Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Inside The Artist's Studio: Will Cotton
One of the creative minds behind Katy Perry's California Gurls video, takes us on a visual tour of his work space.
By Alice Gregory,
Photographs by Liz Ligon
June 2011 Issue
"My old studio was a mess because I'd been there so long," Cotton says of the space on the Lower East Side that he split with fellow painter Cecily Brown. His new one is located on cobblestoned Harrison Street, just down the block from the Hudson River and a restaurant, Terroir Tribeca, where he's now a regular.
At the suggestion of the architect Jason Tang and the designer Jim Walrod, brick walls were whitewashed, sheetrock ceilings were removed to expose rafters, and floors were bleached—"to match Chloe!" Cotton jokes as his 19-year-old cat slinks by.
"I don't really want to separate the two," he says, referring to life and work. Cotton generally keeps white-collar hours, "but late at night, I might start thinking about the painting, and I like that it's right here," he says. "I know other artists who'd be driven nuts by that."
Cotton's biggest fear is a "big, blank canvas," but he manages to overcome it through various forms of sensory immersion. In fact, one of Cotton's favorite aspects of the floor plan is the kitchen's proximity to the place where he paints. "I like to fill the studio with lollipops, cotton candy, and meringues so I can smell them and make it as visceral an experience as possible," he says.
Cotton bought most of the furniture—like the modular black couch on which his models often recline—at estate sales. The round white table in the center of the space is a Saarinen; the chairs surrounding it are by the Italian sculptor Harry Bertoia.
Cotton met Dirty Martini—one of many burlesque dancers who model for him—"years ago" at the Slipper Room, which is a few blocks from his former studio. Through her, he met Jenny McGowan (a.k.a. Miss Saturn), the World Famous *BOB*, and Mona Malone, the subject of a pink tableau that takes up nearly an entire wall. Accoridng to Cotton, dancers make great muses because their movements and poses look more natural than those of traditional art-school models.
As for static source material, Cotton likes to consult a vintage series of how-to-draw books published by Walter Foster, each one illustrated and annotated by different artists. (Friends now give him the books as gifts.) He flips through his favorite, How to Draw & Paint Pin-Ups & Glamour Girls, the pages of which are interspersed with Cotton's own sketches.
A silver dress—designed by Cotton to look like a Reynolds baking cup—that had to be hand-sewn onto Katy Perry before she posed for her portrait.
"I don't think for a second that these things are art—they're props," says Cotton of his model confections. Occasionally Cotton will use a light molding paste in lieu of frosting, or a combination of Crisco, Karo syrup, and powdered sugar to approximate ice cream. But then he'll miss the smell.
He once tried to compensate with cake-batter-scented perfume (yes—it exists), but he was quickly disappointed. "It just wasn't evocative enough," he says.
Cotton's portrait of Ron Warren (left)—director and partner at the legendary Mary Boone Gallery in New York—whose balding head is crowned with cupcakes.
"This is great!" Cotton says as he touches up a portrait of Amy Phelan: muse, art collector, former Dallas Cowboy cheerleader. "I really didn't think I'd be getting any work done this afternoon."
To see more of his work, go to willcotton.com.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
John Chamberlain is now showing at the Gagosian Gallery in New York- I'm going on Friday.
I think of my art materials not as junk but as garbage. Manure, actually; it goes from being the waste material of one being to the life-source of another.
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce worldwide representation of John Chamberlain with an exhibition of new sculptures by the artist, to be presented concurrently at the 24th Street gallery in New York and the Britannia Street gallery in London.
Chamberlain is best known for his distinctive metal sculptures constructed from discarded automobile-body parts and other modern industrial detritus, which he began making in the late 1950s. His singular method of putting these elements together led to his inclusion in the paradigmatic exhibition “The Art of Assemblage,” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961, where his work was shown alongside modern masters such as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso.
Chamberlain’s sculptures boldly contrast the everyday, industrial origin of materials with a cumulative formal beauty, often underscored by the given paint finish of the constituents. The process of construction has its roots in industrial fabrication, given that mechanical car crushers may impart preliminary form to the raw material, which Chamberlain then further manipulates. Visibly emphasizing the original seams as well as the physical trace of his sculptural manipulations, he emphatically constructs assemblages that unite seemingly disparate mechanical elements. Crumpling, crushing, bending, twisting, painting, and welding the metals to form individual objects, which may be further sprayed, he combines them into aggregations, often on a monumental scale. The new works are made of metal taken from mid-century American and European cars.
Chamberlain’s emphasis on discovered or spontaneous correlations between materials rather than a prescribed idea of composition have often prompted descriptions of his work as three-dimensional Abstract Expressionist paintings. The energetic lines created by the stacks of metal in CLOUDEDLEOPAROEXPRESSO (2010) or the vertical streams of line searching upwards in TAMBOURINEFRAPPE (2010) bring to mind the gestural approach of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, while the contrasting widths and muscular forms of various combined metal elements in TASTEYLINGUS (2010) recalls the strong painterly stroke of Franz Kline. Chamberlain openly credits de Kooning, Kline, and David Smith as early influences on his own development. His sculptures are widely recognized as representing a major transition in the history of modern—and particularly public—sculpture, when industrial materials became an acceptable—and, progressively, a preferred—medium.
John Chamberlain was born in Rochester, Indiana. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1951-1952) and Black Mountain College (1955-1956) and moved to New York in 1956. His work is represented in many major public collections including Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; Menil Collection, Houston; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Tate Modern, London. He had his first retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1971, followed by more than one hundred one-person exhibitions, including Dia Art Foundation (1983); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1986); Staatlich Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (1991); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996); Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas (2005-2006); and Menil Collection, Houston (2009). His work has been included in numerous international survey exhibitions, including Bienal de São Paulo (1961, 1994), Biennale di Venezia (1964), Whitney Biennial (1973, 1987), and Documenta 7 (1982).
Chamberlain lives and works in Shelter Island, New York.