Tag Archives: art

On the Street in: Denver

DENVER 2016 ~ On a short trip to Denver, Colorado back in April, I took some time to wonder the streets and captured some of the vibrant street art scene there.

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I stayed on E. Colfax near Park Avenue and the first thing I noticed right off-the-bat was the strong sticker game going on there. Being a big sticker fan myself, I got a little obsessed trying to document all the slaps. Every sign, newspaper box, dumpster and drainpipe were plastered with plenty of great sticker work.

Names like MESR, INVIZ, SPB (Silly Pink Bunny / Jeremy Fish), YESM (tribute?), AEKS and HB9, led me from sign to sign.

YESM ? (tribute?) WKT, EMT

INVIZ, FTSK – Label 228

IMOK (If Mother Only Knew) – Jive

SPB (Silly Pink Bunny / Jeremy Fish)

FTSK Label 228 & Hello my name is BERT

Some nice 228 Labels, hand styles and graphics were seen in some out-of-the way places too.

Then I made my way over to the Larimer Street area near 27th St. where there are tons of sanctioned murals but even more unsanctioned stuff. There are two alleyways on either side of Larimer St. that are chock-full of tags, murals, wheatpastes, throwies, and just about anything else you can think of.

@ElleStreetArt

Trashbird, Lomax and??

One of my favorite discoveries there was the “Kwiatkowski Press” prints. A project by Brian Bradley, working under the name Frank Kwiatkowski, he carves his designs on sections of old traffic cones to make the prints. I saw at least five of them up on walls and other surfaces. He has a very unique style that reminds me of the raw and revolutionary work of Emory Douglas in the 1970s.  Kwiatkowski often centers his work around the healthcare industrial complex and his struggles in dealing with diabetes.

Kwiatkowski Press

                       

Another wonderful discovery was the work of Koko Bayer (@kokonofilter). The grandchild of groundbreaking Modern Bauhaus Artist Herbert Bayer, Koko’s project “brings his work back to life” by reproducing images and getting them up out in the streets, and adding a contemporary twist here and there. Now a whole new generation can be introduced to his masterworks through this collaboration that defies the bounds of time and mortality.

Koko Bayer also documents the weathering of the pieces over time.

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While walking through one of the alleys I was surprised to see a huge piece by one of my longtime favorite artists: GATS (Graffiti Against the System). @GATSPTV

I first came across the work of GATS while visiting ROME in 2010. The East Bay artist has one of the most recognizable styles on the streets. This double-faced piece behind The Meadowlark Bar music venue was so rad, I did my best to move the dumpsters out of the way to get a full shot, but the left one was full of cooking oil, so it was no-go.

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So I shot this Impossible Project / Polaroid of one face.

There was waaay too much wonderful stuff to mention all of it in this post. So I’ll show a few more here, then you can click the link at the bottom of the page (or here) if you’d like to flip through my Flickr Gallery of 80 photos.

CORPSE ART (@c0rpse___)

YEN34

OhYeah !!

Scot LeFavor WHAM! mural

There’s tons more to see, so click through the gallery below to fully immerse yourself in the Denver street scene.

Check back soon for the next installment of our “On the Street in:” series.  Hint: it’s often preceded by “Moon’s Over…”

Stay Up! ~ Peace.

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ALL TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN

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Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks

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Late in the 1980s, burgeoning New York art collector Larry Warsh acquired a series of eight, common composition notebooks from members of a seemingly-defunct and little-known band called “Gray.” Those notebooks sat boxed in a closet of Warsh’s Manhattan apartment for more than 25 years. Now they are on a touring exhibition from the Brooklyn Museum, with stops at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and the books are likely reaching a much bigger audience than the band ever attracted back at C.B.G.B.’s in 1980.

Of course, these aren’t just any notebooks. “Gray” isn’t just any band born in the Bowery. And it turns out that Larry Warsh is a damn good judge of groundbreaking art.

