The Armory Show in New York, Damien Hirst Works at VFA

This year’s Armory Show will again be taking place in venues across New York. The Javits Convention Center, which became internationally famous at the start of the pandemic, has been expanded and will be the new permanent home of the Armory Show. Many galleries will be participating online because of travel restrictions.

One of the most dynamic shows is the Art on Paper exhibit, at Pier 36. In March of 2020 we were at Pier 36,  along with more than ninety galleries, to celebrate paper-based artworks, which are our passion and main focus at VFA. That was when the city began to shut down in an effort to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The venues opening their doors for Armory Week this year have implemented some new social distancing policies, including timed arrival slots and mandatory face coverings at certain venues.

Because of the travel restrictions, the Armory Show will offer a number of digital displays, and the European Fine Art Foundation  has opted to go entirely online. There will also be virtual events, like a panel on Harlem fashion hosted by the Schomburg Center.

For more information go to the Armory Show website.

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst has always pushed the envelope and delights in controversy. This week he’s done both. His album cover for the rapper Drake’s newly released Certified Lover Boy album has become one of the most controversial and meme-inspiring works of all time.

Critics have raved about the music, and many are scratching their heads about the meaning of Hirst’s pregnant women emojis. The album was delayed for nine months, so Hirst might have tapped into that, but whatever he tapped into, it has created a stir and copycat memes that are getting more attention for Drake and Hirst.

On the flip side of Hirst’s latest works, are his paintings of Cherry Blossoms, which are on exhibit at Foundation Cartier in Paris. This is Hirst’s first museum exhibit in France. The works are large and painterly, unlike the minimalist works he is known for. Hirst spent two years in his London studio creating the series.

Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms will be on exhibit at Foundation Cartier through January 2, 2022.

We have recently acquired Minnie & Mickey, a beautifully done screenprint that combines the playfulness, glitz and glitter that makes his fine art prints so sought after.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Damien Hirst or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Valentina Di Liscia, Jasmine Weber and Hakim Bishara. Your Concise Guide to Armory Week 2021. Hyperallergic. September 5, 2021.
Valentina Di Liscia. Drake’s Next Album Cover Is Comically Bad — and Designed by Damien Hirst. Hyperallergic. August 30, 2021.
Nicolaus Li. Here Is Every Sample on Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ Album. Hypebeast. September 6, 2021.
Nadja Sayej. The Story Behind Drake’s Album Cover For ‘Certified Lover Boy’. Forbes Magazine. September 5, 2021.
David Williams. Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ album cover is inspiring some ridiculous memes. CNN Entertainment. September 4, 2021.
Floriane Reynaud. Damien Hirst’s cherry blossoms will be exhibited at the Foundation Cartier in Paris.
Alex Katz Straw Hat Vivien, 2021

Recent Acquisitions by Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly

Alex Katz 1927 –

A Guggenheim retrospective of the career of Alex Katz has been in the works for more than a year and has now been scheduled for October 14, 2022 through February 20, 2023. Katz has not had a major survey exhibition since a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 1986.

Although he’s a  consummate New Yorker, Katz’s works have been more popular in European cities than in New York. He has bucked art trends that have come and gone, and has always painted portraits and landscapes in his distinctive style bold and immediate style.

During the pandemic, Katz traveled to Pennsylvania and then his summer home and studio in Maine, before returning to his studio in SoHo. He continued to work, creating paintings and prints.

Straw Hat Vivien and Vivien with Hat, done in 2021, are recent acquisitions available at VFA. Also available is Alex Katz, a book that contains more than 300 images, edited by Katz’s son, Vincent, with a profile of the artist by art historian Carter Ratcliff, who has studied the life and work of Alex Katz for more than fifty years.

In addition to the upcoming retrospective at the Guggenheim, the works of Alex Katz will be on display at solo exhibits in Paris, Chicago, New York, Maine, Korea, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria.

Ellsworth Kelly 1923 – 2015

Ellsworth Kelly had a profound influence on art in America. He studied technical art and design at the Pratt Institute from 1941-1942 before entering the Army. He worked in the camouflage unit called the Ghost Army, and served in London, Germany and Paris. After his service and two years of study at the Boston Museum of the Fine Arts School, Kelly returned to Paris for six years. Because he was outside of the U.S., he was not influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement that was popular at the time. The artists working in Paris had influence on his style, but it was a visit to the Musée d’Art Moderne that led to his Minimalist style. It was the windows of the museum, more than the paintings, that transformed his perspective. “Painting as I had known it was finished for me.” he said. “Everywhere I looked, everything I saw, became something to be made, and it had to be made exactly as it was, with nothing added.”

Kelly began to make prints in the 1960s. He worked with master printmakers in Paris and New York. Our recent acquisitions are lithographs that he made towards the end of his life.

The Untitled (for Obama) lithograph, of two black curves, was an homage to Barack Obama, who presented Kelly with the National Medal of Arts in 2012.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Alex Katz and Ellsworth Kelly available at VFA.


References:
Lucy Rees. Looking Back at Alex Katz’s Remarkable Seven-Decade Career. Galerie Magazine. December 22, 2020.
Andy Battaglia. Guggenheim Museum to Mount Retrospective for Alex Katz, New York Painter Extraordinaire, in 2022. Artnews. January 17, 2020.
Tom McGlynn. Alex Katz: New Paintings and Sculptures. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2019.
Lou Stoppard. Alex Katz: the ‘artist of the immediate’ on why his time is now. The Financial Times. November 2, 2020.

