Five Things You Need to Know from the “TimesTalks” with Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel

 

TimesTalks

Randy Kennedy, Julian Schnabel and Jeff Koons

Randy Kennedy, of the New York Times, sat down for a TimesTalk with two art world heavy hitters, Julian Schnabel and Jeff Koons on March 6, 2017. Below are some choice insights from their chat. 

1. Jeff and Julian have been friends since the late 1970s when they met in New York. One night, they were hanging out at the “it” bar, Max’s Kansas City, when Julian introduced Jeff to a friend. The friend asked Jeff, “What do you do?”Jeff replied, “I present the New.” In 1980, Jeff was given his first museum show at the New Museum at its 14th street location where he installed The New, a show of vacuum cleaners sealed in plexiglass display cases.

2. Early on Jeff worked as a door to door mutual fund salesman, driving a vintage green Mercedes. Julian decided to buy the car from Jeff after getting a ride home one night. Eventually, he traded the car with Brice Marden for two Suicide Notes drawings. Schnabel still owns the works, but the car is long gone. Not a bad trade!

3. Both artists have been deeply influenced by Andy Warhol, but they appreciate the work for different reasons. As a painter himself, Julian sees Andy in that tradition. Jeff focuses more on Andy’s use of the ready-made, in the tradition of Duchamp.

Duchamp Fountain

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain
Photo by Alfred Stieglitz

Jeff:  “I really enjoy Andy’s work– I love Duchamp’s work. I got pulled into the idea of a kind of objective art and the idea of the ready made and working with things that are external. And you know of course, Andy’s in that tradition. But I wasn’t thinking so much about Andy. In a way, I was kind of being a little distant.  Even though the work had connections to Andy’s work, I never went and knocked on the door of his studio…I wanted to stay back.”

Koons Red Flower Balloon

Jeff Koons, Balloon Flower (Red)
7 World Trade Center

Julian: “Andy made an extraordinary contribution. Sometimes, people look at the work and think these are photographs that are printed, and they don’t understand that basically he was taking a silkscreen and printing it and all of the irregular registration and the paint that’s getting clogged in it, it was a new way of mark making that was very, very radical.”

SchnabelRose Painting

Julian Schnabel, Rose Painting (Near Van Gogh’s Grave) X, 2016
© Julian Schnabel Studio Photograph by Gary Mamay Courtesy of Pace Gallery

4. Jeff Koons on what he learned from Ed Paschke as his painting assistant in Chicago: “I loved Ed’s work. Ed really taught me a kind of politics of the art world.  We would sit in his studio on Saturdays and Sundays and we would paint…he just taught what it was like to be an artist, having a family, and trying to also have a career and really to be exhibiting. And he really taught not to shoot myself in the foot.”

5. New York was a good place for artists in the 1970s. Soho lofts were affordable and the community was small and self-referential.  Even though Conceptual Art was dominant, Jeff and Julian felt free to each pursue another focus. Both were able to support themselves and make art. Schnabel was a short order cook in a restaurant frequented by dealers and artists, while Jeff was a commodities trader. Amidst their tight-knit community of dealers, artists, and curators, their work became recognized at the same time. Julian had his first show in 1979 and Jeff had his first show in 1980. Julian announced a new way forward for painting by smashing dishes from his restaurant, adhering them to canvas, and painting figuratively on the surface. Jeff re-invented the idea of the ready-made by selecting, purchasing and presenting consumer objects like art.

When asked if New York is still a good place for young artists Julian said, “Would I recommend for one of my kids, if they wanted to be an artist, to come to New York? Yeah.”

Click here to view the TimesTalk in its entirety.

Lee Bul: Willing to be Vulnerable

In her new show at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in Chelsea, Lee Bul’s multimedia compositions come alive. 

Lee Bul Souterrain

Souterrain, 2012/2016
Courtesy Lehmann Maupin Gallery

Building on cross-cultural reference points as diverse as Japanese Manga cartoons, Korean embroidered silk scrolls and sci-fi utopian communities, in this exciting exhibition Lee Bul creates fantastical environments using mirrored surfaces, LED lights, and welded metal, combining diverse and unexpected mediums into forms of otherworldly beauty that challenge and even menace the viewer. The sparkling environment of Souterrain beckons, but as one penetrates the space, it chokes the viewer in a dystopian environment, reflecting our physical discomfort.

