Month: June 2017

Urban Art Fair

Urban Art Fair

The first New York Urban Art Fair is opening TODAY in Spring Studios in NYC. “Launched in Paris in 2016, Urban Art Fair has become a key event of the urban art movement. Its first New York edition will take place next June with more than 20 international galleries hailing from Paris, Berlin, Hong Kong, Miami, the Bronx… Urban Art Fair highlights leading street art galleries and artists as well as emerging projects. The fair will also present Urban Influence, an exhibition focused on urban fashion”.

The fair is open through July 3 and is $20 for admission. Grab your tickets here.

Image Courtesy of Spring Studios. 

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Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

 

Ending June with a polka dotted bang, the insanely popular traveling exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” is opening at the Seattle Art Museum tomorrow. It will be available to see in Seattle until September 10 before traveling to other major museums in the United States and Canada, including The Broad in Los Angeles (October 2017–January 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March–May 2018), the Cleveland Museum of Art (July–September 2018), and the High Museum of Art (November 2018-February 2019).

Prepare for your insta feed to fill up with infinity room selfies!

Get your ticket for Seattle here.

AT: 1300 First Avenue

Seattle, WA 98101

WHEN: June 30-September 10, 2017

Infinity Mirrored Room- All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016.

Image Courtesy of: the Seattle Art Museum.

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MASS MoCA Expands

MASS MoCA Expands

Our favorite upstate museum, MASS MoCA, recently opened their $65 million expansion, making it the largest contemporary museum in the country. The former textile mill allows you to explore three floors of art that’s so large, you wouldn’t be able to see it displayed anywhere else. Visit now to see works by James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, Robert Rauschenberg and many other contemporary art heavy hitters.

Pro Tip: While you’re there, pop into the nearby Clark for a double dose of art.

Image Courtesy of: MASS MoCA

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Jane Booth: Saturday Studio Session

Jane Booth: Saturday Studio Session

We’re spending the morning watching this video of Kansas-based painter, Jane Booth, paint in her studio on a Saturday afternoon. Read what she has to say about her process below. Happy watching!

 

Saturdays have long been my favorite studio day.  Even though I work every day, the luxuriousness of a Saturday from my corporate days lingers.  The phone rarely rings, my favorite radio station has good music programs, and it feels free and unfettered.

Yesterday was wild – fast and furious energy, I pulled some older canvases to rework (always free-ing) and kept the camera going to watch the progression of some narrative work.  When watching them all together this morning, these time lapses seem to capture the frenzy.  Mozart’s Symphony #25 sets the perfect pace.

The work is unfinished.”

Image and Video Courtesy of: Jane Booth.

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5 Things to Read This Week

5 Things to Read This Week

Happy Monday Atmos! Want to ease into your week with us? Grab your coffee and extend your weekend a little longer. Here’s what we’re reading this Monday morning:

Saltz Says, “Blockbuster Moment in New York for Female Artists”.

Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx Finds a New Home in Greece.

Art Gallery of Ontario Acquires 522 Diane Arbus Photographs.

The Getty’s Return to Chronology.

New York Congresswoman Proposes Student Loan Relief for Arts Workers.  

 

Image Courtesy of: NYMag and Florine Stettheimer.

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Shara Hughes: Same Space Different Day

Shara Hughes: Same Space Different Day

Last chance to see Shara Hughes, Same Space Different Day at Rachel Uffner Gallery. In half of the exhibition, Hughes explores the different ways in which one object or idea can be perceived when shown within different contexts. “Playing with the boundaries between the real and the imagined, Hughes renders her paintings as portals into unique universes that beg for deeper discovery”. The upstairs gallery features drawings created over the past three years. “Purposefully composed as Hughes’ mind is preoccupied with other thought, she allows her subconscious to be at work on the page, enacting shapes and colors that she might not otherwise choose to pair”. Catch it before it closes!

AT: Rachel Uffner Gallery

170 Suffolk St

New York, NY 10002

WHEN: April 30 – June 25, 2017

Image Courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery.

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At the Home: Richard and Eileen Ekstract

At the Home: Richard and Eileen Ekstract

Today at Atmos we’re speaking with collectors Richard and Eileen Ekstract in their home in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Read along for a chance to hear about Richard’s friendship with Andy Warhol and their latest venture, Collectors Concessions.

*This conversation has been lightly edited and condensed.

