WOW – Work Of the Week – CLANDESTINE CULTURE “Isis Drinks Pepsi”

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CLANDESTINE CULTURE
Isis Drinks Pepsi
2016
Acrylic on wood
45 x 71 1/2 in.
Signed on verso

About This Work:

For some years now, the streets of Miami have been covered with enormous posters bearing the CLANDESTINE CULTURE hallmark. They are works that stand out not only because of the anti-establishment message implicit in them, but also due to their artistic quality.
CLANDESTINE CULTURE is an American contemporary artist working in Miami who, despite his fame, has maintained anonymity.
CLANDESTINE CULTURE was born in 1970 and moved to Miami in the early 1990’s. By the year 2000 he started working as a urban artist and in 2012 he had his first solo gallery exhibition.

His work acts as visual cultural criticism and commentary, with established social and political agendas serving as targets for a unique style of illustration made using several different media, such us canvas, neon and banners.
His art production is s diversified in different formats from painting and sculpture to street art installations and it is often characterized by large format works on paper, that use wheatpaste applications on urban buildings. The works have CLANDESTINE CULTURE written within the work.
Known it for his strong social criticism and portrayal of taboo subjects, that sometimes can appear disturbing, no one can deny the controversial characteristics of his work.

On July 20, 2013, one of his most important projects, The Banner Project, started.
The concept of the project was to raise or hang flags around the city of Miami as art installations. The first flag was raised illegally over Julia Tuttle Causeway on a street light, property of the State Of Florida. The size of the banner was 10 x 16 feet, made of synthetic fabric and painted with latex paint, featuring a black and white image of a police in riot gear, with a red CLANDESTINE CULTURE sign painted at the bottom. This flag was raised on a High-mast lighting, at a height of 98 feet. The method used to raise the flag has never been revealed. The waving flag remained for five days, until it was removed by the Florida Highway Patrol.

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The flag on Julia Tattle Causeway, Miami – July 20th, 2013.

By the summer of 2014 another The Banner Project took place, this time in the Miami Marine Stadium. The size and materials were similar to the one used on the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Approaching December of the same year, Culture acted again, on this occasion in front of the Miami Beach Convention Center, during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014.
Since then no other flag has been placed in the area of Miami.

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The police removing the banner at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Art Basel Miami 2014

Many other “street pranks” have occurred. For example, during the NBA Finals in 2013 Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs, CLANDESTINE CULTURE placed a sign that read “CITY HALL” and has arrows pointing to the sewer in the street.

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The CITY HALL sign next to the sewer placed by the street artist during the NBA Finals, American Airlines Arena, Miami 2013

As for the name, the artist explains: “When I first wrote this phrase on the street six years ago, it was very personal, I was not happy with my life and the way society treated me. It seemed as if ‘they’ thought they were right and I was wrong. ‘They’ always told the truth and you had to obey them. ‘They’ never asked how do you feel, or if you agree with what ‘they’ are suggesting. ‘They’ are always correcting you. One night I was walking on the street by a commercial area close to my neighborhood. I passed by a big garbage container. I stopped, and with an oil stick I wrote, “I’M CLANDESTINE CULTURE. WELCOME TO MY WORLD.” I did not know why I did it, I just did it and it worked. I was feeling better after that. I released all my anger and all my frustration in just one phrase: CLANDESTINE CULTURE“.

Still today, the artist chooses to remain anonymous. He hits the street with his face and head completely covered. He believes that the painting and the message is more important then the artist.  He uses the faces of everyday people, images and words, to show that in the end, we the people are all part of one world wide culture… a clandestine culture.

WOW – Work Of the Week – Robert Indiana “KVF I”, from the Hartley Elegies

Hartley KVF I stock

Robert Indiana
KVF I, from Hartley Elegies
1990
Screenprint
77 x 53 in.
Edition of 50

Pencil signed and numbered

About This Work:

Born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana, in 1928, Robert Indiana adopted the name of his native state as a pseudonymous surname early in his career.  

Robert Indiana is one of the six original pop artists. However, what distinguishes Indiana from his “Pop” colleagues is the depth of his personal engagement with his subject matter.  Indiana’s works all speak to the vital forces that have shaped American culture in the late half of the 20th century: personal and national identity, political and social issues, the rise of consumer culture, and the pressures of history. Rather than using symbols from the mass media, Indiana makes images of words that focus on identity, enticing his viewers to look at the commonplace from a new perspective. 

