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Contemporary Art

Three to See: Dumas, de Costis and Murakami

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MARLENE DUMAS’S AWKWARD, 2018. ©MARLENE DUMAS. COURTESY DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK/HONG KONG.


As collectors gather in New York this week for Frieze and the May Impressionist & Modern and Contemporart Art previews, galleries around town are debuting an exciting array of not-to-be-missed exhibitions. 

MARLENE DUMAS: Myths & Mortals

In the artist's first solo show in New York since 2010, David Zwirner presents a provocative new series of work by Marlene Dumas based on the unpredictable, euphoric and often awkward course of falling in love. Ranging from larger-than-life sized nudes to considerably smaller paintings depicting details of the body, the viewer is pulled in and out, revealing the mercurial nature of her painting process. A favorite subject of Dumas, her daughter Helena (who is expecting her first child) appears in Birth (2018) as an abundantly painted figure. Nearby is a work called Awkward (2018), which depicts a man and woman tenderly holding each other’s hands. 

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MARLENE DUMAS’S VENUS IN BLISS, 2015-16. ©MARLENE DUMAS. COURTESY DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK/HONG KONG.


The show’s title Myths & Mortals refers to Dumas’s earlier body of work produced for Hafid Bouazza’s Dutch adaptation of William Shakesphere’s poem Venus & Adonis (1593).This tragic poem tells of the amorous entanglement between the goddess of love and Adonis, known as the most beautiful mortal, who is brutally slain by a wild boar during a hunt despite Venus’s cautioning. Narrated through ink-washed works on paper, these fluid renderings illustrate the dichotomy of their passion from tender serene moments crossed with combative ones where Venus aggressively seduces Adonis with an erotic appetite to the violent bloodshed of Adonis’s fatal ending.  

Myths & Mortals will be open until June 30th and is exhibited at David Zwirner, 537 West 20th Street. New York.  

VINCENZO DE COSTIS: Baroquisme

An experimental artisan by nature, designer and architect Vincenzo de Costis offers an illuminating interiors collection that is influenced by the Italian Baroque period. For de Costis, these sculptural works celebrate movement, and the materials, which are handcrafted into his pieces, are fundamental in delivering the inconstant sense of motion. The designer selected lavish elements such as silvered cast brass and lights from Tuscany, marble from France, and distinctively thick Murano glass from Venice. 

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A VIEW OF BAROQUISME, VINCENT DE COSTIS’S SOLO EXHIBITION AT CARPENTERS WORKSHOP GALLERY IN NEW YORK. COURTESY OF CARPENTERS WORKSHOP GALLERY.

Generously sized puddles of Murano glass dashed with gestural lines are thoughtfully pooled on silver cast brass tables or used as rotating lights, further encouraging the idea of movement. In some pieces, these opulent materials are balanced with recycled fiberglass – its rough and raw nature exposes the passage of time in its imperfections and markings. This is also evident in some pieces where the silvered brass is left marked and unpolished alongside the polished versions. Light, an essential element for both de Costis Baroque style in general, is  Baroque style. Notably the cabinet, made of silvered cast brass and Murano glass, when opened reveals a stunning display of a reflective smoked glass interior allowing light to be the source of movement.

Baroquisme will be open until June 23rd and is exhibited at Carpenters Workshop Gallery, 693 Fifth Avenue, New York.

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A VIEW OF BAROQUISME, VINCENT DE COSTIS’S SOLO EXHIBITION AT CARPENTERS WORKSHOP GALLERY IN NEW YORK. COURTESY OF CARPENTERS WORKSHOP GALLERY.

TAKASHI MURAKAMI: Heads↔Heads, Perrotin, New York

Step inside the delightfully chaotic world Takashi Murakami’s art and be prepared to be bewildered. Heads↔Heads is the fourteenth solo exhibition of Murakami at Perrotin. Displaying a new series of arresting yet mystifying body of triptych works such as Homage to Francis Bacon (2017-2018) and an expansive tribute to Japanese artist Soga Shohauku in his dizzying painting capturing a sea dragon’s mesmerizing gestures and the artist’s wide range of applications all in one piece,Transcendent Attacking a Whirlwind (2017).  

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TAKASHI MURAKAMI’S HOMAGE TO FRANCIS BACON (SECOND VERSION OF TRIPTYCH (ON LIGHT GROUND)), 2016. ©2017 TAKASHI MURAKAMI/KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. COURTESY PERROTIN.

This three-floor exhibition begins with a series of acrylic pieces followed by acrylic on platinum and gold leafed canvases depicting a landscape of cheerful flowers, a reappearing and iconic motif of his work. Joining his appreciation and training in Japanese art making and scroll paintings, Murakami – who has a Ph.D. in Nihonga painting – brilliantly merges popular culture with traditional techniques in a unique and often paradoxical vision, nonetheless easy to enjoy.  

Heads↔Heads will be open until June 17th and is exhibited at Perrotin New York, 130 Orchard Street, New York. 

LEAD IMAGE: TAKASHI MURAKAMI’S TRANSCENDENT ATTACKING A WHIRLWIND, 2017. ©2017 TAKASHI MURAKAMI/KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. COURTESY PERROTIN.

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