Reality is a Constant Becoming

Luis Cortés, a sculptor from Zaragoza who lives in Barcelona, has spent years investigating movement through his articulated sculptures, a series made up mostly of small minimalist sculptures with pure shapes, representing different animals, such as the horse, the elephant, or the whale. However, he has also studied the human figure and the hand. In Luis Cortés’ sculptures, you can observe a part of scientific research, and the artist investigates movement carefully. Each of his sculptures is made with a different number of wooden pieces, all of them with geometric shapes. These pieces are linked together through pivot points, thus allowing movement.

In Barcelona, Spain, the presence of exceptional creativity and imagination is around every corner, where artists like Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, and Dali once resided. I was lucky enough to visit Luis Cortes’ art studio, where I wandered around like a child in a Toyland. I was fascinated by his geometrical jigsaw puzzles that turn into motion sculptures.

Animals, plants and ultimately all living beings are important examples of morphological changes, their displacement, and relationships with other beings, based on their intentions, instinct, and intelligence.

– Luis Cortez

“Horse”, wood, 15 in | 40 cm tall, 2019

Luis Cortes went to school at Facultat de Belles Arts, Universitat de Barcelona (The Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona) and was initially trained as a filmmaker. Throughout his career, he has made a living as a special effects maker for motion pictures and commercials. Eventually, the evolution of sculptures made with kinetic chains captured his mind. He devoted his focus to it as he became a full-time artist. Over the last ten years, he has applied polygons’ continuous lines and rigid elements to create various figures through endless detailed calculations of multiple pivot … Click here to read more

Nigerian-born artist and architect Peju Alatise on her back-to-back Venice Biennales, Yoruba influences, and giving back to Africa

We recently sat down with Nigerian-born artist and architect Peju Alatise at her new Glasgow studio to find out more about her back-to-back Venice Biennales, how she juxtaposes being a contemporary architect and fine artist, and how Yoruba culture has helped her work stand out in today’s global art world.

“You need a little bit of luck, as we know arduous work isn’t everything. Do what you do because you love it, and because you can’t live without it.” 
– Peju Alatise
“Alagemo” sculpture, part of “Alasiri” installation at the Arsenale of the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021. Photo credit: Adeyemo Shokunbi 

Alatise is an interdisciplinary artist, architect, and author of two novels. She started her professional career as an architect while running a private art studio. These days, she is a leading voice in contemporary art on the African continent. Her practice is relentlessly experimental and labor-intensive. She produces works across a variety of mediums, techniques, and materials, including but not limited to paintings, film, installations, sculptures. Her work is also pointedly political, often asking damning questions, and provoking reflections about the times, the state of affairs at home and abroad. The artist’s work has, in the past, explored exploitative labor practices in Nigeria, child rights with a focus on young girls, state-sanctioned violence against citizens, migration and the policies that ensure that many die at sea, seeking a better life. Alatise now produces through the lens of spirituality and Yoruba cosmology, leaning into ancient storytelling traditions and crafting alternative social imageries.

When asked about some of her favorite artists, Alatise hesitated for a moment, and eventually offered the answer that it changes from season to season. Right now, she is looking at Mexican sculptor Javier Marín and continues to be impressed Chiharu Shiota whose work she first discovered at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Marin’s … Click here to read more

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

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

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 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.

Howard Shapiro in front of Harriette Joffe, “Untitled”, 40 x 50 in | 102 x 127 cm, c. 1980. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Fine Art.

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

New York dealer Valerie Goodman speaks with Art Review City about her new gallery, and forging her path to freedom.

Goodman opened her eponymous gallery after a long and prosperous career in the music business. She began on this new path to the art world selling French decorative art mostly from the 1930s and 40s. Today, she works closely with a high-profile roster of artists who have been featured in publications from World of Interiors to Architectural Digest, and in shows from New York to Taiwan including at the Queens Museum and the Aqua Miami fair.

“Art is the way to freedom,” declares Valerie Goodman, a veteran dealer with over a decade of experience selling art and design in the Upper East Side of New York.
Valerie Goodman, photo by Karen Kolberg.

While studying for a master’s degree in literature at The Sorbonne in Paris, she became interested in the music world and quickly became engrained in that community. It was then that she first found her passion for interacting with creators and started to work with them to bring to life their ideas and goals. Scouting talent in her city of Paris, Goodman helped young artists get record deals. She was managing a group of artists, promoting shows, and this new career would bring her to the United States. Seeking to expand her reach in the world of art, Goodman sought out opportunities that were of interest: from bringing talent to the New York trendy music convention, the New Music Seminar to managing musicians, to distributing a French film by Claire Denis, and to developing opportunities for the Sam and Larry Shaw photographic collection.

In 2003, Goodman met a gallerist who specialized in French decorative art. She started working with him and discovered the treasures of 20th century decorative art. For … Click here to read more