Sculpture

Maxwell Rushton: Tagsmart Artist of the Week

#TagsmartArtistoftheWeek is Maxwell Rushton. Intertwining performance, painting, drawing and sculpture, Maxwell’s portfolio explores cultural phenomena and his own human condition.

The theme of homelessness has found its way into Maxwell’s practice on many occasions, including in his award-winning work, ‘Left Out’. Five separate edits of the original footage went viral, reaching over 40 million people.

Tagsmart weekly discovery: the art of Martin Yeoman

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Member of the New English Art Club and The Society of Portrait Sculptors, artist Martin Yeoman trained at the Royal Academy Schools from 1975 to 1979 and teaches today at The Royal Drawing School and the New School of Art

Prolific in portraiture, still life, landscape and sculpture, Yeoman is considered one of the finest draughtsmen today. Working across a broad range of mediums, the artist has developed a style that draws inspiration from Goya and Delacroix. 

As for the artist painting first and foremost should possess honesty, feeling and integrity, his work is rooted in personal impression, drawing and painting from life. 

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Among his most notable commissions to date is the portrait of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and of Her Majesty The Queen’s grandchildren, now housed in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. Yeoman has also accompanied HRH The Prince of Wales on official overseas tours to the Gulf States, Hong Kong, Nepal and India. His portrait of Sir James Whyte Black is in the National Portrait Gallery collection. 

The artist won the Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture in 2002 and the Doreen McIntosh Prize in 2016 and has been included in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition on 19 occasions (1976–2006), the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2017 and in the BP Portrait Award, 1981, 1983 and 2016.

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Selected for last year’s BP Portrait Award was Yeoman’s Laurie Weeden, D-Day Glider Pilot portrait, one of four studies the artist made following a special commission by HRH The Duke of Rothesay for the 2015 exhibition The Last of The Tide at the Buckingham Palace.

Tagsmart was here: Adrián Villar Rojas, Soul of a Nation and Dreamers Awake

From the Series ‘The Theatre of Disappearance’
Adrián Villar Rojas

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Adrián Villar Rojas calls into question the supremacy of any particular artwork. For his first exhibition in London since 2013, the Argentinian artist presents a life-size marble reproduction of the legs of Michelangelo’s David. The simplicity and beauty of the replicated 15th-century sculpture contrast with two adorable kittens smooching by his feet.

This piece is concurrent with exhibitions on the rooftop of The Met in New York, the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Bregenz, Austria and the NEON Foundation in Athens, Greece. 

Marian Goodman Gallery, until July 21
5-8 Lower John Street, W1F 9DY


Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power

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“The biggest achievement of this exhibition is the recovering of the talented legion of artists who have been kept out of the American canon of genius in a way that is utterly unjust,” says Jonathan Jones of The Guardian. Art from the 1950s is predominantly represented nowadays by American icons such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. 

Above is a painting April 4, which marks the first anniversary of the murder of Martin Luther King with a cascade of purple tears. This piece is by Sam Gilliam whose artistic genius was forgotten until only recently, now in his 80’s. But Gilliam’s art is not the only artwork to come out the woodwork, there are copies of The Black Panther magazine to self-portraits of Barkley Hendricks entitled Brilliantly Endowed and Frank Bowling’s unforgettable paintings. 

Tate Modern, until October 22
Bankside, SE1 9TG


Dreamers Awake
Eileen Agar, Leonora Carrington, Lee Miller, Dorothea Tanning, Leonor Fini, Francesca Woodman, Hannah Wilke, Louise Bourgeois, Rosemarie Trockel,  Kiki Smith, Paloma Varga Weisz, Mona Hatoum, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas, amongst others

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This exhibition of more than 50 contemporary and emerging artists, as well as well-known Surrealist figures, artfully riffs around what it means to live inside rather than gaze upon a female form.

The show explores surrealism through the eyes of women, such as Mona Hatoum who subverts the objectification of the female form with Jardin Public (1993) or Claude Cahun who plays with gender identity as a fluid construct in her iconic black and white self-portraits from the 1930s.

