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5.21.2010

Tim Steiner, the "human work of art" by Wim Delvoye!!

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
I am very glad to introduce you to Tim Steiner whom the story is simply unbelievable... Have you seen the french-italian movie "Le Tatoue" (The Tattoed One) produced in 1968? The story is about a french soldier whom the back was tattooed by Modigliani. Or did you read the book entitled "When I was a work of art" written by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt? The story is about a desperate man who wants to kill himself and is "saved" by a megalomaniac artist who convinces him to become one of his works of art, as a property. As far as I know, Tim Steiner is the only "human work of art" in the world. He has his back tattooed by Wim Delvoye, a Belgium artist, and sold for 150.000 euros to Rik Reinking, a collector, curator and art historian, in September 2008. The tattoo represents a Madonna with a skull above her head and it took 35 hours of work.
As Tim told me "If I were still in school, Wim would be my most loved teacher and Rik my best friend".

Could you please explain us how all the story began? How did you meet Wim and which one of you got the idea of this incredible tattoo?

"In 2006, my girlfriend Stephanie Schleiffer was working for the de Pury & Luxembourg gallery in Zurich. She was responsible for the upcoming spring show titled 'Take a Walk on the Wild Side' which was a group show where Wim was taking part. He wanted to set up his Tattoo Studio with two pigskins. He told Stephanie that for some time he had been looking for a human canvas that he could have tattooed and sold. He hadn't found anyone and he asked her if she knew anyone who wanted to be a 'human tattooed pig' and she gave me a call. I had tattoos already and she asked if I knew anyone who would be interested. She told me the story and I wanted to do it myself immediately. I met Wim in Zurich with my friend and tattoo artist Matt Powers. The design is more or less the same as on the pig Sybille. Matt changed it to fit my back and so it all began."

Your back is a work of art, but it's a part of your body. How do you feel about that? Do you have sometimes the impression to be a work of art and to lose your own identity as a human being; as if you were the canvas, Wim and "your owner" the frame?

"I feel like the frame and the canvas. I am the thing that carries the artpiece. Where the art goes, I go. Art is the master and I am the slave. But only as long as I want to be. I'm a free slave. When my back is exhibited I have no identity. When I have a shirt on, the art no longer exists."

Could you tell us what was your impression during your first exhibition as a piece of art and how does it work? Do you still have a right on your body and how many times a year are you "exposed"?

"Being exhibited is a very bizarre experience. I face a wall for many hours (with breaks), listen to loud music and can only sense those around me. Sometimes I interact with people, but I prefer just sitting there. It's a very personal experience which is amazing, peaceful, nerve-wrecking and terrible all in one. I am exhibited as many times as I am asked to and I agree. All the rights are with me. I can quit anytime. But then the money goes back too..."

I saw many pictures of you posing with pigs, playing with them in the mud or taking a shower in their pens. Is it like a performance for you? As a human being, how do you feel in the middle of animals, treated like them?

"The session with the pigs in China was one of the most remarkable experience in my life. It was a blessing. Being accepted by these majestic animals for a few hours was extraordinary. It felt like a performance on another plateau. I am forever thankful to Wim, Stephanie and all those involved in the China project for that experience."

There is the question about the temporality of the work of art. Your tattoo can change because of the elasticity of your skin and also because the skin is made of living cells. What do you expect for the future? How do you imagine yourself in 40 years?

"It will decay over time. The more time passes, the more ugly it will look. I hope that I will be a canvas on show for all my life. 'TIM' will be really interesting in 40 or 50 years. A decomposing art piece with decades of stories. The only difference being that this canvas can share these stories with everyone."

Dear Tim, thank you so much for having done this interview. It was a pleasure to write about your story which is amazing! I am thinking about having more tattoos but I couldn't hold a candle to you!
For those who may want to know more about Tim, check his website...


