Larry Clark at the MAMVP: censured by the city of Paris

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
I saw the exhibition Kiss the past hello last week and I clearly don't understand why it has been censured. Even prohibited under 18 years old! Come on it si not the first time that a picture of a threesome or a penis is exhibited. In a different way, Araki, the Surealism, even the German expressionism, can be as provocative as him. However I totally understand that some people can be shocked...

Born in 1943, Larry Clark is an American artist who tried to show through his work the real American Youth and all the problems that are related: alcohol and drugs addiction, using weapons, sex... At the beginning he took pictures and filmed his friends and himself. then he met different groups of young people and became a part of their gang. His work shows us a disenchanted Youth on the margins of the society. Pictures are not so big however they are very intense.

Exhibition takes place in the same museum (MAMVP) as the Basquiat's one. However this one runs until Januray 2sd. So if you're not too high after the NYE you should go!


Basquiat at the MAMVP

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
It's with no doubt one of the most beautiful exhibitions about Basquiat I've ever seen. I remember the one in Milan. There is nothing to compare. Or maybe just the works that are hung on the walls. The display of the artworks is very clear and the organisation in the space of the museum is well done. For those who don't really know his work, explanations are comprehensible and easy to read.

Basquiat's universe is a mix between myths and religion, profane and sacred, voodoo and texts from the Bible... He gave us his own definition the Black-American culture: violente, underground, anarchic. He was proud of his African roots and his negritude. We can find in his artworks all the influences he got from Warhol, music, boxe, his everyday life... He used to paint on every kind of supports such as doors, windows, canevas, planks even a refrigerator!

A must to see!!! Exhibition runs until January 30th.


Andy Warhol in Union Square...

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
Even if winter hasn't really started yet, one already speaks about spring. The Public Art Fund (leading presenter of artists' projects, new commissions, and exhibitions in Public spaces) scheduled the installations of three massive sculptures this spring. 20 sculptures - minimal structures - made by Sol LeWitt, an American artist who died 3 years ago, will be installed in City Hall Park downtown. A "gateway" made by Eva Rotschild, an iris artist based in London, will be placed in front of the Plaza at the entrance to Central Park. That piece is supposed to be "the form of a multidirectional arch". And finally, a 10-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Andy Warhol will be exhibited in Union Square.

This sculpture is made by Rob Pruitt, an American visual artist based in New York. He decided to put the sculpture, called "The Andy Monument", on the corner of 17th street and Broadway which is actually the location of the Factory. He depicted Warhol wearing blue jeans and a tweed jacket. "Andy" is posing with a camera around his neck and he's carrying a shopping bag full of magazines. One says it would be issues of the Interview magazine. Warhol helped found it and he would have been seen in Union Square, standing here and giving out the magazines to the crowd.

Exhibition will be open on March 1st and will run until Aug. 28th.
Will I meet at the Warhol's Factory party this saturday?


Ugu Rondinone at Gladstone

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
What a funny exhibition! Gladstone gallery hosts a super cool show: seven little men are sitting on the floor of the gallery. Ugo Rondinone is a Swiss artist who currently lives and works in New York. He's know for being a mixed-media artist whose works explore themes of fantasy and desire.

At the first sight and if it's crowded you might can think that those are real people!! (you might also need glasses...) The seven human-scale figures have quite the sane size than a human being. They are all made from a mixture of wax and earth pigments. They are all sitting on the floor, against the wall and posing in different positions. Some of them remind me the Thinker of Rodin or event eh human-scale sculptures made more recently by Gormley.

Wanna pose next to those little men?!


Rauschenberg and Kiefer at Gagosian

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
What a feast for the eyes! Those exhibitions are so amazing. And as usual in every Gagosian exhibition, works are beautifully exposed. For those who may don't know, Robert Rauschenberg was an American artist dead in 2008. He was best know for his Combine Paintings: two-dimensional paintings made of non-traditional materials and objects. Anselm Kiefer is a German born artist who lives and works in Paris. He is known for his works based on themes of German history and the horror of the Holocaust.

Rauschenberg was one of the first artist who mixed art and the mess of life and one of the most inventive. His inspiration came from the immediate and the incidental. He created a new visual language based on collage and mixture between painting and sculpture. He rejected traditional conventions of unitary meaning advanced by hight art. He always tried to experiment new ways to create and construct a pictorial surface. Throughout this exhibition you'll see the Monochrome Paintings but also some Combines, other huge paintings and sculptures such as those made of cardboard.

The Kiefer's exhibition is the first one in New York since 2002. This show is very intense and deep but not too oppressive. As we could have imagine. The main subject of this exhibition is the installation Occupations which is based on the series of photographs from 1969 in which he appears making the HitlergruB in front of European sites of history. Int he room you definitely feel the weight of history and the horror of the war. But it's not disturbing. It's even kind of beautiful and touching.

Both in Chelsea, these exhibitions are totally different but if you have, go for it. They are very impressive and they both run until December 18th...