Remembering Chuck Close

Chuck Close died at a hospital in Oceanside, New York on Thursday, August 19th, of cardiopulmonary failure. He was 81.

The large portraits that Close created during the late 1960s of himself and his fellow artists, garnered him much acclaim at a time when Abstract Expressionism and Pop art were the popular movements of the time and portraiture had been an almost forgotten art.

What made the works of Close so extraordinary was that he had a condition called prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, which left him incapable of recognizing faces, including his own. At the 2015 World Science Festival, hosted by Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich, Close discussed the condition with neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, who also had face-blindness. The episode, Strangers in the Mirror, sheds light on the reason that Close was so interested in painting faces in the large, grid style that he perfected over his long career.

Close was born in Monroe, Washington in 1940. He struggled with dyslexia in school, yet still managed to complete his MFA from Yale in 1964.

In 1988, Close was paralyzed from the neck down from a spinal artery collapse. After a long period of rehabilitation, he began to paint again, using paint brushes strapped to his wrist and with the help of studio assistants.

In 2006, he painted a portrait of former President Bill Clinton, who had awarded him a National Medal of Arts in 2000.

Close was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013, and dementia in 2015.

In 2017, his career was marred when several women who had posed for portraits in his studio accused him of inappropriate behavior. Close apologized, but a 2018 show at the National Gallery of Art in Washington was cancelled. Close’s doctor told The New York Times that his behavior could have been a result of his dementia. “[Close] was very disinhibited and did inappropriate things,” he said, “which were part of his underlying medical condition. Frontotemporal dementia affects executive function. It’s like a patient having a lobotomy – it destroys that part of the brain that governs behaviour and inhibits base instincts.”

Close is survived by his daughters, Georgia and Maggie, and four grandchildren.

His work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and many other major museums around the world.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Chuck Close available at VFA.


References:
Ken Johnson and Robin Pogrebin. Chuck Close, Artist of Outsized Reality, Dies at 81. The New York Times. August 19, 2021. The Guardian. August 20, 2021.
Tim Jonze. Chuck Close, painter of outsized photorealist portraits, dies aged 81. The
Adrian Searle. In your face: how Chuck Close built images and tore them apart. The Guardian. August 20, 2021.

Yoshitomo Nara: Peace of Mind

Yoshitomo Nara is one of Japan’s most esteemed contemporary artists and, in the last few years, he has garnered international acclaim. In 2019, his painting, Knife Behind Back, sold for $25 million, during a bidding war at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently exhibiting a retrospective of Nara’s works that span more than three decades, from 1987 to 2020.

Nara was born in 1959 in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan. He was a lonely latchkey kid, who read comics and listened to the music broadcast from a nearby American military base.

The music, and the album covers, had a profound effect on his work. “As for records,” he said, “I bought a lot of imported records because they were inexpensive even for someone my age. But, you know, I couldn’t read the jacket cover of the thing I’d just purchased! Yet I pulled the record out of the cover and started listening with the cover in my hand. It got my imagination moving a lot and gradually I started picking up words. Little by little, I constructed the world of the record using imagination. I think I trained my imagination through the picture books and records, without knowing I was doing so.”

The entry to the LACMA exhibit contains a wall of Nara’s album covers, and visitors can listen to an Exhibition Soundtrack of the artist’s favorite songs. Included in the soundtrack is Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, Universal Soldier by Donovan and Come Wind Come Rain by Vashti Bunyan. The first record that Nara bought in English was the 1967 single, Massachusetts by the Bee Gees.

In 1988, Nara moved to Germany, where he studied and taught. “I went there when I was 28 years old.” he said, “I was in my last year of art college, and was teaching art to high school students. As I did, I gradually felt that it was not them but me who must be taught art. I chose Germany just by chance. In fact, I could have gone to London instead. I can’t imagine what my life would be had I gone to London at that time, when the city was a mecca of young, energetic artists. For one reason or another, I ended up living in Germany for 12 years. I became literally ‘alone’ there. It strongly reminded me of the memory of my lonely childhood. I felt the city’s (Düsseldorf) cold and darkness, just like my hometown, and the atmosphere there reinforced my tendency to seclude myself from the outer world. It helped me to remember the boy-me’s feelings from back in my hometown, too. So I started talking with the 7- or 8-year-old boy-me in Aomori and the 28-year-old current-me in Germany, beyond the time-gap of 20 years, and the thousands of kilometers of distance between the countries. The result of the conversation was so obvious: what I drew changed drastically.”

In 2011, when a devastating earthquake hit Japan, Nara found that he was unable to draw or paint. He spent most of his time volunteering as a relief worker. It was during this period that he began to create sculptures and, eventually, was able to return to drawing and painting.

Yoshitomo Nara: Peace of Mind will be at LACMA through January, 2022 and then will travel to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao and the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Yoshitomo Nara available at VFA.


References:
Tara Yarlagadda. Yoshitomo Nara Captures Children in All Their Rage and Wonder. Hyperallergic. August 11, 2021.
Elisa Wouk Almino. Yoshitomo Nara Reflects on His Major LACMA Retrospective. Hyperallergic. October 7, 2020.
Eric Vilas-Boas. Works by Elizabeth Catlett and Yoshitomo Nara Set Auction Records for the Artists. Hyperallergic. October 10, 2019.
Angelica Villa. The Most Expensive Yoshitomo Nara Works Ever to Sell at Auction. ArtNews. August 12, 2021.
Hideo Furukawa. An Interview with Yoshitomo Nara. Asymptote. November 2013.
Rashid Johnson, The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club

Draw, Print, Repeat: Double Images and Repeated Patterns

In 1998, a year after Roy Lichtenstein died, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation was established. Headed by Lichtenstein’s widow, Dorothy, the Foundation has given its support to many outreach and research projects.

