Posted inArt

Drawing on the iPad, an Old Medium for New Media

Despite his image of a crotchety old traditionalist, David Hockney hasn’t been one to shy away from new technology. The artist, best known for his 60s portraits painted of California intelligentsia, has been making drawings and paintings on an iPhone since 2009, and recently scaled up to an iPad, using a simple brush app and a finger or thumbnail to paint. Sent out to friends or displayed to humorous effect on a tiny easel, Hockney is taking an old medium and carrying it out with new media tools that have only become prevalent in the past few years.

Posted inArt

Evaluating Installation Art, Should Environmental Cost be Considered?

When we talk about art, we rarely talk about its environmental impact. What’s the carbon footprint of manufacturing a fiberglass Jeff Koons versus the making of an Andy Goldsworthy? As opposed to, say, water bottles, the cost of making a work of art rarely factors into how the work is analyzed and accepted. It is not for art critics to ask how many trucks were used to make Spiral Jetty. But why not? At what point do the environmental shifts and changes in the natural order that these pieces require outweigh their artistic value?

Posted inArt

Celebrity Approved: Kalup Linzy in LA

Ltd Los Angeles is an inconspicuous gallery nestled into Sunset Blvd. a block from a great comic book store, two good restaurants, and an awesome dirty Mexican joint. The gallery has been open for a while, but with blacked out windows and a small logo, it is hard to spot. Their fourth and current show in the large and welcoming space features the work of Kalup Linzy in an exhibition titled Fantasies, Melodramas, and a Dream called Love. Unfortunately, Linzy’s show is disappointing.

Posted inArt

5 Observations from London’s Frieze Art Fair

This past weekend was the annual Frieze Art Fair, held in London. Featuring over 150 galleries from all the best Western nations (and maybe a few others), the Frieze Art Fair is one of the largest and most notable in the world. This was my first outing to Frieze, and people keep asking me “How was it?” I think “how it was” can best be summed up as the top 5 parts of Frieze I actually remember (presented here in no particular order).

Posted inArt

Imperfection Is the New Perfection

Lately, I’ve been staring a lot at men’s crotches. But not for the reason you’re probably thinking. I’ve been on a hunt for people who wear their jeans until they are completely un-wearable. This hunt has led me to construction workers, squatter punks, and hipsters, all of which so far are men. I’ve been saving these masterpieces from the trash heap by collecting them from their makers and am stitching them into patchwork wall hangings or meshing them with icons of popular culture. Which brings me back to the crotch staring.

Posted inArt

We’re One Year Old!

Last Thursday, marked the first anniversary of Hyperallergic and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on our inaugural year.

When Veken and I started Hyperallergic we planned for it to be a venue for insightful, funny, and relevant writing about art that we wanted to read and look at, while remaining critical and engaged. One year later, we’re excited by how things have developed and grown. Along the way we’ve learned a great deal and we continue to discover how to engage the online art community in new and exciting ways.

Posted inArt

Web Browser as Picture Frame

I’m sure everyone reading this blog has had the same brain-fart online experience: someone sends you a link, you catch something on Twitter, you open a recommendation from a friend, but as soon as it pops in to a new tab in your browser, you forget about it. It’s not that the new thing isn’t interesting, or that you don’t mean to open it, you just get distracted. Twenty minutes and an email/Twitter/Facebook update later, the tab catches your eye catches and you click into it. Often, I find that I have no idea how I found the thing I’m opening, where it came from, or what it is. This built-in web browser surprise creates an interesting context (or lack there of) for online content, particularly for images.

Posted inArt

Fred Tomaselli’s (Non-Chemical) Influences

One might be excused for mistaking Fred Tomaselli’s solo show at the Brooklyn Museum for a pharmacy. Upon closer look, the collaged paintings, baroquely-arranged magazine clippings coated in a thick layer of resin, are embedded with pills the way a microchip is implanted under the skin. Sometimes the names are visible, Vicodin, Oxycontin, even a few Viagras. More often than not, though, the pills only become pills upon closer inspection. From afar, they just look like another element of Tomaselli’s works. Drugs are synthesized into the artist’s paintings, and though the psychological shock of recognizing a pill name remains, the chemicals form just another ingredient.

Yeah, there are drugs in the paintings. Most of them are probably illegal in such vast quantities at Tomaselli uses them. But though that’s the form of the work, that’s not the content: in this case, the medium is not the message. Aren’t we all done with the drug hysteria and fetish, now that weed is basically legal in California and the cliches of the painkiller-addicted housewife and the coke-snorting, bowl smoking banker are just that, cliches? So let’s giggle and move on. What’s behind the drugs in Fred Tomaselli?

Posted inArt

When Modernism Ruled Europe

Between World War I and II, there was a strong gust of classicism that swept through the Western European avant-garde. Artists from across the continent embraced the language of the ancients as a way to reflect their own time and culture. This taste for antique forms can be interpreted in many different ways, including as an attempt to seek order in a tumultuous time, a way to cloak a modern ideology with powerful symbols, or a reaction to the radicalism of the previous decades. Regardless of the root cause or causes, the style that was at once familiar and dignified was a rich source of inspiration for artists, designers, and architects of all types.

This odd chapter in modern art is the subject of the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936, which is a very attractive exhibition that gathers together a remarkable array of objects associated with almost every -ism from the era. The power of classicism is partly due to its malleability and how it was able to lend its voice to any and every modern movement that sought refuge in its silhouettes, drapery, linear logic, and airs of history.

Posted inArt

Is Ornament a Crime?

A small coconut tree grows in the corner of Nurture Art. Simply titled “Coconut” (2009), and created by artist Gudmundur Thoroddsen, the leaves seem to reach towards the skylight. A certain twist makes it art — a few of the leaves are painted pink. It resembles one of Matisse’s colorful trees come to life. A plain tree might boast a simple elegant beauty, but Thoroddsen’s concoction proves that an injection of pink can be such a guilty visual pleasure.

Like this tree, many works in this show, titled Duck and Decorated Shed, start with a bland surface and cover it with visual pepper. Theresa Himmer’s set of videos from 2009, The Mountain Series, zoom in on these humongous sequins that are adhered to the sides of unremarkable buildings in Reykjavik. They glisten with a strange glow. Himmer also pulls some basic film tricks that involve playing with the speed of the film. The end result is that this footage resembles clay-mation. Once again, nature looks cooler when it’s tweaked.