White Cube Bermondsey, Until September 17
144-152 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

Tagsmart was here: Sculpture in the City 2017

Every year contemporary sculptures by internationally renowned artists are taken out of their natural habitat and placed in surprising corners of London’s financial district, Square Mile. With this year being the largest to date, with 16 artworks taking up residence amongst some of London’s most famous buildings, our team had a little wander around the city and picked our favourite pieces.

Nathaniel Rackowe’s Black Shed Expanded at Bury Court 

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This piece, which recently featured at Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, is a large-scale urban shed structure, seemingly mid-explosions upside-down, exposing its illuminated interior. It stands out amongst the London skyscrapers which surround it, the force of the light emanating from within, it seems to be ripping it apart. This work is in line with Rackowe’s usual practice, combining light and movement with urban infrastructure and industrial products. 


Gavin Turk’s Ajar at the St. Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Gardens 

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This random open doorframe in the middle of a park has been left on display from last year’s Sculpture in the City and is rather intriguing. Why a door frame in an open space? Is it opening or closing? Do we walk through the door frame? Why is the handle so low down? Why has it been left open? Is it a portal through time? The door leads to never-ending questions and possibilities, and yet, it also leads to nothing. It is a playful homage to William Blake’s famous doors of perception as we are invited to walk through Turk’s door into the enchanting realms of the imagination and beyond. So, if you need a time out of the office head down to Bishopsgate!


Kevin Killen’s Tipping Point at The Leadenhall Building

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Using the city streets to guide him, Killen has mapped out the urban landscape of Belfast with a series of light arrangements. The artist captures accidental, unexpected, spontaneous and playful fleeting moments of movement with his camera. He then deconstructs and visualises these images with the use of neon lights. The intricacy and experimentation of his work are highly impressive. When looking at this colourful installation, you would never guess that such thought has gone into its creation, would you? His translation of urban settings into kinetic light pulses is just beautiful!


Damien Hirst’s Temple in Cullum Street 

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The anatomical model of a male torso, with the musculature and organs exposed, stands 21-feet high near one of London’s oldest markets, Leadenhall Market. This piece, made in 2008, is reminiscent of many other Hirst sculptures, such as The Virgin Mother, which was one of the largest bronze statues in the world at the time. The famed artist’s obsession with anatomy and death is clear throughout his work, whether with people or animals. Standing under this sculpture, you come to realise that we are human and beneath our skin, these organs reverberate keeping us alive. Quite scary!


Karen Tang’s Synapsid at Fenchurch Street Station

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Reminiscent of a mutated, radioactive monster, this piece is rather playful and interactive. But what is it actually? An alien, some animal form, a monster? The neon greens and blobby segments evoke some kind of sci-fi evasion where extraterrestrials descend from space and rampage through London’s city centre. Tang’s works often reference science, sci-fi, architecture and city life.

Who said ‘Flower Power’ is dead? Celebrating the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, London’s most iconic flower festival, inspires millions through showcasing the best in garden design and has blossomed on us at Tagsmart too! In celebration of the event, now in full bloom until Saturday, May 27, here are our favourite flower-themed contemporary artworks:

1. Alex Katz’ White Roses 9 (2012)

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In a 1968 interview, Katz described his paintings of flowers as an extension of the cocktail party scenes he often painted. He remarked that the flowers are also ‘overlapping volumes’, which cover one another as they advance into the painting’s pictorial space. By selecting flowers as a subject, Katz sought to introduce a greater degree of movement in the work without literally representing something in motion, focusing on the unfolding form of a rose bud. And indeed, White Roses 9 offers a composition of volumes and spaces that dance across the surface of the canvas. Painted rapidly and assuredly, the flowers oscillate between states of awkwardness and grace typically associated with the human body. Katz’s roses, with their fleshy petals and serrated leaves, are aggressive and fierce, contradicting the serene association that flowers typically summon. (Source: Guggenheim Bilbao)


