Archive for the ‘fine_arts’ Category

Too Many Guppies

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I took a video of a clarinet and drum duo inside the Metro Tech Subway Station and created a rotoscope animation with the musicians in the foreground, a collection of subway advertisements that I’ve documented over the years in the background and recent gentrification interviews as audio… This is New York City!

June Leaf at the Whitney Museum

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June Leaf

I recently saw the exhibition of drawings and sculptures by June Leaf and felt a familiar throwback to work that I really enjoyed 20 years ago. The drawings are fun and fantastic. In an art world that tends to take itself much to seriously, June Leaf’s exhibition is a reminder that art may be inquisitive, fun and simple to execute. There’s a sincerity in the work that I generally don’t find in Contemporary Art. The show is up until July 17 at the Whitney Museum.

June Leaf

June Leaf

June Leaf

June Leaf

June Leaf

Written by ricardo

May 4th, 2016 at 8:31 am

Fischli & Weiss Popular Tableaus

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Peter Fischli and David Weiss unfired clay tableaus are whimsical and striking. Here are just a few that I really enjoyed from the Guggenheim exhibition How To Work Better.

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Fischli & Weiss Sculpture

Written by ricardo

April 21st, 2016 at 11:29 am

Stalin to Putin

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Stalin/Putin, Smith/Mugabe, Somoza/Ortega, Hirohito/Kim Il-sung, Idris/Gaddafi, Batista/Castro, GOP/Dems are ongoing portrait pairings of autocratic leaders that reflect a corruption of power. These illustrations have been created with the intention of animating a transformation from one face to the other as video loops. “Stalin to Putin” is the second animation of the series. “Somoza to Ortega” was completed quickly following the Sandinista’s last constitutional amendment that got rid of term limits, facilitating Ortega’s permanency as Nicaraguan president. I created the illustrations and my assistant Thomas Medina is the animator behind “Stalin to Putin”.

The Essex Street Market Recordings 8

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As Juana Figueroa of Luna Brothers market within the Essex Street Market broke down boxes to contribute to an installation within the Cuchifritos gallery, I spoke with her about that afternoon’s lunch. Listen to her describe it below, yams quick, simple and delicious:

Listen to the full collection of recordings.

Written by ricardo

March 2nd, 2016 at 8:00 am

The Essex Street Market Recordings

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Recetas y Gangas

Proposed work “Recetas y Gangas” audio montage of vendors projected onto the street through a bullhorn mounted on the facade of the Essex Street Market

Commonly street markets around the world have both an outdoor and indoor space. The perimeters of the market may extend on to the street to invite pedestrians in to the market. Rather than walls, street markets may present large openings and awnings to create an arcade where people are at once outside and inside. The Essex Street Market in the Lower East Side of New York City does not have a side walk extension beyond sandwich boards and signage outside its brick wall. The Essex Street Market facade does not even present pedestrian level windows for those outside to peer in to the interior. The facade is rather an uninviting brick facade, perhaps a planned institutional barrier that Mayor La Guardia desired as he sought to take cart vendors off the sidewalk in an effort to clean up the streets from obstacles and noise. For the exhibition “Lettuce, Artichokes, Red Beets, Mangoes, Broccoli, Honey and Nutmeg: The Essex Street Market as Collaborator” at Cuchifritos curated by Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful , I have sought to extend the Essex Street Market on to the sidewalk through sound.

There is a long history of market vendors announcing, singing or chanting their goods to the public. On Essex Street before cart vendors were moved off the street and into the market, they would call out their goods, hoping to attract buyers. I imagine that when the market first opened this practice continued. Today, walk through a traditional Latin American market and you will hear various products sung in to the air. To develop my project, I solicited vendors to vocalize their products and the more performative, the better. Only two vendors played along, one eagerly – Rosella Albanese from Pain d’Avignon and another through a bit of coaxing – Yanivis Rodriguez of Luna Brothers. You may listen to each of their recordings below.

Yanivis Rodriguez, Luna Brothers


Rosella Albanese, Pain d’Avignon


When I was trying to talk Yanivis into the recording while she worked the register, a shopper began to tell me about her recipes for preparing yams. It was an older Dominican woman, perhaps in her 60s who after describing her recipe, told me about the many health benefits of yams.

