I was totally mesmerized and instantly mortified by the sculptures by artist Nick Cave in his new show called, Made by Whites for Whites now up at Jack Shainman's West 20th St. gallery. The impetus for this body of work came when Cave found a vessel shaped like the head of a black man labeled "Spittoon" at a flea market. Needless to say he was shocked by this discovery and went on to make this body of sculptures using racially charged historical objects, re-contextualizing them to convey a powerful message regarding their blatant and inherent racism, thus empowering them through reuse... "These (objects) were once commonplace caricatures that infantilized and dehumanized the African American population." Seriously, you gotta check them out, they are jaw dropping. Also of note in Shainman's West 24th St. space is Cave's body of work, Rescue. Also using found objects, this time ceramic dogs, Cave has created environments that play on the synergy of dogs historical association with "loyalty, class breed, commitment and protection." The effect is immediately less confrontational then the first show but equally as thought provoking. Take a cerebral ride on the Cave train, a much needed relief from many of the vapid, pointless shows out there today.
There are two aesthetically sublime shows up by the same photographer David Benjamin Sherry that are not to be missed. I suggest first you go to the Danziger Gallery’s new space in Chelsea to see Sherry’s collection of mono-color landscapes. They are stunning analog photographs the artist took with a hand made large format wooden camera and an aperture of/64 that Ansel Adams and Edward Weston made so famous. “Seeing the world in both a heartfelt and postmodern way, Sherry turned his pictures into vividly colored renditions of the American wilderness, transforming iconic vistas and familiar panoramas into large scale color fields.” They are breathtaking, I want one! Then bop down to Salon 94 Bowery to see the second Sherry show titled: Climate Vortex Sutra that has some landscapes, in addition to traditional black and white photographs, as well as some nudes of men - all articulated with the same meticulous care as the larger works. The colors are surreal and serene at the same time. The gallery, though full of work hung in the salon style, hums in a cohesive peaceful manner, a vibe I have not felt in a photography exhibit in a long while.
The Los Angeles based photographer has a show in New York City tittled An L.A. Sort of Place that’s now on view at Casa de Costa until October 23rd. This body of work captures “Jasmin’s dreamy and sensuous vision of Los Angeles in an extensive collection of new and vintage prints. The show includes landscapes from Jasmin’s “city of dreams” shown alongside his romantic portraits of young Hollywood stars.” We are fans of his work, so we decided to reach out and ask him a couple questions, and of course show you a preview of what’s on view — Have a look at those dreamy boys and gorgeous breasts… Do yourself a favor and go see the exhibition before it closes.
What specific to LA do you like about working and living there? It’s really all about the weather.
Do you prefer location shoots to studio work and why? A great location, for too many reasons to explain.
Do you shoot digital or film? Both.
What type of camera do you use? For Digital: A Canon Mark 2 / For film: A Contact 645.
What photographer’s had the most influence on your work? Brassaï.
What’s your favorite city? It could be LA
How do you convince your subjects to take their tops off? I say “take your top off.”
How does your new work differ from your earliest work? It’s newer.
Where are you the happiest? In bed.
Who do you despise? Really boring fucking people.
What will you be doing on this day in 10 years? Dead.
Painter Mark Beard has schizophrenia, but he’s used it to his advantage. About twenty years ago he started taking on various alter egos to channel his creativity and talent. In his new show opening at ClampArt, aptly titled Alter Egos,there will be works on view created by Mark’s first five personae — Bruce Sargeant (1898-1938), his teacher Hippolyte-Alexandre Michallon (1849-1930) Edith Thayer Cromwell (1893-1962) Brechtholt Streeruwitz (1890-1972) and African American painter Peter Coulter (b. 1948). I am best acquainted with the first persona Bruce Sargeant whose homo erotic fueled paintings of dressed and semi undressed men with titles like “Athletes,” “Locker Room,” “Gondolier” and “Two Wrestlers” are a pure delight, and expertly executed with a timeless unwavering palette. Apparently the re-invention doesn’t end there and Beard has gone as far as creating a transsexual graffiti artist named Princess Ormalu (b. 1979) who’s work will be on view as well. Attend the opening and meet Beard who is friendly, fascinating and sure to attract a bevy of handsome intellectual men!