  • Andy Warhol Silkscreen

Atmos: Have you always had an interest in art?

Richard Ekstract: Well sort of yes. When I was in high school I had a girlfriend who was an artist. That lead me to that path, but you usually don’t get involved with art unless you can afford it. 

A: That’s very true. I think that’s one of the things that artcloud is working on. So even if you don’t have the money, you can still be interested and connected to it.

A: Where are you both from?

R: I’m from New York City, she’s from New Jersey.

Eileen Ekstract: Well I only grew up in South Jersey,I was born in New York.

A: Did you meet in the city?

R: Yes.

A: Did you start collecting together or by yourselves?

R: No, I had been collecting for some years prior to that.

A: Do you remember the first piece you collected?

R: The first piece I collected was actually a piece of African art. I had been selling advertising for a magazine that I started and I was waiting for a client, I was early. I walked into a gallery in Los Angeles that had African art and it blew me away. And I started getting involved with buying African art…that’s what got me collecting in the first place.

A: Did you like African art previous to that visit or was that the first time?

R: When I was a kid I went to the Brooklyn Museum with my brother and we looked at Egyptian and African art, but I wasn’t aware of what I was looking at. I just sort of liked it. But I went into this gallery and I saw the way they had displayed these sort of magical figures, it just shook the ground for me. 

A: Do you still have the piece?

R: No, I didn’t buy that one because it seemed expensive at the time. But I bought something in New York after that. Do I still have that? No, but I always liked African art. Right there, (points to sculpture) is a piece by Vanessa German, who is a black woman and she combines African tribal art with American junk art. I love this combination of old and new and seeing how they conflate the disciplines of contemporary art with what was tribal art.

A: I remember speaking to Eileen the first time I came here about your collection; it’s really fascinating. It’s very diverse.

R: The two pieces on the wall over there are by an upcoming artist, Titus Kaphar. Titus is very intellectual. He graduated high school at about 15 or something and then he went to Yale, very smart. He was the product of a single mother and he was always told that his father was in jail. So he went on Google and he looked up ‘Titus Kaphar’. There wasn’t one Titus Kaphar in America, there was something like 50 and every single one of them was in jail. He started drawing what he felt his father would look like if he found him. He finally did find him and they had some sort of reconciliation. Jack Shainman who is the gallery where he shows has (two spaces). The uptown gallery had a show of Titus’s original drawings of who he thought his father might be. There were dozens of them and with big ‘X’ across because he X’d out all these people who weren’t his father. It was interesting. …Every artist wants to have a signature look if they can. They want to differentiate themselves from everybody else because you want to be an individual. So Titus’s thing was he would take out a principle character from a storyline or something he was painting and just eliminated them. And that one over there (points to work) it’s a picture of Christ. The space where Christ would be is empty; however, inside in spite of the fact that it is empty, there is a black man looking out, questioning the whole idea of religion

R: As you probably know, we have a lot of art in storage but every once in a while I like to change it. I just sent out a piece…to Sotheby’s for auction last week, which sold. I have this empty wall that’s going to be open. I decided I like to look at Titus more because I love looking at his work. I see something different every time. This streetscape from Brooklyn speaks to me too (work behind couch). It’s a photo-based work, but you can see the enormous effort the artist put into it; etching out all those branches. There’s texture to it as well.

A: Looking at it directly you wouldn’t notice the texture until you were up closer.

R: He’s also concerned with the environment. That’s why that roof at the bottom is black. Today people are painting their roofs white because you can save 25% of your energy if you have a white roof. I don’t think most people knew that. 

A: I had no idea.

R: But it’s about where we live here.

A: So you buy works that speak to you?

R: That’s about it.

A: That’s what you’re looking for when you’re in a gallery? Whatever speaks to you that day?

R: Yeah.

R: Those two women over there, that’s by an Iraqi woman, Hayv Kahraman. That’s also from the Jack Shainman Gallery. I don’t know why I’m giving him so much business. It just took me and it was hard getting it in here because you can see, it’s right to the ceiling. We had to re-stretch it. She has multiple images in her paintings of women, but every woman she paints, the face is all her. In this particular case, they’re showing their private parts. It’s a little risqué. The gallery had a question of whether it would even sell, but it turned out that it was the one most people wanted

A: Do you buy each other art as gifts sometimes?

R: Yeah, I have a portrait by Billy Sullivan of Eileen. I was at a charity auction in the Hamptons and they were offering this portrait. I’ve always liked Billy Sullivan’s work…it’s beautiful, I love it.

