September 7, 2007

The Fame Factor

Fame. It is seductive, illusive, alluring. Americans are obsessed with it. Andy Warhol generously allocated to us all a fifteen minute portion of it - a portion we so hungry for that even a transient flicker of it in our lives is eagerly grasped.

"The Fame Factor," an exhibition of mixed media works by twentieth century artists, currently on view at Gallery 80808 in Columbia, SC explores the vicissitudes of acclaim through a presentation of artists who have earned various degrees of prominence. The exhibition is complex and somewhat didactic in nature as the artists presented demonstrate that fame is a relative thing - relative to time, place, choice of media, and audience. The artists presented are Benny Andrews, Karel Appel, Lynn Chadwick, Corneille, Jacques Doucet, John Hultberg, Richard Hunt, Wilfredo Lam, Ibram Lassaw, Ger Lataster, Lucebert, Sam Middleton,
Joan Mitchell, Hannes Postma, Reinhoud, Paul Reed, Edward Rice, Kees Salentijn,
Virginia Scotchie, Laura Spong, Leo Twiggs, Bram Van Velde. With so many artists featured it is a challenge to find a thread of continuity in this body of work, except to say that each artist is a master of his media.

Because of the large concept of "The Fame Factor," the span of history the work represents, and the cultural diversity of the artists, it would be advisable to see the exhibition more than once and to do some backround reading. Please click on to the links for a preview of the work of artists with whom you are unfamiliar - you won't be dissappointed!

A number of artists in the exhibition were part of, or influenced by the avant- garde CoBrA movement of 1948 - 1951, so named as an acronym for the cities that the majority of the artists hailed from; Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. They are represented in this exhibition by their works on paper, a fortuitous neccessity, as these works have a critically acclaimed appeal that often surpasses their paintings. In these and several other works on paper by other artists, there is an immediacy to them as a fingerprint of the brain that it exciting and captivating. The mark making process recorded by these artists is both revealing and deceptive. The silkscreens by French artist Jacques Doucet, for instance, have had multiple runs through the press so that a surface is built up creating the impression of paint.

Another impressive series is the group of mixed media works on paper by Kees Salentijn. Large, iconographic images with vestiges of figuration, they are brilliantly rendered in every permutation of line possible. Calligraphed, scratched, penciled, dripped and drawn, the marks pull together like a symphony.

Perhaps my favorite works in the exhibition are the silkscreen prints by Benny Andrews, which are nothing short of a sheer joy to behold. The frenetic, richly patterned subjects contrast starkly to a plain white backround. And who can resist the irreverence of "Turtle Dove," depicting an airborne turtle flying past a fantasy tree. (I have been working of late on a series of images based upon a turtle skeleton and seeing this somehow resonates with me at this time.)
The drawings by sculptors Ibram Lassaw and Richard Hunt are especially noteworthy, as it is unusual to see the 2-D work of 3-D artists. But this gives us a rare glimps into a sculptor's working process and I thank the curator for including these.
An immense amount of work and careful thought was put into this outstanding exhibition. Please honor this by seeing it in person if you can, and reading about it if you cannot.
The exhibition runs from September 7 - 18 at 1223 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC. The opening reception is Friday September 7, 2007, 5 -10PM. For more information contact Wim Roefs at ifART, 803 238-2351 or
copyright 2007 Janet Kozachek

1 comment:

harriett said...

Oh, this sounds delightful - I will do my best to get by there and see it!