• Power To The Artists

    In News on

    A few months ago a friend of mine called to tell me that he saw art works at an art fair that could only be described as copies of my work.  I saw the photos and to my surprise, the artist used many vocabularies I use–not just one, two or three–and with unmistakable resemblance, and the result should be described as nothing short of genuine ripoff.  I was fascinated as to why anyone would do such a thing.  What is the point of putting that much effort in repeating what someone else already has done when we have a rich abundant source of awe and amazement buried in our psyche waiting to be shared and added to our collective asset of art.  Then it took me about 3 seconds to realize that this person was probably hoping to capitalize on my efforts.  Knowing how hard that would be myself, I told myself “well good luck with that lol”.  My friend kindly wrote to the artist and to his gallery pointing out what was going on.   He received a reply from the artist basically saying that he will stay away from pursuing those works.

    I was not going to make the incident public but I realized that it is important that we be open about problems in art communities so that we are given opportunities to contemplate and self-regulate ourselves for smoother and more productive interactions.

    Art making, whether it’s literature, music, visual art or any other form, to me, is one of the most important humanistic attempts to reconcile the gap between our secular, practical self and that being which nature endowed as a powerful, mysterious existence as big and complex as nature itself.  I take it seriously although with a great amount of playfulness and freedom.

    The art world or art community has a peculiar position in today’s societies.  Although some artists or art works function with significant weight in corporate dominated societies, most of us–artists and art lovers–do not participate with much power.  The art market is not regulated with the same standards based on rule of law as other fields would be.  The infamous financial system recklessly putting forth its self-serving agendas to our political system, judicial system, and economic system seems rather orderly when you look at how selected art works are priced to function as something which they were never meant for or how big art institutions collude with financial powers to set agendas regardless of intrinsic values of art they show, often involving financial gains of parties involved.  And beyond all the fanciness and the ugliness, there are countless artists, art dealers,  curators and all the people who love art trying to make sense out of our daily struggles often encountering shadiness which you are less likely to face in other fields.

    The reason why I’m talking about our predicament is not to despair or even to suggest the need for governmental regulations.  We are outsiders.  But with the power.  We are connected to the power to guide our future based on our intrinsic values deriving from the mystery of nature.   I hear people laughing.  I hear people renouncing the cruelty of the society.  But there is no way around the fact that we are special with the power.  Let’s respect that fact.  And let’s be respectful to each other.  And when we share, do share with courtesy and intention to contribute to our collective asset of art.   We are here to ground humanity to the depth and richness of the universe which only our hearts can touch.

     

    My son, Cosmo, drawing on beach.

     

  • #75 in progress

    In News on

    Here is a surprising development with #75. A few months ago I noticed a sculpture by a friend, Kim Matthews, which had an interesting color and texture. She described to me that she casted paper pulp to make the shape and she used a special paint which had metal powder in it. The painted surface reacted with rusting agent to make beautiful orange and brown rusty surface. The result was very effective in creating a curious blend of rough paper surface with rusty metallic hue. I’ve been wanting to try it out and when I thought of making #75, I knew it was going to be the piece. It’s a rather small piece but it also has a large, monumental feel to it. I thought the weight of rusty metallic look might be perfect for it. And it looks like it’s working very well.

  • Ron’s ArtBBQ 2012

    In News on

    One of my favorite sculptors, Ron van der Ende, has an annual event of gathering artists’ music lists.  Here is a link to my list.  So far there are 45 artists in it.  Enjoy.

  • Tentatively titled #72

    In News on

    One of the new pieces…

     

  • Drawing

    In News on

    Drawing has been always an essential part of making for me.  It can be a sketch to remember ideas.  It can be a brainstorming process to come up
    with ideas.  It allows me to be physically connected to visual ideas.  It’s fun.  It’s also a making process to share the results of course.  In fact, that’s
    how I started.  But I haven’t been so productive in that way lately.  My drawings became paintings and they became sculptures.  But I’ve been hoping
    that I can bring back some drawing.  They are faster and more flexible.  It might show me more ways to explore.  Here are a couple of such attempts.
    The first one was published in “Sensorium”, a first publication by Skowhegan Alliance.


