Artists

In Pictures: A Henry Taylor Retrospective at MOCA Spotlights the Artist’s Individual Yet Universal Portraiture


In just about every article, interview, or press release written about Henry Taylor, he is described as “an artist’s artist.” No matter what that term actually means, it’s undoubtedly a compliment, but it cuts out the non-artist’s ability to appreciate and respect the man’s great talent.

If anything, Taylor is an artist of the people. He paints, sculpts, and draws them furiously, as evidenced by the extraordinary breadth of work on view in the career retrospective “Henry Taylor: B Side” on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the artist’s hometown of Los Angeles.

As a chronicler of people from every cross-section of humanity, Taylor’s subjects range from family members, to fellow artists, to the patients at the Camarillo State Mental Hospital where he worked decades ago. In all of his works, there is something both universal and achingly individual, with many of his paintings serving as character studies spliced with social commentary.

In the exhibition catalogue, curator Bennett Simpson writes of Taylor: “He is also, or maybe foremost, a champion and caretaker of Black experience, suffusing his work with recognition and social commentary alike. In this role, his paintings communicate a deep sense of responsibility—to memory and community, to excellence and contingency.”

See pictures from the exhibition below.

“Henry Taylor: B Side” is on view at MOCA Grand Avenue, 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, through April 30, 2023. 

Installation view, "Henry Taylor: B Side" at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy o the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, “Henry Taylor: B Side” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Screaming Head (1999). mage and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Screaming Head (1999). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Untitled (2022). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Untitled (2022). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Too Sweet (2016). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sam Kahn.

Henry Taylor, Too Sweet (2016). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sam Kahn.

Henry Taylor, Untitled (2021). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Ken Adlard.

Henry Taylor, Untitled (2021). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Ken Adlard.

Installation view, "Henry Taylor: B Side" at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy o the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, “Henry Taylor: B Side” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, "Henry Taylor: B Side" at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy o the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, “Henry Taylor: B Side” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Andrea Bowers (2010). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Robert Bean.

Henry Taylor, Andrea Bowers (2010). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Robert Bean.

Installation view, "Henry Taylor: B Side" at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy o the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, “Henry Taylor: B Side” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, “Henry Taylor: B Side” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, I Was King, When I Met The Queen – Syllable X’s Rhythm Equals Mumbo Jumbo (2013). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sam Kahn.

Henry Taylor, I Was King, When I Met The Queen – Syllable X’s Rhythm Equals Mumbo Jumbo (2013). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sam Kahn.

Henry Taylor, "Watch your back" (2013). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sam Kahn.

Henry Taylor, “Watch your back” (2013). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Sam Kahn.

Installation view, "Henry Taylor: B Side" at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy o the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Installation view, “Henry Taylor: B Side” at MOCA Grand Avenue. Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Untitled (1991). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Untitled (1991). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor, Gettin it Done (2016). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Henry Taylor, Gettin it Done (2016). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Henry Taylor, Cora (cornbread) (2008). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Henry Taylor, Cora (cornbread) (2008). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

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Ariel Pink Used an Artist’s Image on an Album Cover Without Her Consent. She Responded With a Series of Blistering NFTs


When Jill Miller found a photograph of her face had been used without her consent on an Ariel Pink album cover, she could have addressed the violation in any number of ways. Calling it out online maybe, or even bringing suit. But why do that, she reckoned, when, as an artist, she could respond with an art project?

In 2006, musician Ariel Pink released Thrash and Burn, a 36-track compilation of his late-‘90s lo-fi experiments, its cover featuring a close-up image of Miller’s face. Across her forehead was scrawled his name “ARIEL,” and beside her face the word “STINKS.” The cover art was credited to visual artist Michael Rashkow; its subject remained unnamed.

During lockdown, Miller came across her own face on Pink’s record sleeve, and was confused. She had no idea how he had come to possess the photograph—and had certainly not granted permission for her image to be used on his album cover. 

In subsequent DMs with Pink over Instagram, the L.A.-based singer simply directed Miller to Rashkow, who turned out to be her former classmate at UCLA. Back in the early 2000s, Miller was earning her MFA at the university and hosting regular open studio visits, where Rashkow likely snapped her picture.

