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!!


Robert Morris at Sonnabend

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
Sonnabend gallery hosts a beautiful exhibition of Robert Morris new felt works since the 1990s. American sculptor, conceptual artist and writer, Robert Morris began working with industrial felt in 1967. He is knows as one of the most prominent theorists of Minimalism and has also made many contributions to the development of performance art, land art, installation art.

Here he combined red and black felt, sliced the felt into different shapes before hanging and folded it to create monumental and imposing forms. As he said in an interview, he wanted to find a way of working that would subvert a priori intentions and that would generate unpredictable and indeterminate consequences. He began working with ropes and rags, then felt... The early felt works are supposed to have multiple positions: thrown on the floor or hung on the wall; but works on the wall are easier to deal with. And most often, once works are photographed nobody wants to hear about the alternative position.

Exhibition runs on until July 1st and includes two short films and also many drawings which are made by the artist with his eyes blindfolded and belonging to the series "Blind Time" begun in 1973.