Focused conversations with the experts of the art world, aimed at encouraging art enthusiasts to take a closer look at the art market.
VIDEO: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination at The Met
Contemporary couture and Medieval art on view at "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" at The Met
Come October, The Met will probably declare "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination" exhibition their most visited ever. Those who have seen it in person, battled the phone-wielding crowds for that mandatory photograph will certainly agree that it will not be an exaggeration. The expansive installation of more than 150 ensembles ranges from elaborate wedding gowns, gem-encrusted capes and bolero jackets, to an armor dress Jeanne d’Arc would have on her wish board.
Thom Browne. Wedding Ensemble, spring/summer 2018. White silk organza,white nylon tulle, embroidered white silk thread, gold bullion, pearls, crystals, clear glass, and mother-of-pearl, white mink. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. ©Kristina Nazarevskaia for galleryIntell
List of designers featured in this show reads like the "Who is Who" of haute couture: Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Christian Lacroix, Dolce and Gabbana, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lanvin, Chanel, House of Dior, Rodarte, Versace, Philip Treacy, and others. What unites them is the shared Catholic upbringing. Frankly, it's hard to imagine Lagerfeld, Gaultier or Galliano as pious church going folk, but for the sake of this gorgeous show, let's pretend they are the confession-types.
Rodarte. Ensembles, 2011. Gold metallic silk satin trimmed with beige feathers, embroidered gold metal paillettes, wire, beads, and gold metallic ribbon. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. ©Kristina Nazarevskaia for galleryIntell
Valentino SpA. Autumn/winter 2016-2016. Haute Couture. Black wool, black silk velvet and satin, nylon tulle, and appliquéd wool gabardine. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. ©Kristina Nazarevskaia for galleryIntell
The exhibition extends across two of the Metropolitan Museum's three buildings. It starts at the main building on 5th Avenue and continues in The Cloisters, the tucked away medieval structure in Fort Tryon Park in Uptown Manhattan. What makes this a worthwhile exploration is not just the colorful visual journey (think of the surreal Comme des Garçons or the lusciously seductive Alexander McQueen shows). What makes this exhibition worth seeing several times is that Andrew Bolton and his curatorial staff installed each dress (or a grouping) in a dialogue with the religious work that inspired its creation. So as you meander from gown to gown, pay close attention to the statues, altars, draperies, and paintings near the mannequins. Signs around the gowns will point you to the relevant work of art .
Ricardo Tisci. Ensemble, autumn/winter 2005-06. Black silk jersey, white cotton poplin, embroidered glass stones. “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. ©Kristina Nazarevskaia for galleryIntell
While you’re in the main building make sure to visit the Costume Institute’s lower level galleries where the "real jewels" are. Bolton and his team not only saved us a trip to The Vatican, but managed to bring to New York several exquisite Papal vestments (robes and accessories) that have never before left The Vatican. The workmanship on these pieces is breathtaking. In the hands of the craftsmen each thread comes to life, each object gains dimension.
Embroidered Papal dresses and coats shimmer and glow with unparalleled beauty. You can’t help but think, how is it possible to create something so beautiful with something so simple as a silk thread and a needle? Of course, we’ve all seen exquisite embroidery but trust me when I tell you that this is on a …. “celestial” level.
Unfortunately, by choosing to replace hi-resolution photographs of these gowns with scanned composites, the exhibition catalogu
VIDEO: Morgan Bulkeley | Paintings
Morgan Bulkeley: Paintings
"I see in nature and in the best of humanity an incredible beauty; but I also see in our technology and aggression a will and ability to destroy that beauty, either actively or inadvertently ... I paint to try to make people think of the fragility in which we exist." - Morgan Bulkeley
Morgan Bulkeley, 'Blackpoll Warbler, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Barnacle Goose Mask', 2014. Image © Morgan Bulkeley
American artist Morgan Bulkeley has spent a life time exploring humanity's impact on the environment, the perilous state of nature and the corporate agenda of promoting mass consumption that lies at the core of the increasing threat to wildlife and humanity itself.
Bulkeley has been described as the 'The Hieronymus Bosch of the Berkshires'. His superbly detailed and emotional paintings can be seen as modern-day calls to action for protecting the world around us. The wonderfully prolific artist, who communicates his vision through a variety of media, including sculpture, hand carved masks, paintings on canvas, gouache and watercolors on paper, and even short video, made advocating for the natural world the main focus of his narratives. It is through these poignant visual statements that Morgan Bulkeley, a soft-spoken, yet deeply passionate painter has constructed whole series of "sentences". We sat down with Morgan Bulkeley to talk about his paintings and what informs his work visually.
Video interview transcript:
Morgan Bulkeley: "Most of my paintings are about a war between culture and nature and they really are about what is dominant, what is happening in our culture and in the world today. And the way I see it there are just so many sad tales of abuses to air, water, earth. Many of these things are produced by corporate interests and people doing things without really thinking what is the effect?
