Tag Archives: Contemporary Art

Esoteric Lore celebrate three years as a collective with “TROIS” exhibition

Art lovers in Atlanta should attend or at least be aware of this upcoming event at Neighborhood Gallery. This Saturday, February 9, 2013 marks the opening reception of Esoteric Lore‘s TROIS exhibition. Esoteric Lore is a collective and traveling exhibit that creates and presents conscious based artwork for the purpose of social dialogue and understanding.. Merging women’s studies ideology with the essence of storytelling, Esoteric Lore’s foundational principles lie in education and preservation.

TROIS is a light hearted art show event that is celebrating Esoteric Lore’s third anniversary as an art collective. The exhibition will feature works from the cream of the crop in terms of female artists working across mediums such as photography and painting, such as Taryn L. Crenshaw, Elizah Turner, Michelyah -Tirzah White, Crystal E. Monds, Corinne Stevie, Faatimah Stevens, Lydia Sharlow, Nile Livingston and Iman Person.

The opening reception will take place February 9, 2013
5-8pm at Neighborhood Gallery. There will be art, live performances and light refreshments. TROIS runs through Feb 23, 2013.


#WatchThisSpace and Check out this short promotional video created by Corinne Stevie inspired by TROIS.

#VanityIsUnfair because the only pain is champagne…

Spanish-born artist Eugenio Merino‘s deals with matters such as politics, religion or society with the purpose of making us doubt of all supposed truths. For this he may use irony, humor, metaphor or oxymorons. Anything to make art a space for thoughts and finding the beauty in the idea. These ideas found space in his latest exhibition Election Time on view at The Unix Fine Art Gallery in Miami, Florida.

Known for his more controversial sculptures such as “Stairway to Heaven” or “For the Love of Go(l)d,” Eugenio Merino works in different directions and mediums. Drawings, videos, objects and sculptures in bronze, resin or silicone are only a part of the possibilities. Whether it’s political discourse or snarky comments on the contemporary art world using a suicidal Damien Hirst or Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons and Hirst as finger puppets, each idea requires a specific material or language. That is why these works have so much impact. The ideas are the language of Eugenio.


#WatchThisSpace: #VanityIsUnfair because the only pain is champagne…


I know you see the Warhols, the Harings and the Rauschenbergs on the walls

Lions, Tigers & bears? You should be more scared of the Warhols, the Harings and the OBEY’s on the wall
Dominance on tap. The latest show at Gregg Shienbaum Gallery was a precursor to what to expect from the upcoming Art Basel. The list of featured artists read like a who’s who of contemporary art of the past 40 or so years. From the old pop masters: Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg, Tom Wesselmann, to the modern day art stars: Damien Hirst, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Takashi Murakami, Space Invader, DFace and more. Id youre in the Wynwood area of Mjami, ever check out this gallery. Can’t wait to see what they have cooked up for Art Basel.


Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin! #IchBinEinBerliner

Johannes Mundinger is a Berlin based artist. He paints walls, canvases and illustrations for numerous magazines. Take a closer look at some of Johannes’ mural work in Berlin, Mannheim and Wroclaw. Send my love to Berlin.

Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin! #IchBinEinBerliner


in Wroclaw


In Berlin

In Mannheim


Darling Niki Sabet

As a woman who grew up in an artistic household, Niki Sabet‘s medium has organically evolved throughout the years. Growing up, Niki’s mother was also an artist, who shed light into the world of different types of creativity for Niki. As an artist, she is hypersensitive and in-tune with her emotions, which illuminates into her work. Sabet’s artistic process, which she describes as “animalistic,” comes from the core of who she is.

“Art is being creative and honest; it records personal experiences, fantasies, and what is going on in the society.”

Through her paintings, sculptures, videos, and photography, such as her series entitled Death of an Artist, the raw emotion through the eyes of Sabet is illuminated. She is also known to trust her subconscious when working, sometimes leaving a project for months until the right emotion returns, thus creating a piece that is 100% truthful and not forced.

In addition to being a skilled artist, Sabet has also been modeling since her teens. At the age of 16, she signed with Ford, where she started her career. Niki’s work and dedication can be found at La Foundrie in Los Angeles, along with her studio in SoHo. Take a closer look at some of our favorite pieces from Niki.


