“Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment,” said Sam Francis (1923-1994). The abstract expressionist master is best known for paintings that show multicolored abstract splatters between luminous fields of white. “Containment” isn’t the first word you might use to describe these exuberant artworks that are devoid of hard edges. However, much like Jackson Pollock, Francis was actually exercising precise control in the creation of his work. Though Francis’s bright pigments are focal points, he knew that negative space was his most important compositional tool. These new prints in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection are dazzling examples of his signature aesthetic.
“Everything has an opposite pole,” said Jeff Koons (b. 1955) of his Luxury and Degradation sculptures. “If you just present optimism without a darker side… there’s no definition of optimism.” The 1986 series appropriates imagery from advertisements and memorabilia for alcoholic beverages—fertile ground to stir up ideas about class, commerce and nostalgia. These highly polished objects have an aura of opulence, but are in fact made from stainless steel. “To me, the stainless steel is the material of the proletarian, it’s what pots and pans are made of. It’s very hard material and it’s fake luxury,” Koons explained.
The artist’s crowning achievement from the body of work is Jim Beam J.B. Turner Engine, a 9.5-foot-long model of a steam engine that’s loaded with bottles of whiskey. “I find it a very powerful image,” Koons said. “An image about progress, about future, about strength.” As always, Koons hovers on the edge of sincerity: his inspiration for the artwork was not an actual locomotive, but rather a kitschy decanter in the shape of one. He included an image of the Jim Beam sculpture in a set of three photolithographs named for the series. The Luxury & Degradation portfolio (1986) depicts the artist’s renditions of the steam engine, a Baccarat crystal set and a fisherman golfer figurine. Scroll down to see the works and learn more.
Above: Jeff Koons, by Andrew Burton AFP.
Jeff Koons Luxury and Degradation
photolithograph (portfolio of three prints)
32 x 24 in. each
Click here to browse the complete Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
“Very quickly, a painting is turned into a facsimile of itself,” said Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). “One becomes so familiar with it that one recognizes it without looking at it.” He could’ve been talking about Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which makes a cameo in his 1996 intaglio printBanco, from Ground Rules. The portrait is so rooted in the modern cultural consciousness that we can instantly conjure it in our mind’s eye.
Thus, it’s a perfect tool for exploring the concept of authorship: the painting appears next to a window emblazoned with the words “YOUR NAME HERE.” By presenting the world’s most iconic painting beside advertising lingo, the postmodern master asks whether true ownership of an image is possible in the age of mass media. Learn more about the print below, and browse more works by Rauschenberg.
“We are probably the only artists in the world who have a 2,000-page book on a work of art that doesn’t exist,” said Christo (b. 1935) of collaborating with his late partner Jeanne-Claude. A remarkable thing about the world-famous duo is that many of their fantastical ideas have become realities. Their monumental projects, such as The Gates in Central Park and Wrapped Reichstag, forever changed the world’s view of iconic locales. This success can be attributed, in large part, to that laborious documentation. “These projects reveal their identity through this whole process,” Christo said. “When I’m starting, I only have the slightest idea of how the work of art will exist.” Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s early-career proposal to wrap Rome’s oldest bridge, Ponte Sant’Angelo, is captured in this exquisite mixed-media print. It’s a screenprint with fabric, twine, felt pen and graphite. See more works by Christo from the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection below.
You could win a work of art by Manuel Amorim (b. 1950)! Enter our free raffle for a chance to add his woodcut Nuit Mauve to your collection. Fragmented and existential, the Lisbon-born artist’s work centers on shadowy silhouettes moving solo through the universe.
Matthew Szösz and Michael Petry exhibit exquisite glass sculptures in our sister gallery, form & concept. Szösz recently debuted the solo exhibition Minimal Tension, featuring new works from his ongoing series Inflatables and Ropework. The artist calls some of his experiments “material/process investigations” and others “bad ideas.” Either way, the key is to set up novel conditions in the studio, shifting heat, humidity and other variables to see how the glass responds. It’s a winding process—part scientific, part artistic—that has yielded significant treasures
Works from Petry’s installation piece Joshua D’s Wall are currently on display at form & concept. Originally installed in the Palm Springs Art Museum, the work featured a field of 250 hand-blown glass stones that are scattered over the museum floor. Joshua D’s Wall alludes to the Biblical story of Joshua and the crumbling walls of Jericho. Resembling small boulders, these glass stones evoke the earth’s magma and the many colors found therein, as well as Petry’s own artistic impression of the natural environment. An installation view of these works appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s guide to Santa Fe this spring.
