LEON LÖWENTRAUT: TRÄUMEREIEN
AVANT GARDE LES
319 GRAND STREET
PREVIEW STARTS TODAY
OPENING RECEPTION: NOVEMBER 18TH
NOVEMBER 16TH - NOVEMBER 28TH
CURATED BY GREGORY DE LA HABA
LEON LÖWENTRAUT: TRÄUMEREIEN
AVANT GARDE LES
319 GRAND STREET
PREVIEW STARTS TODAY
OPENING RECEPTION: NOVEMBER 18TH
NOVEMBER 16TH - NOVEMBER 28TH
CURATED BY GREGORY DE LA HABA
Nov. 4, 2016
We’ve been hearing about him for more than a year. This wunderkinder out of Düsseldorf, Germany, media darling and art world sensation since the age of seven. Multiple sold-out shows in his native land before his sixteenth birthday and by his seventeenth, Leon Löwentraut would take his hyper-expressionist pop paintings overseas for two solo, sold-out exhibitions: one in London, at Knotting Hill’s Muse Gallery, the other in Singapore at Bruno Gallery. And last month in Basel, at Galerie Loeffel, every Löwentraut canvas on the gallery’s walls were scooped-up by collectors within fifteen minutes from the show’s opening. Impressive, indeed.
But who is he? And why does he have over 7000 adoring fans on Facebook and a free, Leon Löwentraut app downloadable in the Apple Store? What’s his shtick? As it turns out, our very own publisher/writer, Gregory de la Haba, was asked to curate this boy wonder’s first stateside exhibition at Avant Garde LES. And since de la Haba loves a good story, he enthusiastically embraced the offer to do so and in the interim find out exactly who, or what, this Leon Löwentraut is made of.
QL: Hello, Leon. Welcome to New York. Now tell us, please, who you are and when did you start painting?
LL: Hello, I am Leon Löwentraut, a painter from Düsseldorf. I started painting at seven years old. My mother, an amateur painter, created these wonderful naturalisitic landscapes and I loved to watch her paint and she was the first to put the paintbrush in my hand. I haven’t stopped painting since.
QL: So you started painting early–as a child–but when did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
LL: When I was a child, I remember visiting a friend of my grandfather’s who was an artist and walking into his studio and seeing these large canvases with bright colors that I found so amazing and exciting and to this day I never forgot them –although I did forget this artist’s name, sadly. This was around the same time I started painting with my mother and between the experience of being in a real artist’s studio with massive, bright paintings and a mother providing me the tools necessary to begin, I knew very early that I wanted nothing else other than to paint and create works of art on canvas. I’m still learning about being an artist.
QL: What is your daily schedule like? School in the morning, painting in the evening?
LL: Yes, exactly. I wake every day at 6:30 for school, come home, do homework and then start painting right away, often till very late. Painting is very calming and I enjoy it tremendously. My goal each morning when I wake is to work on one painting each evening. And I do. But I finished school this summer and I feel very good. Now I can concentrate all my power for painting!
QL: I like that, ‘all my power’. Good for you. Where is your studio, Leon?
LL: It is in the cellar of my parent’s home near Düsseldorf at Meerbusch-Büderich.
QL: You paint in the cellar of your parent’s home?
LL: Yes, why? Is that a problem?
QL: No, not at all. I love it. The rumblings in the European press painted you as a spoiled kid and I assumed you probably had a ten thousand square foot studio in Berlin or Leipzig. With assistants to boot.
LL: Ha, ha, no. I paint everything myself, thank you, and work at home.
QL: Tell me what dead artist you admire and one living artist you admire?
LL: Well, I admire four dead artists: Picasso, Basquiat, Pollock and Warhol. Each completely different with their own style and attitude and attitude matters a lot to me. I’m not a fan of the drugs Basquiat took but god do I love his attitude, his force in expression on canvas, pure genius, raw genius. With Picasso, I loved most his marketing genius as well as his line. With Pollock, I like that it took him a while to find himself, I find this very hopeful. Unfortunately, he had to drink too much to mask the fact that he didn’t have his unique style early on and that he was insecure, I believe. But when he found his own style he really killed it, yes?
QL: He sure did.
LL: And with Warhol, I love his erscheinungsbild, how do you say this in English?
QL: His appearance?
