Friday, September 29, 2006

art show: donald urquhart at jack hanley sf

the third solo show we went to last saturday was donald urquhart's "no axe to grind."


true enough.

the press release says he is originally from scotland, gravitated to london's drag scene, and appears to be doing well with "his sardonic ink drawings[, which] graphically exhibit his gay counter cultural heritage parodying camp, hollywood artifice, aubrey beardsley with the drawl humor of an embittered queen."

sure. gay themed editorial cartoon illustration.

i like the fault line tattoo here:

the leather daddy, in drag, with flowers, was well timed for the folsom street fair (as was the chaps-wearing, nipple-elongated, daddy straddling the fault).

the show has local humor:

gets comical-political:

invokes charlie brown.

this is art forum's only current pick for san francisco. new york has 10 picks, la and london 5 each, paris and zurich 4 each. whatever.

the review asserts that the "tart series of black-ink drawings are rooted in retro visions of the city’s queer history and acknowledge its lifestyle mood swings with sardonic wit. with a visual aesthetic that comes off as a mash-up of aubrey beardsley’s monochromatic graphic excess, “candyass” cary leibowitz’s lowercase phrasings, and rufus wainwright’s winking camp....a thematic thread of dreams gone theatrically awry is at the core of urquhart’s vision,...the artist grandly acknowledges the distracting entertainment value of bitchy self-loathing yet never underestimates its pathos."


most of the work - back ink drawings around 16x20 (i made no notes, sorry) - was $2700. good for donald.

the show closes on saturday (9.30).

see the set?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

art show: haden nicholl at little tree gallery

the second solo show we saw on saturday was haden nicholl's "improvising in the field."
electrocution bucket trap.jpg

"electrocution bucket trap." titles matter in this show. they identify the sum of the parts shown, provide the goal for the active viewer. combine the elements, imagine the trap, work out the details.

the show also includes haden's own instructions.

instructions for electrocution bucket trap.jpg

i do not know much about haden. i liked his work at this year's monster drawing rally. a little research shows he simultaneously has a colaborative piece - live in environment with artist imagining mental hospital - with the most fabulous anna maltz. i haven't been. artbusiness has photos in the long feed here (scroll down).

some - like "incindiary bucket trap" - have many parts to puzzle.
incindiary bucket trap.jpg

others, like the postcard piece, "basic incendiary," are fairly easy to imagine.
basic incendiary.jpg

i like the interactivity - the viewer completes the process. the work also reminds me of cartoon backgrounds, but with cartoon violence. i am not all that fond of violence. i know it happens. i feel it in myself at times. worse when i was the violent age (boys 15-25?). it is one of the things that i enjoy in haden's show. the reference points for imagining. but i would rather not fill my headspace with handy tools for contemplating - metaphorically - murder.

i am conflicted. my favorite is "stress release poison trap":
stress release poison trap.jpg

the corresponding instructions:
instructions for stresss release poison trap.jpg

the work is well priced - two to six hundred or something like that.

view the set?

the show runs through oct. 1 at little tree gallery in sf's mission district. which means the gallery is open on sunday (thurs-sun) and the show closes this sunday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

art show: emily prince at eleanor harwood gallery

we went to four solo art shows on saturday.

the first was emily prince at eleanor harwood gallery.


emily prince is a conceptual artist with a pencil. her contribution to bay area now 4 was a map dotted with portraits of us military casualties from the current iraq war. she updated the map as the exhibit, and war, continued. [update: this large work is now in the venice biennale] another project - at jack hanley - was generated from post cards people sent in identifying a line color and their birthday.

this show - titled familiar - has bicycles.

and scissors.
(the white spots are my flash - which did not get along with emily's pencil work)

and glasses.

the kinds of things a person might find comfort in.

the illustrations remind me of cartoon background illustrations, only more earnest and rendered solely in pencil. they are not the hyper-realism of ed loftus or rosana castrillo diaz.

