Posts Tagged ‘Cooper Union’

Juanita Cardenas

Published April 22, 2010 by Molly

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Colombia-born Juanita Cardenas has lived in Bogota, Miami, New York, Buenos Aires and Barcelona. Her drawings? We love ‘em. Her puppets? Freaky and rad. Cardenas has a talent with color (dig her virtuosic use of pink—not an easy hue!) and an eye for unexpectedly pleasing compositions; there’s no doubt about either of those things.

We’re equally entranced, however, by the artist’s sketchbooks, which are been scanned and offered up for greedy eyes to devour. Each turning of the page reveals a fresh experiment, whether that be a figure drawing or a tangle of lines or a rainbow of abstracted faces, like sherbet spilled across the paper. Totally enchanting.

Yuri Masnyj

Published February 2, 2010 by Molly



Aside from having a name with an excellent consonant-to-vowell ratio, Yuri Masnyj has incredible drawing talents, a knack for scuptural ingenuity and an eye for perfectly contained explosions of color. No kidding. Balancing swaths of skeletal white space with densely-packed inches of line and color, Masnyj draws inspiration from architectural drawings and graphic design to produce totally original works that engage directly (and rigorously) with art history.

Hailing from Washington D.C. and currently living in New York City, Masnyj “challenges the boundaries between media and, in the process, invites us into a fictive world in ruins that has all the ambiguities of our real one” (that’s from the Whitney Biennial catalogue.)

For pictures of the artist at work (and leaping in midair!), click here.

Benjamin Degen

Published January 12, 2010 by Molly



If the word “mind-bending” didn’t carry connotations of Magic Eye paintings and CGI technology and Timothy Leary, it would be the perfect descriptor of Benjamin Degen’s pieces. The Brooklyn-based artist fills his thoughtfully-drafted works on paper with nature, nudes, text, books and, why not, the Financial Times. Alternately folksy and futuristic, the works are rendered in graphite and colored pencil with shading that will give you shivers. Ready, set, explore.

Jeff Caramagna

Published December 28, 2009 by Molly


Picture 2

Jeff Caramagna’s work “endeavors to inspire the dwarfing of the individual witness both visually and metaphysically”, and if that’s not a damn good way to begin an artist’s statement, we don’t know what is.

Caramagna combines classic figure painting techniques with an intricate visual mapping system to produce the final works, which are so vivid they almost appear to generate their own light. The paintings will remind the average viewer of sunbursts and orange groves and beach bunnies—nothing dark in evidence here, though the paintings are far from simplistic or uninteresting.

Don’t miss the “PROCESS” section of Caramagna’s site, which includes images culled mid-painting of half-finished works and jars of shining pigment. How often, after all, do we get a privileged glimpse into the working style of an imposingly talented artist? It’s like a studio visit condensed for the purposes of the internets.

Justin Valdes

Published December 17, 2009 by Molly




Impressive-looking art is often unimpeachable. Think of that massive topiary puppy by Jeff Koons or certain sculptures by Tom Friedman or anything by Dan Flavin: these things are beautiful and imposing and they do not look as though any human had ever touched them.

On the other end of the scale lies impressive-looking art that is somehow imminently approachable. Justin Valdes fits into this category, or maybe even exemplifies it. His drawings are intricate and calculated while offering the deception, at first glance, that anyone with a set of pencils and ink might eventually produce something so good. No one could, of course, but that’s part of the pleasure of taking in his work. He makes it look so easy.

The Bruce High Quality Foundation

Published December 14, 2009 by Molly



Picture 1

Professional Challenges. Amateur Solutions.

So goes the slogan of the Bruce High Quality Foundation, a five-year-old artist collective of young men based in New York who dedicate themselves (and their serious art school credentials from Cooper Union) to the task of critiquing art commerce and the star-making antics of the market.

In keeping with their philosophy, the Bruces retain anonymous identities, claiming that they are each named after a fictional artist (named Bruce High Quality) who perished during the events of 9/11. As part of the group’s efforts to highlight some of the shadier elements of the art world, they’ve given lectures and performances, imagined Manhattan as a pizza, staged a renegade revival of Cats: The Musical, performed a stunning a capella version of George Michael’s “Father Figure”, and employed a motorboat to pull a miniature version of Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s Gates around the island of Manhattan, in 2005. Oh, and they’ve also launched a university, appropriately called The Bruce High Quality Foundation University.

In summary, the group aspires “to invest the experience of public space with wonder, to resurrect art history from the bowels of despair, and to impregnate the institutions of art with the joy of man’s desiring.”

To which a person can only say HELL YES.