The sparsely-filled books contain years of hand-written notes by revolutionary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and they seem to offer a peep-hole in to the mind of that unconventional genius. This exhibit presents pages from the notebooks alongside a selection of his larger compositions, providing the visitor an in-depth exploration of the Basquiat lexicon that is both verbal and visual.

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View from the Basquiat exhibition at the High Museum of Art.

Basquiat started the band, eventually called “Gray” with performance artist Michael Holman in 1979. They, with various other bandmates, played their ambient/industrial music at the usual downtown haunts, but with growing recognition of his visual artistic talent, Basquiat left the band in mid 1980. It was right about then his career seemed to lasso a shooting star and the artist struggled to hold on tight for as long as he could.

Surviving band members reunited to play at Basquiat’s memorial service in 1988 and again more recently for art happenings and music festivals. In 2011 they even released a “new” album “Shades of…” which includes cuts of  the late Basquiat’s voice and music.

GRAY – SHADES OF… from Plushsafe Records.

 

But this is about the notebooks…

View from the Basquiat exhibition at the High Museum of Art.

Since the beginning, Basquiat’s artistic efforts have focused on words and short phrases. The SAMO@ graffiti he perpetrated with school friend Al Diaz in the late seventies often seemed like excerpts of Beat poetry.

MICROWAVE & VIDEO X-SISTANCE
“BIG MAC” CERTIFICATE
FOR X-MAS
-SAMO©

Even after his painting evolved from street walls, to paper and fabric, to canvas and wood installations, these words and phrases infiltrated every aspect of Basquiat’s artwork. In fact they seem to be the actual essence of it, merely enhanced by the more visually dominant graphic elements.

Basquiat – Untitled, 1982–83. Oilstick, colored pencil, crayon, and gouache on paper mounted on canvas. Collection of Fred Hoffman.  Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

This first major exhibition of the books displays 160 pages of the artist’s personal writings, sketches and notes, accompanied by other drawings, paintings and historical Basquiat ephemera. The pages on display often reveal a kind of evolution on many of the subjects he used in his more extensive paintings, along with those iconic motifs like figures, faces and crowns.

Page from Basquiat notebooks – Famous Negro Athletes.

Basquiat drawing – Famous Negro Athletes, 1981, oil stick on paper. Collection of Glenn O’Brien.

 

Basquiat developed a unique way of using language the way other artists used paint, or filmmakers use footage. The notebooks seem to be like mental scrapbooks for the artist to collect and manipulate phrases and ideas.

The exhibit presents them as “autonomous works” and not the “preparatory studies” of a sketchbook. But they do have a sketchbook feel to them, only these sketches are made with words instead of line and shadow.

This brings me back to the Beat Poets, and Kerouac in particular. On the back cover of my copy of the book: “Jack Kerouac Book of Sketches“, (Pengiun 2006), it says:

“…Ed White mentioned to Jack Kerouac ‘Why don’t you just sketch in the streets like a painter but with words.’ White’s suggestion is credited with helping to inspire Kerouac’s move to spontaneous prose.”

Here’s an excerpt from a Kerouac “sketch” in Massachusetts.

———————–

Concord River RR
Bridge
Sunday Oct 24 ’54
Lowel
5 PM
     A ridiculous NE
tumbleweed danced
across the RR bridge
     Thoreau’s Concord
is blue aquamarine
in October red
sereness — little
Indian hill towards
Walden, is orange
brown with Autumn
The faultless sky
attests to T’s solemn
wisdom being correct
— but perfect wisdom is Buddha’s

—————-

Many of these Basquiat notebook pages have a very similar feel…

Basquiat Page2

Basquiat – from Untitled Notebook #2, 1980–1981 – Collection of Larry Warsh, Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.

 

Just as other collage artists like Ray Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg collected little snippets physically from newspapers, letters and trash piles, to later assemble and re-arrange in their artworks, – Basquiat seems to have been collecting these snippets verbally instead. He collected them in the notebooks by writing them down when he read them, heard them, witnessed them, or just thought them up.

While many lines are filled with these intriguing collections of phrases, and developing ideas, other pages do indeed feel more like finished works of art on their own.

