“As a kid growing up in Houston I collected rocks,” says Christopher Cascio. “I also had a stamp collection and a coin collection and baseball cards, but really what I was into were the Mad magazines and Garbage Pail Kids. That was the stuff that led me to being an artist.” What began with obsessive-compulsive word drawings a decade ago grew into a collaged painting practice — one might call it an image hoarder’s bricolage — that incorporated everything from advertisements of amplifiers and actual clearance stickers to Budweiser labels and nightclub wristbands. They owe as much to the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers as they do to Mike Kelley and Fred Tomaselli. “I’m a huge fan of Fred Tomaselli,” says Cascio. “He literally puts drugs into his paintings.” More recently, the artist’s meditations on branding have led to two new series of camouflaged map paintings that put Warhol, Madison Avenue, Big Pharma and the shelf of the local marijuana dispensary into a blender. The result is a comical color field adventure; higher learning at its finest.
What was the impetus behind this body of work?
I did a show in 2014 at Peter Makebish’s gallery in New York where I showed these big colorful maps that had pharmaceutical drug brand names, generic names and pill imprint codes. The maps ended up looking like the drugs they were cataloging. The benzos were shades of light blue and the promethazine/codeine cough syrup had shapes of drippy purples that kind of resembled camouflage. They were a critical view of the pharmaceutical industry and how branding happens at that level. It dealt with a lot of socio-political issues. There was a Soma one, a Vicodin one, but I also did one with weed.
Why was that?
I was starting to think about marijuana and how the names of certain strains become that strain’s identity. They’re often given names that pertain to marijuana use, and because marijuana becoming legalized I was also using labels from actual dispensaries. This was 2014, so it’s come a long way in two years. My parents have a place in Winter Park, Colorado and during that time there was a dispensary many miles down the road from Winter Park. Now there are three dispensaries in Winter Park. I don’t do any pharmaceuticals anymore but I still partake in cannabis so it’s something that hits close to home. In my mind, I could always do a series just about that.
And that series is what you’re showing at Maitland Foley.
Yeah, the Drug Map (Cannabis) work from that show in New York is the inspiration. It was a six-by-eight-foot painting and it was a pretty popular piece, it was published in Sneeze, an international poster sized magazine, and it struck a chord with people in the way that the pharmaceutical pieces didn’t. It’s more celebratory.
Meaning that having brands is a win, of sorts, for the average pot smoker while pharmaceutical brands are an example of Big Pharma winning?
Right. And I’ve used all kinds of weed from street drugs to medical marijuana, I’m an equal opportunity-employer in that sense. But I don’t see marijuana in the same way that I see those [pharmaceutical] drugs. So when I was making that first weed painting I was putting in strains that were my favorite strains, making sure that it has more of a connection to my present than to a darker past.
Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch join forces to organize Unrealism, an exhibition of figurative work fit for a museum. Featuring a who’s who of artists, you may not even need to see anything else this year.
On view December 2nd through the 6th at the Moore Building (191 NE 40th Street, Miami)
A look through DABSMYLA’s colorfully massive indoor / outdoor installation at the Modernica Factory in Vernon, CA. This is your last week to see the show, on view through November 15th, 2015.
More info here
Our curated group exhibition is on view Monday through Friday at Joshua Liner Gallery until July 10th, 2015.
Featuring: Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Andy Jenkins, Andy Rementer, Bill Plympton, Caleb Neelon, Chris DAZE Ellis, Chris Pape, Christian Rex van Minnen, Frohawk Two Feathers, Hiro Kurata, HuskMitNavn, Jaimie Warren, Jason Jägel, Jay Howell, Jeanette Hayes, Jim Houser, Luke Pelletier, Mark Mulroney, Mark Thomas Gibson, Matt Leines, Mel Kadel, Michael Alvarez, Michael Gaughan, Mr. Kiji, Othelo Gervacio, Raina Hamner, Richard Colman, STEEL, Steve Nazar, SUB, Taylor McKimens, Thom Lessner, Timothy Uriah Steele, and Winnie Truong.
For purchase inquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A look through HuskMitNavn’s new show at V1 Gallery about the beginning of the day.
Tomorrow (2/14) is the last day to see artist Sam Friedman’s ambitious solo show “Happy Places” at Joshua Liner Gallery in NYC. We caught up with him last night over text message to talk about all things enjoyable.
Beaches, sunsets, lobsters, bongs, legs. These are your happy places?
Pretty much. They’re some of the things in life to enjoy.
They all go hand in hand. Can you tell me about the Great Wall of Happy. There’s 50 pieces there. What was the process like to create them?
I worked on all of them at one time. They were all laid out on a wall of my studio, while I was painting them, in a way similar to the way they were hung in the gallery. I liked the way they look on the wall hanging as one unit, but each piece is definitely its own painting.
How many jars of paint do you think you used?
Ha ha Ha ha ha… Honestly, I don’t even have a ballpark idea.