LL: Yes, his appearance, his style and connection with fashion and art, I really like that and admire when someone has the ability to really create their own persona as he did with his trademark wig and glasses plus make art that looked like no one elses before him. Amazing, no?
QL:Totally. And what living artist do you admire?
LL: I haven’t met Gerhard Richter yet but he would definitely be my favorite!
QL: And I saw that you did meet Julian Schnabel. Was he nice?
LL: Yes, he was great. Very nice. I met him when he had his opening in Germany and we talked and traded emails. And I showed him my work. He was very impressed about my pictures for my age and loved also the colors very much.
QL: Well that’s impressive to have Julian Schnabel look at your work and have something nice to say about it. Good for you. You carry yourself well, confidently, people see that, are drawn to that and I’m sure has contributed to your tremendous success, no?
LL: Yes, but confidence also comes from working hard and this is what I do most.
QL: Bingo! A solid work ethic is key to success. But what do you contribute your commercial success to?
LL: It’s very rare to sell paintings for certain prices and I also know that it is not normal and I thank god for my luck and I am very thankful about it. Nonetheless, I work very hard all the time and make well thought-out descisions and plans about my career. I’m constantly asking myself and those around me who know better what more I can do better in regards to marketing, selling and what art shows are best for me to participate. I believe people respond to my work and purchase it because I work from my guts, my soul. I’m not creating art to make money and I’d really like to believe people see that and feel it. They enjoy the honesty of my work.
QL: With success come the haters and you seem to have a few. Tell me about the negative press you’ve gotten. Do you care? And, what are they saying about you in Germany?
LL: I don’t care about negative press, but sometimes it’s good; people want to read about bad things and they also want to see that successful people collapse. Sometimes they wrote that my parents just want to make me famous which is pure bullshit. My parents care about their son and wish for me to succeed, plain and simple. They do no more or less than what parents of a talented athlete would do for their son or daughter. How many parents around the world are driving their children miles and miles for proper training or to play in competitive games, yes? Or what about musically inclined children and the hours and hours devoted to practice every day? What parent doesn’t wish success for their child? The difference is my parents take me to participate in art shows and exhibitions instead of football games to play. They see how hard I work with my art. I paint everyday. It’s a true passion for me. My critics also say I’m just dreaming and don’t know how the real life is. They’re right. I’m not as old as them (laughs). And they can say whatever they want. I’ll take my dreams over their criticism any day (laughs). It’s all part of the journey, yes, Gregory?
QL: It most certainly is, Leon. I commend you for seeing it so lightly and not being negatively affected by it. Tell me what the act of painting means to you? Why do you paint?
LL: I paint because it is my passion. I’ll paint for two weeks straight and then it might catch up to me and I’ll get tired and need to rest but when resting I start to get anxious and need to start painting again soon. I’m always thinking about paintings. Another thing, I do not speak very well about my feelings, I tend to be quiet about them in this regard, but in my paintings I find it very easy to express my feelings and emotions. Normally, with friends and family, I am the extrovert. I love to have fun and meet people. But when I paint, I’m a complete introvert and prefer to be left alone to work.
QL: When I look at your work, I see expressive linear mark-making –something akin to the way graffiti artists ‘tag’ a wall or a NYC subway train. Tell me about your process, your approach to picture making. Tell me about the layering of paint (oil or acrylic?), tell me about the surface, the ground and how you feel about paint. What turns you on about art and being a painter?
LL: When I was a kid between the ages of 6-10, I had many books on graffiti art and I sometimes tried to copy these graffiti lines and styles. I work in acrylic on white primed fabric and usually listen to music and almost always just begin working without much premeditated thought. I just do it. Sometimes I have a subject in mind or a theme or the thought of a girl gets me going and sometimes before I paint I might make a sketch in pencil. But I love to work at night and go right at it. I can honestly say that art and being a painter excites me and that I can be myself when working and what matters more in life than being yourself?
QL: Very true. You seem wise above your years. Talk to me about two of your paintings: ‘Come and Go’ and ‘Evening With Friends’.