Photographer Ryan McGinley makes ALOT of money from selling his work. Like a lot. You’d be shocked (at least I was) by how much some of his prints go for (six figures and up). Not saying he’s not worth it...I just don’t think anyone’s worth that much. But that’s why I don’t work for Christie’s. Anyhoos, his newest show just opened this past weekend at Team Gallery and as expected everyone in his new work is nude. We like nudity, and we like his images. Titled YEARBOOK, it’s actually “a single artwork that consists of over five hundred studio portraits of some two hundred models, always in the nude, printed on vinyl and adhered to every available inch of the gallery’s walls and ceilings.” Apparently the installation’s effect is “hugely impressive in its standalone visual power.” I’ll be the judge of that. Kidding, it actually does look pretty cool, and ain’t nothing wrong with a stunt — keeps people on their toes — something you’ll probably be doing a lot of as you try and get a peak of all those nude boys pasted to the ceiling.
M.Lamar has been on our radar for a while now — the New York based artist has been producing interesting art (mainly performance based) for a while now. Even if you haven’t heard of him, if you’ve watched Orange is the New Black then you will be familiar with his face. Lamar is the brother of actress Laverne Cox, and in one of the show’s flashback’s he played Sophia before her sex change. It’s not related to this event, but interesting none-the-less. This Sunday we suggest you go check out Lamar’s latest show which opening the fall season at Participant Inc. Titled NEGROGOTHIC, a Manifesto: The Aesthetics of M. Lamar “This physical installation cross-references romanticism, surrealism, horror, pornography, gospel, metal, and early silent film to propose radical potentialities of blackness.” The event is sure to be filled with some interesting characters. Also worth mention is a conversation between Lamar and his sister Laverne, which takes place on the 9th of September. The location for that conversation has yet to be announced... but stay tuned. We promise to fill you in!
The launch of the photography exhibition by Thomas Knights about gingers at BOSI Contemporary
I can’t think of a better way to start September than with this event — a red hot celebration of ginger men! It’s the NYC launch of the book ‘Red Hot’ by the artist Thomas Knights. He has been photographing all different types of red headed men for a while now for his project ‘Red Hot 100.’ His goal is to stop ginger discrimination and convince the world that redheads are hot. I was already convinced. This project has gotten lots of press around the world, but now we have the opportunity to see all the boys that participated in the project compiled in an exhibition and in a book. He says that it’s the “largest collection of ginger men the world has ever seen...” The launch of the exhibition ‘Red Hot 100’ is happening at BOSI Contemporary (48 Orchard St.) from 8PM-10PM, the show will be open until the 14th, so you still have time to get your ginger on. The official after party is happening at Bedlam at 10PM with lots of NYC peeps and gingers involved: Patrick Crough, Brodanse, Will Francis, Seth Fornea, Chase Hostler, Jacob Blumer, Blake Johnson, Ken Bek and more… Oh and one more very important thing, they also have a calendar launch event (as part of the Lower East Side Art + Fashion) where there’s going to be “topless RED HOT models” on Sept. 7th. Jesus, so many gingers!
The Tom of Finland Foundation is calling on you, artistic babies. The foundation, which honors and preserves the legacy of the iconic erotic artist, is returning for the 10th time with its annual Emerging Artists Competition.
Contestants are asked to showcase work that falls in one of five categories — single figure, dual figure, multiple figure, fantasy, photography. However these categories are illustrated is up to the artist. The grand prize is this lovely “Tom of Finland Preparatory” drawing.
The deadline for the contest has been extended to November 3rd, so you have plenty of time to sharpen your pencils and find your muse. Or your daddy.
For more details about the contest, click here.
