See James Turrell’s Earliest Work Now On View

James Turrell
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No. 60440

Photographer: Florian Holzherr
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Photography:Florian Holzherr

The Godfather of light and space, James Turrell began his journey in exploring the relationship between form and color back in 1966 after moving into a vacated hotel in Santa Monica, CA.  It was in these abandoned rooms that Turrell began experimenting with high-intensity projectors, using them as a tool to bend the eye’s perception and manipulate a space.  From this trial came Turrell’s first significant installation work of corner projections, using projected light as a medium to create the illusion of free-floating, three dimensional shapes suspended in the corners of a room.  Now on view through PACE Gallery’s 67, 68, 69 exhibition, this first body of work proves that even in his earliest stagesTurrell had the ability to create a transformative phenomenon with his artistic expression.

67, 68, 69 is on view at PACE Gallery on 57th St. through July 29th and simultaneously at PACE Gallery Palo Alto through August 28th.

Art: Carmen Argote’s Life in 2D

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Architecture defines us. The structures we inhabit, visit, dream about, or even resent constitute an integral element of individual and cultural understanding. Some people spend their lives moving from one place to the next, repeatedly trying to reproduce a sense of “home,” while others inherit family histories through the buildings passed down from one generation to the next. Architecture dictates both how people interact with a space and with each other, and exploring the physical makeup of our environments can often reveal surprising personal and social insights.

Los Angeles-based, Mexican-born artist Carmen Argote grew up visiting her ancestral home, Mansión Magnolia, an 1890s stone manor in Guadalajara owned by her great aunts, and later passed down to her grandmother. The place always existed as a symbol of her family’s desire to return to Mexico permanently. However, in recent years it had been converted from a family dwelling to an events space used for everything from kids’ birthday parties to raves. Argote lived for three months in an office refurnished as a makeshift bedroom, spending her days and nights wandering the mansion recalling her relatives’ stories and questioning the relationships between body and space, ornament and functionality, past and present, understanding these layered relationships through the architecture of the space.

The artist’s previous bodies of work primarily utilize architectural installations and the modification of physical space to examine notions of memory, place, home, and her family’s immigration experience. For her most recent series, Mansión Magnolia, exhibited at Shulamit Nazarian in Los Angeles, Argote’s exploration of space collapsed from three to two dimensions, as this series marks the artist first exhibition dedicated to photography. The fourteen photographs on view depict a space both eerily devoid of human bodies, yet saturated with references to them. Diffused light imbues the rooms with a preternatural glow that allows for superlative detail in tone, texture, and hue. The image compositions reveal Argote’s sculptural background, often highlighting the geometric symmetry of the domestic objects and classical architecture. Through her examination of the space and its contents, Argote creates a visual record of past and present fused in one contradictory moment. The sleek functionality of contemporary objects contrast the detailed craftsmanship of the original building design, illustrating the ways history is understood through texture and form.

The images act as more than mere documentation, however, as the incongruities become apparent between the grand building design and the temporary event rentals. Many objects enter the manor arranged in cuboid structures, a result of their transportation in truck cargo holds. The purely functional configurations transform into modernist sculpture in images such as Black Chairs (2016), in which hundreds of black chairs seem to float and vibrate in the center of a room, both echoing the black and white checkered floor tiles and referencing 20th century readymade art. In Brincolin (2016), the contrasting structures combine to produce a visual pun: a brightly colored inflatable castle sits in the central hall under an ornate chandelier and surrounded by Corinthian columns.