AUCTIONED!! Modigliani: 61.500.000 USD at Sotheby's

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
As you may know auctions started yesterday night at Sotheby's. November is an important month in the art world in the City. Opened yesterday with the evening Impressionist and Modern Art sale, one can say that the season is off to a good start. Prices were solids even if about fifteen lots were passed. I was quite surprised to see that some works such as those made by Moore haven't been sold. Speaking about sculpture, Maillol seems to have the wind in his sails!

The masterpiece of this evening sale was without any doubt: Nu Assis Sur Un Divan (La Belle Romaine) painted by Amedeo Modigliani in 1917 and sold for more than 61M USD. His other painting, Jeanne Hebuterne, was sold for 17M USD, but the quality is clearly not the same. Someone maybe wanted to increase the cote... Anyway, the painting made by Henri Matisse, Danseuse dans le Fauteuil, Sol en Damier, was auctioned for more than 18M USD and next to The Modigliani, it matched perfectly... But it's not the same buyer!!

Let's see what's gonna happen tonight at Christies!! Personally, can't wait to see the Contemporary Art Sales next week...


NARA!! "Nobody's fool"

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
Right in the middle of Park Avenue (midtown east) you'll see two enormous white sculptures that are facing each other. Two huge little girls who perfectly depict the universe of Yoshitomo Nara, a Japanese artist born in 1959. I didn't really know his work but the exhibition, his first one in NY, is stunning! You'll see it at the Asian Society on Park.

Exhibition shows us more than one hundred works including sculptures, paintings, ceramics, drawings... You get into his world and there are so many works! It helps you to understand his sensibility and his own universe. You get into his mind by getting into real little houses full of drawings, paintings, sculptures... Each room depicts a different topic. All is about dream, childhood, animals, associated to the popular culture.

And for those who have time, stop by Sotheby's to see the exhibition. Sales are next week!!


Oliver Herring and his performances

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
To those who are kinda tired of exhibitions about paintings and sculptures, you should go to the Meulensteen gallery and have a look on its new show: Area for Action, an ambitious exhibition of ongoing performances, improvisatory sculptures, and real-time collaborative art works made by Oliver Herring, a german artist.

The walls replace the canvases. The entire gallery is covered by spatters of paint. The floor is full of diverse materials such as paint, glitter, confetti... The title refers to Herring's organization of the gallery space. The role of the artist, his public and the interaction between both has been redefined.

Exhibition runs until November 6th and there is a special closing party and performance on November 4th...


Minimal Group Exhibition at the Gladstone Gallery

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
As you may know the Galdstone Gallery, which is one of my favorite gallery, hosts an amazing show which runs until October 23rd. Artists who are exhibited: Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Richard Long and Mario Merz.

Carl Andre, an American artist, is best known for his ordered linear format and grid format sculpture. Sol LeWitt, an American artist, is recognized with his wall drawings and "structures". Dan Flavin, who's also American, rose to fame with his sculptures and installations from commercially available fluorescent light fixtures. Richard Long, an English artist, is one of the most famous British land artist and his sculptures are often made from rocks and similar found material. Mario Merz, who's an Italian artist fascinated by architecture and most know for his igloos, explores relationship between nature and the subject.

Go go go! You only have one week left.
Have a nice and cultural week end...


Chelsea Fall 2010!!

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
After an amazing summer in Ibiza (thanks T.), I'm finally back in the City... Hhhmmm it's freezing! I already told you about Filomeno, Rob Pruitt, John McCracken, Opalka and Kempinas... But there are so many others exhibitions right now!

One of the most impressive exhibition is certainly the one hosted by the Pace Gallery: 50 years at Pace. A multi-venue retrospective is shown at the gallery on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. It relates us the history of the gallery and who have influenced its narrative over the past five decades (artists, people, ideas...). The exhibition is divided in four parts according to the different locations and each gallery explores a different side of the Pace's history. This exhibition is a feast for the eyes!!

Gagosian gallery hosts an interesting exhibition: Transport. The "Silver Surf" is my favorite piece. Here Marc Newson tries to explore the full range of his vehicle design and it shows us his obsession with human and mechanical locomotion. But please guys, try to be a little bit more original!! After the boat made by Xavier Vheillan at the beginning of the year - and which by the way hasn't been sold during an auction this summer - the Newson's reinterpretation of a Riva is exposed...

The Interrupted Image is the new exhibition hosted by the Nicholas Robinson gallery. Five artists who live and work all around the world were worked together to create this group show. Wafaa Bilal's work is interactive and very funny. For those who know Edouard Manet's paintings, you'll be amused by his own interpretation of A Bar at the Folies Bergeres. Unless you are a very big fan... you'll be shocked because it's a mix of painting, photograph, video, and you're a part of the work!

Usually the Winston Wachter gallery is one of my favorite. They are very good to discover new contemporary emerging artists. I really like the new exhibition of Betsy Eby: Scales and Measures but it smells!! Artists who use encaustic technique often forget this problem. Here she tried to express the feeling of music by making it visible. Each painting is a particular piece of music. It's very charming, calm and the funny thing is that it can make you think of some paintings and drawings made by contemporary Chinese artists...