Lee Bul Untitled (Willing To Be Vulnerable - Red Velvet #2)

Untitled (Willing To Be Vulnerable – Red Velvet #2), 2016
Courtesy Lehmann Maupin Gallery

Bul combines the strategies of 20th Century Western painting with traditional Korean artistic practice. Here the canvas is replaced with silk velvet, a traditional Korean painting support. Further, Bul co-mingles acrylic paint with mother of pearl commonly used in Korean inlay. The resulting composition coalesces into two opposing forms that resemble flying cranes, a noble bird that implies longevity in Korean mythology. But in contemporary terms, these forms suggest warring avatars straight from a video game. Bul makes a compelling case for humanity and its flip side, mortality, in one stunning composition.

Lee Bul Sternbau

Sternbau, 2009
Private collection, Courtesy Cromwell Art, LL

As an art advisor, it is always thrilling to watch an artist grow and gain recognition. I have followed Bul’s career since her first US solo show in 2004 at Deitch Projects.  I acquired Sternbau for a private collection in 2009. In this highly characteristic work, Bul employs “low” art, ready-made materials such as metal chains and plastic beads, spinning them into a gleaming, precious object whose spiral form simultaneously references Louise Bourgeois’s cocoon-like suspended sculptures, and the Battlestar Galactica TV series.  It immediately caught my eye as an otherworldly combination of Korean and Western artistic impulses. This work has a keen relationship to the two-dimensional forms found in Bul’s current show, Willing to be Vulnerable.

To Regulate or Not to Regulate

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Panelists Andrea Crane, private dealer, Noah Horowitz, director of Art Basel North America, Howard Spiegler, co-chair Art Law, Herrick Feinstein LLP, and panel moderator Melanie Gerlis.

Recently, I was invited to speak on a panel about regulation in the art word, entitled “Regulation, Would it Spoil all the Fun?” While the title was catchy, it implied that collecting art is exciting because a little bit of bad behavior is not only tolerated, but also inherently fun (as long as you don’t get caught). In preparing for the panel, I took the position that the art world is so many interconnected micro-markets, it’s not only challenging to regulate, but regulation would effectively shut it down.

Does the art world need a regulatory body along the lines of the SEC? The art world is called a “market” but first and foremost, it’s a community of artists who make objects. These objects, whether painting, sculpture or drawings, are not comparable to shares. Each art object has unique qualities that make it desirable. While photographs exist in editions and are therefore inherently tradeable, the photo market has not reached the monetary heights of the painting and sculpture market, which trucks in unique objects.

Cromwell Art Advisor NYC
Mark Grotjahn, UNTITLED (THREE-TIERED PERSPECTIVE), 1998, colored pencil on paper, 24 x 19 in. Lot 409 of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction, November 18, 2016.

Collectors are passionate and fall in love with certain ineffable, unquantifiable qualities that they alone perceive. What appeals to one person might not appeal to another. Stocks are identical shares in a company, so the analogy that art is like a stock is simply not valid. How then should the art market be regulated?

The call for regulation stems from the crossover of auctions into the world of finance. The Mei Moses Index, created by two Stern Business School professors in 2001, tracks public data on auction sales over a period of time, analyzing performance. The index is inherently flawed because it uses data alone. If a work fails to sell, the index doesn’t take it’s condition into account. The opacity of the art world does not lend itself to raw data. Nevertheless, the language of financial investing and the language of collecting have converged, and yet the two markets are not compatible.

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If you take an investment approach to buying art, I recommend that you do your due-diligence. Understand deeply the market in which you participate. As an art advisor with 25 years of transactional experience, I know the people I do business with, I know the conditions in which I operate, and I am transparent about them. My goal is to act as a fiduciary for my clients, prioritizing their interests above all else. Self-regulation is the key for the true art professional.