Morgan Bulkeley, 'Black-crowned Night-heron Mask', 2013. Image © Morgan Bulkeley
Philip Guston really, was huge in my mind. I saw a show of his, probably in 1975, at the Whitney Museum of American Art and in that show I saw a piece that was probably 8 feet long and 5 feet tall and, basically, it was a line across the middle of the painting and the top half was sort of a dark green and the bottom was kind of a pearly grey. When I saw the piece, I didn't know what it was. I felt like crying and I looked at it and I must have sat there for 15 minutes just staring at this piece. It was a transformation for me really to feel that intensity. And I began to really, think about his work a lot more after that and, really, that’s what kind of pushed me toward looking for a way to paint figures that weren't specific.
I think of it as almost a mouse chewing on a bone, it’s like chewing and making little marks and building it up. Mine is much more agitated, anxiety-ridden, I guess. I think of it as little marks that are kind of almost shaking, your hand shaking or something.
I was an English major and read an awful lot of literature in my earlier days. There are too many stories to tell and there always will be.
Morgan Bulkeley, 'American Golden Plover Mask', 2014. Image © Morgan Bulkeley
One of the things that's happened with my work is that I'll do a piece and it gets so dense and complicated and kind of intricate, entangled really, and it feels like you can't even move through it. Often after that it will feel like I have to do a piece that is more open, that has a clarity and a sense of possibility, of movement in it. I find that often pieces really suggest the next piece. So there’s been a kind of a natural progression for me in terms of seeing where I’m going by looking back at where I’ve just been.
I love Cy Twombly as well. I began to, kind of, think about him in terms of some of these marks that are up in the sky, and, all of a sudden
VIDEO: Edwynn Houk – Collecting Photography. AIPAD 2017
An interview with Edwynn Houk, member AIPAD
Collecting anything is about bearing witness to the process and development of a chosen topic or an object. Essentially collecting catalogues history through the objects one selects. It is a process where the collector is fully engaged with the artists and essentially becomes an active participant in the creative dialogue. This exchange, this conversation ultimately benefits all sides, and dealers are often essential in fostering this relationship between artists, their art, and collectors. We spoke to Edwynn Houk, founder and owner of Edwynn Houk Gallery, about AIPAD, The Photography Show, about what types of people attend the art fair, and what collectors should consider when buying art. Below is the transcript of our conversation.
Video interview transcript:
CONVERSATIONS AT THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW?
Edwynn Houk: "It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet the entire field; to look at the work from some of the youngest galleries to some of the oldest and most established; to meet the owners of the gallery. To have conversations and get the opinion of a lot of the leaders of the field in photography, which is a very different perspective then one would maybe get from an auction house, which is handling what passes through their doors and is limited to that, whereas the galleries have made personal decisions: this is the artist I want to show, this is the work of theirs I want to present.
Eleanor Carucci, 'Love', 2009. Edwynn Houk Gallery, AIPAD. Courtesy the artist and Edwynn Houk Gallery
WHO COMES TO THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW?
Edwynn Houk: The kind of people who attend an AIPAD fair contrast very sharply with our experience at all the other fairs. It’s really the most serious of collectors, the highest level of quality and, obviously, exclusively focused on photography. The audience has a very high representation of museum curators and collectors who come in person. Also, there’s more discovery, there’s more to learn by being there in person.
VIDEO: Steven Kasher on the 4 C's of collecting.
BEST ADVICE FOR COLLECTING ART?
Edwynn Houk: Don’t collect as an investment. One should collect work that you want to live with, that you find enriching, that you like looking at all the time. Also if you are spending a considerable amount of money, it also makes sense that you'd like to know the reputation of the artist, their standing, that it’s a major talent, someone who has a real role in the history of the medium.
ANALOGUE VS. DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY?
Andreas Meichsner, #12 aus der Serie 'Willkommen im Club', Robert Morat Galerie, AIPAD. Courtesy the artist and Robert Morat Gallery
Edwynn Houk: What I find very interesting about one of the areas really being explored recently is the renewal in interest in antique processes, whether it’s collodion printing, daguerreotypes and different forms of that but adapting it to very contemporary world, a contemporary esthetic. So someone like Vera Lutter using camera obscura, but taking pictures that are just hauntingly modern or Sally Mann doing collodion plates where her re-creation of the technique includes quite a few flaws. She hadn't perfected it like the 19th century photographers but she didn't expect to and embraces as though to make it part of the image. Or someone like Adam Fuss with daguerreotypes. At the same time, that other people are experimenting with the computer and scanning negatives, digitizing, making small to, sometimes, very large manipulation in it. So the public, unless they are very knowledgeable in photography, really needs some information, some education as to what is altered by computer, in a very modern sense, or what is very basic photo optics and technique.
