For the past two and a half years I have been patiently waiting and obsessing (both at the same time) to see a "Karen Kilimnik" show in town (NYC). I became aware of her work while I was at (Lehman) college and had to write a paper for my (art history) class. My assignment was to visit the 2008 WhitneyBiennial and choose several artists works I loved and hated and write a five page paper. When I went to the Whitney I had never heard of Karen Kilimnik, much less seen any of her work. I loved the way Karen's "room" was set up (at The Whitney); five of Karen's oil paintings hung on the wall (various subjects) and her signature crystal chandelier hung in the center of the room. After I wrote my paper (and received a B+) I decided to find out more about Karen; I wanted to know what gallery represented her, and if she was represented in NYC when would be her next show. As luck would have it I had just missed her show by two months. So I waited and waited and waited and finally by some sheer coincidence I visited 303 Gallery's website and read that she had an upcoming show starting March 11th. I was there (w/bells on) along with my husband. I loved the pearlized paint on the walls (that can only be noticed up close) I felt an urge to wanna lick the walls (but I didn't). I loved all of her oil paintings but I was disappointed, because there were only five new works, that were paintings, which I much prefer. In Karen's show she included three "moonlit" series photographs taken in (2011); she also included four pictures taken (2011) of a Diana Rigg look a like posing next to Karen's "Avengers: Hellfire Club" installation of (1989); She also included sketches. Karen's oil paintings of the English countryside manors, old castle's, and the nobility that she's prone to produce is what I mostly associate with her and her work. Unfortunately, I felt the show lacked some "togetherness" or "cohesiveness" and I felt the show was put together at the last minute and there was no real purpose of the show. I felt there was no real rhyme or reason to the whole show. The right-side of the gallery is an Anglophiles dream come true; with pearlized painted walls and five oil paintings depicting the English country side and four sketches of random subjects. I felt it didn't blend well together. I would have much preferred more oils on the same side and nix the sketches. On the left-side of the gallery the walls are painted black with three pictures taken by Karen on an evening walk she captured a full moon hanging on the wall. There are also four other pictures of a Diana Rigg look a like posing near Karen's Hellfire Club installation and finally we come to the Hellfire Club installation, which takes up the remaining back wall. Maybe I'm selfish, I wanted see more paintings and less photographs, sketches and the installation (at least The Hellfire Club) didn't thrill me at all. But Karen I'm not being hard on you I LOVE you and your work and ALL of the quirkiness behind it. I LOVED that I secretly took a picture of Karen (from far away) I LOVED that just as I was leaving Sofia Coppola showed up (at 8:40pm) and I also managed to secretly take a pic of her as well. I later learned that fashion designer Cynthia Rowley (who looked less than pleased with James Kalm'svideo pic of her) was there so was her husband William "Bill" Powers a judge on Bravo TVs (US)"Work of Art: The Next Great Artist"and art critic Jerry Saltz also a judge on Bravo TVs (US) "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist". Truth of the matter is I was just happy to finally get a glimpse of Karen; though I do have to be honest the show didn't WOW! me; I was disappointed, I wanted more than what I got but I'm grateful for what I got! So Karen I'll see you, a few famous people and your infamous blue headphones at your next show at 303 Gallery in about two and a half years! And maybe, just maybe we'll be in sync. Karen Kilimnik on until tomorrow April 23rd at 303 Gallery. - Madame J.
Mr. Agus Suwage's recent show at Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery titled The End Is Just Beginning Is The End, was a unique and thought provoking take on death and decomposition. Suwage's topic of death and the main theme in most if not all of his works for this show is the human/human-like skeleton (with tails). The use of a monochromatic palette with colors in his works such as: rust, metal, blue, yellow, grey, white and some faint black. Suwage renders small and giant sized skeletons; the main shocker happens when you first enter the gallery and you see a pair of humanoid skeletons having sex, with the receiving partner exclaiming (in a thought/speech bubble) "Keep going on! The more painful the better!" Huh? What! Huh? Freaky huh. Suwage has a preoccupation with death or at least skeletons are a reoccurring them in his works. He admits to "recycling" his works, by using inspiration from his previous works and using a little bit of each of his work in the present. I love his use of the zinc panels as his canvas; it adds texture to his work and discreetly brings out the cold color palette and the main topic, death. See The End at Tyler Rollins Fine Art thru April 23rd. - Madame J.
