March Madness- New York-Miami!
Robert Motherwell/ Wim Delvoye/ Alex Katz/ Bill Viola
Anthony Japour (AJ) is an art collector, advisor, independent curator, and private art dealer. Japour deals in the international contemporary art movement with a focus on the Chinese Contemporary Art Movement and its relationship to the pillars of Western Contemporary Art. Since 2003, AJ has produced numerous art exhibitions and installations in Miami and South Florida through AJ Japour Gallery and now works on various art projects. AJ has served on the Fine Arts Board and the Cultural Arts Council of the City of Miami Beach.
If you thought Art Basel-Miami Beach Week was more than you could take, March Madness 2013 with art exhibitions in New York & Miami are a close second. 2013 Armory Arts week, New York’s answer to Art Basel-Miami Beach is anchored by The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94 in Chelsea and the Art Dealers Association of America’s Art Fair along with Volta NY, Fountain Art Fair, the Independent, Moving Image, New City Art Fair: Japanese Contemporary Art, The Pool Art Fair New York, Scope New York and Spring/Break Art Show. In Miami, its Bill Viola and Alex Katz.
The Park Avenue Armory was host to the Nation’s Longest running Art Fair organized by the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), entitled The Art Show. Half of the 70+ booths at the ADAA art fair featured solo artist booths including Louise Lawler with Metro pictures; Fred Tomaselli with James Cohan Gallery; Kiki Smith with Pace Gallery; Robert Mapplethorpe with Sean Kelly Gallery; Andy Warhol with Mnuchin Gallery; Milton Avery with David Zwirner; Robert Motherwell with Lillian Heidenberg Fine Art; and Wim Delvoye with Sperone Westwater among others.
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991, American)
Robert Motherwell played a significant role in the development of Abstract Expressionism, considered by art historians to be the first truly innovative movement brought by American artists to the art historical cannon. In the 1940’s, Motherwell became one of the leaders of the American avant-garde. While Motherwell is known primarily as a painter and printmaker, collage became one of the key components of his artistic output. Motherwell’s first one-man show was at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, in 1944.
I had the pleasure of working with my friend and colleague Lillian Heidenberg at her solo exhibition of Robert Motherwell at the ADAA Art Fair. Elegies to the Spanish Republic are a recurring motif of a repeating black oval which Motherwell himself related to a dead bull’s testicles after a Spanish bullfight. These elegies are lamentations of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) leading to General Francisco Franco’s Fascist dictatorship for the next 36 years. Mural Study, 1974 is related to this body of work. Motherwell’s most famous body of work is known as the “Open” series of paintings and drawings. Motherwell himself was a bit of an academic having studied at Harvard & Columbia Universities. Looking for inspiration he noted a door leaning on a wall in his studio and decided he liked the line- inverted it- and from that emanated approximately 200 large and small scale oil paintings known as the Open series. We had several opens on exhibit ranging in price from $300,000 to $2,200,000. My personal favorite was Open #75, 1969. This summer the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice will mount a focused exhibition devoted exclusively to Motherwell’s papeir collés (paper collages).
Lillian Heidenberg Fine Art
PO Box 1857
New York, NY, 1002
Wim Delvoye (B. 1965, Belgian)
Wim Delvoye is a Neo-Conceptual artist who builds on the Belgian Surrealist tradition (including René Magritte) and whose work tends to focus on the Body. Using the familiar Walt Disney signature font, Sperone Westwater exhibited a solo exhibition of Wim Delvoye’s work in a very beautifully installed booth at the ADAA Art Show 2013. Delvoye’s tattoo series started with pigs, one of which Eugenie(2005)- a whole taxidermied pig at $245,00- was on view. Delvoye took his tattoo concept to the next level when in 2008 and reported widely in the press, he contracted a human, Tim Steiner, to have a tattoo created as part of a performance art piece and paid him a portion of the €150,000 a German art collector, Rik Reinking paid for the work; the buyer will receive the skin canvas upon Steiner’s death.
Works on paper from Delvoye’s Cloaca series, which has been an ongoing series related to the Human digestive tract were also on view.
Visually my favorite works are Delvoye’s lasercut corten steel and nickled sculptures from his Gothic series where the artist creates objects typically found in construction work and customizes them in a Flemish Baroque style of Gothic filigree such as D11 Scale Model 2.0, 2008.
New York, NY
Alex Katz (B. 1927, Brooklyn, New York)
Alex Katz is a figurative painter whose canvases have been aptly described by the Tate St. Ives as “defined by their flatness of colour and form, their economy of Line, and their cool but seductive emotional detachment.” While his works fall into portraiture and landscape, his portraiture work is most recognizable, namely, images are of women in a relaxed carefree environment or in deep thought. His characters are simultaneously intriguing and empty. Each year in summer the artist moves to a farmhouse in Maine where most of his images seem to relate. To prepare for his large canvases, Katz begins with a small oil sketch of a subject on masonite board. Notably his portraits are cropped in an unexpected fashion and include ornamentations such as a bathing cap, a Panama hat or sunglasses. Then he blows up the drawing using at times an overhead projector and transfers it to a very large canvas using a technique known as pouncing. In addition to his paintings, Katz has focused on printmaking with many print editions.
Adamar Fine Arts in the Design District has brought together over thirty works including paintings and prints from the artist’s seven decades of work.
Adamar Fine Arts
4141 NE 2nd Ave, Ste 107
Miami, FL 33137
Bill Viola (B. 1951, Queens, New York)
Bill Viola is a leading figure in new Media and has used video as his exclusive medium. Conceptually, the artist captures the emotive expressions of life and death in his work. Through a special grant from the Knight Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami mounted Liber Insularum. The original LIber Insularum Archipelagi, authored by a prominent Florentine, Cristoforo Buondelmonti in the 15th century, is considered the most important Renaissance illustrated travel book of the Eastern Mediterranean rich in detail on the geography and history of the Greek Archipelago. A year ago, the auction house Christie’s sold the manuscript for $1,762, 500.00. Using this historic text, Viola created 15 video works as a reference point to engage with viewers today the theme of spiritual isolation in the 21st century. While I personally do not feel the works achieve that goal, the works stand on their own as incredible works of Contemporary art.
Water figures prominently in many Viola works, perhaps because its movement is so elegantly portrayed on film. Apparently the artist nearly drowned in his youth, which may also explain his use of water to depict Life and Death. Ascension, 2000 is an underwater landscape pierced by a clothed man plunging from above. It has a feeling not unlike Anish Kapoor’s Ascension I saw in Beijing some years ago. The monumental work The Raft, 2004 is a life size video of 19 actors representing different contemporary characters by age, race, and creed coming together innocently unaware that in the next moment they will be blasted by a deluge of water— their lives forever altered.
In case you missed the opening at MOCA, you can view highlights at the following web address: http://www.artrevs.com/BillViolaLiberInsularumMOCAMiami.html
Museum of Contemporary Art-North Miami
770 NE 125th St
North Miami, FL 33161
Anthony Japour is an art collector and art advisor. Japour lectures on the Chinese Contemporary Art Movement and its relationship to the pillars of Western Contemporary Art. For over a decade [2002-2012], Japour mounted numerous art exhibitions and installations in Miami Beach and South Florida through AJ Japour Gallery and linked these exhibitions to charity events at his home in South Beach devoted to the health, education and welfare of children. Japour has served on the Fine Arts Board and the Cultural Arts Council of the City of Miami Beach. Japour has been a contributor writing on contemporary art for SocialMiami.com since 2010.