The 21-year-old photographer on portraits, limitations and James Dean
Self-portraits in the 21st century are something of a glossed-over art. When anyone with access to a smart phone can snap a selfie, it’s second-nature to dismiss photos people take of themselves, no matter the artistry that may or may not have gone into creating them. When it comes to 21-year-old photographer Freddy Krave, however, whose candid, sometimes explicit self-portraits you’ve probably already seen splashed across your Tumblr dash, the art of self-portraiture is given a distinctly digital-age twist. The Bologna, Italy based artists’ self-portraits are often simple and forthright in their presentation, relying on little more than a plain, white backdrop to emphasize Freddy’s unconventional ideas for what a self-portrait can be. There are ones with props, wherein everything from spilled milk, handcuffs, and syringes are fair game. There are digitally manipulated ones, wherein body parts are warped, colors edge into the surreal, and limits of perception are tossed aside. No matter which one you’re looking at, however, what binds them together is the overwhelming sense you get that Freddy’s tongue is pressed firmly in cheek, ready for you to interpret his surreal, erotic portraits in whatever way you see fit.
Now living and working out of Bologna, Italy, Freddy’s work isn’t just limited to self-portraits. His Tumblr is filled with stylish portraits of models, bringing to mind a less skeezy, more homo-friendly version of Terry Richardson. On top of that, he’s also recently begun working in film as well, posting some phantasmagorical, NSFW clips to his new YouTube channel. There’s no question about it: the boy has a knack for quality, fashion-forward aesthetics.
We reached out to Freddy to ask him a few questions about his origins in photography, working without limits, and his fantasy of taking portraits of James Dean in his home studio (don’t we all wish for that sometimes?).
How long have you been taking photographs? What was your first experience with a camera? I started when I was just a kid. Think I was six or seven years old. My grandma bought me a disposable camera and I started taking pictures of everything around me. It was an obsession. Photography became a strong interest for me. Two years ago I decided to use a white background and photograph people trying to communicate something without a hard makeup or expensive and bulky dresses. Just using their body and doing crazy and provocative things.
What’s the typical set-up for one of your shoots? Do you use your own home or a studio? I only use a white background. I’m lucky to have white walls at home so I take advantage of that. I don’t have any accessories, I can’t afford them at the moment. I use my camera and a mountable flash. The rest of my work is post-produced using Photoshop (lights, colors, imperfections).
What is it about self-portraits that appeals to your artistic sensibilities most? I have to admit that self-portraits helped me a lot. I discovered so many sides of my personality and it gave me a lot of confidence. Using myself also helped improve my techniques and I applied what I learned on other people I took pictures of. And this is what I’m still doing. I feel like I’m evolving everyday, learning a lot about my person and learning so much more about how I can approach photography.
How do you approach making a film compared to taking a photo? Is it a similar method? Well, I never did videos so I said to myself that I could try. So I’m experimenting. I love doing new stuff and I can’t wait to show my works to the world. I have this hunger inside that sometimes I think could consume me, but I don’t give a fuck, I just wanna do what I wanna do. And I actually do it. It’s awesome, the feeling of freedom. And about the comparison between a video and a pic… it’s pretty different. In a video you must concentrate for a longer time and everything has to seem natural and true. I think this is the secret to communicate something.
What makes you decide to add digital elements to a portrait? Do you begin with an idea in mind for what the end result will be, or do you work more spontaneously? I add digital elements because in this way I can model the picture and I can leave my “mark”. I really wanna create something different from the original shot and using computer programs I can do that. Actually it’s one of the things I like more. For the most part my work is spontaneous. I love to improvise.
Where are you happiest? When I hold my camera in my hands. I feel complete and secure. It’s the best feeling ever.
Many of your photos take the basics of formal portraiture and willfully distort them through erotic or surreal elements. Can you speak on this subversion? I like eroticism and I like to shock. I love when people say “What the fuck is he doing? What is this? Oh my god!”. Every idea I have I put into practice. I don’t want to have limits or barriers. I just wanna express myself and what I feel. And I don’t pretend to be understood, I don’t want to be understood.
If you could showcase your work anywhere in the world with money as no object, where would it be? I think I would love to see my works in New York. Those big screens in the city. I’d wish that all that people could see who Freddy Krave is and what he is trying to do, expressing what he has inside. I want my art to be for all.
If you could shoot any model, living or dead, who would it be? There are so many people that I wanna photograph, I could write a book with their names. But one that I regret I’ll never have the possibility is James Dean. He is so fascinating still, now that he isn’t alive. I would love to photograph my sister too. We live in two different countries and it’s been a long time since I saw her last. I hope to have the possibility one day.