• Alain de Botton and Art as Therapy

    Alain de Botton's questions stem from a rich soil of cultural critique, personal understanding of history, and a little self-doubt. His "philosophies of everyday life" both reveal to us that which is already our own and offer shelter to our biggest fears. We all posses a great attainable beauty in the most unexpectedly fragile, delicate, and broken corners of our being. Botton argues that, with the right tools, we can access it and even let it grow.

    Art is already a tool in our grasp. Botton's Art as Therapy, 2013, proposes an accessible methodology to art's role in modern society. How is art useful to our self-growth? How does it solve and nurture? How does it instruct? 

    Artworks are road maps to a better understanding of our minds, relationships, desires and fears. They invite us to redefine our code of living, serving our spirit and health. 

    Botton invites us to appreciate artworks as scriptures. His curiosity of the modern human condition leads him to the following readings:

    NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team, Global Cluster, 2006

    "Somewhere here, although the untrained eye does not know where to locate it, a star is in the final throes of a cataclysmic explosion. All the unimaginably vast residue of its matter, which was pulled together so infinitesimally slowly and which burnt for aeons in a blinding furnace of power, is finally flung back into the universe. Science here joins art to dignify and lend tragic grandeur to our appalling fragility."

    Jean-Baptiste Regnault, The Origin of Painting: Dibutades Tracing the Portrait of a Shepherd, 1786

    "Art helps us accomplish a task that is of central importance in our lives: to hold on to things we love when they are gone… What we're worried about forgetting, however, tends to be quite particular. It isn't just anything about a person or scene that's at stake; we want to remember what really matters, and the people we call good artists are, in part, the ones who appear to have made the right choices about what to commemorate and what to leave out."

    Richard Serra, Fernando Pessoa, 2007-8

    "One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer more successfully… Serra's work does not deny our troubles; it doesn't tell us to cheer up. It tells us that sorrow is written into the contract of life. The large scale and overtly monumental character of the work… presents sadness as a grand and ubiquitous emotion... We need help in finding honor in some of our worst experiences, and art is there to lend them a social expression."

    Jeff Wall, Untangling, 1994

    "We are not transparent to ourselves. We have intuitions, suspicions, hunches, vague musings, and strangely mixed emotions- all of which resist simple definitions. Then, from time to time, we encounter works of art that seem to latch onto something we have felt, but never clearly recognized before… In art a fugitive and elusive part of our own thinking and experience can be taken up, edited, and returned to us better than it was before so that we feel, at last, that we know ourselves more clearly."

    The poetically philosophical questions Botton poses fill our hearts at RxArt. We believe that pediatric hospital facilities should not feel like sterile places for children and families to face their pains alone. We seek to diverge their attention and ease, if only for a moment, their mind, anxiety, and faith with contemporary art. In the spirit of Botton's curiosity and intelligent appreciation of the human condition, we look at our past projects with pride and faith that art is a tool that inspires, guides, heals, and changes visions of ourselves.
    Jeff Koons re-imagined the CT Scanner for Advocate Children's Hospital, 2010.
    Terry Richardson and Ryan McGinley for the Pediatric and Adolescent Psychiatric Units at Kings County Hospital, 2010.
    Kenny Scharf at Kings County Hospital, 2013.
    Keith Haring at La Rabida Children's Hospital, 2013
    Our fourth edition of the artist-designed RxArt Coloring Book, featuring a cover and inside-stickers by Ai Weiwei and over fifty line drawings by distinguished contemporary artists. 

    To learn more about RxArt, please visit our website and be sure to learn more about Art as Therapy

  • JR's Inside Out Project

    JR finds grand concepts in humble gestures. The French-born artist travels the world, transforming busy streets from New York to Brazil to India into his own gallery walls. His large-scale black and white images are as global as they are local, aspiring to great notions of unity and acceptance with not much more than "people, energy, and glue." 

    So, JR is asked, Can Art Change The World?

    "Maybe," he answers. "We should change the question: Can art change people's lives?"

    To all of us at RxArt, these words resonate deeply. By bringing in the art works of distinguished contemporary artists into pediatric hospital facilities cross-country, we strive to offer hope and peace to children and their families during the pains and anxieties of illness. JR's global art projects investigate social, political, and anthropological issues world-wide, and inspire us all to be more empathetic, aware, and free. We truly trust that art is a tool for psychological change, making the impossible, as JR notes, "possible…even easy."