This work of the week, KVF I, is the first one of a series of 10 prints called Hartley’s Elegies. The series was inspired by Mardsen Hartley’s painting Portrait Of A German Soldier, that is exhibited in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, in New York City. Hartley was an American painter who executed this painting as a tribute to the young German soldier Karl Von Freyburg, who died during World War I and with whom Hartley had a deep friendship/relationship.

This is Indiana’s personal reinterpretation of Hartley’s painting. Indiana’s Elegies not only retell Hartley’s story but also provide us with a glimpse of his own story, with allusions to himself, his peers, places and historical events with overlapping symbolic meanings, forming a web linking his life to Hartley’s life. There is even a guide to decode Indiana’s Elegies.

For example, “7 October 1989” is the date in which Indiana began the Elegies series, 75 years after Von Freyburg’s death; it is also the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Numbers like 24, 66, 8 or 4 are recurring in the prints of the series, and they all carry references to mysticism and spiritualism, besides personal meanings to dates and little facts in the lives of both artists. A little example: the 66 is Hartley’s age at his death but it also represents Indiana’s father, who worked for Phillips 66. All these references are complex and copious, and the list goes on.

Another very interesting fact is that in the other prints of the series one can see the recurring word “Ellsworth”. Ellsworth is the town in Maine where Hartley died, but it is also a reference to Ellsworth Kelly, the famous artist and influential former partner of Indiana in New York.
The whole story between Marsden Hartley and Karl Von Freyburg is an evident parallelism that refers to the relationship between Robert Indiana and Ellsworth Kelly.

KVF I is the most similar to the original painting of the series, keeping the original image, colors and theme. It is not a reinterpretation of Hartley’s painting, as the other prints of the series are.
Indiana likes to create endless variations of his works and early themes, experimenting with different color schemes and compositional formats to achieve a wide range of visual and emotional effects. The colors vibrate to attract each other into a reconciliation of opposite forces.

Robert Indiana’s Hartley’s Elegies series is very complex, introspective, intellectual and cerebral. The beauty of Indiana’s work is indeed the beauty of taking one’s time to quietly look at something that is not new, but just part of someone’s daily life. It is the beauty of balance and harmony, contemplation and knowledge, the beauty of pure reflections translated in conceptual images.

Indiana captures the complexity of Life in the enigmatic intricacies of his compositions. He is a Pop artist but, from this particular point of view, he can also be considered fully conceptual for his hermetic style, which represents an evident break from the “lack of message and superficiality” of the Pop Art movement.
Indiana he helps us to decode life by emphasizing the most important things in it.

KVF I

KVF I by Robert Indiana

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Portrait Of A German Soldier, by Marsden Hartley

WOW – Work Of the Week – Banksy “Donut (Chocolate)”

Donuts Chocolate

Banksy
Donut (Chocolate)
2009
Screenprint
22 x 30 in.
Edition of 299

Pencil signed and numbered; accompanied with Certificate of Authenticity by PEST Control

About This Work:

Banksy is a British street artist and activist who, despite worldwide fame, has maintained anonymity. Although details of the artist’s life are largely unknown, it is thought that Banksy was born in Bristol more or less around 1974, and started his career in this city as a graffiti artist. 

His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humor with graffiti executed in a very personal and distinctive stenciling technique.
It is thought that Banksy started as a freehand graffiti artist in 1990 – 1994 as a member of Bristol’s DryBreadZ Crew (DBZ). Banksy has always said that one of his main sources of inspiration is 3D.

Banksy’s work features striking and humorous images, occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects often include rats, apes, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly.
As all Banksy fans know, the artist can be extremely edgy, political, satirical, and in the case of this work of the week, Chocolate Donut, humorous as well.

This work, Donut (Chocolate), needs no explanation. It is simply a spoof on the stereotype that American policemen are infatuated with donuts.
Again, another perfect example of how Banksy’s work can be thought-provoking, intense, shocking, intriguing and humorous.

In 2014, Banksy was regarded as a British cultural icon, with young adults from abroad naming the artist among a group of people that they most associated with UK culture, which included William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth II, David Beckham, The Beatles, and Elton John.

His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. As of today, his work can be found in countless cities, from Vienna to San Francisco, Barcelona to Paris and Detroit. 
It is thought that Banksy currently lives and works in England.
His last “face-to-monkey mask” interview took place in 2003.

WOW – Work Of the Week – Alex Katz “Dog At Duck Trap”

Dog at Duck Trap

Alex Katz
Dog At Duck Trap
1973 – 73
Lithograph
29 x 43 in.
Edition of 90

Pencil signed and numbered

About This Work:

Alex Katz is an American painter of portraits and landscapes. He started working on these themes during years dominated by non-figurative art, which he always strongly avoided.
Living in New York City, since the 1950’s Katz spends his summers in Maine, which has been his source of inspiration for many of his works.

