Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Make Your Own Artist Stamps: Michel Hosszù

Michel Hosszù, the French artist known the world over for his stamps – Marquis de Sade, Coluche, Famous People, Warhol, Van Gogh's Self Portraits and thousands of other editions for individual artists – will print your own designs as stamps. Individual stamps, small sheets and large format sheets permit artists to create limited editions of varying kinds.

Michel Hosszù has long practiced mail art with a focus on stamps. Several works from the 1980s feature the red Marianne French postage stamp covering entire canvases. The artist says: "I used to work in a factory where my job was to get rid of mailed envelopes, so I peeled off thousands of these canceled stamps." Other strange and wonderful objects have sailed in and out of his Bastille studio over the decades.

Michel has also helped me produce my limited edition, Rubens Rounding Third, an ode to baseball, art and the sexy gaze of an amorous public and player.

Artists, photographers, designers and others have the opportunity now to produce their own stamps using whatever image and text they desire. Formats vary, so it's best to take a good look at how to organize an edition using these design grids.

Cost is relatively minor compared to the impact of these great little works of art. My guess is they'll also make interesting gifts for people who want to immortalize a friend or a pet or even, hey! an idea on a stamp.

Contact: Michel Hosszù in Paris.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Landscape in America: Howard Rose

Reproducing the landscape on canvas, whether an abandoned beach or a busy city street, a sun-bleached roof or a snow-caked tree, has been the obsessed province of painters since forever.

The great outdoors in America became a high art with the works of the Hudson Valley River painters fueled perhaps by the writings of Henry David Thoreau. In France, Cezanne and Monet, went outdoors and their un-peopled designs of nature crushed in pigment magnified through the prism of the eye changed both the way we see the world and structure of painting itself. In the process of describing the world in paint, the medium itself became a subject: A swath of sunlight rendered in a longish patch of cadmium yellow modified with titanium white.  You could almost eat it. Thick and lustrous, paint depicted the natural world, and the painting itself then became an object for the man-made one.

Howard Rose does just that in his massive catalog of landscape works. Producing larger format and miniature canvases, the Long Island-based artist (and teacher), has mapped out the glowing corners of the soft and worn world around him.

In the last 100 years most every artist beginning at a very young age has painted the tree they first climbed, the house they grew up in, or the horizon that met them as they pondered the damn meaning of it all. The real world – the familiar – is the basis for art: Broken down barns, their colors wilting in the summer sun or brooks eking out a dribble of water under a blanket of snow, or waves transparent and curling, cresting on an empty beach. The impulse to immortalize a flowering meadow, a patch in the woods, a range of mountains, shadows on a footpath is innately human, it's about mixing memory with desire, creating elaborate traces of what we've seen, and what we see.     

Howard Rose is a hunter-gatherer of these five-senses moments. Using photography as a framing device, or sometimes working directly in nature, the artist restates the world in compelling compositions that are solid but dreamy, sensual and sure. 

It's fair to say that Howard Rose is thrilled by light. And he's mastered the various techniques to give light palpable reality on canvas without tilting over into the photo-realist canon. His transparent foam cresting waves breaking on an Atlantic shore are perfect haikus of action: A poetic fusion of Nature's various verbs. Dune grasses, sun dappled paths, clapboard houses wrapped in the blueish haze of afternoon snow are all fascinations for this artist, and each foray into these subjects yields compositions are both examine the texture of the world and ultimately the mind that seizes it.

A graduate of The School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and post-graduate studies at C.W. Post college, Howard Rose also studied  at the New School of Social Research for Photography.

Howard Rose runs a painting workshop and has written extensively on teaching and technique for publications such as Artist's Magazine and American Artist Magazine, and he leads oil painting workshops throughout the Northeast, including The Hudson Valley Workshops, The Art Barge in East Hampton, and Southampton Oil Painting Workshop as well as The Huntington Art League and C.W. Post College.

Photo: Howard Rose and excited guest at his recent one-man show at Chrysalis Gallery in Southampton, New York.

