Category: Features

Willie Cole

The Future of Art: Willie Cole, a contemporary artist creating unique work and positive change.

Willie Cole has been ­­­making innovative work with unique iconography for over half a century, but talking to him, he sounds like a friendly, smart colleague or neighbor next store. Perhaps that’s why his work is so accessible and inspirational.

The artist, who lives in Mine Hill, NJ, has been the subject of shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001), and Miami Art Museum (2001). These institutions, some of the biggest in the world, along with private collectors from New York to Los Angeles, see something provocative in his work.

When Art Review City caught up with him, the artist invited us to a visit his home studio where he was finishing the works for the collective exhibition “There’s There There,” curated by renowned American artist Rashid Johnson at blue-chip gallery Hauser and Wirth’s Southampton location. This show invites visitors to reflect upon the pleasures and complex histories of the shapes, movements, and objects that permeate the everyday, and Cole’s ironing board works are clearly the stars of the show. 

Installation view, ‘There’s There There’, Hauser & Wirth Southampton, 2021. © Hauser & Wirth. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Thomas Barratt.

The artist has spent a lifetime working to look at thing differently than most artists. He is most concerned with recycling, green energy, and living a healthy and spiritual life to live at one with Mother Earth. He spent many of his early days in a pew at Sunday School, and later studied Buddhism in high school and college, but today he says he is a “no-frills nature worshipper” which explains a lot about him as a man and as an artist. “Nature, no matter what you call it, is powerful, and it deserves to be admired … Click here to read more

David Kastner

Bonnie Richards Becker sat down with artist David Kastner and spoke with him about growing up in the Midwest, his constant experimentations of materials of the course of his life’s work, and his current phase that has a renewed focus on color and the process of painting.

“Finding that moment when the human mind is free, but before conscious activity develops consecutive thought, was a difficult mental space to understand, exist in, and use for the creative moment of expression..”
– David Kastner
David Kastner, photo by Gale Richards.

My first real recollection of art came from the Art Institute in Chicago. My mother took me to the Museum when I was about five years old. Seeing the various paintings, sculptures, and other media left a deep impression that persists in my life today. Before that, I only knew of my own love for making and building things. But there I first felt the effects of the many great artists who left their ideas for others to see. Without really knowing what the creative process meant, I knew I wanted to create.

While it is possible to reflect on early childhood development, attempting to identify when and how the creative process came into being in one person’s life, it is likely there is a more general creative essence in that person’s life, rather than a singular epiphany. For me, I knew early on that I liked making things. This meant piling sticks, digging, and making marks in mud, etc. These early renderings were a precursor for more complex mark making that became the pursuit of my life’s work to date.

In elementary school we had art class with pencils, paints, and clay – and all the other materials a small child needs to build their first artistic masterpieces. Inspired by … Click here to read more

Howard Shapiro

Art Review City speaks with New York dealer Howard Shapiro about opening his gallery, some of his success stories, and his unique approach to the business of art.

“My dream was always to open an art gallery. No other business would allow me to be surrounded by beauty and help artists get the recognition that they deserve.”
– Howard Shapiro, owner of Lawrence Fine Arts in East Hampton, NY
Howard Shapiro in front of Harriette Joffe, “Untitled”, 40 x 50 in | 102 x 127 cm, c. 1980. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Fine Art.

Howard Shapiro spent over two decades as a consumer finance expert on Wall Street at firms including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, so his friends and family were surprised when he decided in 2009 to pivot his career by opening an art gallery. But it turned out to be a winning combination: he brought with him an acute understanding of business and finance, and quickly evolved from art startup to standout.

Art was always his passion, but he took a circuitous route to get there. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and Art History at Yale in 1983, Shapiro was accepted into Yale’s PhD program in Art History, but his parents insisted that he choose a “real” career instead. Art was something nice to look at—and buy when he could afford it—but it wouldn’t support a family. Looking back, he acknowledges that his parents had a point. The art world would have to wait.

The Wall Street life was hectic, so when Shapiro and his wife Esther could afford to start buying for themselves, they originally sought artwork that was calm and soothing and began collecting American Impressionist works. The first work they purchased—and still own today—from a small outdoor craft fair was a … Click here to read more