Do you ever see a difference in your subject matter depending on the season?
Yeah. I guess a happy place is an all the time thing.
Maybe that’s the goal?
Definitely, it’s my goal in life. Can you talk briefly about the composition of your work? With the exception of the large painting in the back, the subjects are cropped. Is there a way you plan this or is it spontaneous?
Yeah, they are loosely planned out by doing small compositional drawings on file cards. The drawings are usually nothing more than a few lines and a circle.
So what’s next for you? More happy places?
I’ve got some new painting themes that I am working on, but they are top secret.
Sure the show isn’t up any longer, but that doesn’t mean it can’t live on through the internet. Featuring artists with affiliations to Kinfolk, the Williamsburg-by-Japan mecca of culture, the family show was a banger. Next up in the Kinfolk 94 space is a one night only affair tomorrow night (1/22) for The Flop Box’s ABC Zine release party featuring some of your favorite graffiti artists. Enjoy.
Jonas Wood’s new exhibition of work at David Kordansky Gallery in LA is MAJOR.
By the time that you’ve finished looking through the entirety of this massive group show curated by Ryan Travis Christian, you’ll have more thoughts than you previously had on the quacking creature. Whether those thoughts are good or bad is completely up to you. Just know that there’ll be more.
On view at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery through November 29th, 2014
By the time you read this, Wayne White’s Invisible Ruler will be closed. The exhibition at Joshua Liner Gallery was Wayne’s return to NYC, and an outstanding success. Earlier this week, we caught up with Wayne in Los Angeles and proceeded to talk about life, art, and his life in art.
TWBE: Let’s start from the beginning. You grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when did you first discover art?
Wayne White: That’s a tough question. I guess I discovered art in drawing, and that’s one of my earliest memories. I discovered drawing just on my own as every kid does. I didn’t know it was called art and I didn’t really know what an artist was for a long time. There were no galleries or museums or any culture around when I was kid at that time. I came to it naturally from just a love of drawing and of course as I grew I learned about art history and artists and everything. My mother was where I got my biggest influence from. She was the artistic one in the family and loved to decorate, collect antiques and stuff. So she knew a little bit about art. When I was a little bitty kid I remember her saying, “Well Wayne could be a commercial artist one day.” She’d say that to adults, I overheard her because she didn’t say it directly to me. I would sit there as a little kid and I would imagine an artist that comes on between TV shows on the commercial and he’s standing there painting a portrait and it’s a commercial you know… (Laughter). And you get a smock – I remember it as clear as a bell. The vision I had in my head. You’ve got a smock on and there’s a pedestal with a bowl of fruit on it and an easel. It’s a commercial of a guy painting. I thought that’s what a commercial artist was.
So from there you went to art school and studied abstract painting at a college in Tennessee?
Yeah as I grew in Chattanooga, I went to high school and stuff and I was the school artist and a cartoonist on the school newspapers. That’s what I originally wanted to be as a kid was a cartoonist because that was my idea of an artist. And then I went to Middle Tennessee State University and I majored in painting because I just thought that painting was a serious thing to do. It’s what real artist did. I took four years of painting and art history and stuff, and that’s where I really learned about the art world and the history of art. The history part of it was just as important as the actual doing of it because that was a great education for me. Just learning about the past. I studied abstract – my painting teacher was an abstract expressionist. That was my first serious foray into painting, abstract painting.
You never strayed from that at all? You never tried to paint cartoons or anything?
Well, I kept drawing underground cartoons for the college newspaper and I always had an interest in cartoons. And my abstract paintings had a very cartoony line and I was interested in finding the gap between abstract paintings and cartoons which they share a lot, and I was a big fan of Phillip Guston and Willem de Kooning who both had very cartoony lines. Cartoons were never very far from my mind and then the minute that I graduated from four years of that abstract expressionism and everything, I got back into comics because I saw Raw Magazine and I knew this was the next generation for undergrounds. It was full of exciting great art and Raw Magazine is what got me convinced to become a cartoonist again. It inspired me to move to New York City.
What year was that?
It was 1980 when I first saw Raw. I was in Nashville where I lived for a year after I graduated.
When did you move to New York?
I didn’t get to New York until January of ’82. I spent another year in Nashville saving my dough (laughs) and then I made the leap. And in 1982 it was pretty rough and ready you know. I lived downtown in the East Village and it was still pretty funky, but it was a great time for the arts. A time when a young artist could afford to live in Manhattan and it was New York City so it was great. It was very exciting. It was my best education.
Art with a sense of humor is our favorite art. “I Only Wanted You to Love Me” is on view through October 25th, 2014.
Three solid shows opened in the parched City of Angels at the beginning of September: Eddie Martinez at Michael Kohn, KAWS at Honor Fraser, and Sam Falls at Hannah Hoffman. Here’s a look through all of them.
Photos courtesy of respective galleries