     

  • An Interview on Japan and Creativity

    In News on

    Recently I was interviewed about Japan and creativity.  It’s a part of Richard Galbraith’s project at Cementum.
    I enjoyed the interview very much.  Here is the link.



     

     

     

  • Elise Ferguson at Halsey Mckay Gallery

    In News on

    I really enjoyed Elise Ferguson‘s work at Halsey Mckay gallery.  She’s very good at clarifying her message
    without killing the subtle flavors.  In fact, there are lots of flavors in the work.  Not many artists really
    understand that those subtle things can give life and integrity to the work.  It’s highly recommended.

    It’ll be up till the end of the month.


    C Sticks by Elise Ferguson
    2011; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″


    Inverted Formal by Elise Ferguson
    2012; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″


    Black Joey by Elise Ferguson
    2012; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″


    Crab X by Elise Ferguson
    2012; pigmented plaster and silk screen on mdf panel; 24″ x 18″

  • Pechakucha Night Hamptons 9/20/12

    In News on
    Parrish Art Museum has an event with ten show-and-tell presentations tonight.
    I will be one of the presenters talking about making sculptures.  It’ll be fun.  I hope to see you there if you
    are around.

     

    A work in progress
  • Raw + Material = Art

    In News on

    Tristan Manco is known for his books on street art. Raw + Material = Art is his first attempt at surveying contemporary fine art. In his own words, “The idea behind the book is to focus on the natural and found materials and low cost, low-tech methods that artists are being drawn to today. Our aim will be to generally inspire and explore the synergy between the artist’s work and their materials.” He certainly succeeds in presenting his theme in the context of contemporary art and the book does even more.

     

    When I learned who would be in the book, I immediately felt that another aspect of this book is the  introduction of artists emerging on the internet. For the past decade or so the internet has quietly moved into the traditional contemporary art scene with somewhat varied angles on both artists’ geographical origins and their approaches. Numerous image based sites have been inspiring countless personal sites. We’ve been exposed to many artists not necessarily affiliated with established galleries, museums, and other major art institutions. For the first time in the history of contemporary art, visual art is experiencing the true possibility of democratic participation. It is no longer a necessity to live close to a large city with major galleries and museums to explore some segment of visual art. The authoritative voices of art critics, major art collectors, and major art institutions often do not reach the common ground offered by the internet.

     

    The new venue is not without its problems. The accuracy of representation through our computer screens will be an issue for some artists. Some art just does not present well that way. The same has been true in music. The proliferation of inexpensive personal devices and compressed music files has been a blessing for some music but not for the others, which I believe has been adding to the sad decline of classical music (Ironically, if you look at the high end audio world, this is the best time to enjoy classical music). Secondly, the emphasis on cheap materials and inexpensive ways of making might not be a coincidence since many of the artists are not supported by the art-as-investment-network of collectors, galleries, auction houses, museums and so on. The generous exposure some artists might enjoy online does not guarantee any form of financial reward. As the world faces the limitations of capitalistic pursuit, the art world and the artists keep searching for practical ways to make their contributions.

     

    In any case, Tristan has nonetheless done a great job of putting together this wonderful book featuring 38 notable artists today in large format, 256 glossy color pages.  It’s a celebration of the new era with the new artists.  Anybody who enjoys looking around online for fascinating new art will find at least some artists to look at.  I hope you enjoy the book.

     

    Here are some snap shots of the pages, although they hardly do justice to the beautiful book itself…

     


    Michael Johansson:  michaeljohansson.com


    Gabriel Dawe:  gabrieldawe.com


    Hiroyuki Hamada:  hiroyukihamada.com


    Aj Fosik:  ajfosik.com


    Klaus Dauven:  klaus-dauven.de


    Elfo:  elfostreetart.blogspot.com


    Ron van der Ende:  ronvanderend.nl


    Rosemarie Fiore:  rosemariefiore.com


    Henrique Oliveira:  henriqueoliveira.com


    Erik Otto:  erikotto.com


    Mia Pearlman:  miapearlman.com


    Peter Callesen:  petercallesen.com


    Luis Valdes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lpower/


    Felipe Barbosa:  felipebarbosa.com

    Many more artists are included in the book.  All of them are worth looking at.  Here is a list of their websites.