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Basquiat –  Untitled Notebook Page, circa 1987 – 

Collection of Larry Warsh. Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.

Looking closely at the intricate structures of words and lines on the pages, one can hardly resist recalling the obvious influences of seasoned contemporaries like Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly.

Basquiat – detail from page of Notebook #4 – Collection of Larry Warsh.

In addition to these rarely seen notebook pages, some of the more emblematic Basquiat works are traveling with the show. These larger compositions, canvasses and collages add a pleasing compliment to the exhibition.

Views from the show at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Some of the most precious little items in the show are the rare mementos of the artist’s life, such as the Brooklyn Museum Junior Membership Card signed by a young Jean-Michel Basquiat.

And the unforgettable Polaroid photograph by cohort Andy Warhol.

Jean Michel – Basquiat Polaroid 1982 – by Andy Warhol on loan from private collection, seen at The High Museum of Art.

These additions provide a much wider scope for viewing the artist’s work, making this a unique opportunity for both longtime aficionados, and Basquiat newbies alike.

As notebook owner Larry Warsh expressed so perfectly in an April, 2015 Q&A article for Departures by Laura van Straaten:

“No one can have a complete picture of the inner workings of any artist, but the words on these pages give us a glimpse of the soul behind this complex, creative persona.”

While I highly recommend attending this exhibition if you can, I can’t help myself from wondering what else Warsh might have stashed in that closet of his…

Tour Schedule :

Brooklyn Museum, New York

April 3–August 23, 2015

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

February 28–May 29, 2016

Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida

August 8–October 23, 2016

 

Links, Sources & Recommended reading:

 

Departures: “Q&A: Larry Warsh On Basquiat’s Notebooks” by Laura van Straaten

Financial Times: “Larry Warsh on his approach to collecting” by Peter Aspden

Gray History from the website of Michael Holman

http://plushsaferecords.com/

http://www.basquiat.com/artist-timeline.htm

The SAMO© Graffiti photographed by Henry Flynt

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/touring/basquiat_notebooks http://www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Basquiat-Notebooks http://pamm.org/exhibitions/basquiat-unknown-notebooks

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TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN (except where noted.)

 

 


Vik Muniz Retrospective at High Museum

By guest contributor Karen Rothstein.

Now on exhibit until August 21, 2016 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, is a retrospective including more than 100 photographs by the Brazilian born mixed media artist Vik Muniz.

He has such a warm and enthusiastic manner. At the media preview, he expressed his overwhelming joy at seeing museum-goers actually taking close-up notice of all the unorthodox materials he used to create his artworks. Even the youngest child can find something in his work that brings them pleasure and perhaps engages them into taking an interest in the world of Art.

Photo Feb 24, 11 14 11 AM

The writer, Karen Rothstein with artist Muniz in front of his Self-Portrait: “I Am Too Sad to Tell You”, after Bas Jan Ader, from the “Rebus” series.

Muniz is known for trying to create a sense of wonder and intrigue within his photography. The way he creates each piece is unique, adding a plethora of unconventional items in the process of making each finished photograph. These things that you might be familiar with in their proper place, will all come as a surprise in his art. Things such as: tiny childhood toys, garbage, torn pieces of magazines, diamonds, food of all sorts, etc…. It is easy to see the artist has a playful sense of humor. The different textures and sizes of his working canvasses make each finished photograph very unique. For example, one project included large-scale drawings made by bulldozers on a construction site, while other images were made by assembling small pieces of garbage or tiny toys and then photographing them from above, to reveal the intended scene that he pictured in his head before it all started. Be sure to watch the video in the gallery, showing how he created “Mother and Child” from the “Pictures of Garbage” series.

Vik Muniz – Mother and Child  (Suellen)  from “Pictures of Garbage” series.

Muniz often makes several works in a series, using similar materials to explore a common theme, materials that often trigger the viewer’s memory, recalling another time and place.

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Vik Muniz – “Double Mona Lisa” (Peanut Butter and Jelly) from “After Warhol” series.

