In 2012, Hanksy was a street artist gaining a degree of notoriety for his street art depicting Tom Hanks as a Banksy rat. Since then, he has sold out multiple New York gallery shows, created a large and loyal band of internet supporters, energetic detractors, and is about to open his first show in Los Angeles, at Gallery 1988. Since my first interview with Hanksy, we have become good friends. I do not believe this infringes on my ability to ask questions about pun-based street art.
How to sum up a Surrealist's autobiography? I haven’t the slightest idea. Luis Buñuel's just-republished My Last Sigh contains, as you might expect, few concrete explanations of anything, but countless provisional manifestoes, an index of cinematic inspirations of bewildering range, more anecdotes than any human has a right to own (he narrowly missed that orgy organized by Charlie Chaplin, but did dismantle a Christmas tree at another party attended by Chaplin—other guests were not amused), and a surprisingly elegiac tone of melancholy. This provides a partial overview, but what else? There’s the family’s pet, an "enormous rat" that accompanied them on trips in a birdcage. This was presumably toted [...]
There is no soundtrack for this excellent video that Melanie Hoff, a student at Pratt, made by sending 1,500 volts of electricity into a plank of wood. I know the perfect song. Also, this is another example of how everything, but EVERYTHING, is fractals. [Via]
Last night I was at a party at The Wooly, which is a bar on the ground floor of the Woolworth Building. It was a fun party, though I basically just talked to the two people that I knew there. The bartenders made delicious drinks that went particularly well with the decor of the place. There was a painting hanging above the bar of a lady in olde-time garb sipping a cocktail in front of a peacock that I could not stop staring at.
The most memorable part of the night, though, happened before I got to the party, when I arrived at the Woolworth Building not knowing [...]
As we discussed last month, the passing of the Painter of Light left a huge Thomas Kinkade-sized hole in the American cultural landscape. Was he merely an outlier, or is there another Kinkade out there ready to occupy the same territory? Who, if anyone, can we look to as a successor?
Now, there are plenty of artists who can give Kinkade a run for his money in the "hearth and home" department. Too many, really. Richard Burns' impossibly idyllic cottages look as if they were sculpted out of sherbet. Sung Kim's scenes tap into the primal human urge for scratch n' sniff. But when you look [...]
Of all the months we've looked at so far, the August image in the Thomas Kinkade 2012 calendar may be the most quintessentially Kinkadian. The lighthouse. The cottage. The trademark glow. This one should have been effortless to critique. But when I started typing out notes, I realized that I was done with critiquing his work. No more Kinkade analysis! Could I possibly say anything new about a man who basically painted the same thing hundreds of times? The mere thought of the task started to bring on a headache. Since it's summer, I decided that it was time to have some fun with him for a change. It was [...]
After you go visit the really terrific Alighiero Boetti show at MoMA, which I love, and after you see his ("his") tapestries and thingies on the second floor, don't forget to sneak through the surprisingly expansive second-floor galleries, which are showing a kind of semi-show, a kind of rotating collection-display they're calling "1980 to Now." Apparently at some point they'll like, reinstall it and update it or whatever. This is sort of better than being like "here are some recent things that people gave us!" But it's also kind of a curatorial nightmare, because you're making a declaration about, well, 1980 to now.
There’s a strange, wonderful short story by Donald Barthelme about a balloon that appears one day on Fourteenth Street and grows, like a low-hanging blimp, until it covers a good deal of Manhattan. It becomes an object of widespread puzzlement and fascination. Children leap across its surface. Art critics analyze its colors. City officers conduct secret nighttime tests to better understand it.
For the past couple of weeks, Fort Greene has been living out its own strange version of "The Balloon." On a handful of corners, seemingly overnight, bike racks have appeared. And not just any bike racks, but city bike racks. Or is it citibike racks? These, in [...]
"A gorilla sculpture has been painted by a nine-year-old Western lowland gorilla at Paignton Zoo. The zoo said [the gorilla painter] chose to use fingers – and occasionally lips – rather than brushes to apply the child-friendly paint and had been 'inspired by the promise of grapes'."
Unrealistic beauty expectations are nothing new: Julia Pastrana was known in life as the "world's ugliest woman," and her husband made money from this by taking her around to circuses and theaters as a curiosity. He even bought advertising in the New York Times calling his spouse a "link between mankind and the ourang-outang." After Julia Pastrana's death in 1860, he carted her corpse around the world for years, so people could see why he called the "bear woman." Her remains were eventually abandoned in Norway.
