March 31st, 2015

The Rape of The Masters by Tom Sanford

Galleri s.e / Bergen / Norway / 04.11 – 05.13 / 2015

The Grand Odalisque sm

Our upcoming solo with New York based artist Tom Sanford will definitely give art historians problems with their libido, or perhaps the opposite – a hard on!

Amongst the victims of Sanford’s brushed act of violence you will find Mona Lisa wearing a burkha, Édouard Manet’s Olympia with a bottle of bourbon whiskey and Kim Jong-Un’s head served on a silver plate by The President of The United States of America, Barack Obama! All of this and more are spread across seven canvases, all reproductions of selected historical masterpieces from the 16th century’s Leonardo daVinci to the 20th century’s Grant Wood. All commissioned from a commercial painting workshop in Shenzhen China, only to be tampered with by Sanford in his New York studio.

It might seem a bit violent the way I just described it, but in the artist’s own words it all makes sense:What would it feel like to work into a great painting? To deface (and probably ruin) a work that one has the greatest respect for? What would happen when my starting point was a complete and probably perfect painting?”

He also says that he found it difficult to start these paintings as he usually has a clear idea of how the finished paintings will end up. In this case his first move was to mess up the painting, then react to that and mess it up some more, making more and more mistakes until the painting hopefully would become a new and different thing and not just a vandalized version of the original: ”At the same time as wishing the painting to be a new painting, I wanted to leave just enough of the old painting so that the viewer could recognize the original starting point of the image.”

Sanford will also show ten of his customized Mao paintings. A series based on reproductions by Zhang Zhenshi’s portrait of Chairman Mao. This is one of the most recognized image of Mao, and also the very image that Andy Warhol chose to appropriate in his series of Chairman Mao paintings and prints.

Kenneth G. Wikdahl, March 27. 2015

”The common denominator of my work is that I want to make images that are quickly and easily accessed by the viewer.  This certainly goes for the Mao paintings, I feel they fail if the joke of painting over the famous Mao image is not immediately obvious, and it is for this reason that I like to present them in a group of several Maos. That said, with a little more consideration I hope the paintings reveal another layer of meaning. The above few paragraphs outline that slightly obscure second layer of meaning. Another possible, and equally intended reading of a painting such as my Custom Dame Edna Mao would be, “Gee, that Mao Zedong sure does make a funny looking drag queen.” Tom  Sanford (b. 1975) in Bronxville, NY

g a l l e r i   s . e

Kalfarveien 74B, N-5022 Bergen, Norway

+47 55 31 57 55 +47 47 27 10 60 Store: FB: T:

December 31st, 2014


January 4 – 18, 2015

Opening Sunday, January 4, 12:00 – 3:00 PM

(December 29, 2014) Gitler &_____ is proud to present What’s Good in The ‘Hood?, a solo exhibition of new works by NYC artist Tom Sanford. For this show Sanford introduces 25 ink portraits and one large-scale oil painting (A Train, 2014) comprising various friends, family members, fellow artists and gallivants who have helped shape the Hamilton Heights neighborhood that Sanford has called home for the last 12 years. Incorporated throughout are dozens of half-subliminal cues in the form of signage, fashions, and novelties that come together to create a distinct love letter to this slice of the City and those who inhabit it.

“As time has passed and life has become more complicated,” says Sanford, “I have, out of karmic necessity, turned to painting what I love … The neighborhood isn’t just where you live anymore, it’s what you live.”

Sanford exaggerates his subjects’ features while stopping just shy of pop surrealism. His portraits are aspirational; he paints what and who he loves, blemishes and all, and reveals in his work what all seasoned New Yorkers know but often forget: we are vulnerable creatures who live in a city that obliges us (some more than others) to become extroverts.

What’s Good in The ‘Hood? will open on Sunday afternoon, January 4, beginning at 3:00 PM. The artist will be present. Artwork images and a map key to A Train are available.

