31.10.10

To Be Seen

Following on from my last West Coast entry, this weekend saw the opening of Los Angeles-based gallery Honor Fraser's exhibition, Andy Warhol: Camouflage. The military-inspired work which Warhol injected with bright and fluorescent colourways were only publicly exhibited six years after the artist's death. Now instantly familiar as a Warhol-staple, Honor Fraser offers a rare chance to view the silkscreen prints with Warhol's trial proofs and sketches in pencil. I always find myself looking at the Camouflage paintings for colour inspiration and it is so easy to lose yourself following the fluid forms and gradients that are more seductive than cryptic.
Andy Warhol: Camouflage
30th October 2010 - 31st December 2010
Honor Fraser
2622 South La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles 90034

27.10.10

ART Cribs


Money Maker - Jeffrey Deitch
"Celebrity has become, for better or for worse, an art form" states Jeffrey Deitch, Director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, in a recent interview with online luxury lifestyle resource, NOWNESS. I last reported on Deitch at the very beginning of the year after the announcement of his appointment as Director at MOCA, where he was to leave the contemporary art scene of Manhattan which he shaped with great success with his SoHo gallery Deitch Projects and take his assets - and address book - to the West Coast. It was hoped Deitch would reinvent the financially-troubled museum and create a scene in the City of Angels akin to his accomplishments as a collector, consultant and dealer of some of the world's most important contemporary and modern art activity. 
If this film is anything to go by, it looks like Deitch has settled into his new life very well as he gives NOWNESS a tour of his "movie star house" in the hills of Los Feliz. You would be forgiven if you thought this was from an episode of MTV's Cribs - the Hip hop soundtrack and punchy camera shots may be absent but the tour possesses all the Cribs-credentials: the swooping driveway shot of the Spanish revival house that has been previously owned by actor, Cary Grant (tick); Deitch explaining his plans for a party room (tick) while he describes some of his art collection on the walls (tick), followed by a tour of his bedroom (tick). OK, so this episode is missing the default, "and this is where the magic happens", but we are invited to see Jesus in our eye lids thanks to his painting by Aaron Young, and maybe that works just as well for Mr. Deitch! Speaking about celebrity culture in reference to Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Gilbert and George, Deitch is clearly fascinated when the worlds of art and entertainment meet (see my entry, Cover Girls) and there is no better place than in Hollywood to feed his interest with MOCA as his platform. This is an insightful view into the private and professional world of Jeffrey Deitch making himself part of the celebrity culture that he is hoping will drive the art market on the West Coast. In true celebrity fashion, Deitch doesn't give everything away and leaves us asking the most critical question of all... what's in your fridge?

26.10.10

PIXEL POPS! Part 4

The end of October marks the final and fourth instalment of the 6th Annual PIXEL POPS! exhibit, Urban Realities. The series of outdoor screenings will return to New Jersey in Jersey City where my animation, Flamingo Parade, will be projected within the local community on Warren Street between 1st and 2nd Streets. This is the last opportunity to catch my work and join curators Jeanne Brasile and Hiroshi Kumagai at the locaton from 7pm tonight and view all the short films and animations. I have been promised documentation from the exhibit will be made available at the end of the event so hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to post some photos of Flamingo Parade in situ. But until then, head to Jersey City for a great night of digital art in the urban landscape...


PIXEL POPS! - Urban Realities
Warren Street between 1st and 2nd Streets
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
October 27th - 7pm onwards
For more information about tonight's event visit PIXEL POPS!

24.10.10

Runaway And Don't Look Back

Although art and music are not unfamiliar ingredients for a delectable serving of pop culture, I am currently fascinated (and obsessed) with Kanye West's driving vision for the release of his fifth studio album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy that has the press dropping 'edgy' bombs to describe the hip hop artist's performances and new branding, which is frankly bizarre in this era of Gaga. So everyone may not know who George Condo or Vanessa Beecroft are, and West's target audience may have had to up their game to catch up with the singer's string of collaborative projects that I reported on before the release of his first track, Power, from his new album. But this is not 'edgy' or 'alternative', this is an example of a musician embracing the art world that in fact fuels all aspects of the creative world, only previously it has been filtered and processed to be understood for the mass market.

