Art-Rated recently had the opportunity to attend the opening of Elegantly Wasted – Rococo Revisited, an exhibition curated by painter Boris Tyomkin. The show was held at Littlefield, a performance and art space in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Tyomkin brought the work of 12 artists together, pairing painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking to explore the place of Rococo in the contemporary age.
The French style blossomed in the court of Louis XV and characterized the opulence and over-indulgence of the aristocratic class. Tyomkin writes, “Over laden with artifice and ornament, Rococo typically utilized decorative designs of shepherds, lovers, goddesses and cupids playing against a pink and blue sky in lush, over grown gardens. Considered by some as the end of the Baroque, the easy and care free manner of Rococo, suggests a joy in life and a departure from the brooding, self examination of the earlier aesthetic.”
The echoes of a Rococo aesthetic can be felt to this day, decadence is pervasive in the extravagant celebrity lifestyles plaguing the media to the spectacular exhibitions of Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami at the Château de Versailles.
Susan Siegel’s small, jewel-like works reimagine the typical rococo portraits; lush and vibrant landscapes host elegantly dressed human-animal hybrids, perhaps revealing more personality beneath the artifice of costume and comportment. Holly Hudson’s sculpted porcelain head complete with lank powdered wig captured the veneer of the French court, yet it is reinterpreted with a more revolutionary attitude – the tiny head is supported (or impaled) on an unadorned stand. Three works by Anton Trofymov gave the exhibition a more diverse feel, his light box works illuminated photos of mannequins in a black and white landscapes, talked more directly about bankruptcy of Rococo culture and the images it produced.
Elegantly Wasted – Rococo Revisited features the work of Sergio Barrale, Jessie Brugger, Sebastian Deregibus, Alexandra Evans, Loretta Mae Hirsch, Holly Hudson, Maria Kozak, Susan Siegel, Maud Taber-Thomas, Boris Tyomkin and Anton Trofymov.
The exhibition is open from October 13 – November 6, 2012.
Littlefield is located at 622 Degraw Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn.
For more information about the exhibition or the artists please contact Boris Tyomkin at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Jonathan Beer is a New York-based artist and writer. He began to write critically in 2010 while attending the New York Academy of Art for his MFA in Painting. His paintings have been exhibited at Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, Flowers Gallery, Boltax Gallery and Sotheby’s in New York. Jon is also a contributing writer for The Brooklyn Rail, ArtWrit and for Art Observed.
Lily Koto Olive is a New York-based artist, writer and musician. She began to write critically about art in 2010 while attending the New York Academy of Art for her MFA in Painting. She has exhibited her paintings at the Dumbo Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY, HERE Arts Center, Sloan Fine Arts and ISE Cultural Foundation in NYC and Marketplace Gallery in Albany, NY. Lily is also a contributing writer for The Brooklyn Rail.