He is mostly known for his portraits: the people he depicts are colleagues that surrounded him during his career, members of his family, friends or neighbors.
The works of Alex Katz are always very recognizable. They are all characterized by an unmistakable flatness and lack of detail. To represent a shadow or light, he uses  slight variations of colors. Many times, monochrome backgrounds represent another defining characteristic of his style.

These portraits do not own a clear narrative – it is not important for the viewer to know the story behind the artwork. What Katz tries to emphasize is actually the beauty of the subjects. The use of gentle colors and the emphasis of a few but significant details  turn the coldness of the sharp lines, lack of detail and flatness into an artwork warm for the viewer to enjoy.

The genius of Alex Katz’s style is derived directly from one of Katz’s biggest influences, the Master Japanese woodblock artist Kitagawa Utamaro (1753 – 1806), the master of Japanese woodblock color printing. His Japanese aesthetic is typically flat and bi-dimensional. He influenced Katz particularly with his use of partial views and his emphasis on light and shade.

This work, Dog At Duck Trap, it is slightly different from Katz’s portraits. This time, the subject is not a person but an animal.
This funny little Sky Terrier is Sunny, the Katz’s family dog, chest-high in coastal grasses. Sunny has been a subject of other works by Alex Katz too, exactly as the people who are depicted in his portraits. Sunny has been depicted in several different ways, but his muzzle always seems to convey a sense of happiness and carefreeness, like an endless summer.

Sunny is portrayed in a surrounding that is nothing but the coasts of the Duck Trap, a  river located in Waldo County, Maine, where Katz still spends his summers.
One can clearly see the blue of the water in the background, while all the natural environment is depicted in a very flat, lack-of-detail way, but still able to create a sense of dimensionality.

Alex Katz’s works can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide. Major exhibitions of Katz’s landscape and portrait painting in America and Europe followed his 1986 Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective and 1988 print retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
He continues to spend his summers in Lincolnville, Maine.

WOW – Work Of the Week – Roy Lichtenstein “Reflections On Girl”

Reflections on Girl 2

Roy Lichtenstein
Reflections On Girl
1990
Lithograph, screenprint, relief and metalized PVC collage with embossing on mold-made Somerset paper
45 1/8 x 54 3/4 in.
Edition of 68

Pencil signed, dated and numbered

About This Work:

Pop art legend Roy Lichtenstein, born in Manhattan in October of 1923, began his studies in New York but finished at Ohio State University and thereafter began teaching at different universities, a profession he continued until 1964.
During that time well known art dealer Leo Castelli started displaying his works in his gallery. In 1962, Roy Lichtenstein had his first one-man show where the entire collection was purchased by collectors before the opening. Lichtenstein’s fame grew internationally from that point.

He became known for his bold colors, thick lines, and use of comic strips to influence his work. His very personal and unique style derived from comic strips which portray the trivialization of culture, endemic in contemporary American life. Using bright, strident colors and techniques borrowed from the printing industry, he ironically incorporates mass-produced emotions and objects into references to popular icons and art history.

Lichtenstein has often explored the theme of Reflections, incorporating them in various paintings and several print series. In 1988 Lichtenstein began working on a group of Reflections paintings, in which the central image is partly obscured by reflective streaks, as if behind glass or reflected in a mirror.

This week’s work of the week, Reflections On Girl, is considered to be an iconic work. It is a perfect example of Lichtenstein’s style. A style made of primary colors – red, yellow and blue, heavily outlined in black. Instead of shades of color, he used the ben-day dot, a method by which an image is created, and its density of tone modulated, through the position and size of a myriad of dots during the printing process.

Lichtenstein used an image he found in an edition of the comic book Falling In Love as the basis for the female figure in this image. Lichtenstein seems to create an intentionally stylized and stereotypical image of a 1960’s beauty. In the original cartoon, text above the image read: ‘Fire seethed through my body … fanning … spreading’, while the girl’s thought-bubble reads, ‘H-He couldn’t kiss me that way and love someone else!‘.

Reflections On Girl is a very important print from a very important series by Lichtenstein. It has everything that one would want in a Lichtenstein work. The lines, the benday dots, the bright colors, the cartoonish girl figure, and the bubble letters.
It really does not get much better than this piece. 

