GWOP University

"Art Study" by Kim Bell

Max Beckmann “Self Portrait”

Beckmann often represented himself in disguise or costumed to express his own view that life is a series of roles to be played. In this late self-portrait, the artist seems to have shed disguise: unsmiling, he stands plainly dressed, close behind an easel. The figure is rendered in the strong black outlines characteristic of Beckmann’s rather flat painting style. Tight space presses in around the figure, conveying a claustrophobic sense that underscores Beckmann’s physical presence and close proximity. His gaze is challenging, but it also creates a sense of immediacy in its directness.

Photo 📸 Kim Bell

“Larry Gagosian” by David Hockney (2013)

LACMA

 

In 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life, David Hockney offers a vibrant and intimate view of people with whom he has developed relationships over the past 50 years. The majority of the portraits were painted in Hockneys Los Angeles studio, all from life and over a period of two or three days, which the artist has described as 20-hour exposure. None of Hockney portraits are commissioned; for this series he invited family, members of his staff, and close friends to sit for him including several curators, art dealers, and collectors This image above is of legendary world renown art collector Larry Gagosian (2013).

Photo 📸 Kim Bell

Vincent Van Gogh “Self-Portrait” (1887)

Detroit Institute Of Arts

“For want of a better model,” Van Gogh chose to paint his own portrait on many occasions. While in Paris between 1886 and 1888, Van Gogh lightened his palette under the influence of the brilliant colors of the impressionists, but he soon reserved the use of such light colors to express particular moods. Van Gogh’s stay in Paris was a relatively happy one, and in this painting, created during the summer of 1887, he portrays himself with an almost light-hearted appearance. This image above is located at the Detroit Institute Of Arts in Detroit,MI and was the first Van Gogh painting acquired in the United States. Van Gogh was one of the modern masters but didn’t receive his credit until he died.

Photo 📸 Kim Bell

Basquiat “Skull” (1982)

Many of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s paintings are in some way autobiographical, and Untitled may be considered a form of self-portraiture. The skull here exists somewhere between life and death. The eyes are listless, the face is sunken in, and the head looks lobotomized and subdued. Yet there are wild colors and spirited marks that suggest a surfeit of internal activity. Developing his own personal iconography, in this early work Basquiat both alludes to modernist appropriation of African masks and employs the mask as a means of exploring identity. Basquiat labored over this painting for months — evident in the worked surface and imagery — while most of his pieces were completed with bursts of energy over just a few days. The intensity of the painting, which was presented at his debut solo gallery exhibition in New York City, may also represent Basquiat’s anxieties surrounding the pressures of becoming a commercially successful artist.

Photo 📸 Kim Bell

Shepard Fairey “Salad Days, 1989-1999”

Cranbrook Art Museum

Influential street artist Shepard Fairey has been a consistent presence in national and international art scenes since the 1990s. The LA-based artist is perhaps best known locally through his downtown Detroit mural at One Campus Martius, his ubiquitous Hope image created originally as a grassroots activism tool to support Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and the pervasive We the People poster series for the 2017 Women’s March and beyond.

Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999, considers the first 10 years of Fairey’s artistic practice, and its roots in the graphic language and philosophies of the punk scene. Punk’s ethos played a decisive role in the artist’s early work. “When I discovered punk rock, and realized that music could have an attitude in its style but a specific point of view in its lyrics,” states Fairey, “I became even more interested in how it works as a way of shaping attitudes and culture.”

From 1989 to 1999, the artist adopted many of punk’s biting and playful graphic strategies, as well as its low-tech methods of production and distribution. Fairey created his first Andre the Giant has a Possesticker in a spontaneous DIY manner, appropriating an image of professional wrestler André René Roussimoff (aka André the Giant) from a newspaper. The image would gain iconic status when it spread via friends and fans to city streets across the United States and eventually around the world. The Andre the Giant campaign and image would transform in the mid-1990s into the Obey Giant series, which was inspired by John Carpenter’s sci-fi horror film, They Live (1988) and its plot about subliminal messages implanted in a society in order to control its inhabitants. Taking inspiration from early Russian Constructivist poster designs in particular and from revolutionary propaganda posters in general, Obey Giant prints were posted unsolicited on billboards, buildings, and other parts of the city.

“In Fairey’s earliest works we can see the inheritance of the punk ethos: the satirical impulse, the guerilla-style poster sniping, the oblique references to pop culture, and the very public stage of the street as a place for unapologetic individual expression,” states Blauvelt, Director of the Cranbrook Art Museum. He continues, “Shepard Fairey is a perfect bridge to connect the history of punk graphics that we are also exhibiting at the same time to his seminal work from the 1990s.”

Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999 showcases the artist’s formative years through a variety of posters, stickers, and archival documents showing his engagement with punk. It will also feature a new installation in Cranbrook Art Museum’s galleries created by the artist.