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We’ve moved! We’ll no longer be updating this site, but Park West Gallery has just launched a NEW website, where you’ll find our blog. There, we’ll be sharing even more news + information about your favorite artists, gallery events and art world happenings.

Please visit http://www.parkwestgallery.com/blog. See you there!

Happy 87th birthday to Yaacov Agam

 

Yaacov Agam Birthday

Yaacov Agam with an example of his kinetic art.

Park West Gallery wishes Yaacov Agam a happy birthday!

The man considered to be “the Father of Kinetic Art” turned 87 on May 11, and for just over 40 of those years, has worked with Park West Gallery. To mark the occasion, the gallery would like to reflect on working with the accomplished artist over the past four decades.

Agam was born May 11, 1928 as Yaacov Gipstein in Rishon LeZion (formerly Mandate Palestine). He began studying art at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem, and in 1949 moved to Zurich, where he remained for two years before moving to Paris where he currently resides.

He is the son of a devout Rabbi and Kabbalist, an origin that continues to serve as inspiration for his art. He says he took a chance at his first one-man show in Paris in 1953 to introduce what he calls the “fourth dimension” of art to audiences – time – actively engaging viewers and encouraging them to move or touch it, and as a result actually change the artwork as they are experiencing it.

“In life you look at art and it doesn’t change, but everything changes, but you don’t know how it will change, so you have to go beyond the visible,” Agam once said. “You have to get the notion that what you see can at any moment disappear to be replaced with something else.”

As viewers move while viewing Agams’s art, it transforms before their eyes into new shapes and colors. This dynamic means that Agam’s work is in a constant state of transformation and recreation. This abstract “kinetic art” has been collected the world over and displayed in major museum shows, including a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1980.

Agam caught the attention of Surrealists, including the most famous of them all, Salvador Dali, who once met with Agam. Interestingly enough, the two share the same birthday (May 11).

Yaacov Agam and Salvador Dali Photo courtesy of "Agam: Beyond the Visible" by Sayako Aragaki

Yaacov Agam and Salvador Dali. Photo courtesy of “Agam: Beyond the Visible” by Sayako Aragaki

Park West Gallery Founder and CEO Albert Scaglione was first introduced to Agam in 1974 through Blanche Fabry, the owner of a gallery in Paris, and world-renowned architect I. M. Pei. However, Scaglione took two years of preparation to develop a plan to approach Agam about being his art dealer. Since that time Park West has become the largest and most important art dealer of the art of Agam.

“I’ve been with him for almost 40 years, it’s been an absolute joy,” he says.

Agam’s art includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, architecture, jewelry, musical compositions, ceramics and graphic works. Over the years, Scaglione has witnessed Agam’s progression as an artist. Agam’s original conceptual and spiritual approach to his art continues to evolve to this day. More recently, he has created digital artwork using computers, such as interactive kinetic art demonstrated on a tablet device.

“Agam is the kind of artist that if you can dream it and imagine it, he can do it,” Scaglione says.

Yaacov Agam, Dizengoff Fountain, Park West Gallery

Agam standing in front of his “Fire and Water Fountain,” also known as the Dizengoff Square Fountain.

Agam’s accomplishments are as numerous as they are varied. His installed sculptures can be found worldwide, he has created the world’s largest menorah, and even made Algemeiner Journal’s “Jewish 100” list for positively influencing the Jewish community. Among his achievements was the presentation of one of his Agamographs, “Faith,” to Pope Francis in 2014.

The artist was once commissioned by Georges Pompidou, president of the French Republic from 1969 to 1974, to create an entire room of polymorphic and metapolymorphic works for the Pompidou Museum. Agam describes it as a painting that one can walk into and explore.

Agam also has the honor of being the highest-selling Israeli artist. His kinetic oil painting, “Growth,” sold for a record-breaking $698,000 in a Sotheby’s auction on December 15, 2010.

He has earned multiple accolades and awards during his career, including the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1974); an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Tel Aviv University (1975); and the Medal of the Council of Europe (1977). In 1996, he was awarded the Jan Amos Comenius Medal by UNESCO. He was even invited to speak as a guest lecturer at Harvard University in 1968.

