Joel Shapiro shares views on David Smith

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Joel Shapiro leading walk-through of David Smith exhibition at LACMA

April 26, 2011

Joel Shapiro spoke to an intimate gathering of high-level LACMA supporters on Tuesday evening, walking them through the David Smith sculpture exhibit on view at the LACMA Resnick Pavilion through July 24.  He spoke eloquently and with considerable animation about the importance of Smith’s work in the history of American sculpture, and his own relationship to Smith’s work.  He kept the audience fascinated with his discussion of numerous creative associations between Smith and fellow sculptors including Giacometti, Calder and other.  After the walk-through, a small group of collectors were invited to dine at Playa, the hot new restaurant by John Sedlar who is known for his innovative Mexican cooking.  Crafting a special menu for the evening, Chef Sedlar greeted the diners, which included LACMA Director Michael Govan and his wife, fashion PR powerhouse Katherine Ross, Senior Curator Stephanie Barron, Gemini client and celebrity interior designer Rose Tarlow, and several LACMA trustees and patrons.  Joel is in Los Angeles, collaborating with Gemini on new prints to follow upon his highly successful 2009 series Boat, Bird, Mother and Child.

Hot off the Gemini Press

April 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

April 22, 2011

We don’t always stop the presses to celebrate the artist collaborations at the Gemini workshop, except for the occasional Baskin Robbins ice cream cake from our friend Abel Eljam, because the printers hardly skip a beat when one artist departs, furiously working to print an edition before another artist arrives.  For example, by the end of this month Gemini will have hosted four out of town artists this spring – James Rosenquist, Sophie Calle, Daniel Buren and Joel Shapiro.

Gemini GEL at Joni Moisant Weyl is proud to display new and recent Gemini publications by John Baldessari, Jonathan Borofsky, Ann Hamilton and Richard Serra.   Each artist’s project at Gemini could not be more different – from lithography and screenprinting to etching to constructions that combine printmaking with fabric and bamboo.  These four artists are a perfect representation of the Gemini ‘can-do’ spirit and the diverse specialties of our printing staff.

John Baldessari’s Nose/Silhouette series began with a party!  The Gemini workshop printed a photographed nose on fields of color which were made into masks and used as place settings for a dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Cut.  The dinner followed the opening of Baldessari’s spectacular exhibition at LACMA, Pure Beauty, and guests, along with the artist, had great fun posing with the masks.  Gemini and the artist resolved to make the images into a series of editioned prints.

John Baldessari with Joni Weyl and Sidney Felsen at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Cut, 2010.

Jonathan Borofsky visited the Gemini workshop back in 2008, working with text on Mylar.  In 2010 his lithograph God is a Feeling was finally resolved, as was a screenprint of words from his mother:

“Several days before my mother died, I was sitting at her bedside – just talking about things.  At one point I casually asked her if she had any words she wanted to leave behind.  Without taking any time to think about it, she answered ‘Be Happy, Do the Best You Can, Be Good and Kind’.”   – Borofsky

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2010)

Ann Hamilton made a batch of party hats in honor of Sidney Felsen’s 85th birthday in September of 2009.  These small lithographs with collaged fabric to be used as string were just the beginning of her juxtaposition of printmaking and fabric.  The sheets of lithography became larger and the process of collaging fabric more complex as ciliary was formed.

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2010)

Each ciliary begins with lithography on eight sheets of a creamy Japanese paper, Mitsumata.  Added to the paper panels is a strip of fabric, adhered to one edge.  A narrow accordion fold is applied, and bamboo ribs and hardwood dowels reinforce the folds on the verso.

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen  © 2010)

(Photograph by Chris Santa Maria)

It is impossible to visit the Gemini workshop without noticing the presence of Richard Serra.  Serra has tirelessly pushed the boundaries of printmaking beyond the scale even the Gemini printers might have thought possible, conveying the weight and monumentality of his celebrated sculptural works onto a thin sheet of paper.  In recent years Serra’s etching have grown to upwards of 85 inches, but these latest collaborations present a classic Serra study of the curve on an intimate scale.  The series of 13 Junction prints, each measuring 16 x 18 inches, render various torque ellipse forms in concentrated, untidy etchings.

Printer Isaac Osher editioning Serra Junction #2 at Gemini workshop

(Photographs by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

Daniel Buren visits the Gemini workshop

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Daniel Buren at Gemini artists’ workshop

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2011)

April 20, 2011

Today was the last full day in Los Angeles for French artist Daniel Buren, and he spent it busily working at the Gemini workshop, collaborating with Master Printers James Reid and Richard Kaz.  Buren arrived in Los Angeles a week earlier, and enjoyed staying at the home of Gemini co-owners Elyse and Stanley Grinstein while creating what promises to be an exciting project.  There is still a lot of experimentation and proofing to be done before the project is resolved, but as with his 1989 Gemini collaboration, Buren is developing a series in which each individual work will be composed of a unique configuration of striped square elements.  To say “bon voyage” to Daniel and his wife Chantal, Sidney and I took them to a lovely dinner at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s traditional French bistro in Beverly Hills.


Richard Serra at The Met

April 15, 2011 § 1 Comment


Photo: Metropolitan Museum curators Magdalena Dabrowski and Gary Tinterow flanking Richard Serra, in his Union (2011), a work specially commissioned for the exhibition

On a very cold and rainy Monday night, Sidney and I attended the opening reception for Richard Serra’s retrospective of drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  On view from April 13 – August 28, 2011, the retrospective will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from October 15 – January 16, 2012 and ends its tour at its organizing institution, the Menil Collection from March 2 – June 10, 2012.

Beginning with early drawings that are very much about process, and progressing to large-scale works, one of which is drawn directly onto the museum’s walls, the exhibition is a comprehensive and powerful presentation of Serra’s drawings – an art form independent (yet very much linked) to his sculptural practice.  The rough, raised surfaces of his Paintstik drawings compel viewers to experience them in a very physical, almost three-dimensional manner – a sensation familiar to those acquainted with Serra’s editioned prints.  There is an immediacy and confrontational presence in these works that underscores Serra’s interest in weight and gravity.

After the reception, Serra’s dealer, the Gagosian Gallery, hosted a dinner at The Mark for close friends of the artists, including Paul Schupf, whose nearly complete collection of Serra prints has been shown extensively, most prominently at Colby College in Maine.

Elizabeth Murray at Pace

April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

(Photograph by Sidney B. Felsen © 2004)

March 31, 2011

When the announcement for Elizabeth Murray’s painting show at Pace Gallery arrived in the mail, I couldn’t help but pause to think about Elizabeth and how much we all miss her passion and artistic spirit.  It has been over 3 ½ years since Elizabeth’s passing and nearly 5 years since she graced the Gemini workshop.  Sadly, Elizabeth succumbed to lung cancer, but fortunately she lived to see her career retrospective at MoMA and receive the public recognition she so richly deserved for an extraordinary body of rigorous but jubilant paintings.   Pace will have a public reception on April 7th, where undoubtedly many of Elizabeth’s friends and fellow-artists will stop in to celebrate her work.  Unfortunately Sidney and I do not arrive in New York until the following week, but we will look forward to viewing this exhibition of Elizabeth’s brilliant creations.

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