WOW – Work Of the Week – Andy Warhol “Ingrid Bergman With Hat”

Ingrid Bergman With Hat stock

ANDY WARHOL
Ingrid Bergman, With Hat FS.II 315
1983
Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board
38 x 38 in.
Edition of 250
Pencil signed and numbered

About This Work:

Andy Warhol was an American artist who has always been a leading figure in the visual art movement known as Pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960’s. Andy Warhol’s Marilyn and Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans are some of the most recognized and collectible of his artworks.

However, after the success of the Campbell’s Soup series in the early 1960’s, Warhol began creating screenprints focused mostly on movie star portraits including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Ingrid Bergman.
Andy Warhol’s stunning images of Academy Award winning actress Ingrid Bergman, were created by the artist at the request of a Swedish art gallery in the 1980’s, Galerie Borjeson, in Malmo, Sweden.

The Ingrid Bergman Series is made up of three types of screen prints. The source images used for these portrait pieces include a publicity photo (Herself), and movie stills from her role in Casablanca (With Hat) and from the movie The Bell of St. Mary’s (The Nun).

Of course, when we think of Ingrid Bergman, we think of her playing Ilsa, the long lost love interest of Rick, played by Humphrey Bogart.
No one can ever forget Bergman standing on the runway, all teary eyed and wearing the famous hat, as Bogart makes her get on that plane.
This was her most famous and enduring role, and that is why Warhol portrayed here in the hat as one of the three pieces in the Ingrid Bergman Suite.

This important movie role is made even more dramatic in this iconic print. The strong color palette and the bright blue background are just striking, together with the deep and nostalgic expression on her face.

Like the majority of his works, once again, this print is indicative of Warhol’s obsession with all things relating to fame, especially movie stars. For this reason, his artwork can also be considered as a sort of visual recording of the culture of his time.

Pop Art marked an important new stage in the breakdown between high and low art forms. Warhol’s paintings from the early 1960’s were important in pioneering these developments, but it is arguable that the diverse activities of his later years were just as influential in expanding the implications of Pop Art into other spaces, and further eroding the borders between the worlds of high art and popular culture.

Andy Warhol is now considered one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century, who created some of the most recognizable images ever produced.

ART BASEL INTERVIEW WITH GREGG SHIENBAUM – Investing in prints

ART BASEL INTERVIEW
WITH GREGG SHIENBAUM
Investing in prints

Florida’s Art Districts Magazine sat down with Gregg Shienbaum of Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art at his gallery in Wynwood, and interviewed him about investing in bluechip prints and multiples and the future of these prints.

Please, take time to look at the interview. For those interested in bluechip prints, you will learn the status of bluechip prints and what we can expect in the future.

gregg shienbaum interview ARTDISTRICTS.2-page-001

Click HERE or on the image to read the full article

WOW – Work Of the Week – Hank Willis Thomas “Black Power”

Black Power

HANK WILLIS THOMAS
Black Power
2008
C-print
16 x 20 in.
Edition of 30

Signed and numbered in ink

About This Work:

Hank Willis Thomas is an American artist who employs the familiar, or “what-goes-without-saying”, to draw connections and provoke conversations about issues and histories that are often forgotten or avoided in our commerce-infused daily lives. 

He gained wide recognition with highly provocative artworks which address the commodification of African-American male identity by raising questions about visual culture and the power of logos. 
His most important work is represented by the so-called Branded Series, among which is the dynamic piece Black Power, probably the most famous of the series.
In this work of the week, Black Power, Hank Willis Thomas presents a set of teeth on which a gold grill reads BLACK POWER.

Black Power, as well as other works by Willis Thomas, deals with issues of grief, black-on-black violence, the contributions of corporate culture to the crisis of black male identity, and African-American representation in advertising and media.
For this reason, some art critics have categorized Willis Thomas’ work as belonging to the “post-black” genre, where racist stereotypes are reinterpreted or reconstructed, and have described his work as “un-branding advertising”: stripping away the commercial context, and leaving the exposed image to speak for itself.

Something very important about Willis Thomas’ work is that it has been heavily influenced by the tragic loss of his young cousin, Songha Willis Thomas, who was murdered by another black man outside a Philadelphia night club in an incident of violence involving a gold chain.
The artist credits this event with helping him find his “artistic focus”. 

Hank Willis Thomas (born in Plainfield, New Jersey, 1976) received his BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and his MFA in photography, along with an MA in visual criticism, from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
Since then, he has exhibited in numerous galleries and museums in the United States.