Heroes of Birth at the Luhring Augustine gallery brings us into a very particular world, insane, fantastic, magic, scary in the same time. it's the third Pipilotti Rist's solo exhibition at the gallery. You'll see a triptych of LCD screens mounted on the wall in the first room. Cascading fabrics that descend from the ceiling and become undulating canvases in the second one. And finally in the last room, a huge chandelier made of underpants - collected from the artist and her family and friends - is suspended from the ceiling.

And to those who missed the Matisse exhibition, no worries it wasn't so impressive! Go to Chelsea and if it's raining go to the Park restaurant on 17th st. and 10th av...


Zilvinas Kempinas at Yvon Lambert

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Remember the last time I told you about him? When I was in Berlin... We can definitely see the evolution of his work, which has grown increasingly, through this exhibition, the first one at the Lambert Gallery.

He took possession of the gallery to create a surreal and magical space. He has transformed architectural spaces and light to create optical effects. Unwound magnetic tapes and fans which are now lit are dancing in the middle of this futurist ballroom. Ambiance is multiplied by the reflections of the spinning lights in fluctuating panels of Mylar.

In the same time, several beautiful paintings made by Roman Opalka, a French artist with Polish origins, are showed in the gallery. It's also his first solo exhibition with Yvon Lambert. His main project is to work on the passage of time. His paintings represent a sequence of numbers from "One" to "the Infinite"...


John McCracken at David Zwirner

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Once John said: "My works are minimal and reductive, but also maximal. I try to make them concise, clear statements in three-dimensional form, and also to take them to a breathtaking level of beauty." To those who really like minimal art, you're gonna love this exhibition!

The four stainless steel sculptures, entitled Star, Infinite, Dimension and Electron and made in 2010, are emplaced in the middle of a big empty room. The columns, basically made for outdoor space, are polished to produce a high degree of reflexion and it creates an interaction between the fours. Material used seems to be breakable, delicate but strong and dense in the mean time. This installation is zen, geometrical, elegant and it's the perfect definition of what Minimal is.

To seen in the mean time: a selection of drawings and three-dimensional objects made by Al Taylor, an American artist who lives and works in the City. He tries to extend all the possibilities of vision that the viewer has by creating new ways of experiencing and imaging space. he doesn't make any difference between his drawings and his "sculptures" which are to him: "drawings in space"...



Good evening contemporary art lovers!
On my way to Union Square I saw on Broadway those two impressive fluorescent sculptures! Statuesques is an exhibition hosted by the Public Art Fund that brought together a group of six international artists: Pawel Althamer, Huma Bhabha, Aaron Curry, Thomas Houseago, Matthew Monahan, and Rebecca Warren. Their sculptures, ten of their major works, reinterpret and extend the language of figurative sculptures of the twenty-first century.

Located in Lower Manhattan and bordered by Broadway, Chambers street, Centre street, and Park row, this exhibition celebrates the return of figurative sculptures. However it's not in a classical way. It's playful, it's colorful, funny and sophisticated in the same time. Approaches and works are very different however they share many characteristics: they tend towards abstraction, assemblage, construction of form...

This show results of a new curatorial approach: emphasizing public access and interaction.
Exhibition runs until December 3rd...


Murakami in the Chateau de Versailles

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
After Jeff Koons and Xavier Veilhan, Takashi Murakami is now exhibited in the Chateau de Versailles, one of the greatest symbols of Western history. I didn't see the exhibition yet but bringing together two important emblems such as Versailles and Murakami should be very interesting! To me it's like the reunion of Western and Eastern culture. It should be interesting to see how Murakami, who's from the realm of samurai, has curated his show!!

About the exhibition Murakami said: "So it is probable that the Versailles of my imagination corresponds to an exaggeration and a transformation in my mind so that it has become a kind of completely separate and unreal world. That is what I have tried to depict in this exhibition." Some of sculptures are golden and represent strange figures. It might simply be his vision of our endearing King Louis XIV!

Even if the exhibition just opened two days ago, controversy over it has already been debating. It can be shocking for traditionalists but it's a good way to show contemporary art to a large public. His work is seductive, funny, attractive and intriguing in the same time. Big toys for collectors! Exhibition runs until December 12th...


Rob Pruitt, Pattern and Degradation

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Gavin Brown Entreprise, in collaboration with his neighboring gallery Maccarone, hosts a new major exhibition of Rob Pruitt new works. This partnership between both galleries gives them the opportunity to create a succession of ambitious exhibitions across three exhibitions spaces.

This exhibition takes inspiration from the Amish tradition of Rumspringa, a pennsylvanian term that means "running around" - Amish adolescents are allowed to go out from their lifestyle and explore the outside. According to him, an artist should be ever in that position; an unbridled human, indifferent to convention and with every avenue open to him.

These sculptures are particularly awesome! Made of bundled stacks of flattened cardboards, they are like  many little anthropomorphic monsters who wander in the gallery with their enormous eyes stared!
Go for it, exhibition runs until October 23rd.