LL: ‘Come and Go’ is about how I feel for this beautiful girl I really like. I want her physically–to have sex with her–but I don’t want a relationship with her because my feelings are not strong enough for her. One hand is pulling her close, trying to grab a kiss, and the other is pushing her away. The drama of an 18 year old boy. (laughter) ‘Evening with Friends’ depicts my best friends Philipp, Tristan and Lea who enjoy visiting my studio and one night I just decided to paint them. On the right side, you can see some triangles one on top of the other and the triangles interprets Phillip’s voice. He was shouting for some reason while we were all laughing and having fun and just being kids. We spend much time together and these moments mean a lot to me and I very much wanted to capture that youthful specialness, our teenage fun in paint to last forever.
QL: Are you ready for your New York show?
LL: Yes, I hope so. I’m very exited and anxious to see how the people respond to my paintings and which people I will meet there.
QL: Tell me about the title, Träumereien?
LL: I believe in English the simplest meaning is dreams. But also it can mean reverie or a fantastic, visionary idea; fanciful musings. All of these wonderful things that are mysterious and exciting at the same time. Like coming to New York to exhibit my paintings. A dream come true.
QL: Thank you, Leon. We wish you well. Keep rocking it!
LL: Thank you very much, Gregory. See you at the opening.
Bodega de la Haba presents German art-world sensation Leon Löwentraut's first US exhibition at Avant Garde LES. Please join us for the opening reception on Friday, November 18th at 6 pm.
In association with Edelman Arts, Bodega de la Haba presents German art-world sensation Leon Lowentraut. Please join us on Friday November 18th at 6pm for the opening reception.
Michelle and I visited an exhibition of Peyton Freiman at the Lower East Side Shin Gallery. Worth a serious look.
by Peter Plagens
322 Grand St., (212) 375-1735
Through Sept. 10
Peyton Freiman (b. 1983) is either an impressive multitalent, a bit of an operator, or some of both. A Tennessean migrated to Brooklyn, Mr. Freiman is a writer whose words have appeared in the hiply slick the Wild magazine, and an actor appearing in an Austin, Texas-based web series called "Master Class." On screen, Mr. Freiman is mock-nerdy and personable, a mere thorn or two away from qualifying to host "The Daily Show" should Trevor Noah falter. Here, he's a painter-installationist of not inconsiderable ability.
Mr. Freiman's immediately previous offering was a seven-hour exhibition, "Stoned Summer," in a Williamsburg design studio, at which the first 20 people who showed up received "a special gift." The artist has a thing for stoner-surfer culture (or at least a patronizing idea of it -- his website statement says he paints "white stoners without a clue") and has, perforce, covered the gallery floor with beachy sand and plopped in the middle of it the ersatz ruins of a campfire festooned with empty beer cans and plastic cups.
The irony is that Mr. Freiman's faux-street-art paintings -- a colorful cross between punk travel posters and covers for the New Yorker -- are actually pretty good: crisp, bouncy and graphically inventive, even if a bit overstuffed with hand-printed labels. If Mr. Freiman has not yet made a final career choice, visual artist should still be in the running.
BY Dan Duray POSTED 03/17/15
Greg Goldberg's paintings at One World Trade Center were featured in ARTnews.
In January, One World Trade Center debuted seven paintings by Greg Goldberg on its 64th-floor sky lobby, a reception and events area in the building that, as we spoke about them last week, was being filled with chairs for some kind of press conference by the BBC.
“Popular floor,” Goldberg said, smiling.
The seven works in his World Trade Center series are oil on linen, each five and a half feet by six feet, with wavy abstract color samplings that Goldberg describes as having been “woven” together over 16 to 18 layers in each work. Like the sky lounge, Goldberg’s studio in Connecticut, where he worked on the paintings in pairs, faces north, and the light on the 64th floor feels a part of the composition.
The suite, which was made for the space, is installed in a long row, with one on each end of the room and then a cluster of two and a cluster of three along a wall between them. The latter two groups might be considered diptychs or triptychs, though all seven works could be said to work together. “This is the first time I’ve had to think about them as a totality,” Goldberg said. Normally he works on them individually.
Edelman Arts curated the sky lobby, and Goldberg’s proposal for the commission was apparently pretty vague, by necessity. “The colors are determined by the prior colors,” he said. He goes with the flow of the paintings as they develop. So he was happy to have the leniency.
The next time you’re at One World Trade, you should swing by! In the meantime, check out this slide show of the paintings.
Copyright 2015, ARTnews LLC, 40 W 25th Street, 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10010. All rights reserved.
Today, CBS This Morning covered One World Trade Center art collection curated by Edelman Arts.
