Thursday, November 10, 2016

Culture: Nude - From Modigliani To Currin @ Gagosian, New York (NSFW)

(Drivebycuriosity) - Artists are fascinated by the human body since the begin of their profession. The oldest known nude, the "Venus of Hohle Fels", was created about 35,000 years ago (wikipedia). A lot of the old masters - for instance Dürer, Titian, Goya, Caravaggio, Velázquez, Rubens, Rembrandt - blessed the world with their nudes.

Now Gagosian, an empire in the world of art dealing, displays the new world of nude paintings.  One of their Manhattan branches  (980 Madison Avenue  gagosian ) exhibits "Nude - From Modigliani To Currin". The show focuses on modern and contemporary artists and their interpretation of the human body. I was  impressed how many famous art works the gallery had amassed and I am very grateful that admission was free and  I could take as many pictures I want.

                                                  To Entertain & To Provoke

I don´t know what each artists has intended. Some might have just celebrated beauty ore wanted to show their own view of the human body, Others wanted to entertain and to provoke. Observing & valuing art certainly depends on the personal taste. And it is an open question if is there is a border between art and pornography - you decide. I show here my favorites from the show  - a very subjective selection as usual.

                                                          Great American Nude

On top of this paragraph you can see Roy Lichtenstein`s view on the female body. His "Nude with Abstract Painting" (1994, Oil and Magna on canvas) is followed by"Nude with Bust (Study)" (1995, Tape, marker, painted and printed paper on board).

Above another representative of pop art: Tom Wesselmann`s "Great American nude #44" (1967, Acrylic and paper collage on board with radiator. telephone, coat, framed picture and door) where he mixes different styles.

Here another Wesselmann work, where he mixes pop art with explicit elements: "Great American nude #87 (+Sketch, verso) (1966-1967, Acrylic and collage on board).

Above you can see how girls looked like in the eyes of Amedeo Modigliani: "Nu Couché aux Bras Levés" (1916, Oil on canvas) followed by "Vénus" (1917, Oil on canvas) & "Etude de Nu" (1908, Oil on canvas).

Edvard Munch did not just create his famous "The Scream", now used for Halloween masks. Above his "Madonna" (1895-1897, Oil on canvas).

                                                    Surreal Approach

Some artists were more ore less inspired by the classics. Henri Matisse "Nu aux Jambes Croisées" (1936, Oil on canvas) followed by his "Nu au Fauteuil" (1933, Oil on canvas)  & Francis Picabia "Nu de Dos" (1942-1944, Oil on paperboard mounted on wood) &

Some artists disguised the nudes with abstract compositions. Pablo Picasso`s "Jouer de flute et femme nue" (1970, Oil on canvas) & Willem De Kooning`s "Untitled" (c. 1966, Oil on paper).

Rene Magritte chose the surreal approach he is famous for: "LÉmbellie" (1942, Oil on canvas) plus "Clairvoyance" (1965, Gouche, colored with pastel pencils on paper).

                                                          Power & Muscles

Francis Bacon, a super star of contemporary art, displays his lust for power & muscles: "Two Figures on a Couch" (1967, Oil on Canvas) & "Figure Turning" (1962, Oil on canvas).

 Wow, Glenn Brown "After Life" (2009, Oil on panel,  54 174 x 45 inches, 137.8 x 114.3 cm). The British artist is a real discovery (glenn-brown). I want to see more by him.

                                                      You Can Keep Your Hat On

The New York based artist John Currin, famous for his satirical and funny portraits, sees the things with humor: "Nude with Raised Arms" (1998, Oil on canvas, 46 × 34 inches 116.8 × 86.4 cm) followed by "The Collaborator" (2010, Oil on canvas) & "The Leg" (2016, Oil on canvas).

Other artists show humor as well: "Untitled (de Kooning)" by Richard Prince (Ink Jet, oil crayon, and acrylic on canvas) & Jean-Michel Basquiat`s "Untitled" (1981, Acrylic, oil stick, marker, and pencil on canvas).

                                                            Think Outside The Box

Other artists preferred realistic & explicit images: The German artist Martin Kippenberger created "Untitled" (1981, Acrylic on canvas). Yes, this images doesn´t need a title.
David Hockney painted "The Room Tarzana (1967, Acrylic on canvas).
Charles Ray sculptured "Young Man" (2012, Solid stainless steel) and
the fertile Andy Warhol factory delivered "Walking Torso" (1977, Synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas).

                                                       Obsessed With School Girls

Some artists want to provoke. The Japanese artist Takashi Murakami seems to make fun of the Japanese obsession with school girls in Mangas and others forms of popular culture: "An Homage To Seiki Kuroda "Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment" - TONY + Kaikai Kiki Facotry" (2011, Acrylic and gold leaf on canvas mounted on aluminium frame).

I close this post with Jeff Koons` "Naked" (1988, Porcelain).

Studying art history can be fun. Enjoy!

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