Gitler &_____ is an art gallery dedicated to showcasing rising artists from around the world. Gitler &_____ seeks out talent through chance and word-of-mouth, moving in between genres to identify original craftsmen and visionaries who may not otherwise be brought to market. Formerly a pop-up gallery that held various solo and group shows throughout NYC and beyond, founder Avi Gitler premiered its permanent Harlem location in September 2014. For more info visit


Contact: Elliot Avi Gitler 3629 Broadway NYC 10031 (201) 887-4764

The A Train

October 21st, 2014
Tom Sanford, Custom Mao Zedong (Pirate), 2014; oil on canvas, 36x24”

Tom Sanford, Custom Mao Zedong (Pirate), 2014; oil on canvas, 36x24”


Gitler & _

Presents The Halloween Show

Opening Tuesday, October 28, 2014

6:00 – 8:00 PM

Gitler & _____ is proud to present The Halloween Show, a new multi-media group exhibition comprising new works by ten emerging talents. This show takes place at the gallery’s new permanent location in Harlem, at 3629 Broadway between 149th and 150th Streets.

This annual celebration of all things macabre and menacing represents one of the rare cultural moments when we find humor in death, when mortality itself is cause for camaraderie. People become what haunts them, or put another way, what they aspire to become. The Halloween Show brings together ten supremely gifted artists whose respective works epitomize the preternatural. Each artist, in his or her own way, depicts scenes, portraits or snapshots of the natural world unfolding in unpredictable ways, allowing the agents of our subconscious—whether they be demonic, erotic or humorous—to take hold.

Participating artists for The Halloween Show include Jason Covert, Kristian Glynn, Aaron Johnson, Boy Kong, Grace Lang, Morgan Lappin, Amanda Pulham, Tom Sanford, N. Soala, and Lauren YS.

Gitler & _____ is an art gallery dedicated to showcasing rising artists from around the world. Founded and curated by Avi Gitler, Gitler & _____ seeks out talent through chance and word-of-mouth, moving in between genres to identify original craftsmen and visionaries who may not otherwise be brought to market. Formerly a pop-up gallery that held various solo and group shows throughout NYC, Avi Gitler premiered its permanent Harlem location in September 2014. For more information visit


Avi Gitler

(201) 887-4764

March 27th, 2014


FLÆSKETORVET 24 | 1711 COPENHAGEN V | TLF +45 33 33 93 96 MOB +45 40 15 55 88 | INFO@GALLERYPOULSEN.COM


THE LIVES OF THE ARTISTS. April 4th 2014- May 17th 2014.

For immediate release:

The title of Tom Sanford’s exhibition is taken from Italian artist and writer Giorgio Vasari’s groundbreaking first work of art history, written in 1550. Inspired by Vasari’s ambition to document his time in both painting and writing, Sanford painted portraits of his contemporaries, both artists and otherwise, that he admires, respects, and even loves. It is fitting that Sanford documents this moment for Gallery Poulsen, as he is viewed as the Godfather of Gallery Poulsen for having played such a large part in introducing the gallerist to the vibrant New York art scene.

Cafe Copenhagen

As in his past work, Sanford portrays current events and people. However, in this exhibition, the artist has directed his gaze and paintbrush toward something personal and familiar–namely the art world and his fellow artists in Denmark and New York. This show demonstrates that it is not simply the artist who brings New York art and American themes to Copenhagen. Sanford shows that it is a two way street, where he and other American artists have been influenced by the people and experiences they encountered in Denmark.

Sanford’s second solo show at Gallery Poulsen marks his longstanding connection to Copenhagen. This relationship started with his 2005 exhibition, “The Life and Times of TomPac,” at Galleri Faurschou. On his first visit, the Danish rapper Jokeren invited Sanford to create paintings that became the cover art of his album, Gigolo Jesus, which was released the same year. This marked one of the many enduring friendships that began during his first trip to Denmark and which led to this remarkable group of paintings.

The artworks in the exhibition are painted in Sanford’s distinctive pop art style, in which he portrays current events while referencing classical compositions from art history. The exhibition’s central piece, Cafe Copenhagen is inspired by Jörg Immendorff ’s Cafe Deutschland . In this piece, he portrays a group of individuals and artists of significance to Sanford (and Gallery Pouslen). The group is seen drinking at a classic Copenhagen institution, Cafe Victor. Sanford, always an unreliable narrator, depicts a scene that has never actually occurred, but one that could easily be real. Café Victor is in fact the first place to which Poulsen artists are introduced before they are let loose for an exhibition at the gallery.