R: This piece is interesting because I (took a Chelsea gallery tour) and we walked into Jack Shainman’s gallery- that guy again! I saw this work (by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye) and Jack came up, I knew him forever, and he said ‘you should have that, but I have to talk to the other two people (who have it on hold) tomorrow, I’ll call you.’ He called me up and he said ‘it’s yours’. I didn’t even know what it cost, but it was relatively affordable. Now she’s become very popular, she just had a show at the New Museum. She’s Nigerian and lives in London, but she’s become world class.

R: Then I bought that work (points to work next to Boakye work) at a little gallery called Thierry Goldberg Gallery on the Lower East Side. Most of his art is not expensive. I walked in there and I bought that by David Shrobe. I said ‘you know what? Let’s see if this piece is strong enough to stand up to that piece’. So I put it there next to her and the more I look at it, the more I like it. For me there’s a lot of mystery in that painting and I had never heard of that artist before. I didn’t know a thing about him, but it spoke to me.

R: This one is a little better known by Hernan Bas. For a while, you couldn’t get one, it was just so popular. He sort of lost that luster and he was wandering the wilderness for a while. Now, he’s making a big come back. Which happens to people in the art world, you know that. I have a storage house full of them.

A: I think a lot of collectors have that problem. When do you know when the right time to resell is?

R: Well hopefully one doesn’t buy art to resell it.

A: I completely agree however…

R: …however, if you have limited means, sometimes its necessary to either buy new or…

R: That piece over there is a photograph and if you look very close you’ll see Andy Warhol in it. It was a series that was done for the Warhol Museum. I had a moment in time where I got very involved with Andy Warhol. Long time ago. I met him in 1962.

A: How was that?

R: I had a little magazine called Audio Times, which I had started a couple of years before. My editor asked me to buy a bankrupt magazine called Tape Recording Magazine. He knew he could fix it and he was a tape recording fan. It was nothing to buy, so I bought the back issues of the magazine and the title. I got this publication designer, Peter Palazzo, to re-design it. He did a brilliant job. The magazine was beautiful, but it wasn’t selling on the newsstands. I couldn’t figure out how to make this thing breakthrough. And one day I had an epiphany; I said why can’t sound be an art form like art on the wall? Today, that exists. But back then no one had thought of that. So I thought, what if we had a pop sounds contest? You have all these pop artists out there, even then Warhol was quite well known, and you let people send in what sound they think is art.

R: Peter said great idea, do you want Andy Warhol to be a judge? I said…uh yes. Peter had given Andy his first job, doing illustrations for I. Miller shoes. They were good friends. Peter calls up Andy and says ‘Andy, I have this client Richard Ekstract and he’s got a magazine. They’re going to have a pop sounds contest and he’s looking for judges. Would you consider being a judge?’

R: Andy says ‘Well, can he get me free tape and tape recording stuff?’ I said, ‘yes’. So Andy says, “I’ll do it and I’ll bring Henry Geldzahler with me.” Henry was then working with the Met Museum, but later became cultural commissioner of New York. So I had these two judges, but the stuff people sent in was the worst.

A: That’s what happens when you open it up to the public.

R: Right. So we called the contest off. Andy calls me and says ‘Hi Richard, what did you do with all those tapes you analyzed for the magazine? Could you give them to me?” I said sure. He says, “Come down to the studio and bring some tapes”. So I started going down to his studio, but I had three kids and was married. I just couldn’t hang out with that crowd of bohemians.

E: How different your life would have been.

R It was fun to go there. So we were friends. In 1964, Philips Stovven of Eindhoven came out with a new Norelco video recorder. At that time, video recorders were strictly for broadcast use, they cost like $100,000. And only professionals used them. This was I think $5,500. A wealthy person could own one. Andy calls me and says, “Do you know about this new video recorder? Could I get a loaner for 6 months? I’m making movies and editing is killing me. But if I had the video recorder, my editing would cost nothing.” I told him I would see what I could do. I was on the board of directors of the High Fidelity Trade Association and this (friend) was also on the board. I said, ‘you should send a machine to Andy Warhol because he generates so much publicity, everyone’s going to win. You’re going to get a lot of press for this because it’s a very expensive product’. He said okay I’ll do it. I said you know what we’ll do? We’ll have a big party for him when he finishes his videos and I’ll give him a cover story in Tape Recording Magazine because I have self-interest too. I thought this might make the magazine. I mean having Warhol on the cover…

R: He comes into my office that summer of 65’ and he says ‘ I made the videos, whens the party going to be?’ he loved parties.

