“Matter/Giacometti” Opening Reception

A few photographs from last night's opening reception.


"Matter/Giacometti" will be open until Febuary 7th. 

Posted in on January 16 2015

Sneak Preview of the “Matter/Giacometti” Exhibition, Open January 15th-February 7th, 2015

Some installation images from our "Matter/Giacometti" exhibition. Join us tonight from 6pm-8pm to celebrate the opening!

Posted in Art on January 15 2015

The Real Faces Behind Giacometti’s Iconic Sculptures

Alberto Giacometti used close companions as models for many of his sculptures and paintings. They were more than just aesthetic muses: each represented a large influence on his work and life. Giacometti required his models to sit for many hours over several weeks in order for him to complete their likeness to his satisfaction, and for this reason, his models had to be as compatible in personality as they were aesthetically.

Perhaps Alberto’s favorite model was his younger brother, studio assistant, and closest friend, Diego Giacometti (1902-1985), who was the subject of his first sculpture, Diego—produced between 1914-1915—and is said to have sat for him every day until Alberto’s death in 1966. In addition to working alongside his older brother, Diego was an established artist in his own right, sculpting bronze pieces in manner which evoked Alberto’s aesthetic, yet was distinctly his.

Above: Diego Giacometti and Bust of Diego, photographed by Herbert Matter


Also abundantly represented in Giacometti’s sculptures and paintings is his wife, Annette Giacometti (1923-1993), whom Alberto met in Geneva in 1943 and wed in 1949. Late in his career, he created a startling series of ten busts of Annette, one of which, Annette IV, graces the cover of Herbert Matter’s book.

Above: Annette Giacometti and her likeness, Annette IV, on the cover of Giacometti by Herbert Matter

Isabel Rawsthorne (1912-1992), a British artist, was not just a model for Giacometti, but also a continuing romantic liaison until his death. Rawsthorne met and began modeling for Giacometti in the first half of the 1930s, and was a prominent figure of the Paris art scene in the 1940s. Her image can also be seen on the canvases of Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, and Andre Derain.

Above: Isabel Rawsthorne


Paola Carola (b. 1929) became friends with both Alberto Giacometti and his wife Annette in 1958, and remained close to Annette following Alberto’s death. Unlike many of Giacometti’s other models, Carola is not an artist, but has published extensively about her time with prominent artists, among them Balthus, Cremonini, and Giacometti. In 2008, Carola published Monsieur Giacometti, Je Voudrais Vous Commander mon Buste, a memoir about her relationship with Alberto and Annette, which includes a vivid description of the artist’s often perplexing character. 

Above: Carola pictured with her Giacometti likeness


Isaku Yanaihara (1918-1989), the Japanese philosopher, was one of Giacometti’s later models, sitting for him several times between 1955-1961. Yanaihara met Giacometti through the artist’s close friend, philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, for whom Yanaihara was a translator. He was of particular intellectual interest to Giacometti: the two are said to have spent hours in the studio discussing the particulars of existentialism.

Above: Yainahara posing in Giacometti's studio

David Sylvester (1924-2001) began working with Giacometti after their meeting in 1947 in Paris. A British art critic, Sylvester was a major campaigner for Giacometti’s work during and after the artist’s lifetime, and—perhaps unusually for an artist and a critic—they enjoyed a friendly relationship together at the height of both of their careers.

Above: Sylvester, photograph by Matter, left, and his painted portrait by Giacometti


Eli Lotar (1905-1969) was a French photographer and cinematographer who, much like Giacometti, gained prominence in the early 1930s through his connection to the Surrealist movement. While Lotar’s career never achieved the level of success that Giacometti enjoyed, the two artists remained close for the remainder of their lives. Lotar began posing for his friend in the last few years of Giacometti’s life, making him Giacometti’s last male model.

Above: Lotar and Giacometti's Bust of Eli Lotar II, photographed by Herbert Matter

Posted in Art on January 14 2015

Rick Meyerowitz

RARE’s new exhibition, “Rick Meyerowitz’s National Lampoon,” showcases over 20 years artwork by one of the seminal humor magazine’s most prolific illustrators. Meyerowitz was an integral figure in the influential humor magazine’s genesis and development,” and his “no sacred cows” attitude toward political or social causes, as well as his Bosch-like style of sprawling tableaus and at-times grotesque detail, married well with the Lampoon’s irreverent attitude. His effortless bridging of high- and low-brow culture was irresistible to the ambivalent youth of the Vietnam generation, and its appeal was perhaps best summed up in a comment by George Plimpton: “He does illustrations only a sourpuss wouldn’t love.”





