Friday, August 29, 2008

More from the studio

Here's another peek into Jeph Gurecka's new show!

The Voyage of the Crystal Symphony (between the devil and the deep blue sea)
4' X 6', cast resin, automotive enamel, ceramitation, boat wax, fresh water pearls (the pearls are embedded in the shape of the constellation Aquarius), mounted on faux finished distressed wood panel

31GRAND is pleased to present SHINY BRIGHT SOUVENIR. Roughly based on Thomas Cole’s Voyage of Life painting series and 18th century Romanticism, SHINY BRIGHT SOUVENIR is a nautical passageway from the past, both in an art historical context and from feelings and expectations associated with the romantic period. Cole’s Voyage of Life (1840) series of paintings is the allegorical story of a voyager who travels in a boat on the river of life with an angel. This combination of the sublime with religious, philosophical, and contemporary socio-political themes is prevalent in Gurecka’s SHINY BRIGHT SOUVENIR.

Brought home by the traveler, souvenirs and tchotchkes function as physical manifestations of the memories associated with the journey. Likewise, history itself is a souvenir of the past that is glamorized and glossed over by indulgent radiance in the present. Gurecka finds humor and absurdity in how easily memory devolves into nostalgia, which in turn degrades into consumerism. For Gurecka, the souvenir is a hopeless projection and a representation of fear; in this, his vision accords with Nietzsche’s description of nostalgia as the longing for the past, the contempt for the present, and the fear of the future.

“The Voyage of the Crystal Symphony” shows the Crystal Symphony cruise ship retreating from the constellation Aquarius at its rear and entering the eye of a fantastic, sublime storm. Immanuel Kant talks about the sublime and how the safest way to the sublime is through the idea of the subsidiary venues, which for the contemporary traveler translates into our present day cruise lines, amusement parks, casinos, and video games.

In the wall relief, “Sleeper,” a siren floats along on a similar journey. Romanticism was loaded with mythic stories of the mystic relationships between men, women, and water. In their desperate loneliness, seamen believed that lighthouses were kept by sirens, who lived on rocky islands where they lured ships to their destruction. Similarly, the goddess of beauty herself, Venus, was born of vengeance: the severed genitals of Uranus, who was castrated by his son, Cronus, fell into the sea and fertilized the water from which Venus arose. As an amalgamation of beauty and destructiveness, perhaps the danger of Gurecka’s siren is her somnolent, latent wrath.

In the illuminated sculpture, “My Fathers House,” biblical, mythological and personal attributes contrasted with the artist’s homage to his birth father and their struggles for individuality. The softly illuminated cast Lincoln log house atop a rough, sinewy, trunk-like pedestal is both welcoming and subtly menacing. Here Gurecka melds the iconographically powerful image of the lighthouse—with its references to solitude, the sea, sirens, and the Christian symbol of divine guidance—with the struggle for autonomy.

Personal memory flattens into a collective and anonymous past: consumer culture takes advantage of a lack of awareness through mythologizing and fetishizing experience. In Gurecka’s cast sculpture of an SUV tire sinking into the gallery floor (“We Will Never”), this type of patriotic consumerism creates a falsely empathetic slogan.

In past work, Gurecka relied on the organic material and its relevance to the idea, a heterogeneous entity where the material was actually the host to the idea. In much the same way, Gurecka now deals with a very organic material in our natural world: plastic. Arguably, what once was nature/natural persists in the contemporary world, equally present in the dyad of city and country or in the contrived in-between; the simulacrum of suburbia is as manifestly “real” as other experiences.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jeph Gurecka

Sleeper is now finished! Here's some detail shots too.

The Sleeper, 2008
63" x 41"
cast resin, automotive enamel, ceramitation,boat wax, mounted on faux finished distressed wood panel

Jeph Gurecka
Shiny Bright Souvenir
at 31GRAND

September 4 - October 4, 2008
Opening reception: Thursday Sept. 4, 7-9pm

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Snuffbox (Tabatière)

Berlin, ca. 1765
Possibly designed by Jean Guillaume George Krüger
Chrysoprase, diamonds, and other hardstones, and metal foil; gold mounts; 2 x 4 x 3 (4.9 x 10 x 7.8 cm)
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1996.469 (GB 120)

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit: Art of the Royal Court: Treasures in Pietre Dure from the Palaces of Europe

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Vicious Games

Friday, August 22, 2008

James Jean

Prada short - Trembled Blossoms
executed by Jared Purrington

Andrea della Robbia

Virgin and Child, RELIEF, 15th century (ca. 1470�75)
Andrea della Robbia (1435�1525), Sculptor
Made in Florence, Italy
Gift of Edith and Herbert Lehman Foundation Inc., 1969
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just a little preview

Here's a shot of Jeph Gurecka's new piece "The Sleeper". Still in his studio and in progress and detailing yet to go, but the grand unveiling of the finished piece will happen soon!

The Sleeper, 2008
63" x 41"
cast resin, automotive enamel, ceramitation,boat wax, mounted on faux finished distressed wood panel

Jeph Gurecka
Shiny Bright Souvenir
at 31GRAND

September 4 - October 4, 2008
Opening reception: Thursday Sept. 4, 7-9pm

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kitchens of Distinction

The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thomas Cole

The Course of Empire - Desolation, 1836

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tadashi Shoji

I really want this outfit. Simple, unique, elegant...

Hand Woven Bamboo Corset from the Tadashi Shoji Spring 2008 Collection

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gabriel & Dresden

Tracking Treasure Down
featuring Molly Bancroft

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's going to be Fall before we know it...

which means a new art season! We're opening ours on September 4th with Jeph Gurecka's solo show, Shiny Bright Souvenir. Here's a peek into his studio. Can't wait for the grand unveiling!

Jeph Gurecka - Shiny Bright Souvenir
September 4 - October 5, 2008
Opening reception: Thursday, Sept. 4th, 7-9pm
31GRAND, 143 Ludlow St., NY, NY 10002
t: 212.228.0901

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Maureen Cavanaugh

Black Hat, 16 x 20”, 2007, oil on canvas

Last few days to catch ADMIRER at 31GRAND. If you haven't had a chance to see it in person, stop by. It's really a beautiful show.

July 10 - August 10, 2008 (curated by Maureen Cavanaugh)
artists: Claudine Anrather, Kristin Baker, Matteah Baim, Michael Cavanaugh, Holly Coulis, Torben Giehler, Ridley Howard, Alex Katz, Brad Kahlhamer, Lauren Luloff, Katie McCory, Robyn Olds, Erik Parker, Carolyn Salas, Kyle Simon
31GRAND, 143 Ludlow St, NY, NY 10002

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Claude-Joseph Vernet

A Storm on a Mediterranean Coast, 1767
Oil on canvas
44 1/2 x 57 3/8 in.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Everything Is OK
Directed by Kelly Tunstall

Sunday, August 3, 2008


The last thing I need is you