2. Takashi Murakami’s Blue Flowers & Skulls (2012)

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Perhaps Takashi Murakami’s most emblematic motif, these smiling flowers came into the artist’s work when he was preparing for his entrance exams for the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts. He then embraced the form over nine years teaching college students to draw flowers, even though as he once said, “I didn’t like flowers.” Blue Flowers & Skulls explores one of the central dichotomies of his art—between joy and terror, his optimistic as an artist and his pessimistic perspective on postwar Japan. This contradiction is symbolised by the contrast of bright smiling flowers and menacing representations of skulls. Both oppositional and parallel, the flower and the skull are reminders of the fragile vibrancy of life and the inexorable passing of time. (Source: Gagosian)


3. Beatriz Milhazes’ Gamboa Seasons Summer Love (2010)

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Influenced by the tropical climate and vegetation of Brazil as well as by the urban vibe of Rio de Janeiro, Milhazes combines traditional imagery and cultural clichés with plain geometric forms and structured compositions, creating dynamical and unexpected works. (Source: Galerie Max Hetzler)


4. Michael De Feo's Untitled (Last nude Playmate Kristy Garett by Sasha Eisenman for Playboy, Jan-Feb 2016) (2016)

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Inhabiting a space between fine art, street art, and appropriation, Michael De Feo’s (a.k.a. The Flower Guy) iconic flower symbols and graphic interventions began appearing on New York City streets as early as 1993. Re-working fashion imagery from magazine ads to bus shelter billboards by painting cascades of multicoloured petals onto the printed images, De Feo brings new life to his source material in a way that is both subversive and joyful. (Source: Danziger Gallery)


5. Marc Quinn’s The Archaeology of Desire (2009)

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Marc Quinn’s monumental Archaeology of Desire is based upon a naturalistic Phalaenopsis, a genus of the orchid family. The fine, papery petals defy the properties of the bronze medium in which they are cast to appear almost weightless and ethereal. The work belongs to a series of sculptures and paintings through which Quinn has explored the concept of ideal beauty achieved, especially, through genetic modification. On an immense scale, the delicate petals take on an ominous presence, resembling the wings of a Phalaena moth from which the flower takes its name; the lower part, in turn, assumes the appearance of pincer-like mandibles on the threshold of inertia, poised to snap shut, pierce and penetrate. The title of the work also hints at the sculpture’s latent sexual connotations; the heart of the flower’s anatomy is its reproductive organ, which lures insects for pollination. So, in turn, does this part suggest the human female genitalia. (Source: Marc Quinn)


6. Mat Collishaw’s Orchid 1 (2005)

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Of all the images with which he seduces and confounds the viewer, Mat Collishaw’s Infectious Flowers are probably his most beguiling achievements. On first encounter, we are struck by their exquisite colours and shapes, but closer inspection reveals their imperfections. The petals are not perfectly formed – areas are ravaged by, and almost pulsating, with a disease. In this way, the viewer becomes both seduced and horrified. Collishaw was inspired by the story of a 19th-century dandy who became so obsessed with flowers that he decided to lock himself away in his mansion that was filled with only his plants. His opulence became so much that the flowers became diseased, a parallel to the sickening of his mind.


7. Gerald Machona’s The Edelweiss (2013)

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One of the most notable aspects of Gerald Machona’s work is his innovative use of foreign currency (particularly decommissioned Zimbabwean dollars) as a medium. Initially, Machona started using the material in an attempt to convey the difficulties of the hyper-inflationary environment that Zimbabweans were living under until recently. But in 2008, it also became an interesting way to explore some of the underlying issues of class, migration and nationalism and the feelings of estrangement associated with the experience of “foreignness” while living in South Africa.


8. Banksy’s Flower Thrower (2003)

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This stencilled image may be Banksy’s most famous work. At first glance, it looks like a rioter about to throw a molotov cocktail. However, this ‘rioter’ is throwing a bouquet of flowers instead. By substituting flowers for a weapon Banksy makes us think about peace in a place we wouldn’t expect to find it. The work is surprisingly hopeful and upbeat.