All images Courtesy Wim Delvoye - Tim Steiner

5.18.2010

Fausto Melotti at Gladstone

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
I Magnifici Sette (the magnificent seven), by Fausto Melotti, an Italian artist who studied both music and science and who is known for his sculptures made in brass, wire and other metals. He is a contemporary of Calder and a fellow student of Lucio Fontana. There is an amazing monumental sculpture exhibited at the Galdstone gallery...


Made in brass and stainless steel, this sculptures is structured, elegant, poetic and makes us thinking about sheets music. Those seven like-window forms, which are rhythmic, abstracts and geometric, represent the seven disciplines thought by the Greeks (the liberal arts) to define a rational understanding of the world. The light which is reflected on the brass and steel gives a little bit of magic and sensibility to this musical and poetic sculpture.

This beautiful and impressive exhibition is worth seeing until June!!

5.13.2010

"Walk to Walk" by Kate Gilmore, Bryant Park

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
For those who work at Bryant Park or in the area, there is a funny piece of art being staged during office hours: "Walk to Walk" by Kate Gilmore. She's an American artist who explores themes of displacement, struggle and female identity.


Can you imagine yourself wandering in a park and suddenly seeing seven women walking on the top of a big yellow base?? Sponsored by the Public Art Fund, this performance consists in seven women in bright smiley-face-yellow dresses (pink sweater when it's cold) walking relentlessly. They remind me the New Yorkers, walking through the streets of New York City, collide each other... This piece is an ephemeral monument to the city workers and urban energy.

This courageous move which is basically the symbol of a busy intersection in a big city is visible until friday...

A must see Upper East Side...

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
For those who cannot maybe afford buying a work like the "purple Warhol" or the Rothko that were sold yesterday at Sothebys, here are some beautiful exhibitions where you can probably find something for the walls of your home!

L&M Arts gallery, upper east side, hosts an amazing show which shows us works made by two of the most important artists of the 20th century: Yves Tanguy and Alexander Calder: "Tanguy Clader between Surrealism and Abstraction". One of the most beautiful exhibition of Calder's mobiles that I have ever seen! The one on the ground floor at the entrance is particularly amazing! So ethereal and aerial... This exhibition has been created to continue the gesture of Peggy Guggenheim who wore one earring made by Tanguy and one earring made by Calder during the opening of Art of this Century in 1942. The purpose was for her to show her impartiality between Surrealism and abstraction.

A few meters from the L&M Arts gallery, there is the Acquavella gallery that hosts a very beautiful exhibition: "Robert and Ethel Scull:Portrait of a Collection". Forty-four paintings, drawings, sculptures made by twenty-tree artists. The Scull were the pioneers collectors of Pop Art. They are known as the Pop and the Mom of the Pop Art!! Constantly present on the New York social scene, they began assembling their collection by buying works of art made by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. But their favorite one was Jasper Johns...

The first major exhibition of Tatiana Trouve's works in the US is...at the Gagosian gallery, on Madison. Deemed as a virtual artist, she lives and works in Paris and her recent works unite her interest in sculpture, architecture and drawing in site-specific situations. Exhibition takes place on the fifth floor of the gallery which has been turned into interrelated zones of transformation and interconnection.
For those who are not very familiar with her work, you will see in the same time an exhibition of new paintings and related newsprint collages by Richard Prince, a controversial American painter and photograph well-known for his photographs of the famous cowboy (A copy, the photograph, of a copy, an advertising for cigarettes, of a myth, the cowboy). Paintings that are exposed, the Tiffany paintings, are the reflection of his continuing attentiveness of patterns and potential of advertising. Paintings are almost abstract, monochrome and considered by Capote as a turning point in his career...

Have a nice and wonderful afternoon, and for those who are not going shopping at Sothebys this afternoon, you know what to do!

