Recent Acquisitions at VFA: Jonas Wood, Julian Opie and KAWS

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Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood shares a studio with his artist wife, Shio Kusaka, whose pottery forms he uses in his paintings and prints. His flat, colorful images, of the things that surround him, are a combination of Modern, Pop and a unique vision that is recognizable Jonas Wood.

He calls his images, “inherently positive.” New York Times art critic Roberta Smith calls them “…an uneasy truce among the abstract, the representational, the photographic and the just plain weird.”

The 43-year-old artist was born in Boston. Wood has a B.A. in psychology and an MFA from the University of Washington. He lives and works in L.A.

Jonas Wood’s art can found found in the permanent collections of the Met, the Guggenheim, MoMA, the Whitney, the Hammer Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and many other fine venues.

KAWS

In 2005, Cory Kennedy-Levin was a 15-year-old ninth grader who went to a concert at the El Rey Theater in L.A., had her photo taken and posted on a hipster-party photo website and became an Internet It Girl with a global fan base.

Two years later, the fashion mag, Jalouse, hired KAWS to do a cover, using Kennedy as a model. The request was somewhat ironic because, in the late ’90s, KAWS would take Jalouse posters out of bus stands, and put them back, after painting them with his usual flair. For the 2007 cover, he was asked by Jalouse to collaborate with photographer, Jean Baptiste Mondino. The result is a nearly six-foot high iconic poster of the cover collaboration.

Brian Donnelly was born in Jersey City in 1974. He began to use the tag KAWS in his early graffiti work because he liked the way the letters fit together. KAWS received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, worked as a Disney animator and has a global following thanks to the recognizable and relatable images in his work.

His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Brooklyn Museum and other major venues. His ‘toys’ have become highly collectible, especially in the  U.S. and Hong Kong marketplace.

Other KAWS recent acquisitions are an alloy and ceramic Seeing sculpture with LED lights, acrylic paintings from the Kimpsons series, screenprints and silkscreen sets.

Julian Opie

Julian Opie’s work has taken on a new meaning in the last few months, almost a nostalgia for images that were so commonplace before the pandemic.

A couple walking on a New York street, pedestrians waiting for the light to change or a bus to come along…those are the images that Opie captures so well…and that we have not seen in our everyday lives in quite some time, especially not in New York. Recent events have made both Opie’s New York Couples and People Standing series especially relevant today.

Opie was born in London in 1958, attended Goldsmiths, University of London, and captured the attention of a broad audience with his minimalist style.

He has many commissioned sculptures on display in major cities around the world. His works are in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London, MoMA, and many other major museums.

Recent Acquisitions at VFA

We are grateful to be able to offer a wide range of recent acquisitions from Jonas Wood, KAWS and Julian Opie, three of our favorite artists.

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

References:
Roberta Smith. Paintings by Jonas Wood. The New York Times. March 17, 2011.
Linda Yablonsky. The Insider/Jonas Wood. T Magazine/CultureThe New York TImes. March
 20, 2012
Jennifer Samet. Beer with a Painter, LA Edition: Jonas Wood. Hyperallergic. September 12, 2015.
Shawn Hubler. The secret life of Cory Kennedy. The Los Angeles Times. February 25, 2007.
Michelle Persad. Cory Kennedy, Cobra Snake “It” Girl, And Her Life After Rehab. Huffpost. April 9, 2013.

Walking with Julian Opie at VFA

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Step by step, we are walking back into our lives, and getting closer to returning to a new normal.

Walking with Julian Opie

Just a few months ago, taking a walk seemed like an ordinary activity. Today it seems extraordinary.

Julian Opie has always thought that people walking were extraordinary. He has been exploring the movement of the human body for more than twenty-five years.

Opie films and photographs people walking along the streets of large cities and creates figurative works that capture the essence of human movement.

His use of minimal backgrounds led Opie to try to capture essential body movements in his work using  just a pole and a moving figure. He ordered the pole on line and then searched SoHo for a pole dancer who would be willing to model. The resulting works, including This is Shahnoza l, available at VFA, have become some of Opie’s most sought after.

Elly skirt top hand on hip legs crossed, a simple pose that many of us see and even do, becomes a dynamic form when presented by Julian Opie.

The universal appeal of Opie’s works have made him one of the most influential and sought after contemporary artists, with works in the permanent collections of the Tate Modern, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, ICA in Boston, the Essl Collection in Vienna, IVAM in Spain, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Takamatsu City Museum of Art in Japan and many more.

Works by Julian Opie at VFA

Please contact us  for more information about New York Couples, Walking in Melbourne, This is Shahnoza, Elly skirt top hand on hip legs crossed or any of the other works of Julian Opie  available at VFA and, of course, please stay safe.

