622 Degraw Street, 718-855-3388
October 13 - November 6, 2012
Reception: Saturday, October 13, 6 - 9 PM
Contemporary artists presenting their take on Rococo, the infamous 18th century aesthetic in Elegantly Wasted and exhibition curated by a Brooklyn based artist, Boris Tyomkin who has been interested in Rococo for a number of years and utilizes its tropes to convey a mood of the long gone era that haunts us to this day with its air of decadence and ennui.
Characterized by elegant, refined yet playful subject matter, Rococo became the epitome of the court of Louis XV and is a style that is strongly connected to the French aristocracy of the 18th century. These works mirrored the frolicsome and ornamented decadence of aristocratic life with its unrestrained, excessive and luxurious self-indulgence. Over laden with artifice and ornament, Rococo typically utilized decorative designs of shepherds, lovers, goddesses and cupids playing against a pink and blue sky in lush, over grown gardens. Considered by some as the end of the Baroque, the easy and care free manner of Rococo, suggests a joy in life and a departure from the brooding, self examination of the earlier aesthetic.
Can it be possible that in our pessimistic and troublesome time an air of Rococo’s joie de vivre is secretly weaving its way into our culture? Some critics look disparagingly at a style that delights in being light, airy and seemingly effortless. There is a common notion that if there is no effort, and pain, the art cannot have depth. But another way to see this work is precisely in valuing its ability to convey effortlessness and light heartedness, of which it seems there is never enough. And it would not be entirely correct to say that Rococo doesn’t have its dark side. Rococo is like Venice, glamorous and ornate on the outside, but hidden, mysterious and melancholy on the inside. This inside however, is often hidden by a mask or heavy makeup. It is well known that masquerades are as typical of Rococo art as happy lovers frolicking in a sunny landscape.
It is precisely these typically Rococo aesthetic signs that are showing up currently in art, pop culture and the habits of the very wealthy. Luxurious excess is in! From the homes of the “rich and famous”, to their celebrity lifestyles, to the record breaking prices of art works, opulence is pervasive in our culture. The art works themselves are flirting with decadence, from the show of Jeff Koons work in Versailles to the pornographic works of John Currin that somehow allude to Boucher. Decadence, no matter how people try to bad mouth it, is very fashionable these days. As a matter of fact, the fashion industry itself is saturated by Rococo. From the window displays at Bergdorf-Goodman, to the runways, to Lady Gaga, Rococo inspired elegance is ubiquitous. Even the movies are getting into the act with lavish costumes and ornate sets, Amadeus, Dangerous Liaisons and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette being the obvious examples. The queen of France has more than a subtle resemblance to the debutants of our times, Paris Hilton being one. So it is no wonder that a seemingly remote style of the 18th century is having an underground and sometimes an above ground resurgence.
Exhibiting artists are Sergio Barrale, Jessie Brugger, Sebastian Deregibus, Alexandra Evans, Loretta Mae Hirsch, Holly Hudson, Maria Kozak, Susan Siegel, Maud Taber-Thomas, Boris Tyomkin and Anton Trofymov.