Andy Warhol self-portrait – 1981

This 1981 self portrait of Andy Warhol in drag, is the most intimate image of the artist I’ve ever seen. It’s the first time I’ve really seen his eyes. Not just his eyes: Andy’s gaze.

Andy Warhol Self Portrait in dragcourtesy of Jim Hedges

From a series of photos by Andy Warhol.


13. September 2013 by benjamin
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Haring portrait of JFK Jr – 1983

Although the label said JFK Jr, this feels to me like a self-portrait with swirly glasses.

 Untitled Portrait of JFK Jr detail- photo Benjamin BergeryUntitled (portrait of JFK Jr) 1983 – Acrylic on vinyl tarpaulin
click for larger view

I love the quality of the acrylic on black vinyl

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19. August 2013 by benjamin
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Keith does Michelangelo – 1984

Keith Haring - Marriage of Heaven and Hell 1984 in Paris- photo Benjamin Bergery-Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1984, acrylic on canvas

Haring’s work is full of the simplicity of good and evil: forever battling and intermingled, but always clearly delimited.
As clear as an X across your face.
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18. August 2013 by benjamin
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My Haring Dance Dog VIDEO

An example of an image that can work at any scale, from lapel pin to mega sculpture. That is one of the qualities of the icons that Keith Haring paints, and of icons in general.

Keith Haring 1989 Dancing Dog sculpture- photo Benjamin Bergery-


Click to see


18. August 2013 by benjamin
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Keith = Hieronymus + Seuss

Sometimes Keith Haring is the guy who combines Hieronymus Bosch & Dr Seuss.


Haring evokes Bosch‘s infernal tableaux in this untitled 1986 mural that hung above a bar in San Francisco. But the style and characters in this mural are also a bad boy homage to child cartoonist Dr Seuss.

Keith Haring- 1986 Untitled Mural corners detail-Untitled (Mural) – 1986 – Acrylic & oil on canvas – 5 panels

I took this photo at the 104 exhibit in Paris in 2013.
I enjoyed the corners most.

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18. August 2013 by benjamin
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Giacometti’s Grande Femme (Tall Woman) 1958

Alberto Giacommeti’s rough-hewn plaster sculpture smudged with red paint touches me because I can almost see the work being created before me, I can feel Giacometti’s hands kneading the plaster and smearing the paint.

Giacometti tall woman - photo triptych Benjamin Bergery 2012

Click the image for a triptych view

The sculpture is on display at the Pompidou Center, as part of its permanent collection.

20. July 2013 by benjamin
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Reflections on the Young Girl & The Selfie

Sara Gram offers a truly incisive analysis of the contemporary auto-portrait gesture in her blog Textual Relations, in a post entitled The Young-Girl and the Selfie

vermeer selfie

Do we honestly think that by ceasing to take and post selfies, the bodies of young women would cease to be spectacles? Teenage girls are Young-Girls, are spectacles, are narcissists, are consumers because those are the very criterion which must be met to be a young woman and also a part of society. That their bodies are commodities enters them into economies of attention, and that is where the disgust with selfies comes from. In an economy of attention, it is a disaster for men that girls take up physical space and document it, and that this documentation takes up page hits and retweets that could go to ‘more important’ things. And so the Young-Girl must be punished, with a disgust reserved for the purely trivial. To paraphrase that beloved of Young-Girl films, Ever After — itself paraphrasing Thomas More’s Utopia — what are we to make of the selfie but that we first create teenage girls and then punish them?

14. July 2013 by benjamin
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If I Can See You – Disclosure 1994

demi moore disclosure-

Above is an image from the scene from the 1994 film Disclosure by Barry Levinson where Michael Douglas’ character comes across Demi Moore’s flat-faced avatar in virtual space. The design of Demi’s virtual self blends a sketchy woman’s body with a 2D photo.

Michael is startled but quickly realizes that Demi cannot see him. Michael is a virtual invisible voyeur who watches Demi delete incriminating documents. The real Michael is of course quite visible, and the scene plays on this duality to create suspense as the bad guys make their way to the hotel suite where he has snuck in to connect to the virtual space.

This scene is a first hint of the duality that will emerge fully a dozen years later in Avatar.

demi moore disclosure2-

As we wander the internet we are, like Michael Douglas, flipping in and out of invisibility, going from voyeur to participant. These postures are part of what makes facebook so successful.

In the Massage Parlor environment that we created with Luc Courchesne, Michael & Demi would see each other. And Demi would have 3 more flat sides to her, no curves.

The rule there is the same as with a mirror:
If you can see me I can see you.

07. July 2013 by benjamin
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Cost as Content

Blake Gopnik’s review of Turrell’s Guggenheim show for Architectural Record muses on the fracture between 1% artists and the others:

The art world has come to be split between a tiny caste of megastars such as Turrell, whose most grandiose visions get funded by the super rich, and another 99 percent of artists who can barely afford a new bulb for their video projectors

There has always been a separation between genius artists and the rest of us. What’s disturbing about today’s 1-percent artists is that their work often distinguishes itself by its astronomical costs.

This makes sense for gigantic works like the Monumenta series in the Grand Palais or the massive sculptures of Richard Serra. Like Michelangelo’s David, these pieces are expensive because they’re really big.

Michelangelo David

But there is also a growing propensity to expect 1% artists to make art that’s really, really expensive to produce, where the cost guarantees the piece’s uniqueness and price, if not its originality. The caricatural example of this trend is the 50-million quid diamond skull by Damien Hirst, For the Love of God. These pieces are expensive because they’re intended to be: their high cost is part of their content.




Germaine Greer’s commentary on Hirst:

His undeniable genius consists in getting people to buy them. Damien Hirst is a brand, because the art form of the 21st century is marketing. To develop so strong a brand on so conspicuously threadbare a rationale is hugely creative – revolutionary even. The whole stupendous gallimaufrey is a Vanitas, a reminder of futility and entropy.


20. June 2013 by benjamin
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James Turrell: Seeing “Ganzfield”

Benjamin Bergery sees James Turrell's work in june 2013

The piece that blew me away was Ganzfield

Ganzfield - James Turrell

After a 20-minute wait, I was allowed up the stairs in the big white room with a 50-foot window of soft, even color that my eyes could not focus on, because there weren’t any edges. A window of colored softness. I stood in the middle as close as I was allowed to the huge window, so that my entire field of view was swallowed into the colored softness, which changed ever so slowly, with perhaps 3 very gradual color changes in the permitted 15-minute sojourn.

I finally fully understood what Jim means when he says that edges speak to your conscious, while softness speaks to your unconscious. The colored softness spoke to my soul directly, like music, and evoked raw emotions. I remember smiling joyfully when the color turned to orange.


I also really appreciate Turrell’s various windows into colored softness, which I called “Soft TVs” (by association with my own Marble TVs). These worked on the same principle as Ganzfield, except that you couldn’t get swallowed by the softness, so that the pieces ended up being about the very interesting conflict between the sharp window edges and the colored softness inside.

I was less enthralled by Turrell’s geometric light work, like the cube of light with its shifting foreground/background, which seems more like an exploration of perception, than offering content.


Indeed, after seeing Turrell’s work, for me the question of content is unresolved.

J said that one difference between our work and his is that he doesn’t work with rhythms, or at least not on our time scale. I said that he does have slow rhythms, but it was unclear to me if they had content, what the content of the 3-minute progression from blue to orange was…


I want to spend more time with James Turrell’s work.


10. June 2013 by benjamin
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