 

Inspiring Fine Art

If you haven’t been baking bread (yeast sales are up 475%) or making a mini-museum for your gerbils or gecko, you may be immersing yourself in art.
Many of us have been immersing ourselves in virtual tours of museums, studying great art, and others have  become art.

Thousands of recreations of art, done at home, have been posted on line. Many of the works have been skillfully crafted by staff members of the Rijksmuseum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, the Getty and the Hermitage.

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles has challenged art lovers to recreate artworks using three things that are lying around the house.

The practice of creating dramatic scenes, known as tableau vivant or living picture, dates back to the 1700s. The art of tableau vivant is still practiced in Laguna Beach, California every year at the Pageant of the Masters, where residents dress up to recreate famous works of art.

Inspiring Fine Art at VFA

Being inspired by works of art is our constant motivation at the Vertu Fine Art Gallery. Many of the works in our gallery would make wonderful living pictures (that’s not a challenge, just a thought).

Art takes us to places we may never visit, it helps us see the world from different perspectives. it gives us empathy and help us to understand people, places, times, and subjects that we might never have considered before.

You don’t have to put on an orange hat, ride an elephant, wear Pucci Pants or dance ballet to appreciate the fine art available at VFA.

References:
Katherine J. Wu. Miniature Gecko Art Gallery Premieres on the Heels of Viral London Gerbil Museum. Smithsonian Magazine. April 17, 2020.
Katy Kelleher. Art Recreation Is the Only Good Instagram Challenge. The New York Times. April 17, 2020.
Sam Anderson. The Surreal Fine-Art Spectacle in Laguna Beach. The New York Times Magazine. September 12, 2014.

An Orange Hat

We would like to express our gratitude, during this difficult time, for the continued support of family, friends and art lovers.

Vertu Fine Art will continue to offer the best fine art prints, paintings and sculpture available. We are happy to answer questions and communicate on line and by phone.

It was just last month that we were at the Art on Paper Fair in New York City, where we showcased the works of Alex Katz, the consummate New Yorker. The Whitney has been planning a retrospective of Katz’s work for 2022. Hopefully, the exhibit, to honor one of the world’s most outstanding contemporary artists, will take place as scheduled.

One of the most visited sites in New York has been the giant OY YO sculpture by Deborah Kass. We have a limited edition of this sculpture available, whose message is very relevant during this trying time.

We at VFA, hope you stay safe and healthy, and find comfort and joy in the art and beauty that surrounds you.

The Generosity of the Art World During COVID-19

The beauty and emotional power of art give humans comfort during difficult times. With museums and galleries closed around the world, the importance of the arts and our dependence on them for comfort and connection, and even as a livelihood for many, has been magnified.

A 68-bed treatment center has been constructed in Central Park’s East Meadow to treat overflow patients from nearby Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Metropolitan Museum in New York has asked staff, volunteers and supporters of the arts to send a letter, requesting help, to their representatives and to spread the word through social media, using the hashtag #CongressSaveCulture.

The Met has supported a request by the American Alliance of Museums asking Congress to direct $4 billion in federal funds to help nonprofit museums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the doors of The Met are closed, the museum announced that it would continue paying its staff through May 2.

After The Met closed temporarily, other museums in New York and around the country followed suit, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Frick Collection and Library, the Shed, the Bronx Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Whitney and the Smithsonian.

And while museums in London, Paris, Spain, and other cities close, some art institutions in China, South Korea and Japan are beginning to reopen.

The Generosity of the Art World

Artists and staff members at major art institutions in New York have found creative ways to help during this critical time, by donating much needed protective gear for use in area hospitals.

Donated medical supplies were sent to the newly erected temporary hospital at the Javits Center in New York. Major New York institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum have donated face masks and gloves to medical professionals.

Art handlers at the Whitney Museum donated masks and shoe covers, MoMA has donated almost 3,000 nitrile gloves and three hundred N95 masks and employees at Cooper Union’s schools of art, architecture and engineering donated a box of N95 respirators, dozens of boxes of gloves, disinfecting wipes and 16 pairs of protective goggles, which they found when they scoured the school’s chemistry stockroom and chemical engineering lab.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and other prominent museums around the world have made it easy to take virtual tours of their galleries with Google Arts and Culture.

MoMA and other art institutions are offering educational resources on line and creative ways to display great art in your home with Art Projector.

The Boca Museum of Art is hosting  Keep Kids Smart With Art with tips for parents and free online activities.

Virtual Visits at Vertu Fine Art

We hope that you and your family and friends stay safe, healthy and serene during this difficult period. This might be a good time to go through our website and learn more about some of the artists whose works are in our gallery.  You can download our free ebook, How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints, to see why we are so passionate about fine art prints.