Martin Denker, artist, between photograph and visual art

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Martin's work is the reflection of his own world, the one where he brings us. When you have a look on his works for the first time, you cannot be focused only on one point. They don't really have any foreground or  background and photographs are full of details and symbols whom have the same and equal value. You can stand right in front of the photographs for hours and try to discover and understand their significations. Each time another sense appears... He found his inspiration in our society (images of foreign cities, of people and situation, of data material from the Internet...) using all the details he can find. He picks them up, put them together and creates a new reality based on his own perception of the world. He transforms and merges two bodies, the symbioses of human and virtuality, animal or machine... A process that reminds us the countless visualized transformations in the films made by David Cronenberg. Apparently the world isn't big enough for him! He destroys images to finally recreate them. He fragments and restructures them as in a kaleidoscope.

Dear Martin, could you please introduce yourself? During your studies, have you been influenced by any artists as Thomas Ruff for example?

"My name is Martin Denker, I was born in Hamburg in 1976 and I'm a photographer and a painter. I studied literature and fine arts in Greifswald/Germany from 1996-2000, painting and photography in San Antonio/USA from 2000-2001 and photography in Dusseldorf/Germany, from 2001-2006. I have been influenced by several great teachers and artists and to mention each one would mean to go beyond the scope of this interview...
My earliest important influence as I see it today was perhaps my teacher Ronald C. Binks from Chicago, who was my professor in San Antonio. Ron taught me painting and large format photography and he was the one to actually tear down the barriers in my visual thinking, giving me a more transcending perception and a freedom of view. [...] he introduced me to White's works along with the works of his contemporaries Stieglitz, Steichen, Adams, Weston, Cunningham, etc... Ron is a god of Black and White photography, a wizard in composition, developing film and printing. To see him dodge and burn b/w prints like a painter in the lab was a great source of inspiration for me. [...]. And Ron is an exceptional paitner and draftsmen influenced mainly by Beckman and Bacon, which is maybe important towards understanding my own work in the force field between painting and photography. The same aesthetical set of rules applies for painting, photography and even performance, sculpture, acting, writing, etc..., that was my conclusive deduction from my studies with him.
Another influence in my US days was photographer Swain Edens. [...] he was one professional shooter introducing me to lighting, digital photography and postproduction. [...]. When it comes to accuracy, perfection and details it's definitly what I learned from Swain Edens in the professional environment of his studio.
During these days, I also studied Photoshop at the University and I got more and more into working on the screen instead of the easel. I traded in pigment for pixel, so to say. When I returned to Germany in 2001 I started my studies at the Art Academy in Dusseldorf and I decided to study with Thomas Ruff, who was another fundamental influence on me. Thomas had been using the computer to enhance and manipulate his photographs since the early 1990s and by the time I picked up my studies he had totally turned away from shooting with a camera. His works, especially the nudes and the substrates, have been a crucial influence in those days, for I perceived them as paintings produced with photographic means.
The concept of the substrates is the effect of visual bulk: due to having too much information available, the image becomes an appealing, colorful surface in the process of blending and the content is not accessible any more although it exists. A parallel to our world: a deluge of information leading to superficiality by losing precision. A process of entropia with information becoming a white noise. Thomas achieved that effect by layering images in the computer. Et voila... that is how I could describe my own work with few words. I'd say I started developing my visual language out of the words that the substrates had spoken.
[...] In 2002 I started working with Andrea Gursky, with whom I have the closest relationship and I have spent most time with. Maybe he is my most important influence, also because I travelled the world with him and at times we shared every hour of the day for weeks in a row during projects [Olympic games in Athens, countless Formula 1 around the globe, stock markets in the Middle East...]. He showed me a planet, so rich in detail, that an image seemed hardly enough to capture the observations we made. [...] He has taken photography to a peak, he has created a vocabulary of understanding global culture and he's showing that mass leads to abstraction, just like Thomas has done with the substrates. The difference is, that in Andreas works you can still see every detail. So I think I can be found somewhere between those two concepts. [...]'

You have established your career between photography and visual arts. Could you please explain us what it means with your own words? How would you define your work and your process?

"For an artist I think it's important to stay open-minded and curious and look at things as phenomena. Distinctions and notions can be dangerous, they might limit you with a process of categorizing the world and putting things into certain drawers... Creation is born out of exceeding the limits and questioning existence as we think we know it. It is walking new ways and leaving the roads where everybody else walks. That's why it doesn't matter too much to me if something is called photography or painting.
Photography is as vague as painting, especially today with a vast culture of image altering: it's all lies, but these lies can help you find a truth for yourself. Photography as painting are both individual versions of the world coined by the author and not a true reproduction of ideas. It's more about how we look at things and I think the reaction int he viewer is more important than the artist or the work.
Some people seem to have problems with my images, simply because they don't know what my works are - painting or photography? They are both and much more. I could say they are music without tones. It's dangerous when we need someone else's label to formulate our own opinion. But I guess that is a consumerists' attitude and in the explosion of notions we're facing today, people need more than ever a guide, a gatekeeper to tell them what they can't have. We can take this all the way down to Thomas Hobbes "Leviathan".
Basically my images are symphonic collages out of the visual debris of our exploding cultures: the permanent feeling of "too much" and the stress to miss something important that we all feel today, exemplified by countless stimuli - all this casted into a square trying to find harmony in chaos. They are about constant availability, ubiquity, restlessness in a saturated world that still wants to grow and stimulate and entertain and catch everyone's attention for the products that we don't need. It's being on the cell-phone on an airport in Asia, talking to someone you used to know thousands of kilometer away, while watching a commercial for a gated community in Dubai, it is the impenetrable universe of glamour, glitz and advertisement. They are about loss of physicality and content, the disability to make sense and effort to maintain sanity in a space that seems to be endless and doesn't prevail orientation.

