks feel like 70s’ rock stars or maybe authors from the 30s’, and I think I recognize some of Velasquez’s Spanish Renaissance princes. When asked Becker mentions “stillness and time frozen in a moment,” which is a way to talk about the strange nowness of consciousness, or possibly he’s saying the point of modern life is to be elegant in the absence of direction. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might as well do nothing with style.
Aaron Storck’s paintings of piled up debris and excess junk will have your eyeballs jumping from one corner of his paintings to the next in a game of visual ping pong. The paintings are covered in literally hundreds of patterns, textures, logos, and other delicately painted details. He also does some installation and video work that you can check out on his site. A word of caution his site has a ton of audio and videos that start once you click on a link so if that sort of thing drives you nuts you might want to click on the mute button.
French artist Travis Durden has created Star Wars inspired classical statues. Using digital technology, the artist has sculpted characters in faux marble with faces pulled directly from the film’s franchise and bodies sourced from classical statues found in the Louvre in Paris. His work shines light on what could be interpreted as a softer side of the sci-fi fantasy film’s cast. Darth Vadar is fashioned with a soft lock of hair and a tender hand gesture that suggests grace. Boba Fett is portrayed gently bending down, showing signs of what might be humility. Yoda is depicted as a peaceful cherub. A Storm Trooper is shown in robes holding a piece of ancient knowledge. General Grievous dramatically reaches for a bow and arrow. Durden is interested in binaries and creating new meaning from merging seemingly opposing forces. Even his name, Travis Durden, is a pseudonym created from combining names taken from two of his favorite films. He uses the format of the classical sculpture to re-fashion these Star Wars characters to be depicted almost as gods — as equally a significant part of cultural history. Durden’s sculptures seem to suggest that cultural icons have indeed become objects of worship. Will the characters of Star Wars have that same type of precedence as we see the Greek statues to those in the future?
Batman holds a gun to his own head at the edge of an empty swimming pool. Captain and Mrs. America sip mixed drinks under palm fronds. Spiderman naps on the couch. These are our Superheroes, candidly captured in their off hours. But they’re not the Superheroes we’re used to underneath their familiar suits. These Superheroes are aged, white-haired and wrinkled, and somehow completely wrong. The characters we know may die, but although they live for decades they never grow old. Our heroes stay perpetually strong, alluring, and complicated, and always, always young.
Lina Manousogiannaki’s costumed heretics of “Superheroes Gone Old” represent more than the inevitability of old age. To her, the aging superheroes they serve as reminders of the damaged Greek political system, one that politicians and people of her parents’ generation have been unwilling or unable to change.
[The series] was conceived as homage to the generation of my parents, the same one as our politicians. They have been pretending to be heroes ever since the collapse of the military junta but time has caught up with them. My heroes are old and they are afraid of everything that they can’t control. … The heroes of another time can no longer save me as they have pretended to do for so many years.
There is anger in Manousogiannaki’s writing that isn’t reflected in her images. These heroes are worn out, slightly absurd, certainly pathetic. And yet, there is the suggestion of pride here, of perseverance. They haven’t divested themselves of their worn finery. They haven’t stopped fighting. In a country with a struggling economy and generational discord, the heroes are stooped and sad. Manousogiannaki’s intent may be to put them aside and lead her own fight, but these archetypical heroes seem to be saying that it will be harder than she thinks.
This Wednesday, The Journal Gallery in Brooklyn opens a solo exhibition from German photographer Juergen Teller. The series on display, Irene im Wald (Irene in the Forest), focuses on the forest near Teller’s childhood home in Nuremberg and includes meditative exterior and interior shots that often feature his mother (Irene). Quiet and peaceful, the photos are a perfect introduction to autumn.
A monograph of the series is being released concurrently with the exhibition as a supplement to the journal 32, which is definitely worth picking up.
All images courtesy of the artist, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, and The Journal Gallery.
Hamburg Germany based painter Till Gerhard’s images are psychedelic narratives with dark undertones filled with unsettling atmospheres.
“The scenes he chooses to memorialize—dimly felt moments from that tumultuous decade in 20th Century American history when counter-culture briefly flourished—are rendered with a discreet maleficence that belies their offbeat humor and whimsical color-scatterings. Thus, an otherwise banal preoccupation with “hippy bullshit” is transformed into effectual social commentary.”- David Marcus
Italo Romano is no average skateboarder. He skates better than most people I know and doesn’t sweat the small stuff like not having legs. After watching the above video I felt like a fat, lazy pessimist who see’s the world as a half empty cup. Make sure to watch this video next time you’re complaining about how tough you have it, how things feel impossible, or when you want to give up. Thanks Italo for showing us that anything is possible and that giving up is the easy way out!