Advocacy & Advisory

 

As an art advisor, I recognize the power of arts philanthropy and the need to support museums. Among other institutions, I support the Smith College Museum of Art, where I interned as an undergraduate. Smith began collecting art in 1879, four years after its founding, so that students could engage with the art of their time. It’s hard to remember that William Meritt Chase and Edgar Degas were once Contemporary artists when they entered the Smith Museum! Today, I co-chair and helped found the Contemporary Associates, a group of alumnae that funds acquisitions of Contemporary photography and video for the museum’s permanent collection. Through active study of actual works of art, like “RMB City,” (2007) by Cao Fei (recently featured at MoMA PS1) students engage with challenging ideas, ensuring that art remains relevant to future generations.

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Cao Fei, RMB City: A Second Life City Planning, 2007, Digital print, 47 1/5 × 63 in

Recently, the Smith College Museum announced a transformational gift by arts patron Charlotte Feng Ford (class of ‘83). Ford pledged $2.5 million to endow a permanent curator of Contemporary art, making Smith one of the “only college museums in the nation to have a position dedicated to contemporary work.” This gift acknowledges the leadership role Smith has played in fostering game-changing museum professionals, such as Dorothy Miller (class of ‘25), the first curator of the Museum of Modern Art in 1933 and Thelma Golden (class of ‘85), Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

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Charlotte Feng Ford, Smith College Class of ’83

As a liberal arts college, Smith has been ahead of the curve in collecting Contemporary art. This prescience continues today under the leadership of Director Jessica Nicoll (class of ‘85). Under her tenure in 2012, Smith acquired a seminal work by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Dressing to Go Out/Undressing to Go In (1973), that the museum acquired in 2009.

Cromwell Contemporary Art Advisory NYC

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, American (1939 – ), Dressing to Go Out/Undressing to Go In, Ninety-five black and white photographs mounted on foamcore with chain and dustrag, Frame: 57 5/16 in x 44 7/16 in x 13/16 in, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, Purchased with the Judith Plesser Targan, class of 1953, Fund

Smith exhibited this work in a landmark exhibition in 2015,  Women’s Work: Feminist Art from the Collection. Today, the Queens Museum in New York is honoring Mierle Laderman Ukeles with a retrospective that documents the “maintenance” art she became known for, an ongoing performance piece in which she worked alongside New York City sanitation workers, helping them to collect garbage. 

Cromwell Art Advisor NYC
Cromwell Art Advisor NYC

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Touch Sanitation Performance, July 24, 1979–June 26, 1980. Citywide performance with 8,500 Sanitation workers across all 59 New York City Sanitation districts. Photo by Robin Holland. Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

I am proud to participate in Smith’s commitment to bringing Contemporary art to young women in the full blossom of their intellectual investigation of the world around them. As a student at Smith in the 80s, art shaped my understanding of the past and also illuminated my path for the future. For that I am eternally grateful. I encourage my clients to seek out institutions that matter to them where they can make a difference, because I have direct experience with how enriching arts philanthropy is, in conjunction with art collecting. The two go hand in hand, making engagement with Contemporary art that much more rewarding.  

 

Tom Friedman’s Looking Up

 

Cromwell Art Advisor NYC

Tom Friedman, Looking Up, 2015, Stainless steel, Edition of 3 and 1 artist’s proof, 390 x 130 x 90 inches (990.6 x 330.2 x 228.6 cm). © Tom Friedman; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photograph by Farzad Owrang.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Friedman about his 33-foot tall metal sculpture, Looking Up, on view on Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets through September 5. Freidman’s figure is a gentle giant with cartoonish features that end in an upturned head. Wrinkled and lumpy, the sculpture stands in contrast to the sleek glass and steel of the Seagram Building and Lever House. They frame Friedman’s figure, directing our gaze.

Much of Tom’s work is a study of opposites. For example, Looking Up was inspired by an earlier work, Untitled (Peeing Figure) (2012), a contemplative, albeit humorous sculpture of an inwardly focused figure. “If I’m working small, I’ll start thinking about working large,” he told me. “If I’m working geometrically, I’ll think about working organically. Untitled faces down, while the figure in Looking Up looks skyward. Creating relationships between opposites creates dynamism.”

Cromwell Art Advisor NYC

Tom Friedman, Untitled (peeing figure), 2012, Stainless steel, Edition of 3 and 2 artist’s proofs, Figure: 96 x 30 x 27 inches, Urine stream: 56 x 10 x 1/2 inches. © Tom Friedman; Courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York, and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photograph by Farzad Owrang.

