Jean Dubuffet far from ordinary

 

jean dubuffet

A Jean Dubuffet sculpture with his paintings in the background at Sotheby’s, NY,NY. (Nicosia Smith photo)

By Nicosia Smith

Jean Dubuffet.

He is far from conventional or traditional, this French painter and sculptor.

Forty-four of his works are on display at Sotheby’s, Jean Dubuffet – A Fine Line.

This selling exhibit runs through June 13 and gives a very colourful depiction of Dubuffet’s (1901-1985) works.

His paintings carry a lot of wide-eyed ghost-like reflections and is a theme throughout the display.

It is hard to say what the images, which are spread out across the paintings, are trying tell us. At times they are still, drifting or just there.

It’s an exhibit that will certainly make you stop and ponder.

Advertisements

Sotheby’s abuzz with British Guiana stamp

stamp

The 1856 One-Cent Black-on-Magenta on display at Sotheby’s York Avenue, NY, NY. (Sotheby’s image)

 

By Nicosia Smith

There is a buzz in the world of stamp collectors.

And this is why.

The British Guiana 1856 One-Cent Black-on-Magenta will soon go on sale.

And it is estimated to be sold for between $10M to $20M when it goes on auction June 17  at Sotheby’s (On display until Friday).

All by itself, the stamp takes center stage on Sotheby’s first floor, far right corner.

A very wired guard at the entrance of the exhibit keeps a keen eye, before you reach the descending few stairs to the stamp.

The significance of the occasion rests on you.

stamp

The verso of the British Guiana one-cent magenta stamp showing the initials and marks of some previous owners. (Sotheby’s image)

In a darkly lit room, there it was, a small florence-like beam shining on it.

While a very knowledgeable attendant nearby gives you a history of the very famous and rarest stamp in circulation.

Such a small object, but holding so much significant history. I took a moment.

According to Sotheby’s, in July 1850 British Guiana form an inland postal service.

And in 1852, British Guiana began receiving regular postage stamps, manufactured in England by Waterlow & Sons.

But in 1856, a shipment of stamps from England was delayed and threatened a disruption of postal service throughout British Guiana.

Colonial postmaster, E.T.E. Dalton, got local printers Joseph Baum and William Dallas, to print a contingency supply of postage stamps

Baum and Dallas were publishers of the Royal Gazette newspaper in Georgetown, British Guiana at the time.

They attempted to mimic the appearance of the Waterlow stamps and produced a series of three definitive stamps for the colony: the One-cent Magenta, a four-cent magenta, and a four-cent blue.

The one-cent magenta stamp is the sole survivor from its series.

I was told that the printing press for the one-cent magenta still survives in now Guyana, formerly British Guiana.

Tilton Gallery challenges you to find the joke

Egan Frantz, Sicca Purgiato Sublime, 2014 (Nicosia Smith photo)

Egan Frantz, Sicca Purgiato Sublime, 2014 (Nicosia Smith photo)

By Nicosia Smith

So how do you get an audience to take new contemporary works seriously.

You give it a serious title like, “but that joke isn’t funny anymore….”

Seriously.

This is the name of the exhibit at Tilton Gallery, 8 East 76 Street, for a group of 12 titled and untitled contemporary pieces.

I must admit that my initial thought was, I was going to get a good laugh. Simply put, that was not the case.

Luca Dellaverson, Untitled, 2014, (Nicosia Smith photo)

Luca Dellaverson, Untitled, 2014, (Nicosia Smith photo)

JPW 3, HIVE CITRONE 2014, 2014 (Nicosia Smith photo)

JPW 3, HIVE CITRONE 2014, 2014 (Nicosia Smith photo)

 

I found my self in a very intense engagement with the works of the eight contemporary artists on display.

The untitled 2014 work of Luca Dellaverson, had me staring partially at the red coat I was wearing, in this Epoxy resin and mirrored glass with wood support.

This work on the second floor of the two-floor exhibit, had my imagination running wild.

I kept thinking how did Dellaverson got the smashed glass to remain so intact.

And how this smashed effect made light move through the work, even as most of the piece remain black.

At the same time allowing me to see my red coat.

Artist JPW 3, HIVE CITRONE, 2014, an offset ink transfer in citronella, peach, and paraffin wax on canvas, was also nothing to laugh about.

Simone Leigh, Untitled 2014 (Nicosia Smith photo)

Simone Leigh, Untitled 2014 (Nicosia Smith photo)

While looking at this work I tried to understand what JPW 3 wanted us to know about the separation of wax from ink. I kept staring at the piece to see if there was some encryption in it that I should see or a pattern of some sort. I saw nothing to decipher.

Simone Leigh, untitled, 2014, Terra cotta and porcelain stood alone, being the only sculpted piece.

That is, if you consider the Sicca Purgiato sublime, 2014, (above) aluminum, rebonded foam, laser-etched acrylic, and hardware, by Egan Frantz.

Nine of the 12 pieces were made this year, two from 2010 and one from 2013 and are on exhibit through June 7.

All mainly new works, proving that there was nothing to laugh about.