At this year's MTV Video Music Awards in September, West rocked out on a MPC on top of a Doric column juxtaposed with an impressive performance of ballerinas to the new track, Runaway. Anyone familiar with performative arts, and to a degree art installation, could see the quality and attention to the visual set West was wanting to present. In conjunction with the release of a trailer for this new single, West has relished in a month of previews, rumour and speculation that is not only fuelling hype of the release of the new album scheduled for the 22nd November - which has also sparked controversy earlier this week with the album's artwork produced by American painter and sculptor, George Condo, depicting a naked West underneath a bare-breasted Phoenix, with news the cover image is to be banned in America - the Internet is now on fire with the premiere of the single's music video. But this media-blitz does not end here. The four-minute music video to Runaway is actually only a small sequence to a longer length film titled after the single, which West has kept on the low-down until now. I can only describe the thirty-four minute film as an art film-meets-music medley - with Italian performance artist Vanessa Beecroft taking the reigns of Art Director, paired with Yemi Akinyemi's choreography and West adding Director to his ever-growing repertoire, this is a recipe of excitement. 
Prague is the location for the film and and the banquet segment in an airport hangar, which is also used as the single's music video, displays the strong and familiar visual styles of Beecroft's work from her performances such as VB 52 (2003-2004). West cites his cinematic premiere with camera angles au fait with Kubrick and Fellini, with themes of beauty, symbolism and discrimination playing key elements in the production written by celebrated American video and film director, Hype Williams. From the beautiful Phoenix played by model Selita Ebanks and the incredible pyrotechnics; the enchanting ballerinas and carnival scene that includes a large-scale papier-mâché head of Michael Jackson (that perhaps tributes the late artist's own music video films) all contribute to a visual seduction accompanied by tracks from the new album like an audio narrative.

It is unclear whether future tracks will take their respective sequences from the film or whether it will be released in cinemas or screened in art galleries, but what is certain is West has created a new level to reach within the realm of music video. The ultimate action of ego this may be - but I would like to think West is making his audience think more: an education in high-culture that is far from 'edgy' and more on the money, with nods to the classical and contemporary working in complete harmony. In times of post-recession, culture is the new currency everyone wants their hands on and if it can be as visually attractive as this, then we all need to runaway and not look back.

Behold the full-length film for Runaway here and preview stills from the music video below...

21.10.10

The North Is On Fire


Manchester United season ticket: £513, vinyl banner: £100

Old Trafford telling Wayne Rooney what they think: priceless

Affaires De Luxe

The Art world migrate to France this week from Frieze to FIAC, Paris' very own International Contemporary Art Fair held at the Grand Palais and the Cour Carrée du Louvre with a series of outdoor projects in the Jardin des Tuileries. Analysis post-Frieze declared a less frantic market with galleries taking more time to speak with buyers, and collectors free from the pressures of a quick investment. Competition may not have been so hot compared with previous years, but a more considered market is rising from the recession and two signs in Paris this week declares the position of art as a safe investment and the ultimate symbol of luxury.
The Gagosian empire has landed in the eighth arrondissement at 4 rue de Ponthieu with a gallery that is fit for any couture atelier or luxury boutique, designed by French architect Jean-Francois Bodin and London studio Caruso St. John. Launching with works by American artist Cy Twombly, the Gagosian Gallery's place in Paris marks the city's transformation on the international art circuit. Modern art has been more accepted with projects over the years with contemporary interventions at the Palace of Versailles and at the Louvre with Twombly painting a ceiling in the museum earlier this year.

Images courtesy of Wallpaper*

Camino Real - installation
So if Paris' message of reclaiming it's status as the heart of the art world once more is not clear enough, then let money speak for itself. The luxury fashion and lifestyle house Hermès has collaborated with French artist Daniel Buren for the exhibit Photos-souvenirs au carré that is being presented at La Monnaie de Paris - the French mint. Buren's large-scale public installations of vibrant colour and stripes have been a great inspiration to my own practice and with this project we see both his trademark style fused with his own photographic work that he has accumulated throughout his career since the 1950s. Out of the four-hundred thousand photographs which poignantly document his work and travels from around the world - only twenty-two 'photos-souvenirs' have been used for this Hermès collaboration on what else but a desirable, enviable silk scarf.
Photos-souvenirs au carré - installation
Buren's graphic photographs set within a solid striped frame produce a bold and saturated image that form the series of three-hundred and sixty-five silk scarves - a result not familiar with the subtle luxury of the Hermès brand - but the house and artist have had a long relationship since 2000 and after the success of the first production of artist-inspired designs onto silk with Josef Albers' Homage to the Square in 2008, it was a suitable partnership that results in a very unique product for both parties. Aside from the aesthetic, new territory for the house was explored by leaving the traditional method of silkscreen and adopting the technique of ink-jet printing that allows for a greater output of colours to create the intense and photographic quality onto textile. Adamant that the works of art are to be 'tied around the neck, draped and crushed', Buren shows collectors that art can come out of the dark bank vaults in full technicolour and with limited releases in a selection of Hermès boutiques from this week, this may be the sure sign that Paris has it's competitive streak back. Euros at the ready tout le monde!
Dahlia (détail 2), Île-de-France, France 09.09.01
Intérieur (détail 3), Île-de-France, France 01.06.08
La Corricella (détail 2), Procida, Italy 01.08.09
Filtres Colorés 2, Travail in situ, Seoul, Korea 11.11.06

