In the studio with Hadieh Shafie

Hadieh Shafie Sculpture

Hadieh Shafie Studio

Love and passion are secret innersprings that fuel Hadieh Shafie’s art and life. Iranian-born American artist Shafie grew up in Iran. She picked up English during two years in London around ages eight to nine. Upon returning to Iran in 1979 with her seven-year-old brother, she found that Iran had changed; at the airport, all she could see was a “sea of black” clothing, and she thought she was in the wrong country. Shafie and her family then lived for four years under repressive laws in Iran before receiving a visa for a family vacation in Austria. This turned into a trip to visit relatives in America and a new life. Shafie finds parallels between her early life and that of Iranian-born Marjane Satrapi, as told in her graphic novel Persepolis. Continue reading

Denise Treizman: Art that Rocks – and Rolls!

Denise Treizman Sculpture

“Spartan Follies”, 2016. Variable Tires, spray paint, plastidip paint, paracord rope, fitness balls, sand, chains, bolts, duct tape. Detail of tire sculpture at Randall’s Island Park. (Photo by Toby Tenenbaum)

Denise Treizman – at the beginning of her career — is making original art bursting with color, style, engineering chops, and jazzy moves. Her laser focus and talent is evident in her studio, in her Cuchifritos solo show, and at her Spartan Follies/ FLOW.16 interactive public art on Randall’s Island through November. Continue reading

In the Studio with Leonardo Benzant

Leonardo Benzant Sculpture

Kamarioka Magik” (detail) by Benzant, from the group exhibition called “I Kan Do Dat, Contemporary Abstract Art”, for Rush Arts Gallery, New York, NY curated by Danny Simmons and Oshun Layne. From Paraphernalia Of The Urban Shaman M:5. Photos courtesy: Alaric Campbell.

Leonardo Benzant’s exhibition calendar is filling fast. In June, his work Cosmology of Resistance appears in Africa’s Out, curated by Wangechi Mutu, which opens June 3 with an Afro-centric gala at Pioneer Works. In July, Benzant’s Koi No Yokan III is at 101 Exhibit Space in Los Angeles. Continue reading

In the studio with Hap Tivey: string and shadow and light


Hap Tivey Sculpture

Pyramid: 3 frames, 2 POV, 2015. 72” x 40” x 22”. Courtesy the artist

String Curve and Pyramid are Hap Tivey’s shifting light sculptures shown recently at the University of Buffalo Art Gallery. Tivey uses Fred Sandback’s minimalism and James Turrell’s light constructions with the main difference that the forms shift in hue, volume, and shape – or appear to.  In Tivey’s light art, unlike Turrell’s projections, the light constantly changes as the string, hanging like a line in space, articulates the colored volumes in the projection. The viewer’s movement in relation to the art also literally changes the colors of light seen. When I asked who did what first, Tivey related, “I did focus on changing color and volume before Jim did, but that was 1972 – tough to argue these days. My video projections are much more about programed change, but both mine and his evolve by physiology as well. Not many people get that, but the illusion of volume is produced by neurology trying to make sense of minimal information. That gets into a pretty boring discussion of neurophysiology that I generally avoid, unless someone brings it up first.”[i] Continue reading

Tim Hawkinson’s Time Frames

Tim Hawkinson Sculpture

Installation view, Tim Hawkinson: Counterclockwize at Pace Gallery. Photo by Tom Barratt / Pace Gallery.

Tim Hawkinson’s constructions, often kinetic, have layered associations that go backward in time, and this could be one reason why his exhibition — through April 23 at Pace, 537 West 24th Street– is called “Counterclockwise.”  The fourteen sculptures and two large drawings employ animation, electronics, and quotidian materials to explore humorous notions about time and the universe. To me, going counterclockwise implies going left rather than right and taking the intuitive rather than the logical approach to problem-solving. My Chinese mentor, Dr. Nelson Wu, used to tell a story in which the counterclockwise path was part of a spiritual journey. Even more than Slow Food and Slow Hands, Counterclockwise here suggests going back to understanding how the world works. Continue reading

On View at The Sagamore Art Hotel, Miami

Olafur Eliasson Sculpture Sagamore Hotel

Olafur Eliasson. “Dodecahedron Lamp”, 2005.

The Sagamore Hotel literally was born as an art hotel the winter of 9/11. In December, 2001, Art Basel Miami, in its first year, was cancelled except for a riveting show curated by Robert Chambers at the Bass Museum.[i]  New Sagamore owner Marty Taplin and his wife Cricket Taplin decided to host an art brunch to cheer up the still-nascent arts community,  and Cricket transformed the hotel with art from her private collection. Continue reading

Three Directions for Sculpture


Among the male sculptors over 70 who have been practicing for half a century, Martin Puryear (born 1941), Frank Stella (born 1936), and Mark di Suvero (born 1933) are quite different in terms of their main themes, media, and processes. One common thread is that each has taken great risks, chosen new directions in sculpture, and created work with universal meanings that have not been explored in depth. Three new monographs each discuss how one artist draws inspiration from a range of subjects; however, only the essays on Puryear discuss craft and process in depth. Another topic that begs to be discussed in this trio’s arts is erotic allusions/tales/allegories. Mark Pascale’s analysis of sensory implications in Puryear’s “The Gates” gave me new ideas about additional sensory references in the artist’s oeuvre. Continue reading