This year at Art Basel I had the wonderful opportunity of touring the fair with Lisa Erf, the director of the JP Morgan Chase Art Collection. It was surprisingly refreshing to hear Lisa talk about the pieces, and galleries, that stood out for her because her main goal is finding good art at a good value. She does not have clients to please, artists to charm, or the nasty habit that has emerged in recent years of buying art purely as an investment. Her perspective is, therefore, honest and all about true art appreciation. Lisa pointed out, not only the artists that she found interesting and exciting, but also the galleries that have good and nurturing relationships with their artists - an important characteristic that is rarely given any consideration. It is impossible to appreciate these pieces through a photograph, it is worth making an effort to see these in person now that you know their names and gallerists. Here they are:
Eduardo Stupia's works in black and white, ranging in scale, were hypnotic. Lisa described them as being a perfect exploration of time and space. From afar, these paintings are cohesive and come together seamlessly, surprisingly alive despite the color palette. They have no center, they allow the eye to drift, and when that happens, up close, you get to see endless layers of work, building up patiently and purposefully to create a very powerful sense of depth and dimension composed of a rich variety of brush strokes.
The story of these artists is a great one. Tim Rollins is a trained artist who began a collective with his at-risk students from a public school in New York. They named themselves K.O.S. - Kids of Survival. Their process involves relating "printed-matter" (someone reads a text aloud) to their own experiences in order to produce allegorical work. The piece above is by no means representative of their entire repertoire, they work with various media and make paintings, photographs, and sculptures. The collaborative has been working together since the mid eighties and continues to make art to this day.
Brooklyn-based (Miami born)Teresita Fernandez has been hugely successful; in 2005 she was the recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and has won many other prestigious awards. She tends to embark on in-depth explorations of different subjects. This work is part of a series that explores paper and language. Images of the night sky are perforated to create braille-like patterns. As Teresita puts it, she is interested in the way in which "one language obliterates another language." By using the abstraction of Braille, she reduces it to the absurd because it cannot be touched, therefore cannot be understood due to the visual language in which it is being encapsulated. The choice to use the night sky comes from the idea that the sky has always been looked to for guidance and information, a different form of communication where the visual is the overpowering force.
Lisa was drawn to Zilvinas as she was reflecting on an artis that could continue the history of Alexander Calder within the collection. Coincidentally, Kempinas was awarded the Calder prize soon after, presented to an artist that makes significant advances in the field of sculpture. Known for his work with fans and magnetic tape, in this piece he used thousands of polyester threads suspended by nails to create repetitive geometric patterns which are then immortalized in resin.
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde is a Peruvian conceptual artist. This piece, in its entirety, is larger than pictured. In it, the artist recreates functional objects and embeds some with Peruvian history (such as the photograph of a Peruvian astronaut). Lisa was drawn to this artist because of the endless interpretations one can draw from his work, she like its invitation to look closer and to continue to find meaning with every revisit. Lisa commented on the fact that though she might not understand exactly what the artist is trying to express, she is confident that he knows and that he has a serious need to create.
Derrick Adams is a multi-disciplinary artist interested in the meanings embedded in objects through associations and popular culture. He has been widely influenced by deconstructivist philosophies. In this work he has created something familiar but new, understood through American culture. He is interested in the representation of ideals an the icons that have been created for them or from them.
|Eduardo Stupia @ Jorge Mara La Ruche Gallery, Argentina|
|Tim Rollins and K.O.S. (A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2012) @ Lehmann Maupin, New York|
|Teresita Fernandez (Night Writing, 2011) @ Lehmann Maupin, New York|
|Zilvinas Kempinas @ Galeria Leme, Sao Paulo|
|Gabriel Acevedo Velarde @ Galeria Leme, Sao Paulo|
|Derrick Adams (Human Structure Leaning, 2011) @ Tilton Gallery|