Online Exhibition #2
The guest curator for the second online exhibition is Kurt Beers.
Kurt Beers is Director of Beers London art gallery and author of both 100 Sculptors of Tomorrow (2019) and 100 Painters of Tomorrow (2014). In his capacity as gallery Director since 2012, Beers has worked with emerging and established artists internationally, prioritizing an approach to contemporary art that is both progressive and thought-provoking. Through his work on both books with esteemed British art publishers, Thames & Hudson, Beers has worked to create an international network of artists with the goal of creating a legacy of books and an international fraternity of artists. Through continued collaboration with artists and organizations, Beers continues to spearhead one of the most regarded spaces operating under its first ten years in London. In 2015 and 2016, Beers London was listed in Blouin Media’s ‘500 Best Galleries Worldwide’ and in 2015 Director Kurt Beers was included in ArtLyst’s ‘Alternative Power 100’. Beers holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and a Master’s Degree from City University in London, England.
Artists selected for the open call are - Aleksandar Todorovic, Anthony Ciarlo, David Heo, Ethan John Stuart, Gabriele Arruzzo, Jon Duff, Karolina Ptaszkowska, Mark Posey, Ralf Kokke, Sean Downey.
The imagined show is called Garbage Pail Kids after the trading cards popular in the 1980s that parodied the Cabbage Patch kids, featuring children with grotesque, comical abnormalities or in crass and compromising situations. The cards, which seem increasingly insensitive in today's politically correct atmosphere, take a no-holds-barred look at humanity, society, and bodily functions. Similarly, the imagined GPK exhibition takes on the irreverent, youthful, overwhelming and often chaotic or crude vibe presented by the 10 artists included. All the artists maintain a sense of 'excess', often emphasising humour and the non-sequitur in favour of a logical narrative. Some, like Anthony Ciarlo, suggest a coprophilia as a means to understand contemporary society; along with the likes of Jonathan Duff and Mark Posey, we begin to see both an aesthetic familiarity but a similar mise-en-scene. Aleksander Todorovic complicates this irreverence with a more politicized but still humorous approach; a refinement also favoured by Sean Downey in his nearly hyperreal paintings. Ethan Stuart and Ralf Kokke take a naive approach, an almost folkloric look inward at real and imagined scenarios. David Heo offers a break from painting with his paper collages featuring screaming animals, ancient vases, and teens locking-lips. Karolina Ptaszkowska presents a noteworthy deviation here, with wooden structures to hold paintings-as-sculptures; and Gabriele Arruzzo's playful, almost ominous takes on Victorian-esque etchings laced with ombres and glitter.
He Played Ball, 2019, egg tempera on wood, 60 x 90 cm
Ethan John Stuart
Bird baths, fountains, hanging plants, plants from other climates, and pamphlets on how to take care of them.
2019, Acrylic on canvas, 24"x30"
Brick Table, 2019, Acrylic, oil, spray paint on panel, 41" x 44"
Lovers, Not Fighters, 2018, Acrylic and soft pastel on canvas stretched over wood panel, 60 x 48
Two Noons, 2019, Oil on panel, 14 x 11
Senza titolo (serenata benaugurante), 2019, enamel, acrylic and glitter on canvas and wooden frame, 187x157cm
Iconostasis of Connectivisim, 2018, Egg tempera and gold leaf on wood board, 70x100cm
Tomorrow Came Last Sunday, 2019, flashe and acrylic on cotton and silk fabric, thread, rope, wood stick, dimensions vary (painting on fabric 225 x 130 cm)
Enough is Enough, 2018, crayon, colored pencil, flashe, acrylic and latex paint on canvas, 78 x 69 in
27 Min Shipping, 2019, Acrylic on paper, 47 x 36
Online Exhibition #1
The guest curator for the first online exhibition is Kristin Korolowicz.
Kristin Korolowicz is an independent curator and writer. She has held curatorial and programming positions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Bass Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. As the Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow at the MCA, she curated solo exhibitions of work by Gaylen Gerber, José Lerma, and Theaster Gates. She recently curated the exhibition "Love the Giver" at The Franklin, which included works by Dutes Miller, Derrick Woods-Morrow, and Elijah Burgher. Her writing will be published in the forthcoming catalog accompanying Manuel Solano’s first US solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. Korolowicz received her MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts.
Austin Furtak-Cole (Brooklyn), Vojtěch Kovařík (Valašské Meziříčí), Catherine Hélie-Harvey (Montréal), and Amadeo Morelos (Chicago) are the four finalists of Top Top’s open call. These emerging artists share a kinship for representational painting that invokes mythological references and personal iconography, while depicting playfully grotesque, nightmarish figures in some uncertain state of transformation.
The selection of works are loosely inspired by the monstrous figure in W.B. Yeats’ foreboding poem “The Second Coming” written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. As we near the year 2020, Yeats’ poem best expresses our Spiritus Mundi, balancing by a toe on the edge of a precipice, an inevitable societal shift. So, what "rough beast" is next?
“The Second Coming” (1919)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?