Tim Burton at The Museum of Modern Art

Filed under: Art Reviews,Reviews — doktorjohn January 16, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

Tim Burton at the Museum of Modern Art
Nov 2009 – April 2010
New York
By Doktor John

Surrealist and multi-media artist Tim Burton is the subject of a major exhibition at New York Citys MoMA that must be seen by everyone interested in pop culture. Attendance is overwhelming and it requires reservations well in advance. One of the first things one notices is the enormous body of work that he has churned out over the years. Known mainly for motion pictures like Mars Attacks and Batman which feature his eccentric design style, Burton is revealed to be an amazingly prolific and gifted in ink and in paint, on paper and on canvas, since very early in his life. Just as his movies seem to want to bridge the gap between child-like innocence and true horror, so too his witty and light-hearted drawings are filled with fantasy creatures that have dislocated eyeballs and with predatory clowns menacing with pointy teeth. Some of these have been translated by sculptors into jaw-dropping constructions and assemblages.

The lightly-colored pen-and-ink drawings include recognizable personalities such as Joey Ramone, Vincent Price and Alice Cooper. Others are anonymous humans with distorted body parts, aggressive toys or nightmarish yet comical fantasy-creatures. They are typically composed of weirdly proportioned, wiggly shapes that might have been drawn by Aubrey Beardsley intoxicated with absinthe, or by Edward Gorey if he executed them with his left hand. Many are hilarious visual puns. One entitled Tongue-twister displays a creature maliciously twisting a mans tongue as if wringing out a wash rag.

More than 700 pieces are on exhibit and include concept drawings for the characters in his movies, recognizable iconic mannequins, costumes and statuettes from both his animated and his live-action films. Among them are Catwomans costume, a life-sized effigy of Edward Scissorhands, and numerous statuettes representing the various creatures in the stop-action movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The monstrous, threatening Jack O Lantern from Nightmare hovers ten feet above the milling crowd of spectators and a crude ape-head with wooden-branch antlers from Planet of the Apes is mounted high on a wall evoking the feeling of strange otherworldliness.

This exhibition tells us much about post-modern culture, about ourselves and about the creative process. Tim Burton has spent a lifetime arduously and playfully exploring the borderland between the naive fun and the malignant fears of childhood which continue to haunt us well into adulthood.

This is the full page article as it appears in The Aquarian, unfortunately too small to read in its reduced form, here. The text is above the image in legible form.

Myke Hideous Exhibit at Paul Vincent Studio

Filed under: Art Reviews,Goth Stuff — doktorjohn November 1, 2009 @ 6:51 pm

Myke Hideous was among several artists exhibiting at an art oprening held Halloween Night at Paul Vincent Studio, 49 Harrison Street, Hoboken, N.J.

Greeting us at the door

were two of the finest witches to be seen in all of Hudson County that night!

Here’s Myke himself

taking photos of his guests

Marzena was in attendance, but uncharacteristically silent owing to the after-effects of laryngitis!

This is one of Myke complex collage-constructions

which he categorizes as “apocalyptic.” It features a variety of animal skulls, dried flowers and plants, a doll’s head and much more. It has to be seen to be believed, and was priced at a modest $500.

One very impressive painting on wood was this creepy number shown below, called “Escapism.”

Present, beautiful but speechless

(due to laryngitis) was Marzena, shown below.

Beautiful Mutants

Filed under: Art Reviews — doktorjohn September 4, 2004 @ 3:00 am

Prints by Mark Mothersbaugh

The Fuse Gallery in NYC’s East Village has a definite tradition of presenting the collected works of rock-scene personalities who delve into the visual arts. Fans of wacky New Wavers, Devo, may be surprised—or maybe not—to view the collected art of front man and founder, Mark Mothersbaugh. The exhibit, titled Beautiful Mutants, is running until September 4th at the famed gallery’s location deep inside the Lit Lounge at 93 2nd Avenue.
Mothersbaugh, who hails from exotic Akron, Ohio, and whose weird and ground-breaking, if not very musical band once shocked and bewildered rock fans with jerky, mind-numbing rants like “Whip It” and “Jocko Homo,” has tested his quirky aesthetic sensibility on altering antique photographs. He reports that he was influenced by Rorschach imagery, as you recall, ink blots folded to create those familiar, symmetric stains on paper.

Taking advantage of modern techniques Mothersbaugh alters antique photos, mainly of young people, splitting them down some arbitrary midline and then seamlessly adding the mirror image on the other half of the print. Any tilt of the subject creates a bizarre asymmetry in the final mirror-reflected and conjoined image-halves. Thus the once beautiful child undergoes mutation into a pinhead, or a Cyclops, a multiple-limbed spider-figure, or a disturbing, humanoid abstract design.