This year the Foundation donated $50,000 to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC to help fund the research catalogue for the upcoming exhibition: The Double: Identity and Difference in Art Since 1900.

The exhibit examines how and why artists use double forms or motifs in their works. The NGA website says that the exhibit has several themes: “artists in the exhibition explore questions of identity and difference—the difference between the original work and a copy, the identity of the art with the artist, and especially self-identity as defined by our own unconscious, by society, as well as by race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of differentiation.”

Included in the exhibit are works by Andy Warhol, Jasper JohnsRobert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella.

Warhol knew the impact that multiple images have on a viewer. In a work like Portrait of the Artists, the viewer’s eye is forced across the composition to compare each artists’ face with its ten repeated images and with the image of the nine others. His use of the double image is a bit more subtle in Tidal Basin, where he uses a mirror image of the Washington Monument as well as two rectangular backgrounds to draw the eye across the work.

In Frank Stella’s work Black Stack, Stella uses repeated triangles to draw the viewer’s eye down the length on the lithograph, and back up again.

Repeated patterns can be comforting, making order out of chaos. In the 1980s, Donald Sultan created a series of paintings, The Disaster Series, based on newspaper images of the destruction of man-made objects, like train cars and industrial buildings. In 2017 twelve large paintings from the series traveled to major venues around the country, including the Smithsonian.

Sultan’s style went from chaos to order by using linoleum squares, covered with tar, and ordered into series of repeated patterns of dominoes, lantern flowers and poppies. His repeated designs are like comfort food, giving a feeling of serenity, like Big Poppies, Cor-Ten Poppies, even with the use of industrial materials.

One of the modern masters of the repeated image is Julian Opie, whose multiple images move across his work, letting the viewer compare and contrast the individual forms he creates.

The Double: Identity and Difference in Art Since 1900 will be on exhibit at the National Gallery from May 15 to September 5, 2022.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the fine art prints available at VFA.

Derrick Adams and Katherine Bernhardt

Derrick Adams 1970 –

My work is focused on the idea of how crucial it is for Black people to think of leisure as a radical act. – Derrick Adams

Derrick Adams’ focus on leisure activities seems a little ironic, considering how many projects he seems to be working on: he teaches at Brooklyn College, he’s opening an invitation-only retreat for Black artists in his hometown of Baltimore; last year he helped to curate Harlem Renaissance artist, Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle Series national tour, he designed swim shorts and totes for Vilebrequin, he was featured in Forbes and Vogue this year and he has shows coming up in the fall at the Cleveland Art Museum, the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle and the Longlati Foundation in Shanghai.

Available at VFA are works from Adams’ Floater Series, We Came to Party and Plan Series and his recent Style Variations Series, which was inspired by the hair salons and barber shops in his Brooklyn neighborhood and the hairdressers and barbers he interviewed.

Katherine Bernhardt –  1975

The works of Katherine Bernhardt have garnered international attention for the last twenty years. This year she was asked to design the cover for Vogue Italia and was invited be part of the recent international Urban Break exhibit in Seoul, Korea.

After spending twenty years in New York, Bernhardt has returned to her home town of St. Louis. She bought three buildings and has revamped two of them; one for use as her studio and one as a gallery to exhibit her work, as well as the works of other artists.

Bernhardt said she moved back to St. Louis to help her parents, and that she and her son are living in her childhood home. “When I was little here in St. Louis,” she said, “one of the only things I liked, design-wise, was the Swatch watches at Dillard’s. So, I would go to Dillard’s to look at them, and I would collect Swatch watches. I was always collecting stuff. … One of the other things to do was look at magazines. Some of my early work is all supermodels from magazine pictures. Then I became obsessed with Moroccan rugs and started painting those.”

Her work is playful and colorful and is not just in venues like the Smithsonian, the Carnegie Museum and the Sandretto Foundation in Torino, Italy, but has also been selling way above estimates at Christie’s and other auction houses.

Nike Panther and African Violet, done in 2019, are available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Derrick Adams, Katherine Bernhardt or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Megan Mertz. National artist Katherine Bernhardt’s Midtown studio was once an auto shop. St. Louis Magazine. May 6, 2021.
Mark Westall. David Zwirner Now Represents Katherine Bernhardt. FAD Magazine. July 6, 2021.
Park Han-sol. Urban art fair for millennials, Gen Z to kick off next week. The Korea Times. July 19, 2021.
Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle. With His Radical Depictions Of Black Joy, Derrick Adams Is An Artist To Watch. Forbes. July 8, 2021.
Dodie Kazanjian. Derrick Adams’s Art Celebrates Black Life at its Most Exultant. Vogue Magazine. April 1, 2021.
Caroline Perrott. Derrick Adams X Vilebrequin Bring Miamians A Collab Perfect For The Days Ahead. OceanDrive Magazine. January 7, 2021.
Marcia G. Yerman. A Conversation With Derrick Adams. Huffpost. October 14, 2014.

The Surprising Inspirations of Julian Opie and Andy Warhol

Every work of art begins with a spark of inspiration. That spark often appears in unexpected forms.