Visit one of his galleries: Les Bons Amis Locust Valley, NY. Or click here to see more of Howard Rose's work.  His work shop is here.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Your Art Here: Spelling With Scissors

I've entered my full on, wall to wall to wall from ceiling to floor installation work Spelling With Scissors in the H&M contest, Your Art Here.  Take a look, vote (click on the stars), and survey the other artist proposals.  If you're an artist, submit your own entry.  It's free.

MATTHEW ROSE Spelling With Scissors: Your Art Here (Vote).

Roy Lichtenstein: Autumn in New York

“Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961-1968” is on view through Jan. 2 at the Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street;(212) 685-0008,

“Roy Lichtenstein: Mostly Men”  through Oct. 30 at the Leo Castelli Gallery, 18 East 77th Street, Manhattan;(212) 249-4470.

“Roy Lichtenstein Reflected” through Oct. 30 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 West 26th Street, Chelsea; (212) 744-7400.

NYT Article by Roberta Smith.

Image above: “Indian” (1951), at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

Credit: Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, Leo Castelli Gallery

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Philippe Bonan: Portraits Of The Artists

Prior to the invention of photography we barely knew what artists looked like beyond their enhanced self-portraits, if indeed they painted them. Nowadays, everyone is an artist, and everyone has a camera, so there's no lack of documentaries on the artist at play, the artist at work, the artist drunk, the artist being kissed by the celebrity. In the 21st century, there is little doubt the artist is a celebrity, too, and portraits are much in demand (just ask Timothy Greenfield-Sanders).  The straight up portrait, the official gaze of the artist without props, attempts to read the mind of the creative, focusing on the eyes, the skin texture, this fantastic being of our time.

Philippe Bonan, a French photographer with a voracious appetite for capturing artists on film, has a quest: Produce a massive catalog of living artists wherever they are. But he wants to keep it all very simple, but elegant, and above all real.

During the opening of Anthony Caro's exhibition at Danielle Templon in Paris, Philippe Bonan was visibly angling in the crowd around the sculptor to get off a shot. The French photographer has made a profession out of portraying artists in black and white or color, in their studios or, sometimes in front of their installations. Bonan's catalog of artists is impressive – Keith Haring, Ben Vautier, Daniel Buren, Christian Boltanski, George Baselitz, Arman, Fernando Botero, Valerio Adami – numbering in the hundreds.

Bonan's portraits generally lack props (Arman poses with a parrot in one, however) and steer clear of guise. These portraits are simple and real: only the artist in his or her environment, standing, sitting, aware of the lens but not disturbed by it. Some do, however, act out a mini-fantasy – Ben Vautier (above) scowling with his text work: Je veux rester le seul. (I want to be the only one). Or Icelandic artist Katrin Fridriks in paint-splattered art uniform curled up in her studio. Wearing. Bunny. Ears.

There is virtue in Bonan's great project: Like Vasari, the 16th century Italian painter generally credited with launching art historical writing with his literary sketches of the lives of his contemporaries, seeing artists as they live and work – "as they are" – not only dispels myths but permits those interested in understanding our time to fully grasp the fleeting presence artists have, even while their work carries on. Bonan's passion is real, and his project is, as artist after artist is added to his extensive black and white catalog, valuable both historically and visually.

A 1988 portrait of painter Hans Hartung, shows the artist tired, perhaps even beleaguered, full on in a close up; Hartung's thick black glasses obscure his face; he is revealed, if only for a moment.  Jim Dine is portrayed looking into a mirror; Donald Baechler in his studio in front of an unfinished, giant collage; Fabrice Hybert in sporty shorts and scarf leaning on the door jam to his kitchen. There is little heroicism about any of these images – thankfully – and that fact leads to their great interest.