WHAT DO DEALERS BRING TO AIPAD'S THE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW?
Edwynn Houk: We like to have something new if we ...
VIDEO: Howard Greenberg and Ed Burtynsky. AIPAD 2017
An interview with Howard Greenberg, member AIPAD
It really is all about scale. We want our technology smaller, and at the same time we want to be able to interact with images on a larger, more life-like scale. So cameras are getting smaller, printers are getting larger and artists like Ed Burtynsky, Martin Usborne, Massimo Vitali, and Scarlett Hooft Graafland are now able to create images on a more monumental scale. Thanks to innovations in digital, photographers are now able to work on the scale Abstract Expressionists first adopted in the 1940's and 1950's. And it makes a difference.
We sat down with Howard Greenberg, founder and owner of one of the most influential and prominent fine photography galleries in the US, to talk about the origins and evolution of landscape photography, the importance of skilled print making, and how our expectations of landscape photography have changed over the years and decades since Andre Giroux, Eugene Atget, Gustave Le Gray, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston first printed their images. Howard, who really is one of the most engaging and charismatic people we've ever had the pleasure of talking to, opened up a whole new world that only an expert like himself would ever be privy to.
And if you think of landscape photography and large scale landscape photography the name that instantly comes to mind is Edward Burtynsky. Burtynsky is a star in his own right and has been featured in many illustrious print and digital publications. Ed is a master of melding reality and abstraction, often producing mesmerizing aerial views that read like a Helen Frankenthaler, Conrad Marca-relli, or a Jack Tworkov colorfield painting. In November Burtynsky's newest images were shown simultaneously at two major NYC galleries: Howard Greenberg Gallery and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.
Salt Pan #16, 'Little Rann of Kutch Gujarat', 2016. Chromogenic Color Print. © Ed Burtynsky. Courtesy the artist and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York. AIPAD
Burtynsky is the recipient of the ICP Infinity Award for Art (2008), the Rogers Best Documentary Film Award (2006), the inaugural TED Prize (2005), the Dialogue of Humanity Award at Rencontres d’Arles (2004), and the Roloff Beny Book Award (2003). In 2006, he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Canada, and holds six honorary doctorate degrees. Burtynsky was recently commissioned to create an immense permanent installation of photographs at the National Holocaust Monument of Canada.
Video interview transcript
Howard Greenberg: "It’s that way in every art fair including AIPAD. I’m always surprised that there are collectors who collect exactly what we have in the gallery who I’ve never met before.
ON BECOMING A PHOTOGRAPHY ART DEALER
Howard Greenberg: I came through the door being a photographer. I loved beautiful print making. When I look at photographs in galleries or museums, that’s what turned me on. I love the sense of photography as vision and craft. You know you make the picture and then the craftsmanship that you put into making the print, creates the final photograph.
Beth Moon, 'Shebehon Forest', 2010. Courtesy the artist and Vision Neil Folberg Gallery, Jerusalem. AIPAD
Ed Burtynsky: With Weston it was that ability to take the ordinary and elevate it to the extra-ordinary, in a way as a painter would look at a blank canvas and how do you fill it and how do you make every square inch of it intentional. So I was heavily influenced by Robert Adams and Baltz, and [Frank] Gohlke, and Joe Deal, and the ability to begin to look at landscape. Not just as an esthetic exploration but as a critique that there’s something else being told. AIPAD has a more select audience that appreciates photography and understands the history of photography.
Edward Burtynsky, 'Rice Terraces #4, Western Yunnan Province', China,
VIDEO: Eric Fischl On Klimt, Schiele, Kirchner And The Art Of Drawing
The Galerie St. Etienne, New York
In conjunction with the Galerie St. Etienne’s current exhibition, ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER: Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection (through July 1), Eric Fischl shares his thoughts on the art of drawing.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Resting Head', 1912. Pen and ink on thin cream wove paper. Image courtesy Galerie St. Etienne
Video interview transcript
The nature of painting and drawing, and sculpture, as well as photography, is to stop the world. [To] create for the audience, the feeling of something fleeting that people can come and perceive over and over. The object, actually, was forever, but it gave you an experience of evanescence or ephemerality, or something like that.
Color is amassing form and it’s light-filled so you simultaneously get through a gesture, a relatively simple gesture, you can get an essential feeling of a body that’s very physical and real, and also get the luminosity of it, the lightness of it.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 'Three Figures At Cafe Table', Circa 1915. Graphite on thin cream wove paper. Image courtesy Galerie St. Etienne
In black and white, and certainly in the charcoals, it’s a slower labor to achieve. There is an essentialness to the black and white, a spontaneous, an essential quality to that it seems like it’s a revelation of the first order.