Technically, I start my journey - and it's traveling! - with one of my own photographs as the framework. This image has a story, that i'm extending.  I run search engines like google to find information and deviate in a stream of consciousness through the digital realms. It's a reduction to the maximum in a way. it's like writing a novel. I create a plot and I erase what doesn't belong to the storyline, I add and cut, I link and disconnect, I highlight and I camouflage. I put arbitrary words into the search engines and do an image search and I might end up with pig breeders in Arkansas, some teenager's online poetry or a manufacturer of lawnmowers in Russia.
For em this way of working is the logical consequence of creating images today. If the internet was an actual entity where you could walk around, these would be the photos I would bring home. Art is looking from a platform in the clouds at the world. I don't see why I should contribute another portrait, landscape or still-life to art history. I've seen more than everything, like everybody else. Almost more than everything..."

Your works, which look like a new type of kaleidoscope, bring us into a wonderful and unreal world where many details and symbols are represented. How do you decide to choose one particular detail instead of an other?

"Haha... I don't choose, I use all of them! What's interesting: Caleidoscope means "to see beautiful forms"; but seriously of course my works are a diary for me to a certain extend. Let me give you a recent example: in the course of the financial crisis I was doing research on the history of commerce and I found out how closely wars have often been connected with financial breakdowns, which is terrifying, and then I ran into the logos of the banks involved and partly find vulgar displays of power, like the Merryl Linch logo, which is a bull. Or Lehman itself used the phrase "Where Vision Gets built" - interesting! I start seeing "beautiful forms" and all of this takes me back to a culture of greed and facade that we live in. I also found old etchings from the US civil war in 1862, which was connected to a financial crisis... With these images cut/pasted I create my version of what was an ungraspable enigma to me before by creating my own mythology.
The choice of raw-material is a mix of aesthetic consideration and the necessity of its meaning towards the whole: in the transformation and dispensation of the original source material into the work, I apply the mechanisms, that the human brain uses to suppress and enhance detail in our memory to give us a limited universe of orientation. My actions can be seen as a parallel to the work that the hippocampus in the middle-brain is doing. It filters the flood of input in a loop and tries to create a system of useful logics towards our individual existences. Every human brain is an individual image."

Regarding the evolution of the art market and the place taken by the virtual galleries (sometimes owned by the artist himself), what is your definition of the contemporary artists and its role in the market? Do you think that an artist could be his own art dealer?

"It's not useful towards creative work when an artist is involved too much in market activities. Unfortunately this is often inevitable with the way the global market works, because you are selling your soul and you want to make sure, that it ends up in good hands and is mediated properly! And the dealers make money with your creativity, they're not the ones who suffer for creating beauty, they sell it. It's two totally different stories...
The market is a lot about vanity and surface and I'm happy that I don't have to do the job myself, it's a full-time job that suffocates my creative forces. I find it useful, not to be present in the commercial art world, if possible. In the Western cultures, art has been used and abused to display the power of authorities like the Church and royal courts ever since, and contrary to Asian cultures, it has given art the air of something holy which exists only for a precious few who can show it to the rest of the world. It's still the same: money is the Church today and an ideal gadget of differentiation from your neighbors is putting art into your place, that they can't own because you have it. This is why the whole art circus is needed: it's our Western notion of art. You need to hit people with a hammer and tell them what they need. You wouldn't buy a Bentley online either, would you? You want a glass of champagne in a leather couch and a good-looking sales-person when you spend the GPD or a small african country for a car or a sculpture by Jeff Koons.
The good news is that the market makes art possible in the first place and accessible to those who really love it and want to learn. An artist is a mediator, a seismograph, a chronicler. Artists are the ones who conserve their time in a vivid and profound way. When, let's say, you want to get a feeling of the days of evolving early modernism, you look at Picasso and listen to Stravinsky or read Proust. At some point you have left a statement to the world as an artist and nobody will care in which way a work got into which place. Concerning online galleries: I think art has to be seen in person in the right spaces. The mass of online offers might blur quality with quantity."

A lot of contemporary emerging artists are from Germany. Do you feel close to them and are you related to any particular movement?