The exhibition’s diverse portraits are inspired by the German artist Otto Dix, who painted his fellow artists and clients during the Weimar Republic. In Sanford’s version, Danish artists are portrayed in situations which are (at least for the artist) unmistakably Danish, painted from the artist’s memories of Copenhagen. The rest of the portraits are of American painters, colleagues of Sanford who also have strong ties to Denmark and its contemporary art scene.

In a reference to Philip Guston’s late works, Sanford painted a very personal portrait of a New York family in the year 2014. Here is the artist’s family, pictured in his Harlem studio, with the characteristic brownstones visible through a window in the background. In the piece, Sanford’s painterly heroes are given a nod: Peter Saul, Philip Guston, Ashley Bickerton and Otto Dix, all of whom are referenced throughout the exhibition.

Sanford has said of this exhibition: “I want to make paintings about the conflict between artistic aspiration and the real world. I want to create paintings that connect me to the artists whose work I admire and who make me feel that I am not alone.”

The exhibition features nine new oil paintings and three works on paper. At first glance, Sanford’s art appears straightforward, even easy, but a closer look reveals that they are anything but simple. Present in each painting is masterful and varied painting techniques combined with a vast knowledge of art history and keen observations and insights into contemporary culture. These pictures are layered with references and multiple meanings embedded in each scenario for the viewer to explore. In other words, with Tom Sanford, one cannot judge the book by its cover!

March 6th, 2014

Check out my New Maoseum: Home of the New Mao.

The Spirit of Chinese Capitalism

August 27th, 2013

Kravets/Wehby Gallery – 521 West 21st Street, Ground Floor – New York, New York 10011

212-352-2238 – -


The Deli on Broadway (Mike D, Spike Lee, ESPO), Tom Sanford 2013

For Immediate Release:

Tom Sanford

Café des Artistes

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7th, 6-8pm

Exhibition Dates: September 7th – October 12th, 2013

The Kravets/Wehby Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Café des Artistes, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Tom Sanford. The show will open on Thursday, September 5th and run through October 12th, 2013.

“You could grow up in the city where history was made and still miss it all”

- Jonathan Lethem, The Fortress of Solitude

In Café des Artistes, Tom Sanford presents a series of “New York genre paintings” depicting scenes of extraordinary New Yorkers engaged in the motions and activities of an ordinary life. Some of the characters included are Walt Frazier, Tina Fey, RZA, Jonathan Lethem, Diane Von Furstenberg, Bill T Jones, Woody Allen, Nicole Eisenmann, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Tom Sanford’s “image fiction” paintings take the viewer by surprise by tapping into and mashing up the New York lexicon of culture. Spike Lee is miscast as a Deli guy as a nod to “Mookie” in Do The Rite Thing in Sanford’s painting “The Deli on Broadway.” In “The Bar on 2nd Avenue the artist recycles the composition of Manet’s famous “Bar at the Folies-Bergère,” depicting writer Carlo McCormick tending bar at Lit Lounge to the late Dash Snow. The scenery and settings of New York are just as much the iconic subjects of the paintings as the people they depict.

For further information, please call (212) 352-2238 or email

August 12th, 2013

Eric Firestone Gallery Presents:
Seventh-Inning Stretch
Curated by Carlo McCormick and Eric Firestone
August 17 – September 9, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 17th, 6:00-9:00pm

Artists include – Daniel Arsham, Slater Bradley, William Coupon, Carlton DeWoody, Sebastian Errazuriz, Tony Fitzpatrick, Elissa Goldstone, Susan Grayson, Jeanette Hayes, Neil Jenney, Deborah Kass, Hiro Kurata, Eva LeWitt, Justin Lowe & Jonah Freeman, Andrea Mary Marshall, Mint & Serf, Guy Overfelt, Raymond Pettibon, Garrett Pruter, Kathy Rudin, Tom Sanford, Shelter Serra, Randy Slack, Jim Thompson, JJ Veronis, Nari Ward, Eric White, Wendy White, Rob Wynne, and Dustin Yellin

"The Closer (Mariona Rivera)", Tom Sanford 2013.

East Hampton, NY: Eric Firestone Gallery is pleased to announce the group exhibition Seventh-Inning Stretch, a selection of contemporary artworks exploring, employing and imploring our favorite national pastime, baseball.