As I was having a difficult time convincing vendors to sing or chant their goods, I decided to request a recipe from them. This turned out effective as I’ve collected several recipes from vendors and customers. Over the next few weeks, I will describe the interactions with the subjects and you may listen to the shared recipe. The final piece is an audio montage that captures a portrait of the Essex Street Market through the voices of vendors and customers alike all recorded within the market. The audio montage is titled “Recetas y Gangas” (Recipes and Deals) and is available online. And please check out the show at Cuchifritos in the Essex Street Market opening on February 22nd, 2016.

FAILE at the Brooklyn Museum

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FAILE

“FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at the Brooklyn Museum is the epitome of hipster art. It’s fun, participatory, ambitious, cool, but lacks substance. I enjoyed the work visually and appreciated the nod to rock posters and arcades, but as with the video games presented, the work is not layered or nuanced or provocative. (The video games are worth playing for only a minute as they are more so about hip graphics and chirps, than game play or social commentary as much of game art is.)

FAILE

FAILE

“Temple,” a sculptural structure reminiscent of a classical temple or mausoleum in ruin is the most striking work. The ceramic and iron work is highly detailed. At the rear center where one might find an alter is a male torso with a horse head wearing goggles and an oxygen tank. It is an end-of-times idol. An ironic creature more foreboding than an object of worship. The beautifully detailed work is unfortunately riddled with kitsch and self-labeling as the name “FAILE” is embedded in the work. I suppose that the kitsch as well as the identity stamped throughout the work is a critique of consumer culture. Unfortunately the identity FAILE is so prevalent in the work that the art itself becomes objects of consumer culture, hip, cool to look at, but one walks away with nothing. Perhaps that is the goal.

FAILE

FAILE

FAILE

Two recent sculptures “Wolf Within” and “Fantasy Island” are monuments to youth culture – white, hipster youth culture. Not surprisingly, FAILE – Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller are a couple white dudes based in Williamsburg.

FAILE

FAILE

There is so much craft and attention to detail that I want the work to tell complex tails, but it is also such a cacophony of stuff that the work lacks an anchor, a base to reflect upon and allow me as a viewer to traverse. As soon as I start enjoying one tableau, I’m jolted by some kitsch material lifted from a 50’s movie poster or pulp book cover.

FAILE

“Dictator Cycle” at Art Student League of Denver

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My illustrated series of dictators is up at the Art Student League of Denver. The series has six dictator pairings from dictator to liberator or reformist turned dictator… Stalin/Putin, Somoza/Ortega, Idris/Gaddafi, Smith/Mugabe, Batista/Castro, Hirohito/Kim Il-sung with current day repercussions. Ah, the effects of power…

Dictator Cycle

Dictator Cycle

Dictator Cycle

Written by ricardo

July 12th, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Adrián Villar Rojas at Moderna Museet

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Adrián Villar Rojas

Adrián Villar Rojas at Moderna Museet in Stockholm

While seeing Adrián Villar Rojas’s “Fantasma” exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, I was immediately reminded of Gabriel Orozco. The work, the objects, the installation and presentation were a second coming of Orozco’s efforts, however, unfortunately much more affected.

With Orozco’s work, I tend to be presented with a sense of discovery by mistake or happenstance. Many of Orozco’s photographs document a visually engaging observation that is about to fade or capture a playful intervention. And the objects as well, may be found objects with slight interventions or playful ideas that have been produced at human scale. Although Villar Rojas’s objects harken to Orozco’s sculptures, they appear entirely artificial and do not have a sense of playful discovery. They seem entirely manipulated and in the end not very interesting or engaging.

I wish that the large installation of objects were all in the vein of the defeated Robotech diorama in the stark white space preceding the larger hall (pictured above). At least this piece has more fun with the Fine Art museum setting than the pretentious tall island of stuff in the main gallery.

Adrian Villar Rojas

Adrian Villar Rojas

The museum presents an interview with Adrián Villar Rojas in which he unfortunately comes across as a bit pretentious. I’ll be surprised if this work is worth restoring and preserving.

