Pepe Smit !!!!!

Good afternoon contemporary art lovers!
here is the an interview of a young an wonderful artist Pepe Smit... I let you discover her work...

1- Dear Pepe, tell us about yourself, what is your background and who inspired you when you were young?
I come from The Hague, my father was a filmmaker and my mother a set dresser. I have always seen my mother make all kind of things. I think this has helped me to believe you can make almost anything yourself. I always make my own film and photo sets and I like to make things look good with very little money and a lot of tricks...

2 - What is the impact of the Luncheon on the Grass made by Manet on you?
"Le Dejeuner sur l'herbe" by Edouard Manet made a real stir when it was first exhibited at the "Salon des Refus├ęs" in Paris in 1863. The impertinence of the naked woman sitting between the two dressed men was of a totally different order than the aesthetic nudes known in the arts at that time. The woman stares provocatively at the viewer and in doing so she makes the viewer into a voyeur and accomplice.  In my video I reverse these roles: the man is naked and the women are having a picnic. Just like the work of Manet the video carries a provocative tone in which the viewer is challenged to form an opinion. Making the spectator an accomplice is something I that is very appealing to me and many times I have used this in my work.

3 - Why have you decided to make your own one?
The use of naked woman in art is something that interests me. Manet in a way questioned this role. The most degraded naked woman are perhaps naked woman used as furniture. In the seventies the artist Allen Jones made a coffee table out of a female doll, but also the Milkbar in Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orangeis full of women who serve as furniture. The masculine furniture in the my work can be understood as a hitherto missing counterweight in art history. I thought it would be a way humorous revenge these women.

4 - In yours, the man is naked and the girls are eating on his back like a dinning table. Is it just like a joke or did you want to convey a deeper message?
In the work we see two women and a naked man. The naked man is hardly a character, he is degraded to a "prop": a side table that provides the women with all kinds of decadent and luxury items. In spite of their unbridled lust for extravagant luxury such as lots of champagne, chocolates, cakes and fruit, they cannot suppress boredom. This is pure decadence but also something that could have taken place anywhere, anytime: women who can afford to look beautiful in expensive clothes, who can eat and drink whatever they want, spending all day gossiping and laughing with a friend. They are trophy wives who serve as a status symbol or, later in life, like the woman in this video, have ones been trophy wives and are now obliged to forfill this role forever. A state of being which inevitably leads to enormous boredom.

5 - What do you think of Feminist Art? do you feel any affiliation?
Growing up in the seventies I was raised between feminists. Being independent was a must. But nowadays I notice that a lot of women (especially the Nouveau Riche), to whom freedom and independence is totally normal, independence and freedom do not mean much anymore. They throw it all overboard to stay home and bake cookies with the kids in their expensive kitchen on their Gucci boots. And I myself like to do things like that to. Sometimes. I like my position to be on the sideline. I see what happens and I see the weirdness and the humor of it but I could be doing the seem thing myself. So I try not to be judgmental, I just want to reveal even to to fillet everyday things like gender roles, power relationships and stereotypes. In a humorous way and with sugar-sweet venom. I do feel affiliation with some feminist art. I like Dana Wyse for instance, Cindy Sherman and also the Guerrilla Girls girls. But in general I like art or I don’t, regardless if it was made by a man or a woman. Because my name is also a man’s name people often think that my work was made by a man. It can be quite a surprise when they find out I’m a woman!


Rafael Barrios takes Park Avenue!

Good morning contemporary art lovers!
To all the Upper East Siders who walk everyday on Park, I think I can answer to a lot of questions you may have. From the Waldorf Astoria to the Park Avenue Armory, 10 sculptures made by Venezuelan artist Rafael Barrios, born in Louisiana in 1947 and grew up in Venezuela. He's now living between Paris, caracas and Miami. He's the second latin artist invited to participate to this event after Fernando Botero.