Tom also spoke about the influence of 9/11 and how he wanted to create a contrasting experience, one that would reestablish a sense of wonder. “I was thinking about 9/11 and reclaiming the sky. People in New York don’t often look up. I wanted the sculpture to be a segue between people and the sky.” When standing at the base of Looking Up, we can’t help but experience the magic.

Looking Up is made of polished stainless steel, cast from crushed oven roaster pans and aluminum foil. “In 2007 I created a show for the Lever House called Aluminum Foil. I liked all that reflectivity in the glass-walled exhibition space, so when I knew that Looking Up would be installed outside, one block from the Lever House, I wanted to return to this material, with the addition of oven roaster tins. I liked their crushability and angularity.” The highly wrinkled surface reflects light from the surrounding buildings and traffic lights, so the color constantly changes. While the work appears simply made, the actual process is labor intensive – another juxtaposition. Friedman’s skill lies in making the complex seem straightforward, resulting in works that are both sophisticated and accessible.

Cromwell Art Advisor NYC

Tom Friedman, Looking Up, 2015, Stainless steel, Edition of 3 and 1 artist’s proof, 390 x 130 x 90 inches. Photo by Killian Moore.

Collecting vs. Shopping

Wendy Cromwell Art LLC art advisor nyc

In a recent online article, Tech Crunch described Wydr, the newest in a long line of art buying apps, as “Tinder for buying art”. It’s a telling comparison. Tinder, the wildly popular social app, has gained a reputation for catering to those looking for their next fling. And sure, tech has made shopping for anything, even a hook up, quick and easy, so why should shopping for art be any different?

The key word here is shopping – not collecting. Shopping is a verb, full stop. Collecting is a lifestyle and a mind-set. It implies thoughtfulness, intellect, passion, and devotion, not a one night stand.

There is nothing wrong with democratizing the art world, in fact it’s inevitable. The majority of artists working today don’t have traditional gallery representation. Without it, it’s hard to get their work into the public sphere. An app is a great way to make finding and buying their work more likely to happen.

But collecting art is not just about spending money. Collecting implies an approach, a thought process that aims to understand the existing art sphere, the broader market, and one’s place in it as an art collector. My clients look to me to help define an approach based on their interests, as well as practical matters such as space requirements and budget. An art advisor has the broader knowledge of the market and the price-to-quality ratio overview that’s necessary to not only create a collection focus but also to execute it.

Collecting also implies life long stewardship of art. Many collectors expect that their holdings will one day go up in value. Maybe they will leave a financial legacy to their children through art, or donate their holdings through philanthropy. But value is not inherent in art; rather it’s created by a sophisticated network of dealers, curators, critics, and collectors. Together, these individuals are “first responders” who identify talent and promote the artist through a variety of respected channels. An app simply can’t duplicate this highly finessed and largely impenetrable system because it’s not quantifiable data.

It’s old news that the art market is eager to exploit technology platforms. Major auctions houses have migrated to online sales, and art has become a luxury good as accessible online as a high-end handbag. But no app can replace the art of collecting, which requires connoisseurship and a broad-based knowledge of the market. That’s where expert guidance from an advisor can make all the difference.

Wendy Cromwell Art LLC art advisor NYC

Cromwell in a client’s home in front of Aaron Young’s Lindsay as Marilyn, 2012.

 

Top Picks at Art Basel 2016

 

Art Basel is the “mother” of all Contemporary art fairs. The mix of post war painting and sculpture, blue chip Contemporary art, plus hard-to-find examples by mid career and emerging artists, make visiting this fair a thrill. It’s not just the scope, it’s also the quality.

Because the fair is spread across two huge floors that can be hard to navigate – especially with the added pressure to make quick decisions about acquisitions –  I preview as much as I can in advance. Armed with the official Art Basel app and a good idea of what I want to see and in what order, I make a quick sweep of the fair in the first few hours. Then, I settle in for a long, deep look over the course of the next several days. The harder you look, the more you find and learn. Here are some of the works that caught my eye at this year’s fair — something for every level of collector.

