“artist”

David LaChapelle: Love after the Flood

If you’re a fan of James Bidgood’s kitsch-erotic imagery, then you’ll love David LaChapelle’s trash-pop. With a dominant streak of fetishism and obsessive neurosis, After the Deluge is a dive head-first into a universe saturated with colour. After the deluge runs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Mons, until 25 February.   Those discovering David LaChapelle for the first time should be aware that some scenes may offend the sensibilities of the uninitiated. With hermaphrodite angels, naked girls straddling giant mushrooms, forewarned is forearmed! Encompassing porn-chic and transgressive visions, if transgender beauties make you squirm and masturbatory fictions provoke a nervous sweat, it might be best to give this particular exhibition a miss. Conversely, maybe it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the buried impulses, neurotic obsessions and wild thoughts that lie in the uncharted waters beyond your comfort zone – if so, the new hang at the Museum of the Fine Arts in Mons devoted to the (very) subversive David LaChapelle, might please you after all… One of the many urban myths in circulation about David LaChapelle, is the rumour that his first picture was of his mother Helga, in a bikini, Martini glass in hand, on a Puerto Rican terrace. If this particular urban myth is to be believed, it would sum up the work the photographer and film director born in Fairfield, Connecticut (1963) well; LaChapelle is the angry child of fashion and advertising. Moving to New York before the age of 20, a job at Studio 54, centre of the New York underground scene, and then – crucially – a meeting with the Pope of Pop art, Andy Warhol, with whom he would go on to collaborate for Interview magazine. David LaChapelle has become the Basquiat of the C-print. A post-modern Jérôme Bosch Despite all this,...

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Data: Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool is what one might call a phenomenon; he produces little work, rarely expresses himself and his work began to change hands for tens of millions of dollars at a relatively early stage in his career. We take a look at his 350 million dollar portfolio. Graffiti on a white van; legend has it that Christopher Wool’s famous word paintings were inspired by graffiti on a white van, with the simple words ‘sex luv’. In 2012, 20 years after its creation, Phillips sold the mother of all wall paintings for a hammer price of 3.5 million dollars. Christopher Wool is one of those rare artists to have had various strokes of luck. Born in Boston in 1955, he grew up in Chicago in middle class family. In 1973, at the age of 18, he moved to New York to study art at the New York Studio School under the supervision of Harry Krame and Jack Tworkov, before swiftly abandoning the course to make the most of what the Big Apple had to offer. During the early 80’s he made the most of this newfound freedom by working from time to time in the studio of artist Joel Shapiro. It was during this time that he developed his most popular series; from his famous word paintings and flowers to his patterns and eagles series. A contemporary of Basquiat, he was one of the first artists to integrate graffiti and street art techniques (spray paint, stencils, rollers) into work on canvas. Above all, Wool is an artist who takes an avant-garde approach to painting, whilst everyone else is preoccupied with finding new media. In just 10 years, he has firmly established his position in the market. Star exhibitionist Christopher Wool has already been the subject of numerous exhibitions; no less...

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“Shapeless assembly”, a new international trend

A new artistic scene is blooming, from New York to Berlin. And the works in question? Strange assemblies of heterogeneous materials, indistinct unstable sculptures, sometimes the fruit of joyful post-Duchamp bricolage. AMA has wondered why their reception is more subdued in France than elsewhere. A trend decoded. Coloured plastic drips and hangs from a piece of wood. Undefineable shapes from a mishmash of materials, punkish tubular creatures, newly obsolete machines hooked up to geometric structures… Perhaps you’ve already come across one of these creations at a young gallery or at a fair? What is it that you’re looking at? A history of our society, an encounter of different materials, or something else altogether? Does our proximity to the visual environment make it more difficult to find the distance needed to understand these works? Does the “newness” of these aesthetic forms disturb our habits? Like the Dadaists and the Fluxus movement, these artists escape from classifications for now. Their apparently incomprehensible works take on different shapes and develop a host of ideas, all the while referring to various artistic movements. Yet a number of common features helps us to grasp what is happening before us and to make out the outlines of a new artistic scene. Born in the 1980s, these artists belong to the same generation. As students in the mid-2000s, at a time when the Internet and globalisation were in full boom, they joined the working brigade in the midst of economic, social, ecological, political crisis… Their society is global and open, but also violent and dystopian. In their ambivalence, everything seems possible to them, but at the same time, nothing at all. Their productions resemble assemblies, associated – in the eyes of those of us who care to look – with the notions of heterogeneity, materiality, shapelessness....

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Contemporary art, the cash cow

One hundred milligrams of calcium per portion and only 19% fat…this is The Laughing Cow. Something of a cult- and this year it is Belgian artist Wim Delvoye to design the collector’s edition box. Previewing at the FIAC, at only 5 euros, it’s the most affordable piece of contemporary art at this year’s fair. With four hundred million consumers worldwide, two hundred and forty portions eaten each second, The Laughing Cow is the gold standard amongst amateur cheese lovers; the quirky triangular cheese, imprinted with an image of a jovial, earring-clad cow is eaten by half of all families with children under the age of fifteen. It would seem that there is no shortage of milk on the contemporary art scene. Cheese company Bel Group has taken the bull by the horns and launched their ‘collector’s box’, a limited edition by one of the biggest names on the international art scene. So what’s the concept? An upcoming contemporary artist will create a cardboard box with 24 portions of cheese bearing the unmistakeable little red zipper of the sometimes irritating, but essentially loveable brand. Combine this with a good dose of marketing and a worldwide zeal for spreadable cheese, and you have an industrial commodity where a supermarket mainstay meets the fine arts – a gentle nod to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. Between Pop art and bovine humour, iconic packaging has been reinstated in the canon of contemporary cool, and The Laughing Cow’s rounds of triangular cheese pieces in salute-worthy packaging is enjoying visible influence on artists. Hans-Peter Feldmann, German artist and passionate image collector, was the first commissioned by Bel Group to create a collectors box. He was followed in consecutive years by Thomas Bayrle, best known for his work with serial repetition techniques, and Jonathan Monk, a...

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Allan McCollum, encounter in Soho

Born in 1944 in Los Angeles, Allan McCollum has lived in the heart of Manhattan since the 1960s. He is represented by the Mitterrand, Thomas Schulte and MFC-Michèle Didier galleries. An in-studio encounter.   Your work, based on the repetition of forms, is a continuation of your first series dating back to the 1970s… Having been an artist for nearly fifty years, I’ve done a lot of research in my time, but at my age, it becomes important, and even necessary, to look back and see what all your work has in common. I haven’t finished thinking about it yet, even if some unifying themes recur, such as mass production and unique objects. Since the very start of my career, I’ve explored these distinctions, I’ve mixed them up, and while I’m not the only artist to be doing this, I’ve always systematically worked in enormous quantities! I don’t make fifty but ten thousand pieces, and each one is unique. All of my investigations have also considered the space of the gallery or museum, as opposed to that of a store. I always try to contextualise the different ways we have of showing objects with meaning for us. I’ve also made some “souvenirs” and collaborated with small towns to create pieces relating to their own craftsmanship.   Did you originally intend for this multiplicity and this notion of quantity to go against a certain fetishisation of art and the art world? I never use this word “fetishisation” but I agree with the idea. I was born during World War II and I grew up at a time when we discovered the horrors of Nazis and millions of people killed just because they were Jewish, Communists, homosexuals, gypsies… It was a nightmare. Of course I’m expressing my own view, but I...

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