Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Francis Bacon, A Centenary Retrospective. Through Aug. 16th

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Francis Bacon, Through August 16, 2009

Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is unquestionably one of the most important and influential British figurative painters of the twentieth century. He is also no relation to the actor Kevin Bacon, or to the smoked breakfast meat that I think tastes so good with french toast. But, I digress. When you think about the way British painters have distorted the human body since the first world war for the purpose of finding a truer less romanticized existential image of the human condition (and I'm thinking specifically of Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, and more recently Jenny Saville) Bacon stands chronologically at the head of the pack. You could say that he established a content that would become one of the hallmarks of modern British painting. Another thing that makes him an historically important artist is that he was one of the first to cross reference photography, film, and old master paintings in his work. Also, he did it in a particularly imaginative and original way. His obsession with stills from the film "Battleship Potemkin" and the Diego Velazquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X are themes that reappear throughout his life's work. We know Bacon was an atheist, but I don't know what it was about this image of this Pope that haunted him the way it did. Anyway, I can't imagine the Vatican was one of his major patrons.

That said, I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan of Bacon, and this show didn't do anything to change my mind. The show can best be described as hit and miss, but that can also accurately describe the mans career. Bacons images are arresting and powerful at best, but melodramatic and formulaic at worst. Also, his work didn't really evolve all that much. The paintings in the last galleries of the retrospective look very similar to those in the first both in subject and style. He clearly had a great gift for painterly distortion of the figure, but he frequently resorted to what I would have to call cheap expressionist theatrics, and it's the repetition of those theatrics that undermine their own authenticity. This is more obvious when his paintings are seen in a large group like this. In terms of subject matter he stuck primarily to figures in rooms, usually naked and lying on sofas or beds. There are also a lot of screaming heads, frequently belonging to the Velazquez Pope. Formally you can see the same pallet throuout the show. The same spooky burnt oranges and pinks, and the same big black backgrounds for his pale white figures to sit dramatically against. He also enjoyed drawing linear squares or rectangles around his figures which I guess was meant as a nod to the surrealists, and his use of little red arrows that crop up in his paintings over the last twenty years or so of his life is a pretty superficial compositional device that doesn't serve any intelligent pictoral function, and really annoys me.

There are some undeniable masterpieces in the show. I'm thinking specifically of the "Three Studies for a Crucifixion" triptych done in 1944 and the second version painted in 1962. These are as powerful and disturbing as anything I've seen in modern art. In fact, the triptych format is something Bacon really shines at, and are the most consistently good work in the show. Some of his early figure study paintings are also wonderful, like "Figure in a Landscape" from 1945. Also, the portraits of his late lover George Dyer painted in the 1970s are very moving and emotional images. it's interesting how his obsession with certain lovers seem to mirror his obsession with certain photographs and paintings. When he was on, Bacon was clearly a modern master of great importance. The problem as I see it is that half the time he painted like a lesser, less motivated artist trying to imitate Frances Bacon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dumpster pools are very cool

This is very cool. In Brooklyn a group of people decided to repurpose dumpsters into swimming pools. I love the ingenuity of it, and practicality. It is a lot. It is in Gowanus. It is NYC and yet these people through their vision and desire made something special and simple to share with their friends. They breathed life into large trash canisters. There is another message here. Enjoy the video here and read more about it here. It kind of makes you think.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

News: Manhee Bak is on Blogspot

Manhee Bak is a New York City based artist and a good friend. When we created the blog we wanted to let people know about the richness in creativity and depth that is in New York and that comes through here. Here is an artist of note. I like what he does with found objects. How he finds organic beauty in their artificial form. .
Take a look at his work.
Contact him and tell him what you think if you feel you must. Art, like us, does not exist in a vacuum. Enjoy

In the Know: Cool links

Yesterday I went to Central Park to hear the NYC Philharmonic and I took this picture. Below are some helpful links to all of what is happening in this great city.

For everything in the city, check out NYCGO and for what is happening in our latin culture, go to NY Remezcla. Both sites are worth a visit. Enjoy!

ManhattanHenge - Photos of NYC

Here are some wonderful photos of NYC, the city we love. During this unusually mild and wet summer we have received some spectacular sunsets and experiences with light. Enjoy the photos as you think of the city.

"a biannual occurrence in which the setting sun aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan’s main street grid. The term is derived from Stonehenge, at which the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices". ~Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Classical Concerts in NYC 2009

The New York Philharmonic in

I thought people should know about the classical music series in the park. There is always something happening. Here is a good link for you to bookmark. Check it out here for the schedule.

The 2009 US OPEN in August Offer

From Fandango and Ticketmaster special offer

Starts August 31

"Be a part of the greatest sports and entertainment event in the world! See stars like Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick battle it out for the championship at the 2009 US Open. Witness the intense competition, electrifying action and unparalleled excitement that fans and players love about the US Open.

Fandango fans can take advantage of this exclusive ticket offer. Order now and see the US Open for the same price as a movie ticket! Tickets are just $10!"

Photos from Wondermere

Here is are some photos from our friend Susan McIntosh reception last week at Apex Art. It is series of very interesting video installation that is worth a visit. For more information on the show click here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

NEWS: July 8th is Wondermare! Curated by Susan McIntosh & Albert Wilking

July 8 to August 8th,
Scene One: Take One - July 8, 6-8PM

Our friend Susan MacIntosh with her partner, Albert Wilking, are curating a show at ApexArt, Wondermare! Knowing them it will be a test of our reality. You know I wont miss it. Susan is an artist, actor, writer, film maker, survivor, mad genius, and many things more. Go see her show! I am sure you will not forget it.

NEWS: Conversation with Fanny Sanin Thursday July 2, 2009

Our friend Fanny Sanin is having a talk tomorrow at her gallery Latin Collector today. She's really artist who's worth hearing. She had shown with my mother in the past and so we share some history. The following is information from her e-card on tonight's Talk.

7-9 pm, talk starts at 7
37 West 57 Street

Please join us Thursday July 2nd, 2009 for a talk by Michelle Heinz about the work of Fanny Sanin. Fanny Sanin will be answering questions
about her work directly after the talk.

Fanny Sanín is one of Latin America's most distinguished and well-
respected abstract painters. Though she has worked outside of any
group affiliation, Sanín has remained faithful to the principles of
hard-edge abstraction since the early seventies and has constantly
created enigmatic color combinations and architectual shapes that
create subtle spatial suggestions that feel monumental.

Sanín studied at the University of the Andes in Colombia and pursued
graduate studies at the University of Illinois and the Chelsea School
of Art in London. Her work has been included in over 300 shows
including the landmark exhibition Latin American Women Artists
1915-1995 and is included in many important collections worldwide.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The 4th of July is on the HUDSON!!!!

YES!!! The 4th of July almost here with more fire works and a twist. This year the fire works will be coming from the west on the Henry Hudson in celebration of the 400th Henry Hudson expedition.

To find the best place to see the fire works and what other venues t0 enjoy the festivities check out the Macy's Firworks site for locations and NYCGO for tips on what to see and where. It has tons of information. Check it out and happy 4th!