 

Post-War Painting and Sculpture

Basel always has a healthy selection of top quality blue chip works of art that would be highlights of any serious art collection. Kelly is an apt choice to feature as he is arguably one of the most influential of all American post-war painters, and he recently passed away. The simplicity, elegance and power of this canvas is undeniable.

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Ellsworth Kelly, Yellow Relief over Black, 2013, Oil on canvas, two joined panels, 40 1/8 x 130 inches, Matthew Marks Gallery

Stella’s recent retrospective at the Whitney Museum confirmed the genius of his early hard-edged geometric compositions. His groundbreaking use of shaped canvases has inspired countless artists from the 1960s to the present.

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Frank Stella, Port Tampa City, 1963, Red lead on canvas, 102 x 102 inches, Mnuchin Gallery

Judd is one of the key artists of the Minimalist era, a watershed moment in art history and one that has not yet been fully mined. This classic bullnose sculpture is painted an exquisite emerald green.

Cromwell Contemporary Art Advisory NYC

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1966/1967, Lacquer on cold rolled steel, 5 x 69 x 8 1/2 inches, Tony Meier Gallery

An explosive Chamberlain is the perfect counterfoil to Judd’s clean geometry. Chamberlain, along with David Smith, is abstraction expressionism in three dimensions.

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John Chamberlain, Iron stone, 1969, Painted and chromium-plated steel, 40 x 48 1/2 x 44 inches, Dominique Levy

 

Blue Chip Contemporary Paintings

The following artists are highly regarded for their contributions to the ongoing dialogue surrounding the current state of painting. Stingel renders snowbirds in a hyper-realist style that recalls vintage a black and white photograph. While the birds are diminutive in real life, here they are over-scaled to fit the 8 foot canvas, distorting our sense of perception.

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Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, 2015, Oil on canvas, 96 x 96 x 2 in, Sadie Coles

Richard Prince emerged as an appropriation artist in the late 70s, with photographs of American cowboys copped from Marlborough ads. In his recent work, he appropriates the notion of the nude in classical painting, turning idealism on its head.

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Richard Prince, Untitled, 2012, Ink jet, charcoal and acrylic on canvas, 42 x 40 inches, Almine Rech Gallery

Oehlen’s creative interpretation of abstract painting involves mark making of all kinds, some computer generated, some printed, and the rest rendered free hand. His compositions excite with combustable energy and high key color.

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Albert Oehlen, Doppelbild, 2002, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 143.5 x 240 cm, Hetzler Gallery

George Condo is the master portraitist of imaginary characters. This richly worked painting conveys both primitive and contemporary states of mind simultaneously.

Cromwell Art Advisory NYC

George Condo, Red and Blue Diagonal Portrait, 2016, Oil on canvas, 84 x 82 inches, Skarstedt Gallery

 

Mid Career Painters

In this muddy dreamscape, Josh Smith is heavily influenced by Edvard Munch, in terms of his painterly approach and the Nordic palette. This work was featured in Smith’s solo museum show at the Bonner Kunstverein in Germany.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 3.00.34 PM

Josh Smith, In the Smoke, 2015, Oil on Canvas, 72 x 48 inches, Luhring Augustine

Charline von Heyl works in the space between figuration and abstraction, using pattern and dissociative imagery to create compositions that seem decipherable but refuse to coalesce into a cohesive narrative.

Cromwell Art Advisory NYC

Charline von Heyl, Birdie, 2015, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50 inch, Gallery Gisela Capitain

Jacqueline Humphries is an exuberant abstract painter known for her use of metallic paint that enables the composition to constantly change in different lighting conditions. The underpainting is comprised of hundreds of tiny emojis, which Humphries reminds us are ready-made signs that communicate visually.

Cromwell Art Advisory NYC

Jacqueline Humphries, [###], 2016, Oil on linen, 90 x 96 inch, Gallery Gisela Capitain

Kelley Walker is about to have his first solo US museum show in St. Louis. The screen paintings are a subset of his practice that contain imagery recycled from his past works. Through recycling and screen-printing, Walker reflects on the primacy, meaning and availability of imagery in contemporary life.