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) turns a city skyline on its head in his mercurial artwork Your reversed Berlin sphere. The larger image shows Berlin from the window of Eliasson’s studio, with a smaller, inverted version of the same view embedded in its center. The artist uses color-effect filter glass to imbue the underlying C-Print with chameleonic properties: as the light shifts, the central disc reflects a vivid rainbow of yellows, oranges, pinks, purples and blues. It’s as though this iconic metropolis has cast its reflection in a glacial lake at sunset. The glass also acts as a mirror, allowing the viewer to glimpse their reflection hanging above the scene.
Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception, movement, embodied experience, and feelings of self. He is perhaps best known for his gargantuan artwork The Weather Project in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, London. The 2003 installation turned the 35,520-square-foot exhibition space into a cradle for a sculptural depiction of the glowing sun. “Eliasson views the weather – wind, rain, sun – as one of the few fundamental encounters with nature that can still be experienced in the city,” writes Tate Modern. “Eliasson has sought to bring a part of London into the building, and through the experience and memory of the work, a part of it is taken back out into the city by the viewer.” Your reversed Berlin sphere evokes an elemental experience of another iconic European city. It’s an ever-shifting window into Berlin, with infinite visual appeal.
Olafur Eliasson Your reversed Berlin sphere
Color-print on Fuji crystal archive II paper (matte)
mounted on dibond, color-effect filter glass, glass, wood frame
35.5 x 35.5 in
Click here to browse the complete Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
Mika Rottenberg (b. 1976, Argentina) and Reynier Leyva Novo (b. 1983, Cuba) are hardly emerging artists. They’ve both exhibited at the Venice Biennale, and have artwork in the permanent collections of renowned institutions across the world. Recently, each of them have marked yet another important milestone in their artistic careers: they’ve landed major solo displays.
Rottenberg’s self-titled exhibition at the Bass Museum in Miami Beach (on view through April 30) focuses on elucidating the mechanics of late-stage, global capitalism by way of absurd and poetic comparisons. Novo mounted a solo presentation of his work at The Armory Show in New York early this year, hot off the heels of his contribution to the Cuban Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale last summer. His work challenges ideology and symbols of power, uprooting notions of an individual’s ability to affect change. Rottenberg and Novo’s respective artistic quests ring clear in these works on paper from the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection. Consider acquiring art by two rising creative luminaries!
Akira Yamaguchi (b. 1969, Japan) is the kind of artist who lands in a circle of luminaries wherever he goes. Yamaguchi designed the cover art for the album V by the nu-jazz music duo United Future Organization, and illustrated the book Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan by Donald Keene. He’s good friends with the perennially hip director Sofia Coppola, who cast him as the bellhop in her Oscar-winning movie Lost in Translation. The artist’s densely detailed paintings of fantastical cityscapes, which modernize the multi-tiered aesthetic of Japanese Edo period pictures, would make perfect companion art for Coppola’s sprawling but hyperspecific film. Several prints of Yamaguchi’s images are part of the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection. Send your eyes on a visual walkabout!
Guy Dill (b. 1946) doesn’t make preparatory sketches for his sculptures. He paints or prints abstract imagery, and then captures the flowing motion of the pigment in three dimensions. “I knew I had to discuss painting in a sculptural way,” the California artist explains. He started his art career in New York City—Donald Judd was an early benefactor—but settled in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. “New York is about New York, and LA is about the world,” he quips.
From his West Coast home, Dill has indeed conquered the globe with his monumental sculptures in bronze, aluminum and marble. He’s mounted over 50 one-man exhibitions, and appears in the permanent collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Stedelijk Museum. Dill’s artworks in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection exemplify the complete span of his process, from his initial explorations in two dimensions to a sculptural expression that towers above the viewer.
Click here to browse the complete Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
“I work more like a sculptor and a painter put together,” says El Anatsui (b. 1944). The Ghanian artist’s fiery wall sculpture Paper and Gold is a vibrant testament to this process. The artwork is part of his critically acclaimed “bottle-top” series, assemblages made from thousands of aluminum pieces and stitched together with copper wire. The artist salvages these materials from recycling stations in his home of Nigeria, turning humble ephemera into flowing artworks that are often monumental in size. Click here to watch a video of the artist’s process on Art21, and scroll down to view the artwork.