    Watch the full JR Ted Talk 

  • RxArt Interviews Ai Weiwei

    What is art to you?
    Art is what makes us rethink reality.

    What inspires you?
    The moments when I say, “Something needs to be done”.

    You are a father as well as an artist, how does one influences the other?
    Being a father makes me realize that children naturally know art. Every child is an artist by nature.

    In an interview you said art is about opening up possibilities. What did you mean by this?
    In art, there are no limits.

    How does the advent of the internet effect your work?
    The Internet gives me a new sense of connection. I get a chance to meet many people online, that I would not have a chance to connect with otherwise.

    When creating pieces for an exhibition you employ the skills of many people in China. Is this something your actively think of when preparing or a show?
    My active concern is that different works require different skills. Some will require a collective effort, but there are also works that do not need anyone’s help.

    Your art is about personal expression and creating connections. What about these ideas are important to you?
    Personal expression and creating connections are essentially one coherent effort. It is important to understand that, and make that expression accessible for the sake of communication.

    How are you hoping your art will inspire those in hospitals?
    I hope my work can spark the children’s curiosity, encourage them to experience new things, and have joy their lives.

    Stickers by Ai Weiwei from The RxArt Coloring Book, available for purchase here.

  • RxArt Visits Tim Barber

    RxArt visits Tim Barber from RxArt on Vimeo.

    Artist Talk is a series in which RxArt visits our favorite artists and collaborators to talk about their work and inspirations. 

    In this Installment of Artist Talk, RxArt visited Photographer Tim Barber in his Chinatown studio to talk about his process and inspirations.

    tim barber

    tim barber

    tim barber

    tim barber

    tim barber

    tim barber

    All photos by Aileen Son.

  • Rxart Visits Maurizio Pellegrin

    For this edition of Artist Talk we visited artist Maurizio Pellegrin at his Tribeca studio. Italian born painter and sculptor, Maurizio works in mixed media, photography, film and installation. In his work Maurizio often re-appropriates relics of the past, giving them new energy and meaning. Walking through his studio, which is filled with artifacts from around the world, is akin to taking a tour through history. In this video he talks with us about his process and inspirations.

    RxArt Visits Maurizio Pellegrin from RxArt on Vimeo.

    All photos by Aileen Son.

  • Q&A With Kenny Scharf!

    Kenny Scharf opened his exhibition 'Kolors' last night at Paul Kasmin Gallery. It was a colorful affair complete with a particularly delicious collaboration between Scharf and The Doughnut Plant. Known for his colorful paintings, murals, and close friendships with artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat during the East Village art scene of the 1980s, Scharf was one of the first artists to inject street culture into mainstream contemporary art. He continues to incorporate imagery from cartoons and pop culture into his exuberant painting and sculptures. Scharf took some time out of his day to answer a few questions about his work and new exhibition.

    kenny scharf

    Let's start from the beginning. How did you get your start making art?

    My earliest memory was finger painting in nursery school. I can remember vividly the excitement I felt and the visuals like it was yesterday.  

    You're from LA - do you think being from there influences your work?

    Growing up in LA definitely influenced my art. I was constantly being bombarded with imagery that spoke of the space age in cars, architecture, and media. The colors and imagery are still fresh in my mind. 

    kenny scharf

    Then you came to New York and became friends with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. What drew you to each other?

    Fate - they were some of my first friends I made immediately upon arrival. 

    With Keith you made blacklight installations called 'cosmic closets,' which eventually caught the interest of the Whitney, who then asked you to recreate it for their Biennial. How did that come about and what was that like?

    Keith and I lived in a decrepit townhouse near Bryant Park - I converted an old large closet into an installation after I came upon a blacklight and began to put items from the street garbage into the room and painted them florescent. It began to grow and became the "closet," and then the "cosmic cavern." It became the site of a lot of fun parties! 

    kenny scharf

    A lot of your work prominently features cartoons characters and pop iconography. What about that interests you?

    That I own these icons because they are personal to me, yet they are also shared by millions! 