"It's true, many artists come from Germany or move here. I think the working conditions are good in Germany and Germans are interested in culture. Benefits start with affordable studio space, awards, grants, etc... and end with the institutions and the number of collectors and museums The art scene is big, colorful, professional and various. I heard that for instance in Paris most artists just can't afford studio space anymore and so are threatened by extinction in Paris itself. If you look at it, there are not so many international artist from France around today, although it was the Mekka for art not too long ago.
I wouldn't say I consider myself part of a movement and then are there any these days? I mean, you have the Leipzig school of painting here with a certain style which could be called a movement, but I think the vast variety of styles in the contemporary art makes it hard to classify movements. I'm in touch with other artists and I look at shows, but I'm not part of a group.
Then I also think, that globalization has rather quickly changed the conditions in which we live and work in the art world today: it's not like a limited crowd is having their privy shows in town anymore. Damien Hirst said the other day, that the contemporary artist spends more time with a laptop in the frequent flyer's lounge than in front of an easel. Maybe the truth can be found in the middle."

Thank you so much Martin for this fantastic interview! I's a real pleasure to discuss with you and I'm glad to learn more about you and your work. And I'm sure I'm not the only one!


Angelo Filomeno at Galerie Lelong

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
I hope you've had a wonderful summer, as good as mine...I'm not back in the city yet but I can't wait to see the next Filomeno's show, opening on September 10th! Italian born, Angelo Filomeno lives and works in New York. I've discovered his work on the 52nd occasion of the Venice biennale in 2007. At this time his work was showed in an entire room as a sort of memento mori made from silk, embroidered and bejewelled.

Mostly made on silk, his embroidered works are fantastical, kind of magical and surreal in imagery. He makes his works with a sewing machine - his mother teached him how to embroidered and he worked as an apprentice for a local trailor at the age of seven - and hoop onto the fabric and then streched over linen. I've never a seen a work like that before. His technique is simply amazing and it's his own signature. It looks like a painting but it's more like a "Haute Couture" painting!

He's fascinated with the macabre and a strong and deep interest in the darker side of the human condition: mortality, isolation, compulsion, fragility... Most of the characters that he represents are skeletons, skulls, creatures and organic forms from afterlife... Crystals and semi precious gemstones that are sprayed on the canvas reinforce the impression of a vision of a dream, a funeral and frightening dream. It gives to the work the magical and mystical aspect.

The Marquis and A Bearded Dominatrix with A Cake in the Oven is his second exhibition at the gallery since the first one in 2008. His last exhibition at the Galerie Anne de Villepoix, in 2009 in Paris, showed us a new way of working: embroidering on recycled burlap-a fabric instead of silk as the main material. Apparently, he used the same technique for making his works in his newest exhibition. I guess we'll see other skeletons and forms from afterlife, death figures who are however still thinking to their lives...But I don't have any other clues!!

For those who really love allegories, thoughts about life and death, magic and myths in art... don't hesitate for one moment and go see this exhibition!! It's glamour, sophisticated and you're gonna love it. Remember: opening on September 10th!!


Antony Gormley

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
For those who stay in New York this summer, I greatly encourage you to stop by Union Square and Madison Square Park among other places. 31 body form sculptures are installed randomly in Manhattan. Made by Antony Gormley (an English sculptor born in 1950), sculptures are a part of the exhibition called Event Horizon, which runs until August 15.

One of them is installed right in front of the iconic Flatiron building. The sculpture is made of iron and fiberglass and cast from Gormley's own body. This is very funny because while you are walking in the street you run into that "guy" who's actually the "iron man" made in Manhattan! You can also catch sight of someone on the top of one of the buildings at Union Square (I think it's the one in front of the W Hotel!). Nobody is suicidal, it's just another sculpture!!
Gormley is one of most celebrated British artist. Through this exhibition, he's finally introduced to the American public. Over the last 25 years, he was focused on the revitalization of the human body and its image in sculpture. He drastically investigates the human body as a place of memory and uses his own body as a subject, tool and material.
Have fun trying to discover where the sculptures are hidden!!!


Cakes, chocolate and candies

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
As you may know it was my b-day a few weeks ago. I was definitely inspired! Did you know that many artists used candies or chocolate to made their works?? Regression to the past, desire to be in a world out of any preoccupation (like the childhood), volition to point a society corrupted by mass consumption, economic disparities or any kind of problems related to food and malnutrition...

Born in 1981, Vincent Olinet is a French artist who lives and works between Brussels and Singapore. His works of art, mostly photographs or sculptures, make us thinking to a fantasy world: we have in mind the pirates's boats and treasures, the Sleeping Beauty Castle... He's obviously inspired by Walt Disney and all the other fairy tales! He said once: "I like to make shiny, colorful art pieces that appeal to our dreams and urges but actually deal with decay or disillusion". His sculptures are made of real ice sugar and flour, cake decorations and doilies, however the main base of his cakes is polystyrine...

Many conceptual artists also use chocolate as a source material for making pieces of art. Vik Muniz, a Brazilian photographer born in 1961 and best known for his portraits of Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor made of diamonds, also produced several pieces which are his "Pictures of Chocolate"! This series reproduces well-know imagery and famous portraits in chocolate syrup painted over a light box. His process is to take picture of his "creation" just before the melting of the chocolate. Works of art made by Chuck Ramirez, an American artist who lives in San Antonio and who is best know for his giants "portraits" of purses, call attention of desire and gluttony and point economic disparities. He makes chocolate boxes made out of chocolate but they are always empty. As if he wanted that we maybe pay attention to emptiness of a certain part of our society...