Ras Terms, a self thought artist

A self taught Artist.
A self thought Artist
A self thoth Artist
A self Tehuti Artist.

Meet Ras Terms aka TEROCKATRON, a visual artist that reaches ancestrial realms with work that exhibits a deep understanding of the power of symbols. The Miami born artist’s work can be found way up in Ethipoian churches and The Simthsoninan all the way down to some of your young and old graffiti writer’s books. Ras Terms is a past, present and future artist of all exisiting aesthetic polarities with poetic visual language that opens up thoughts and minds to create new realities. But still he insists he’s nothing but a tool of the unvierse who works through him.

Clara Désiré wants to remind us of our humanity–or lack thereof

Several years back, while abroad in Tokyo, French artist Clara Désiré was approached on the street by a man who was donning Mickey Mouse ears and a t-shirt that read, Lucha libre (“free fight”). This stranger then scribbled the word “tar” on a cigarette and handed it to her. Almost immediately the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat flashed through the artist’s mind. This random encounter, as simple as it was bizarre, is what drew Désiré to painting, and she hasn’t looked back since.



In her first New York solo exhibition, Clara’s While Dreaming, Sounds My Loud and Wild Cry opens October 4 and will run through October 27 at Hionas Gallery. Clara a former illustrator for ELLE France and ELLE India magazines, creates work that acts like some nightmarish yet fantastic storyboard, wherein the viewer may experience terror and captivation upon a single glimpse. To be fearful at all is essentially to fear ourselves, of what we—all being just instinctual animals—are capable of thinking, saying and doing. And yet, Désiré is not without a sense of empathy and tenderness. “Cauz we are soldiers in the frenzy to love”, “Never let you go”, and “Keep calm and carry on” are just some examples of the artist’s use of text in her work, suggesting that amidst the visual chaos and violence the artist is simply searching for some stability.

Faces play a pivotal role in Désiré’s work, yet her subjects’ eyes, with a few exceptions, are empty; voids that recede into a human skull, an animal mask, a cartoon character, or a robot head. Perhaps this is to remind us of our humanity or lack thereof, or inversely, our inescapably animalistic nature.

Her canvases, which often employ visceral brushwork coupled with a romantic etherealness, tell the story of our truest and most base desires unleashed, if only in our subconscious. In the collage painting Tomboy (2012), the artist creates a color field of heated tones, surrounded by utter darkness and scribbled text. The journey provided within is in many respects a trip back to that street in Tokyo, when the abstract character with Mickey ears and cigarette in hand entered the artist’s world and consequently changed it forever.

Take a closer look at more work from Clara below.


Hide your dictators, kill your idols…

Pete Kirill‘s North Korea oil series investigates the relationship between communism and capitalism by representing both ideologies on canvas. The Miami based neo-pop artist highlights the parallels between dictator worship and celebrity idolization, anchored by the physical gestures of the enigmatic, iron-fisted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Kirill’s work investigates the fractured relationship between Communism and Capitalism employing tongue-in-cheek depictions of North Korean pictorial and military tributes featuring Kim Jong-il. With his death by largely unknown causes in early 2012, Kirill’s work opens complex possibilities and associations from within and without the culture surrounding a man, rendered as a deity by his own ruling elite.

Pete’s immersion within a Communist state prompted a continued, focused visual study of infamous dictators and their accompanying cults of personality. Kirill’s first solo exhibition was held at Myra Galleries, Miami in October 2011. The attached works Kim Jong-rodman and Kim Jong Ill’n are pieces that depict the North Korean leaders as a hip hop artist and NBA basketball star, drawing parallels between dictator worship and celebrity idolization.

“Portrait of Kim Jong il and Kim Jong Un”


Art Nouveau: What inspires you?

Pete Kirill: Reading books, watching documentaries, following current news on the DPRK and its leaders, as well as broader primary research. I usually find whatever appears strange or unfamiliar in the image. Once I find a suitable subject, I add one or two capitalistic elements to it. Sometimes, these elements instantly appear within the image. At others, ideas emerge after deeper contemplation. I also draw from my experiences living in Havana, where I witnessed the propaganda machine of the Castro regime firsthand.


AN: Tell me about the North Korea oil series. You’re obviously making a large statement. Why depict North Korean leaders as hip hop artists?

