“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable” –George Bernard Shaw
Carol Bove, Celest, 2013, part of the High Line commission Caterpillar. Photo by Timothy Schenck
Public art has been around for ages, however its prevalence today demonstrates our need for something more powerful and profound then information and technology. We are overloaded with artificial stimulation coming from every source imaginable and are constantly in a state of movement, especially in urban settings. Contemporary art is being incorporated into the city landscape of New York, as well as many other metropolitan centers, more than ever. Clearly we have recognized the importance, and further the need, for art to be accessible to the public without necessarily having to seek it out in museums or galleries.
Alice Aycock, Park Avenue Chase, 2014, Park Avenue Malls, Manhattan
Artists’ works are sprawled throughout the tightly packed Island of Manhattan from Carol Bove’s Celeste (2013) on the train tracks of the High Line, to Alice Aycock’s Park Avenue Chase on the upper east side, to Olaf Breuning’s Clouds that welcomes pedestrians into Central Park. Seeing these works in passing during a jam-packed day is truly a breath of fresh air. They give our dense city a spirit and vitality that is not bound to, or defined by, the movement and restlessness of the typical ambitious New Yorker.
Olaf Breuning, Clouds, 2014, Dorris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park
City planning is becoming inseparable from the arts beyond architecturally, meaning that artists are essential in the process of building up and preserving cities, seen through New York City's Percent for Art program:
“Since 1982, New York City's Percent for Art law has required that one percent of the budget for eligible City-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork…Public art serves as an expression of the community, as well as a landmark. These public sites provide an important venue for all New Yorkers and visitors to appreciate artwork outside the traditional museum or gallery setting.” (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/panyc/percent-for-art.shtml)
Last Saturday Paula Cooper unveiled Kelley Walker’s solo show revealing his new vibrant body of work that captivates viewers through its combination of popular culture, art, advertising and politics. A work that consists of 190 silkscreen and acrylic ink panels takes over the entire back room and brightens the space. The assemblage of panels, some color and others grey, encompasses a large rectangular room of stark white walls, allowing the viewer to be completely consumed by it.
It is quite a sensation standing in the dead center of the room surrounded by scattered panels on the wall. As you get closer silkscreened Volkswagen Beetle advertisements from the 1950s-70s are unmistakable, they seem as if they are about to lift of the flat surface. Each of the ads are contorted and punctured that nearly look 3-D on a flat panel. Walker manipulated a 3-D modeling process called Rhino and figured out how to force the program to accept 2-D images. It’s almost a mind trick considering the intense contrast between the folded or rolled VW advertisements and the ultra flat, 100 percent opaque colors behind them.
As beautiful as the piece is, it is hardly just aesthetic. Walker is known for his politically and culturally charged work. Here he chose to use the Volkswagen Beetle advertisements demonstrating the power of the media in creating and also transforming this iconic image.
“The directness and humor of the VW campaign is largely responsible for the now iconic status of the Beetle and for rebranding a product that, only a decade before, was widely associated with the Third Reich (the ‘People's Car’)”
Kelley Walker takes it upon himself to re-contextualize this iconic campaign into something of his own, into something of our current culture and time.
Will Sharon, a successful real estate broker working with C21 Metropolitan has pledged to contribute 5% of his 2014 sale's commission to support RxArt. Today we received the first donation and we are incredibly grateful!
Will transitioned to the residential side of the business after more than a decade of experience in commercial real estate. While he understands the art of the deal he is also aware that choosing a home is as much an emotional experience as a financial one.
If you or anyone you know wants to sell or invest in New York City real estate, working with Will Sharon not only means you are in excellent hands, but it also means you are doing good by helping to support RxArt. Will's pledge helps RxArt to further our mission of increasing awareness and appreciation of contemporary art while promoting healing and inspiring hope in patients, families and hospital staff.
Photo Courtesy of Will Sharon
Please click HERE to get in touch with Will Sharon. Thank you for your support.
Last week RxArt took a trip to Chicago to celebrate the grand opening of La Rabida’s stunning new Outpatient Center.