Some other prefer candies... Felix Gonzales-Torres, a Cuban artist, combines his personal experiences, his reflexions on art history, his views on politic...His work is the reflection of his life in the society. His "Candies Piles" are monumental and very attractive for the viewer. They are also interactive artworks since people are allowed to take some candies from the pile and supposed to eat them. It is never totally stable and constantly refreshed... Born in Bourges (France) in 1965, Laurence Jenkell is fascinated by the alchemy of sugar. Declination and sublimation of candies are the main purpose of her work.

All of those works look appetizing and joyful but they are actually full of social and economic symbols. Olinet's cake breaks down, Muniz's photograph is a reproduction of a weel-known image, Ramirez's chocolate box is empty, Gonzales-Torres's pile isn't stable, Jenkell's sweet refers to sugar which can disappear and change all the time...


Charlelie Couture, artist

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
I am very glad to introduce you to Charlelie Couture, a French artist who moved to New York. Well-known in France, Charlelie is a singer, a painter, a photographer... whom I met for the first time last year, through a friend of mine. Our first meeting was in his studio, which is full of sculptures, paintings, photographs... There are so many works of art everywhere, no one knows in which direction to look!!

The first time we met you told me about a very interesting subject: the polymorphism of the wit; subject of your thesis at the "Ecole des Beaux-Arts". You are a musician, a painter, a photographer... Could you please explain us what is your theory and your approach that you define as "total art"?

Creation is virtuality. I choose the mode of expression that matches with what I mean instead of reducing everything to only one medium. "Multism" is to consider that being an artist is above all "a state of being". The technique that is chosen is only a way to go straight to the point. What is important is what we want to say. Words speak to the conscious, music elates soul and art questions the subconscious. Art is the only creation made by men and which comes from a trip in the halos of the subconscious. All other creations are born from a reflection of a conscious analysis. Art is the intervention of an issue; craft is the invention of responses.

I guess it's different to be on stage with your musicians or to host an exhibition. Is there any medium with which one you feel more comfortable or are they all equal?

When I play my music on stage, people come to see me playing. They attend to the realization of something. We share a moment together as if they visited my studio while I am working. An exhibition would be more comparable to the listening of a record, work is done viewers can enjoy it for themselves, intimately. I'm involved in one as in the other but I am an artist who makes music.

According to you, what would be your definition of the artist and for those who may don't know, what is the difference between formalist and fundamentalist?  On which side would you position yourself and do you belong to any particular art movement?

A work of art is the result of two variables: what to do (subject) and how to do (way). Some fundamentalist artists think more about the subject (often they work on the taboos which define the functioning of the society in which they live) and some other focus their research on the formal aspect (which turn out the appearances). Fundamentalists talk about the idea, the concept to which they give a shape; formalists talk about the shape to which they give a sense. Fundamentalists don't care about appearance which is only, according to them, the result of a goal, a mind. Most often they chose provocation as a way to awaken consciences. Formalists want to be developers ahead of their time.
My work as a artist is first formalist. If I want to express "fundamentalist things", I write. Formalist doesn't mean superficial. It only means that the shape promotes an ideological or symbolic content.

Well-known in France, you decided to move to New York a long time ago. Why did you make that choice and is it easier to be an artist here in New York? Do you think that more liberty and creativity is given to the artist?

New York is the town of the contemporary art, open minded to new ideas. I knew the city and I needed to live here and becoming soaked with its energy. New York loves contemporary art and new experiences. I brought my life into play and I kept returning here because I fell that everything was possible in New York.
New York loves challenges. The city is in lag compared to the rest of the world and lives outside of time as if the future was more important than the past. For us, contemporary artists, it's easier to live in a city which lets you express yourself and which follows your projects than to live in a city which points up the weight of the past. And in my case, in New York city, I am still a young artist.

Would you like to tell us about your new projects, concerts, exhibitions...?

My "photo-grafs" tarpaulins are exhibited for a show focused on the Street Art in Angers in France. Another one is exhibited in Barbizon for an exhibition in the honor of "l'Angelus de Millet", still in France. In September, some of my photographs will be shown at the Biennale in Lyon and some paintings and drawings at the Antonio Nardone gallery in Brussels in Belgium. Next fall, the book "Follow the line" which gives a good idea of my work will be published. And on the music side, with a few years late, I will play on stage next year.

Thank you so much Charlelie! Ii was a real pleasure for me to do this interview and I wish you all the best...


The New Luncheons on the Grass

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
As you may know The Luncheon on the Grass painted by Manet in 1863 was one of his most controversy paintings. A naked woman sitting between two well-dressed men should be ashamed and not so confident! This painting inspired many artists such as Cezanne or even Picasso. More recently numerous artists reinterpreted the Manet's painting in their own ways...