5.09.2010

Mark Di Suvero at the Paula Cooper Gallery

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Here is a new exhibition that shows us several sculptures- one is really amazing - made by Di Suvero, an American artist who grew up in Shanghai to Italian expatriates and then in California. He is known for his large outdoor pieces made of railroad ties, tires, scrap metal and structural steel. His assemblages of steel and wood are exposed in museums and privates collections around the world and he had his first retrospective exhibition in 1975 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

This monumental sculpture, 24-feet high, is made of steel and redwood logs and stands right in the middle of the room. He built it using drift wood logs which were found on the California beaches, the same ones Captain Francis Drake (an English sea captain, privateer, pirate, politician and... Elizabethan naval commander) explored in 1579... The sculpture is named after the Drake's landing somewhere in California: Nova Albion means "New Britain". The exact location of Nova Albion is still a source of controversy because we don't have any information; Queen Elizabeth wanted to keep the Northwest Passage secret from the Spaniards...

Does it make you want to go to the beach? Hamptons summer session is opening soon...

5.08.2010

Claude Monet and Roy Lichtenstein at Gagosian

Good evening contemporary art lovers!
There are so many exhibitions and events right now in NY. I know many of you are probably very busy because of the sales (by the way, have you heard about the "Picasso" which has been sold at Christies? Simply amazing, crisis is definitely behind us!) but don't forget to go to see the galleries...
Here are two exhibitions that must be seen. Both are fantastic and shows us works whom the beauty and the quality are rare.

"Claude Monet: Late work". Thanks to the generosity of private collectors, institutions, museums... this beautiful exhibition has been made possible. We get into a huge space whom the atmosphere is very intimate and hushed. Works of art are set up in a perfect way; right height for the eyes and good lighting. This show is focused on the most important late subjects of his long and prodigious career such as Nympheas, Le Pont Japonais or L'Allee de Rosiers. This gathering of Monet's paintings (a French leading landscape painter who produced more than 2 000 paintings along his prolific career) is the most impressive and significant for the past thirty years and some of them were never exhibited during the artist's lifetime...

A few blocks away, a new exhibition, "Roy Lichtenstein: Still Lifes" just opened. Most known for the works that he made during the "Pop Years" and his particular method inspired by popular cartoons and commercial images, he also created works of art which were inspired by a lot of different motifs (fruits, flowers or vases) and themes. As the Monet exhibition, many collectors and museums lent their works of art to make this exhibition possible. Throughout your visit of this amazing show, you'll see paintings, sculptures and also drawings each more beautiful than the others, many of the drawings being precise sketches for the paintings and the sculptures...

Enjoy the end of your week. I hope you saved money for bidding during the contemporary art sales next week!!

5.06.2010

Outdoor New York City (part II)


Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
Today is a beautiful and sunny day, the perfect day for a little promenade! So if by any chance you decided to go out this afternoon, I would like to advice you and give you some nice spots to discover. Here we go, this is the second part of "Outdoor New York City".

Start your promenade in Midtown East and go directly to the United Nations Headquarters. You will see this enormous bronze of a 45-calibre gun whose the barrel is tied. This twisted gun is exposed on display of the United Nations sculpture garden, next to the Visitors's Plaza. Made by Karl Fredrik Reutersward and given by the Government of Luxembourg, this sculpture, which symbolizes the nonviolence, is a part of the UN Human 2000 Peace Initiative.  

In 1996, Italy gave such a beautiful gift to the United Nations: "Sphere within Sphere", a bronze sculpture of a diameter of 3.30 meters made by Arnaldo Pomodoro, an Italian sculptor specialized in the casting of gigantic volumes. This sculpture represents  a reflexion about the difficulties of the modern world and it symbolized by the fractured surface of the outer sphere which reveals the inner one. There are several versions of this sculpture: in the Vatican Museums, Trinity College in Dulin, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. ...

In the same area, on Park Avenue Malls between 52nd and 53th streets, you can see several sculptures made by Mia Westerlund Roosen, an American artist who explores voluminous curves, palpable surfaces and the sensual body. She used lead, encaustic, and textiles to study genre identity until her practice matured. Concrete stucco is now her favorite medium, it allows her to create molded pieces that retain a sense of vulnerability despite their significant corporal mass. Unfortunately her sculptures will be exposed until the end of august.

End of the cultural part, it's time to drink a little glass of wine... Go to Benoit, a French restaurant, on 55th street between 5th and 6th!