Some of our favorite artists, like Alex Katz, Donald Sultan, Derrick Adams and KAWS, live and work in New York. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones.

References:
Zachary Small. Met Museum Tells Staff It Is Extending Pay Until May 2. The New York Times. March 30, 2020.
Liza Mazzola. Learning Curve: Art Resources for Teaching and Learning from Home.MoMA. March 19, 2020.
Matt Hickman. New York’s Javits Center completes transformation into 1,200 bed emergency hospital. The Architect’s Newspaper. March 30, 2020.
C. Todd Lopez. Corps of Engineers Converts NYC’s Davits Center Into Hospital. Department of Defense News. April 1, 2020.
https://artsandculture.google.com/

Stay Home and go to The Louvre

Stay Home and go to The Louvre and other Museums

With museums and galleries closed around the world, and most of us having to stay home and stay safe, more than 2,000 major institutions are offering virtual tours of their collections.

The British Museum in London, the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul and The Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil’s first modern art museum, are all open for virtual tours. American museums, like the J. Paul Getty, the National Gallery and the Guggenheim also host virtual tours.

The tours themselves are interesting and informative and, even more exciting, is that there are searches that  can open up new avenues of appreciation and lead to works and artists you may have never seen before.

The Louvre has its own virtual tours, but for hundreds of other museums and galleries just go to Google’s Arts & Culture pages and choose a venue.

Once you’re there you can search for your, and our, favorite artists and see the wide range of creations and the varied venues around the world, that house their works.The works of many of our Featured Artists, like Alex Katz, Julian Opie and Derrick Adams, will lead you to places that you may not have imagined.

Download and Create Art

It looks like many of us are going to be spending time at home for a while. Even if we can work from home, it’s good to have something creative to do. Many museums and libraries offer free downloadable coloring books that are based on the institutions’ focus and collections.

A unique collection of coloring books was put together by the New York Academy of Medicine, which invited libraries, museums and other organizations to put together coloring books based on their unique interests. More than one hundred institutions have contributed an astounding array of images to color. There are flowers from the New York Botanical Garden, architecture and design from the Smithsonian, dragons from the University of Minnesota, ballet from the Russian State Library and even patent drawings from the Records of the Patent and Trademark Office.

Just Google-ing Downloadable Coloring Books reveals an amazing assortment of subjects and images.

Take a Tour of the Vertu Fine Art Gallery

There is a lot of information on our site about the art and artists whose works are for sale at VFA, and if you haven’t had time to download and read our free ebook How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints, now might be a good time to take a look at it.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the work available in our gallery.

References:
Mark Westall. Lisson Gallery presents an enhanced virtual experience for Art Basel viewing Rooms. FAD Magazine. March 2020.
Emma O’Kelly. Art Basel Hong Kong recalibrates with a digital-only edition. Wallpaper. March 20, 2020.
Sarah Crompton. Anish Kapoor: ‘Artists are not makers of luxury goods’. The Guardian. March 14, 2020.
Hakim Bishara. 2,500 Museums You Can Now Visit Virtually. Hyperallergic. March 16, 2020.
Hakim Bishara. Dozens of Museums and Libraries Offer Free Downloadable Coloring Books. Hyperallergic. March 19, 2020.

David Hockney’s Work at VFA

The National Portrait Gallery in London has temporarily closed its doors on March 18 to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Behind the closed doors are about 150 of David Hockney’s drawings, created over the last fifty years.

David Hockney: Drawing from Life at the National Portrait Gallery, London

Even though the National Portrait Gallery has closed its doors, but thanks to modern technology, we can still get a glimpse of David Hockney’s amazing works at the Gallery’s website.

David Hockney: Drawing from Life is the first major exhibit of Hockney’s drawings in more than twenty years. On display is a collection of portraits of just five people: Hockney himself, his mother, Laura Hockney, curator and friend Gregory Evans, printer and friend, Maurice Payne, and textile designer and friend, Celia Birtwell.

The portraits are done in a variety of mediums and colors, but the common thread, that runs through them all, is the care that Hockney feels for his subjects.

He did his first drawing of Celia Birtwell in Paris, in 1969, when she was 28, and he’s still doing drawings of her to this day, at age 78. Hockney was best man at her wedding. The marriage didn’t last, but Hockney and Birtwell’s friendship has survived more than fifty years.

Celia with Green Hat, available at VFA, was done in 1984, just a year before he was asked to do a 40-page spread for the Paris edition of Vogue magazine, and had her portrait placed on the cover.

An edition of Celia with Green Hat is part of the collection of the Tate, London.