Discovering what has inspired our favorite artists is often surprising and can offer insight and better understanding of how and why an artist works in a particular style.

Julian Opie 1958 –

The influence of Michael Craig-Martin, one of Julian Opie’s instructors at London’s Goldsmiths School of Art, is apparent. Craig-Martin’s style, like Opie’s is minimal, but other influences are not so apparent.

In a recent interview in The Art Newspaper, Opie said that he is influenced by Japanese woodcuts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the works of twentieth century Austrian painter, Egon Schiele. He also listens to some pretty esoteric music and uses it to enhance some of his artwork.

His passion for Raymond Carver’s short stories, and the influence they have on him, is a bit of a surprise, but make sense when he explains how they affect him. “They feel like memories,” he said, “like a moment where he’s left a hotel room and notices someone in the hall. That would be the entire short story. But somehow through the way he tells it, he evokes this sense of reality and presence. And it’s that kind of feeling that I want to get to, rather than any sense of inventing a character and bringing that person to life. I have no ability to do that whatsoever, I can only really draw what I see.”

Julian Opie’s work is currently on display at the Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery in London, the Plaza del Colegio del Patriarca in Valencia, Spain and an upcoming exhibition at the Cristea Roberts Gallery in London from September 17 through October 23, 2021.

Andy Warhol 1928 – 1987

Andy Warhol found inspiration at the New York Public Library. He was notably inspired by fame…famous people, famous products…and his religious beliefs…and also found great ideas in the library’s Picture Collection.

The Picture Collection, which has been around since 1915, consists of more than a million loose photos and printed images, placed in alphabetized folders. Anyone with a library card can check them out, the same way they can check out a book.

Many famous artists used the Collection, including Diego Rivera, Dorothea Lange and Joseph Cornell, but Andy Warhol was probably the most famous and most frequent visitor.

Photographer Arnold Hinton, who worked in the library in the mid fifties and sixties, organizing the Photo Collection, told The New Yorker that he remembers Andy Warhol going through the collection, taking photos and not returning them.

Warhol liked to take his own photos, and many of his Polaroid pictures are historic records of the New York art scene of the mid twentieth century, but his best-known work was done from the photos taken by others…some probably “borrowed” from the New York Public Library.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Julian Opie or Andy Warhol available at VFA.


References:
Ben Luke. A brush with…Julian Opie. The Art Newspaper. June 23, 2021.
Sarah Larson. A Thousand Words, a Million Times Over. The New Yorker. July 26, 2021.

Recently Acquired works by Eddie Martinez, Timothy Curtis and Roy Lichtenstein at VFA

Eddie Martinez 1977 –

We are pleased to announce the recent acquisition of unique and intimate works by Eddie Martinez, whose creations have been highly sought after in recent years, with a large painting going for $2 million at Christies at the end of 2019.

A largely self-taught graffiti artist, who lives and works in Brooklyn, Martinez usually works large, using spray paint and mixed media in his huge, often figurative, works that combine Pop, Neo-Expressionism into his distinctive and boldly colored paintings.

Our recent acquisitions, each Untitled, are small, personal, hand-drawn works that were created with a variety of media from crayon to oil pastel, acrylic ink, marker and even white out.

In the past few years, Eddie Martinez’ audience has expanded from collectors in the U.S. to collectors around the world, with shows in as diverse venues as the Bronx Museum and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai.

Timothy Curtis 1982 –

Timothy Curtis has had an incredible career as a graffiti artist, who began studying art in earnest when he was incarcerated in 2008. He studied art history and honed his drawing skills (and earned some extra cash) by doing portraits of fellow inmates to send to their friends and families.

Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, acted as a mentor and gave Curtis his first solo show in Japan.

Curtis’ works are playful, uninhibited and masterfully drawn. Recent acquisitions at VFA, Caught in the Twist and Death Won’t Do Us Apart are from the artist’s Ghost Bike series. The Ghost Bike series was first shown at the 2020 Armory Show in New York.

Curtis has an upcoming solo show at Albertz Benda Gallery in New York this fall and an exhibit at the K11 Museum in Hong Kong in 2022.

Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997

Before 1961, Roy Lichtenstein was an educator (he taught art at Rutgers University) and an artist who was trying to find his way in the changing world of modern art.

He displayed his work, complete with Benday Dots, in 1961, at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. In 1962, he was given a solo show at Castelli and it was sold out before it opened.

Looking back at the work that Lichtenstein did before 1961 reveals the influence that European modernism, American historical paintings and traditional Chinese art had on his style.

An exhibit of the works that he did from 1948 to 1960 has been put together by a collaboration between the Colby College Museum of Art and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making 1948-1960 will be traveling from the Colby College Museum to the
Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, Long Island, New York from August 1 – October 24, 2021, then on to the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio from March 4 to June 5, 2022 and will make a final stop at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina from August 25, 2022 to January 8, 2023.

The Nasher Museum made a video of History in the Making that shows many of Lichtenstein’s early works and the surprised reactions from young artists who have never known Lichtenstein’s story.

Brushstrokes became a theme in many of Lichtenstein’s works; a nod to Abstract Expressionists, an ironic nod to the lack of brushstrokes in the mechanical-appearing works that made him famous.  Lichtenstein did several Brushstroke sculptures before creating a series  of lithographs that not only feature brushstrokes, but are done in hands-on woodcut and waxtype.

