Detail from Ubu Roi (The War March), 2009. (Photos by C-M.)
Is it the end of the world? Or the beginning? In Hernan Bas’s latest canvases, now on show at Lehmann Maupin, it is difficult to tell. Survivors of flamboyant costume parties emerge from fantastical cities that seem to rise and crumble in roiling landscapes that make you think, ‘The party’s over.’ Or is it? Think German-style surrealism meets Futurist sculpture meets the sweaty oppression of the Everglades — all on very large canvases. (My photos don’t do it justice.) There’s a lot to look at, and the more you stare, the less you know what the hell is going on. Overall, a damn interesting show.
Free Twinkies at Pace Wildenstein. No Little Debbies in sight. (Photos by C-M, unless otherwise stated.)
That giant art supermarket on the piers, known as the Armory Show, is open for business! And no matter how snobbarrific this event can be, it also, at times, takes on the lowbrow sheen of a tattoo convention. Take, for example, the cereal portrait of Barack Obama at Philadelphia’s Cerealart. Or the free Twinkies (above) being dispensed by the über-galleristas at Pace Wildenstein. Or the Kenny Scharf golf cart driven by a guy in a space suit that dispenses free donuts. (I gnoshed on a French cruller.) It’s as if everyone was catering to the little stoner that lives inside each and every one of us.
There was incredible stuff, too: The Michael Vazquez canvases at Fred Snitzer, the Don Bachardy drawings at Cheim & Reid. And, of course, those seriously gnarly bottle-cap sculptures by El Anatsui. Sublime!
If you haven’t had quite enough Armory, here’s me blabbing about it on WNYC.
Can you hear me now? Detail of The Loveliest Song, 2003. (Photos by C-M.)
For a coupla years now, I’ve been seeing Hernan Bas’s work on my regular sojourns to Miami — principally at the frigid concrete warehouses that are home to the Snitzer Gallery and the Rubell Collection, where the artist had a massive solo exhibit in time for Art Basel in late 2007. But last night, I saw the paintings — which marry pop sensibilities with florid 19th century romance — completely anew in the Brooklyn Museum, where the wood floors and deft lighting gave the work an added weight and drama. In addition, someone was bright enough to put a bench in Bas’s room-sized video installation Ocean’s Symphony, which, with its floating mermaids and gently bubbling water, is one exemplary piece of stonerrific distraction.