The artists commissioned to create works for One World Trade Center were given only one guideline by the developers: The work had to be unifying. There's no mention of the site's history, but all the artists understood they had to somehow live up to it, reports CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason.
Many of the 104 floors of the new World Trade Center are vacant. The tenants are still moving in, but the art is up on the walls.
In the sky lobby of the 64th floor, with its panoramic views of New York City, Gregory Goldberg has carefully positioned his series of seven paintings, and Brian Hunt has assembled his airship-inspired sculpture.
"I just wanted something weightless and gravity free," Hunt said.
The five artists chosen by consultant Asher Edelman are all American.
"The mission was to get people to turn their phones off and look up," Edelman said. "It had to be a wake-up call. But not about the building; about itself."
The showpiece is a massive mural in the south lobby. Titled "Union of the Senses," it's believed to be the largest painting in the city, 90 feet long by 14.5 feet tall, said artist Jose Parla.
It was at a meeting where he discussed painting the masterpiece.
"I said,' I can do it. Let's do it,"' Parla said.
He said as an artist, being commissioned to paint a picture for the iconic building is the biggest honor, but a monumental responsibility.
Parla said he knew exactly what he wanted to paint.
"I'd been thinking about it. I'd dreamt about it. It absorbed all 24 hours of every day before I even started," he said.
For 10 months straight, the 42-year-old painter worked on the project in his Brooklyn studio. Parla also has murals in the Barclays Center (arena) in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, but his piece for One World Trace Center, a celebration of diversity, would be his biggest in both size and symbolism. Parla's graffiti-like calligraphy swirl's across its surface.
"I would be up on top of a ladder and as far as my arms would reach, I would do the writing. And when I got to the actual point, I would position my feet on the ladder comfortably, then jump off," he said.
Sometimes the momentum literally threw him out the door.
"This was the most physical piece I've ever done and I wanted to keep that energy," he said.
In the otherwise austere skyscraper, his mural is an explosion of color. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge admired it on a visit, and Taylor Swift posted a photo of it to Instagram.
"I kept thinking of all my best work that I find are my favorite works, I thought to myself, 'You gotta go beyond that,"' Parla said. "'You gotta work hard . You gotta put all you have into this and make it your best, best painting."'
He said he feels like he's accomplished that.
When the observation deck opens this Spring, Parla's mural will be seen by some 20,000 people expected to pass through the lobby of the World Trade Center every day. That's more than visit New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Fougeron Architecture featured Christopher Winter's painting, The Swing, in this spectacular home they designed in Big Sur, California.
By ULA ILNYTZKY Dec. 11, 2014 8:30 AM EST
NEW YORK (AP) — The new 1 World Trade Center opened to great fanfare last month as the first tenants moved into the 1,776-foot tower through a vast lobby dominated by a monumental abstract mural. The color-splashed, 90-by-15-foot painting is among more than a dozen works selected or commissioned for the skyscraper.
Asher Edelman, whose New York gallery curated the works, said the only criteria were that they be abstract, thought-provoking and exciting enough to get people "to look up from their hand-held devices and actually look around them."
A look at the artists and their works:
The Miami-born, Cuban-American artist is known for his vibrant, large-scale works, which can also be found at Brooklyn's Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His graffiti-like mural "ONE: Union of the Senses" is his largest work to date and was created as a symbol for diversity and unity.
"With the title, I wanted to convey unity among all people," Parla said. "I wanted to use as many colors as possible. The diversity of color represents people."
Working out of his Brooklyn studio for the better part of a year on the work, Parla described how he created some of the long strokes by climbing a ladder, putting his brush to the canvas and then jumping off.
The artist fuses science and text into his large-scale paintings.
"Randomly Placed Exact Percentages" and "Isotropic," which flank the lobby's front desk, are evocative of the universe, exploring themes of science, mathematics and language, he said.
In "Isotropic," Argue incorporates computer-manipulated text appropriated from literature like "Moby Dick." The text is stretched on the canvas until it's no longer decipherable.
The paintings are "about the possibilities of new combinations" that expand "the idea of how things can change in an infinite number of possible ways," he said. "I hope people like the paintings and see something different in them every time they look at them."
"Gravity of Nightfall" and "Blue Triptych-Intrusion Into the Blue" are the only selected works not by a living artist.
