GWOP University

"Art Study" by Kim Bell

Cleon Peterson “Blood and Soil”

OTI gallery (Los Angeles, CA)

Extraordinary body of work by Los Angeles based artist Cleon Peterson.

With a strong interest in human conflict throughout history, Cleon’s new body of work reconciled violent history in comparison with present-day violence. Usually depicted through flat, collage-like compositions in which characters of different colors are engaging in physical, blood-thirsty clash, Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Frank Stella (1983)

Frank Stella, in full Frank Philip Stella, (born May 12, 1936, Malden, Massachusetts, U.S.), American painter who began as a leading figure in the Minimalist art movement and later became known for his irregularly shaped works and large-scale multimedia reliefs.

Frank Stella works are influenced by Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Franz Kline and Caravaggio. This 3 D Stella pictured above is one of my favorite paintings at the Detroit Institute Of Arts museum.

Photo 📸 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.

Robert Rauschenberg (1963)

Detroit Institute Of Arts

Considered by many to be one of the most influential American artists due to his radical blending of materials and methods, Robert Rauschenberg was a crucial figure in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to later modern movements. One of the key Neo-Dada movement artists, his experimental approach expanded the traditional boundaries of art, opening up avenues of exploration for future artists. Although Rauschenberg was the enfant terrible of the art world in the 1950s, he was deeply respected and admired by his predecessors. Despite this admiration, he disagreed with many of their convictions and literally erased their precedent to move forward into new aesthetic territory that reiterated the earlier Dada inquiry into the definition of art.

Photo courtesy of Kim Bell

Cy Twombly (1969) Bolsena

The Broad

Twombly was a reclusive, quasi-mythic figure of contemporary art. Born in Lexington, Virginia, the artist spent his early career in New York before moving to Italy in 1957, where he lived until his death in 2011. Long celebrated as a painter’s painter, Twombly remained less popularly known than the two most prominent members of his generation, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Twombly’s work, however, was characterized almost from the beginning as a surprising and dazzling complement both to abstract expressionist painting (especially the work of Jackson Pollock) and the neo-Dada practices of Rauschenberg and Johns. Twombly’s development was also shaped by new postwar European art, including Jean Dubuffet and Italian artists such as Alberto Burri and Piero Manzoni, whose own work marked a striking departure from old conventions of beauty and taste. Deliberately unstable and momentary in their initial appearance, Twombly’s pictures engage formlessness as a vernacular pictorial medium for intense personal rumination on mythological and poetic themes. With his agitated line, his scattered accretions of pigment, and his highly idiosyncratic evocation of the classical past as a haunting experience of time and change, Twombly achieved a unique and deeply challenging body of work.

Untitled (Bolsena) is one of a series of 14 large paintings that Twombly created during August and September 1969, working by himself in the Palazzo del Drago, a desolate stone house overlooking the lake of Bolsena, north of Rome. Comprising oil-based housepaint, wax crayon, and lead pencil on warm ocher-white ground, the work marks an eruptive departure from the relatively uninterrupted sequence of dark-ground gray—or “blackboard”—paintings that Twombly had been producing since 1966. Both abstract and cryptically imagistic, the artist’s vigorous yet fragile hybrid of painting and script here includes a loosened geometry of tumbling diagrammatic signs. Indeed, the sparse, variegated marks that characterize the Bolsena series stand significantly apart from the refined, allover scrawl of the gray paintings. Twombly derived these graphic forms from a group of drawings that he produced in January of that year on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. The surfaces of these works are endowed with an insistent presence, although wiped areas lend a subtle impression of shallow pictorial space.

Since the beginning of his career, Twombly employed themes from classical mythology in his work, often inscribing names and places as a means of identifying motifs. In Untitled (Bolsena), mythological content appears in an unexpected guise: according to the artist, some of the signs in the Bolsena series allude to the Apollo space flight and moon landing that occurred in July 1969, just before he began this series of work. Numbers, diagrammatic images, and other marks apparently allude to the logistics of the Apollo mission, which filled the news that summer. These marks are set against areas of erasure and obscuring clouds of paint, passages that transform the surface of the work into a palimpsest—a metaphor for the passage of historical time

Photo: Kim Bell

Jean Michel Basquiat “Obnoxious Liberals” (1982)

The Broad

Jean-Michel Basquiat began his career as a wild-child, anti-establishment graffiti artist, and his rebellious stance is most graphically evidenced in his 1982 painting Obnoxious Liberals.

As the title suggests, Obnoxious Liberals depicts a series of figures representing capitalism and its hapless, powerless victims. The exploited, corroded victim, on the one hand, is virtually held hostage by the minions of mainstream White American culture, as represented by dollar signs, cowboy hats and Uncle Sam top hats as well as a “Not For Sale” sign. The victim’s dark skin also hints at the systematic oppression of African-Americans.

Basquiat was born in New York City in 1960 to parents of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent. The racial injustices he witnessed from an early age filled him with rage and the urge to rebel against the system. The political overtones of an indignant Jean-Michel are most obvious in Obnoxious Liberals.

Basquiat had no compunction about accompanying his visual art with written words expressing his intentions. Phrases, expressions, even nonsense syllables were acceptable to him as long as they helped him to convey his urgent, keenly felt messages to the public. For Basquiat, his message, the need to be understood, was just as important as the visual creation itself.

One of Basquiat’s main influences was Pablo Picasso, and this influence is notable in Obnoxious Liberals. The painting is clearly reminiscent of Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica and also portrays the atrocities perpetrated on the helpless victims by ruthless and unscrupulous authoritarian figures.

Although Basquiat’s creations often appear chaotic, as if he simply blew them out of his head on the spur of the moment, in fact, this is an impression which the artist himself strove painstakingly to produce.

The truth was that, in reality, he spent a great deal of time pondering over his canvases and carefully constructing in his mind what he wished to display, the disposition and lay-outs of his work and the messages he wanted to transmit.

The charismatic creator was a brilliant artist who knew how to employ vivid color for masterful effect. The use of primal, primary tones, splashes of raging red to attract the eye, glaring blue and black contrasting with pristine white and the almost complete absence of any other hues are some of the notable features of this painting.

Obnoxious Liberals, with its clear, confident strokes, is without a doubt a perfect example of Basquiat at his best.

Photo: Kim Bell