Untamed: Jean-Michel Basquiat at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Dos Cabezas, 1982 – Acrylic and stick on canvas mounted on wood supports – private collection

Grillo, 1984 – Acrylic, oil, paper collage, oil stick, and nails on wood – Fondation Louis Vuitton

Florence, 1983 – Acrylic and oil stick on canvas – private collection

Untitled, around 1984-85 – acrylic and paper collage on paper glued onto honeycomb board – private collection

Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, 1983 – acrylic and oil stick on canvas mounted on wood supports – estate of jean-michel basquiat

Slave Auction, 1982 – Crumpled paper collage, oil stick and acrylic on canvas – Centre Pompidou, Paris

 

Untitled (BlueAirplane), 1981 – Acrylic, spray paint, and oil stick on canvas – Collection Stephanie Seymour Brant

How To Fall In Love With Art

How long has it been?

Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.

I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.

At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.

Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.

Hu Jieming, Casual Status, 1992

I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.

During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.

A pic I snapped years ago on another trip to Pace Gallery.

I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.

 

So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.

I was falling in love with art then.

I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.

For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.

For some reason, Surrealism and Dada works get me.

Man Ray, Ingre’s Violin

Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.

Mark Ryden, the father of Pop-Surrealism

I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :

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Toyin Ojih Odutola, Above all else make it look effortless, 2012. Pen ink, marker, and varnish on paper.

Chad Wys, Sculpture with a Spectrum 2, 2014. Collage on paper.

It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.

I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.

And the more I do that, the more I understand this:

Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.

They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          (on my best days- taha.)

Best Works of Helmut Newton, “King of Kink”

Helmut Newton is a photographer best known for his erotica fueled snapshots and a taste for capturing fun… stripped bare. He was regarded by many as the “King of Kink” and you can go back to so many issues of Vogue easily with his indelible footprint.

 

U.S. Vogue May 1993, “White Mischief”

 

Here are a couple of my favorite works from this talented German Australian:

 

 

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Woman Examining Man, 1975 for U.S. Vogue

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Nice, 1976

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Unfaithful

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Cruising From Behind

 

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While I don’t appreciate all his works, I do truly think he was the best of his kind for what he did.

There is so much life and mischief captured through a single portrait– he did it so well.

 

33 black-and-white photographs—framed, signed, and numbered—on sale this month at Guy Regal’s showroom in the New York Design Center. Open to the public today.

Saying Something: Toyin Ojih Odutola

 

Say hello to the newest heavy-weight in portraiture, Toyin Ojih Odutola.

I first became acquainted with this Nigerian artist’s work during a run at the galleries in Chelsea a couple years ago. I remember being so viscerally struck by her drawings that day. They were white pencil on white paper– I had to lower my body and kneel closer to the ground to see what the drawings held. It was a moving experience to encounter the fullness of these white identities she drew out for the appraiser– very controlled and calculated.

I’ve since become fascinated by the unique mark-making techniques she employs.

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Imagine a big drawing like this, except everything was white on white.

 

The Brooklyn based artist uses whirls and lots of hairy (really that’s what it looks like in person: the wispiest of wispy hairs) detailing to create rich visual narratives that surround her already deeply contextualized subjects. If you look at her artwork in person, you’ll see all the swirls and membrane-like pieces that make up the sum of a composition of faces, bodies, and identities– so much integrity and thought put to paper face via graphite, charcoal, or pastel:

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Toyin toys with anything from discussions on natural identity to more poignant POVs on say, racial profiling.

 

I’m happy to share that Toyin Ojih Odutola will be holding her first solo exhibit at The Whitney Museum this month, a commission that is well deserved by this outspoken wunderkind.

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Pregnant, 2017

 

Check out her upcoming show, To Wander Determined, at The Whitney Museum of American Art on 99 Gansevoort St., open to the public from October 20th.

I can’t wait to see it.

 

Italian Artist Gehard Demetz, my modern day Geppetto.

Formally trained in religious sculpture, Italian artist Gehard Demetz has progressed to become one of the most talented artists of our century. He wields his art technique and experience to create works, many with children as subject, that explore the dichotomies and marriages of contradiction… between that which is evocative and whimsical – provocative and contemporary. His sculptures often carry an energy verging on the socio-political.

He relies on mediums like wood and bronze and certainly knows how to make dry wood come alive.

