Here's my stroll through the 2007 S.O.F.A. exhibit
(Sculptural Objects Functional Art)
There's never much in these shows that appears to me
to be either sculptural or functional (except as Bling)
.. but I enjoy walking through them anyway,
and fantasize finding them
in the upscale apartments of fashionable young ladies
who have invited me up for a cup of tea.
in the manner of "The Antiques Road Show"
I've recorded the prices,
as well as the other info on the tag
Gordon Crosby, born 1938, $1000
Naturally, I'm the most attracted
to the understated,
the pieces that seem to point to healthy,
quiet lifestyle of contemplation
Ryoji Koie, born 1938, teabowls, $1900 each
Sam Herman, 1960, $5500
So, I'm partial to the old guys,
like this British fellow,
and I have no idea
what qualities the abstract painting
of the past 50 years
might have that can't be found
in his blown glass.
Sam Herman, 2007, $1250 and $2450
I think I began to appreciate this kind work
about 50 years ago,
with my small, but choice
collection of marbles.
Bjorn Ekegren, born 1955, Sweden
What kind of woman would own this piece ?
Tall, lithe, blond, athletic,
probably into sailing.
Tali Daton, 2007
And what kind of woman
would show these in her apartment ?
Tali Daton, 2007, $5900
with a great sense of humor
Michael Lucero, 2007, $27,000
Moving on now
to the most outrageous things.
(this show had plenty of outrageous -
it's not especially what I like,
but I thought it should be documented -
sort of like ---
a magnificent train wreck)
so if you saw this is a person's home,
nothing they could say or do
would surprise you
Shayna Leib, $27,000
This kind of thing
is actually very relaxing for me,
and I'd love to find it
in a doctor's waiting room
"Incident", 2007, $950
But what are we to make of these things ?
(there were about a dozen of them,
stretched out across the gallery wall)
They do, indeed
seem to record an "incident",
one that no man
would like to experience
Joel Masewick, Acrylic and steel on canvas, $7,000
This piece is just so whacky,
it needs to go somewhere, but where ?
the waiting room
of an auto repair shop ?
Marvin Lipovsky, 2006, $36,800
I discovered Marvin last year,
and I keep on liking him.
This piece reminds me
of one of the color-swirly party balloons,
that's just popped !
and how is this detail one bit less profound
than a painting
by Mark Rothko ?
Chris Antemann, $3200, porcelain, decals, luster
Moving on now to the figure sculpture,
there basically two kinds in SOFA:
the cute and the ugly.
This one comes the closest to
having some of the best qualities
of European porcelain,
while it's narrative
is wonderfully goofy
(please don't spill that hot tea !)
Dorit Levi-nstein, $7000
Doesn't this feel way-too French ?
I love it.
(and like it better than most contemporary figure sculpture)
The piece has been cast in bronze
and then painted
Mike Moran, $4500
O.K. -- this figure is just plain ugly
but it's a promising approach:
concrete modeled on top of rebar
to make an inexpensive,
Philip Soosloff, "Closing Time", $3400
This illusionistic relief
is much more effective in person
Rudy Autio, "Currents", 1997, $48,000
Rich people like to have living rooms
that are way too large,
and there's plenty of empty space left,
even after they put in the mammoth sofa and coffee table.
That's what this kind of large, 36" high ceramic is for.
It's an elegant space filler.
Rudy Autio, "Daedalus", $60,000
Which is not to disparage this
The quality reminds me of
the figurative ceramics commissioned
by leading artists 100 years ago,
the golden age of early modernism.
Toshiko Takaezo, 1997
Back to the ceramic pieces,
I guess I feel that that the whole point
of this genre is to simplify shape
and explore surface.
And who's better than the Japanese ?
Yasuhiro Kuhara, b. 1954, 12" high
I find this sort of thing so relaxing
Americans, on the other hand,
like a looser, more homey feeling.
I would love to drink hot chocolate from these cups.
Melanie Brown, $2200 for the set
.. and I think these eccentric ladies need
each others company.
Wouldn't you expect to find this
in the home of a Thai Buddhist priest ?
Samy-David has opened ceramic boutiques
throughout Israel -- and now into Europe.
Oprah is a fan -- and so am I.
(but I don't think those flames
will keep the pot warm)
Sara Flynn, "Vessel Council", $2090
This might be the portrait
of some kind of women's health
Thomas Schmidt, "Origins", $1500
Young Mr. Schmidt has crossed over into sculpture here,
and it reminds me of those gnarly rocks or pieces of weathered wood
that Chinese collectors have mounted for display.
Agathe Larpent, "Tourbillon", $6100
I like this piece,
but I would really like to cut off a slice
and serve it with butter and jam
This looks like a homage to the 1950's
Eva Kwong, "Bacteria , diatoms, cells", $10,000
for a doctor's waiting room.
(or... maybe not)
Not too many bowls
favor the inner to the outer.
One might expect the owner of such a piece
to be a woman of high integrity
Jane Jermyn, $2650
Wouldn't you like find an apartment
filled with dozens of these things ?
What kind of a person would make
such a collection ?
Bill Nasogaluak (Tutuyakyuk)
Why is this the only gallery of ethnic art at S.O.F.A.
Is that Eskimo art is somehow higher class
than the decorative arts of Africa, Asia, India etc ?
Or --- is it just that Galerie Elca (Montreal)
was the only ethnic gallery
that could afford a booth ?
They had a good exhibit of Inuit pieces that,
overall, were much better than what is mostly found on the internet.
Though it's not quite up to the best that I've found elsewhere ,
especially my favorite, Ashevek Tunnillie
All of these are pieces made in 2007 (or 2006)
Mark Pitseolak (Cape Dorset) $2000
Nuna Parr (Cape Dorset) $7200
Toonoo Sharky (Cape Dorset)
Lino Tagliapetra, $35000
Back to the glass,
this is one that I would actually like to own,
since it's quiet, elegent
and most importantly,
easier to dust
This Taiwanese woman
is apparently a film star
as well as a glass maker,
and there is a kind of sensual
munificence that feels so Chinese
(like -- I know that I can't afford
to even look at it)
For some reason,
the gallery watcher
was very nervous about me
taking this photograph.
Perhaps I was stealing its soul ?
What is it about this piece
that makes it feel so Austalian ?
(and not, say, Brazilian)
Before I read the label,
I thought this was glass,
but, of course, it's stone
that's been turned on a lathe.
Wouldn't this make THE perfect receptacle
for the funerary ashes
of an elegant woman ?
Bennett Bean, 5' x 7' wool rug
Mr Bean is a delightful aesthete
who seems to have a perfect sense
for what wealthy Americans want in their homes.
What says wealth and passion more than red and gold ?
John Kuhn, $45,000
This piece belongs on the officer's deck
of the starship Enterprise
And this set of jars
were only partially transported
(during a malfunction of
a teleportation machine )
Jose Chardiet, 1987
It's very difficult to look at this
without a chuckle
The only figurative
glass I found in this show
Browngrotta arts, 1990
And now on to the other strange materials --
this is acrylic and dyes on rayon
and these are corn flower husks
fixed in resin.
Cheerful, isn't it ?