Tag Archives: contemporary art

A Closer Look: Katharina Grosse

This week, I wanted to share the work of Katharina Grosse, a prolific German painter and installation artist.

She is known for the vibrant palette and exuberant gestures of her large-scale canvases and raucous installations which merge painting, sculpture, and architecture.

Wielding a spray gun instead of a brush, Grosse often paints directly on the walls, floors, or facades of her exhibition sites, altering the logic and scale of architecture itself.

In an effort to liberate her works from the Euclidian space of wall and floor, Grosse also incorporates into her multidimensional paintings a variety of unexpected objects, including beds, clothes, balloons, shaped canvases, and soil.

I saw her installation at the University of Chicago’s Renaissance Society in 2007 titled Atoms inside Balloons. It was a tribute of sorts to the world’s first nuclear reaction, and featured huge balloons that deflated or popped throughout the exhibition.




images: katharina grosse

some text: Mass MOCA

A Closer Look: Mickalene Thomas

I visited the North Carolina Museum of Art this week, and there was a great surprise in the contemporary galleries – a new large scale painting by Mickalene Thomas called The Three Graces. Painted this year, the piece measures an impressive 9 feet by 12 feet, and is made of thousands of rhinestones and acrylic paint.  And it’s absolutely beautiful!

The painting re-casts the Three Graces from Greek Mythology as African American Women dressed in 70’s clothing.  According to the artist’s website, she “introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty.  Her work stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life.”

Mickalene Thomas has gotten a lot of attention recently – a similar painting now hangs permanently in the window of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  I  feel lucky to have one of her most significant paintings in the permanent collection of our local musuem.


image 1: mickalenethoms.com

image 2: artknowledgenews.com

image 3: lehmannmaupin.com

A Closer Look: Isa Genzken

Isa Genzken is a German artist who combines the bric-a-brac of everyday life to create unusual sculptures that shock and amaze.  Sometimes her work looks more like a pile of garbage than a sculpture.    But take a closer look, and you’ll see poetic arrangements of  color and texture balancing in space.  Her work has been aptly described as “contemporary ruins.”  Take a closer look:

Genzken’s work seems to warn us against taking ourselves too seriously, combining carefully-composed arrangements with a playful sense of humor.  Through this process, she creates inventive works that never cease to surprise me, and that’s why she’s one of my favorite artists.




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