The exhibition does not delineate the sport’s history nor ratify its tradition. Rather, McCormick explains that the show is “[a] modest sampling of some of the ways in which baseball has entered the lexicon of contemporary visual art; Seventh-Inning Stretch is hopefully a meditation on how and why we care. It is about the excitement we feel and the beauty of the boredom that borders on ennui.”

Oh, and we do care a whole lot! Whether it be the season or not, baseball is entrenched in American culture and safely protected by our state borders. It’s ours, alone, not overrun by tourists nor affected by our globalized iPhone generation. We’re the only ones who understand it: we all know it, love it, hate it, follow it, play it, watch it, are bored by it, smell it, can nearly taste it, and empathize with it.

Seventh-Inning Stretch provokes our inner child who manifests our heroes and imagines the make-believe land where they live. We collect relics that remind us that this kind of magic can exist. Through visual recognition of cultural icons, William Coupon mimics such childish storylines with his Polaroid portrait series, intimately portraying every player on the 1979 New York Yankees team during spring training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, including Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Billy Martin, Bucky Dent, and others.

Another two artists on view, Deborah Kass and Susan Grayson meditate on the sport itself, and slow down the simple mechanics that keep the game going, pulling apart an epic move that will change history. Here, we can trace the lines and contours of success. Better than an instant replay, these pieces are comprised of freeze-frame type shots to dissect the curveball and homerun, allowing you to study glinting greatness.

Those who aren’t familiar with the rules cannot deny baseball’s command over American iconography and ideology. We use it all: the jargon, “homerun”; the tools, “baseball bat”; the people, “Babe Ruth”; the places, “Yankee Stadium”; the rivalry, “Dodgers-Giants”; the metaphor, “bases loaded,” and; the snacks, “Cracker Jack.” In poured and mirrored glass, Rob Wynne references this national passion through his piece titled, HOMER, 2013.

For many, art is a physical outlet to express uncensored thoughts. However, art and daily life often are separated. Seventh-Inning Stretch confronts this canon by incorporating the universal sport into the gallery.

About Eric Firestone Gallery
Eric Firestone Gallery, established in New York in 2010, focuses on bringing contemporary and historic art, new genres and popular culture to the public. Eric Firestone Gallery represents a number of artists and estates and such projects as The Boneyard Project and Return Trip have garnered worldwide recognition. The gallery has been featured in Art in America, Bomb, Artnews, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, GQ, New York Magazine, Hampton’s Magazine, Newsday and many other publications and websites.

For press contact the gallery at:

4 Newtown Lane | East Hampton | NY | 11937
631.604.2386 |

June 27th, 2013

I wrote this statement for a catalog for the AftermodernisM show at the Nassau County Museum of Art. It may be a bit long and overly self-conscious, but i enjoyed writing it and like quite a bit of it, so i thought i’d post it, for the record:

Install Shot at Nassau County Museum of Art

I made all of these paintings at roughly the same time, over the course of the past two years. They can be clearly divided into two groups: a few Mao paintings and some caricatured figure paintings. From my vantage point these two types of work are not entirely unrelated as far as the larger themes and the artistic attitude are concerned, but for the purposes of specificity and clarity I will address them separately.

The Customized Mao paintings.

These paintings are a few examples from a series that I started in 2010 and finished in early 2013. In 2010 I commissioned a Chinese commercial painting workshop to paint me 40 reproductions of Zhang Zhenshi’s portrait of Chairman Mao. I believe that this is the most recognizable image of Mao, and it also happens to be the image that Andy Warhol chose to appropriate in his series of Chairman Mao paintings and prints.

These paintings were shipped from Shenzhen China to my studio in New York where I performed the customizations. In each case I altered the iconic Mao image by overlaying a familiar western archetype (e.g. zombie, punk-rocker, cowboy, Starwars storm trooper, etc.). I did this by painting directly over a portion of the Chinese-made Mao painting. The examples chosen for AftermodernisM all happen to be based on iconic works by canonical western artists (Van Gogh, Warhol & Basquiat). I believe that the most famous works of these artists have been so thoroughly consumed, appropriated and repurposed by our culture, that for instance, the Warhol Marilyn is so instantly recognizable and rich with meaning and associations (historical, cultural, social and such) that it should be considered a cultural archetype. This is probably not a controversial claim, but that was my thought processes, just for the record.