The cover of Ariel Pink’s Thrash and Burn (2006), featuring a photograph of artist Jill Miller. Photo: HEM

That image would somehow end up in the hands of Jason Grier, the director of the music label Human Ear Music, which released Thrash and Burn (then reissued it in 2013). He claims his “next-door neighbor” designed the album’s cover, before he sought and received Pink’s sign-off on the artwork, though not Miller’s authorization.

“My initial thought was, ‘how rude,’” Miller told Midnight Publishing Group News of her reaction to seeing her face on Pink’s album sleeve. “And my follow-up thought was, ‘how predictable.’”

Her next move? Creating 50 alternate album covers of Thrash and Burn, intended to replace—and parody—the original.

Generated using A.I. software and released as NFTs, these digital works are grouped into four themes, largely centering Pink in a variety of absurd scenarios. There’s Ariel Pink as a sad clown, as a TSA agent, working at Walmart, with a pet skunk, and on a field trip to D.C. (a scene referencing the January 6 U.S. capitol riot, where Pink was in attendance), his face often warped by the algorithm. Every cover bears the phrase “ARIEL STINKS” for its added “comedic potential,” per Miller. 

Field Trip to DC, from the series “Ariel Stinks (50 Alternative Album Covers to Thrash and Burn).” Photo: Jill Miller.

The first part of Miller’s “Ariel Stinks” NFT series has been released on crypto art marketplace Taex in one-for-one editions, priced at 0.39 ETH (about $624) each; a second drop is planned for February 2. One cover has also been made available for free as a digital download.

“Making a series of NFTs felt like the right response to a 16-year-old album cover with my stolen image on it,” said Miller. “I wanted the series to exist in a form that resonated with 2023—which is digital music.” Buyers of the NFTs, too, will retain commercial rights to the work. 

The medium of NFTs further befits an artist, also the Assistant Professor in Art Practice at the University of California, Berkeley, whose practice has been intertwined with new media. In her work, she has sought to challenge contemporary perceptions with the help of technologies from augmented reality to 3D rendering to the internet. Her foray into NFTs, she said, expands on those explorations.

“As an artist who experiments with new technologies, I was curious about NFTs existing as art without the physical object,” she explained. “I see them as being conceptually linked to early photography, video, and other art forms that confused (and later delighted) the art world.”

<em>Ariel Stars in a Horror Film</em>, from the series "Ariel Stinks (50 Alternative Album Covers to Thrash and Burn)." Photo: Jill Miller.

Ariel Stars in a Horror Film, from the series “Ariel Stinks (50 Alternative Album Covers to Thrash and Burn).” Photo: Jill Miller.

And A.I., for that matter, is “another tool in the artist’s box,” Miller said. “I think it could be used as part of a studio practice, but I don’t think it’s essential.”

For “Ariel Stinks,” she used a text-to-image generator to “imagine a number of ways that Ariel could literally stink,” before editing the output in post-production. A generated image featuring Pink on a For Wanted poster, for example, was reworked to include a quote from Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication on the Rights of Woman.

The technology, too, served as a mediating layer between artist and subject, according to Miller. “Making a portrait is quite an intimate exercise,” she said. “I used the A.I. to run interference between Ariel Pink and me… The A.I. acts as a buffer between us, so I don’t have to look too closely for too long.”

Miller is of course well-aware of the copyright litigation currently swirling generative A.I., and has covered her legal bases. According to her attorney, M.J. Bogatin, an intellectual property lawyer based in California, Ariel Stinks falls under the fair use exemption of U.S. copyright law, as the work would be considered parody. “She absolutely has the creative license to use Pink’s image, to adulterate it the way she has,” he told Billboard.

Ariel works at Walmart, from the series Ariel Stinks (50 Alternative Album Covers to Thrash and Burn). Photo: Jill Miller.

Ariel works at Walmart, from the series “Ariel Stinks (50 Alternative Album Covers to Thrash and Burn).” Photo: Jill Miller.

All 50 “Ariel Stinks” covers will be compiled and released as a coffee-table book, the culmination of Miller’s project to reclaim her image, while examining the bounds of appropriation. The act, she said, “calls into question outdated values or cultural assumptions.”