David Hockney’s Evolution

Who would have thought that the telephone would bring back drawing? – David Hockney

Last month, one of David Hockney’s iconic pool paintings, sold at Sotheby’s auction for $29.8 million. Hockney was inspired by the colors and lifestyle of his home in Hollywood Hills, where he took up residence in 1964. He kept a home and studio in London, and has always been Britain’s most loved artist.

Last year Hockney moved to Normandy, because he says that he got fed up with the smoking bans in the U.S. and can now  stop work for an hour or two and have lunch and a cigarette in a Normandy cafe.

At 82, he’s not about to give up smoking, or painting on canvas, but he has expanded his work to include drawing with his iPad.

Amazingly, Hockney has been able to get the same incredible colors and qualities in his iPad work as in his paintings and prints.

David Hockney’s Work at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Celia with Green Hat, My Shirt and Trousers or any of the other fine are available at VFA.

References:
Jonathan Jones. David Hockney: Drawing from Life review – stripping subjects down to their gym socks. The Guardian. February 25, 2020.
Hadley Freeman. Celia Birtwell on David Hockney: Nobody else has ever asked me’.The Guardian. February 25, 2020.
Tabish Khan. Nobody Draws It Better Than David Hockney At National Portrait Gallery. Londonist. February 26, 2020.
Taylor Dafoe. Artist David Hockney Is Moving to France Because It’s Illegal to Smoke Practically Anywhere in America. artnetnews. September 11, 2019.
Jacopo Prisco. David Hockney’s ‘The Splash’ sells for $29.8 million. CNN, Arts. Updated February 12, 2020.

The Work of Derrick Adams at VFA

Derrick Adams is having a very good year and getting the attention that he deserves.

Adams is currently having his first major show in the UK. Derrick Adams: Transformers, on exhibit  at the Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery in London, explores the way in which black women empower themselves through dress and style.

Many of the works in the exhibit were inspired by the displays that Adams has seen in the beauty supply stores, wig shops and braiding and nail salons in his Brooklyn neighborhood.

Derrick Adams: Transformers will be on exhibit at Luxembourg & Dayan through April 4, 2020.

Adams work is also on display at the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York. Derrick Adams: Buoyant explores the joyful, social side of Black life in America. “Sometimes a normal social gathering,” Adams says, “can represent a radical space. I’m often inspired by the people around me at parties, and how they are making important changes to society. You can go to a social event and still get things accomplished.”

Derrick Adams: Buoyant will be on exhibit through June 14, 2020.

Adams has also played an integral part in the current nation-wide tour of the work of  Jacob Lawrence, one of this country’s most important African-American artists.

In 1954, Jacob Lawrence began a series of paintings that depict the history of the American people. He painted thirty panels over a two-year period. The paintings were dispersed, and now, after more than sixty years, most have been located and will travel to major venues around the country. Struggle: From the History of the American People will be on display at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts through April 26. The show will then travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, the Seattle Art Museum and the Phillips Collection in Washington.

Jacob Lawrence had a profound effect on Derrick Adams, who has contributed to the exhibition with an installation he created after sifting through Lawrence’s archives. Adams created an imaginary studio, filled with photographs never before shown publicly.

Derrick Adams works are part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Birmingham Museum of Art.

The Work of Derrick Adams at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Breakfast of Champions or any of the other fine art for sale at VFA.

 

References:
Naomi Rea. See How Rising-Star Painter Derrick Adams Explores Black Feminine Identity in His First Exhibition at Luxembourg & Dayan. artnetnews. February 14, 2020.
Kevin RInker. City Lights: Maestro Thomas Søndergård; Derrick Adams At SCAD FASH; And More. NPR All THings Considered. February 28, 2020.
Poppy Malby. Derrick Adams on the empowerment of black femininity. GQ Magazine. February 8, 2020.

Vertu Fine Art at Art on Paper, NYC

It’s time, once again, for us to head to Pier 36 in New York for the 2020 Art on Paper fair.

This year we join more than ninety galleries to celebrate paper-based artworks, which are our passion and main focus at VFA. We’re showcasing the works of Carmen Herrea, Julian Opie, Michael Craig-Martin, Jonas Wood and we’ll be debuting a new work by Alex Katz.

Alex Katz

The Guggenheim Museum is organizing a 2020 retrospective of the works of Alex Katz, one of the world’s most masterful printmakers. Katz has honed his unique, straight forward and deceptively simple style over a career than has spanned more than sixty years. He has never succumbed to trends in art, and has focused on figures, landscapes and flowers, skillfully using bold colors in both his paintings and fine art prints.

The artfulness with which Katz uses color in his prints make them instantly recognizable. A first glance at his Coca-Cola Girl series, available at VFA, looks like uncomplicated color and design, but a closer look reveals sophisticated design and multiple layers of color in each work.

