Arlene Shechet primarily works in clay. She is prolific, a New Yorker, and there is not a piece of hers that I haven’t liked. The way she presents her pieces (whether on pedestals, stools, tables, etc) is always inventive and as much a part of what interests me as the pieces themselves. Watching her lecture with the 92Y Virtual Clay in 2017 and seeing the Art21 episodes that she is in have validated my crush on her work. I was lucky to see her first major public art project at Madison Square Park Conservancy in NYC that was up for about eight months. The pieces were made out of porcelain, wood, steel and cast iron.
Absolutely gorgeous in person.
Amoako Boafo was the darling of Art Basel. Not only was his work at a booth at the Art Basel show, but he had a 2019 Artist-in-Residence show at the new opening of the Rubell Museum. Read this to learn more about Boafo. Photos do not do justice to his work. They are stunning.
Last year at Art Basel, I fell for similar pieces by this artist. There were 16 pieces hung in a rectangular pattern. I really wanted one, maybe two, but they only sold them in a large group. I still like them.
Tomie Ohtake was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1913. I liked these dots (a detail of one of her paintings) so much, that when I got to my computer I did further research on her as I wanted to see what her other work was like. Not only did I like her other paintings, but I liked her as well. She was one of the main representatives of abstract art in Brazil, and she didn’t start painting until she was 39. She lived to be 101, which proves it is never too late to become an artist.
I saw a lot of Kehinde Wiley paintings at the fairs in Miami. These two at Art Basel were my favorite.
Allan McCollum had quite a presence at Art Basel. I had not heard of him before seeing his work here and at Meridians. “Allan McCollum is a contemporary American artist whose work often blurs the boundary between unique artifacts and mass production” (Artnet)
Isa Melsheimer, born in 1968 in Neuss, Germany lives and works in Berlin. She’s a ceramic artist whose work I was unfamiliar with, but glad I now know.
I can never pass an Alice Neel painting without stopping and admiring her completely identifiable style of painting portraits. I don’t even know who Stephen Shepard is, but I like the portrait a lot. Check out this great documentary on Neel, done by her grandson Andrew Neel. Her sons are interviewed, along with other friends and artists. She led quite the Bohemian life, and the documentary is really worth watching.
If the sculpture with the bronze mussel shells was too large for you as seen in my post from Art Miami, then this might be a better size for you!
You might recognize this artist’s work as it is the same artist whose image from the winery I showed in a post about Sonoma. I also was interested in the resin and marble dust medium which I mentioned in the post on Untitled.
I vividly remember seeing Ghada Amer’s first U.S. survey show, Ghada Amer: Love Has No End, at the Brooklyn Museum in 2008. There are just some art shows that stick with you forever, and this was one of them. I was excited, but not surprised, to see a ceramic piece of hers at Art Basel.
Between 1958 and 1968 Argentine-Italian modernist Lucio Fontana created a group of works in his Milan studio that were known as Concetti Spaziali, Attese. He described them as tagli (slashes). Concetti Spaziali meaning spacial concepts. These followed his previous work which had perforations and holes in sculptures, ceramics and canvas.
I saw Lucio Fontana: On the Threshold at the Met Breuer this past April. It was the first major survey in the U.S. in over forty years. I fell for his slashed paintings, as well as his earlier perforated work. His choice of color for his canvases was varied (all solid colors) and in perfect hues. Fontana’s ceramic pieces at the exhibition were completely identifiable as his work, once you saw his paintings. I was fortunate to see more of his work (dated earlier than the pieces I’m showing now) at the Pompidou this year as well. I’ll write more about Fontana in future blog posts.
I don’t have the year or dimensions of this small ceramic piece, but it looked like a large yunomi (Japanese teacup) to me. This was one of the last pieces I saw after hours and hours at Art Basel, and forgot to get the information. I knew whose work it was as I had seen images of it in a lecture by Tom Sachs through the 92Y Virtual Clay series in NYC.
On May 19, 1960 Yves Klein was issued a patent for his own signature hue known as IKB (International Klein Blue), a shade of pure ultramarine which Klein developed. The color to him was a symbol of eternity. “Klein famously declared the blue sky to be his first artwork and from there continued finding radical new ways to represent the infinite and immaterial in his works. One such strategy was monochrome abstraction – the use of one color over an entire canvas” (MOMA).
Klein made his first blue monochromes in 1956. Between 1956 and 1959 the sponge became one of his materials. In 1961, Paul Wember, the director of the Museum Haus Lange in Krefeld, Germany, presented a major exhibition, the only museum exhibition during Yves Klein’s lifetime. The sponges could be acquired during the exhibition. “With the sponges – living, wild material – I was able to create portraits of the readers of my monochromes, who, after they had traveled through the blue of my paintings, were – like the sponges- completely, impregnated by the sensibility” (Yves Klein).
A French conceptual artist, Klein died in 1962 at the age of 34 of a heart attack. If you look at 1stDibs you can find examples of some of the furniture Klein’s widow and the Yves Klein Estate in Paris have overseen the manufacturing of since his death. One table is based on a model he designed in 1961. A low simple table form filled with the IKB pigment.
IKB is my favorite blue.
I was excited to see these pieces by Magdalena Suarez Frimkess in person, as I had only seen the work on line. I was introduced to Frimkess’ work by The Nevica Project. You can read about her here. The fun of going to art shows alone is that you can easily listen in on conversations. There was a very well-dressed woman, who was seemingly a collector of Frimkess pieces, there looking at the two horses on display. She asked the person from the gallery whether the one she had purchased had been sent to her yet. The gallery employee told the woman that she should have received it by now. The woman then said that she thought these horses looked happier than the one she purchased. The patient gallery representative proceeded to show the woman an image of the one she purchased, only to be told again that the ones at Art Basel looked happier. I had to remove myself from the situation as I just couldn’t listen anymore. The horses are about 6.5″ x 9.5″ x 3 in. I’ve seen them listed for almost $6,000 each. I of course had to look on the gallery website to see other images. For the record, I thought all the horses looked happy.
My brother really wants this piece. He doesn’t have room (even though it can be indoors or out), which is good as my sister-in-law might have killed him. I do hate to think of the gallery having to ship it back to Berlin. It weighs one metric ton, which is 2200 pounds.
All good things come to those that wait. I purposely went to see this exhibit last and I was not disappointed. I had been reading about Kathleen Ryan for a while, and having a vintage beaded fruit and vegetable collection of my own (over 400 pieces), I was imagining my collection magnified and made from gemstones. I wish! Here is an article you can read from the NYTimes.