We have recently acquired Green Face from the Brushstroke Figures, done in 1989, a fine example of Lichtenstein’s skill as artist and printmaker.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Eddie Martinez, Timothy Curtis or Roy Lichtenstein available at VFA.


References:
Christie’s. Collecting guide: 2021’s hot artists at cool prices. July 7, 2021.
Barbara A. MacAdam. Eddie Martinez: Inside Thoughts. The Brooklyn Rail. February 2021.
John Chiaverina. 12 Galleries That Aren’t in New York or Even Los Angeles. The New York Times Style Magazine. June 16/June 25, 2021.

Andy Warhol Exhibits in China and Russia; Jean-Michel Basquiat Exhibit in Chelsea

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In the early 1980s, Jean-Michel Basquiat was at the height of his career. Andy Warhol was experiencing a renewed burst of fame, after focusing on filmmaking in the 1970s, and returning to painting.

Basquiat and Warhol collaborated on a series of works, with Basquiat usually painting over Warhol’s initial composition, with the resulting works enhancing both of their careers.

What the artists did not know at that time, was that their works would have an enduring legacy, and sadly, that their lives would be cut short.

Andy Warhol died of complications during routine gallbladder surgery on February 22, 1987, at age 58.  Jean-Michel Basquiat died, a year-and-a half later, on August 12, 1988, of a heroin overdose, at age 27.

The works of each are as relevant as ever and have garnered global acclaim.

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s work is currently being shown in major exhibitions in China and Russia.

Becoming Andy Warhol is the most comprehensive exhibit of Warhol’s works ever to be shown in China. Nearly 400 works, including paintings, photographs and objects that depict his early life and career are on display. There’s even a replica of the red couch that was in The Factory and was the backdrop for many of the celebrity photos taken by, and of, Warhol. Becoming Andy Warhol will be displayed at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing through October 10, 2021 and then travel to the Center for Contemporary Arts in Shanghai, where it will be on display from November 6, 2021 through March 6, 2022.

More than 100 of Warhol’s works are being shown alongside Russian Pop artists at the Sevkabel Port in St. Petersburg expo center now through September 2021. Andy Warhol and Russian Art highlights the influence that Warhol had on artists in the Soviet Union.

Recent acquisitions at VFA by Andy Warhol include Campbell’s Soup/Pepper Pot and Grace Kelly.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

During his too-brief lifetime, Jean-Michel Basquiat painted on canvas, wood and any other surface that he could put his brush to, including the doors and walls of the homes in which he lived and visited.

Because he only lived for 27 years, his oeuvre was limited, which makes every work so precious.

The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, co-led by his sister, Jeanine Heriveaux, is preparing for an exhibition of his work at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Manhattan in the Spring of 2022. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure will include over 200 works by Basquiat that have either never before or rarely been seen.

“There’s been many exhibitions of Jean-Michel’s work,” Heriveaux said, “but never told from the perspective of the family – Jean-Michel as a child, a man, a son, and a brother.”

VFA’s recent acquisitions of the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat include Ligaments of the Elbow and Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat available at VFA.


References:
Yang Yan. Beijing exhibits hundreds of works by American pop artist Andy Warhol. China Global Television Network. July 5, 2021.
ArtfixDaily Artwire. Phillips’ London New Now Auction on 13 July to be Led by Andy Warhol’s Flowers. July 5, 2021.
Brycen Saunders. An Ultra Rare Collection of Andy Warhol Photographs Is Coming to NeueHouse Hollywood. Hypebeast. June 11, 2021.
Peter Cheremushkin. Russian Artists Take Andy Warhol’s Pop Art Vision and Run With It. The Moscow Times. July 2, 2021.
Matt Stromberg. ‘He was aware of racist pigeonholes’: how Basquiat took inspiration from jazz, hip-hop and no wave. The Guardian. June 11, 2021.
Helen Holmes. An Exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Never-Before-Seen Works is Coming Next Spring. The Observer. June 11, 2021.
Julianne McShane. How Basquiat and Street Artists Left Their Mark on Hip-Hop Culture. The New York Times. June 24, 2021.
Cassie Packard. Basquiat’s Painting on an Apartment Door Acquired by Dallas Museum of Art. Hyperallergic. June 30, 2021.

Alex Katz: Recent Acquisitions at VFA

Alex Katz 1927 –

Alex Katz turns 94 on July 24, 2021. He has worked as an artist for more than seventy of those 94 years. Tough and independent, Katz ignored Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, Op Art, Pop Art and other art movements during his career. Instead, he concentrated on portraits, landscapes and figurative paintings in bold, flat colors. He took some heat from critics in America, but gained much recognition abroad.

“I never paid attention to what people said,” he stated in a recent interview in Galerie magazine. “I knew I would always work out what I wanted to do. My style was ahead of the public and certainly of the institutions. They were never on the same page with me. Curators followed what they read in art history books, which are out of date. Most art history by the time you read it is out of date.”

Recent Acquisitions at VFA

Not all critics were unkind to Katz. American art critic, Carter Ratcliff, was very supportive and has even written an essay about the artist in the recently published comprehensive book, Alex Katz, available at VFA.

The book includes a fine art print of Ada, Katz’s wife, the focus of many of his paintings. “It is not necessarily wrong to say that Ada is Alex’s muse,” Ratcliff wrote in the book. “yet it sheds a clearer light on their world to say that she has been one of the most constantly present actor, the abiding heroine, in a repertory theater with a large, and frequently changing cast. She is the calm center of the ideal world Alex Katz has invented. Because it is also a real world, the one where he and Ada live, he never idealizes her; nor is there any reason for him to do so. Her varied expressions and unusually wide smile are patently her own.”