A: Who doesn’t?

R: He was making underground movies at the time so (I thought) we’ll have to have an underground party. I started calling around to see where we could have an underground party for Andy Warhol. Nobody came up with a reasonable answer. One guy said to me do you know Track Six under the Waldorf Astoria Hotel? I said no. He said it’s a special railroad track from the New York Central Railroad where millionaires like J.P. Morgan and Teddy Roosevelt would pull up their private train cars and take an elevator ride into the hotel. It’s a secret place.

R: I said wow, now wouldn’t that be a great place to have a party? I called the Waldorf and the guy in the PR department says to me, ‘I don’t know anything about it, but I’ll call you back’. He calls me the next week and says there is a train track down there, but it hasn’t been used in 35 years because the elevator to the hotel stopped working and the only way to get down there is the fire stairs on 49th street and its about 129 steps down. You would have to have guards at every level, you would have to have guards to watch the people walk across the tracks to get to this platform. You could have booze, but you can’t have food because there are rats down there. Blah blah blah. You would have to have massive liability insurance and I said well, if we could do all that, could we have the party? The guy said yes.

R: I said to Andy, look at what my friends and doing for your party, what can we do for them? He said, ‘I have no money, I’m broke’. I said, I have no money, I’m broke. He said, ‘But I’ll tell you what, I made a 1964 self portrait. I sold 11 of them. I’ll give you the separations, you make the silk screens and make one for me too and give me back the separations when you’re done”. So in the end we made 10 for myself, Andy and a few necessary contributors.

A: Wow that’s incredible. Are there any artists you currently have an eye on?

R: She likes an artist, Nina Chanel Abney.

R: About four years ago, I was trolling the internet and there was story in there about a South African artist named Maleko Mokgosi, so I got intrigued and I tried to find all I could find, but he was then represented by a woman in Los Angeles, Honor Fraser. I call the gallery and inquired about the work. She says, ‘well there is none, but he is working on a series of large paintings that are set to travel around Europe for a couple of years, but I’m glad your inquiring about it because he’s a brilliant artist. If anything comes in, ill speak to you’. A few months later she calls me and says he has a studio in Brooklyn in the Navy Yard and if you’d like to go to the studio, I’ll take you’. (They were) giant pictures, 15 feet high, 20 feet wide. It was about political instances in South Africa and their quest for racial equality. They were too big for me to own, so it sort of slipped away from me. The next thing you know, I’m reading in the paper, Jack Shainman took on Maleko Mokgosi.

A: You and Jack Shainman, my goodness.

R: You’d think I’m in love with the guy.

R: I go to this gallery to see the show and it’s big stuff again, very big paintings but there’s one that’s human size. It’s about 8 feet high, 5 feet wide. You could put it in a house. It was beautiful; it was a woman with cherubs. It looked like it could have been painted in the 18th century, very beautiful. I said that I liked it. He said well its sold. But when I called him later about Lynette, he said ‘I have another reason why you shouldn’t sell. Remember when you wanted Maleko Mokgosi? Well, the guy who had the reserve on it, never paid for it, so it’s yours if you want it’. Wasn’t cheap, but I bought it. It’s off travelling right now.

E: It’s in the Williams College Museum, they’re having a show.

R: Whenever I get a new piece I like to hang it on the wall and look at it.

A: So this is the only space you have to hang at the moment?

R: Well we have a house in the Caribbean, but we don’t hang contemporary art there. We have a local artist who lived on the island who made a lot of paintings. I filled up that house with his stuff. And then we had a kid this year paint a wall for us.

A: That’s awesome. So do you rotate this space more often?

E: Well we’re going to hang the art we haven’t gotten yet in the summer house. We’ll move some things.

R: We bought half a dozen things that are sitting waiting. So I’d like to hang them. We have a lot of art that I’d like to give a home for a while.

A: Your latest venture, Collectors Concessions, how did you guys get the idea?