“National Lampoon’s Inferno (Rick Visits Hell)”

Meyerowitz was born in 1943 in the Bronx, New York, and attended Boston University to study fine arts and literature. He started working with the founders of the Lampoon in autumn of 1969 and continued through 1991, when his final piece, a satire of the Gulf War called “Operation Desert Sales, was published. In 1971, while entertaining two Lampoon founders—Henry Beard and Doug Kenney—at his New York loft, Meyerowitz devised one of the magazine’s most enduring images: “The Mona Gorilla.” Now on view at RARE, the piece transforms Da Vinci’s beguiling womanly visage with that of a bemused ape’s face: an absurd and defacing gesture similar to Duchamp’s L.H.O.Q.Q., yet with the joyful silliness that marks Meyerowitz’s work. The piece was called by one critic, “the best Mona Lisa parody ever,” and another, “one of the enduring icons of American humor.” The Wall Street Journal declared it “the most celebrated American magazine illustration of the 1970s.”

“The Mona Gorilla”

Pieces Meyerowitz originally created for Lampoon articles sometimes spun off into other avenues, most notably his book Dodosaurs: The Dinosaurs That Didn’t Make It, which first debuted in the Lampoon in 1972, then became a formal book with text by Henry Beard in 1984. Inspired by the observation that dinosaurs were “so weirdly constructed, who would notice a few changes here and there,” the Dodosaurs present a range of evolutionary quirks and surreal physiology, such as the “Titanicasaurus Rex,” which bears the look of a cruise-liner sinking, and the majestic “Blunderdon” who has another tail instead of a head.

Sketchbook for Dodosaurs (Signed copies of the published book are available at the gallery.)

Meyerowitz’s collaborations with the Lampoon extended to projects outside the magazine proper, such as the poster for the Lampoon’s first film, the blockbuster comedy Animal House. His design’s raucous, effusive energy reflected the manic activity of the film itself, and proved integral to the film’s identity. John Belushi, upon seeing the poster, reportedly said to Meyerowitz, “You nailed it maaaannn. You really fuckin’ nailed it.”


Original artwork for Animal House poster.

His deflations of political figures and critique of American military efforts abroad are also prevalent in the exhibition. A particularly sharp illustration recalls Ronald Reagan’s highly controversial visit to a Nazi SS cemetery in Bitburg, Germany: as the former president weeps over the graves, his face melts like wax under intense heat. And in Meyerowitz’s last piece for the Lampoon, he depicts a scene of corporate-subsidized attack machines crawling over a field of battle: bombers release payloads of “Obsession” by Calvin Klein as a “Ground to Air Jordan” plane cruises by.


“Operation Desert Sales,” and “Bye-Bye Bozo: Reagan at Bitburg”

To codify the enduring legacy of the Lampoon, Meyerowitz released a compendium of Lampoon work in 2010 entitled Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great. (Signed editions are available at the gallery.) A documentary about the Lampoon, which borrows the title of Meyerowitz’s book, was recently released by Magnolia pictures, and is now available online.

Since his time at the Lampoon, Meyerowitz has continued his work as an illustrator and author. Collaborating with fellow artist Maira Kalman, he created “New Yorkistan,” one of the New Yorker’s most popular covers. Released in the wake of 9/11, the New York Times reflected, “When their cover came out, a dark cloud seemed to lift.”


“New Yorkistan” cover from The New Yorker.

From surreal political jabs to all-out farce, Meyerowitz’s work for the Lampoon touched upon many of the era’s singular issues with a humor that is still relevant today. The question is whether the world has bent to Meyerowitz’s vision, or if he was just ahead of the game.

Rick Meyerowitz’s National Lampoon is on view at RARE through December 5, 2015.

Posted in on November 19 2015

Remembering Alberto Giacometti, and Celebrating His Influence

Alberto Giacometti (October 10, 1901- January 11, 1966)

Today Rare remembers Alberto Giacometti, who passed away on this date 49 years ago. In addition to his substantial body of work, Giacometti’s legacy also lives on through the expansive influence he had on both his contemporaries—such as British sculptor Henry Moore (1898-1986)—and the generation of artists who followed him.

Among this latter group was Edward Delaney (1930-2009), an Irish sculptor whose work was clearly impacted by Giacometti’s aesthetic. However, Delaney skillfully adapted the elder artist’s elongated, wraith-like forms to articulate his own discrete visual language, in particular to powerfully articulate the horrors of the Irish famine (pictured below).

Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) was a British artist best known for her attenuated outdoor bronze sculptures. Frink acknowledged Giacometti as an early influence in her work, especially where her process was concerned: she noted in an interview with the National British Library that after meeting Giacometti in Paris as a young artist, she was encouraged by his example to model with plaster, a medium she subsequently worked in for the rest of her career.

Gary Hill (b. 1951), an American video artist, has been a pioneer in the medium of videography, but as a teenager initially worked in sculpture. He has stated that Giacometti was one of his early inspirations, leading him to first begin considering art as a viable career choice.

Posted in Art on January 11 2015

Images of the Gallery

Some images of the ready-and-waiting gallery, anticipating the arrival of "Matter/Giacometti"...!

Posted in on January 11 2015

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