9. Anya Gallaccio’s preserve ‘beauty’ (1991–2003)

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Anya Gallaccio is known for her work with organic materials such as flowers, fruits and sugar. Her installations often change over time as they decompose, sprout new life, or melt. In preserve ‘beauty’ 2000 gerberas are sandwiched between huge panes of glass and left to wither and rot. Gallaccio has described gerberas as a ‘disposable commodity’, mass-produced all year round. preserve ‘beauty’ was first displayed in the window of a London gallery, where it became a metaphor for her perception of the male-dominated art scene. (Source: Tate)


10. teamLab’s Floating Flower Garden (2015)

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With its roots anchored overhead, more than 2,000 suspended flowers float in a white bubble. As if endowed with a conscience, the flowers rise when the spectator approaches, and then descend once again. Offering a way to restore our sense of unity with nature, the interactive installation takes inspiration from a zen kôan in which a zen priest, in the 13th-century, left his meditative retreat in the mountains to teach the path of awakening. One day, he pointed to a flower in a garden and said: “The Heaven and I come from the same roots. Everything around me and myself is made of the same substance.”

Marc Quinn sculptures to go on display around Qatar

Doha will have in its midst two monumental sculptures by Tagsmart Certify artist Marc Quinn — Frozen Wave and The Origin of the World — as the Anima Gallery, The Pearl, prepares to roll out Quinn’s first solo exhibition in the region titled Marc Quinn at Anima and featuring some of his finest sculptures and paintings. The two awe-inspiring sculptures will be exhibited outdoors for the first time; one to be displayed in front of the Museum of Islamic Art, and the other outside the Anima Gallery. The exhibition opens on November 13 and will be on till February 13, 2017.

Gallery sued over US$100K Chiparus fakes

A Manhattan art gallery is being sued for selling inauthentic sculptures by the renowned art deco artist Demétre Chiparus. The cost? Over US$100,000.

Christopher Rouse claims Elliot Stevens gallery attempted to convince him that the statues were made using original molds which was acquired after the sculptor died in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Rouse maintains to have been told that the statues were for sale at a 75% markdown because the gallery owners were retiring. In reality, however, the Romanian sculptor lived and died in Paris, and an expert witness at the trial in a Manhattan federal court testified that the statues were most likely Chinese-made forgeries copied from photographs.

The gallery denies that it mislead Rouse, insisting that his version of events are not true. According to documents, the gallery describes the artworks as having been “cast and carved from an original model by DH Chiparus.”

Elliot Stevens CEO Steven Shalom was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday but was forced to postpone his testimony due to illness. Shalom will testify in October, when the trial continues.

Giacometti art trove at centre of Franco-Swiss legal tussle

A rich trove of drawings by Alberto Giacometti and photographs of the renowned sculptor and artist has been lying in sealed storage cartons in a Swiss museum for more than two years due to a legal dispute over their rightful ownership.

Swiss prosecutors said they had ordered the seizure of the collection pending a decision by a French court after the Paris-based Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation alleged that the works had been stolen decades ago.

The Swiss-born Giacometti, who died in 1966, is one of the best-known sculptors of the 20th century. His “Pointing Man” sold last year at Christie’s for $141 million, the largest sum ever for a sculpture.

Two more antiquities may have to be returned by the National Gallery of Australia to India

Two more Asian antiquities in the National Gallery of Australia’s collection may have to be returned to India, with news of a new arrest in relation to an Indian art smuggling ring. Another antiquity trader has been arrested who may be involved in the looting of two pieces – an 1800-year-old limestone carving showing a scene from the life of Buddha and a 12th century statue of the Hindu goddess Pratyangira.

The report says investigators believe antiquity trader Deena Dayalan sold these two sculptures to disgraced New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is awaiting trial in an Indian prison. Kapoor sold the pieces to the NGA in 2005, which paid $800,000 for the Buddha and nearly $340,000 for the goddess Pratyangira.

Following an investigation by the NGA of its Asian art collection, the uncertain provenance of the works had already been flagged in the Crennan Report, released by the gallery in February, which identified at least 22 works under suspicion.

Hindus urge Sydney Art Gallery to return Durga statue if found illegal

Hindus are urging the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) in Sydney to expedite the provenance of its Hindu goddess Durga statue, and if proved stolen, return it to Hindu temple it originally belonged.

According to reports, among AGNSW collections, a 140 cm tall early 10th century red sandstone statue of goddess Durga slaying the buffalo demon Mahisha is under scrutiny and it may have been illegally obtained.