I am Katie Howard and you might know me through my Instagram project @PickleBeholding. What you may not know is that I started the Instagram project because I work as a private art advisor for individuals and companies. In other words, I help people figure out what art to buy within their budget and taste. A lot of that work is taking away the stigmas and fears of feeling uneducated enough or not wealthy enough to appreciate and buy art. You don't have to be super educated to appreciate contemporary art. Liking it is appreciating it, and if you like it enough to want to live with it, you should.
When I look for art for myself, or a client, it is important to find something that grabs and keeps my attention. For me that means the works I am typically drawn to use humor to engage the viewer in a deeper criticism. So I thought since Frieze New York has come to a close I would share some of my favorite works from the past week, with Pickle of course.
Yayoi Kusama "The Moment of Regeneration," 2014 at Victoria Miro Gallery
The first artist I wanted to share is Yayoi Kusama. She is most well known for her dot paintings, orange bob, and infinity room that has been Instagrammed almost 15 thousand times, and at 87 she has become the highest paid living female artist. This work "The Moment of Regeneration" is very typical of her fun and whimsical sculptures. Her works are so popular because they are able to provide the viewer with a moment of fun and relaxation, and she has been able to transcend the pitfalls of being tied to specific art movements.
Gina Beavers at Clifton Benevento
These works are by an incredible emerging artist Gina Beavers. Her works are best described as sculptural relief paintings, meaning that the paintings have dimensionality and actually pop off the wall. Her works reference Claes Oldenburg's soft sculptures but you don't need to know that to appreciate their pop culture and Internet photography references which she carefully recreates.
Los Carpinteros "Clavo Once," 2015 at Galeria Fortes Vilaça
This bent and twisted oversized nail is by a Havana-based artist collective Los Carpinteros. Their works, like so many that I am drawn to are playful but underneath can be quite critical of the world around them. Their works aim to draw attention to the intersections between fine art, craft and design and break down the assumed differences between them. Another contemporary of Claes Oldenburg they are able to make what would ordinarily be functional objects useless, and in this work it's done with scale. In highlighting these contradictions they bring awareness of the divides between artists and skilled craftsmen by mocking the fact that we as a society say we appreciate art more than craft.
Sam Moyer "North Woods," 2016 at Rodolphe Janssen
This work is by another incredible female artist and Frenchie owner, Sam Moyer. She started her career being known for dying fabrics outside with techniques to make them look like marble. As her practice progressed she began to incorporate actual marble slabs in the work. She has since progressed to this incredible point in her work where she is now re-creating brush strokes with marble imbedded in canvas. It's this kind of experimentation and fun that also pushes boundaries that I look for when following an artist's career.
Faig Ahmed "Osho," 2015 at Nature Morte
This was the first work that grabbed me during Frieze Art Fair and it's by the Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed. The incredible craftsmanship of this work on top of the breathtaking design is enough to make anyone stop to look. But what is brilliant is his ability to make these woven rugs look either look like they were painted, melted, or digitally manipulated and the feelings that are brought out because of it. To me, the work is heartbreaking because I see melting of a very distinct and unique culture. And it makes me think of the homogenizing of our beautiful cultures because of the Internet. Yet, precisely because he's making these works he is paying homage and calling for recognition of this centuries old tradition.
Dave Hardy "Untitled," 2016 at Regina Rex
This sculpture is by Dave Hardy who is an artist I've been following for the past few years. He uses traditional and non-traditional building materials to create fun and precarious looking sculptures that reference traditional gestures in painting. This sculpture reminds me of Lichtenstein's brushstroke sculptures because of the foam that has been soaked in concrete to create an arch that looks like a painting. Yet the messiness and use of everyday objects like coconuts brings it to a very tactile and personal level of engagement.
Photographed and written by Katie N. Howard