Image courtesy of Medical Construction & Design
Image courtesy of Medical Construction & Design
La Rabida Children's Hospital is the only hospital of its kind in Chicago. The hospital specializes in treating kids with lifelong conditions such as diabetes and sickle cell disease, as well as those with developmental disabilities, or who have suffered abuse or trauma. La Rabidaʼs young patients have medically complex conditions that require costly, ongoing management. Philanthropic support is critical since much of the care that has been proven to benefit patients is not adequately covered by insurance. RxArt’s support enabled La Rabida to make the additional step to alleviate pain by providing a comforting environment and healthy distractions with Keith Haring’s uplifting facsimile.
Image courtesy of La Rabida Children's Hospital
In collaboration with The Keith Haring Foundation, RxArt installed a 13’6” by 7’ work that adorns the entrance of the hospital’s new ambulatory wing. The work is meant to “brighten the days of the children, staff and visitors,” says RxArt founder Diane Brown.
Image courtesy of La Rabida Children's Hospital
Energy pulses through Keith Haring’s work like a strong steady heartbeat. Haring believed, “Art should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” Combining process, theater, and supreme calligraphic and compositional skill, Haring danced his drawings, perceiving the act of creation as a performance and ritual of every day life. Painting for Haring was transformative process, providing a creative catharsis. The energy, optimism and spontaneity of this image will provoke the imagination and inspire creativity in the pediatric patients of La Rabida Hospital. This facsimile of Haring’s work captures the incessant motion of his line, bringing the universal symbols of the unconscious and collective imagination to the surface.
Image courtesy of La Rabida Children's Hospital
The project was made possible through the generosity of The Keith Haring Foundation, The Capitanini Family and the John T. Jackson Foundation.
On Monday, February 10th, a reception celebrating RxArt’s installation was held at The Langham Hotel hosted by RxArt Founder Diane Brown, Pamella and Alfredo Capitanini, and Beth and Dr. Richard Heller III. An icon on the city's skyline, The Langham, Chicago occupies the first 13 floors of a 52-story skyscraper designed by celebrated architect Mies van der Rohe. The reception was a joyous celebration and we are incredibly grateful to have been a part of La Rabida’s growing success.
“Art is some sort of interesting area where dysfunction is allowed,” said Mike Kelley in an interview by John Miller in 1992. Dysfunction dominates MoMA PS1’s immense retrospective of Kelley’s work from the 1970’s until his tragic suicide in 2012. First let me say how well the space of an empty public school turned art gallery fits his work that deals with the schooling system and challenges contemporary society. This exhibition felt as if we had entered the mind of one of the most influential, forward-thinking artists of our time.
Mike Kelley in the Boiler Room at MoMA PS1. Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1.
In each of his works we see his profound understanding of our society, of capitalism’s affect on us, of human emotional instinct and of unconscious desire. However, he also understood our culture to the point that he realized the importance of aesthetic appeal. This explains the huge line of people—which doubled in length in 1 hour after I had arrived—outside of the room where the giant masses of fluffy, colorful stuffed animals, Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites hung.
Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites. 1991/1999. Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1. Image courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles. Photography: Joshua White/JWPictures.com.
In Kelley’s memory paintings, hanging masses of stuffed animals, floor sculptures and various other works throughout the run down public school, he pulls off the execution of attention-grabbing art objects that have multiple levels of meaning. Without being kitsch or overtly critical his worn down stuffed animal sculptures and memory paintings open the eyes of viewers willing to spend more time with the objects, allowing them to penetrate the surface, and realize somewhat stupefying conditions of our modern consumer society.
As we entered the huge room where his Day is Done installation stands, the sounds of each separate video intermingle with each other creating a cacophony, pulling our attention in every which way. It seemed to me that being in this room could be compared to being in the mind of Mike Kelley. It is both incredibly relevant to our time of overstimulation and indicative of our microscopic attention spans.
Installation view of Day is Done at MoMA PS1. 2013. © MoMA PS1; Photo: Matthew Septimus.
Viewing over 200 of Kelley’s pieces in one space revealed a sort of brilliant chaos that took over his mind, a type of chaos responsible for the constant creation of thought provoking, beautiful, confounding work. Personally I found myself visually/mentally exhausted while simultaneously moved and overwhelmed, even confused, by the time I hit the top floor of PS1.
It is a dark time for New York’s creative bohemia. Rene Ricard, known for his fierce intellect, speedy wit, and deep generosity was a guiding light in New York's art world. The poet, dancer, painter, actor, art critic, and Warhol Superstar died on Saturday, February 1st.