Julian Opie

At age 62, Julian Opie is thirty years younger than Alex Katz, but shares a similar sensibility. His figures are reduced to a bare minimum, with flat colors surrounded by simple lines. The amazing thing about Opie’s work is how mesmerizing it is and how the viewer sees more than just a head, or people walking.

Opie’s works are as relatable in Tokyo and Lisbon as they are in New York and in London, where he was born and raised.

Both Katz and Opie work in a variety of mediums, and are printmakers, painters and sculptors, but it is their works on paper, their fine art prints, that we appreciate most at VFA, and we know that the collectors at the Art on Paper fair will admire their works, as well.

Art on Paper at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Alex Katz, Julian Opie or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.

 

 

 

Remembering Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring gave credibility to graffiti artists and took their works from the street into fine art galleries and museums. The frenetic energy of the New York art scene in the 1980s was a perfect time for both Basquiat and Haring to work, play and get the attention they desired and deserved. Both Basquiat and Haring died young, each in a tragic way, yet, decades later, their art still has the ability to impact and inspire young artists and art lovers.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat dropped out of school, and left his father’s home in Brooklyn, when he was seventeen.

He began doing graffiti on the streets of New York and couch surfing at the apartments of friends. Basquiat’s charm, talent and good looks made it easy for him to find welcoming friends (including Madonna) in the club and art scene that flourished in the ’80s.

In order to repay the hospitality and care that friends bestowed on him, Basquiat would often swap or leave a piece of his artwork for them. The works themselves are interesting, but even more so is the way that these creations were protected and cherished for so many years.

In 1979, Jane Diaz, was an art student and worked as a waitress in the East Village. She met Basquiat when he was spraying graffiti on the sidewalk. They struck up a conversation, he followed her home and stayed for about a week, leaving behind a bunch of drawings, including a self-portrait that was labeled Little Monkey,  just one of the works that have been brought together for an exhibit called Our Friend Jean at the Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn, which is currently on display and will run through the end of the month.

Keith Haring

While Jean-Michel Basquiat was spray painting the walls and sidewalks of New York, Keith Haring was drawing in the subways.

Both artists got recognition from the other underground  artists and the group of people who frequented Club 57 and the other venues that were distanced from the mainstream art world of high-end galleries and museums.

Haring was sometimes arrested for drawing on blank subway advertising sites. The up-side of his subway graffiti was the number of New Yorkers who were able to watch him work and see the art that he so skillfully created.

Deceptively simple in style, Haring’s work was cutting cultural commentary on issues including AIDS, drug addiction, sex, and apartheid. His work, like Basquiat’s, crossed the line from low art to high art and both artists had their works shown in major galleries and museums.

Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at age 27, just two years before Haring died of AIDS at age 30.

They enjoyed a close friendship. When Basquiat died, Haring created a painting called Piles of Crowns as a memorial, using the symbolic crown that often appeared in Basquiat’s work.  For his friend’s obituary, Haring wrote, “The supreme poet. Every action is symbolic, every gesture an event… Greedily we wonder what masterpieces we might have been cheated out of by his death… only now will people begin to understand the magnitude of his contribution.”

The works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring are being shown at an exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Called Keith Haring/Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines, the exhibit will run through April 11, 2020.

The Works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flexible, Keith Haring’s Chocolate Buddha #3 or any of the other fine art works available at VFA.

References:
Lindy Percival. Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat: art stars who shone too briefly. The Sydney Morning Herald. November 22, 2019.
Robert Becker. Remembering Basquiat Through the Keepsakes He Gave Intimates. Hyperallergic. February 20, 2020.
Meg Watson. ‘We were all a little bit punk’: Haring, Basquiat and the art that defined 80s New York. The Guardian. February 23, 2020.

Frank Stella’s Works in Boston, Tampa and Santiago

Frank Stella Mural at the Boston Seaport

Frank Stella’s Damascus Gate mural was unveiled in the Boston seaport a few months ago.

Stella grew up in Malden, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. He will turn 84 in May. The mural is one of the largest public art installations of his more than 60-year career. The 98-foot-long, 18-foot-tall mural was commissioned by the developers of the revitalized Boston seaport.

The mural is based on Stella’s 1970 Damascus Gate (Stretch Variation I), part of the Protractor Series that he began to work on in the late 1960s. Stella used bright, fluorescent colors, angles and curves for the Protractor Series and named them after ancient sites in Asia Minor, a departure from the stark, black paintings that had earned him early recognition.

Stella continued working with variations of the technique that he began with the Protractor Series, experimenting with colors, shaped canvasses and a variety of materials.

Frank Stella’s Works Coming to Tampa

When Frank Stella traveled to Israel in the 1980s he visited the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where he saw the works of Russian graphic artist, El Lissitzky. Stella was inspired by the illustrations that Lissitzky did, between 1917 and 1919, for the children’s book Had Gadya. 