Carmen Argote

Brincolin, 2016

As with the castle lacking children to play on it, the absence of humans becomes a palpable feature connecting all of the photographs. Argote occupied the void created by her missing family members and acted as a kind of ghost: present, but able to move more or less unacknowledged by the staff or guests (once, she even joined a rave wearing nothing but her nightgown!). Always examining the link between her family’s past and Mansión Magnolia’s present, Argote made several photographs in which she attempted to reclaim agency in the space for herself. Through her residency, Argote began to understand the architecture as a place of isolation: the thick, high walls separated its inhabitants from the din of the city. More specifically, the building design effectively confined the women to the house (the female realm) from the street (the male realm). Argote’s photographs act as a way to perform the experience of women bound together by the surrounding walls. Argote utilized the camera’s capability to capture gestural movement in long exposures, producing a painterly effect. The images, which depict a haze of flesh-tone mist floating in empty rooms, act as a way for Argote to evoke the presence of her female relatives while simultaneously infusing the space with the record of her body.

Each component of Argote’s exploration of Mansión Magnolia presents a consideration of her family’s complex characters: a father forced to emigrate from his country, but always yearning to return; a group of sisters and cousins isolated from the outside world by beautifully adorned walls; a young woman attempting to discover what it means to be home. Myth binds Argote’s understanding of her personal history and that of her relatives. Mansión Magnolia was a place of mystery and fantasy for her as a girl. Now, as an adult, Argote’s return complicated her relationship with the mansion and her memory of it. Through her residency, performances, and image making, Argote created a new myth of her own, interwoven with her family’s stories and the strangers that cohabit the space. Integrating past and present, public and private, memory and reality, Mansión Magnolia seeks to find meaning in the innumerable contradictions of contemporary life.

Art Troupe WIFE Brings Spellbinding Performance To LA’s Hammer Museum

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Step inside the world of WIFE and witness a mystical phenomena. Born of three Los Angeles-based dancers, (Jasmine Albuquerque, Kristen Leahy, and Nina McNeely), she is known as A Trinity of Illusory Performance Makers.

WIFE creates an all senses engaged theatrical experience. If you have seen her live you know it’s a full body—and out of body—experience. Through projected body-mapping animations, sculpture, light, self-crafted music, costumes and choreography, WIFE makes the imaginary a reality. Although, when you’re in her performance presence it feels more like a fleeting moment of surreality—an electric alternate reality you want to stay suspended in.


 

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On Wednesday, June 22, WIFE (represented by Maavven) brings her latest creation, Enter The Cave, to Hammer Museum in LA. Loosely based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Enter the Cave is a story of transformation and transcendence told through illusion. The performance is meant to rearrange our notions of reality, space, and time.

The free performance begins in the Hammer Museum Courtyard at 7:30PM PST and can be live streamed, here.

Make Time Last Longer with Scott Thrift’s 24-Hour Gradient Clock

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Scott Thrift “wants to make time last longer”—a daunting task he’s distilled into the more simpler project of designing a 24-hour clock without numbers. Aptly titled, Today, Thrift’s kickstarted pursuit was designed with a stunning color gradient to reflect the changing sky outside during a 24-hour period.

The result “simplifies the day into a perfect balance of dawn, noon, dusk and midnight,” which Thrift promises will take the edge off time. So rather than sitting at your office desk every day, anxiously watching the seconds, minutes and hours pass by, Today highlights the “spectrum of time,” recreating the limitless feeling of watching clouds pass by.

More time is certainly the solution to Monday stress, even if it’s all in your head.


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The Tom of Finland House is Now a (NSFW) Coffee Table Book

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Photography: Martyn Thompson

Up in the hills of Los Angeles’ Echo Park stands a shrine to one of the most iconic homoerotic illustrators, Touko Laaksonen, AKA Tom of Finland. Tom House, as it’s known officially, is where Laaksonen lived and worked during the last decade of his life. The Craftsman home is now a multipurpose venue serving as the headquarters of the Tom of Finland Foundation, a shelter for runaway LGBTQ youth, a gallery for outsider art, and a shrine space immortalizing Laaksonen’s legacy and his authentic vision of cult homoerotic sexuality.

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Michael Reynolds, a popular New York based Creative Director discovered Tom House in the late ’90s and was instantly captivated. Most recently, he’s partnered with acclaimed writer/editor, Mayer Rus, and celebrated photographer, Martyn Thompson, to collectively capture Tom House into a new Rizzoli-published coffee table art book.  Their idea was to give readers an immersive eye into the private interior world of all the dreams and desires that were—and still are—Tom of Finland.