Pope Francis Agamograph May 26 2014

Pope Francis is presented with Agam’s “Faith,” an Agamograph, on May 26, 2014.

Agam has also used his art to help children with visual learning. He wrote and developed the Agam Program for Visual Cognition that, according to the Weizmann Institute, has been implemented in roughly 90 Israeli preschools and in elementary schools.

“He’s got a lot of fight in him, in terms of fighting to get his works done, fighting to keep his works going, fighting to see that his works are everywhere,” Scaglione says.

Park West co-sponsors Scleroderma fundraiser

scleroderma

Park West Gallery co-sponsored a “Great Gatsby” soiree to support scleroderma research. From left: Jerry Lance, president of the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation; John Karay, Park West Gallery vice president of operation and board member of the Southeast Florida Chapter; Luis Navarro, Park West plant manager; Angela Bishop, Park West fleet manager for Holland American Cruise Line; Regla Diaz, Park West fleet manager for Norwegian Cruises Line; Camille Black, Park West executive assistant; Mike McHorney, Park West fleet manager for Princess Cruises; and Todd Cummings, Park West IT. Photo courtesy of John Karay.

Park West Gallery contributed to raising awareness and funds for Scleroderma (pronounced “sklair-o-dur-muh”) research in style.

The gallery co-sponsored a soiree themed after “The Great Gatsby,” held May 2 at the Via Mizner Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, to support the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation.

Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis, is a chronic disease that hardens and tightens skin and connective tissues. There are approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. who suffer from it, with the onset typically occurring between the ages of 25 to 55. The disease can range from mild to life threatening depending on which parts of the body it affects.

Park West employees dressed to the nines for the soiree, which featured dinner, dancing, drinks and both silent and live auctions. Park West Gallery was a silver-level sponsor, donating six works of art – five of which were sold during a silent auction and one during the live auction.

John Karay, Vice President of Operations for Park West Gallery, has been a board member for the Florida foundation for the past four years. He said he was originally asked to help with one event, which quickly turned into multiple symposiums and fundraisers for the foundation.

“I have met and made friends with many wonderful individuals who are affected by this disease, it is the least I can do to help raise awareness and funding to help find a cure,” he says.

According to the Scleroderma Foundation, the disease is not contagious or cancerous, but there is currently no cure. Its exact causes are unknown, and it is difficult to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to other autoimmune diseases. These aspects only emphasize the need for events such as the May 2 fundraiser.

“We continue to meet new people every month whom may have scleroderma or had a family member pass from the disease,” Karay says.

As of May 6, the soiree collected an estimated $19,000. The majority of the proceeds will remain in the local area to support those who suffer from the disease as well as their family and caretakers. The funds will also benefit awareness and education of the public.

“It was a pleasure to be part of a special evening and to meet many wonderful people who contributed to a special event,” says Mike McHorney, Park West Gallery’s fleet manager for Princess Cruises.

Find out more about how Park West CARES here.

Salvador Dali and Disney – a match made in art

Salvador Dali Disney

Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney by the beach in Spain, 1957. Photo courtesy of TheDali.org.

Of all of the outlandish and amazing artwork that Surrealist Salvador Dali produced during his lifetime, perhaps the most unique and unlikely of them was his partnership with Walt Disney.

Yes, Disney – the man responsible for beloved characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck – not only worked together with the eccentric Dali to create the animated short film “Destino,” but the two developed a lasting friendship.

The Dali Museum and the Walt Disney Family Museum are inviting guests to explore this eyebrow-raising alliance with its “Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination.” The show will run from July 10, 2015 to January 3, 2016 at the Disney museum in San Francisco, California, and from January 2016 to June 2016 at the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The exhibition is a multi-media adventure, using original paintings, story sketches, archival film, photographs and more to show the artistic prominence of these vastly different icons, as well as how they partnered together for a project and came away as friends.

Despite their differences, these renowned visionaries had much in common (aside from impressive mustaches). As the Huffington Post points out, Disney, born in 1901 in Chicago, and Dali, born three years later on May 11 in Catalonia, both began drawing at an early age. They both became innovative promoters with limitless imaginations that blurred the lines between dreams and reality.

