Posts Tagged ‘Lily van der Stokker’

In Arms’ Way

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Takaaki Izumi, "Notice that Could Be Good News or Bad News," 2011

At last Wednesday’s press conference for the Armory Show, Mayor Bloomberg included the avant-trade show among the City’s many “unforgiveable cultural – er, unforgettable – cultural events.”  Accept the Freudian slip as a cover for conflicting realities.  Right and right again; it is as unforgiveable as it is unforgettable.

Paul Morris, VP & HFIC of MMPI Art

Most young artists feel demoralized after seeing thousands of art objects shelved and tagged as merchandise at a trade show, even though the same objects probably felt special and transcendental while in the studio.  Those internal “studio” questions about form, content, context, and influence get fused and reduced to the “market” questions of “How much is that one?” or “Do you have one like it, but more red?”  The classic analogy is something like a Freudian primal scene: “Artists seeing art fairs is like kids watching Mommy and Daddy…”

MoMA Director Glenn Lowry: "Big. I mean, really BIG. And heavy."

Predictably, the Armory Show felt more like a circus, the Mardi Gras of trade shows.  Bleary-eyed visitors amble around from one neon sculpture to the next, like moths to lamps, pausing only to consult reflective surfaces, like Snow White’s Evil Queen nemesis.  How much do these booths cost, anyway?  I heard it was about $15,000, not counting the ‘wichcraft lunches.

Sam van Aken at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

bloomberg. LOWRY.

Iván Navarro’s neon fence at Paul Kasmin takes the cake for most egregious abuse of electricity, while Tony Matelli’s bad words on mirrors at Leo Koenig, which make Dan Colen’s old text paintings read like literature, win for most shallow.

 

What I liked at the Armory was the refreshing wave of art bearing uninhibited, fluorescent palettes: solvent orange, minty greens, pomegranate crimson, and blinding yellows.

SVA alumni Phoebe Washburn, Lane Twitchell

Maybe this reflects a rise in artists feeling free, or maybe it’s just a cyclical upheaval of the black-and-white austerity that has persisted in NYC galleries since 2005 or so (Banks Violette, Adam Helms, Adam Pendleton, Wade Guyton, Erin Shirreff, Daniel Lefcourt, Karl Haendel, and more – most of whom I would collect if I had money).  Zach Feuer’s booth beckoned with day-glo work by Phoebe Washurn and Dasha Shishkin, Horton Gallery beamed with bright Keltie Ferris paintings.

Dasha Shishkin, "Risk of death is better than the risk of change," 2011

But for every violation of web-safe colors, there was at least one murky, surrealist phantasm.  Check these out:

Face Off

Kurt Hofmann, "Lunette #27," 2010 at Voges Gallery Frankfurt

(missed the name of this artist)

Rosy Keyser (at Peter Blum, right?)

That trend goes 3D in the variations on craggy, spindly, handwrought figurative sculptures hobbling around the fair.  Ibid Gallery hosted arthritic skeletal lepers by Marianne Vitale.  Chiseled Stephan Balkenhol brawny blokes popped up on both piers, along with many other freaks and geeks.

Marianne Vitale at ibid Projects

Javier Perez at Galerie Guy Bärtschi

(missed this name, too, man i suck; but I think it's Kim Jones)

Johannes VanderBeek's tie dye guy/ mesh colossus at Zach Feuer

The freak flag sagged with Marc Quinn’s Eurotrashy Michael Jackson, inexplicably presented two years too late.  And then there’s Lily van der Stokker’s gossipy mural, which looked hastily produced, recounting some kind of showdown between dealer Tanja Grunert and former Leo Koenig director Lizzy Balogh (is there a video of the fight described?).  Who cares?  Lily van der Stokker rules the school of bright palettes; something bolder at the fair would have cemented her proto-power.

Marc Quinn, "Michael Jackson," 2010 at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac

Lily van der Stokker at Leo Koenig, Inc

 

Who? Who? (Whom?)

Oh, and Kehinde Wiley now paints other “Others.”

Big and heavy!

I Feel Pretty Ugly

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Lily van der Stokker, Artwork, 2010

Is it the Mary Heilmann effect? At least three middle-aged women artists known for bold color are currently brightening up bleached Chelsea galleries. They also are reigniting their careers with a departure from or return to the galleries that represented them for ten years or longer.

Ugo Rondinone, Hell, Yes!, 2001 on the New Museum

Returning to D’Amelio Terras, Polly Apfelbaum (b. 1955) reprises her synthetic sequin scatter sculptures, in which random polygons (Polly-gons?) are cut from the material and arranged on the floor. She built the piece in the gallery, cut by cut, and viewers are welcome to tip-toe through the remaining floor space. It’s a mind-body problem. Our eyes track the brightly colored fields of shining color, while our bodies maneuver the angled corridors leftover.