view the 15 picture slideshow or set?

the show runs to oct. 6. the gallery is in sf's outer mission (1295 Alabama Street at 25th). i think the gallery is open thurs/fri 11-7. (eleanor's contact info may provide more guidance).

collector's notes

i think emily prince is doing well in the academic/museum art world. in addition to the last bay area now show at yerba buena, she was one of 30 who had studio visits by sf moma's seca this past year (she did not win but will likely be considered again). i think her bigger conceptual projects resonate with art's academia. success in this world often leads to exorbitant pricing.

this gallery - brand new - is also one to watch. eleanor has demonstrated curating success with her work at adobe book's backroom gallery (from late 2002).

i think emily will be known for the bigger conceptual projects like those cited above. this show - a coherent body of work - is more accessible. user-friendly. easily integrated into a home.

at $650 [now $950] for 18x24 (or thereabouts), it is also a great value.
06.07 update: you can still find available work by scrolling down here

my favorite piece was this one:

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

collector's notes: banksy prints

six prints were available at the friday opening (9.15.6) of banksy's barely legal show in la earlier this month and quickly sold out. the prints are based on the following paintings: applause, festival, grannies, i can't believe, sale ends today, and trolley hunters.

for the most part, the prints were true to the paintings. trolley hunters was an exception.
the print is missing the blue sky and the yellow of the field.

100 of each print were sold in la. edition of 500. not clear where the other 400 are. you basically had to be there at noon when it opened (on friday) and stand in line for an hour to get a print. or, be invited to one of the previews (about half sold at the previews).

the prints were unsigned (not uncommon with banksy), 2-4 color silkscreen (i think) on good paper, $500 a piece, one of each print, per person, maximum.

as noted in an earlier posting, the nyt cited the $500 price as evidence that banksy was no longer a rebel (missing the fact that the original work was selling, to celebrities, for six-figures).

and, as it turns out, $500/each was a good deal for the prints. how good is still unclear.

grannies - my favorite print - sold (buy it now) for $1500 on 9.15.6.
on 9.21.6, grannies closed with 24 bids at $2550.

i put together a handy chart showing all sales to date.

as i write this, festival, with 4 hours to go, has 9 bids and is at $810. and sale ends today has 4 days left, 5 bids and is at $750.

interestingly, banksy's kate moss print, in edition of 20, recently sold (buy it now) for a little over $17,000.
banksy.kate moss on ebay.jpg

the seller's case for this price was "in years to come these are sure to be on a par with the original warhol marilyn interpretation - originals of which fetch 6 figure sums (and they were in editions of 250!!) most of the "kates" were sold in sets of 6 to famous artists and collectors and very few singles were ever sold. an a/p (artist proof) recently sold at a london gallery for £14k...."

i don't know about that. the kate moss image is too much of a take off of warhol. i know the art world loves referential art, but think that banksy's more clever street work, on canvas or silkscreen, has the better claim to being the signature piece.

the most iconic, for me, that i have seen as a print is the boy throwing the flowers.

i think it was an adbusters cover. banksy has used it a lot. the girl hugging the bomb, the military helicopters, and the girl with the heart balloon would all be contenders (the girl with the heart balloon was shown, on a wall, in woody allen's match point).

i think banksy has a shot at being warhol's peer. the press loves banksy and the art world responds to press. his star is rising much more than it is falling. i have already said i think banksy will make it into the art history books. six figures for a 5 color silkscreen print seems highly unlikely to me. but who knows?

at some point, the price of art disengages from the reality of its creation. banksy is there.

if i ran an art investment fund, i would have been at the preview and purchased one or two good original banksy's at the extraordinary price. it would be a good value given banksy's trajectory. but those folks probably don't get to hang the art on the wall and enjoy the investment.

logic suggests that the prints are a reasonable value at the current ebay prices. some risk. the prices are high - shepard fairy still sells signed screen prints for around $30. the collector base may exhaust itself. who knows? of course, a much better investment if purchased at the show.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