El Anatsui, Paper and Gold,
pigment inkjet print with hand-cut edges,
printed and hand-sculpted aluminum collage and copper wire,
20 x 20 in.
Click here to browse the Zane Bennett Contemporary Art collection.
Judy Chicago is having a moment. In the past few months, she’s been featured in an Artsy podcast, profiled in an article for W Magazine, and hailed as “The Godmother” in a recent piece by New York Times Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Once your eye is trained to see Chicago’s imprint, it is everywhere, and unmistakable. It’s in Petra Collins’s menstruation-positive T-shirts; in the forthcoming installation on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. by Zoe Buckman of a huge uterus drawn in neon tubing crowned with boxing gloves; in the pink “pussy hats” that are worn in opposition to Trump’s election. Images like these — symbolically overt, politically and anatomically in-your-face, forcing a public confrontation with sexism — are all descended from Chicago’s imagination.
Another article that appeared in the New York Times a few days ago analyzed the tumultuous legacy of critical perspectives on Chicago’s most iconic work, The Dinner Party:
[Chicago] said that despite the art media’s early disparagement of her work, her way of overcoming the disappointment was to go into her studio and continue making art. She found a supportive community in Southern California’s Ferus boys, notably the American artist and sculptor Billy Al Bengston, from whom she said she learned quite a bit. “Early on, he told me: ‘Never read reviews. Just count the column inches and the number of pictures,’ advice I heeded for many years. And given the vicissitudes of my career, it was really good advice.”
Chicago’s fiery feminist statement on the rebirth of humanity, Birth Tear / Tear, appeared at our sister gallery form & concept when Chicago visited last February. Watch our Q&A with her here, and inquire about the piece below.
Special Event Armond Lara: Flying Blue Buffalo Project
Wednesday, February 17 Open House: 2-5 pm Panel Discussion: 3 pm
Our Kickstarter campaign for Armond Lara’s Flying Blue Buffalo Project is in full swing! So far, we have 22 backers and have raised over 10% of our goal. We’re celebrating the campaign’s midpoint next Saturday, Feb. 17 with an open house and panel discussion event from 2-5 pm. The panel starts at 3 pm, and features professional and amateur historians who’ve extensively studied Native slavery in the Southwest. Like Armond, a number of the panelists have Indigenous ancestors who were enslaved. They’ll shed light on this under-examined history through conversation and storytelling. Here’s the lineup:
The creative dynamo behind the Flying Blue Buffalo Project! The Santa Fe artist is Hispanic and Navajo. A dark chapter of his family history helped inspire the project. Since starting this endeavor, he has studied the larger phenomenon of Native child slavery in the West.
Moises Gonzales is an Assistant Professor in the Community and Regional Planning Program at UNM, he also serves as the Director of the Resource Center for Raza Planning and is the Director of the Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Planning and Design Degree Program. Gonzales holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Design from the University of Colorado, Denver as well as a Professional Planning Degree in the Master of Community and Regional Planning Program from UNM. He was the co-instructor for the summer urban studio that worked with students on the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo cultural corridor and he is still currently involved with this project. Moises will also be advising on the historic restoration plaza project for Nambe Pueblo and has also advised iD+Pi on the potential housing assessment project with the Santa Clara Housing Authority.
With ancestral connections to both Hispanic and indigenous communities, Dr. Rael-Gálvez was raised working on a farm and ranch stewarded by his family for generations in Costilla, New Mexico. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he completed an award winning dissertation, “Identifying Captivity and Capturing Identity: Narratives of American Indian Slavery. ” He is currently working on the manuscript, The Silence of Slavery. Formerly the State Historian of New Mexico, Executive Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center and Senior Vice President at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dr. Rael-Gálvez currently is a writer and the founding principal of Creative Strategies 360°, a consulting firm which supports transformative work within communities and organizations, including his present project, an initiative on “Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.”
When I started storytelling, it was the first time these stories were told by a Navajo person. That was thirty years ago. Since then, I’ve worked – as a storyteller, folklorist and cultural consultant – collecting, learning and retelling the oral tradition of the Diné Hozhojii Hané (Navajo Blessingway stories). These stories present the world view of the Diné people and details their relationship with their surroundings. I have retold these stories by oral tradition in Navajo and in English for a variety of organizations, universities, elementary schools and conferences throughout the US, Canada, Africa, Europe and Mexico including the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, the Denver Arts Museum, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISDI) and programs sponsored by the PEW Charitable Trust.