Salvador Dali Disney

The Dalí and Disney families around the dinner table in Spain, 1957. Photo courtesy of TheDali.org.

These two minds came together while at a party at Jack Warner’s house (of Warner Brothers Studio) in 1945. Disney and Dali began talking – Dali considered Disney a Surrealist – and the two decided to create a film together. In 1946, Dali would visit Disney Studios, and in eight months, created 22 paintings and more than 135 storyboards, drawings and sketches. About 20 seconds of animation were created as well.

Unfortunately, destiny intervened in the form of post-World War II changes and other commitments, and the project was shelved. Five decades later, Disney’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, was inspired to complete the project while working on “Fantasia 2000.” With the help of three-dimensional computer technology, “Destino” was released in 2003, kept as close to the original vision as possible.

The film – a short six minutes and 40 seconds – is the story of Chronos, the personification of time, pursuing a mortal woman. No dialogue is spoken. Instead, only the yearning Mexican ballad, titled “Destino,” by composer Armando Dominguez accompanies this blend of Disney animation and Dali artwork. The original segment of animation is included, seen about five minutes into the film featuring two tortoises.

Of course, Disney and Dali had different views of the plot. Dali called the film “a magical exposition on the problem of life in the labyrinth of time.” Disney, however, decided it was “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

Upon its release, “Destino” received several accolades, including an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film (2004) and a Certificate of Merit from the Chicago International Film Festival (2003).

Park West Gallery is proud to offer “Destino” artwork so collectors can enjoy a part of this historic partnership. Contact our sales department for more information.

Eye hospital sees return of Yaacov Agam sculpture

yaacov agam complex visions

A crew from Art Creations and Renovations reinstalls the renovated artwork “Complex Vision” by artist Yaacov Agam to the exterior of Callahan Eye Hospital. The massive sculpture was first installed in 1976. (Photo by: Mark Almond/ malmond@al.com)

The aptly named “Complex Vision” sculpture by Yaacov Agam has been restored to its original glory and reinstalled at the Callahan Eye Hospital at the University of Alabama located in Birmingham.

Originally installed in 1976, Agam used his famously kinetic art style to create a sculpture that encourages movement. When viewed on the right side, the artwork is black and white, but as the viewer moves to the front, colorful patterns begin to appear. Finally, on the left side of the sculpture, bright, bold colors are seen.

The 30-foot by 30-foot sculpture adorns the side of the hospital and is made up of 69 two-sided aluminum panels, each one measuring just over 9 feet long by 13 inches wide and weighing 50 pounds.

Brian Spraberry, CEO of Callahan Eye Hospital, told AL.com that the hospital’s original benefactor, Dr. Alston Callahan, was an art lover who wanted a special installation for patients when they emerged from surgery.

“Usually people with blinding eye disease have their vision affected, they can’t see color in quite the same way, so this piece is there for them to have a pleasant experience after surgery, to see the vibrancy of colors they’ve been missing because the variety of things they’ve had wrong with their vision,” Spraberry said.

Art Creations and Renovations, a company that specializes in Agam works, was hired to take on the project. The weather-worn panels were removed and shipped to the company’s studio in April 2014.

Agam oversaw the restoration, which consisted of sanding down and acid-washing each panel. Etching primer and sealers were applied before the 121 colors chosen by Agam were painted back onto the panels. A clear coat was applied to protect the sculpture from the elements.

Yaacov Agam complex vision

Passers-by watch as “Complex Vision” is reinstalled. (Photo by: Mark Almond/ malmond@al.com)

With the panels restored, reinstallation began on March 26, 2015 and finished March 30. New mounting hardware was installed to update the structure itself.

To help with any future restoration or repairs, Spraberry worked with Agam and Art Creations and Renovations to create a blueprint of “Complex Vision” that includes the colors, layout and other details agreed upon by the artist and technicians.

In a video from UAB News, Spraberry says the artwork is synonymous with the hospital, but has also become a part of Birmingham.

“This is here not only for our patients, but it’s also here for the community,” he says.