"it smells of sulfur still today"

"vice president dick cheney is a 'blood-thirsty beast.'"
true enough.

this posting is moving to proper observations

Thursday, September 21, 2006

choe at blvd

did you see my post on internet tuning? well, my google alert yielded more choe fruit.

first, it pointed me to a feature on choe in seattle's the stranger.

second, it pointed me back to blvd. clicking through, i found that the gallery now has the work online.

the show includes big panel pieces (4'x4') of choe's twin 1 and twin 2.

the blue-haired twins may be familiar. choe painted them on one of the doors next to 5024 on fillmore in sf's lower haight.

in a nice moment, we ran into david choe when he was cleaning up from painting the above. i like my street art local and fresh. someday i will document such happy coincidences with photos.

wanna see the full door?

they were also still up at gr2 in la when we went there a few weekends back. not sure how that happens, but i like it.

the show also includes a portrait from choe's 3 months in a tokyo prison. tiny vices features some of the other work, which provides some context (e.g., he used soy sauce, ink, urine). choe produced a zine with some(?) of the work, which i missed.

collector's notes

none of the work was listed as sold when i checked earlier today. that may change now that it is posted on juxtapoz.

i think the above work is a reasonable value for david choe. he is a talented and somewhat unpredictable painter. he takes "risks" - some of which do not work for me. but he always has work that i find to be compelling. i am not alone - wooster collective often promotes david choe. and i have heard some artists i respect also compliment his work. two primary risks for his artistic career are (1) he gets into more trouble than a 3 month stay in a tokyo prison; and/or (2) he spends his creative energy working for advertising. those are both risks with a number of emerging artists (the second, perhaps, more than the first).

each twin above is $3500 (48"x48", acrylic, spray enamel).

the tokyo prison portrait is soy sauce, ball point pen on paper, 9"x11" ($1000).

the show has some $300 and $400 pieces. my pick would be his smaller whale which looks like it is from 2003. 8.5"x11", pencil/watercolor on paper, $300. i like his whale icons (an image which he repeats) and this piece, while sad, is fully realized and compelling to me.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

kids getting up

outside of thinkspace last friday night, i saw a true youngster getting up.

i caught it all in a slideshow.

i like ert's candy stencil.

and her installation candy.

mildred put down a stencil

similar to his painting in the thinkspace show

i like this icecream sticker (not sure who made it).

ok, the sweet girl at the top wasn't really putting up.

or, rather, she first unpeeled the stickers from the trash can. then celebrated her victory by showing just how she did it, miming an instant replay with a silent commentary. when that got boring, she wasn't sure what to do. hold the sticker? put the sticker back? put sticker on parent for safe keeping?

file under "children are sweet."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


we went to thinkspace the past two friday nights. the first was the opening night for their new "picks of the harvest" show. there is a lot of art. it was crowded. not so crowded that you couldn't see the art, but nearly. the second friday - after the banksy show - was part of an art crawl. it was not crowded. not uncomfortably empty - there were people there. although i prefer empty for viewing art. andrew and shawn create a nice environment for looking at the work.

so, there were more than 100 artists in the show. the lat covered the show and the gallery.

i liked this medium piece. aka nicholas digenova.

he is having a show in ny right now that i would love to see.

i loved this travis millard couple

care to see the left or the right bigger?

alex pardee is great.

as is mike maxwell

he is in a three person show at shooting gallery that i need to check out in person. show runs through 10.05.06.

my set from the show is here. i only photographed a small portion of the show, knowing that thinkspace has all of the work here.

collector's notes

most of the above work was priced under $300. it is a great show. a wide variety of talent. a lot sold. a lot has not yet sold. this show has a lot of good value. like mike maxwell's abe lincoln piece for $250? i do.