With his characteristic strong dark humor, every time Willis Thomas creates a visual dialogue about the pressing issues of race, representation, and a sort of present day enslavement through consumerism which applies to the American society, with a focus on African-American youth. 

WOW – Work Of the Week – Claes Oldenburg “Sculpture In The Form Of A Bicycle Saddle”

Bicycle Saddle

CLAES OLDENBURG
Sculpture In The Form Of A Bicycle Saddle
1976
Glazed brown ceramic with mahogany base and sand
14 x 8 1/2 x d: 8 1/2 in.
Edition of 36

Signed and numbered in ink on bottom

About This Work:

Claes Oldenburg is an American sculptor, commonly associated with the Pop Art movement, who has always been at the forefront of the Conceptual and Pop Art art culture. 
Born in 1929 in Sweden, Oldenburg spent much of his adolescence in the United States, before moving permanently to New York in 1956. Oldenburg studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and subsequently started his career in New York City, where he used to participate in the array of happenings that began to take place in the late 1950’s.

Using familiar, everyday objects as his recurring theme, the artist developed his soft sculptures idea in 1957—a practice he would return to throughout his career.
By the late 1960’s he was fabricating enormous sculptures for civic monuments, which are instantly recognizable and have inspired countless artists.

Many of Oldenburg’s works depict ‘mundane’ objects and, at first, they were ridiculed before being accepted by the art world – but they were also defined ‘brilliant’, due to the reaction that the pop artist brought to a ‘tired’ abstract expressionist period. 
Oldenburg first orders his impressions of the world through sketches and writings in his ever-present notebooks; then he creates models and drawings form another layer of thinking. 

Sculpture In The Form Of A Bicycle Saddle is a great example of Oldenburg’s personal way of making art.
The purpose of Oldenburg’s art is to uncover the mystery and power of commonplace objects by morphing their scale, shape, and texture, embracing what he calls “the poetry of everywhere”. 

A saddle is just a saddle, but when carved in to a mountain, held in place by a sand box, it becomes something else and we can look at it in the form of a work of art. The way in which the sculpture is carved, the glossy ceramic, the base made of sand and wood, the strange position of the saddle itself: every element in this sculpture seems to decontextualize the object and help it to become estranged, so that we are finally able to look at it in a different perspective – as a work of art.
This happens because the artist believes that this object possesses a certain aesthetic quality, stemming from its appearance, and therefore displays it for the appreciation of others.

Oldenburg has said himself that “If I didn’t think what I was doing had something to do with enlarging the boundaries of art, I wouldn’t go on doing it“. 

Oldenburg has exhibited extensively around the world and his works appear in almost every major international art museum. His famous oversized outdoor sculptures, done for civic and public purposes, changed the terrain of countless cities worldwide.

To possess an edition or multiple from this great artist is a unique opportunity.

WOW – Work Of the Week – Shepard Fairey “Power Bidder”

Power Bidder

SHEPARD FAIREY
Power Bidder
2015
Screenprint
24 x 18 in.
Edition of 450

Pencil signed and numbered

About This Work:

Tomorrow, finally, will be Election Day.
Both candidates carry a lot of baggage with them.

Both candidates have very high unfavorable poll numbers.

Both candidate are flawed.

Questions about politicians and just how ethical they are, and how ethical the whole system is, have been raised. Charges of unlawful and unjust “dealings” have been tossed around for the whole world to see just how much of a mockery this election is. 

Due to tomorrow’s elections, we feel that this particular artwork is very fitting and we found its message very appropriate for this occasion.

This weeks work of the week is called Power Bidder, by Shepard Fairey

At the bottom of the work it reads “Democracy sold to the highest bidder”.

With all the craziness, and nonsense that has surrounded this election cycle, it seem that truer have never been spoken!

Frank Shepard Fairey (born February 15, 1970) is an American contemporary graphic designer and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He first became known for his “Andre the Giant Has a Posse”
(…OBEY…) sticker campaign.

Fairey created the “André the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign in 1989, while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This later evolved into the “Obey Giant” campaign.  As with most street artists, the Obey Giant was intended to inspire curiosity and cause the masses to question their relationship with their surroundings.

His work became more widely known in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, specifically his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the poster “the most efficacious American political illustration since ‘Uncle Sam Wants You'”.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston calls him one of today’s best known and most influential street artists.

His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

In 2011 Time Magazine commissioned Fairey to design its cover to honor “The Protester” as Person of the Year in the wake of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and other social movements around the world.  This was Fairey’s second Person of the Year cover for Time, his first being of Barack Obama in 2008.