“Tom House is like a living breathing commune and at the same time it’s this incredible repository of erotic art and gay culture,” Reynolds said. “It’s a gathering place, a safe place, a spiritual experience, an idea. It’s visually breathtaking. I had always thought it would make an amazing book.”

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TOM HOUSE: Tom of Finland in Los Angeles (Rizzoli New York) is available now.

J.W. Anderson Collaborates with Giles Round on Incredible Phallic Vases

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Photo via J.W. Anderson

J.W. Anderson’s Workshop series has spawned an incredible collaboration with Giles Round, the London-based sculptor whose work oft explores geometric shapes and monochromatic color panels.  ETTORE. SORRY! highlights Round’s ongoing series of ceramics, which all misappropriate Italian architect Ettore Sottsass’ famous ’70s Shiva vase. Created exclusively for Anderson’s Workshop, this colorful range was rendered flaccid as “both homage and apology to Sottsass and his iconic work.”

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Andy Warhol’s Upper East Side Studio Hits the Market For $10 Million

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Photo via Cushman & Wakefield

During the early ’60s, Andy Warhol was working primarily as a commercial artist, having just begun to assert himself as a fine artist and local provocateur. In January 1963, he moved into an Upper East Side studio, his first private space, which was then an affordable fire house, available for only $150 per month. More than half a century later and following years of gentrification, Warhol’s historic site, 159 East 87th Street, is on the market for a steep $9,975,000 and “offers a developer a blank canvass [sic] to create boutique condominiums, a mixed-use rental or a luxury townhouse.” 

Six months before the iconic pop artist moved into his UES space, he’d established a polarizing name with his newly debuted Campbell Soup Can paintings. “In 1963, [Warhol] was only just becoming known as a fine artist, so it’s no wonder he didn’t invest in a fancier studio,” said Warhol biographer Blake Gopnik to Artnet NewsThe building was “a wreck, with leaks in the roof and holes in the floors, but it was better than trying to make serious paintings in the wood-paneled living-room of his Victorian townhouse, as he’d done for the previous couple of years.” Despite the shifty environment, Warhol still managed to create several pieces from his revered Death and Disaster series, as well as portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.

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Brillo Box (Soap Pads), 1964 (Photo via MoMA)

Warhol’s lease ended the following May, more than half a year before he moved into his legendary Silver Factory and unveiled his 1964 sculpture exhibition, Brillo Boxes—work philosopher Arthur Danto labeled the end of art. “What Warhol taught was that there is no way of telling the difference [between art and non-art] merely by looking,” Danto said. “The eye, so prized an aesthetic organ when it was felt that the difference between art and non-art was visible, was philosophically of no use whatever when the differences proved instead to be invisible.”

The two-story building, located between Lexington and Third Avenue, is currently being used for art storage and marketed by Cushman & Wakefield as a “boutique development site”—a far cry from its humble Warholian roots and testament to NYC’s ever-evolving real estate landscape.

Klein Sun Gallery to Exhibit Ren Hang’s Controversial ‘Athens Love’ Series

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Athens Love

In keeping with his voyeuristic style, Beijing-based artist Ren Hang pursues the stripped-down nature of his subjects by celebrating their naked figures in his most recent project, Athens Love. To commemorate this body of work, Hang, a photographer and poet, will release a 68-page monograph at his solo show, opening March 24 at SoHo’s Klein Sun Gallery.

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Athens Love

Having received the Third Annual Terna Prize for Contemporary Art in 2010, Hang’s controversial work centers heavily on the dynamics of eroticism, and Athens Love is no exception. The project follows Hang’s journey through Athens and other parts of Attica, Greece, during his artist residency in April, 2015. By juxtaposing human skin against raw, colorful landscapes, Hang’s NSFW imagery, diaristic and stylized, captures his friends’ bodies casually posed in harmony with nature.