Monday, September 18, 2006

lat on bozic

the lat covered tiffany bozic's solo show at blk/mrkt (previously blogged).

this is great news for tiffany. art generally does not get that much press. as a consequence, the few shows that are covered garner extra attention (while the show is open) and recognition (after the show has closed). this is also a good sign for collectors.

the review highlighted her untitled painting of an owl:
owl redux.jpg

"Superbly rendered in thin, almost translucent acrylic on smooth maple panels, the paintings have the air of Audubon-era nature illustrations but with a surrealist twist. Limbs and vines, bones and branches, roots and veins, flowers, fur and feathers mingle and morph into dense, organic clusters, set against stark, empty landscapes."

"One of the finest examples is an untitled painting, roughly 2 feet square, of a white owl with a bloodied white mouse in its claws, hovering, wings spread, against a snowy white backdrop. A ribbon of feathery red blood vessels issues from the body of the mouse to wrap around the owl's claws; two additional ribbons spill from the owl's eyes, winding around each wing. Despite the shock of blood, it's a curiously peaceful image, pointing to the profound connectedness, even harmony, between predator and prey."


this posting is moving to proper observations

Saturday, September 16, 2006

banksy's barely legal show (la warehouse, 09.06)


we went to banksy's show at an la warehouse over the weekend. i have not seen much of banksy's work in person, so this show was a real treat.

it was nice to see his reworked flea-market paintings in person:

and, the gay cops in the back of the van are hot:

the nyt, ever vigilant, reported that the "how's my bombing" sticker on the back of the van has an 800 number for a navy recruiting office in phoenix. banksy also included the original stencil for the liplocked cops.

the show included recent street work on canvas:

and, many of banksy's greatest hits.
(including the stencil)

overall, it was a nice show. the setting was large enough to house an elephant and leave sufficient space for the fans to checkout all of the work. they screened a 7 minute film comprised of some of his stunts (ny museum placement of banksy's work, disneyland, paris hilton cds, etc.) and some quick shots of his work in public. i have seen a lot of it on the web but it was nice to see on a big screen and without bandwidth issues. banksy's film crew was also present, interviewing folks about banksy and the work.

i took a nearly complete set of the entire show with my digital camera (not included are the sculptures, elephant, and sketches). view the slideshow?

the media

somehow i was not invited to banksy's wednesday night preview of his la warehouse show (for the press). once again, banksy worked the media. google news identifies a number of news sources that covered the event, from the usa, uk, canada, australia, china. the show made the nyt and even al jazeera.

collector's notes

the original work was priced from around $25,000 for a very small piece to $500,000 for a truck with multiple stencils (also including the kissing cops above). most of the original paintings were priced between $100,000 and $300,000. we heard that most of the work sold out at banksy's thursday night preview for la's a-list.

they also had prints of some of the work in the show, including the lovely painting of knitting grandmothers.

ironically, the nyt posited that sales of prints at $500 each "would seem to go against Banksy’s rebel image." they could have made a stronger point by identifying the sales of original work to hollywood's elite for $100,000 to $300,000 a pop.

the response in the nyt from banksy's "spokesman" (i still want that job) was “yes, there probably is some depends on what he does with the money, right? maybe he makes more art. maybe he’s getting more ambitious.” banksy's take in the la weekly interview was "when someone buys my work, they know that they’re indirectly funding street damage, and you’d be surprised who’s cool with that."

my view is that it might as well be banksy who makes that kind of return on his paintings. banksy is the godfather of stencil painting. he helped to create the genre within street art. his work is beautifully rendered. he inspires plenty of kids working in the streets. and now, he is helping to bring stencil work - and other street art - to the upper echelon of the fine art world. banksy is the top of his field. if anyone should command that price for a painting - and many do - i am happy to see that it is banksy getting up. i hope he keeps his head. so far, so good.

