Public Art, by jane dávila


In the town where I live there is a renowned museum of contemporary art, the Aldrich Museum. They have rotating outdoor sculpture installations called the Main Street Sculpture Project .

The newest exhibit is causing quite a stir in town. Ester Partegas of Spain has installed a wry, Continue reading ‘Public Art, by jane dávila’

Andres Serrano, by jane dávila

I came across an article in New York magazine about a show that Andres Serrano, a controversial New York artist, recently had in Sweden (October 2007).
Still from YouTube video

The exhibition, called the History of Sex, was vandalized with crowbars and axes by a group of Neo-Nazis who disapproved of the sexually explicit subject matter. Read the NY Times account here.

The vandals destroyed 7 of the 14 photos on display and videotaped themselves doing this. They then posted the video to YouTube (it’s since been removed).

Andres Serrano, Klansman
Continue reading ‘Andres Serrano, by jane dávila’

Willie Cole – by jane davila

Willie Cole is an African American artist from New Jersey. The steam iron has shown up as a recurring image in his work since 1989. He creates assemblage and mixed media irons and he uses the irons themselves in the creation of his art – with scorch marks forming patterns and designs. Many, if not most of his works visually reference African Art, particularly African sculpture and textile. I find the exploration of one iconic image (or at least a very few) to be a very interesting way to work.

cole-afterburn.jpgAfterBurn by Willie Cole

cole-pressedironblossom.jpgPressed Iron Blossom by Willie Cole Continue reading ‘Willie Cole – by jane davila’

Mike Kelley, by jane dávila

I’ve been drawing inspiration for some of my monthly posts from an anthology called The 20th Century Art Book. Today I randomly opened to a page featuring the Southern California artist, Mike Kelley. He’s been featured in shows at the Whitney in NY and in a PBS documentary.

“Frankenstein” 1989, Mike Kelley

By giving new life to once-loved, furry animals Mike Kelley elicits both sympathy at their abandonmebt and annoyance at their sentamentality. Like a delinquent youth, Kelley places his subjects in suggesteive poses or groupings where they hug each other with a kind of blind compassion. He is a rebellious artist whose humorous response to the downside of life finds expression through a slightly kitsch and tasteless style. His attitude of aesthetic disobedience has its roots in his rejection of the social and moral fabric of American culture.

“More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid” and “The Wages of Sin”

About his work, Kelley has said:

I’m more of a Marxist than a symbolist. Always, my interest in popular forms was not to glorify them because I really dislike popular culture in most cases. I think it’s garbage, but that’s the culture I live in and that’s the culture people speak. I’m an avant-gardist.

We’re living in the post-modern age, the death of the avant-garde. So all I can really do now is work with this dominant culture and flay it, rip it apart, reconfigure it, expose it.

Craft Morphology Flow Chart

From the PBS documentary:

His work questions the legitimacy of ‘normative’ values and systems of authority, and attacks the sanctity of cultural attitudes toward family, religion, sexuality, art history, and education. He also comments on and undermines the legitimacy of the concept of victim or trauma culture, which posits that almost all behavior results from some form of repressed abuse.

Serious stuff from a pile of stuffed animals. I think this artist’s work is really interesting. The materials taken out of context and used to create social commentary, and the combination of humor and the unexpected is refreshing. I wish there were more examples of his work available to see on the web, but you probably need to see them in person to get the full experience.

Meret Oppenheim – by jane davila

Subtitled – “things are not what they seem…”

oppenheim-nurse.jpgThe Nurse, Meret Oppenheim

I came across this artist’s work today and love the purposeful creation of the double take in her work. According to the book I was reading about this particular piece, The 20th Century Art Book:

Fetishistic and bizarre, this work suggests bondage and sexual domination. Using real found objects, the artist has removed the dimension of craft and apparent artistry from this sculpture, thereby rendering it disturbingly realistic and subversive. The unusual juxtaposition of objects is typical of Surrealism. One of the female Surrealists, Oppenheim often alludes in her paintings and sculptures to the experience of being a woman, investigating, as in this work, the fine line between female sexuality and being the object of male desire. Oppenheim specializes in unnerving imagery. Continue reading ‘Meret Oppenheim – by jane davila’

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