One of the more accessible mediums, photography has long been an entry point for those relegated to the periphery of the art world, and a group exhibition on view now at the Denver Art Museum celebrates those who helped develop and define the genre as it grew throughout the 20th Century. Modern Women/Modern Vision features more than 100 shots by some of the era’s most influential photographers—the list includes Berenice Abbott, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Eva Besnyö, and Imogen Cunningham—showcasing their distinct aesthetics, politics, and styles.
An indication of the medium’s technical evolution as well as the shifting cultural milieu, the exhibition opens with the modernist sensibilities and painterly impulses popular around the turn of the century, evident in works like Abbot’s textured, black-and-white “Court of the First Model Tenement.” The show ventures into the moving, documentary images funded by the Works Progress Administration throughout the Great Depression—some of Lange’s most poignant shots are included—and then touches on the feminist practices of photographers like Flor Garduño, who captured the life of Indigenous populations throughout Mexico. Reflecting the rise find digital, the collection’s closing section incorporates a broader range of techniques and more directly addresses issues of race, class, and gender that continue to dominate conversations today.
Modern Women/Modern Vision is on view through August 28. (via Blind Magazine)
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Books have beguiled us since they first emerged in the form of ancient scrolls and codices around the world. The way we access, utilize, and enjoy reading material has seen technological transformation over the centuries, from Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the 15th century, to the first dictionary produced in 1532, to the advent of affordable pocket paperbacks in the early 20th century. Paper tomes have had an immeasurable impact on society and our ability to relay knowledge, and even in an age of digital e-readers, the physical volume still embodies an appeal as timeless as literature itself. In a new exhibition in London, the world of reading provides a starting point for the seven artists to explore a wide range of themes and materials, highlighting our perennial fascination with the printed and bound medium.
Cheri Smith, Russell Webb, Guy Laramée (previously), Aron Wiesenfeld, Guillermo Martin Bermejo, El Gato Chimney, and Claire Partington (previously) work across a wide range of styles including sculpture, illustration, painting, and printmaking. In Bookworks, Laramée’s deconstructed reference volumes are transformed into miniature topographical landscapes that challenge our sense of scale. Cheri Smith’s paintings, sometimes painted onto book covers, reference the eccentricity of animals and how they are categorized in natural history catalogues. El Gato Chimney constructs elaborate narrative illustrations in accordion-style publications that follow an eccentric band of characters as they confront giant creatures.
Bookworks is on view at James Freeman Gallery through June 4.
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An expansive exhibition sprawling through the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea offers an intimate and holistic glimpse at the life that inspired Jean-Michel Basquiat’s body of work. Opened Saturday, King Pleasure is curated by the artist’s two younger sisters,
David Adjaye. The immersive reproductions provide insight into the places where Basquiat spent much of his time and developed his distinct aesthetic, including his childhood dining room in Boerum Hill, his 57 Great Jones Street studio, and the Michael Todd VIP Room of the Palladium, a beloved night club that commissioned two monumental works.It
Comprised almost entirely of Basquiat works except for Andy Warhol’s silkscreen family portraits, King Pleasure showcases a variety of paintings, early drawings, cartoon sketches, and newsletters the artist made during high school in Brooklyn.
As Robin Pogrebin writes for The New York Times, King Pleasure augments Basquiat’s legacy with objects, videos, and ephemera that create a fuller picture of his short life, which ended with a 1988 overdose at the age of 27. “We wanted people to come in and get the experience of Jean-Michel—the human being, the son, the brother, the cousin,” Heriveaux said in an interview. “To walk people through that in a way that felt right and good to us.” The exhibition also coincides with other U.S.-based shows of his works, including two at The Broad in Los Angeles and the Orlando Museum of Art.
Tickets for King Pleasure are on sale now, and an accompanying monograph featuring interviews with family members and an in-depth consideration of his life is also available this week from Rizzoli Electa.
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Putt Around the Playable Artworks of ‘Par Excellence Redux: The Back 9,’ Now Open at Elmhurst Art Museum
The Back 9 of Par Excellence Redux, an artist-designed miniature golf course, is now open at the Elmhurst Art Museum. Curated by Colossal’s founder and editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson as part of an open call, the exhibition of playable artworks pays homage to the incredibly popular Par Excellence, which opened in 1988 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Back 9, which runs through January 2, 2022, includes artists Wesley Baker, KT Duffy, Eve Fineman, Joshua Kirsch, Annalee Koehn, Vincent Lotesto, Joshua Lowe, Jim Merz, David Quednau, Donna Piacenza, and Liam Wilson & Anna Gershon. This round features a wide array of designs like a mirrored room in which the green spreads out into infinity, a community garden in waiting, and Koehn’s fortune-telling piece first shown 33 years ago in the initial exhibition.
Chicago sculptor Michael O’Brien conceived of the original Par Excellence, which opened to lines down the block and subsequently sold out daily. It was recognized nationally in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Chicago Tribune, among others, and went on tour throughout Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial project called ArtGolf, which was located at 1800 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park on the site that’s now occupied by Goose Island Brewery.
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Melbourne, Australia’s Beinart Gallery is gearing up for an exhibition of small scale paintings, scratch-built models, and tiny sculptures. Co-curated by artist Joshua Smith (previously), the Miniature Art Group Show features impressive works by a group of around 30 artists from around the world.
Close-up photos of the architectural models and other miniatures in the show highlight the level of detail that the artists pack into every square inch. Cardboard, plastic, and paper are painted to resemble weathered wood and metal, while breath mints become the canvas for portraits of The Beatles. Each piece reflects the dozens of hours that went into its meticulous production.
“Art in miniature is inherently impressive by virtue of the precision and patience demanded by its very creation, but that is not where its magic lies,” reads a statement from the gallery. “The magic is in the invitation extended to the viewer to reimagine the world on an entirely different scale[…] Miniature art delights the eye and teases the brain with possibility.”
Miniature Art Group Show opens with a reception on March 7 and the exhibition runs through March 29. For more information and to see the full list of contributing artists, head over to Beinart Gallery’s website.
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Material Properties: Celebrating the Art of Craftsmanship in a Group Exhibition at Paradigm Gallery + Studio
Colossal is proud to announce Material Properties, a forthcoming group exhibition curated by our Founder and Editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson. The show, which opens on September 27 and runs through October 19, 2019, is at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia, PA. Material Properties examines the intertwined histories of fine art and craft through the work of six artists from around the world.
Iranian embroidery artist Maryam Ashkanian (previously) captures the dream worlds of sleeping people on pillows and Portuguese textile artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) creates massive tapestries of natural topographies using salvaged materials. Philadelphia-based sculptor James McNabb (previously) builds stylized urban landscapes, while Kendal Murray (previously) imagines nostalgic miniature worlds set atop found makeup compacts and purses. Michigan-based sculptor Matthew Shlian (previously) transforms simple sheets of paper into large-scale tessellated surfaces, and Yoonmi Nam, who lives and works in Kansas, plays with temporality and impermanence in her meticulous replicas of single-use containers.
Please join us for an opening reception on September 27 from 5:30 to 10pm. Artist James McNabb and Christopher Jobson will be present at the opening and you can RSVP on Facebook.
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Editor's Picks: Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.