Chinese contemporary artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, practices his artwork in sculpture, installation, architecture, photography and film. His work is heavily influenced by the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. For example, his installation He Xie from According to What?, refers to the online censorship and restriction of individual freedom within Chinese society. Though some of his pieces take an active stance, some of his work has been produced through modified pieces of furniture.
His installation Moon Chest (seen above) is comprised of seven aligned huali chests, with circular openings cut from the center. These chests that were once used as furniture have been transformed into works of art. When the viewer stands at the beginning of the chests and looks down the openings, the viewer sees what looks like phases of the moon played off by light and shadows.
Colored Vases are modern hand dipped vases transformed with industrial paints. These vases from the Han Dynasty are brightly colored; yet still maintain their natural form. Ai asks the viewer to consider their authenticity and if old and new techniques change the view of what was once original.
Featuring over thirty works over the span of 20-years, According to What? Explores topics of culture, history and politics.
On view now through August 10th at the Brooklyn Museum
Judy Chicago is an American artist known for her large art installation pieces that explore the role of women in history and culture. Before heavily incorporating feminist influences into her work at the beginning of the 70’s, Chicago explored a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture and industrial techniques.
Chicago in LA features some of Chicago’s less familiar known, but early significant pieces including masterpiece work The Dinner Party. Most of these works were produced when Chicago was living in Los Angeles while attending the Finish Fetish school.
The exhibit features 60 pieces of Chicago’s work spanning the early years of her artistic career starting in 1963 – 1974. Rainbow Picket seen above (1963) is an important early sculpture blending minimalist forms and a bold use of color using sprayed acrylic lacquer, a material typically used on cars.
On view now through September 28th at the Brooklyn Museum
Now on display at The Met, this exhibition celebrates the first one hundred years of photography in Paris. From corner café’s to Sunday markets, to a lover’s stolen kiss; photographers from all over the world have captured some of the many stories of Paris. This exhibit focuses mainly on street scenes, architecture, interiors as well as everyday life.
Known as the “City of Light”, Paris has been muse to many celebrated photographers including Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, Nadar, Charles Marville, Eugène Atget and Cartier-Bresson. Marville who has been acknowledged as one of the most talented photographers of the 19th century, was originally commissioned by Paris to document the city through his photographs. The exhibit also explores the full trajectory of Marville’s career and brings his historical artwork to life by featuring a selection of his photographs.
On view now through May 4, 2014 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Painter Jules de Balincourt never studied painting. He rarely works using preparatory sketches or photographic models. Yet this spring, he has his own exhibition titled “Misfit Island” at the Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art in France.
De Balincourt -- who was featured sharing intimate details about his life in MUSE 37 -- was born in Paris but had a nomadic early childhood. He lived in Spain, Switzerland and California before settling down in New York where he grew into an influential figure in the art scene.
Fifteen of de Balincourt’s paintings are on display at the museum, including a selection of his work dating from 2003 to present day. His paintings often show a balance between figuration and abstraction with one thread pulling it all together: recognizable reality. Painted directly on wood panels are his signature elements of striking explosions, historical maps and familiar landscapes.
For the first time, the exhibition will focus on the artist’s community center “Starr Space” in Brooklyn. Accompanying the paintings is a range of material documenting three years of performances, concerts and events at his studio.
“I never thought of Starr Space as an ‘art project,’ or in that moment did not really make the direct connection between some of the ideas in my work and what ideas or ideals Starr Space represented,” de Balincourt said. “But now in hindsight it is loud and clear: the connections between my work often representing ‘alternative’ communities, removed isolated microcosms attempting something as idealistic as a better more communal based world.”
'Misfit Island' is on view until June 8.
Featuring more than 100 artists, collectives and performers, the 77th Whitney Biennial presents a wide array of unique perspectives surrounding American contemporary art.
Three outside curators each organized their own floor for the event -- Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art; Anthony Elms, associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and Michelle Grabner, an artist and a professor in the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago -- with each floor dedicated to their own vision.
Among the diverse spectrum of artists is the multi-dimensional work of Dashiell Manley, known for his double-sided pieces made of canvas, glass and full of abstraction.
Also on view is the work of Tony Lewis, known for his large, vacant drawings with scrambled text in gradations of black and white, and artist Ken Okiishi, who combines video, performance and installation to create powerful images that examine human memory.
This year's Biennial will be the last edition held at the Whitney Museum of American Art's Madison Avenue location before moving to a new building in Manhattan's meatpacking district in 2015.
On view from March 7 through May 25.