Fascinating indeed is the ordinary photograph of the young Jasper Johns in his downtown New York loft in the early 1950s, fresh-faced and eager to take on the art world. Or a pale Andy Warhol walking along Madison Avenue on his way to work.  Pollack, bearded, pasty and fat, circa 1955 staring off into an uncertain future, headed for disaster is prescient because the photograph is simply him, the artist cast in the net of his own life.  A young Keith Haring (above), thoughtful, quiet having enjoyed a wild success, but whose days are numbered. Bonan camps around the same fire, and you can see in the eyes his artist subjects return to him, that they too, know they are but just a flicker in the landscape. But the warmth generated from Bonan's activity is genuine.  Take a look: Philippe Bonan.

Photograph of Philippe Bonan by © Didier Gicquel. All other images © Philippe Bonan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Portrait: Thomas Fougeirol

I recently had the pleasure to visit painter Thomas Rougeirol's studio in Ivry-sur-Seine to talk about some of his new large canvases, his influences and processes.

This studio, one of two the French-born painter maintains (the other is in Bushwick, Brooklyn) is immense by any standard. But there is no sign of anyone else working here. His is a one-person operation, and by a quick calculation, Fougeirol works non-stop, as there are literally thousands of large and medium-sized canvases filling this giant factory space. 

Fougeirol works with positives and negatives, largely in black and white, and manipulates the paint-drenched canvas "brush" to map out the areas he's interested in accenting.  A serious collection of plastic shower curtains allows him to create all-over patterns that are by turn ghostly and photograph.

Thomas paints with his body, that is, he presses oil paint-soaked canvases and other items against his stretched canvases, and traces out a pattern line by line to produce a kind of monotype.  It is hard to produce anything larger than the size of his own body as he works on the floor, but some of his canvases measure 2.5 x 3.5 meters and "just get out the door," he says.

What's key for the 45-year old artist is that he isn't using machines to produce his works, say, in the manner Christopher Wool has recently by creating a mosaic out of an abstract painted pattern, refashioning them in Photoshop and producing a silkscreen. "No, I am the machine," Fougeirol insists.  In a way that Klein used bodies to produce magic works.  Or in a way that skid marks are made on a street: With the application (hard and fast) of the car brakes.  Other works are piled up spiraling custards of black or silver oil paint; several portray chandeliers, but almost all intimate death in an elegant, lush, near monumental fashion.

I mention two great German artists – Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter – and Fougeirol nods, familiar not only with their techniques, mystery and iconography but also with the deeper sense of their investigations – and his:  "The work here focuses on death, its immutability and its evasiveness." Thomas toys with a human skull he uses as a studio prop for paintings.  I look around: There is an enormous energy in these works, a kind of life-affirming activity, and a glowing light emanating from these canvases.

The imagery shifts quickly and easily from giant skulls, beds and armoires to a dark tangle of old branches in black. Some canvases are painted in hot flourescent pink, yellow and silver, and are printed over in a black grid. There is a wild thrill attached to all of these canvases, as if you're looking into the artist's open heart.  

See studio images here.  Gallery website: Praz-Delavallade.

Keith Donovan: Erotic English Armchair

Keith Donovan, a painter based in Le Jouhet, France, recently produced a hand painted erotic English armchair for collector in Switzerland and he's shared this with Store Front Windows.  The chair, originally a family heirloom, was transformed with erotic images this September into a high-end work of art.  One might say this is a perfect love seat, but you'd have to be sitting on someone to fit. Perhaps that's the idea. Hot seat.

Donovan follows a long history of artists who have reworked chairs, tables, even baby cribs as renovated art objects – such as Keith Haring, Claes Oldenburg, Marcel Broothaers among others.

"The image concerns heroic postures, and the memory of gentlemen who roamed the world and sat (later on) to recount the highs and lows.  It's andropausal in a way."

The images hail from 18th century French engravings from five different artists including the widely celebrated erotic Frenchman, Borel.

Check out the web site: Keith Donovan,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Banksy Speaks

"But I can't help feeling it was a bit easier when all I had to compete against was a dustbin down an alley rather than, you know, a Gainsborough or something."