Had Gadya, or One Goat is an allegorical song, traditionally sung at the close of the Passover Seder.

Stella created twelve prints, based on the song, in a style very different from Lissitzky’s.

Although Stella was born into family of Italian origin and is not Jewish, he has used Jewish themes in his work, like his Jewish Polish Village Series which depicted destroyed wooden synagogues in Eastern Europe.

Frank Stella: Illustrations After El Lissitzky’s Had Gadya will be on view at the Tampa Museum of Art from April 2 through August 2, 2020 and will be shown concurrently with an exhibit of Stella’s works from the Tampa Museum’s permanent collection and other regional collections.

No More Eating on the Frank Stella Painting

Isfahan lll, one of the largest of his Protractor Series paintings is getting a makeover in Chile.

The painting was donated, by Stella, to the Museum of Solidarity (Museo de la Solidaridad) in 1972, when the museum opened, at a time when Chile was celebrating the regime of Salvador Allende’s new socialist government.

Other artists from around the world donated work, including Pablo Picasso, Robert Motherwell, Sol Lewitt and Joaquin Torres Garcia.

After a military coup in 1973, that brought dictator Augusto Pinochet to power, the museum’s collection was dispersed to different locations.

Stella’s painting, which is more than 10 feet high and 21 feet wide, was rolled up and stored in different locations that belonged to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in Santiago.

The canvas was so large, that workers, who weren’t familiar with Stella’s work, used it as a table on which they ate their lunch.

In 1991, when democratic rule was restored, the museum reopened as reopened under its current name, the Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum.

After years of being rolled up, and the original stretcher missing, Isfahan lll was badly in need of repair.

Last year, the Getty Foundation, through its Conserving Canvas initiative, funded a project to restore the painting. A new spring-loaded stretcher was built and Stella helped the members of the conservation team restore the texture and color of the work.

Isfahan lll is scheduled to be completed in June.

References:
Katherine McGrath. Frank Stella Reconnects to His Hometown Roots With an Installation at the Boston Seaport. Architectural Digest. January 29, 2020.
artnet Gallery Network. An Iconic Frank Stella Painting Gets a New Lease on Life as a 98-Foot-Long Mural in Boston’s Seaport. artnetnews. November 5, 2019.
Hakim Bishara. The Little-Known Story of a Frank Stella Work Once Mistaken for a Lunch Table. Hyperallergic. February 14, 2020.

Alex Katz Retrospective, Jeff Koons in Tel Aviv and Donald Sultan on the Roof

Alex Katz at the Guggenheim in 2022

The Guggenheim Museum is organizing a retrospective, planned for 2022, to celebrate the career of Alex Katz.

At 92, Katz can boast of an extraordinary career as a painter, printmaker and sculptor. Since 1951, he has had over 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. He currently has shows at the Colby Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Galeria Monica de Cardenas Zuoz in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London. The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain will be hosting a retrospective of his work in June, featuring about thirty of his large-scale oil paintings and their preparatory studies.

At VFA, we hold Alex Katz in high esteem, especially because of his talent as a master printer. His work, Late Summer Flowers graces the cover of our ebook, How to Buy and Identify Fine Art Prints, because of the beauty and quality of his printmaking.

Jeff Koons in Tel Aviv

The works of Jeff Koons will be on exhibit at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art next month. The exhibit marks the first time that Koons’ work has been shown in Israel.

Works in the exhibit come from the collection of the Jose Mugrabi family, which owns one of the largest collections of contemporary art in the world.

In 2013, Mugrabi set a record for the most expensive work by a living artist, when he paid $58.4 million for Koons’s Balloon Dog (Orange) at a Christie’s auction.

Jeff Koons will be at the opening. The exhibit will run from March 10 through October 10, 2020.

Donald Sultan in Asheville

After an extensive remodeling, the Asheville Art Museum opened to the public last November, complete with a rooftop terrace that offers mountain views and a Poppies sculpture by Donald Sultan, who was born and raised in Asheville.

Although Sultan lives and works in New York, he became comfortable with using industrial materials at his father’s tire shop.

His sculptures are made from Cor-ten Steel and his prints have a textured quality that he achieves by working with the Los Angeles-based Mixografia printmakers.

Works by Alex Katz, Jeff Koons and Donald Sultan at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Donald Sultan or any of the other fine artists available at VFA.