Gustav Klimt, 'Pregnant Woman and Man' 1903-04. Blue crayon on heavy tan wove paper. Image courtesy Galerie St. Etienne
One of the fun things to do when looking at drawings is to imagine where on the pencil they’re holding. It gives you a sense of their deliberateness, sensitivity, the heaviness or the lightness of the line. With Klimt, he seemed to almost be holding the feeling of it, not the actual thing. It was almost like he was holding it closer to the top, so it had a kind of a interesting 'stroking' quality to it. He was also somebody who never took his eyes off the model. That [hand-eye] coordination, that confidence with which he cold not see what he was doing, and also accept the distortions which were not based on realist observation, but were based on a feeling.
[Egon] Schiele knew from the neck down to the tip of the finger exactly where he was going and was nervous the whole way.
Egon SchieIe. 'Self-Portrait in Street Clothes, Gesturing'1910. Watercolor and pencil on brown paper. Image courtesy Galerie St. Etienne
I work from photographs. The photograph slices life so thinly that everybody is off balance. Everybody is in a state of motion and within a narrative structure you need that kind of animation to trigger the whole scene. Photography receives the image, Kirchner goes out and gets it.
I think that one thing that people do looking to art is they are looking for authenticity: the authenticity of beauty, the authenticity of eroticism, and anguish. It’s where you go to feel that this is the essential place for meaningfulness.
Founded in 1939, Galerie St. Etienne specializes in Austrian and German Expressionism and in works by European and American self-taught artists from the 19th century to the present.
This video and transcript © galleryIntell. Images courtesy Galerie St. Etienne.
VIDEO: South African intervention of Western History. Wim Botha at STEVENSON Gallery
How to 'carve space' with obsolete and repurposed objects?
"There are numerous, varied and sometimes conflicting aspects to my work, usually intended but definitely also spontaneously emerging." - Wim Botha
Some artists spend their careers exploring properties and limitations of a single medium: working all their creative lives exclusively in oil, bronze, or wood; while others prefer to construct a broad narrative and deliver it through an all-inclusive range of materials. Wim Botha, a young South African artist, who represented his country at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013 is, certainly, the latter. Wim's grotesque busts, surrealist torsos, spatially complex light processions, and various abstracted shapes catch the uninitiated by surprise, forcefully and monumentally inserting themselves into the viewers' space: mental and physical. Once you see and engage with a Wim Botha sculpture, you can't forget the emotional impact it had on you.
Wim Botha, Bust, Encyclopedias, Wood, Stainless Steel. Image © Wim Botha, Courtesy the artist and STEVENSON Gallery
It's an immersive process, one which takes the viewer through several stages of realization. First comes the recognition of classical Roman sculptural portraiture as the principal influence in Botha's busts and torsos. Then subtle purpose and intention of the chosen materials reveal themselves much like physical and visual elements in Antony Minghella's cinematic masterpieces. Each decision in Wim Botha's work is deeply imbued with purpose. White Carrera marble, one of the most expensive sculptural materials, is carved to reveal typically African features — symbolism most pertinent in a country whose recent history was defined by Apartheid and oppression of its black citizens. Conversely, burned and charred wood is used to portray typically European faces - another commentary on the issues of perception and inequality.
Bust of a Man Early Imperial, Julio-Claudia mid first century AD. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wim Botha, 'A Thousand Things' part 10, Detail. Treated wood and black ink. Image © Wim Botha
Busts that feature double heads, or heads attached to sculls recall Hamlet's famous conversation with Yorick's scull at the start of the play's third act.
"In my paper works, I carve subjects from stacked or compressed documents containing selected texts with content and meaning significant to the work. By carving a form from these texts, the information it conveys becomes a part of the physical substance of the work and is directly related to the form."
Wim Botha, bust, 2010 Portrait Bust (Daughter), 2010 carved Afrikaans bibles, 56 x 53 x 38 cm
In Wim's elaborate installations Afrikaans bibles are used to create images from Western culture and history, drawing attention to the invasion of one culture by another and, subsequently, inverting it. White polystyrene busts are cast in bronze, transforming weightless objects into heavy, immovable ones. And then there is the issue of the pedestal. Like Rodin, Boccioni, and Giacometti before him, Wim Botha reinterprets the purpose and perception of the classical support element, adding to its evolution.
Wim Botha, 'Prism 10 (Dead Laocoön)' 2014. Bronze, Image © Wim Botha, courtesy the artist and STEVENSON Gallery
"In my work there is seldom a distinction to be drawn between the prominence of the concept and that of the medium. I work with materials central to mass consumerist applications, that are subsequently transformed in essence and meaning to a point at which material and concept becomes integrally interdependent. The works take the form of sculptural installations. I appropriate well-known, sometimes trite and over-saturated subject matter which, coupled with traditional shaping and technological elements,
Art for all
These podcasts are my window to the art world. So educational.
Loved the interview about Martin C. Herbst! How cool!