Video maker Geraldo Mercado, diminutive in size, is a polarizing figure in the circles he travels. He's sweet as pie, coquettish and flirty with everyone he meets—but never holds back his opinion, especially when he's talking about art. "Absolutely everyone knows how to talk about aesthetics, but they don't normally engage in that conversation. So, how do I get people to talk about this? Once you start presenting things to people, they're actual able to speak about it and have a strong opinion and think about the media abstractly, the media they take in on a daily basis."
Geraldo is a Puerto Rican-born, Boston-raised, Brooklyn-based artist—a biography of hyphens. [...]
What with Chloe Sevigny reading from the Pussy Riot closing statements tonight and a demonstration in New York's Times Square this afternoon, maybe it’s no big deal that several dozen people assembled outside the Russian Embassy for a Free Pussy Riot rally in Washington, D.C. the other day. Congress is on recess and it was an August Friday afternoon: perfect conditions for checking out of the office to check out an Amnesty International event. Glover Park is far from everything, but between Russian diplomats and fussy residents, someone in the neighborhood was bound to take umbrage with so many signs reading “pussy.” What could go wrong? Maybe something!
The rally [...]
The Australian art critic and historian Robert Studley Forrest Hughes died yesterday at the age of just 74. He'd withstood such a lot, coming back after weeks in a coma following a terrible car accident in Australia in 1999. I thought he was so strong that he would still live to be 100. Part of his name, even, was 'Studley'! And that is just what he was.
What is the best thing Hughes ever did? How to choose from this embarrassment of riches? The obvious answer would be his stately, gorgeously comprehensive history of the convict settlement of Australia, The Fatal Shore (1987). Equally obvious: the 1980 TV [...]
"I have something in common with Norman Rockwell," Thomas Kinkade once reflected. "I like to make people happy." Right, and that's also why Krispy Kreme makes sugary donuts and why Joe Francis makes "Girls Gone Wild" DVDs. Regardless, nobody would argue too much against the fact that Kinkade, the fine art painter, is considered in the same "American populist" category as Rockwell, the magazine illustrator. However, Rockwell also confessed that "I am a story teller." And this is where the similarities abruptly end between Rockwell and the man who so badly wanted to be mentioned in the same breath as his idol.
The July page in [...]
"Beauty is a responsibility like anything else, beautiful women have special lives like prime ministers but I don't want that."
The writer and painter Leonora Carrington was 33 and a very beautiful woman when she wrote that line in The Hearing Trumpet, a book that is, among many other topics—alchemy, the Holy Grail, the perversities of nuns, the difficulties of getting goats and wolves to live together—also about being very, very old. This was in 1950; her best friend was a Spanish painter named Remedios Varo.
In the book, Carrington appears under the alias Marian Leatherby, who is 92 and has a beard. She has no [...]
This weekend is The Armory Art Fair in New York City. It is not currently held in one of New York City's fine dilapidated armories—these days, we've used some of those to house the large numbers of people made homeless by Hurricane Sandy! Oh and also the one on Park Avenue serves in part as a shelter for mentally ill women, did you know?!—but over on piers 92 and 94, which is basically where West 53rd Street runs into the Hudson. Yes, brr.
In this art fair, a couple of hundred galleries have wedged wares into little booths. People walk around and look at these things. And run into [...]
"[T]he supercut craze is really just a small indicator of a larger development. The average Joe is seizing a media Jedi power once restricted to a lucky few. We can rigorously shame TV shows when they go to the same well a few times too often. We can passionately recut Star Wars movies to fix them, spitting in the face of George Lucas' aesthetic choices. And yes, supercuts can be art."
Last month we asked if Jon McNaughton was the right artist to take Thomas Kinkade's place in American culture and decided that it was not a good fit: McNaughton's much more concerned with ranting than actually painting. No, the next Painter of Light cannot be somebody with too many complex ideas. He needs to present something as familiar and easy to pull on as the cozy fall sweaters you're currently pulling out of your dresser drawers. The work should be ubiquitous and unchallenging, suitable for Facebook. And if you support our current president you already may have clicked 'like' on the work of one such artist already, that is [...]
This past Sunday, a crowd of about 200 gathered outside the entrance to a faded-looking building at 7th Street and Columbia in Hudson, New York. They were there for a first public peek at what will be Marina Abramovic's Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art. The building—brick, columned, with "Community Tennis" lettered across its front—seems a long way from what the architectural renderings depict for the future museum, which is a sleek "interactive building" seemingly encased in glass. (The project is led by architects Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas.) The institute is projected to open in mid-2014; for now, this open house would give Abramovic the chance to [...]