Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Andy Warhol - The Last Decade

A detail of the entrance to the show; Self-Portrait (Strangulation), 1978 over a very cool Self-Portrait Wallpaper, 1978

This past weekend I went to the Brooklyn Museum to see “Andy Warhol – The Last Decade”. WAY too many things have been written about this man who was, is and will always be one of the most famous artists in history. Art critics and journalists have already offered a lot of reviews about this show too. Thus, I thought it would be more interesting to share a few fun facts and some of the images from the show. This is the last stop for the exhibit which was originally organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum (where it appeared first), then it travelled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and has finally landed at the Brooklyn Museum until January 9, 2011.

Golden era: a corner of the exhibit with Andy's polaroids and photographs with friends

I believe (and so many people agree) that Warhol changed the art world forever and opened the door for a lot of interdisciplinary endeavors by artists who, prior to Warhol, would have considered appearing on TV, an interest in fashion or being part of the celebrity world career suicide. It was also Warhol who said “Making money is art and working is art and good business in the best art” thus making sure, that being an artist can be as profitable as any other profession. So, that is what Andy Warhol did, and in the last decade of his life, between 1976 and 1986 (Andy died in February of 1987), he not only appeared in TV shows and interviewed celebrities, but also wrote books and published his diaries, took pictures at Studio 54, painted rock stars, models, actors, socialites and rich friends on commission and oversaw the publication of the magazine Interview (that he founded in 1969).

Warhol's Self-Portrait, 1986

During the last years of his life, Warhol also found the time to create around 3,500 great artworks. A tiny number of these great pieces (only 45) are displayed in “The Last Decade”. The most outstanding ones are those on the 5th floor of the museum, including some of the variations he did of “The Last Supper”, which feature some canvases as long as 421 inches (that’s 10 meters and 69 centimeters!). I found the pieces to be very revealing about Andy’s spirituality and convictions (as a curious note, he was a Catholic who used to go almost daily to Saint Vincent’s on Lexington and 66th). This was also the same decade when Warhol got involved in many “collaborations” with other great artists including Basquiat and Francesco Clemente—some of these works are also included in the show. Enjoy the images!

Iconic covers of Interview magazine

Video installation- Interview with Diana Vreeland

One of the most amazing pieces of the exhibit: The Last Supper, 1986

The Last Supper (detail)

Warhol, Basquiat and Francesco Clemente

The Origin of Cotton, Warhol, Basquiat, Clemente, 1984

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Artist Studio Visit- Paul Giovanopoulos

Paul Giovanopolous famous Mona Lisa series - Acrylic on stretched canvas

I was very happy and pleased when I was invited by the studio of Paul Giovanopoulos to make a visit and to meet the artist himself. Paul and his beautiful wife, Jami, have a gorgeous (and humongous) bright, sunny loft and artist studio in SoHo. They lived and worked there for the past 35 years. It’s so very interesting to see SoHo currently, and to see how it has changed since the Giovanopouloses moved there. They were pioneers and precursors, visionaries of what would become one of the hottest commercial, cultural and artistic neighborhoods of NYC. I can’t really see an artist with the sensibility, imagination and creativity of Giovanopoulos living anywhere else.

A work in progress at Paul's studio - Note how notables from the art world from different times and eras converge in one piece.  Very cool.

This is a detail from the piece above, Paul painted himself here too

Another detail from the same piece

Paul is Greek, but has spent his entire career as an artist in New York City. He loves what he does so much, and he’s both prolific and talented, that his enthusiasm for his paintings (and his process) is contagious. Paul paints a lot with acrylic on stretched canvas and his works are colorful and heavily-influenced by the pop movement, adding interesting details of photo-realism and sometimes abstractionism.