    You have a series of doughnut paintings. What about doughnuts interests you?

    They look good, taste good, yet are bad for you. They have a hole in the middle and resemble the universe. Some scientists think the universe is shaped like a doughnut. They are the ultimate good-to-look-at, bad-for-you consumer object. They're fun to paint. 

    kenny scharf

    Through your work you have developed a fully formed world with characters. You've translated this into animation in the past - will you be making more in the future?

    I would very much love to make more animation. 

    kenny scharf

    You've made a few sculptures: one for your show at Honor Fraser and your sculpture at the Standard Hotel. What is it like seeing your characters move from the 2D realm to 3D?

    Ive actually made many sculptures over the past 30 years, but these new ones are different and I think more successful in their bright, colorful, shiny boldness. It is natural for me considering all the paintings incorporate imagery that has a "3D" look.

    You often refer to yourself as a customizer and have transformed objects ranging from household appliances to Cadillacs. What about that interests you?

    Taking everyday usable objects and turning them into art is a great way of incorporating the everyday task and transforming it into a magical art experience, thereby uplifting the banal into beauty and experience. 

    kenny scharf

    Tell me about your collaboration with Kiehl's - what was it like to make over a product as iconic as the Crème de Corps? How was that process?

    It was great to work with Kiehl's as they have such a good graphics team - they made it super easy for me! 

    What are some of your new inspirations and what are you looking forward to?

    I am very exited about the present and future. Besides my show opening next week, I am about to make another mural in NYC on Hudson and 14th Street, I'm showing in a "futures" exhibit in the museum in Mobile Alabama in May as well as painting a mural there, and I am also customizing a 70s Pontiac in a new and very exiting way as well as some other fun stuff that I can't mention yet!

    kenny scharf

  • RxArt visits Debra Hampton

    RxArt Visits Debra Hampton from RxArt on Vimeo.

    Artist Talk is a series in which RxArt visits our favorite artists and collaborators to talk about their work and inspirations.

    In this installment of Artist Talk, RxArt went to Brooklyn to visit Debra Hampton at her studio. We spoke about her process, inspirations, and the impact of modern media in her work.

    debra hampton

    Click below for more photos

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  • RxArt TV: Will Cotton

    Will Cotton from RxArt on Vimeo.

    Artist Talk is a series in which RxArt visits our favorite artists and collaborators to talk about their work and inspirations.

    In this installment of Artist Talk, RxArt visits painter Will Cotton at his Manhattan studio. We talk about his process, inspirations, and what it was like to work with Katy Perry on her video for "California Gurls"! Click the video to watch!

    will cotton

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  • RxArt Visits Maurizio Pellegrin

    Last Friday, RxArt visited the sunlit studio space of Venetian-born artist Maurizio Pellegrin, who graciously showed us around. During our visit, we got a glimpse of several current projects as well as a fascinating tour of his source materials, which have included vintage top hats, photographs, canes, suitcases, and Japanese obis.

    Combining groupings of cultural artifacts and remnants with systems of numerology and textiles, Pellegrin seeks to manipulate and build on the “energy”, or the accrued history, ownership and contextual details, of these personal effects.  Much like the city of Rome's construction atop a foundation of Etruscan ruins, Pellegrin's objects become layered with historicity as he uses older items to form his own new visual vocabulary. His site-specific installations have been placed on walls, floors, and furniture in museums and locations throughout the world, including Peggy Guggenheim’s Collection in Venice, mosques and cultural centers throughout Istanbul, the Fort Wayne Museum of Modern Art in Indiana, and the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. We'll be featuring more of Pellegrin's studio, work, and discussion with RxArt in an Artist Talk video feature soon.

     See below for some shots of Pellegrin's studio and some of the fantastic objects we found there!

  • RxArt TV | Artist Talk: Evan Gruzis

    Artist Talk | Evan Gruzis from RxArt on Vimeo.

    RxArt is excited to announce the launch of RxArt TV, the newest edition to our blog. 

    For our first installment RxArt went to Brooklyn to visit artist and friend Evan Gruzis at his Red Hook studio.

    Thank you to our photographer and camera operator Aileen Son and Andrew Sadoway for his music.

    Click Below for more studio shots!

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