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Goodbye Hayv Kahraman - 'How Iraqi Are You?' and hello 'Hank Willis Thomas, Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015' showing at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Jack Shainman Gallery just showed Hayv Kahraman’s second solo exhibition at their 20th Street space called 'How Iraqi Are You?' The exhibition included large-scale paintings on linen based aesthetically on 12th century Iraqi manuscripts illustrating personal memories from Kahraman’s childhood in Baghdad and as a refugee in Sweden. A little late - but not too late on GoSee as true beauty knows no age.

Currently on show at the gallery is 'Hank Willis Thomas, Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015' on view through May 16th at 513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street.

Hayv Kahraman, born in Baghdad, Iraq, currently lives and works in San Francisco. She has participated in worldwide exhibitions including Piece by Piece: Building a Collection, Selections from the Christy & Bill Gautreaux Collection, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City; The Jameel Prize 2011 – Shortlist Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London which traveled to venues including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Cantor Center, Stanford University; and Fertile Crescent, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Princeton. Her work is included in several public collections like the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; the Pizzuti Collection, Columbus; American Embassy, Baghdad; The Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; MATHAF Museum of Modern Art, Doha; and The Rubell Family Collection, Miami.

Jack Shainman Gallery  . Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm. . 513 West 20th Street, New York,  NY 10011 . USA
20.04.2015 // show complete article

GoSee loves ... 'I see sexuality as the most natural thing in the world.' Der chinesische Fotograf Ren Hang in der Stieglitz19 Galerie in Antwerpen

With an intense clarity of colour and uncompromising curiosity for both men's and women's physical realm captures Ren Hang´s comprehensive and bold works body performativity and the Chinese youth´s impatience and tradition-breaking ratings.

Ren Hang was born in 1987 in Northeastern China and studied advertising at a University in Beijing. He belongs to the so-called ´80s generation, a generation of Chinese born after Mao´s time, which was shaped by China´s one-child policy, and grew up without siblings, with the internet and computer games, as well as all the information from the West, in an economically expanding China.

”What others see as tradition, I don't see as my tradition”, Ren Hang says. He likes to write poems, his own, bizarre, which he publishes on his blog that has many followers. But he doesn´t like talking about his work. ”When the photo is done, it's done; what others think about it is their business.”

It is through the internet that Ren Hang´s photos and poetry reached its audience. But several of his websites have been shortlived. As soon he opens a new site it will quickly be shut down. But once one has been shut down, he immediately starts a new one; it is a game of cat and mouse.

The reason is that the photos show the many naked bodies. Censorship exists. ”To me, the most important of the web is that it gives me the opportunity to publish my photos, and it's also helpful for finding models.” Ren Hang also publishes his own photo books. But no-one in Beijing dared print his photos. The fear was that it would be considered as ”spreading pornographic material”, a criminal offense in China. But online, he finds fans who dare to help him publish the books, outside the politically sensitive capital Beijing.

Those who came to his aid did not see his photos as "pornography", and of course neither does Ren Hang. I asked him why sexuality and nudity are such central themes for him. He replied: "I've also shot landscapes, actually, but nobody likes that. I suppose people don't need landscapes, they care more about nudity. I used to be very curious about sex; there was something mysterious about it, and I took some pictures for fun. Now I see sexuality as the most natural thing in the world.”

Ren Hang - New Works - 4/4/2015 – 16/5/2015 . Stieglitz19 . Klapdorp 2, Antwerpen 2000, Belgium . stieglitz19.be
15.04.2015 // show complete article

Go & See : Gymnasium, Exercise at Home, Sunday Drive. Die erste Luke Smalley Retrospektive zu sehen bei CLAMPART in New York

ClampArt is proud to present a retrospective exhibition of photographs by Luke Smalley (1955-2009). At the age of 53, Smalley passed away far too young, but he left behind three major bodies of work, in addition to four impressive monographs. The show at ClampArt will include examples from Smalley’s first black-and-white series, “Gymnasium,” in addition to his two color collections—“Exercise at Home” and “Sunday Drive.”

All of Luke Smalley’s work pairs what has been called “a coolly minimalist aesthetic with a retro nostalgia.” Many early images were inspired by yearbooks and fitness manuals from the beginning of the 20th century.

After completing a degree at Pepperdine University—tellingly, in sports medicine—Smalley became increasingly interested in fine art (while earning money from modeling and working as a personal trainer). Ian Hannett writes: “He soon created a short film based on male swimmers, which he took unannounced to [the book publisher] Jack Woody sometime in the early 1980s. Woody’s company, Twin Palms Publishers/Twelvetrees Press, then located in Pasadena, had recently printed a monograph for artist Bruce Weber, to which Smalley strongly related and greatly admired. Smalley was a quiet, relaxed individual who was easy to be around, and he and Woody soon struck up a casual friendship. Woody began taking the young artist to various Hollywood parties where he met many celebrities of the day, including people such as Herb Ritts, who also would serve as later inspiration.”

It was around the time of the start of his friendship with Jack Woody that Smalley formulated his idea for “Gymnasium,” which would take the next fifteen years to hone and complete. A series of black-and-white gelatin silver prints depicting young, male athletes set in an ambiguous time and place, the series was ultimately exhibited in New York City in 2001 to follow the recent release of the monograph from Twin Palms. The book and subsequent show launched the artist’s fine art career, and eventually paved the way to numerous editorial and commercial projects for years to come.

British menswear designer Kim Jones was one of those people who took notice of the Gymnasium book. First seeing it at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo in New York City, Jones immediately fell in love with Smalley’s aesthetic and soon hired him to begin shooting his clothing line. The collaboration ultimately culminated in Smalley’s second book in 2004 titled simply Kim Jones, which is now a rare and valuable collectible.

Four years later came Smalley’s second major fine art series,“Exercise at Home,” which was exhibited both on the East and West Coasts to coincide with the release of a second Twin Palms publication—the artist’s third book. This marked the artist’s initial foray into color, but followed “Gymnasium” in its themes of “adolescent growing pains acted out under the guise of earnest athleticism.” Teenagers compete in simple but strange competitions in order to establish their standing within the group. As with the previous black-and-white series, Smalley painstakingly coordinated the creation of the work to the extent of constructing his own athletic equipment and other props, in addition to simple costumes. It was now Smalley’s intent to continue publishing artist books in small editions every few years, which could then be coordinated with gallery exhibitions of photographic prints, thus augmenting his ongoing commercial career.

Finally, in 2009 came the completion of Smalley’s final body of work, “Sunday Drive.” In this highly narrative series, Smalley tells the story of three gorgeous young women who mysteriously primp and preen, often drifting into dramatic episodes of “exaggerated ennui.” The threesome eventually piles into a vintage, butter-yellow convertible for a lovely summer drive. It soon becomes clear that the girls are on their way to the state penitentiary to visit their boyfriends—incarcerated for crimes unknown. The second half of “Sunday Drive” consists of photographs of the attractive young men killing time in the slammer waiting for their sweethearts to arrive. Consistent with all his earlier work, Smalley successfully fabricates a world of an ambiguous bygone era. His whimsical and sexy images toy with the intersection of fashion and societal ideals of femininity and masculinity.

The work was again published by Twin Palms, representing Smalley’s fourth book. Its release coincided with an exhibition at ClampArt in New York City in the fall of 2009, but sadly the artist passed away in May of that year before seeing the success of his project.

Work by Luke Smalley .
April 2 – May 9, 2015 . Artist’s reception: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. . ClampArt . 531 West 25th Street, Ground Floor, New York City, 10001 clampart.com
08.04.2015 // show complete article