PK: The North Korea oil series is a study that draws parallels between the way Communism and Capitalism are practiced in their respective cultures, although the core of their ideologies are vastly different. North Korean leaders, particularly Kim Jong-il when he was alive, over-indulge on many Western luxuries, with the rate of consumption rivalling American hip-hop celebrities. Kim Jong-il was one of Hennessey’s biggest consumers, for example, reportedly spending more than $800,000 on the cognac brand per year.

I attempt to illustrate the complications between the principles Kim Jong-il and other Communist leaders imposed on their citizens (and still continue to do so) and what is actually practiced by those in power.

AN: Tell me about “dictator worship.” What parallels do you see in American Popular Culture?

PK: Dictator worship is similar to hero worship, arising when an individual uses mass media tools to create an idealized public image channeled through unwaivering praise. In North Korea, their “Dear Leader” is portrayed on larger-than-life billboards and murals as a divine but likable figure, always smiling down on his people. A glamorous pose or gesture is evident in a similar fashion to Western film and music celebrities in its media churn. While the North Korean citizens blindly worship an ironclad leader, they expend their energy into honoring an idol, or image, that is nonexistent. Fans of pop icons like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe create mythologies about them based only on rumor or soundbites. These parallels between dictator worship and celebrity idolization is something I’m continuously exploring.


AN: What does the term “neo-pop” mean to you? And how does your work fit in with this?

PK: Neo-Pop art is Pop in a decidely Postmodern moment, roughly coagulating during the late 1980’s referencing Pop Art’s practical, critical and commercial revival. This term described works from artists such as Jeff Koons and Ed Ruscha. I have been fascinated with Pop ever since I was a teenager. I was immediately attracted to the use of bright, strong color and their comic book-like sensations. I would not say Neo-Pop was a deliberate practical path for me.

What’s next for you?

PK: I’m working on a new series called “The Dictator Hall of Fame,” focusing on famous dictators worldwide. A strong connective tissue joins dictator worship and celebrity idolization, as these these leaders increasingly resemble American Pop icons versus heads of state. “Muammar Jackson” is one example. The recently-deceased Libyan dictator Gaddafi acts like Michael Jackson.

“Kim Land”

A look at Dimitris Polychroniadis’ “Home Sweet Home” installation in Greece

Home is where the art is. Greek artist Dimitris Polychroniadis‘ latest installation “Home Sweet Home” is an ode to his birthplace of Thessaloniki, Greece. The installation is comprised of two parts: Mixed media diorama sculpture 50cm X 50cm X 65cm (h) and a life-size sign comprized of a steel and timber structure, plywood, acrylic colour and spotlights with dimensions 655cm X 600cm X 770cm (h).

The instillation is a part of “Action Field Kodra,” an annual contemporary art show that takes place in the derelict site of the Kodra ex military barracks. The piece was exhibited as part of a section named ‘Stopover’, themed around the ideas of homeland with references to the history of Thessaloniki, curated by N. Mykoniatis. The sculpture attempts to reconcile imagery from war-zone bombed residential buildings (e.g. Syria, Lybia, Lebanon), with early 20th century Modernist Utopias and a sense of carelessness or defiance of lurking danger.  The title comes from a hit song, written in 1823 by Henry Bishop and John Howard Payne. Being part of American popular culture for more than 150 years, it has been heavily used as a title for books, films e.t.c. It has become an almost iconic slogan, also embedded in numerous door-mats around the globe. Take a look at more images shot by Michalis Dalanikas and Dimitris himself below.

“Lionel on Vinyl” and other works from Kristin Farr

Instagram has replaced Tumblr as my favorite social network to find new artists. Take for instance my latest find, Kristin Farr. I instantly became enamored with the San Francisco based artist and Juxtapoz Magazine writer’s geometric inspired mixed media paintings. Take a closer look at some of my favorite pieces from Kristin below.

“Lionel on Vinyl”


Two Is Deemed The Perfect Team, Mario Wagner Collaborates With Absolut Vodka–Again

Following the recent ABSOLUT BLANK campaign, ABSOLUT announces the ABSOLUT VODKA BLANK EDITION, designed by German artist Mario Wagner. The limited edition bottle features Mario’s distinct graphic expression, and draws strongly from the artwork he did for the ABSOLUT BLANK initiative a few months ago. The space-inspired BLANK EDITION will be available in seven markets, starting this spring.