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Athens Love

In one polarizing image, equally playful and provocative, Hang features his nude friend peeing into a cacti patch; The photo is staged against the saturated Mediterranean landscape and explores man’s relationship with nature, captured to look almost like a surreal, faded memory.

‘Athens Love’ will be on display at Klein Sun Gallery from March 24 through April 30. Ren Hang will attend a book signing of his monograph at Dashwood Books on March 25 from 6 – 8 p.m. 

How Photographer Duo Synchrodogs Risked Their Lives for Stunning New Series, ‘Supernatural’

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Supernatural (2015)

In 2008, Ukrainian photographers Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven were living in two different cities, each eight hours apart. The odds of the pair meeting organically in real life were slim to none, but after a chance encounter on a photography website, the duo ultimately joined forces to form a creative partnership, Synchrodogs. Since their collaborations began eight years ago, Synchrodogs’ experimental style of photography has gained the attention of countless outlets and major brands, collecting editorial credits from Dazed and Confused and Vice, while shooting for brands like Kenzo and Urban Outfitters.

Commissioned by Dallas Contemporary to create their first solo show last year, the duo embarked on a road trip across America to indulge in their exhibitionist style of photography, capturing the stunning landscapes of the Wild West. Though it literally almost killed them— nearly dying from dehydration, almost getting struck by lighting and dodging a pit of snakes— the daring pair managed to produce their latest body of work from the trip, called Supernatural (2015). True to their signature approach, Shcheglova posed as the series’ central subject, captured through Noven’s lens.

The project will be displayed at their upcoming, second solo show, opening March 24 at Amsterdam’s Bright Side Gallery, along with two other projects Reverie Sleep (2013) and Animalism, Naturalism (2012). In anticipation, we chatted with Shcheglov to talk about Synchrodogs’ road trip, their experiments with lucid dreaming, and the impressive mileage they racked up on their cross country adventure.


How did you come up with the name “Synchrodogs?”

‘Synchro’ stands for our sameness when it comes to taste and perception in life. We are also fair friends of humans, while loving nature and endless landscapes most of all—that is where ‘dogs’ came from.

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Supernatural (2015)

Do you and Roman ever disagree over a concept?

Never over a concept or global thing—only about small details, as we are two perfectionists who always strive to make everything better than necessary. Eventually it only helps.

Why do you prefer shooting each other instead of using models?

Because our art is about deep exploration of our inner selves, juxtaposed with the natural world. It would be irrational to work with other people when trying to get a personal Earth-related experience.

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Supernatural (2015)

How intense was your planning before your road trip to make Supernatural?

We worked on this project for nearly a year, but the route we were to take was only partially certain for us. We were relying on our own intuition a lot and literally went to every turn that seemed promising, which led us to a record-breaking number of kilometers we passed in one month—6,500 [or 4,038 miles].

What were the most inspiring places you came across during your excursion?

It’s hard to name the most inspiring, but easier to tell which ones triggered a lot of adrenaline. The favorites in this sense were a narrow canyon with lots of barely visible camouflaged snakes, endless desert where we nearly died without water half way back, and a thunderstorm in Colorado when a lightning bolt hit the ground right in front of our car.

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Supernatural (2015)

Can you tell us more about your experiments with lucid dreaming for Reverie Sleep

It was not exactly lucid dreaming; it’s a kind of meditation technique we developed over years and practiced while trying to fall asleep. It arouses some instant images to come to our mind, like some [static] movie scenes with no action. The most important moment [of the process] is to make yourself not lose it. You have to wake yourself up and make a note of what you have just seen; if you continue watching the scene you simply fall asleep and never remember it again.

How did those dreams translate into the photographs for Reverie Sleep?

Usually those dreams are more realistic and then it’s possible to convey with photography, but some dreams are impossible to be recreated. [We] need other technologies to be developed better [to recreate these dreams] and we’re waiting for that moment to come.