Shark Week at AFC!

by Art Fag City on August 6, 2009 · 12 comments Events

ashley bickerton, Albino Shark, 2008, Pearlescent polyurethane resin, nylon, cotton webbing, stainless steel, scope, distilled water, coconuts and rope, 60 x 108 x 60 inches, art fag city
Ashley Bickerton, Albino Shark, 2008, Pearlescent polyurethane resin, nylon, cotton webbing, stainless steel, scope, distilled water, coconuts and rope, 60 x 108 x 60 inches. White Cube

Admittedly, our title misleads: unlike the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, which this Sunday began its seven-day shark programming extravaganza, we’re providing just one post on the subject. We all contribute what we can.

As such, we diligently scoured history books and the web to bring readers a smattering of our favorite shark moments in art.  Our highlights after the jump.


John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark, 1778

Copley’s turbulent masterpiece awed viewers when it was first displayed for its immediacy and violent theme to such an extent that he made two more copies of the work.  The more vertical composition ended up at the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, a museum that made news this week after Bush adviser-turned art critic David Frum described it as “nice” but not comparable to Cleveland's museum, or the Art Institute of Chicago.


Mike Kelley, Profondeurs Vertes, 2006, multimedia installation, Museu de Louvre, Paris, France

Copley’s shark painting inspired a great number of artists, perhaps most recently, Mike Kelley’s multimedia installation at the Louvre.


Damian Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death, 1991

Speaking of museums known for their old master collection making foyers into contemporary art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art currently houses Damian Hirst’s suspended shark  The Physical Impossibility of Death.  They displayed the work along side a Copley copy and a Homer Watson painting.

Winslow homer, the gulf stream, art fag city, paddy johnson
Winslow Homer, The Gulf Stream, 1899, oil on canvas, 28 x 49 inches


Frank Stella, Study for Watson and the Shark no. 2, 1990

Prior to Mike Kelley riffing on Copley, Frank Stella created the above assemblage.  I’m not what you would consider a fan of this work, but AFC’s Associate Editor Karen Archey reminds us that not everyone feels the same way.  Just this morning she came across Zigart, an Etsy artist, inspired by Stella’s work riffing on a Copley copy.


David Wojnarowicz, Untitled Shark, 1984. Image via: P.P.O.W.

We found David Wojnarowicz’s Untitled Shark at the P.P.O.W. site today. Unlike many of the other works it bears no relationship to Copley’s Watson and the Shark, though it may tangentially connect to tonight’s extra-curricular activity for venue alone. Associate Editor Karen Archey’s Low Museum will be on view at P.P.O.W. starting tonight.

ashley bickerton, art fag city, orange shark
Ashley Bickerton, Orange Shark, 2008, Pearlescent polyurethane resin, nylon, cotton webbing, stainless steel, scope, distilled water, coconuts and rope, 30 x 116 x 42 inches. Lehmann Maupin

We’ll admit the Albino Bickerton Shark we led with makes a little more sense to us than the Orange one in the series.  Not that we know what to make of the bondage/coconut  shark wear in either scenario, but at least the red liquid in the former could reflect the brutality of the fish.


Sebastiaan Bremer, Still life with Shark on the Bosporus, 2007, mixed media, 47 x 47 inches. Image via: artnet

Even shark still lives require a skull for good measure.  Awesome.


Ivan Witenstein, Shark Fin, 2002

An object so aesthetized its violent connotations practically disappear.

SHARK REMAINDERS


Pierre Winther, Shark Riding, photograph? Camera Work. Image via: artnet

Want to catch a few rays while riding a shark? Don’t forget your sunglasses!


San Fernando Valley Shark painting, 1995

A suburban shark diptych.

The shark van.

  • http://www.newrafael.com rafael
  • http://www.newrafael.com rafael
  • andy

    That “San Fernando Valley Shark painting, 1995″ is by Chicago artist Roger Brown.

  • andy

    That “San Fernando Valley Shark painting, 1995″ is by Chicago artist Roger Brown.

  • http://nicholasknight.net Nick

    One more! Nina Katchadourian’s 2007 video called “Mystic Shark”: after visiting the Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut and purchasing souvenir shark teeth from the gift shop, Nina made a video of her attempt to channel the spirit of the departed shark by placing the teeth into her own mouth.

    Furthermore, you can see this video right now, in “Rubber Sheets”, at CREAM Projects in Greenpoint!

    (Shameless plug, since I curated the show…)

  • http://nicholasknight.net Nick

    One more! Nina Katchadourian’s 2007 video called “Mystic Shark”: after visiting the Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut and purchasing souvenir shark teeth from the gift shop, Nina made a video of her attempt to channel the spirit of the departed shark by placing the teeth into her own mouth.

    Furthermore, you can see this video right now, in “Rubber Sheets”, at CREAM Projects in Greenpoint!

    (Shameless plug, since I curated the show…)

  • http://www.apolloworldgalleries.com/Great_white_trio.html Apollo

    This was a difficult painting for me to do it is titled “Great White Trio” . While living in Hawaii, much of my time was spent in the water. I love to snorkel an swim with the dolphins. One day I was boogie boarding and and had an encounter with a Tiger Shark. I was the last out of the water as I heard a local yell get out of the water that’s no dolphin bra!

    I climbed up the rocks with others to watch this Powerful Predator cruse the bay for over an hour.

    Apollo Environmental Artist

  • http://www.apolloworldgalleries.com/Great_white_trio.html Apollo

    This was a difficult painting for me to do it is titled “Great White Trio” . While living in Hawaii, much of my time was spent in the water. I love to snorkel an swim with the dolphins. One day I was boogie boarding and and had an encounter with a Tiger Shark. I was the last out of the water as I heard a local yell get out of the water that’s no dolphin bra!

    I climbed up the rocks with others to watch this Powerful Predator cruse the bay for over an hour.

    Apollo Environmental Artist

  • Kari
  • Kari
  • http://Www.arlettearts.com Arlette jassel

    Checkout my website hammerheads painting

  • http://Www.arlettearts.com Arlette jassel

    Checkout my website hammerheads painting

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