Continue reading Two Is Deemed The Perfect Team, Mario Wagner Collaborates With Absolut Vodka–Again

My Love for the Modern Masters

As a professional writer and avid traveler of North America, I often take advantage of the cheap deals existing for the most-traversed of all American flight routes: ATL to New York City, which could be to any of that area’s three major international airports. The World’s Busiest Airport saw over ninety-four million visitors pass through her gates and concourses in 2011, while I was a year removed from the utter nightmare that bartending on the Delta Concourse in Atlanta was. Back to town – back to the central city – where the Capital of the South has made great cultural strides since the Olympics swept through in 1996.

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Why New Blood, Why Now?

As a bit of a Pop fiend, it was a pleasure to discuss New Blood with Morgan Spurlock; as a bit of a Pop theorist, it’s something of a marvel to ponder the nine-minute manifesto… 

Why New Blood, why now?

“I don’t know if it was a question of now, or if I just felt like there was a need to show – I feel like there’s still this shifty new movement in the art space where the people who kind of launched this whole “low brow” art movement, this street art movement, are now inspiring this whole new generation of artists; y’know these new kinds of Pop graffiti artists who are kind of coming up in their wake, and I find that to be really fascinating. You gotta think it wasn’t that long ago when low brow art and street art was being relegated to the lowest, smallest of the fringe galleries, to now where these paintings are being put up in the cornerstones of the modern art movement. So I think to see where that ripple effect is continuing to affect, not only our generation, but the next generation of artists is really inspiring.”

Art Nouveau Magazine: Do you see characteristics of the “old blood” – not necessarily more conventional or traditional art, but even Warholian Pop Art – within the vein of this New Blood?

Mogan Spurlock: Definitely. Those artists, those people who kind of were at the cornerstone of that Street Art/Pop Art movement, these are people who came out of that Warhol school of thought; who are making and saying very bold statements about the current state of economy, and our society, our culture. I think there is a tremendous movement still, as art as citizen criticism where we can actually use access to make a statement beyond, you know it “just being art.” I think that’s what a lot of people do, and I think that’s fantastic.


ANM: Ron English put together your poster for the show. I think it definitely speaks to that aspect of art – which can’t be articulated through words necessarily – in showing the fused juxtapositions of commerce, religion, capitalism, patriotism, and the half-dollar at the foundation, with you at the center of it all. Do you have any thoughts on that or how it all came together?

MS: This is the piece that Ron actually put together for the show, and it came from a collaboration that he and I did on my last film, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. In that film there was a conversation I had with the gentleman who created the Star Wars poster and the JAWS poster, and the JAWS trailer, and his whole thing is about how being offensive and to use the type of things that people most hold dear, that you use as creating conversation, are the things that get inked; and if you want to do that, there’s one thing that always gets inked – and that’s religion. And Ron is somebody who’s been using that to his benefit for years, and so when the poster I had suggested we use was “The Last Supper,” the first person I thought of for doing a poster for that was Ron. And I think the criticism that he draws and the way he puts the influence of popular movies on us – much like they are our apostles today – is pretty, I think, inspired.


ANM: I do see a very big omission from this, I kind of wish I saw Maggie Simpson somewhere at the table as a religious icon…

MS: (laughs) I know right – and I kind of feel like I should have been more Judas than Jesus at the table, but y’know…


ANM: So you’re from West Virginia, you went to Tisch School of the Arts, and the show is in Culver City [California] … Something that we talk about here at Art Nouveau is that “Stars are born in New York, and L.A. is where they go to die.” What do you think about the art scenes on the East Coast and West Coast, and coming from West Virginia as a bit of an outsider, how do you see the art scenes?

MS: (laughs) Well, it’s amazing because y’know if you’re an artist, or an actor, or a filmmaker, or a storyteller that’s where you end up going – to Los Angeles, to settle into your career; but if you are in the art world, what you want to do is to have your art suddenly accepted by the big galleries in New York City – you want to have someone in New York City, like The Gagosian, be carrying your art. You want to have – when Dietch had his big gallery in New York City – you wanted to have somebody like that give it their seal of approval, so you actually made that crossover into the big gallery world. You know, L.A. has really started to come into its own with the street art movement, but I still feel like the cultural capital of the art world lives and breathes in New York City.