These are my favorite works of Demetz throughout his career as a sculptor:

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Introjection. 2017, Wood

 

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Life Without Christmas. 2017, Wood

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Dirt on my Shoulders. 2016, Wood

 

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Restoring My Blisses. 2015, Wood.

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My Parents’ Stories Sound Different. 2015, Wood.

 

Personally, I would say his best works were made in 2013.

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Stones In My Pocket. 2013, Wood.

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Mom’s hands and daddy’s nose. 2013, wood.

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Complement these visuals with a contemplative rendition of Bach’s Christus, Der Uns Selig Macht, BWV 245, arranged by one of my favorite composers and pianists, Chad Lawson.

Julian Schnabel: New Plate Paintings

Launched to fame in the 1980’s, Julian Schnabel‘s broken ceramic plate experiments heralded in a refreshing kind of art for the contemporary art world– cutting, reminiscent, and modern via a rough handling and bondage of paint and ceramic on wood.

While Schnabel created this rose series from the inspiration he received upon one of his visits to Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, he has worked also with portraiture, painting and immortalizing American names like Stephanie Seymour and William Gaddis.

Closing on March 25: Catch the rose works in their entirety at the Pace Gallery, 510 W. 25th St., before it’s too late!

Bises,

Soo

Chad Wys on the Value of Retrospection

Last week, I had the chance to go to the opening reception for a show representing a favorite contemporary artist of mine, Chad Wys.

Chad Wys is a young artist and graduate of Illinois State University, whose passion for art and art history is affirmed by his burgeoning client list, which ranges from Vice Magazine to Harvard Business Review and Penguin Press.

Wys deals with mixed media, dabbling with ready made art and re-appropriating thrift finds and historical artworks, and marries realism and impressionsim with abstraction in revealing his unique ethos.

He gives commentary where it’s due: Take this clever piece of his of a burka masked over a realist oil painting copy of a young lady:

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Beautiful and poignant, isn’t it?

Je joins aux présentes, à titre de rappel, un aide-mémoire présentant les engagements de Wys:

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“Untitled”, my favorite. It’s tiny! The size of a letter page– an example of art best viewed digitally, at least for one lady.

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Thrift Store Landscape w/ Large Bars, 2013. If you’d like to purchase a fashion product parallel to this, visit: Ghurka.

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Trending Recent works

If you have the chance, hit up his ongoing exhibition (showing until October 1, 2016) “Not the Sum of Its Parts, Just the Parts” at Joseph Gross Gallery in Chelsea.

Instagram is also a fantastic way to get caught up on the work of this young talent: https://www.instagram.com/chadwys/

Happy perusal!

Bises,

Soo

Bisous, Bise

Let me start off by saying that creating my own site was rather anticlimactic… Nonetheless, I’m very excited to finally have a concrete place to share my thoughts and pleasures!

Hello!

My name is Soo and I like to meet people, learn from them as well as from the many things I read, and I absolutely adore bunnies.

See here, for reference: screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-5-45-39-pm

I also love flowers (In case anyone would like to send me some! 🙂 )

A couple weeks ago, I came upon a post from a professor that I really admire, Cal Newport of Georgetown University (he runs a really popular “study hacks” blog, a great “LET’s ALL THINK” blog focused on productivity and maximizing impact within the knowledge community. He’s also written one helluvamazing book and I was really convicted by a blog post of his emphasizing the importance of the input/output relationship. The basic premise of this is that to get to a good point and balance for deep work, deep learning, and ultimately, measurable, onward moving progress– you must take into account both the inputs and outputs [of your life]. When applied to my life, I realized that here I was, wrapping up another summer, another year– one which was marked especially by a huge spike in knowledge on a multitude of subjects and a healthy dose of self-awareness, but with an output I daresay that amounted to one of minimal impact– mainly limited to the realms of my workplace and maybe possibly my conversations with friends over dinner. Rarely, and I came to understand this fully at the moment of the post’s reading, did I ever seek to manifest the maximum potential of the learning and overall input I’ve been ingesting and churning into newly blended insights on a daily basis.

This was the impetus that swept me into registering for a domain and starting this blog. I have a lot of things I want to say, so many things I want to share, and it’s never too late to start.

Some things I hope to get out of writing here:

  1. Focus
  2. Heightened well-being
  3. Deeper insights
  4. Established and Articulate Voice

I’m hoping that this becomes a place for deeper reflection on my part, and [for those stumbling in] a destination for hope unlimited and inspiration.

Bises à tous†,

Soo

Illustration by Jocelyn Im.