Vik Muniz – “Saturn devouring one of his sons” after Goya, from “Pictures of Junk Series.”

Vik Muniz – “Vik, 2 Years Old,”  from Pictures of Album series (representing one of the few pictures from his childhood)

Before moving to New York as a young man, Muniz was brought up in a working class family in Brazil while the country was under a strong military regime. People couldn’t speak their mind and times were hard. To this day he stands up for the underdog and addresses issues of social justice, and several of the works on display express the depth of his feelings.

 

Muniz Stinney

Vik Muniz – “George Stinney, Jr.” from “Pictures of Album” series  (Stinney was convicted at a flawed trial in 1944 at the age of 14 in South Carolina.)

 

Vik Muniz – Six children from the “Sugar Children” series (Children from sugar plantation workers who played in the sand on the Island of St. Kitts).

Muniz really loves to use all different textures and is intrigued with color pigmentation as seen in his wonderful rendering of Gauguin’s “Day of the Gods”. Look close, the colors and textures comes to life.

Vik Muniz – “Mahana No Atua” (Day of the Gods), after Gauguin, from “Pictures of Pigment” series.

Muniz is primarily working in series these days, but he started out in the 80’s doing sculpture. A fine example is on display, be sure to few his Mnemonic Vehicle (Ferrari Berlinetta) a composite of polyurethane, plexiglass and aluminum, portraying a nearly life-size Ferrari automobile as a massive matchbox car.

The Artist is a true master of creativity and composition, his work has been on display the world over. He currently works in  New York City and Rio de Janeiro.

This exhibit is a wonderful one and will make for great discussion with family and friends in days to follow.

Vik Muniz – A Bar at the Folies-Bergère after Édouard Manet, from the Pictures of Magazines 2 series.

The Vik Muniz exhibition runs through August 21, 2016 at The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Visit www.high.org for more info.


On the street in: Key West

On a recent trip to Key West, Florida, (in November 2015) I documented what I came across during my touristic wanderings. Plenty of stickers and little tags, but not many large pieces or murals. Here’s what I found…

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Here’s a decent sticker bomb site including The London Police, buenowun, INFOE, YU 246, CYNE and more.

CYNE was up absolutely EVERYWHERE in Key West. Here’s just a sample of what I came across by this “SouthernmostWanted” graffiti, paste-up & sticker artist…

CYNE - Key West - 8639

CYNE

CYNE - Key West - 9116

These CYNE wheatpastes are really artful.

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CYNE

 

CYNE - Key West -

CYNE

 

CYNE - Key West - 9138

CYNE

CYNE - Key West - 8630

CYNE & TWICE

 

CYNE - Key West - 8803

CYNE

CYNE - Key West - 8609

CYNE

CYNE & Stickers Key West - 8643

Here’s CYNE with SiD, and UTAH & ETHER – VISAH TATER – SODUH

CYNE - YU 246 - Key West - 9006

CYNE – INFOE – YU 246

graffiti - Key West - 9137

Here’s a lovely tag on a utility box. I can’t tell if it’s “Ambrose”, “Aimlose” or what… Anyone know this one?

WILZA Blue Skull Sticker - Key West - 9136

I love this WILZA blue skull paste-up. Good Style!

 

Here are two paste-ups with “Relax, Dude” using Batman & James Bond” I saw another Bond one that was even more torn off.

Relax Dude - Key West - 9070 Relax Dude - Key West - 9069

 

unknown street sticker - Key West - 9011

Here’s a nice little hand-drawn USPS Priority sticker. Anyone know who this is?

Street Stickers Key West - 8969

Here’s another really awesome sticker. I can’t decipher it. Any guesses?

 

 

icon face street sticker - Key West - 8968

Icon face with glasses USPS Priority sticker.

 

face street sticker - Key West - 8952

OK face multicolor sticker.

 

Sorria (or Soffia) sticker (Nasck?) - Key West -8833

Sorria (or Soffia) sticker. Is this NASCK???

sick street sticker - Key West - 8814

SICK double priority sticker.

