Posted inArt

Looking Around Miami Basel: Where Did All the Bodies Go?

MIAMI — There are many stories about the origins of art: ancient Greek historian Pliny suggested art was born when a Corinthian maiden traced the outline of her lover’s shadow on a wall, while an Asian legend tells of a young man who could not paint the Buddha because of his enlightened glow, and so was forced to paint his reflection in a pool of water. What these two stories share is the emphasis on the rendering of people as a foundational element of art. Fast-forward many millenia, when the story of high-priced contemporary art is vastly different from those origin stories, and walking through the latest incarnation of Art Basel Miami Beach, I was struck by the marginalization of the human form in the blue-chip work on display. What happened?

Posted inArt

Attack of the Heads or Os Gêmeos in LA

LOS ANGELES — Perched atop the Prism Gallery is a giant, yellow face with slender eyelashes, narrow eyes and prominent nose. It competes for attention against the many billboards and vehicles along this stretch of Sunset Blvd. The squinty eyes and yellow complexion are outlandishly drawn, but the portraiture here, and many others in the gallery, are never callous or misleading. The Los Angeles gallery’s solo exhibition Miss You features paintings, embroidery and installation art by twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, or Os Gêmeos, whose fantastical imagery blends street-level portraiture and magical realism.

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Everyone Wants to be First

There is apparently something about institutional street art shows that move museum folk towards declarations of their firstness. Street Art at the Tate Modern in 2008 was billed as “the first major public museum display of Street Art in London” while just last winter Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, glowed that he was “really proud” to be “the first (American) museum to do an international street art show of this scale and scope.”

Art In The Streets, the latest and of course much buzzed exhibition opening at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art is billed by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch as — surprise surprise — “the first exhibition to position the work … from street culture in the context of contemporary art history.”