Image 4

Before I proceed further I want to state that in theory I am resistant to the expectation that the artist should be responsible for decoding his own work. Perhaps this notion reflects an expectation that the audience might enjoy the opportunity to, or challenge of, providing one’s own interpretation of the work, but more likely it is rooted in a mild discomfort with the role of academia in art and general intellectual laziness on my part. However, in practice I humbly acknowledge that I am grateful when anyone takes the time to consider my art and for that I feel that I owe some sort of explanation. Especially if the audience is actually willing to bear with me and read my often lengthy and overly self-conscious artist statements. So with that understood I will address some of my intentions and ideas regarding how I might hope for these paintings to be interpreted by a generous audience.

The three phases of production in making my customized Mao paintings are all loaded with implied meaning. As I see it the three phases of production are as follows: (1) Having poorly paid and remarkably skilled Chinese painters make the beautifully painted replicas of the famous Zhang Zhenshi Mao painting. (2) Shipping the Chinese made canvas from Shenzhen to my studio in Manhattan. (3) The alteration of the Chinese-made-original-Zhang-Zhenshi-copies into Tom Sanford Customized Mao paintings by myself or in a few cases a hired assistant (for paintings that I felt could best be executed by a painter with a different skill set than my own.)

(1) The choice of the Zhang Zhenshi Mao image to be repainted by the Chinese painters was intended to both refer to the famously iconic Warhol paintings and reflect visually the fact that the original raw material of the art piece (the Zhang Zhenshi reproduction) was actually produced in China. That is to say that I wanted the Chinese painters to ship me copies of the most obviously Chinese image possible. Thus the original pre-customization image (Mao) would itself serve as a reminder that it was made not by me, but by unknowing artistic collaborators in China.
(2) I particularly liked this idea of artistic collaboration with Chinese painters because it is a mode of production that mimics actual global modes of production while simultaneously reflects the art world bias against craft and skill. That is to say, that I paid the Chinese painting shop about 50USD per canvas with the intension of a 100x mark up once I applied my intellectual property in the form of customization. Most of the labor and raw materials were provided by the Chinese, I merely added a somewhat superficial and arguably arbitrary artistic intervention. This imbalance of value added seemed poignant.
(3) For my part, once the Mao canvases were in my studio I set out to customize them by painting my selected Western archetypes over the Mao image. I hoped that this gesture of iconoclasm might be read as at least a little cheeky, possibly aggressively anti-Chinese. This desire comes out of anxiety about being an American artist working after the end of the American century. Facing a much anticipated shift in cultural power, I think it is only natural for the American artist to feel threatened. I attempted to have my artwork supercede all of Chinese culture via a sort of artistic vandalization of this iconic Chinese image. A gesture akin to drawing a silly mustache and glasses on a poster of a political candidate.

The common denominator of my work is that I want to make images that are quickly and easily accessed by the viewer. However with a little more consideration I hope the paintings reveal another layer of meaning. The above few paragraphs outline that slightly obscure second layer of meaning. Another possible, and equally intended reading of a painting such as my Custom Marilyn Mao Zedong would be, “Gee, that Mao Zedong sure does make a funny looking drag queen.”

Caricatured Figure Paintings

I have made many paintings of people and events over the past decade or so. The paintings had dealt with a variety of subject matter, but that subject matter has consistently been drawn from the popular culture and on the whole theses subjects have been timely. That is to say that shortly after Steve Jobs succumbed to cancer I choose to paint him. Soon after reading my favorite author Jonathan Lethem’s most recent novel, Chronic City, I made a painting that depicted the character Perkus Tooth in his apartment, an important location in the story. After being invited to paint Mie Iwatsuki for an exhibition addressing the muse in contemporary art, I painted her being painted by her most celebrated portrayer, the artist and J Crew model Alex Katz, to whom Mie is a long time muse. Other subjects of similar paintings have often been people and events that were in the news at the time and attracted my attention for any number of reasons, far to broad and idiosyncratic to go into here.