“The record preceded the #MeToo movement,” she added, “and back then men were still getting away with things that would not be allowed today.”

Grier, for his part, has apologized for “unwisely [choosing the photograph of Miller] as the cover art for the release.” Pink—who, January 6 aside, has long courted controversy by spouting statements that have been deemed racist and misogynist—called the project “a prank” and “a sort of snarky bit of revenge,” adding that it exists “to make me look bad.”

“I didn’t realize he called it a prank!” said Miller about Pink’s response. “That’s funny, but not surprising. He can’t really acknowledge it as art without accepting the underlying concept behind it, which is that he authorized his record label to use my image without my permission.”

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Kickstart the New Year With 5 Fascinating Artists From the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network to Check Out This Month


Every month, we at the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network comb through our expansive platform and select five artists that catch our eye, and we think are ones to watch. With the New Year upon us, and more amazing art around now than ever before, this month’s group of artists is particularly exciting. All currently have solo shows on view, from Naples to New York, and employ everything from avant-garde digital technology to vintage and historic styles and motifs in their practice.

These five artists are sure to impress as well as inspire you to explore the thousands of art and artists to be found through Midnight Publishing Group’s Gallery Network.

Leunora Salihu at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin

Leunora Salihu, Turm (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin.

Leunora Salihu, Turm (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin.

Originally from Kosovo, Leunora Salihu’s (b. 1977) sculptural work uses diverse combinations of materials, including metal, wood, and ceramic. Drawing inspiration from industrial and architectural design, as well as from organic forms, Salihu has developed her own distinct compositional lexicon that can be recognized by the apparent functionality of her pieces. Her current solo exhibition at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, focuses on recent work that expands the boundaries of her investigations into form and space. Turm (2022), for example, resembles a massive speaker tower but is actually comprised largely of glazed ceramic. The exhibition also features Salihu’s works on paper, which illustrate the experimental, design-oriented nature of her practice.

Tursic & Mille at Alfonso Artiaco, Naples

Tursic & Mille, Le déséspoir du peintre (Saxifrage des ombrages) (2022). Courtesy of Alfonso Artiaco, Naples.

Tursic & Mille, Le déséspoir du peintre (Saxifrage des ombrages) (2022). Courtesy of Alfonso Artiaco, Naples.

The artist duo Tursic & Mille, comprised of Ida Tursic (b. 1974) and Wilfried Mille (b. 1974), began their artistic partnership in the early 2000s, engaging purposefully with painting in a period when the medium’s popularity was waning. Originally from Serbia and France respectively, the artists draw inspiration from both historic and contemporary visual media, from Old Masters to 20th-century pop culture. Their current show, “Tursic & Mille: Disastri,” on view at Alfonso Artiaco, Naples, centers on the idea of catastrophe theory in mathematics, which refers to the phenomenon where a minor change to the input of an equation causes a major change in the solution. Using humor, satire, and fanciful juxtapositions in their work, the exhibition invites viewers to immerse themselves in the unique and sometimes uncanny artistic worlds the duo creates.

Lori Grinker at Clamp, New York

Lori Grinker, Untitled (Mike Tyson on the balcony...) (1986). Courtesy of Clamp, New York.

Lori Grinker, Untitled (Mike Tyson on the balcony…) (1986). Courtesy of Clamp, New York.

Hailing from Freeport, New York, Lori Grinker (b. 1957) became interested in photography as a teenager and went on to study photography at the Parsons School of Design, where she was tutored by professors such as Lisette Model and Bernice Abbot. While enrolled, Grinker had the opportunity to photograph young boxers, including the then 13-year-old Mike Tyson, and her images were published in Inside Sports magazine. Grinker’s solo exhibition of photographs “Mike Tyson,” shown by Clamp gallery in New York, corresponds with the publication of the monograph of the same name by Powerhouse Books. The exhibition and book trace Grinker’s ongoing photographic relationship with Tyson, from those early images of the fighter as a child in the early 1980s to ones showing him traveling the world as he became a global household name.