 

Here are two cool skulls with hats. Reminiscent of dia de los muertos.

skull with hat street art - Key West - 8800

skull with hat & p-nut street art - Key West - 8796

Skull with sunglasses & hat (dia de los muertos) and little p-nut.

 

peat (or peal?) sticker - Key West - 8719

nice white on black peat (or peal?) sticker. Anyone know this one?

wheel painted on wood - street art - Key West - 8711

Very cool little painted wooden wheel screwed onto a telephone pole. 

 

d1NYC & more street art - Key West - 8661

d1NYC – #duelris – Adventures of Rainbow Bush & cool green stripey spray dude with his tongue out.

VISAH & (Papa George?) other stickers - Key West - 8660

Visah & Papa George?

SID sticker - Key West 0 8655

INFOE & SiD w/ Gnarles Jr. (band)

INFOE & Show Drawn stickers - Key West - 8653

INFOE & SHOWDRAWN.com

unknown street sticker - Key West - 8650

heres a very cool little tag sticker. Anyone know??

utah & ether  visah tater & grill stickers - Key West -  8647

UTAH ETHER & VISAH TATER with a nifty little GRILL sticker.

utah & ether  visah tater & grill stickers & more - Key West -  86478634

Another one of thole little grill stickers, UTAH ETHER & VISAH TATER

@infoe_stv stickers - Key West - 8646

INFOE stickers.

unknown framed street art Key West - 8638

This was a very cool little photograph, framed in wood and bolted to a street sign post.

byoungz sticker - Key West - 8631

sticker quote from @byoungz

Street Stickers Key West - 8619

RENONE

pawn works street sticker - Key West - 8612

CYNE & PawnWorks

hello my name is??? - Key West - 8611

and to finish it off, here’s an unknown “Hello my name is” hand drawn sticker.

This was a quick trip to Key West, my first time there. I put up some of my RayJohnsonFanClub collage work and also a couple of my Picturecrossing Polaroids. I’ll be posting them up here a bit later…

Ciao


Butcher Brings Majestic Everglades to Coconut Grove

Acclaimed large-format nature photographer Clyde Butcher will be opening a new gallery in Coconut Grove, Miami this February.

The prolific photographer is set to attend the grand opening of his new “Everglades Gallery,” located at 2994 McFarlane Road on Friday, February, 13, (a great Valentine’s Day date.) Butcher will also be on hand at an invitation-only V.I.P. event on Tuesday evening, January 13, to give a keynote presentation at 8pm.

The new gallery apparently opened its doors for a while during the holidays, as reported in this Coconut Grove Grapevine Article:

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The Clyde Butcher Facebook Page also posted some pictures of the gallery set-up in progress:

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Butcher’s majestic black and white photographs are surely among the most moving representations of Florida’s vanishing wilderness you’ll ever see.  As I stated before in my review of his “Preserving Eden” exhibition, Butcher is one of the greatest American landscape photographers and clearly one of the hardest-working men in the business.

This Coconut Grove “Everglades Gallery” joins Butcher’s other two venues, the “Big Cypress Gallery” in Ochopee, and “The Venice Gallery & Studio” just south of Sarasota, which also houses his 2000 sq. ft. darkroom.

So take note Miami, you now have no excuse not to go see the work of this living legend for yourself.


Jan Fabre set for groundbreaking show at Hermitage in St.Petersburg 2016

Belgian artist Jan Fabre has been invited to The Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, for a monumental, one-man exhibition in September 2016.

MIAMI BEACH – At the SCOPE International Contemporary Art Show in Miami Beach this week, Jan Fabre had several works being exhibited by MAM Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art gallery based in Vienna, Austria. Positioned near the main entrance, Fabre’s colorful and macabre pieces caught the eye of most visitors to the show.

"Skull with magpie" 2001 Jan Fabre

Skull with magpie 2001 Jan Fabre

His works using animal parts, such as Skull with magpie, include jewel-beetle wing cases and stuffed, dead animals. While they may provide some challenging visual images for inquisitive collectors, their iridescent attraction is undeniable.