The book was edited by Katz’s son, Vincent, a poet and translator, who has BA from the University of Chicago and an MA from Oxford University.Vincent also appears in many of Katz’s works.

In the last two years, Katz’s paintings have set auction records, going for above the high estimates. In 2019, Blue Umbrella I done in 1972, sold at Phillips Auction House in London for £3,375,000 or the equivalent of 4.1 million US dollars. Last year, The Red Band, a painting of Ada done in 1978, sold at Sotheby’s New York for $3.1 million. Both are paintings of Ada.

Another recent VFA acquisition is a Vivien with Hat, done in 2020. Vivien with Hat is a fine art etching, on innova paper that gives it a unique textural quality.

Katz spent much of the pandemic painting flowers. His fine art flower prints are a favorite of ours at VFA, so much so, that we chose one of his works for the cover of our ebook, How to Indentify & Buy Fine Art Prints.

Alex Katz is currently preparing for a 2022 retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York and upcoming solo exhibitions in Chicago, Paris, the Netherlands, Spain and Austria.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the prints, paintings and sculpture of Alex Katz, available at VFA and to download a copy of our free ebook, How to Identify & Buy Fine Art Prints.


References:
Lucy Rees. Looking Back at Alex Katz’s Remarkable Seven-Decade Career. Galerie Magazine. December 22, 2020.

The Joy of Derrick Adams and the Music of Yoshitomo Nara

Derrick Adams 1970 –

Derrick Adams focuses on friends, family, joy, serenity and the myriad leisure activities that make up the every day life of Black Americans.

He’s even opening an artists’ retreat in his hometown of Baltimore. He’s calling it Last Resort. Visitors will attend the retreat by invitation only and will not be required to do anything. Adams got the idea for the retreat after he was invited to the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida.

“You can come and not do anything.” he said in a recent interview in Vogue. “Everything is very loose. Artists create images that reflect certain ideals and conditions. A lot of my work is about leisure, and I thought, What if I make what I’m making art about—make it actual? Why don’t I just make it so it’s a real place? That will be my legacy.”

Adams attended Columbia University and the Pratt Institute and is currently on a tenure track at Brooklyn College.

His Style Variations Series was inspired by the hair salons and barber shops he passes by during his walks through the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood that surrounds his studio. He began to ask stylists about the cuts and culture and created the series that celebrates the variety of styles that he found in the shops.

Works from the Style Variations Series and other works by Derrick Adams are available at VFA.

Yoshitomo Nara 1959 –

Yoshitomo Nara is a superstar, not just in Japan, but around the world.

Last year, Nara was in the U.S., helping to install his exhibit at  the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Just three days into the installation, the pandemic had taken hold, the Safer at Home order was given, and the show was postponed.

It finally opened last year, and was a huge success. More than 800 works, spanning nearly forty years, were displayed, as well as an entry gallery that held 350 records from Nara’s collection that have influenced his work.

Music has had a profound influence on Nara’s life and work, since his childhood in Japan. He was a latchkey kid, who grew up listening to the music broadcast from a nearby U.S. military base. He was a great lover of punk rock, blues and much of the music he heard during the 1970s and ’80s.

The museum included a soundtrack of Nara’s favorite music as a background for the exhibit and an interview with the artist about the evolution of his work.

The exhibition traveled to the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao and is currently at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam through September 2021.

After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Nara stopped working for a while, and then began to sculpt. He made Doggy Radio, a limited edition polymer sculpture that is also a functional radio, available at VFA.

The Work of Derrick Adams and Yoshitomo Nara at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Derrick Adams, Yoshitomo Nara or any of the fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Dodie Kazanjian. Derrick Adams’s Art Celebrates Black Life at its Most Exultant. Vogue Magazine. April 1, 2021.
Evan Pricco. Derrick Adams Finds Strength in “Style Variations”. Juxtapoz Magazine. March 23, 2021.
Elisa Wouk Almino. Yoshitomo Nara Reflects on His Major LACMA Retrospective. Hyperallergic. October 7, 2020.
Juxtapoz. A Daily Life: Julian Opie @ Lisson Gallery, NYC. Juxtapoz. March 5, 2019.
Tabish Khan. 10 Must See Exhibitions In London This June. The Londonist. June 2021.

KAWS and Keith Haring at VFA

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KAWS 1974 –

Brian Donnelly, the artist known as KAWS, has been living and working in Brooklyn since the 1990s, and has recently updated his studio in Williamsburg. The Brooklyn Museum was one of the first major venues to add a KAWS sculpture to its permanent collection and is currently holding the first New York museum retrospective of the artist’s work.

The KAWS: WHAT PARTY exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum has attracted large and diverse crowds. The more than 100 works on display reflect his themes of love, friendship and loss, and the fusion of fine and commercial art.

In a recent Brooklyn Rail interview, KAWS reflected on the impact he hopes that the exhibit will have on young museum visitors. “I remember clearly being young and walking into galleries and feeling I needed to, like, walk backwards out of them.” he said. “I am hoping I can plant that seed, and create that comfort zone that they can then say, actually, that was all right, and then go check out the next show, and the next show and say, “This wasn’t the worst experience, what else can I see?”

Because of his commercial success and the high demand for his collectibles in the U.S. and Asia, the museum is allowing each visitor only one trip into its gift shop and each visitor is only allowed to purchase no more than two items.