Celebrating Mother’s Day with 7 artists

Mother’s Day is all about celebrating motherhood and maternal bonds, whether it is one’s own mom, grandmother, sister or other loved one. Read on to see how some of the Park West Gallery artists, past and present, have celebrated mothers through their artwork.

Itzchak Tarkay

Mother's Day Itchak Tarkay

“Mother And Daughter” (2007) by Itzchak Tarkay.

Itzchak Tarkay, the master acrylic painter, watercolorist and graphic artist, portrayed women throughout his oeuvre. His “natural woman” spoke to the depth and complexity of women, and shows her as satisfied, calm, and serene. In our Mother’s Day art, Tarkay depicts a gathering where a mother and daughter share a quiet moment together.

 

Rembrandt van Rijn

Mother's Day Rembrandt

“Artist’s Mother with her Hand on her Chest” (1631) by Rembrandt.

Rembrandt immortalized his mother in etchings as well as in several paintings. In the above etching, Rembrandt demonstrates his use of “psychological portraiture,” which captures more than the subject’s likeness, but their humanity and spirituality. Hints of what she was like might be gleaned from Rembrandt’s works, as he depicted her as a prophetess, reading a book, or playing a role in religious imagery.

 

Linda Le Kinff

Mother's Day Linda Le Kinff

“New Mother” (2014) by Linda Le Kinff.

Thanks to her powerful colors and warm scenes, collectors find themselves connecting to the artwork of Linda Le Kinff. In this mixed media painting, Le Kinff expresses the indescribable feelings and emotions of motherhood as a new mother cradles her child. Le Kinff’s works capture a myriad of scenes, whether it’s music or intimate moments in the lives of her subjects.

 

Hua Chen

Mother's Day Hua Chen

“Mother and Daughter” (2012) by Hua Chen.

Hua Chen’s delicate style is perfect for portraying the female figure without seeming provocative. A perfect example of this is seen in this oil painting of mother and child spending time together at the beach. Like the love of a mother, Chen’s subjects are calming, subtle and ageless.

 

Maya Green

Mother's Day Maya Green

“Mother Nature” (2014) by Maya Green.

In a slightly different vein, Mother’s Day can be about celebrating the wonders of Mother Nature, as seen in this floral painting by Maya Green. She says she seeks to break down life to its visual essentials, such as light, dark, balance and movement, and “capturing the essence of a moment.”

 

Pino

Mother's Day Pino

“Long Day” (2005) by Pino.

Pino grew up in Italy surrounded by women – whether it was sisters, aunts or his mother – and in turn, he recognized their physical and spiritual beauty. Pino illustrated sensual, attractive women on book covers, but switched to creating works of fine art in the early 1990s. For Mother’s Day, examine how his mastery of technique and figure portrays the loving care of a mother with her child.

Learn more about Pino at our free exhibition, “Pino: An American Master,” which runs until May 17.

 

Andrew Bone

Mother's Day Andrew Bone

“A Family Affair” (2012) by Andrew Bone.

Of course, humans aren’t the only ones that appreciate their mothers, as seen in the artwork by wildlife painter Andrew Bone. The Zimbabwe native personally photographs the animals he renders onto canvas, giving him a first-hand look at how animals interact with one another, including this family of cheetahs under the watchful eye of their mother.

 

Interested in collecting any of the artwork seen here? Click here for information on how to contact our sales department.

LeRoy Neiman: Points of Interest

 

World Class Skier by Leroy Neiman

“World Class Skier” (1994) by Leroy Neima

LeRoy Neiman was one of America’s most popular artists and his artwork continues to enthrall people. He is known for creating works on canvas depicting the “high life,” captured in his energized, expressionist style, as well as some of the greatest athletic feats ever portrayed. You may already be familiar with Neiman’s art and life, but here are some details about the artist that may surprise you.

1. Neiman earned pocket money in his childhood by painting images of goods on windows of local grocers.
Neiman recognized that groceries were a financial opportunity during his childhood; however, instead of the traditional clerk or bagging jobs, he was already thinking outside the box. He put his artistic skills to use with the result that local grocers paid him to paint images of appealing produce and meat on the shop windows.