Alain Jacquet, a French artist representative of the American Pop Art movement, was one of the first artists who made his own vision of the Manet's Luncheon. Painted in 1964, his Luncheon on the Grass, a diptych, is a silkscreen on paper laid on canvas. The difference between both is obviously the technique. Jacquet was focused on the study of the dot and of the screen. Here are depicted a gallery owner, an art critic and a painter. In the style of the Impressionists it's beautiful from afar and it's less easy to see the details when you are closer.

In 1982, John De Andrea, an American sculptor, made a beautiful sculpture inspired by the Manet's painting. He is associated with the photorealist, Verist and superrealist schools of art. He pays attention to all the details of his sculptures. Here hair, brows and pubes are made into plastic scalps a few strands a time. Moles, tiny veins and scars are revealed by the oil polychrome. Clothes are taken apart and reassembled on the fully painted bodies...

Rip Hopkins is an English photographer who made photoreportages and documentaries in many countries. For him, photography is a tool with which one he can reveal intellectual and aesthetic expression. This photography was exhibited in 2008 at the Paris Photo Art Fair in Paris. The naked male figure is a response to the Manet's female figure. Both are directly looking at the viewer without any gene neither embarrassment. It's also a dialogue between the past and the present...

New York-based artist, Mickalene Thomas explores notions of beauty through works of art made of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. She inspired by many different sources such as the 19th century Hudson River School, Manet, Matisse, Bearden... Her "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe: Trois Femmes Noires" depicts three figures who aren't typically seen in the canon of figurative painting and influences of Black Popular culture and Pop Art are obvious. The interesting thing is that one of the figures is actually in the style of a man dressed in drag. This work of art was commissioned by the MoMA and will remain on view on the window of the 53rd street entrance until December 2010.

Pepe Smit lives and works in Amsterdam. Her photographs are full of cynicism, humor, sexual references, taboos... All of her pictures seem to be very joyful and sweet but after having looked a few minutes their darker side appear.  Here are represented a mother and her daughter. They are both wearing pink pretty dresses with roses. The role of the male figure is reduced to a simple object which is supposed to help women in their everyday lives: he's naked and his back, covered with a tablecloth is their kitchen table. It's easy to say that this picture was made by a feminist artist!

Did it make you hungry?...


Outdoor New York City (part III)

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
The summer has definitely started and what better than wandering in the Sun... On your way to Battery Park, which is one of my favorite spot in NY, you will find three beautiful sculptures. And then it's up to you whether you have a lunch at Cipriani or a sandwich in the Park!

Exhibited in front of the 140 Broadway (Liberty Place), the Red Cube made by Isamu Noguchi defies the laws of gravity. This sculpture has been made in red painted steel in 1968. The Cube is surrounded by trees and skyscrapers which, with the vertical height of the cube, draw viewers's eyes upwards. Here is the question of the relation between art and architecture. The Cube seems floating in the air while the building are solidly placed. Noguchi said: "The sculptor is not merely a decorator of buildings but a serious collaborator with the architect in the creation of significant space and of significant shapes with define this space".

Across the street is another huge sculpture made by Mark di Suvero. Called Joie de Vivre this red steel structure is about 70 feet high and is a series of tetrahedrons that are open at the ends. The sculpture located in the Zuccotti Park, best known as Liberty Plaza Park, was a gift from Aggie Gund ( president of the Museum of Modern Art) and her husband Daniel Shapiro (lawyer). About this sculpture di Suvero said: "After 40 years I finally get a piece in Manhattan and guess what. Most people who saw it came from New Jersey".
In the same area you will also see a man sitting on a bench all made in bronze! Double Check, made by Seward Johnson in 1982, shows us a man checking the contents of his briefcase as a real businessman like those you can meet here...

Go a little bit further on Broadway and you will come face to face with a charging bull! Standing 11 feet tall, measuring 16 feet long and weighting 7 000 pounds, this sculpture was made in bronze by Arturo di Modica. The bull is the symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity. The bull is leaning back on its haunches and its head lowered as if ready to charge. It's the unofficial symbol of the Financial District.                                                                                        
And for those who may aren't interested by wandering in the city or nibbling in front of the sea they can also go shopping!


Bruno Levy

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
As you may know, it's so difficult for a young emerging artist to be THE one! The one whom galleries want to represent. The one whom museums want to include in their collections. The one whom collectors want to buy. Bruno Levy is an amazing video director whom everyone has to know!!

Bruno Levy is an american artist who received a BFA in photography at the New York University in 2001. He worked as a travel photographer and his travels led him to Nepal where he discovered Buddhism. He took thousands of photographs in Patan, Nepal, and used flashing lights and long exposure. After getting the nod from Modeselktor (a electronic music band formed in Berlin, featuring Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and BPitch Control (a German techno record label founded in 1999 in Berlin by Dj and producer Ellen Allien), he created a stop-motion narrative synched to Deboutonner.

He co-founded and managed Squaresquare, a media company specializing in live video, design and motion graphics that has been recognized as a pioneer in video scratching. He is now directing and shooting music videos, painting and he is creating a new multimedia performance group "Sweatshoppe".
Projecting one of his video during a dinner is much more funny than just listening music!!