KAWS: WHAT PARTY will be on view through September 5, 2021.

Several editions of What Party, both vinyl and silkscreen, are available at VFA.

Keith Haring 1958-1990

Keith Haring’s legacy is the joyful way in which he impacted the social conscience of the world. His subjects were often dark -drug use, AIDS, war – but his message was sent with kindness and caring intent.

More than thirty years after his death, the artist and his artwork still resonate, and a new generation has discovered his work.

The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York is hosting an exhibit of Haring’s work, as well as a public discussion about his art and activism and ‘hands on’ workshops in July for children ages 6-8 and 9-12, to explore his life, influences and style.

The exhibit, Keith Haring: Radiant Visions will be on exhibit through September 6, 2021.

Keith Haring documented much of his work, and his life, with a Polaroid camera. Polaroid and the Keith Haring Foundation have collaborated to design a camera that pays homage to Haring’s style. His artwork is on both the camera and the film.

Silkscreens from Haring’s Pop Shop Series l, ll and lll, done from 1987-1989 are available at VFA.

Please contact us for more information about the works of KAWS, Keith Haring or any of the other fine art prints, paintings and sculptures available at VFA.


References:
Jason Rosenfeld. KAWS with Jason Rosenfeld. The Brooklyn Rail. June 2021.
Katherine J. Wright/Larissa Ryan. Keith Haring: Radiant Vision: Fenimore opens major show on 1980s iconic artist, Haring. Allotsego. June 3, 2021.
Nadja Sayej. A New Polaroid Camera That Honors Keith Haring. Forbes. June 8, 2021.
Sage Anderson. Polaroid Releases Keith Haring-Inspired Collection of Instant Cameras and Film. Rolling Stone. June 8, 2021.
Edward M. Gómez. Takashi Murakami Helps Present Art Fair’s ‘Super-Rough’ in SoHo. The New York Times. June 4, 2021.

Featured Works by Katherine Bernhardt, Tom Wesselmann and Retna at VFA

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Katherine Bernhardt 1975 – present

Katherine Bernhardt was asked to create a cover for the May edition of Vogue Italia to celebrate their 100th anniversary of Chanel No. 5. The cover reflects the bright colors and familiar objects that have made her works so well received around the world.

Bernhardt has been dividing her time between her studio in New York and the studio near her childhood home in St. Louis. Her works are currently being shown at the limited  (due to the pandemic) Art Basel venues in Hong Kong and Miami.

The Pink Panther is a recurring image in Bernhardt’s art. African Violet and Nike Panther, available at VFA, are lithographs that use the Pink Panther image and exemplify the playfulness of her art.

Her works are part of the permanent collections of The Smithsonian, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the Rubell Collection in Miami, the Ghazaleh Foundation in Amman, Jordan and other fine museums and galleries.

Tom Wesselmann 1931 – 2004

Tom Wesselmann’s work is currently being shown at Almine Rech Paris at the Still Life exhibit, alongside modern works by Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and examples of Still Life that go back as far as the Renaissance and ancient Egypt.

One of his Bedroom Paintings is part of the Daydreams and Nightmares exhibition at the virtual Gagosian exhibit at Frieze and Documenta Foot Print is being shown at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont as part of an exhibit called Deep Blue that examines the use of the deep blue color as an artist’s statement…a color that appears often as a background in Wesselman’s art.

Wesselmann earned a degree in psychology and became more interested in an art career than becoming a therapist, so he moved from his home town of Cincinnati to New York in 1956 to study at Cooper Union.

He created collages and used shaped canvasses at the start of his career, often focusing on the female form and later using laser cut metal. Mixed Bouquet with Leger and Maquette for Still Life with Johns and Matisse, available at VFA, are works that pay homage to the great artists who influenced his creations.

Retna 1979 – present

Marquis Lewis, the LA artist known as Retna, is one of the few graffiti artists whose works have gone from the street to worldwide exhibits at galleries and museums.

His distinctive calligraphy style is instantly recognizable. His work is currently on display at the West Chelsea Contemporary Gallery in Austin, Texas in an exhibit called Icons & Vandals.

An untitled work in acrylic, done in Retna’s inimitable style is available at VFA.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Katherine Bernhardt, Tom Wesselmann, Retna or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Veronica Theodoro. Vogue Italia taps painter Katherine Bernhardt to create its latest cover. St. Louis Magazine/Design ST> May 7, 2021.
NANZUKA Goes Surreal At Art Basel Hong Kong 2021. Hypebeast. May 19, 2021.
Wallce Ludel .E.T. and Xanax: An Interview with Katherine Bernhardt. Cultured Magazine/Art.January 16, 2020.
Michael Barnes. Eye-popping art goes urban, edgy in ‘Icons & Vandals’ at Austin gallery. The Austin American-Statesman. May 27, 2021.
Gabrielle Pharms. 8 Texas art exhibitions worth a fall trip. The Austin-American Statesman. November 11, 2020.

Keith Haring’s Pop Shop Fine Art Prints at VFA

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I don’t think art is propaganda; it should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further. It celebrates humanity instead of manipulating it. – Keith Haring

On any given day, in any given year, there’s a Keith Haring exhibit going on somewhere in the world. Although Haring died more than thirty years ago, his legacy is profound and long lasting.

In 1986, Keith Haring opened the Pop Shop in New York to make his art more accessible to the public. The small space, at 292 Lafayette Street in Soho, was a small boutique that sold t-shirts, pins and other novelty items adorned with Haring’s images. The entire shop, walls, floor and ceiling, were painted with Haring motifs.