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Kelley Walker,Yellow Domus with Blue tape, 2016, Acrylic ink, record sleeve, tape on silkscreen on aluminum frame, 62 x 42 in, Paula Cooper Gallery

Art Collecting & Interior Design

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about the intersection between art collecting and interior design. In the 90s when I began my career, most serious Contemporary art collectors lived with generic furniture. This changed when post WWII Modern European and American furniture became collectable through innovators in the auction industry, like Wright in Chicago. When Design Miami Basel was born in 2005, art collectors who were unfamiliar with modern and limited edition furniture had a forum in which to learn and acquire, resulting in the cross-pollination of art and design.

One of the great thrills of working with clients who also collect design is that I get to marry great art with great interiors. To keep up with design, in addition to the auctions, I visit Design Miami Basel twice yearly, the PAD Fair in London, and in New York, the Collective Design Fair.

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

Brad Ford’s exquisite FAIR booth at the 2016 Collective Design Fair

This year’s edition was held from May 4-8 at the Skylight Clarkson Studios. Standouts included Nicholas Kilner’s craggy, spectral sculpture by Paul Evans, whose bronze consoles and table bases are highly prized. At an entirely different price point, Brad Ford showed Contemporary Northeast “makers” with a Shaker-like sensibility.

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

Paul Evans (1931-1987), Important Sculpture, 1965, Welded and enameled steel, 79 x 32 x 28 in. (201 x 81 x 71 cm). As seen at Nicholas Kilner, 2016 Collective Design Fair

A contrasting vibe pulsed at the high tech Bryce Wolkwotiz Gallery, where Jim Campbell’s LED curtain was a highlight (below, left). Donzella Ltd showed a pair of Marco Zanuso’s 1950s’ regent lounge chairs, which stood out for both curves and comfort (below, right).

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC   Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

And 99¢ Plus, a Brooklyn-based art gallery, presented a brightly colored installation of lamps designed by artists, many of whom were new to design (below, left). After hours of standing, looking, chatting and admiring, it was a welcome relief to relax in cloud-covered pillows created by Various Projects in collaboration with Print All Over Me (below, right).

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wexler Gallery showcased the highly creative ceramics of Roberto Lugo (seen below), an artist from inner city Philadelphia who combines graffiti influences and hip hop with elegant porcelain forms. This work extends the influence of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring into a third dimension.

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On another note, Eve Robinson Associates and I recently collaborated on her Art Library for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, on view at 19 E. 61st Street through June 9. Some of the works on view are by Zipora Fried, Andisheh Avini, Ellsworth Kelly, Mika Tajima and Caetano Almeida. Eve and her team perfectly integrated standout furniture, both vintage pieces and limited-edition design, with art of disparate sizes and styles, creating a seamless, elegant, Contemporary interior.

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Me with Eve Robinson

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A passerby stops to look closely at the compilation wall by Eve Robinson Associates

 

 

Looking Ahead to Frieze New York

Frieze New York comes to Randall’s Island once again this May. I always look forward to this fair, now in it’s fifth year, because it is a vanguard of sorts: immersive, international, and experiential, it brings together a diverse group of galleries and artists from all stages of their careers who are not afraid to explore new media and advance the conversation of Contemporary art.

Cromwell Art Advisor Frieze New York

N. Dash, “Untitled,” 2016, Adobe, graphite, pigment, acrylic, gesso, string, canvas, linen, jute, wood support, 37.5 x 69 x 3.5 in. Courtesy of Casey Kaplan Gallery.

Of the many works I have previewed in advance of the fair, I am particularly excited about two young American artists working in the space of Minimalism, Sam Moyer and N. Dash. Each artist will have a solo presentations that provides an opportunity to fully explore the scope of their work, N. Dash at Casey Kaplan and Sam Moyer with Rodolphe Janssen. N. Dash combines organic media including adobe, indigo, and jute with more traditional painting materials, such as gesso and acrylic. Her serene, sculptural paintings are imbued with the contradictory sensibilities of fragility and permanence. Sam Moyer builds paintings out of marble, MDF, Plexiglas, and ink. She brings a fresh, refined aesthetic to sculptural issues of weight and measure, seen through the lens of painting.