MAM’s Judith Radlegger was among the gallery’s representatives at SCOPE, answering a virtually non-stop flow of questions from interested art lovers. But one of the most interesting tidbits she revealed was the recent announcement that Jan Fabre will have a massive exhibition at the Russian State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg in 2016.

Fabre will be the first living artist to have such an exhibition at the historic venue, which is happening at the invitation of Hermitage Director, Mikhail Piotrovsky. It will be curated by Dimitri Ozerkov, who recently was in charge of the renovation and grand opening of their new contemporary art wing. Fabre’s installation will take up to 30 rooms in multiple buildings and is sure to make headlines and draw the attention of the international art world, as did a previous installation at the Belgian Royal Palace in 2002. The palace’s Mirror Room and chandelier were covered with the wings of more than one million beetles.

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Heaven of Delight (seen from below) 2002 Jan Fabre

At SCOPE Miami 2014, Fabre’s colorful pieces were also drawing attention, and many visitors stepped up close to the work to get a better look at the intricate beetle wings used to make the pieces. Encased behind glass, King Leopold II in the Air (from the series Hieronymus Bosch in Congo) utilized thousands of the tiny wings mounted on wood in the form of a crown.

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Detail from King Leopold II in the Air (from the series Hieronymus Bosch in Congo) 2012 Jan Fabre

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Skull with rabbit 2014 Jan Fabre

SCOPE runs through Sunday December 7th, but if you couldn’t make it to Miami this year, and you won’t be heading to Russia in 2016, you can catch one of his many other international exhibitions. Check out his currently running shows via his website here: http://janfabre.be/angelos/en/running/

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ALL TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN


Miami ArtWeek’14 – Wednesday 12/3

We haven’t even hit the shows yet but have already stumbled upon some great discoveries.

While taking a stroll down Lincoln Road Mall in search of some dinner, we were quickly confronted with the “ArtCenter South Florida” and their retrospective exhibition “Thirty Years on the Road,” curated by Edouard Duval-Carrié.

Some standouts from this show were Vicenta CasanIt’s Difficult to be Spiderman’s Mom” a 66.5″x51″ 2008 C-Print Photograph.

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And a 2012 piece by Kerry Phillips called “I’m The Worst When it Comes To…” this is a magnificent work of many multicolored, found sheets, folded neatly and stacked on a found table. You can see a different installation of this work on her site here: http://www.kerryphillipsart.com/stories

Also at ArtCenter South Florida are numerous artists’ gallery/exhibition spaces, and a walk through the well-lit labyrinth brought us to this large, humorous and savvy piece by Alejandro Vigilante.

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But by far my most favorite discovery from today was another artist in residence at the ArtCenter, Babette Herschberger. Her minimalist paintings on canvas and cardboard absolutely blew my mind!

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This quick snapshot doesn’t do justice to her subtile work. Seldom does something so simple make such a massive statement. I was really looking forward to seeing the EVOL works on cardboard at the SCOPE fair, but Herschberger’s “constructions” on cardboard are in a whole other (higher) class.
Here’s an example from her website:
babetteherschberger.com

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“Tidbit #54″ (collage, found cardboard, packing tape. 9.125″x7.875”)

I was so impressed with her original work and the warm welcome in her studio/gallery space. I hope to speak with her again soon and do a more in-depth post on her brilliant work. So watch this space.

Later on Wednesday evening, (after excellent dinner at Bella Cuba on Washington Ave. at Lincoln Rd.) we happened upon the David Castillo Gallery Pop-up on Lincoln Road, which will be open through January 31, 2015.
The un-missable, 1971 neon piece, shining through the window by Rafael Ferrer “Artforhum (Red, White & Blue)”, was really the only thing that could be appreciated during their closed, evening hours.

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But the reviews indicate it’s worth a trip back there to see the rest of the show. And the exhibition space definitely looked intriguing.

Okay, hitting the hay for tonight. Hoping to hit SCOPE & ArtBasil tomorrow!