The opening night reception was packed with a concentration of New York cognoscenti including hipsters, artists and collectors from both the avant-garde art and rock music scenes, not to mention devoted fans of the band Devo, who had just performed on Central Park’s Summer Stage the previous night.

H.R.Giger, Designer of “Alien”

Filed under: Art Reviews,Reviews — doktorjohn November 26, 2002 @ 4:33 pm

Anti? Art

Filed under: Art Reviews,Reviews — doktorjohn October 19, 2002 @ 11:45 pm

Exhibition of Paintings by Skot Olsen
FUSE GALLERY, 93 Second Avenue, NYC
September 7 through October 19, 2002

The Fuse Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village once again treats denizens of New York’s cutting-edge art scene to a stunning and highly thought-provoking exhibit through October 19, 2002. Opening reception for paintings by Skot Olsen was held at on Saturday September 7. Olsen graduated north Jersey’s Joe Kubert School. His bizarre acrylic paintings are busy, gaudy and cluttered, but still retain influence of the Kubert School, which is famous for cartooning and comic books.

Of the 20 or so paintings on display, the majority told grotesque stories with an irreverent flavor, satirizing low-down human foolishness, both institutional and individual. Thus, there were weirdly distorted caricatures of hideously ugly priests, an overtly demented insomniac, some warty-nosed religious fanatics, and a decaying, wrinkled belle of the Old South. These were in the form of highly elaborate, complex stories and were accompanied by explanatory notes adjacent to each painting. Many were informative, even educational, historical narratives.

Seven other works were surreal, bio-sexual inventions, vaguely reminiscent of genitals and internal organs: solitary fantasy figures, as intensely detailed as color illustrations of autopsy specimens.

The artwork is so subversive, so transgressive, that we were expecting to see maybe a shaven-headed, multiple-tattooed anarchist, but were surprised to find Skot a clean-cut, baby-faced and modest young man whose only outward manifestations of rebellion were a pair of earlobe studs. Having graduated in 1991 from art school, the 32 year-old Olsen was able to “quit the day job” in 1995 and is pursued by a growing number of collectors for his works which bring in from $3000 to $8000 a piece. Not too much, one might add, for these highly accomplished, expertly-executed paintings which combine complex and engaging scenarios with wit, wisdom, iconoclasm and spectacular visual interest.
Link yourself, if you’re interested, to Skot Olsen’s website

Montage Art By Winston Smith

Filed under: Art Reviews — doktorjohn October 17, 2002 @ 2:11 am

Untouched by Human Hands

New Montage Art By Winston Smith at Fuse Gallery 93 2nd Avenue, NYC October 26 – December 7, 2002

The Fuse Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village’s is fast distinguishing itself as the premier location for exhibiting the works of nationally-famous artists in the pop-punk, cutting-edge category, the stuff that appeals to the metropolitan rock-music crowd. The opening reception for renowned montage artist Winston Smith was held October 26 in the gallery which, like the Lit Lounge to which it is connected, is just a few steps below street level at 93 2nd Avenue. Both outfits—the lounge and the gallery—are run by gracious and friendly hosts, Michael McGrane and Max Brennan.

Winston Smith himself seemed to be hiding in a corner, both surrounded with and protected by admirers, while a mostly youthful crowd of metropolitan art-world “beautiful people” milled about studying the sometimes puzzling, sometimes easily comprehensible artworks.
Using a razor-point knife and glue, Smith cuts out and pastes together images from vintage magazines that he has pored over, sometimes for months, piecing together bitterly satirical narrative montages, which he terms “graphic wisecracks.”

Born and raised in a church-going, but politically- and artistically-aware Oklahoma family, Smith studied art in the 60s in Florence, Italy where he was temporarily taken by the lifestyle and where he continued to live until the mid-70s. Returning to the states he became associated with Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. His design for the cover of their album “In God We Trust”, a crucifix constructed of dollar bills, mounted with a golden Christ and topped with a bar-code price label, was on display along with other artworks.
Also seen were surrealistic, iconoclastic pieces including covers and feature article illustrations for Playboy, National Lampoon and New Yorker magazine, and many non-commercial, sarcastic satirical collages.

The use of predominantly vintage periodicals as sources for these cut-out figures creates a demented, cynical, bizarre version of Norman Rockwell’s world where jolly 1950’s housewives and father-knows-best-types freely associate with Satan, nude models, religious icons and weapons of war. A willowy Vargas model sensuously embraces a torpedo. The effect is not so much retro as it is to impart a feeling of iconic timelessness.

See greed, war and religion get skewered on the razor-knife of Winston Smith.

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