References:
Andy Battaglia. Guggenheim Museum to Mount Retrospective for Alex Katz, New York Painter Extraordinaire, in 2022. ARTnews. January 17, 2020.
Matthew Ramirez. New River Oaks Art Gallery Draws Powerhouse Crowd for Divine Opening. Paper City Magazine. January 16, 2020.
Stephanie Eckhardt. The Originals: Alex Katz. WMagazine. October 10, 2019.
Naomi Rea. Meet Collector Robert Tibbles, Who Snapped Up a $1,000 Damien Hirst Work in 1989 That Could Soon Sell for $2.3 Million. artnetnews. February 10, 2020.
Jessica Steinberg. Pop artist Jeff Koons and sculptures coming to Tel Aviv. The Times of Israel. February 5, 2020.
Naama Riba. Artist Jeff Koons to Attend Opening of His Tel Aviv Museum Exhibit. Haaretz. February 4, 2020.

Carlos Cruz-Diez Remembered, Ugo Rondinone Doing Well

Carlos Cruz-Diez: The Movie

Free Color, a documentary about Carlos Cruz-Diez, just has previewed at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Cruz-Diez died in July, 2019, at age 95, shortly before the film was completed. Cruz-Diez devoted his life to exploring the physical properties of color. “I’m not a poet, nor a writer, nor a historian nor a philosopher.” he said. “I am only a painter. I believe that through pictorial research and the perception of the universe of color I can find a way to reflect about the world I live in in a way that has not yet been researched by other artists.”

Before he died, Cruz-Diez wanted to create an experience of color with no physical supporting structure or visible source of light.  The film shows him in his Paris studio, communicating through Skype with a group of mathematicians and scientists at a CalTech think tank, who were trying to help him with the project. Sadly, the project was never realized, but Cruz-Diez’s enthusiasm and legacy are captured in Free Color.

Carlos Cruz-Diez: The Watch

Swiss luxury watchmaker, Hubolt, has just unveiled a watch that pays tribute to the life and work of Carlos Cruz-Diez, who collaborated with the company in 1915. The Classic Fusion Cruz-Diez watch has a dial that changes colors as hours, minutes and seconds pass. A set of parallel discs are saturated in colors that are linked to the movement of the hour and minute hands. The discs rotate in sequence to create a constantly changing array of color across the grid of black lines on the face.

Cruz-Diez was a master at producing works that change color to form a single color, or go from black to white, according to the angle at which the work is viewed. His works are in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as well as other fine museums and galleries.

Ugo Rondinone

In 2017, at age 54, New York based, Swiss born artist, Ugo Rondinone was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bladder cancer. He took a year off and began a progressive form of immunotherapy treatment that worked well. His cancer is in remission, although he must remain on medication for 10 years—the period of time in which the disease is most likely to return.

Last September Rondinone sponsored an auction at Sotheby’s New York to benefit bladder cancer treatment research at Weill Medical College at Cornell. The auction included work by Rondinone and fourteen other contemporary artists who donated their work.

The Works of Carlos Cruz-Diez and Ugo Rondinone at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Carlos Cruz-Diez, Ugo Rondinone or any of the other fine artists whose works are available at VFA.

References:
Cynthia Garcia. A Universe of Color: A New Exhibition Highlights the Immersive Work of Op Art Forefather Carlos Cruz-Diez. NewCityBrasil. January 28, 2020.
Mike Espindle. Hublot Unveils the Classic Fusion Cruz-Diez Watch. Ocean Drive. January 6, 2020.
Sheri Linden. ‘Free Color’: Film Review| Palm Springs 2020. The Hollywood Reporter. January 10, 2020.
Taylor Dafoe. ‘I Want to Create Awareness’: After a Terrifying Diagnosis, Artist Ugo Rondinone Is Organizing a High-Profile Auction to Benefit Cancer Research. artnetnews. September 9, 2019.
Ian Mohr. Artist Ugo Rondinone raising cancer awareness with charity auction. Page Six. September 22, 2019.

Derrick Adams on Tour, Retna at the Opera

Derrick Adams is one of just three contemporary artists whose work is part of a national tour. Adams’ work is accompanying legendary artist Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle Series to major museums throughout the U.S.

Jacob Lawrence was one of America’s finest artists, the first black artist to have work purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, in 1941, when Lawrence was just 23 years old.

Lawrence spent five years at the 135th Street Library, in Harlem, where he grew up, researching the history of America from 1770 through 1812. His research inspired him to painted Struggle: From the History of the American People, thirty paintings that were dispersed after being shown in a New York gallery in 1956.

Jacob Lawrence died in 2000. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1990. His works are in the permanent collections of major museums and galleries throughout the United States. He taught at the Pratt Institute in New York and at Washington State University, inspiring the next generation of artists, like Derrick Adams.

Derrick Adams lives and works in Brooklyn. He works are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Birmingham Museum of Art.