    Felipe Barbosa:  felipebarbosa.com
    Andres Basurto: Atenaestudio.com
    Zadok Ben-David:  zadokbendavid.com
    Robert Bradford:  robertbradford.co.uk
    Peter Callesen:  petercallesen.com
    Monica Canilao:  monicacanilao.com
    Klaus Dauven:  klaus-dauven.de
    Gabriel Dawe:  gabrieldawe.com
    Baptiste Debombourg:  baptistedebombourg.com
    Brian Dettmer:  briandettmer.com
    Elfo:  elfostreetart.blogspot.com
    Ron van der Ende:  ronvanderend.nl
    Aj Fosik:  ajfosik.com
    Rosemarie Fiore:  rosemariefiore.com
    Faile:  faile.net
    Fumakaka:  fumakaka.com
    Sayaka Kajita Ganz:  sayakaganz.com
    Jose Enrique Porras Gomez:  olaganandoespacio.wordpress.com
    Hiroyuki Hamada:  hiroyukihamada.com
    Haroshi:  haroshi.com
    Valerie Hegarty:  valeriehegarty.com
    Luiz Hermano:  Luizhermano.com
    Florentijn Hofman:  florentijnhofman.nl
    Michael Johansson:  michaeljohansson.com
    Anouk Kruithof:  anoukkruithof.nl
    Jae-Hyo Lee:  leeart.name
    Luzinterruptus:  luzinterruptus.com
    Maria Nepomuceno:  victoria-miro.com
    Henrique Oliveira:  henriqueoliveira.com
    Erik Otto:  erikotto.com
    Mia Pearlman:  miapearlman.com
    Lionel Sabatte:  lionelsabatte.com
    Chris Silva:  chrissilva.com
    Lucas Simoes:  lucassimoes.com.br
    Yuken Teruya:  yukenteruyastudio.com
    Luis Valdes:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/lpower/
    Felipe Yung:  flipink.blogspot.com
    Carlos Zuniga:  carloszuniga.org

    Raw + Material = Art is published by Thames & Hudson Ltd (UK) in April 2012

     

     

  • Anish Kapoor in NYC

    In News on

    Last week I saw two outstanding shows in New York City. Both of them are by Anish Kapoor (Gladstone Gallery on 21st Street and 24th Street).
    The works are effortlessly graceful with plenty of formal delights and profound weight. It’s great to see his bold yet delicate methods let the
    materials flow and glow in their own rights.

    One show has multiple towers of cement (Gladstone Gallery on 24th Street). Take your time and walk among them. You start to see character
    in each tower and you realize that they are not just random piles. Then you start to see the vision of the artist who let these strange
    magical towers appear (here is an article about the interesting making process).


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 24th Street 2012

    The other show places a large round steel structure that fills up a large open space (Gladstone Gallery on 21st Steet). You get the “wow” feeling
    as soon as you walk in the room, and as you walk around, you just tell yourself “wtf”. It’s also fun to see how people react to the piece and
    interact with it. It’s great to see people being so happily awed and overwhelmed by the piece. It gives confidence to anybody who loves and believes in art.


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 21st Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 21st Street 2012


    Anish Kapoor at Gladstone gallery, 21st Street 2012

     

    There was one more thing. My friend and I walked in one of the churches on our way to the galleries
    (St. Thomas on 5th avenue). Ah, what a space to get away and immense yourself in the quietness with the church organ.
    Everything just stopped and my mind was reset, at least for the moment.

    A city needs a place like that or great art to make you feel that you are connected to something big and mysterious.  A great city
    like New York has both.


    Saint Thomas Church