Hudson, New York
Local culture
8 February 2015 05:59AM
John Isaacs

Pop Art is a two-way street. It derives its content and style from the culture at large, and alternately rewards the commercial sphere with inspiration. The best Pop Art—think Warhol and Koons—does so in spades. Andy long ago made paintings of Perrier bottles. Last year, Perrier came out with a series of Andy Warhol-inspired labels.

This kind of quid pro quo is particularly alive and well in Japan, where popular culture has become an art form in and of itself. Anime and Manga originated as commercial projects, but generated a universally recognizable style. In due course, they spawned a generation of major artists, most notably Takashi Murakami, who blur the line between high and low by making business of both.

Central to Pop Art’s enduring appeal as a genre is blending of appropriation and invention, but it is not unique in mining that program. At much the same time as Pop first came on the scene, in the late 1950s, a quite different but related fixation emerged, when the Abstract Expressionist John Chamberlain decided to make sculptures out of crushed automobile parts (Chamberlain—whose work is presented en masse in one of the wonderful, vast gallery spaces at Dia Beacon—went on to make films starring Ultra Violet).

In “Red/Valentine”, Kiyoshi Ike’s Concepto Hudson is currently presenting the work of eleven new artists in which these various strands coalesce, some rather successfully, in particular the three-dimensional pieces by Joe Fucigna, Stephan Delventhal, and—most memorably—Bernard Klevickas in his exquisite little “Venus of Baubles”, which in its kitsch evocation of the 35,000-year-old “Venus of Hohle Fels”, sculpted from a woolly mammoth tusk, and agglomeration of found objects, poignantly channels the merging of high and low across the full arc of art history.

Photos (by Enid Futterman):
1. Stephan Delventhal, “Shedding 2”, 2014
2. Joe Fucigna, “Big Drip”, 2013 ; Wendy Letven
3. Bernard Klevickas, “Venus of Baubles”, 2014

Concepto Hudson, 741 Warren Street, Hudson, through March 7

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