– Banksy on his rising fame, from the article in the The Sun UK.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool At The Asia Society New York City

I met Yoshitomo Nara eight years ago just outside of Paris during an exhibition of his works at the Cneai, for his exhibition "Who snatched the babies?"

That show featured his full on take on snarling little girls wielding guns and knives.  The Cneai was jam packed with works and each one had, it seemed, taken the artist on some personal trip into anger, frustration, solitude and yet a distinct sense of humor and irony about it all.

The paintings and drawings – some of them whipped out fairly quickly – were all lovingly made.

At the time I was writing a piece on superflat Japanese pop art that included a massive group exhibition by Takashi Murakami at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. [That review exists but is no longer on the net; if you'd like to see it I can e mail you the PDFs. Write: Editor SFW.]

Mr. Nara who then spoke a halting English was very relaxed, hanging out with a bunch of his friends both Japanese and French, adorned in rock star sunglasses and enjoying the quiet reception for his work.

The artist was kind enough to sign a catalog for me, and even added a drawing of one of his signature little snarling girls blasting through space in a Jetson-like vessel. Since then, of course, Yoshitomo Nara's career has defied any notion of gravity. He has skyrocketed into the highest echelons of the art world (and art market) with these extremely simple but wildly sophisticated works.  Oddly enough, reaction to Mr. Nara's work is almost always joy and laughter.  At least that's from my informal poll.

He is a generous if slightly tortured artist who, as Roberta Smith writing in The New York Times noted, has seamlessly moved from high to low and all the middle genres in art without missing a step.

The artist now takes on New York with “Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool” on view through Jan. 20 at Asia Society Museum, 725 Park Avenue, at 70th Street; (212) 288-6400.  Asia Society Website.

See: Roberta Smith's review in NYT (September 9, 2010).

Martin Wöhrl At Emmanuel Perrotin Paris

Martin Wöhrl, Munich-based sculptor, at his opening in Paris at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 10 impasse Saint Calude 75003 Paris), in front of one of his sun sculptures.  The pieces, he said, are composed of bits of cut wood that nobody wants.  They are composed using a range of colors from laminated wood and formica, a 1970s expression of home décor.  Other works are square or rectangular and riff off of a number of formalists from Malevich to Albers to Christian Eckhardt.

Photo: Martin Wöhrl in front of one of his works in Paris.

The New Yorker, writing about his debut exhibition in NYC, said of his assemblages "they call to mind shabby-chic artifice."

This is the 37-year old artist's first exhibition in Paris, and the ensemble of the dozen pieces fits perfectly in this chapel-like space.

Wöhrl is represented by Spencer Brownstone in New York.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Pinocchio is a fictional character that first appeared in 1883, in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.

Collage by Matthew Rose. 2010.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Max's Kansas City : 1968

From left, Paul Morrissey, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin and Tim Buckley, at Max’s Kansas City, 1968

Courtesy Elliott Landy/Landyvision and Steven Kasher Gallery, NYC

Randy Kennedy article and photos from the NYT.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cutlog 2010 New Contemporary Art Fair Paris

Cutlog’s next edition will take place at the Bourse du Commerce, october 21-24, 2010. 

Download the registration form for cutlog 2010 here

cutlog is a contemporary art fair in the heart of Paris, situated under the 1000 m2 dome of the Bourse du Commerce, 100 metres from the Cour Carrée du Louvre, between Beaubourg (Centre Pompidou), Concorde (Jeu de Paume museum) and the Grand Palais. 

Both an alternative and a complement to current parisian and international art fairs, cutlog is a vibrant intersection for artists, collectors, gallerists, curators and museum directors worldwide. The 30 to 40 galleries chosen to participate in cutlog 2010 will be selected for their independent or emerging status, or their ongoing support for emerging artists across the globe. cutlog will welcome a large number of private collectors and prestigious institutions, both French and International. cutlog’s jury will award a prize to the fair’s most surprising artist as well as an invitation to exhibit independently at cutlog 2011.