Rosemary, Still by Brian
It's ridiculously difficult to decide what to share here, so I've decided to categorize the works that most struck me in a series of posts. But that's actually not so easy. Should fiber art be considered painting? What about text-focused art? How about prints? I'm just going with the flow here and hope you'll come along on the ride.
First up is Rosemary, Still by Brian Calvin. As I roamed the aisles, I felt a little surge of happiness every time I captured a glimpse of this painting. Rosemary is just so striking and beautiful in an untraditional way.
I learned that Calvin specifically does not want to convey a story in his work. ("[A narrative] is just not compelling to me," he said in an interview with Muse magazine.) But how can you not construct a story around this woman?
I'm a Feminist. What's Your
Superpower? (Excelsior! Leonard Raven-
Hill for Punch Magazine, 1910)
by Andrea Bowers (2018)
Another of Bowers' works features a bonneted woman standing on a barrel in front of an image of a lion with a sign that reads "Hear Me Roar." That work was inspired by an image from the Suffragette Postcard Project. Click here to see the original.
Self Portrait after Henry Taylor by
Vincent Namatjira (2018)
|Physichoromie Panam 309 by Carlos Cruz-Diez (2018)|
This painting by Carlos Cruz-Diez kind of blew my mind. The colors shimmer off the canvas and seem to change depending upon where you stand. You can get a sense of this phenomenon even by looking at this image from different vantage points.
It makes sense now that I know Cruz-Diez is considered one of the founders of kinetic and op art ("op" being short for optical illusion). Cruz-Diez' website describes the genre as creating "an awareness of the instability of reality." The website also explains that "a physichoromie acts as a 'light trap' in a space where a series of color frames interact [and] transform each other, generating new ranges of color not present." Cruz-Diez has been working in this field since the late 1950s. Click here to explore his website. His architectural integrations and interventions in public space are particularly exciting.
|Work by Tschabalala Self|
I wandered in to take a look at this painting, which features a guy wearing a racing team shirt with a Tide detergent logo surveying a shelf filled with bottles of Tide. I like the painting, but I was baffled by the plastic crates. I swallowed my pride to ask what the story was. (Nobody else was around, so I only had to confess my ignorance to an audience of one.) The gallerist was quite nice as she explained that the space was intended to evoke a bodega; hence, the crates. I then understood the round security mirror on the wall was art rather than, well, security. And the whole "Tide" theme suddenly made sense as well, although I suspect there's deeper meaning than, "Oh, bodegas carry laundry detergent." [Note: My friend Deb just shared an article with me about thieves stealing Tide from bodegas to trade for crack. My wildest imagination never would have gone there. Click here to read about this surprising phenomenon, which sheds probable light on Self's intentions.]
|Gazing Ball (de Vos Europa) by Jeff Koons (2018)|
In his latest series, Koons has added gazing balls to painted copies of 35 masterpieces, from Manet's Luncheon on the Grass to DaVinci's Mona Lisa. (This work is a reproduction of Martin de Vos' The Rape of Europa.) Handblown gazing balls have been inserted into the paintings and enable the viewer to interact with the painting in a visible way. In an interview with The Guardian, Koons said of the concept, "This experience is about you, your desires, your interests, your participation, your relationship with this image." I love it. To read the interview, click here.
|Nicole 2 by Alex Katz (2018)|
I have long been a fan of Katz' portraiture, which has a graphic feel. He is known for his paintings of closely cropped faces. Although he's been working in this style since the 1960s, his work always feels fresh. Interestingly, Katz has used his wife Ada as his model for at least 250 of his paintings. (For a fun interview with Ada, click here.)
Next up: Favorite Sculptures from Art Basel 2018.