Camino Real by Cy Twombly
4 rue de Ponthieu
75008 Paris
October 20th - December 23rd 2010

Photos-souvenirs au carré by Daniel Buren
11 quai de Conti
75006 Paris
October 20th - November 7th 2010

20.10.10

PIXEL POPS! Part 3

Bushwick, in the northeastern sector of Brooklyn, will host the third instalment of PIXEL POPS! this week. The metropolitan setting of Moore Street near Graham Avenue will be screening this annual international event for the Urban Realities exhibit that will include my New York City-inspired animation, Flamingo Parade. As always, you are very welcome to join curators Jeanne Brasile and Hiroshi Kumagai from 7pm tonight - next week is the last and final public screening in Jersey City - check back here for information about next week's location across the Hudson River and for more updates and images of PIXEL POPS! throughout this month.


PIXEL POPS! - Urban Realities
Moore Street near Graham Avenue
Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY, USA
October 20th - 7pm onwards
For more information about tonight's event visit PIXEL POPS!

13.10.10

Cover Girls

London's art fairs are in full swing and the art journals and blogosphere are getting blisters over - steady boys and girls - this month's W magazine. The Art Issue features two cover girls who both share surnames beginning with the letter K: Barbara Kruger and Kim Kardashian. Surprised? Selling the latter as "the queen of reality TV" playing "the role of a lifetime in the fine art of playing herself", it is left to the iconic Kruger to cover Miss Kardashian's modesty with the words, It's all about me I mean you I mean me
The art-meets-popular-culture theme continues with features on Pee-wee Herman and Johnny Knoxville sharing editorial inches with Daniel Libeskind and Juergen Teller. This issue may have the art community equally asking 'who, what, where, when and why?' as much as the reality revellers short on the who's who of the art world, but the issue is a tribute to Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame expression which resonates loudly today as it did forty-years ago. W thinks "Warhol will be proud" - the underlying question is, are we proud with this reality?


Untitled, 2010 - Barbara Kruger for W magazine
Image courtesy of Mary Boone Gallery

12.10.10

PIXEL POPS! Part 2

The second instalment of PIXEL POPS! graces New York this week in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As always, my animation, Flamingo Parade, will be screened at this annual international event for the Urban Realities exhibit - for those of you in the New York City area, you are very welcome to join curators Jeanne Brasile and Hiroshi Kumagai at Meeker Avenue, between Union Avenue and Jackson Street from 7pm tonight. Hopefully my stateside crew will be hitting the streets and getting some great documentation for me so check back here soon for more updates!


PIXEL POPS! - Urban Realities
Meeker Avenue between Union Avenue and Jackson Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, USA
October 13th - 7pm onwards
For more information about tonight's event visit PIXEL POPS!

11.10.10

Quality Street

There's something about Londoners and postcodes - a sort of love affair so intense that even if they dare contemplate leaving their very own postal zone, the mere idea is deemed with such fear it is as if they are cheating on their six-digit partner. We are all guilty of this - maybe it's a British thing brought on by that genetic snob gene we all inherently possess, however when this attitude is adopted by the international community who now call London home, I can't help but feel sorry for these immobile cosmopolites who restrict themselves to their mile-radius. I for one have experienced this firsthand when I returned to live in Windsor, Berkshire (a what-was-I-thinking?-twenty-three miles from Central London - yes only twenty-three miles). Getting anyone out here for the weekend, let alone for a day is practically impossible. So to last Friday, and a journey to South-of-the-river Peckham for the Art Licks Magazine launch. Going somewhere that began with the postcode 'SE' was, I admit, a journey into the unknown: where chicken can be found breaded, fried or jerk on every street corner and where ninety-nine pence can go a long way, this was to be an adventure that met all my preconceptions... except for what I was to find at the finish line.
In the past year I have heard a lot about Sassoon Gallery but I had never been motivated to travel across the Thames (surprise surprise), so on hearing that my good friends the Ladies of the Press* were to be performing at the gallery for the magazine launch event I was looking forward to checking out the space. Located in the arches underneath Peckham Rye station, the gallery is large and light thanks to its glass fronted façade and there's a great ambience in the evening when you can see the overground trains pass overhead from the outdoor courtyard that adds a metropolitan vibe that resembles the bohemian art hubs in Europe.