Polly Apfelbaum, Off Colour, 2010

Back in the arms of the lovely ladies at 303 Gallery after an affair with David Zwirner, Sue Williams (b. 1954) plunges us back to 1995-6, the period most of this suffocating work was made. Her imagery expresses a resentment of masculine authority, while also desperately devouring its phallic positivism. Can’t live with it; can’t live without it. She brings us back to 2010 a few times with new paintings, such as War of the Testicles, in which abstraction and scrota (and their contents) merge into amalgamated pockets of jittery, varicose striae.

Sue Williams, War of the Testicles, 2010

Sue Williams, Eggs, 1992

The most electric of these is Terrible and Ugly, Lily van der Stokker’s first NYC show since 2004, and the first at her new gallery, Leo Koenig.

Lily van der Stokker, Whoopy I Am Ugly, 2010

As seen in a recent, major show at the Tate St. Ives, Lily van der Stokker’s murals and drawings provide the critical viewer a chance to freely indulge in banal adjectives that usually sound derogatory. Her work is resolutely cute, decorative, happy, simple, fun, stupid, and meaningless. “Oh, that hurts so good! Say it again!” All of those terms are accurate, in a good way.

Lily van der Stokker, Whoopy I Am Ugly (detail), 2010

An intellectual engagement could describe her work as a revision of Sol Lewitt through menarche and cartoons; or – less utopian – middle school identity and Prozac.

Lily van der Stokker, Niet zo mooi, best wel lelijk, 2009 - "Not so pretty, pretty ugly"

David Horvath and Suan-Min Kim, Ugly Dolls

A more populist experience, however, would rejoice in the uninhibited colors and comic amoeba shapes. The cone-cooking yellows are so bright that the surrounding bare white walls seem to turn purply-gray. The heaps of unblemished color and pyjama pattern are appended with syrupy drips, wiggling protuberances, and caffeinated vacuoles. It’s ecstatic!

Lily van der Stokker, Not So Nice, 2010

Each mural, which you can buy and have hand-painted at home, feels less like an object and more like an amorphous station; compare sitting in a stiff chair (Lewitt) with a pile of clean laundry still warm from the dryer (van der Stokker). Indeed, the rugs and padded chairs inspire reclining, and each of the planted murals is a Pop hearth. To warm you even further, there is Useless Movement, where the crescent painting and radiating tendrils of the custom carpet begin to resemble a sunset over the ocean.

Lily van der Stokker, Useless Movement, 2010

Lipstick and a Pig

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Nate Lowman/Karla Black reads like a battle of the sexes.  Is it a lover’s quarrel?  Not really, because it feels too general.  Karla Black’s installation asserts its femininity – hear it roar.  Nate Lowman seems to be coming to terms with outmoded male rage.  No more misogyny, misanthropy, and misfiring.
Karla Black blankets the cold gallery floor with solvent femininity, without veering toward the Maternal.  Platonic Solids includes powder paint and cosmetics material, parted in some places to reveal whimsical drawings of geometric shapes, both flat and dimensional.  Its unprotected edges appear to be vulnerable, though the bright pigment is formidable enough to establish boundaries.
Above this scatter sculpture is …. a staggered grid of painted paper.  The contiguous body hangs limply and bears sheets individually  painted and undelicately bound together.  Most sheets seem to have passively drifted through pastel-colored fog, but a few pop out in bright red.  Is there a periodicity to these?  They appear random, but women artists using intermittent reds makes me think of menstruation.  “I don’t trust nothin’ that bleeds for seven days and don’t die.”  Speaking of, the whole piece is brutally, traumatically penetrated by a structural steel beam, which pins the piece like a butterfly specimen.
Meanwhile, Nate Lowman dances around Karla Black’s territory, melodramatically bidding “Happy Trails” to the priapic monopoly of art history, most specifically in High Modernism.  In “Anger Management Trilogy #2,” he revises Willem de Kooning’s violent Marilyn Monroe with a pathetic, infantile gesture too weak to even fill the canvas – like throwing a shoe down a hallway.  Next to it is “Snowman,” alkyd on canvas, whose subject pessimistically – but accurately – shares his fate via a caption that would make Gillian Wearing curdle.  To remind the viewer that the image is only a frozen moment in parabolic dissolution might correspond to the analytic interpretation that a Pollock is a record of gravity – or at least, “action.”  And his untimely death?
The sculpture “Broken Zip” fits perfectly into the show, foiling the steel probe overhead with a disintegrating erection that refers to Barnett Newman “zip” paintings, as well as his great “Broken Obelisk.”  A row of vintage gas pump veneers, rusted and decrepit, reminds me of Edward Hopper imagery, and maybe takes on the provincial heritage of American art history, now buried by globalization and the looming peak oil armageddon.  The trompe l’oeil in the middle chromatically coordinates with Black’s green.
Finally, his “For JJ” (like vah-jay-jay?) consummates in the back hallway with her “Division Isn’t,” which would collapse like a fainting wife and crumble to the floor, were it not suspended by tiny strings.  If the steel probe overhead is any indication, we’re seeing the result of a Lowman’s barbaric insertion, a crime whose only clue is a newspaper clipping about middle-aged riflemen.  Notably, the testicles are turned backward: for most men, the left hangs lower.  That is not the case here, so we must assume that we are sneaking a peek from behind.