The bold large-scale oil compositions fill the canvas with intense swirls of blue, red and yellow and drips of paint. They decorate the tower's north lobby.
Bultman, an American abstract expressionist who died in 1983, was a member of a group nicknamed The Irascibles alongside Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. The American painter and printmaker Robert Motherwell called him "one of the most splendid, radiant and inspired painters of my generation."
Goldberg's "One World Trade Center Series" is a group of seven oil paintings on the 64th-floor sky lobby, opposite a ribbon of north-facing windows.
The New York City artist works in natural light, intensifying the color and depth of each painting over several months.
The works are divided into three groups, each dominated by interlocking streams of blue, red and yellow.
"It is my hope that the sensuality, richness and complexity of the color structure are animated by the light and the viewer," Goldberg said.
Bryan Hunt created the only sculpture commissioned for the skyscraper. The towering work consists of an elongated form balanced precariously on a smaller white spherical piece made of wood, steel and polyester fabric. The title is "Axis Mundi."
The vertical sculpture measures nearly 13 feet by 5 feet and sits on the east side of the sky lobby.
By Ann Binlot, as published in The Economist on November 6th, 2014
STANDING 1,776 feet (541 metres) and 104 storeys tall, One World Trade Center opened its doors in Manhattan this week after 13 years of construction costing $3.9 billion. One of the many sensitive choices relating to a building conceived in difficult circumstances—it occupies a spot by the Twin Towers that collapsed after the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001—was the selection of the art that adorns the lobby walls.
The building’s developers, the Durst Organisation, assigned the choice to Asher Edelman and his New York-based gallery, Edelman Arts. Mr Edelman, a financier, was supposedlyone of the inspirations behind the character of Gordon Gekko from the film "Wall Street". Now he's closely involved with the art world, and was chosen by the Durst Organisation on the grounds that his curatorial selections would be a "fitting compliment to the public space in the building"—surely the least one would hope for.
His team decided that any work hung in One World Trade Center should be abstract. One of them, Andrew Dermont, said: “We were trying to put art in the building that we thought would be unifying, instead of divisive. We wanted it to accommodate everyone’s tastes.” Art that accommodates "everyone's tastes" sounds like a contradiction in terms, but perhaps appropriately the works make no mention of the site’s history.
Visitors will be greeted by a huge, 90-foot mural (pictured) that the Durst Organisation says may be the largest of its kind in New York. It is the work of José Parlá, a Brooklyn-based artist who has painted murals at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Barclays Center. Mr Parlá worked on it for about eight months in his studio and then for two weeks on site. He wants the colourful, jewel-toned piece, which is covered in his signature, graffiti-esque script and titled “ONE: Union of the Senses”, to stand as a symbol of diversity. “It was very important to me that this painting would reflect a massive respect to the situation and event and the families, and a massive respect for the site,” he said.
For elsewhere in the building, Mr Edelman and his team chose work by four other artists. In the back lobby hang two subdued canvases by the late Fritz Bultman, an abstract expressionist represented by Mr Edelman, and in the front are two by Doug Argue, a Minneosotan fond of incorporating maths and science into his art. He too was once represented by Mr Edelman. On the 64th-floor sky lobby will be seven pieces by Greg Goldberg and a sculpture by Bryan Hunt.
It is Mr Parlá’s lively mural that dominates, though. Such a colourful work was deemed suitable for the front lobby “because that’s where people come in the morning,” said Mr Edelman. Mr Bultman’s paintings on the other side are calmer, “because that’s the black limousine side”. The Durst Organisation reckons that some 20,000 people will enter the building each day and see Mr Parlá’s mural. That's not a bad audience for a piece of art: the Metropolitan Museum of Art has around 17,000 visitors a day.
“I think that the role of the art is to create life within a building,” said Mr Edelman. “It’s not just about white marble walls, it’s about spirit and life. From the building’s point of view, it’s about branding, and something that is beyond the simple walls.”
It seems optimistic to assert that these paintings will become part of the branding of a skyscraper whose very existence is loaded with such poignancy. But at the same time it is good to see a heavy emphasis on the importance of public art: visitors will soon work out if it really is to all tastes.
In the video accompanying Paulo Laport's debut solo exhibition in the United States at Edelman Arts, Asher Edelman discusses Laport's life and work, recalling his enthusiasm for and dedication to painting since the early 1980's .