“Here’s the philosophy behind the Pop Shop:” Haring said,  “I wanted to continue this same sort of communication as with the subway drawings. I wanted to attract the same wide range of people, and I wanted it to be a place where, yes, not only collectors could come, but also kids from the Bronx. The main point was that we didn’t want to produce things that would cheapen the art. In other words, this was still an art statement.”

His playful style and hieroglyphic designs have a universal appeal. They look joyful, yet Haring’s messages focus on serious subjects like sex, drugs, war, discrimination, racism, and taking responsibility for personal behavior.

The Pop Shop closed in 2005. The original ceiling was donated to the New York Historical Society, where it was installed in its entryway.

The Tate Modern reconstructed the Pop Shop in 2009 as part of a group exhibit called Pop Life.

Silkscreens that Haring did during the early Pop Shop years are now available at VFA.

Haring was an integral part of the New York art and music scene in the 1980s. He hung out at Club 57 with other artists, like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, whose works he displayed at the Pop Shop.

Other celebs at the Club included Madonna, Ru Paul, the B-52s, Cyndi Lauper and Andy Warhol. Some of those artists were also visitors to Haring’s apartment on Broome Street in Lower Manhattan and many of them put their signatures and symbols on the door of Haring’s refrigerator door.

The refrigerator door, which measured 40.5 by 22.75 inches, was kept by the tenant who moved into the apartment after Haring left. She rescued the door after the fridge conked out and the landlord was going to replace it.

The door sold at auction on May 11 for $25, 000.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf or any of the other fine artists, whose works are available at VFA.


References:
Nora McGreevy. Keith Haring’s Famous Friends, From Madonna to Andy Warhol, Left Their Mark on His Fridge Door. Smithsonian Magazine. May 18, 2021.
Eileen G’Sell. The Darker Side of Keith Haring. Hyperallergic. May 15, 2021.
James Barron. Keith Haring’s Fabulous Friends Left Their Mark on His Fridge Door. The New York Times. May 11, 2021.
Michelle Devane. Exhibition showcasing pop art’s Andy Warhol and Keith Haring opens in Dublin. breaking news.ie. May 21, 2021.
Elizabeth Birdthishtle. Pop artists Warhol and Haring in Dublin and Belfast exhibitions. The Irish Times. May 15, 2021.

New Work: Jonas Wood, Jean-Michel Basquiat and KAWS

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Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood has become an international contemporary art superstar. His mixed media painting, Two Tables with Floral Pattern, was estimated to sell for $2 – $3 million at last Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale last week. The painting sold for $6.5 million, a record for the artist’s work. It was also unusual in that many of Wood’s works are sold to buyers in Hong Kong, but Two Tables with Floral Pattern was sold to a buyer in the U.S.

Part of the universal appeal of Wood’s paintings, drawings and prints is the uplifting and colorful patterns he creates, many of which include images of the sculptures of his wife, Shio Kusaka.

The couple shares a studio in Los Angeles. In 2019, the Hammer Museum put together a video of the artist in his studio, for one of the many exhibits that Wood has been given at the museum.

Wood’s careful designs and fine art prints are what make him a favorite at VFA. “Printmaking is a big part of my process,” he said in a recent interview, “drawing is a big part of my process, and tracing and getting the basic shapes of things before I make the painting is a big part of my process.”

Besides lithographs and screenprints, one of our recent acquisitions is a soft ground etching, Pattern couch Interior with Mar Vista View, that Wood did in 2020.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

At the same Christie’s Contemporary auction that saw Jonas Wood’s work set a new record, works by Jean-Michel Basquiat did the same.

In This Case From, a large painting done in 1983, sold for $93 million. Works by other Black artists also did exceptionally well at the auction.

Fine art prints by Jean-Michel Basquiat are available at VFA. A recent acquisition, Ligaments of the Elbow, was produced in a grey and black palette and printed before Basquiat made the color values black and white and created the iconic series of 18 plates that make up The Anatomy Series.

KAWS

KAWS: What Party, a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum, will be on exhibit through September 5, 2021. His instantly recognizable works have made Brian Donnelly (aka KAWS) a superstar around the world.

His latest project is The KAWS:HOLIDAY Hot-Air Balloon World Tour, that will officially take off at the end of the year. A 138-foot inflatable Companion has been turned into a hot air balloon and will be going on a world tour that will begin in Bristol, England.

KAWS’ sculptures and fine art prints are available at VFA.

Please contact us for more information about the works of Jonas Wood, Jean-Michel Basquiat and KAWS for sale at VFA.


References:
Artspace Editors. Jonas Wood breaks auction record at Christie’s. Artspace. May 13, 2021.
Colin Gleadell. $93 M. Basquiat Leads Christie’s 21st C. Evening Sale, $17 M. Cryptopunks Among Trending Talent. Artnews. May 12, 2021.
Zachary Small and Robin Pogrebin. Basquiat and Other Artists of Color Lead a Swell of Auction Sales. The New York Times. May 14, 2021.
Mark Westall. Take a KAWS Companion Hot Air Balloon Ride This Year in the UK.. FAD Magazine. May 17, 2021.
Paul Laster. From Graffiti to Augmented Reality: KAWS at the Brooklyn Museum. Art&Object Magazine. April 26, 2021.
Jake Silbert. KAWS is Taking a Hot Air Balloon Holiday.
Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

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