... and in this corner ...
... and in this corner ...

Karla Black/Nate Lowman reads like a battle of the sexes.  Is it a lover’s quarrel?  Not really, because it feels too general.  Karla Black’s installation asserts its femininity – hear it roar.  Nate Lowman seems to be coming to terms with outmoded male rage.  No more misogyny, misanthropy, and misfiring.

The Scottish Karla Black blankets the cold gallery floor with solvent femininity, without veering toward The Maternal.  Platonic Solids includes powder paint and cosmetics material, parted in some places to reveal whimsical drawings of geometric shapes, both flat and dimensional.  Its passive expanse and unprotected edges appear to be vulnerable, though the bright pigment is formidable enough to establish boundaries and ward off trespassers.

No doubt, her work has feminine qualities.  Can that claim be derogatory?  What about “girly?”  But thank heavens for girls!  Can’t live without ’em.

The girly nature, and the pastel palette, remind me of Lily van der Stokker’s murals and installations.  Her lowercase cursive text and cartoony, buoyant fields of color are distinctly preteen feminine.

Lily van der Stokker
Lily van der Stokker

Above this scatter sculpture is Don’t Detach, Adapt, a staggered grid of painted paper.  The contiguous body hangs limply and bears sheets individually  painted and undelicately bound together.  Most sheets seem to have passively drifted through pastel-colored fog, but a few pop out in bright red.  Is there a periodicity to these?  They appear random, but women artists using intermittent reds makes me think of menstruation.  “I don’t trust nothin’ that bleeds for seven days and don’t die.”  Speaking of, the whole piece is brutally, traumatically penetrated by a structural steel beam, which gores the piece like a pin through a butterfly specimen.

Mary Heilmann, Rosebud, 1983
Mary Heilmann, Rosebud, 1983

Meanwhile, Nate Lowman dances around Karla Black’s territory, melodramatically bidding “Happy Trails” to the priapic monopoly of art history, most specifically in High Modernism.

Versus
Lipstick on a Pig

In Anger Management Trilogy #2, he revises Willem de Kooning’s violent Marilyn Monroe with a pathetic, infantile gesture too weak to even fill the canvas – like throwing a shoe down a hallway.  Next to it is Snowman, alkyd on canvas, whose subject pessimistically – but accurately – shares his fate via a caption that would make Gillian Wearing curdle.  To remind the viewer that the image is only a frozen moment in parabolic dissolution might correspond to the analytic interpretation that a Pollock is a record of gravity – or at least, “action.”  And his untimely death?

After Gillian Wearing
After Gillian Wearing

The lean Broken Zip fits perfectly into the show, foiling the steel probe overhead with a disintegrating erection that refers to Barnett Newman “zip” paintings, as well as his great Broken Obelisk.  A row of vintage gas pump veneers, rusted and decrepit, reminds me of Edward Hopper imagery, and maybe takes on the provincial heritage of American art history, now buried by globalization and the looming peak oil armageddon.  The trompe l’oeil in the middle chromatically coordinates with Black’s green.

Oh, snap!
Oh, snap!

Green with (penis) envy
Green with envy

Finally, his For JJ (like vah-jay-jay?) consummates in the back hallway with her Division Isn’t, which would collapse like a fainting wife and crumble to the floor, were it not suspended by tiny strings.  If the steel probe overhead is any indication, we’re seeing the result of a Lowman’s barbaric insertion, a crime whose only clue is a newspaper clipping about middle-aged riflemen.

Jasper Johns, Painting with Two Balls, 1960
Or is it the other "JJ?" (Jasper Johns, Painting with Two Balls, 1960)

Notably, the testicles are turned backward: for most men, the left hangs lower.  That is not the case here, so we must assume that we are sneaking a peek from behind.  They are also blue: coitus interruptus among us!

Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am
Wham Bam, thank you, Ma'am.  Ma'am?

I guess that’s why they call it the blues?