Great painting, needs good home

Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9 (detail)

It simultaneously amuses and saddens to me to no end how Richard Hambleton can be promoted and his works purportedly sold for astronomical sums by Valmorbida while at the same time fantastic paintings of his have difficulty reaching 5 figures at auctions when Valmorbida isn’t involved. Hambleton is one of the original street artists from the 1970’s, but his story has never really been told since the 1985 book Street Art by Allan Schwartzman. The short version is that Hambleton’s street art in the 70’s and 80’s, particularly his shadowmen, are easily up there with work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, or Jenny Holzer, but he has never really received due credit.

With the exception of charity events filled with people who just want to outspend the person sitting next to them, Hambleton’s work has consistently sold at auction for significantly lower than what you’d find at art galleries, and now artnet’s latest online auction of work by 1980’s graffiti writers and street artists has a few Hambleton’s up for sale (and yes, artnet is a sponsor of Vandalog this month but this is not a paid post). Of particular note is Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9. This piece on canvas from 1985 is a great indoor version of his shadowmen series of street pieces.

It’s difficult to say if Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9 is worth the tens of thousands that a gallery might ask for it, the hundreds of thousands Valmorbida might ask for it, or something else, but I’m pretty confident that anything this solid by Hambleton should go for more than the $6,000 opening bid that artnet has it at right now.

I just hope there’s someone out there with $6,000 and a good home who agrees with me… The auction ends of December 20th just after noon Eastern Standard Time.

Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9
Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9

Photos courtesy of artnet

Weekend link-o-rama

Aryz in Næstved, Denmark. Click to view large.

Just a question: Anyone wish an air-conditioned home want to trade places with me until things cool down? Anyway, here’s some linkage to what’s been going on with art this week:

Photo by Henrik Haven

RETNA’s Hallelujah World Tour Opening, NYC

Last night I had the chance to check out the opening of RETNA’s Hallelujah, presented by Valmorbida (the people behind Richard Hambleton’s show last year) and curated by RVCA’s PM Tenore in a giant pop-up space on Manhattan’s west side. RJ saw the show in the process of being set-up, and the finished product was certainly spectacular (not to mention really crowded. Cue me getting nervous as people bumped into the work). The artist’s glyphic pieces were presented on a series of very large mediums – most were canvas, some were ink on handmade paper, and a few had plaster (I think) letters rising out of the piece itself. Five sculptures in the middle of the room spelled out a monumental RETNA.

What the script on the pieces spelled out, I’m not entirely sure  – but the effect was certainly cryptic, not to mention really beautiful. Others seemed to think so too, as the vast majority of the work had already been sold by the show’s opening. Like a lot of his other stuff, the pieces subsumed the space, covering nearly the entire wall from floor to ceiling, and in the dark of the warehouse, it was completely immersive.

When I could get close enough to a piece to really see it, the intricacy of his process was apparent, with the handmade paper and ink pieces, the textured paint on canvas, or his evolving use of negative space.

The sculptures I mentioned before, particularly their surroundings, were the only parts that may have taken away from the general strength of the show. Scattered around/under/on top of the sculptures were ropes, industrial pallets, and empty paint cans. Whether it was about paying homage to the process, or likely to his more graffiti-oriented beginnings, the props seemed unnatural in the space, particularly in the whole glamorous-company-collaboration context. If anything, it made me want to see his work outside of this setting, or at least caused me to question what it means, and whether its good, bad (or both) to move from street to a show like this.

Hallelujah will be making two more stops, in Venice and London, as it completes its tour. You can check out the New York show at 560 Washington St. in the West Village. Also, if you haven’t seen it, make sure to watch the epic video that accompanies the show.

Photos by Frances Corry

Retna in NYC: Hallelujah World Tour

Wow. Somehow I could have sworn I posted about this show a few days back and now I’m looking through the site and I can’t find it. Sorry everyone! Well, better late than never.

Retna has a solo show opening in NYC next week. The Hallelujah World Tour is being put together by Valmorbida, the same people who catapulted Richard Hambleton from obscurity into the homes of people like Georgio Armani. I’m in New York right now, but I wish I could have planned my short trip here around this. It won’t be one to miss. As far as I can tell, no word yet on how long the show will be up for. Here’s a preview video which sort of sets the mood for the show:

RETNA: Hallelujah World Tour from viejas del mercado on Vimeo.