2. Neiman painted murals in the U.S. Army dining halls during WWII.
While serving in the army, Neiman would paint on the walls of mess halls to raise morale. The murals were so well liked that he was asked to paint stage sets for Red Cross shows under the Army’s Special Services division.

3. Neiman spent four years in the Army and left with five battle stars for his service in Europe.
Neiman spent three of his four years in the Army in Europe. The war took him from Warrington, England to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia and he served in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.

4. Neiman contributed to the very first issue of Playboy and then later had a regular feature for 15 years.
Neiman and Hugh Hefner developed a friendship while both were living in Chicago. In 1954, Neiman created illustrations for “Black Country” in the first issue. This work earned the recently launched magazine a Chicago Art Directors Award. In 1958, Neiman teamed up with the magazine again. For the next 15 years he wrote and illustrated the “Man at his Leisure” feature.

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“125th Preakness Stakes” (2000) by LeRoy Neiman

5. Horses were one of Neiman’s favorite subjects because he was fascinated by the social dynamics at equestrian events.
Neiman enjoyed depicting horse races because it involved people from all walks of life, from the stable boys to the wealthy horse owners. Neiman captured the excitement of this international sport, including the Kentucky Derby. In fact, he created the first official poster for the Derby in 1997.

6. Neiman was part of a two-man show with Andy Warhol.
Neiman participated in several group shows, including one featuring him and Warhol at the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art in 1981.

7. Neiman created artwork for the popular Rocky films and even appeared in a few of the movies.
Neiman created a large portrait of Sylvester Stallone for Rocky and additional artwork for Rocky II. You can catch him as ring announcer in Rocky III, Rocky IV, and Rocky V.

8. Neiman was an influential supporter of Columbia University’s art program.
Neiman had strong ties to the prestigious university. In 1995, he donated $6 million to help establish the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies. In 2009, the university bestowed on him the first Honorary Professorship of the Arts in the school’s history.

Park West Gallery remembers Steve Hanks (1949-2015)

Steve Hanks

Steve Hanks

Park West Gallery remembers the life and art of Steve Hanks, who passed away in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 22 after a battle with cancer.

Hanks, born in 1949 in San Diego, California, was the child of a decorated World War II Navy flyer. He spent his youth playing tennis and surfing in the sunny weather. The Pacific Ocean left a lasting impression that would reappear in his artwork.

At the age of 17 his family was transferred to New Mexico. Upon graduating high school, Hanks attended the Academy of Fine Arts in San Francisco, excelling in commercial art and figure drawing. He transferred to the California College of Arts and Crafts, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree, and decided that he would pursue art as a career.

While working as a caretaker at a Campfire Girl’s camp in 1976, he devoted four-and-a-half years to experimenting with various mediums, including oils, watercolor, pencil and acrylics. He experienced an allergic reaction to oils, so he switched to watercolors to echo the intensity and clarity of oil paints.

After marrying his wife, Laura, with whom he had three daughters, Hanks was inspired to convey the complexity of children. His work focused on capturing intimate moments he called “moments of introspective solitude.” Laura and their children were the subjects of some of his works.

Hanks considered his style “emotional realism,” and created works that portrayed the smallest of details, such as the patterns on a skirt to the expressive faces of his subjects, whether they were infants, children or adults. He would also obscure the faces of his subjects, instead allowing their setting and body language to convey emotions.

Each of his paintings contains a mystery, and reveals the emotions and stories of the artist who created them. Backlighting was a signature aspect of his works, as Hanks was fascinated by how it filtered through things and would brighten rooms with color.

Rockin' on the Porch Steve Hanks

“Rockin’ on the Porch”
(2012) by Steve Hanks.

Hanks could master any medium. He created stone lithographs by hand, and was famous for producing fine art with Etch A Sketch toys. At one time, thanks to his creativity, the multi-talented artist was even more recognized than his relative, actor Tom Hanks.

Hanks’ awards include being honored by Art for the Parks since 1989, receiving the National Watercolor Society Merit Award, the National Academy of Western Art Gold Medal, and consistently appearing in U.S. Art Magazine’s top 10 American Artists list.

“I’ve tried to be responsible and put positive images out into the world,” he said. “I hope that my work brings comfort, pleasure and insight into people’s lives.”