and, i recognize that at some point the price of art is more a fact of the status of the artist than the art itself. the brand name of the artist places the value of the work into a different category. banksy is now an art world superstar - commanding sums more akin to the movie stars who purchase his work. banksy is certainly not contending that his prices are somehow related to his labor. on the contrary, he seems to tease, noting in the la weekly interview that "some of the paintings have taken literally days to make." his spokesman reiterated the point to the nyt, noting that "some of them took literally hours to paint."

nevertheless, these works were probably a good buy. right now, all indications are that his career is taking off, not peaking. the work in the show was very strong. there is a lot of demand for his work and that will only grow as his celebrity continues. banksy arguably has a spot in the art history books as the grandfather of stencil work and the first street art celebrity of the 21st century. at that point, it seems, big works for $300,000 may be a bargain. will be interesting to see where banksy goes from here. whether he crosses over to the big contemporary art fairs (banksy at art basel?), the venice or whitney biennials, big museum shows?

the prints are also likely a good value. i heard the prints were edition of 100, only available at the show. from looking at ebay, it looks like the prints were edition of 500 but only 100 were released at the show. they need to work out these kinks - and present a clear message to the public - or they are going to get sued.

nevertheless, these same prints could be found, within 24 hours, on ebay with sellers seeking $1500-$3000 per print. the market will ultimately tell but having followed the pricing of banksy's prints to date, the asking price for the new prints is not unreasonable. however, it does feel a bit like the other economic bubbles in the market. time will tell.

given that banksy's original work is out of my range, i took a series of polaroids (many shown above). these will allow me to create my own banksy installation at home. view the polaroids?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

study (disappearing sky)

remember rigo23's sky? the big mural that used to be across minna from sfmoma.

i loved that mural. bold. simple. clever. fun. visual space claimed for art (not advertising). when i first saw the crane (from the construction of the paramount) blocking the sky, i took a photo. seemed emblematic of the time. the sky was full of construction cranes (still is).

i decided to make a photo study of the disappearance of sky. and, its sibling ground. the sky study has eight primary photos which show what happened to sky from april 2000 through september 2003 (the last sighting).

view the slideshow? or the set?

the study also includes photo constructions.
(see it bigger?)

i like physically piecing together photographic prints. additional detail photos and photo constructions from the study are here.

i met rigo23 along the way.

it was one of those perfect moments. i had my tripod set up and was working on photographing the concomitant destruction of the ground mural. i saw rigo taking pictures. he came up and introduced himself. he liked my project. i shared my photos. we became friends.

one of my projects as a photographer has been documenting street art. i use a medium format camera (among others). i pay attention to lighting, framing. i return and rephotograph work - sometimes repeatedly - until i get something that i think is sufficient (or the work has been destroyed). the previously blogged kilgallen and mcgee from the lacma parking garage is a good example. i also recorded most of os gemeos work in san francisco from a few years back (the first thirteen in the linked set are from sf). most have now been painted over. with this work, my policy is to make the work available if the artists want to use it (for books or whatever).

i do not think of this documentation work as my "art." instead, it is part of a somewhat preservationist mission to make sure we have good documentation of amazing work that is somewhat ephemeral.

i also work on my own "art" as a photographer. currently online, i have my ongoing study of san francisco from 2006 and another from before. i also have another study called rest in peace. (i have more online and off)

my disappearing sky and disappearing ground studies are somewhat of a hybrid. they document rigo's murals. and, they add through documentation over more than three years. in thinking about this for some time, i am comfortable that the studies are sufficiently transformative for me to think of them as my "art."

i would like to show this work in a gallery. rigo is ok with this. prints are 20x20 (i think; could go 30x30 or 40x40). anyone interested?