A new series of the American Flag

One of the best series that Paul has created are assemblages of modules, all of the same size and each of them depicting the same image. He has done it with the Mona Lisa and the result is not only breathtaking but also fun and cool at the same time. Each image of the Mona Lisa has been recreated by Paul in many different styles and colors, for example, channeling the styles of Fernand Leger, Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Dali, Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro and Boticelli just to name a few. The result is impressive, particularly because of his technique. Each of the modules or components of the canvas, is really a very detailed painting and not a digitally produced image (as it could potentially be perceived). He has done similar works with Marilyn, and non-descriptive images such as cows and pigs. Everything that he has done is stunning.

Some of the porcelain pieces made by Ritzenhoff with Paul's art

Paul also paints high-profile men and women from different eras, inserting them all into one painting, like Einstein, Ghandi and Picasso, all hanging out in the same space at the same time. When I asked Paul why he chose to bring all these people together on the same canvas, he said: why not? I would love to have dinner with all these guys at the same time, wouldn’t it be fun? Indeed.

Same concept of assemblage of the image, this time with cows

Paul is incredibly successful and has had shows in many museums in the US and around the world. He has also licensed some of his work to Rosenthal and Ritzenhoff (both did some limited-edition plates, cups, mugs and other artifacts with Paul’s art). His work is in some of the best private collections of the world. Steve Wynn, James Cameron and Mayor Bloomberg are some of the bold-faced names who collect him, along with the permanent collection at the New York Public Library and Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Please enjoy the images, which by the way don’t really do ANY justice to Paul’s work which begs to be experienced in person.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A (very) hectic week in the art world in NYC (Part II)

Here’s the remainder of the week. Hectic indeed!

Margarita Paksa's “Libertad (Sin Foco)” ink-on-paper

• On Thursday morning, I went to visit the gallery of my fellow Venezuelan, Henrique Faria. Henrique has an amazing eye and his gorgeous gallery on 67th street off of Madison Avenue, has the most beautiful light! I actually went to see an exquisitely-curated exhibit of Argentinean artists Margarita Paksas and Horacio Zabala. The show consists completely of works on paper, and has political overtones relating to South America in the 1970s. This is what the NY Times had to say about the exhibition:

As a bonus, when I was visiting Henrique, I met Venezuelan artist Jose Gabriel Fernandez, who creates the most stunning molded wood and gessoed sculptures. Watch out for him and remember his name!

                 Johannes VanDerBeek's Hippie Ghost Mesh Sculpture

• On Thursday night I went to a private talk with the young and super talented artist Johannes VanDerBeek as part of his exhibition Another Time Man at the Zach Feuer Gallery. I really enjoyed meeting Johannes and listening to his experience as an artist, along with the sources of his inspiration. I was particularly interested in his concept of what images are left on the mind after we see it, and what remains in our memories when we don’t see that object anymore. In my opinion, his most genius pieces, all sold out, are wonderful human size mesh sculptures that are precisely ethereal ghosts. The NY times also weighed in on this show: Brilliant!

Shirazeh Houshiary, Untitled, lilac pencil on white aquacryl on canvas

• Finally, on Friday, I went to visit my friends at Lehmann Maupin in Chelsea where the exhibit of Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary “Light Darkness” is at the end of its run in the gallery. Her works are mostly large-scale paintings. The technique involves tiny, little words in a cryptic language repeated over and over. Seeing her pieces from a close vantage point, the images might look like a fishnet, a snake skin or even a honeycomb. Upon closer inspection, it’s possible to see each of the words, which reveals the level of detail and the enormous amount of focus that Shirazeh imprints on her work. Coming to Lehmann in a few weeks there will be an interesting group show of up and coming young artists. Very exciting!

This is sample of a regular week for me. It’s –no doubt- lots of fun and the level of visual stimulation is through the roof. I’m happy I can get to do this for a living, it really is very rewarding!

Friday, June 11, 2010


A (very) hectic week in the art world in NYC (Part I)

As a business owner, I have a very demanding job (which I totally love, the adrenaline junkie that I am). To be on top of my game I have to hit the galleries, museums, artist studios, auction houses and anything relating to art as much as possible. Although contemporary is my thing, I love and appreciate going back in time to modern and impressionism, as I did this week. Here is a look at some of my experiences!