The inauguration of the sculptural display will be schedule on the night of the March 2, just before the opening of ADAA (the Art Dealers Association of America that takes place from March 8 through March 12). Characterized for its geometry and conceptual approach, the ludic work by Barrios is an exploration of fundamental principles of perception-such as dynamism, balance, and distortion-that stems from the reinterpretation of elemental abstract forms from everyday life. In this sense, the works that stand out are his well-known sculptural series of tables, chairs, and doors. Not lacking in humor, these works explore the sense of three-dimensionality. His works, made of stainless and acrylic lacquer are definitely made for being outside. 

Those monumental and geometric forms are a wonderful trompe l'oeil with a profound playful sense.

happy belated valentine's day


Love is all around us, love is all we need and even if I’m not usually a romantic at heart I might be inspired by Valentine’s Day. It was originally a feast organized by the Catholic Church and destined to celebrate physical love. Father Valentinus, dead on February 14 (one doesn’t know what year exactly), gave his name to this event. During Renaissance and Classicism, artists painted lovers, love stories and their paintings were full of erotic and sexual symbols. In the modern and contemporary art scene it’s not uncommon that artists choose their mistresses to be their muses. Some of them also work together on one unique piece.

Jeff Koons (an American artist born in 1955) and Ilona Staller (the “Cicciolina”, a Hungarian-born porn star) were one of the most famous couple that worked together. Known for his giant reproductions of banal objects such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror finish surfaces, Koons also made a series of paintings, photographs and sculptures that showed the couple in various sexual acts: Made in Heaven, a series that aroused much controversy and critics, specially during the first exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1990. Most of the works were unveiled in 1991. These works of art describe Koons’ excursion into the world of glamour-porn and are the witness of their love and their passion. Many works from this series were destroyed by Koons himself as a result of these events and the exhibition at the Guggenheim has been questioned several times and finally canceled. This series is one of the most important of his work and according to him the most sincere, the most radical and the most risky.

Less risky but equally radical, work made by Sophie Calle (a French artist born in 1953) is like a diary, her diary. She is a visual artist, a writer, a photograph, a movie director…. She uses many different mediums to produce art pieces extremely provocative and subversive. No Sex Last Night, also known as Double Blind, is a personal and intimate movie that traces, like a diary, an escapade with her lover Gregg Shepard (an American photographer born in 1949) from the East coast to the West coast of the US. This road trip will ended up in a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. There are two versions of the videos: when Gregg films Sophie makes comments in French and the other way around. This picture was taken from a video made after reconciliation in bed! She invites the viewer to get into her universe that question relationship between human being. One no longer speaks of individual identity but of the identity of the couple…

One of Sophie’s video was exhibited in the same show (Emporte moi, Sweep me off my feet, Mac/Val, Vitry, France, 2009) than The Kiss made by Ange Leccia (a French artist born in 1952).  He’s best know for his photographs and videos. He’s also a painter, a movie director and has made a lot of installations. Through this installation, Leccia shows us his own interpretation of the feeling and the signification of love and kiss. A kiss is an act extremely intimate and decisive in a loving relationship, isn’t it? This installation is made with two big brutes that face each other, like two human mouths just about to kiss each other. They don’t touch each other, which intensifies excitement and arousal that precedes the first kiss. Pink color and brightness also give to this work his strength.

Rose remains essentially the symbol itself of love and passion. It’s a privileged gift given by all lovers all over the world. Will Ryman (an American artist born in 1969) knew how to do justice to this beautiful and mysterious flower. Well known for his huge and figurative sculptures that represent some kind of caricature of the human race, he brings us, with his roses, to a wonderland that might reminds us the one of Alice. In 2011, a public exhibition took place on Park Avenue. An exhibition in favor of the roses. They were gigantic, the height of a human being of average size. The colors are vibrant, bright and cover all the tonalities from pink to red. Furthermore it’s not uncommon to see ladybugs, dragonflies and other small beasts climb along the stems… About the exhibition he said: “With these roses I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific. In my work I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of The Roses, I tried to convey New York City’s larger than life qualities through scale; creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful »[1]