Written by ricardo

June 24th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Art in Copenhagen’s Meat Packing District

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Emil Toldbod

Sculptures by Emil Toldbod at Gether Contemporary

Emil Toldbod sculptureGether Contemporary’s “Beneath the Surface” features the work of five young artists from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; Esben Gyldenløve, Oskar Jakobsen, Christine Overvad, Emil Toldbod and Nicky Sparre Ulrich. The only work that caught my imagination were the mixed-media sculptures by Emil Toldbod that comprise a series titled “Second Dive: Entering Another World”. Apparently the sculptures are employed in a film in which he wears and uses the sculptures to walk the surface of the sea digging through it’s ground. Below is what I imaging to be a test video in which he wears weighted boots to try and walk along the bottom of a swimming pool. The shoes in the video are pictured to the left.

At the bottom left of the image is a helmet that Emil wears in his film and to the right is a shovel that he pushes along the sea’s bottom. To the right of the helmet, are concrete rings that he wears on his thighs and in the back concrete weights that he drags along to help him remain below the water surface. The sculptures immediately brought to mind the literary genre Speculative Fiction as the artist crafted survival tools from found objects to allow him to trove the bottom of the sea after the waters have risen over much of the continents. These are make-shift tools assembled and crafted by impoverished survivors of a not so distant future that will help them continue living from the debris of past civilization. As I know nothing about the film or “Second Dive: Entering Another World” other than seeing a few sculptures on view at Gether Contemporary and a still on the Gether site, I’m just making all this up in contemplating Emil Toldbod’s work.

1. Første skridt i min søgen efter det omvendt drejede sneglehus. from Emil Toldbod on Vimeo.



Above Gether Contemporary in Copenhagen’s Meat Packing district is Galleri Bo Bjeggard where I enjoyed the whimsical exhibition “Flowers for Poul” (PDF catalog for “Flowers of Poul”). “Flowers for Poul” celebrates the 90th birthday of deceased artist Poul Gernes by presenting the work of John Armleder, Cosima von Bonin, Paul Fagerskiold, Callum Innes, SUPERFLEX, Janaina Tscape and Eriwn Wurm as well as work by Poul Gernes. Flowers for Poul The exhibition is beautifully installed and visually engaging as large colorful works keep the viewer engaged from room to room. The works that stood out to me are SUPERFLEX’s “Information Machine” and “Commons Machine”. Although these pieces are simple and don’t function very well, particularly the make shift tops of “Information Machine” the pieces allow for simple interactivity that inanely reflect on our networked society.

Flowers for Pou
SUPERFLEX’S “INFORMATION MACHINE” “models the struggle between the desire to share information and the desire to contain information. Player A (represents the desire to share information) plays against Player B (represented by the pole in the middle) to choose between sharing information or containing information. The player with the most rings on the pole wins. If there are no rings on the pole the people do not have to choose between sharing information or containing information. The game is endless.” As described by SUPERFLEX, the players are our desire to share as well as contain information and their goal is to have us engage.

Flowers for Pou
COMMONS MACHINE, I would enjoy a lot more if the tops actually worked. Built for 2-10 players acting as “software programmers are working together to develop an open-source system. The programmers are contributing by launching their SPINNING TOPs with open source codes (the spinning top). The source code must not end up in the proprietary domain area (the yellow area) but remain in the common area (the purple area). If any source code ends up in the proprietary area, the operating system is no longer free.” Unfortunately, the tops don’t really spin, it’s art.


From Bo Bjerggaard we walked over to V1 Contemporary Art Center which featured the art of two artists who began their careers as grafiti and tag artists in the Eighties – Barry McGee and Todd James. Their work is well documented and critiques, so I’m only including a few images more so for my own visual archive. I love Barry McGee’s patterns and the simplicity of Todd James’s fantasy drawings in his zine “Beyond the Gates” of viking-like warrior women.

Barry McGee

Barry McGee

Barry McGee

Todd James’s drawings are powerful in their printed comic format, I do not find the paintings at all interesting.

Todd James

Todd James

Todd James

Todd James

Boring…

Todd James

Written by ricardo

June 19th, 2015 at 1:37 am