Carolyn Oberst at Stellarhighway, New York

Carolyn Oberst, Still Life with Japanese Screen (1996). Courtesy of Stellarhighway, New York.

Carolyn Oberst, Still Life with Japanese Screen (1996). Courtesy of Stellarhighway, New York.

Currently based in New York City, Carolyn Oberst’s interdisciplinary practice spans painting, drawing, wood relief, video animation, and more. She takes as a starting point the immensely personal yet widely relatable environment around her as well as themes of intuition, dreams, and memory. Presented by Stellarhighway in New York, Obserst’s solo exhibition “Where Parting Is No More” features a selection of works from a series made between 1989 and 1998 that involve vintage framed mirrors from old dressers. Refurbishing these dresser-back frames and replacing the mirrors with canvas, the object/paintings become a conduit for Oberst’s internal world, which is conveyed through her vibrant, imaginative painting.

Holger Bär at Galerie Deschler, Berlin

Holger Bär, Central Park (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Deschler, Berlin.

Holger Bär, Central Park (2022). Courtesy of Galerie Deschler, Berlin.

German artist Holger Bär (b. 1962) has a practice that is decidedly contemporary but with a pervasive air of the historic. Frequently using imagery and compositions associated with the Impressionists, Bär’s work evokes the pointillist style of Georges Seurat. But this is achieved through the use of modern computers and technology, namely self-developed algorithms and a photographic printer that utilizes eight (rather than the typical four) colors. The images are an analytical interpretation of the pointillist, Impressionistic style, wherein one’s eye perceives a realist composition when the work is viewed from a distance, but up close the individual points of color are distinct from one another. Bär’s current show with Galerie Deschler, Berlin, “11.500.000 Punkte,” features a range of recent works that highlight the artistic and conceptual artistic connection between the artist and Impressionism.

Explore and find more new artists to watch with Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network.

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If You’re Looking for a Fragrance to Gift, We’d Suggest a Bottle of Chanel No. 5—an Iconic Muse for Artists Celebrating its 100th Anniversary


Over the course of the past year, the French luxury house Chanel has been celebrating the 100th anniversary of its iconic Chanel No. 5. The fragrance was conceived in 1921 by none other than Coco Chanel as “a woman’s perfume with a woman’s scent;” she enlisted the help of perfumer Ernest Beaux, the then go-to perfumer to the Russian Czars, to create it. 

Beaux was known for his complex, otherworldly colognes. It is said that he tried out 80 different versions for Ms. Chanel, who believed that a woman “should wear perfume where she would like to be kissed” and that her fragrance should underscore her independence, autonomy, and strength—things Chanel didn’t feel were emphasized enough in the one-note floral perfumes of the day offered to “respectable women.” (Anything musky or too “exotic” smelling was associated with prostitutes and courtesans.)

After much experimenting, Beaux achieved the right balance by combining a mix of natural scents (including jasmine, ylang ylang, bergamot, orris root, amber, and sandalwood) with synthetic ones (composed of molecules called “aldehydes,” known to exalt and deepen perfumes’ scents) to realize the beloved fragrance. 

Chanel No. 5. Photo courtesy Chanel.

Chanel No. 5. Photo courtesy Chanel.

A century later, Chanel No. 5 is the longest selling luxury perfume on the market. Stats about its mammoth sales figures have long been bandied about amongst industry insiders, who have referred to the perfume as “le monstre” for grounding the French company’s multibillion dollar empire. Reportedly, a bottle of No. 5 is sold every 30 seconds.

The fragrance has also played a significant role in the arts over the years. Its design inspired the work of Andy Warhol, who immortalized its glass flacon in a number of screen-printed tributes in 1985, and its packaging was added to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection in 1959.

Its campaigns have been photographed and filmed by the likes of Richard Avedon, Baz Luhrmann, and Ridley Scott, while fans of the perfume have included some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, with Lauren Hutton, Catherine Deneuve, Nicole Kidman, and Marilyn Monroe among them. Monroe once famously quipped she wore just “five drops” of No. 5 to bed and nothing more. 

A view of Es Devlin's <em>Five Echoes</em> installation during Art Basel Miami Beach at Jungle Plaza in the Miami Design District. Photo: Arturo Holmes/WireImage.

