On the morning of his exhibition opening, artist Joe Fig instructed me that “Seeing is sort of a superpower.” Fig and I sat in the course of the sunshine and ethereal essential gallery house and mentioned his many work. His works depict a various vary of attendees finding out common artworks displayed in numerous galleries and museums. The items are layered, exhibiting spectators within the foreground and well-known items of artwork within the background. Our dialog felt very meta, and confirmed me a mirror into the guts of an artwork lover.
‘Considering Compositions’ is an extension of Fig’s 2020 exhibition, ‘Contemplation,’ which featured on the identical gallery in 2020. Each reveals depict photos that many New Yorkers have seen earlier than — folks entranced by the artwork on the partitions of galleries and museums. ‘Alex Katz: Gathering’ on the Guggenheim Museum and ‘Edward Hopper’s New York’ on the Whitney Museum of American Artwork are amongst many different iconic New York Artwork collections and reveals which are depicted in Fig’s artwork.
Fig started the gathering just a few years in the past, and stated he discovered inspiration whereas “watching folks in museums… appreciating different artworks.” Fig defined to me that this present was one thing he wanted to do. “As an artist, you need folks to really take their time and actually recognize the work,” he stated.
Fig additionally emphasised his love for coloration all through the interview and stated that the colours in his work are extra vibrant than they’re in actuality, as a result of as an artist, he has that company.
The work proven within the exhibition are shiny, enjoyable and fascinating. In “Alex Katz: Gathering/Guggenheim (The Nice Katzby),” 2022-23, spectators have a look at Katz’s work on three totally different flooring of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic rotunda. Positioned in entrance of the Katz work, viewers can observe the other ways through which folks have interaction with artwork. There may be immense respect for element in Fig’s work. Every spectator has a novel posture and outfit; one little boy, clad in a white T-shirt, even slings his arm over the barrier of the rotunda into the atrium.
Moreover, Fig’s work shine a highlight on these involved in artwork. By being a voyeur to folks deeply engaged within the artwork in entrance of them, we get to people-watch alongside Fig. In “Andy Warhol: 2 Self Portraits (1964,1966)/ Artwork Institute of Chicago,” 2023, two people are analyzing two of Warhol’s portraits. The pair is fashionably clad in hats, boots, animal prints and denim, however the RuPaul crossbody bag slung over certainly one of their shoulders is essentially the most notable.
Fig stated he selected to depict these folks particularly as a result of the RuPaul bag “appeared very Warhol-y.” Each selection that Fig made on this sequence was intentional, including concord to the gathering.
The artwork world is immensely accessible to NYU college students, they usually can simply take the place of certainly one of Fig’s characters. Whether or not it’s by the Museum Gateway for College students, which presents discounted costs to artwork establishments across the metropolis, or the numerous free New York Metropolis gallery reveals, it is crucial — and simple — to ponder artwork.
When requested about what contemplation means to him, Fig stated “the very first thing that popped into [his] head was pleasure.” Anyone who has grow to be misplaced in a portray can in all probability concur with what he needed to say: “It’s like listening to music however you’re utilizing your eyes as an alternative of your ears.”
Although it may be a little bit intimidating to discover the quite a few and typically overwhelming visible arts scenes in New York Metropolis, we shouldn’t run away from them.
Fig supplied up recommendation for individuals who really feel disengaged: “Go to issues which are accessible at first after which get a deeper dive. Simply see what sort of grabs you. Don’t really feel like you must see every little thing or perceive every little thing… It’s a language that you must be taught.”
Contact Alexa Donovan at [email protected].