The Struggle Series, along with work by Derrick Adams, is currently at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, will then go on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, the Seattle Art Museum and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Retna

Marquis Lewis was born in Los Angeles in 1979. He is best known as Retna, the tag he used on the graffiti that he painted throughout the city. Retna’s sophisticated calligraphy, an alphabet the he developed from Egyptian hieroglyphics, Hebrew, Arabic and Gothic script, has earned him a global following.

His work is currently being used this season by the Los Angeles Opera Company. Retna created set designs for director Francesca Zambello’s interpretation of Aida. His set designs have also been used by the San Francisco, Seattle and Washington National Opera companies.

Work by Derrick Adams and Retna available at VFA

Breakfast of Champions by Derrick Adams and Sacred Dance of Memories by Retna are available at VFA. Both are masterfully created fine art prints and represent just two of the fine contemporary art work for sale in our gallery.

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

References:
Keith Powers. Peabody Essex Museum displays work of artist Jacob Lawrence. Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle. January 23, 2020.
Nancy Kenney. Jacob Lawrence’s epic series depicting America’s early struggles sets off on US tour. The Art Newspaper. January 17, 2020.
Natalie Gale. PEM Reunites Jacob Lawrence Painting Series. Northshore Magazine. January 17, 2020.
Sebastian Smee. These ‘missing’ Jacob Lawrence paintings are finally in a museum — and they’re masterpieces. The Washington Post. January 24, 2020.
Jessica Gelt. L.A. Opera 2020-21 season: Wagner, Herheim, ‘Breaking the Waves’ and ‘Get Out. Los Angeles Times. January 26, 2020.

Supernatural Art at VFA

The Art Gallery of New South Wales recently commissioned Takashi Murakami to create a work for its permanent collection.

Murakami created a 30 foot long by 10 foot high painting, that he titled Japan Supernatural: Vertiginous After Staring at the Empty World Too Intensely, I Found Myself Trapped in the Realm of Lurking Ghosts and Monsters, that depicts a battle between spirits and samurai, bound together by a giant cat.

“Making this painting was super difficult. For one year I have had no life,” Muakami said.

The work is made up of 502 individual silkscreens and was purchased by the gallery for an undisclosed seven-figure amount and is the centerpiece of the gallery’s current exhibit Japan Supernatural.

Japan Supernatural

The exhibit explores the art history of Japan’s folklore, which is rich in stories of spirits, goblins and shape-shifters, through the works of past masters and contemporary artists like Takashi Murakami and Chiho Aoshima, whose works are available at VFA.

The Edo period in Japan, 1606-1868, saw changes in the culture that gave much of the population more time for leisure activities and more time to focus on art and culture. Combined with the advances in woodblock printing, artists were able to illustrate stories of the supernatural, which were popular during that time, and distribute their work to a wide audience.

Toward the end of the Edo period, tales of the supernatural went out of style. It wasn’t until the middle of the twentieth century that Japanese manga artists and filmmakers seemed to rediscover the old spirits and demons and to reimagine them for the modern world.

Films like Totoro and Spirited Away resonated with audiences around the world and have become a part of our global culture.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami has a studio just outside of Tokyo, where he employs about 350 workers. At age 57, he is the founder of the Superflat art movement and a superstar in the art world. In 2017/2018 his work in international auctions attracted turnover of $18.3 million with a top price of $8.8 million, according to Artprice.com. 

His superflat style and the other-worldly content of his works, give them a supernatural feel and universal appeal.

In works like Champignon and Jellyfish Eyes, available at VFA, Murakami imbues his subjects with mystical qualities.

Chiho Aoshima

Chiho Aoshima is one of the artists who has been nurtured at Kaikai Kiki, Takashi Murakami’s artist collective, where she was an assistant in Murakami’s studio.

Born in Tokyo in 1974, Aoshima has a degree in economics, but her passion for art led her to create surreal scenes in the superflat style.

Her works, like Building Head-Palm Trees and Japanese Apricot, available at VFA, explore the relationship between humans and nature.

Aoshima’s works are also included in the Japan Supernatural exhibit, on display until March 8, 2020.

Supernatural Art at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Takashi Murakami, Chiho Aoshima or any of the other fine works available at VFA.

References:
Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore. Takashi Murakami, Japan’s rock star artist, unveils 10-metre ‘stupid cat painting’. The Guardian. November 1, 2019.
Shona Martin. Superflat to supercat: Sydney buys a multimillion-dollar artwork. The Sydney Morning Herald. October 25, 2019.
Larissa Hjorth. In Japan, supernatural beliefs connect the spiritual realm with the earthly objects around us. The Conversation, RMIT. October 30. 2019.
Emma Joyce. Five Haunting Characters to Seek Out at Sydney’s ‘Japan Supernatural’ Exhibition. Concrete Playground. January 22, 2020.
Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
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