The Viewing Room

Editor’s Letter Spring 2014

The Novice Artist’s Guide to Becoming Famous and Rich in the 21st Century! 

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Beth Lambert

Beth Lambert is an enigma. A modernist figurative painter excelling at postmodern abstractions, a humble contemporary artist uncomfortable with attention — who is this artist? A petite, tough beauty with cool blue eyes, she greeted me at her New Orleans studio nervously: “I’m one of those old-school types who doesn’t like to talk about their [...]

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Eddie Cohen

  As a native Brooklynite born raised in an Orthodox Jewish household, Eddie Cohen fostered his creativity into an artistic career. A young artist and business student in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cohen attributes his passion for art to his upbringing and his parents’ belief that creativity is an important aspect of life. His love for photography grew [...]

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Bill FitzGibbons

  Joseph Beuys, one of the most influential artists of the latter half of the 20th century, coined the term “social sculpture,” defined as an artwork situated in the public domain that requires the engagement and intervention of an audience for completion. For Beuys, social sculpture is both political and spiritual, a catalyst to ignite the innate creativity in all of us, thereby transforming the social realm. “My objects are to be seen as stimulants for the transformation of the idea of sculpture,” he once said, and “should provoke thoughts about what sculpture can be…”
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John Isiah Walton

  I had seen a couple of John Isiah Walton’s pieces. At The Front recently, where Walton has just become a new member, a group show offered his piece Any Given Sunday, in which the floor surrounding a beer pong table with an image of Michelangelo’s God touching Adam printed on it was littered with red plastic cups painted with crosses, Stars of David, and Muslim star and crescents.
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Eric Shiner

THE ANDY WARHOL MUSEUM CELEBRATES ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2014!

Keepers of the Flame Eric Shiner, director of the Andy Warhol Museum, is planning for the museum’s 20thanniversary celebration this May. An institution dedicated to preserving the legacy of a controversial figure, the Warhol opened its doors in Pittsburgh’s North Side in May 1994 to mixed reviews. Today, it is a treasured institution of a culturally rich city and the largest repository of Warhol’s work.
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In Dialogue with Brooklyn-based artist Marcia Cooper

  Marcia Cooper is an artist working in Brooklyn. Her career has been based on the art she makes and the way that it interacts with space. I recently visited the artist in her Bushwick studio and the following dialogue is the result of this particular interaction. 
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Representing Our Multitudes

In his poem “Song for Myself” included in the seminal Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman writes, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” Whitman’s now iconic transcendentalist quote almost perfectly describes the multitudes within artist Bryan Christie’s otherworldly paintings, which deftly combine the figural and the abstract to represent the spiritual energy contained within the body. Vibrating with mesmerizing movement created through his unique artistic process, Christie’s paintings command the viewer’s attention, recalling at once da Vinci’s fascination with anatomy, X-ray photography, and his own singular swirling aesthetic. 

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Lou Jordan

Striving for the Divine

And how would such incomparable beauty not move us, seeing its beautiful face like unto perfect glass through which rays of Divinity were shining? -Sor Juana de la Cruz, Respuesta a Sor Filotea (Reply to Sister Philotea) What is holy? And how do you express it? For thousands of years there has been an irreparable connection between art and religion. Lou Jordan, a lay member of the Dominican order and a dedicated artist, paints expressions of her spirituality and love for the world in large, abstract paintings. Her work, while being an expression of her spirituality, is also a document of a lifetime of thought on religion.  The evolution of her work exemplifies the struggle to express the divine.
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LaToya Ruby Frazier

  There is trouble in Braddock, Pennsylvania. It has been lurking on like the steady pace of the Monongahela River. It is alongside this river that the French and Indian War reared its ugliest head during the doomed Braddock expedition of 1755. It was near those banks that steel heralded both prosperity and crushing disenfranchisement for hundreds of African-American workers, and has continued unabated. Such trouble persists that it merits exploration within a series of photographs produced under the strain of sanctioned social discrimination, institutionalized corruption, and extraordinary metaphysical resilience.
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Kirsten Kraa

EVERYMAN JOURNEYS THROUGH THE UNIVERSE

A major component of Kirsten Kraa’s work is Everyman, a figure with a round bald head, a mono-expressive face, and eyes that consistently have the same angle of view — looking straight ahead. Everyman, who she also calls “the image,” sports an orange cape and is inserted into a variety of colored backgrounds, from piles of flakes of acrylic chips that she says represent the art world, to geometrically dynamic lines and patterns, or floating weightlessly in the cosmos.

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Carl Joe Williams

Ohr -O’Keefe Museum of Art · Biloxi, MS

New Orleans artist Carl Joe Williams is currently exhibiting a show of his door-frame-sized paintings (that are indeed painted onto doors found about New Orleans) at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi. The estate of buildings of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum is designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, and the galleries themselves (each a separate unit, not all of them yet complete) are high-ceilinged, amply lit, sexy, and self-contained units.
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Ramiro Gomez

Charlie James Gallery · Los Angeles, CA.

The yellow springboard takes us back to an iconic image of Southern California cool. But rather than the splash of an unseen swimmer, we see a Latino man cleaning the pool. A few feet away from him is a housekeeper sweeping the grounds. Ramiro Gomez’s No Splash (after David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash, 1967) (2013) revises a metonym of West Hollywood luxury by showing us the people whose labor maintains that veneer. 
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