Monday, September 11, 2006

tiffany bozic's solo show in la

we went to the opening of tiffany bozic's solo show at blk/mrkt in culver city. the show runs through october 21 and is definitely worth checking out.

i am a junkie for tiffany's work. i generally respond to art which makes a strong showing in three categories:
(1) unique voice -- not repeating someone else's work;
(2) artistic excellence -- i value illustration and rendering skills, artistic craft; and
(3) emotional resonance.

tiffany's new show is spectacular on all fronts.

first, her voice is clear. you recognize her paintings. in part, none of her peers can replicate her work. in part, the content is uniquely tiffany's. as the la weekly said "Tiffany Bozic is a new traditionalist informed by Audubon and Rousseau.... Bozic has built her young career on surrealist, anatomical/botanical fantasies; beautifully rendered yet sometimes haunting and gruesome, void of irony and absolute with sincerity."

second, her skills are exceptional. beyond old master. she generally devotes 2-4 weeks on her bigger paintings. she puts in overtime. check out the detail -- for example, the eye -- on this painting:
kingfisher detail.jpg
(see the full painting here)

third, you feel life in her paintings. read and respond to the body language when viewing the work. this show includes a number of pieces which focus on the joys of love and coupling.

tiffany's work often incorporates metaphor. for example, the cover piece is of a "monkey eating eagle."

the bird exists in nature - it is the national bird of the phillipines which, according to this site, usually eats flying lemurs. the representation is graphic and disturbing. the rendering is beautiful and loving. a closer inspection shows that the bird's legs are intertwined with - a part of - a plant. the flora and fauna inextricably linked.

i took copy photos for tiffany of the four smaller paintings before she took them to la. i also brought my lights and cameras down to take photos of the installation.
(note: the photo takes a few seconds to load when you scroll --> --> --> patience)

the miceball in the background is amazing in person.

the individual mice are rendered beautifully.
(a differenttake)

collector's notes:

i think the work is a good value. as noted in an earlier blog, the show is receiving good press. in addition, the show was la weekly's art pick of the weekend - no small task in a crowded field.

(update: the show was also reviewed favorably in the lat.)

the postcard piece (phillipine eagle above) is expensive ($11,000). the artist - who typically earns only 50%-60% of the sales price - has invested one month full time and is only paid if and when the work sells. and, she has to cover the costs of the materials. in this light, the price appears to be expensive but reasonable given the quality of the work and the costs of a months full time work. it is a signature piece (used on the postcard, in the ads). it is huge. my guess is that tiffany will only produce 5-10 big paintings a year. as demand exceeds supply, her prices will increase and the market will provide tiffany with more economic freedom to continue to invest time into her art. tiffany does not repeat herself with new paintings and since she produces a small number of signature pieces, these pieces should hold their place in her catalog. she is still emerging and her work will only get more expensive as the market finds her.

the individual mice on eggs (shown above) are more affordable at $300 each. these are also beautifully rendered so that you see and feel the life of each mouse. i am happy that tiffany is able to also produce the smaller work - like the hummingbirds from the last show - which expand the field of people who can afford her work.

looking further
the photos i took of the work are here. i did not take quality photos of the five bigger paintings or the six masks (and am hoping they will appear elsewhere on the web since i know good photos exist).

note: ert from juxtapoz has now posted more photos of the show here.

banksy news

so, we went down to la for tiffany bozic's opening at blk/mrkt. we had an extra hour after trying to take some copy shots of the mice egg installation on sunday (sweet, more on this later). and decided to look for some banksy.

good chance he was in town given his recent handicraft at disneyland. and, there is banksy's big show at a warehouse somewhere in la this coming up weekend. we heard there was work on melrose so we went looking.

first we found a new(?) banksy on melrose.

and two older rats: out of bed and dressed and advertising is yucky.

then, on the other side of the building with the new banksy (shown above), we saw shepard fairy putting up an obey over banksy.

see the slideshow.

i wouldn't want to go over banksy. but i think they are friends and maybe banksy is one of the other guys on the roof when shepard is doing this (i do not know what he looks like).

also spotted a bird looking for shoes or something.

and a clare rojas in culver city (next to some gallery or other).