Cromwell Art Advisor Frieze New York

Sam Moyer, “For Norman (thinking about The Executioner’s Song) I,” 2016, Glass, glass paint, plexi, dyed fabric, brass frame, 36 1/2 x 48 1/2 in. Courtesy of Rodolphe Janssen.

Cromwell Art Advisor Frieze New York

Markus Amm, Untitled, 2016, Oil on gesso board, 13.7 x 11.8 in. Courtesy of Herald St.

 

Markus Amm, a German painter who mines the Sublime, will also have a solo presentation at Frieze New York, care of London-based gallery Herald St. Amm’s realm is pure color, achieved through multiple layers of sanded paint. The surface is mesmerizing, as is the emotive power that only color can provoke.

Cromwell Art Advisor Frieze New York

Benjamin Senior, “Summer (Green Parasols),” 2016, Oil on linen, 32 x 39 in. Courtesy of James Fuentes Gallery.

I’m also looking at more figuration by young artists like New-York-based Benjamin Senior and Julie Beaufils with Los Angeles gallery Overduin & Co. Senior, represented by James Fuentes Gallery, marries the American Modernism of Reginald Marsh with a hint of Surrealism in small paintings that are at once bright, bustling, and formally complex. Beaufils – who will have her first solo museum exhibition at the Kunsthalle Mulhouse this spring – gives figuration a Conceptual spin with references to music and French new wave film as an escape from reality. Her cool palette of black, white, gray, and dusky blue is appropriate for such contemplative works.

Cromwell Art Advisor Frieze New York

Julie Beaufils, “She’s off but her phone is on,” 2016, Oil on canvas, 60 x 50 in. Courtesy of Overduin & Co.

This is just a tiny taste of the plethora of styles on view this coming week. From special projects such as a keynote address from Eileen Myles to a “surprise” performance by Maurizio Cattelan, it’s almost impossible to navigate it all. That is one major advantage to working with an art specialist such as myself. If you have any questions, or would like to set up an appointment to visit the fair, please do not hesitate to be in touch!

 

A Studio Visit with Artist Anthony Pearson in LA

Pearson initial

During a recent trip to LA, I was invited to visit artist Anthony Pearson at his studio. The space was bright and serene: a sunny laboratory for exploring elusive colors, etched lines, and organic forms. And although Pearson began as a photographer, his current media of plaster, hydrocal, and oak still demonstrate the artist’s predominant concern with light and how it refracts off surfaces.

In fact, Pearson has been exploring this avenue through his art for years, and his recent shows at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York and David Kordansky Gallery in LA served to underscore the artist’s “extreme sensitivity” to his chosen materials. According to one press release, “these works simultaneously embody qualities of sculpture and painting and use subtle relief to employ both seemingly infinite detail and a broad spaciousness.” Yet it is the way that the art interacts with the light in a given space that makes them truly arresting.

California light is legion in art — the 1960s Light and Space Movement centered in LA being a prime example — and looking at Anthony’s work, any art advisor can see why. His images come alive in this light.  As it illuminates subtle color shifts and rakes across etched and poured surfaces, the light creates shadows that define and heighten subtle compositions and variations in color.

Anthony Pearson studio visit  Anthony Pearson studio visitPearson’s exquisitely carved oak frames contain sculptural panels, adding a refined, craft-based element to the work. This refinement carries over into the way he explores the endless possibilities of non-colors, imbuing each one with its own particular depth, weight, and mutability.

Anthony Pearson studio visit  Anthony Pearson studio visitOnce Pearson completes a composition, it sits with other finished works on a long ledge.  Anthony lives with the artworks, contemplating their relationship to one another.  Only when a piece holds its own does he deem it “finished.” The gray monochrome composition (below, left) is typical of his latest direction, in which a large orb seems to twist the plaster into pleats.  While it’s tempting to think that white lines are radiating from the circular form, it is merely an illusion created by the light.

Anthony Pearson studio visit  Anthony Pearson studio visitThank you for a wonderful visit, Anthony!

 


Anthony Pearson (b. 1969) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from UCLA in 1999. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2012), and Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2008). Forthcoming exhibitions include Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago (2016), and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2017). Pearson’s work is in the public collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.