R: Well it’s pretty simple, collectors collect. And that’s what we did and when your walls are full what do you do? You buy more because you’re a collector. Where do you put it? Storage. Right now I think we have 250 pieces in storage in the Hamptons. There’s another guy who lives in this building who has maybe 350 pieces (in storage). I saw him recently and I said what do you do with all the pieces that you have in storage? He said, ‘well I get rid of it, how long can you keep it? And it’s so expensive to store it’. So multiply this by hundreds because they all have the same problem. They have too much art and some of it they haven’t seen for 20 years. It’s like a museum. It’s a problem that’s universal.

R: The reason that makes Collectors Concessions a little more valid is that collectors collected all of this art, so theoretically a collector has some sort of an eye. A practiced eye because they’ve been looking at art for a long time. By and large, you’re getting it for a considerable discount because at this point we just want to get rid of it. So they (the client) win two ways: they get something that’s a better price and they’ve been vetted. And from our standpoint we benefit because I don’t have to pay the storage unit for 250 pieces. There are so many collectors like this.

R: If you want to make money in any business, find a need and fill it. Collectors who collect too much art have a need to sell it. Somebody that is buying art, who is young, who wants to have great art, can buy it here for a lot less than what it cost from when it was originally sold and maybe have something that’s going to be worth a lot of money. That’s the reason I think that its good. Everybody wins. This isn’t a win/lose situation. ‘

A: Does Collectors Concessions take a percentage?

R: It takes 8%, which is very little, but we’re just getting started. As a Concession, you expect to lose money because you want people to know you’ve got something worthwhile. That’s the investment you make in the business.

A: Last question, any advice for collectors who are just starting out; they don’t have a lot of money, but know they like art and want to start collecting?

R: Everyone says the same thing. Buy what you like. Don’t buy something just because somebody else says it’s going to go up in value. Chances are it won’t. If you love it, you’re going to be happy with it no matter what. If you buy something, just for speculation, I think ultimately you might be disappointed.

R: I’m 86. Do I want to buy art that who knows what it’s going to be worth? I’d like to buy something that I think is going to hold its value. I’ve looked at art for over 40 years. Chances are a lot of what I buy will not be art for the ages, but you still have a better chance of winning, of getting something valuable than not; simply because if you want to learn how to buy art, you’ve got to look at it. You have to go to (galleries and museums) and see a lot. We travel all over the world to see artists in their studios. You learn a lot from traveling and looking. What else can you do?

A: Thank you both so much for taking the time to talk to me today!

Images Courtesy of Emma Fishman (@emmafishman)

 

 

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Ben Butler: Unbounded

Ben Butler: Unbounded

Happy Throwback Thursday Atmos! #tbt to Ben Butler’s installation, Unbounded at the Rice University Art Gallery. Butler used over 10,000 sticks of poplar wood to create the large scale work that visitors could explore in. “Butler’s artistic process mirrors nature’s systems of growth where complexity emerges from simple building blocks”. The installation took a week to build; watch a timelapse video of its construction above! 

Video Courtesy of Ben Butler and Rice University Art Gallery.

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Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends

Our must-see museum pick of the week is Robert Rauschenberg’s MoMA retrospective, Among Friends. Presenting over 250 works over the course of his six-decade career, the exhibition highlights the social nature of artist’s oeuvre. “My whole area of art has always been addressed to working with other people,” he reflected. “Ideas are not real estate.” The exhibition is open through September 17th, so be sure to catch it before it closes!

“To highlight the importance of exchange for Rauschenberg, this exhibition is structured as an “open monograph”—as other artists came into Rauschenberg’s creative life, their work comes into these galleries, mapping the play of ideas.”

In preparation, check out the NYTimes Review here!

Image: Robert Rauschenberg’s “Sor Aqua (Venetian)” (1973), left, and “Nabisco (Shredded Wheat)” (1971).Credit: All Rights Reserved, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.; Philip Greenberg for The New York Times

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5 Things to Read This Week

5 Things to Read This Week

Happy Monday Atmos! Want to ease into your week with us? Grab your coffee and extend your weekend a little longer. Here’s what we’re reading this Monday morning:

Fairy Godmother of Art, Agnes Gund Donates $165 Million to Start Art for Justice Fund.

New York Works Plans to Create New Artist Studios and 10,000 Creative Jobs.

London’s Sculpture in the City Announces 16 Artworks.

New VR Arts Platform Launches with help from Jeff Koons, Marina Abramovic, and Olafur Eliasson.

Collector Bruce Berman Gifts 186 Photographs to the Getty.

Image Courtesy of Damon Winter and The New York Times 

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