Minotauromachy, 1935

• On Monday, I went for a private curatorial walk-through of Picasso’s Themes and Variations at the MoMA. This exhibit features123 prints from the museum’s permanent collection highlighting many of Picasso’s explorations of print mediums. I loved the show’s curator and her take on the exhibit, particularly Picasso’s obsession with his women, lovers, wives and girlfriends from Olga Khokhlova to Francois Gillot to Dora Maar and Jacqueline Roque. They, plus many other unrecognized women, were all portrayed in the prints! Sometimes even together! If you haven’t seen it yet, the show will run until August 30. This is the phenomenal website that the MoMA put together for this exhibit:

Buste de Femme d’Après Cranach le Jeune, 1958

• On Wednesday, I visited an art warehouse facility where I met art detective and scholar, Walter Maibaum. He has recently caused a stir in art world for claiming to have uncovered 75 previously unknown plaster sculptures by the Impressionist master, Edgar Degas. According to Walter, this is perhaps the most important art discovery in the past 100 years and it has generated an enormous amount of international publicity and controversy. I got to see and experience first-hand not only some of the discovered Degas plasters but also the bronzes cast from them. Among these bronzes is the gorgeous Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (Little Dancer Aged 14), of which there are 27 around the world, including one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, one at the Tate Collection in London and one at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris. As a curious note, Walter told me that the Little Dancer’s tutu has been replaced several times in all these bronzes in museums around the world. Why? Because people touch them and also because of the delicate tulle of which these tutus are made of. In case you want to know more this is a link to the Degas-Maibaum story as reported by ArtNews

This is Walter, next to the Petite Danseuse bronze cast from one of the plasters that he found

More about my immersion in art all week coming soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Buying Wine - Tips for the Novice!

If you are a wine novice or would like to start experimenting and tasting wine (and maybe build a small collection!), this is for you! Here are some helpful basics that I think will help you get started. Once you go for it, if you want more advice on all things wine, e-mail me and I will be happy to help!

• Buying wine at (preferably) wine-only retail shops is the best way to start because they have the most knowledgeable staff. Distributors sell only by the case and not necessarily to everyone. Wineries do sell retail, but you might not want to limit yourself to only one source. Some of my favorite wine stores are: in NYC: Moore Brothers, Sherry-Lehman, Italian Wine Merchants, Bottlerocket, Zacchys (in Scarsdale); in Paris: Les Caves Taillevant, Lavinia, Les Cave des Papilles; in London: Handford Wines, Roberson, The Winery.

• What to buy? Learn to know thyself. Is it red or white? Would you like to start sampling wines from a particular region? I think this is a great way to start knowing more about wine and it’ll help to clarify your wine-buying/tasting in the future. Try buying three or four bottles of the same region (for example, Napa, Burgundy, Piedmont or Mendoza), stick to either red or white, and then select from different wineries and from different vintages. Remember also that you don’t need to spend a lot; there are amazing wine bottles for under $20, like a Le Sergue from Lalande de Pomerol or a Riesling Potter Valley from Chateau Montelena. Keep notes about flavors, what you liked best and that will help to lead and inform you on what to buy next time.

• When buying any wine, inspect the cork, if it’s popped or pushed out the rim, don’t buy that bottle. However, if you find sediments in the bottom of a red wine bottle, that’s a healthy sign, but not for white wines which rarely throw a deposit.

• Regarding the vintages, keep in mind that there’s absolutely no uniformity of great years. For example, Bordeaux had amazing ’82, ’90 and ’00 vintages but ’82 and ’00 were not so good for the rest of Europe.

• Organic wines are produced without fungicides, pesticides, fertilizers and no preservatives are added. Although there is less manipulation of the process of organic wine-making, there are abundant nonorganic wines that are terrific. Beware of passing a great deal on a delicious and recommended wine just because it’s not organic. Good luck and let me hear how it is going!