David Altmejd's current show at Andrea Rosen Gallery, involves two large scale Plexiglas enclosures and one smaller sized, elevated on platforms. The Vessel collectively includes plaster cast arms and hands that form the shape of swan-like figures and shapes. The images of waves cresting, made of Plexiglas; Altmejd uses objects to simulate motion and space. Metal chains, thread, string, Plexiglas, plaster castmouldings of: ears, hands, wrists, arms and noses. Spools of thread, semi-precious stones/rocks, glass that is shaped in the form of stones in their natural rock formations and pyrite. A plaster cast decomposed head with prosthetic eyes lies in a visible corner next to The Vessel. In The Swarm, a Plexiglas enclosure houses gold-tone metal chains, thread and Plexiglas in the shapes of a swarm of bees. And ants are doing what they do best, working. And finally in the Architect 2, which is in the back of the gallery displays a Plexiglas enclosure (smaller than the first two) with semi-precious rocks and stones in their natural formations. On the wall is a "figure coming out" of the wall. This figure and a large hand dug wingspan. I was very impressed and entranced with the enormity of this project and the extreme attention to detail. It's a thought provoking show that makes you wonder how this was executed and the enormous amount of patience need to complete the work. The Vessel, The Swarm and Architect 2, Must see. At Andrea Rosen Gallery thru April 23rd. - Madame J.
Kempton: Works on Paper 2009-2011, I felt was an incredibly excellent show by an exceptionally talented artist named Matthew Daub, while I must admit that I had not heard about this artist up until recently. I saw his show twice; it's hard for me to believe that his drawings and watercolors are just that and not actual photographs taken of the mysterious town/city/village of Kempton. His renderings of "quiet" rural scenes, places and houses, depicted both in the daytime and nighttime are beautifully executed; with an extreme attention to detail. One has to see it in person to believe it. To see it in person is to fully appreciate him as an artist and his craft as well. When I was viewing Kempton I envisioned a quiet rural Midwestern town out in middle America; this town I felt appeared to be harboring "dark secrets" too dark for the absent residents of Kempton to speak about. The absence of Kempton residents leaves one question out in the open where are the residents? "All that glitters isn't gold"! While "Kempton" is a beautiful town I can't help but feel that the town is hiding a dark ugly secret? Bad things do happen in "good" places (remember the movie Boys Don't Cry, When "Brandon Teena" gets beaten, gang raped and eventually murdered, need I say more). I can't help but think there is a little darkness behind those "quiet" closed doors. One thing is certain Matthew Daub rendered "Kempton" beautifully! City/town/village of Kempton, population??? here I come (NOT)! See it at ACA Galleries. Thru April 23rd. - Madame J.
Lamar Lamar Lamar (Peterson), I can't begin to tell you (or much less the readers) enough times how much I effing LOVE the demented and maniacally crazed world you have created in your works of art. It's obvious that all of your "characters" took a Japanese bullet train to crazy town in the world of "characters" you have so generously given to your admirers, fans and crazy @ss stalkers. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of hearing and/or knowing about or seeing/viewing Lamar Peterson's work, Lamar has created cartoon-like characters that are subjected (most times than not) to not so great situations and/or circumstances; his cast of characters always seem to have unrelenting smiles or "crazed" looks in their eyes. There's a darkness behind these characters which can be scary at times and you can hear the "tick- tock" going through their thoughts that is relentlessly pulsating with almost every gesture and/or action. I was ecstatic to able to see his show (finally) at a gallery. Must see. Lamar Peterson: New Work is at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery thru April 23rd. - Madame J.
Ms.Vadis Turner recent show displays lots of ribbons and rhinestones because when you're going out (and by that I mean die) it outta be in style, Burial Party now at Lyons Weir Gallery. Displays lots of ribbon Vadis' show is awe inspiring and to see that either she (or her assistant (if she has one)) took hours upon hours and days upon days and months upon months, and strategically plotted and planned out how, where and when the ribbon would be placed and assembled is indeed to me mind boggling. I loved the Burial Party piece, a mannequin draped in ribbons finished off with balloons (as a "farewell" parting gift by the mourners) painted in white and sky blue. Vadis also created a series of corsages and boutonniere's. Vadis Turner's Burial Party is at Lyons Wier Gallery thru May 7th. Must see it. - Madame J.
Folks I can honestly say that I don't care too much for this show; I much prefer Paul Renner's The Consecration of the Bar. Nitsch's The Pharmacy is too morbid and grotesque for my taste. When you first enter Koenig, Inc there are a series of boring and banal paintings (by Hermann Nitsch) displayed on the wall; in the adjacent room/gallery is Nitsch's The Pharmacy set up. (actual) Blood soaked sheets made of jute dozens of glass dishes, a make shift pseudo altar, a cross made of plywood with thick nails sticking out and rope (which is reminiscent of The Passion of Christ) and a video performance of blood being fed to a "sacrificed" actor, is way too macabre for the likes of me. A major turn off for me was reading about in the (press release) about Nitsch's past performances of torturing, cutting and killing actual lambs (for the sake of art); it doesn't take a genius to figure out that he's 100% WRONG! Hermann Nitsch'sThe Pharmacyat Leo Koenig, Inc thru April 30th. - Madame J.