ANM: What differences do you see between documentarian and curator; what limitations or freedoms does one have and not the other?

MS: For me, as a curator, it’s much easier when all I can do is come up with a theme and present it to artists and they get to run with it – it’s much different where I’m having so much control and influence. There may be another show in the future where it’s much more directed with what I want to have the artists create, but this was much more about the artists and their vision as opposed to what I want them to say.


ANM: So, elevator pitch for New Blood: in 15 or 30 seconds, you’re caught in an elevator – or between flights – and someone wants to know about New Blood, what would you tell them?

MS: I would say that in the art world everyone has helped someone along the way, and especially now, even myself, I find myself in a position where I try and give other people a break. I let everyone know: ‘This is a filmmaker you should know about. This is a writer you should know about. This is someone you need to be paying attention to, because they’re going to be after our jobs in a few years – that’s how good they are.’ So the same thing is in the art world, that there are plenty of people who have apprenticed under, whomever, for centuries, who – whether it be Rembrandt, whether it be Picasso – or whether it be these people who we’re having in the show, and what I want those artists to do is share those people that they believe are the next big thing with all the rest of us.

ANM: When was European interior design at its peak?

MS: ’74.


“New Blood,” curated by Morgan Spurlock, opens April 28 at Thinkspace Gallery. The show runs through May 19. Click here for more information.

There’s Always A Need For New, Weird and Better and TokyoThirteen Arts Plans To Supply

Painter Darryl “13” Bennett of TokyoThirteen Arts was born on Friday the 13th, and sure enough, luck has nothing to do with his success as an artist in his native Washington D.C. Taking the number and its negative connotations, and using it as a symbol for something positive and uplifting is what Bennett is all about. He says he paints from a surreal world he’s created in his mind, where a host of seemingly unrelated influences come together. Much like the city of Tokyo, a place that he connects to on an artistic and personal level. Tokyo is a city where traditional values and progressive ideas merge, and where so many varying subcultures like video gaming and tattooing have found a home. This massive convergence of ideas is the foundation of his brand, which he created in 2007.

Continue reading There’s Always A Need For New, Weird and Better and TokyoThirteen Arts Plans To Supply

Tolstoy Aside, Where Do We Draw the Line Between What Is and Isn’t Art?

In 2012 the question of what is art remains as relevant as it was in 1896 when Leo Tolstoy published his seminal 132 page essay “What is Art?” on the aesthetics of art in which he wrote: “Art consists in one human consciously conveying to others, by certain external signs, the feelings he has experienced, and in others being affected by those feelings and also experiencing them.”

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Strange Fruit: Interview with Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas latest body of work Strange Fruit expresses the historical truths blacks had to endure throughout their journey here in the United States. Hank created vivid comparisons of black perception between the pre-slavery era and post-Civil Rights Movement. The irony that drips and oozes from his canvas, visually gives a voice to those in history who didn’t have one. Hank’s symbolism exposes the role media plays in the down fall of our popular culture. This creative genius shed light on the method behind his madness.

Read writer Ilysha McMillan’s conversation with Hank Willis Thomas, exploring images from his recently released Strange Fruit body of work.

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#KeithHaringTaughtMe Street Art is the New Fine Art

It’s been more than 30 years since then unknown artist Keith Haring traded his humble beginnings in a small town for the big city dreams of a city like New York and entered school at The School of Visual Arts. That was 1978. It’s 2012, and Street Art is a now global phenomenon. The new generation of artists taking a cue from Haring and others of that movement take to the street innately when it comes time to get their work to the masses. I find it fitting, The Brooklyn Museum choose to showcase some of Keith’s earlier work at a time when Street Art is the new Fine Art. Last week, Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati opened to the masses and once again, the public who Keith devoted years to, have a chance to view his work once more.

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Like Ali G. with an MFA, Hennessy Youngman talks that art talk

By day Hennessy Youngman is an emcee with two mixtapes under his belt, by night he’s a visual aesthetic loving, sharp-tonged, witty art critic who’s YouTube series YouTube series ‘Art Thoughtz‘ has caught the attention of the art world he dishes on weekly.

Continue reading Like Ali G. with an MFA, Hennessy Youngman talks that art talk