I was the Olive B. O’Connor Distinguished Visiting Professor of Literature and Storyteller-in-Residence at Colgate University and one of nine women, and the only Native storyteller to be included in the Women’s Chautauqua Institute. In 2006, I received the Navajos Making a Difference Award at the annual Navajo Studies conference. I am on the roster of the NMHC Chautauqua Speakers Program, which features specialists on New Mexico history and culture. I have done storytelling workshops with students and teachers (in New York schools) and seniors (at the northern Navajo Medical Center. A few years ago, I founded the Hané Storytelling Festival for indigenous storytellers. I was featured in Jack Hanna’s Zoo Life, the German documentary, Niedergang der Najavos and Miss Navajo, a PBS Independent Lens documentary, in which I spoke about winning the 1982 Miss Navajo Nation pageant that celebrates women and tradition.
Kim Trujillo is from Belen, NM. She received a BA degree in journalism from NMSU. She is a former news anchor in Albuquerque at KRQE-TV. She is currently working in NM film as a costume designer. She is featured on Ancestry.com commercial that has aired more than 12,000 times over the last two years nationally and in Canada.
Joseph Riggs is an artist from Northern New Mexico, currently residing in Tesuque, NM. He is a retired criminal defense attorney, having practiced law for 40 years and Albuquerque and Northern New Mexico. In addition to his art, he is collaborating with Armond Lara on Lara’s Flying Blue Buffalo Project. His other interests include community activism as Project Manager of the Santa Fe Artists Medical Fund, and as President of the Tesuque Water Association Board.
Weston Brownlee is the Director of Operations at 3D Proven Systems, and a professional sculptor. His current work in the realms of digital art, 3D Modeling, 3D Scanning, and 3D Printing, when paired with his background in lost wax casting, foundry, and traditional cast arts all have come into play to help realize Armand Lara’s Flying Blue Buffalo Project.
The first thing you need to know about Frank Stella‘s (b.1936) Waves series is that the vibrant, mixed-media prints are monumental. Each of them measures at least 6 feet high and over 4 feet wide. The American artist employed a trifecta of printmaking techniques to create them: serigraphy, lithography and linocut. The prints are hand-colored and collaged, ensuring that each one is unique.
Stella created these marvels of post-painterly abstraction over a 12-year period, between 1985 and 1997. His epic endeavor seems quite fitting if you consider his source of inspiration. The Waves series is a tribute to Herman Melville’s seminal Great American Novel Moby-Dick. Stella imagines himself as a stowaway on the whaler ship Pequod, joining the narrator Ishmael to chronicle Captain Ahab’s tumultuous quest for revenge against the elusive white whale Moby Dick. Each print is an abstract summary for one of the book’s 135 chapters—an elemental, topsy turvy impression of life at sea. To hear Stella speak about the series, check out this excerpt from Studio 360’s Modern Icons podcast about Moby-Dick.
Stella was also influenced by abstract expressionism for this series. “This is paying my debt, or not so much paying my debt as expressing my admiration for the abstract generation I grew up with and that I admired the most,” he said of Waves.
Works from the Waves series have passed through the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection before, but this release is truly remarkable. We acquired the mint condition prints from a private collection—including several images that we’ve never had before. They all hail from the same pull, and are a low edition number. We’re offering special pricing and right of first refusal to collectors who are interested in purchasing all six as a set, so make sure to contact us quickly if you’d like to own a piece of artistic—and literary—history.
Afro-Cuban artist Roberto Diago (b. 1971) recently unveiled La Historia Recordada, a solo exhibition at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC. The show highlights Diago’s substantial contributions to political and cultural conversations within Cuba—and larger dialogues about race and history on the global stage. Hyperallergic reflected on his influence in a recent story, excerpted here:
Diago’s work is often a direct criticism of racism in Cuba and explores the roots and role of slavery in Cuban history and culture. His work frequently contains found materials from neighborhoods in Havana near his home and studio. Raw materials such as wood, metal, and textiles make up much of his work — often these materials contain traces of their former uses, such as paint or building materials. Diago tracks a lineage of painterly abstraction and other forms in modern Cuban art, condensing them into a body of work that explores the vestiges of slavery and segregation in contemporary Cuban life.
Diago’s mixed media work El Mar Es mi Frontera (The Sea Is my Border) is a highlight of the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection. Look below for more artwork by legendary Latin American artists in the gallery.