So we've established that the location is good - only a two-minute walk from the overground platform to the gallery's door for all you fearing the worst - but it's the address that I want to talk about. Blenheim Grove may sound like it should be in SW1, but this street is far from the budget market stalls that line the main road of Rye Lane and is actually the home of a Sassoon monopoly. The gallery was founded by Ben Sassoon and what followed was pure genius - he set up a bar that meant the gallery never had to worry about an after show venue that would also attract the art crowd for culture and alcohol from afar.

Bar Story welcomes you into a tropical outdoor area from Blenheim Grove - a good plan, since you have to walk through the bar to get to the gallery in the back - but don't let that put you off. This is not a low-brow establishment. The culture thermometer is very much set to 'high' with the gallery now in the hands of arts collective, Sisters Burn, and with Mr. Sassoon working the bar and even the tables with his quiet, yet proud presence, surveying his trendy hang-out packed with cool kids listening to great music and customers like me who could only wish they had somewhere like Bar Story as their own locale. This is a street in Peckham not to be ignored and with a new Sassoon venture newly launched in the area in the shape of a gallery/bar/cafe, aptly named NewGallery London, you'll be hearing about this area from me in the future. So get on the overground and find yourself within ten minutes comfortably out of your comfort zone, drinking a beer or cocktail and ordering a hand-made pizza in this genuinely hip atmosphere in SE15 with not a breaded, fried or jerk chicken in sight ... unless it just happens to be part of an art installation next door. Bon voyage!

When Bart met Banksy

Happy Monday everyone! More from my weekend coming up but before that, here's some comic relief to get us back into the weekly groove. It was only inevitable that Bart Simpson would run into art vandal extraordinaire Banksy on the streets of Springfield one of these days and this is what happened when they did. Using the opening sequence of The Simpsons as his surface, Banksy directs an altered version of this now classic hallmark, painting a dark and satirical view of the corporate machine that has become this world famous animated television series now in its twenty-second season. Throw in few tags on the streets of Springfield, a sprinkle of Banksy's trademark rats and Bart's 'I must not write all over the walls' detention scene and you have the perfect recipe of art and culture that reflects no longer solely American culture but a Western lifestyle that feeds the supply and demand markets while fuelling an underground anarchy. So if this is all a bit too deep on a Monday morning, sit back, roll the titles and imagine what Homer would say about all of this...



7.10.10

4, 3, 2, 1 Launch

The weekend could not come sooner and there's a lot going on in London Town between now and then, starting with tonight's Arts Licks Magazine launch at Sassoon Gallery. This is the first publication from the weekly art guide, with work and live performances from the issue's contributors including the infamous Ladies of the Press* with their Live Press station!
Tomorrow sees the much anticipated opening of RHIZOMATIC presented by Departure Gallery and curated by the venerable Louise Ashcroft. The launch will see the works of over 230 artists in the gargantuan space of 130,000 square feet that will also include the gallery's current exhibition, PROP, open to the public. With a series of 'four' generations of artists, RHIZOMATIC's concept revolves around the idea of rhizome (a sprawling and spontaneous system of connections in flux) as well as the theory of six degrees of separation. This will be the largest event to hit The International Trading Estate in Southall and will make Frieze look like it's not trying hard enough - this is not to missed!
Liangwest's latest offering, Boyfriend Material, also opens with their Private View in West London. Eight emerging artists explore the role of attraction in the art making experience, paired with it's Knightsbridge location, the exhibition guarantees to be visually appealing.
And last but not least, Young & Lost Club celebrate their Fifth Birthday and their success with their thrity-two singles compilation that was released over the summer, at XOYO in the East End. Live performances from Noah and the Whale, Othello Woolf, Exlovers and a medley of DJs including Young & Lost's very own Sara and Nadia will make the perfect finale to these back-to-back art events - that just leaves Sunday to recuperate for another week next week! 4, 3, 2, 1...

6.10.10

PIXEL POPS! Part 1

PIXEL POPS! officially launches today with the first of four events throughout October happening tonight in Newark, New Jersey as part of the Urban Realities exhibit. My animation, Flamingo Parade, will screened at this annual international event and I can now announce details of the first location for the outdoor projections on Market Street between Washington and University Streets in Newark, New Jersey (map below). For those of you who are stateside and in the New Jersey area, you are very welcome to join curators Jeanne Brasile and Hiroshi Kumagai at the locaton from 7pm tonight and view all the short films and animations - I only wish I could be there! Documentation from tonight's event coming soon!


PIXEL POPS! - Urban Realities
Market Street between Washington and University Streets
Newark, New Jersey, USA
October 6th - 7pm onwards
For more information about tonight's event visit PIXEL POPS!