Rene Ricard (1946-2014) Photograph by Allen Ginsberg c.Estate of Allen Ginsberg - courtesy Raymond Foye
Since the late 1960s Ricard has been a controversial trendsetter, appearing in influential literary, art and popular publications that profoundly contributed to the cultural discourse of the time. At eighteen Rene joined Andy Warhol’s Factory and appeared in Warhol’s films including Kitchen, Chelsea Girls, and The Andy Warhol Story. In 1981 Ricard published “The Radiant Child,” the first major article about Jean Michel Basquiat in Artforum. He also has three published books of Poetry: Rene Ricard (1979), God With Revolver (1989), and Trusty Sarcophagus Co. (1990).
Ricard was the author of the eponymous Rene Ricard 1979-1980, in its distinctive Tiffany Blue (the first publication of the DIA Foundation.) Photo Courtesy of The Allen Ginsberg Project
God With Revolver- Poems 1979-82 (1990) (the only large-scale Hanuman book) Photo Courtesy of The Allen Ginsberg Project
Love Poems (C U Z Editions, 1999) Photo Courtesy of The Allen Ginsberg Project
In 2003 Ricard released a limited edition book, Paintings and Drawings, a full color monograph of his art spanning over a twenty-year period. Vito Schnabel held an exhibition in 2012, titled “New Paintings and Not So New,” which featured Ricard’s works dating back a decade. In Ricard’s later years he immersed himself in turning his poems into artwork. According to Kory Grow, at the time of his death Rene was working on large-scale paintings.
UNTITLED: "The World Was...", 2011 oil, chalk on canvas 60"x 48" Photo Courtesy of Vito Schnabel
UNTITLED: "pre-nupt?", 2011 oil, chalk on canvas 40" x 29" Photo Courtesy of Vito Schnabel
Rene Ricard was the King of The Chelsea Hotel Eccentrics, never boring, and always intensely creative. Rene's close friend Rita Barros says, "Rene died on his own terms and surrounded by his close friends. We will all miss him dearly. New York will never be the same without him." RxArt extends our deepest sympathies and warmest thoughts to Rene Ricard's loved ones. His sparkling spirit and creative energy will never be forgotten.
Born in Los Angeles, California and raised by a mother who designed shoes and a father who worked in fashion/art, naturally our home had a room designated to arts and crafts. There was no escaping the visual stimulation my sisters and I were constantly surrounded by… but really, we couldn’t get enough of it.
Considering I lived in the same home since I was two years old and attended the same tiny school in Sherman Oaks from the age of three to eighteen I craved creative outlets. I would create mish-moshed mixed media collages and draw things that would make absolutely no sense to the outside viewer. My sketchbook was my diary. I didn’t need words to express how I felt or to work through my ideas. I remember always turning to drawing or painting, and when I did I would suddenly feel at peace. It was the kind of release each of us needs during those horribly awkward teenage years.
Shortly after I discovered my love of making beautiful—or oftentimes senseless—images, I realized how much I loved making a positive difference in people’s lives. I began my fundraising and advocacy career as a shy middle school student and haven’t quit since.
Luckily I found a University, and an internship, where I could study both. Today I am in my last year at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study within NYU, studying visual arts and social entrepreneurship.
RxArt has given me a chance to combine the two things I love more than anything…bringing happiness and hope to people’s lives and visual arts. Art was and is such a vital part of my life. Not only did art uplift me during hard life events, it played a huge part in many amazing moments. I can’t imagine what it must be like as a child to, first of all be sick during the most innocent and carefree moments we have in life, but to have to be sick in an environment that brings you down even further with its stark white walls and sterile environment. The work that RxArt does to bring life and hope into pediatric facilities across the U.S. is incredible and I am thrilled to be a part of this movement.
Alain de Botton's questions stem from a rich soil of cultural critique, personal understanding of history, and a little self-doubt. His "philosophies of everyday life" both reveal to us that which is already our own and offer shelter to our biggest fears. We all posses a great attainable beauty in the most unexpectedly fragile, delicate, and broken corners of our being. Botton argues that, with the right tools, we can access it and even let it grow.