A view of Es Devlin’s Five Echoes installation during Art Basel Miami Beach, at Jungle Plaza in the Miami Design District. Photo: Arturo Holmes/WireImage.

Indeed, the fragrance has inspired the cultural world for many years—and so it is especially fitting that in celebration of its centennial, Chanel commissioned the renowned British artist and stage designer Es Devlin to create a life-size installation inspired by the scent. It debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach earlier this month and will remain on view through December 21.

The labyrinthian Five Echoes brings the artist’s interpretation of the fragrance to life in the Miami Design District’s Jungle Plaza. Devlin sought to “translate the fragrance molecules into a soundscape and a spectrum of light,” according to a statement from the brand, using light, color, and sound as her materials. She also planted 2,000 trees—which she describes as co-authors of the project—in the surrounding area, in the hopes that it will one day grow into a kind of urban forest.

“My hope is that at least five of the trees’ names echo through visitors’ memories when they leave: South Florida Slash Pine, Live Oak, Dahoon Holly, Ylang Ylang, Wax Myrtle,” Devlin said in a recent interview with Dezeen. “Perhaps the first step towards caring enough about other species to save them from extinction is to learn their names.”

It is fitting, too, that ylang ylang echoes through Chanel No. 5—the fragrance will surely remain a classic as Devlin’s trees grow in the years to come.

To shop and learn more about the fragrance, which is priced starting from $138, click here.

 

Previous stories in this series:

Still Shopping for the Art and Fashion Lovers in Your Life? Check Out This Chic Museum Merch (Think The Met x Brother Vellies)

For Travelers, Consider Virgil Abloh-Designed Luggage That Reimagines Louis Vuitton’s Legacy

On the First Day of Artmas, My True Love Gave to Me… a Step-by-Step Guide for Gifting an NFT

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Shop the Show: Galerie Lelong’s Miami Pop-Up Shows a Shifting Set of Global Artists


Every month, hundreds of galleries showcase new exhibitions on the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on the exhibitions we think you should see. Check out what we have in store, and inquire more with one simple click.

What You Need to Know: Galerie Lelong, a longtime Art Basel Miami Beach exhibitor, has opened a winter outpost in the Miami Design District through January 2022. There, the gallery is presenting “Common Borders,” a rotating group exhibition of gallery artists including Etel Adnan, Petah Coyne, Leonardo Drew, Ficre Ghebreyesus, Alfredo Jaar, Samuel Levi Jones, Ana Mendieta, Hélio Oiticica, Jaume Plensa, Zilia Sánchez, Tariku Shiferaw, Nancy Spero, Michelle Stuart, Antoni Tápies, and Juan Uslé.

Why We Like It: “Common Borders” brings together historical and contemporary works that expand upon the gallery’s longstanding commitment to artists from Latin America and the Global South. The works in the exhibition are meant to reflect on the shared experiences between individuals through ancestry, language, cultural traditions, and spiritual practices. Taking an almost ecumenical approach to identity, the exhibition attempts to transcend the concept of physical borders that so often inform our understanding of identity. The Lelong gallery outpost has some good neighbors, too: Goodman Gallery and Mitchell-Innes and Nash also have locations in Paradise Plaza, and all three galleries are collaborating on public programming. 

What the Gallery Says: “Within the U.S., Miami has been and continues to grow as a diverse community, coalescing stories and traditions from around the world. The selection of works by the international and multi-generational artists in the program invites the Miami community to reflect and discuss themes of identity and borders that continue to speak to our social histories,” wrote Mary Sabbatino, vice president of Galerie Lelong.

Browse works from the exhibition below.

 

Ana Mendieta
Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (1972–79)
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Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (1972–1979). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (1972–1979). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Leonardo Drew
Number 312 (2021)
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Leonardo Drew, Number 312 (2021). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Leonardo Drew, Number 312 (2021). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Alfredo Jaar
A Logo for America (1987-2014)
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Alfredo Jaar, A Logo for America (1987-2014) (2016). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Alfredo Jaar, A Logo for America (1987-2014) (2016). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

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