Art is already a tool in our grasp. Botton's Art as Therapy, 2013, proposes an accessible methodology to art's role in modern society. How is art useful to our self-growth? How does it solve and nurture? How does it instruct?
Artworks are road maps to a better understanding of our minds, relationships, desires and fears. They invite us to redefine our code of living, serving our spirit and health.
Botton invites us to appreciate artworks as scriptures. His curiosity of the modern human condition leads him to the following readings:
NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team, Global Cluster, 2006
"Somewhere here, although the untrained eye does not know where to locate it, a star is in the final throes of a cataclysmic explosion. All the unimaginably vast residue of its matter, which was pulled together so infinitesimally slowly and which burnt for aeons in a blinding furnace of power, is finally flung back into the universe. Science here joins art to dignify and lend tragic grandeur to our appalling fragility."
Jean-Baptiste Regnault, The Origin of Painting: Dibutades Tracing the Portrait of a Shepherd, 1786
"Art helps us accomplish a task that is of central importance in our lives: to hold on to things we love when they are gone… What we're worried about forgetting, however, tends to be quite particular. It isn't just anything about a person or scene that's at stake; we want to remember what really matters, and the people we call good artists are, in part, the ones who appear to have made the right choices about what to commemorate and what to leave out."
Richard Serra, Fernando Pessoa, 2007-8
"One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer more successfully… Serra's work does not deny our troubles; it doesn't tell us to cheer up. It tells us that sorrow is written into the contract of life. The large scale and overtly monumental character of the work… presents sadness as a grand and ubiquitous emotion... We need help in finding honor in some of our worst experiences, and art is there to lend them a social expression."
Jeff Wall, Untangling, 1994
"We are not transparent to ourselves. We have intuitions, suspicions, hunches, vague musings, and strangely mixed emotions- all of which resist simple definitions. Then, from time to time, we encounter works of art that seem to latch onto something we have felt, but never clearly recognized before… In art a fugitive and elusive part of our own thinking and experience can be taken up, edited, and returned to us better than it was before so that we feel, at last, that we know ourselves more clearly."
The poetically philosophical questions Botton poses fill our hearts at RxArt. We believe that pediatric hospital facilities should not feel like sterile places for children and families to face their pains alone. We seek to diverge their attention and ease, if only for a moment, their mind, anxiety, and faith with contemporary art. In the spirit of Botton's curiosity and intelligent appreciation of the human condition, we look at our past projects with pride and faith that art is a tool that inspires, guides, heals, and changes visions of ourselves.
Jeff Koons re-imagined the CT Scanner for Advocate Children's Hospital, 2010.
Terry Richardson and Ryan McGinley for the Pediatric and Adolescent Psychiatric Units at Kings County Hospital, 2010.
Kenny Scharf at Kings County Hospital, 2013.
Keith Haring at La Rabida Children's Hospital, 2013
Our fourth edition of the artist-designed RxArt Coloring Book, featuring a cover and inside-stickers by Ai Weiwei and over fifty line drawings by distinguished contemporary artists.
JR finds grand concepts in humble gestures. The French-born artist travels the world, transforming busy streets from New York to Brazil to India into his own gallery walls. His large-scale black and white images are as global as they are local, aspiring to great notions of unity and acceptance with not much more than "people, energy, and glue."
So, JR is asked, Can Art Change The World?
"Maybe," he answers. "We should change the question: Can art change people's lives?"
To all of us at RxArt, these words resonate deeply. By bringing in the art works of distinguished contemporary artists into pediatric hospital facilities cross-country, we strive to offer hope and peace to children and their families during the pains and anxieties of illness. JR's global art projects investigate social, political, and anthropological issues world-wide, and inspire us all to be more empathetic, aware, and free. We truly trust that art is a tool for psychological change, making the impossible, as JR notes, "possible…even easy."
Watch the full JR Ted Talk
More Than Medication®
More Than Medication® is Pfizer's free wellness site dedicated to sharing and celebrating all the small, yet powerful things you can do to stay healthy beyond medication.
The mission is aligned with our deep belief that in order to live healthier, more balanced lives, it takes More Than Medication®.
As one of Canada's leading pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer has access to health information that can help build a healthy body, spirit and mind.
Watch their powerful campaign video here. It moved us to tears and further validates the therapeutic benefits of art.
With Paris on Her Mind
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