Perkus Tooth

I like these timely subjects precisely because many of the events and characters I paint are likely to be forgotten with the passage of time. It is my belief that if a painting is going to be important and have historical resonance, it must first tell us something very specific about its own time. I choose subject matter that is timely, because the subjects seem important and of the moment when I start them. But painting is slow and our popular appetite for news, gossip and cultural noise in general is ravenous and cannot be satiated for long before we move on to the next event or interest. While the news cycle refreshes in a matter of hours, my paintings take weeks and sometimes months to make. By the time my painting is done the subject is almost always old news, sometimes even forgotten. My paintings are already historical on the day that they are finished. And this incompatibility between the speed that I work at and the subject matter that I am attracted to speaks directly to my frustrations with the cultural milieu that I find myself in. I hope that my paintings are a small humanistic resistance against the hypercapitalist mediascape.

Steve Jobs

This concern with the historical is echoed in many of my formal and compositional decision when constructing these pictures. I often try to link my paintings to the history of Western painting by overtly referencing famous compositions. For instance my painting “Alex Katz and Mie the Muse” is directly based on the great Otto Dix painting “Self Portrait with Muse” (1924). This choice to recycle great paintings with contemporary subjects (and often celebrities at that) places this work squarely in the arena of kitsch. While some forms of kitsch have been accepted into the highbrow as ironic cultural critique; I believe that the genres of celebrity portraiture and pastiche have never been relinquished by the lowbrow and remain well outside the umbrella of informed good taste. By employing this irredeemably tacky formal strategy I attempt to make paintings that are actually subversive when displayed in the fine art context. I hope these paintings set themselves apart from, or perhaps in opposition to, the popular neo-modern aesthetics that are so universally accepted as tasteful. It is my somewhat cynical observation that this trend has become a bland and ubiquitously malaise that populates galleries and furniture stores and any venue for bourgeois aesthetic consumption that one might care to think of. The shame of this being that this trend retroactively undermines the artistic potency of once radical and profoundly important art work (actual modernism) by linking it to what can be regarded as little more than tasteful wall decoration. Examples of this include but are not limited to most examples of the current brand of conceptual formalism being presented as cutting edge art these days. But enough of that rant!

With regards to style: I wanted to make paintings that are stylistically akin to caricature, however I do not want the paintings to be necessarily read as critical of their subject matter. I like the idea of operating in the artistic ghetto of celebrity caricature as it is an area almost untouched by Fine Art, so I see opportunity. I believe it is a challenging area to operate in because I have found that people are prone to be distrustful of caricature. One assumes that when the idiom is employed it must be mean spirited. I like caricature aesthetically (and i think it is very difficult to do well, I have been working on it for a while). But what makes this approach particularly interesting to me is the question of the artist’s intention: is it possible to make a flattering painting in this idiom? I am trying to. I also think that because this is the language of (lowbrow) criticism, perhaps to employ it with sincerity could mean that the picture is meant to be fair and honest. Hopefully the art in these pictures is derived from the ambiguity in the intention, they are accessible in subject matter, pretty conventional in format, hopefully they even convey that I am trying to be fair or maybe even flattering to the subject. But they are still problematic because of the caricatured style of the picture.

May 31st, 2013

Nassau County Museum of Art


Nina Chanel Abney, Justin Craun, Wendell Gladstone, Erik Parker, Tom Sanford


June 28 through October 13, 2013

AftermodernisM is an exhibition of five young contemporary artists, each presented separately in his/her own space, yet connected to one another in extraordinarily meaningful ways. The five artists in this exhibition, ages 31 to 44, represent an even larger happening of young artists that are involved in the use of very strong color as well as combining figurative and abstract elements in new and innovative ways ñ an asymmetric aesthetic in a fractured asymmetric world. There is no closure; there are disturbing visual conflicts, warped spaces, a saturation of details, jarred juxtapositions, remembrance denied, all creating an art of the unresolved.

The traditional border and picture plane is violated. The eye is forced to vibrate in a cacophony of staccato chattering over the surface. The works are something we have never experienced before. It is not derivative or second generation. They reference the past but remain fresh.  It is not predictable and has the ability to surprise in a profound universal manner.

These artists are creating work that is so complex the viewer is unable to remember the totality of the image. The internet, which some say is the single most important defining structure of our time, plays an integral part in creating this sensibility.  Some of the artists in this exhibition use combinations of three parts, or layers, that counter the binary.

We are plunged into a space that has influenced the aesthetic evolution away from Modernism.

-Hubert Neumann

Nassau County Museum of Art

Nassau County Museum of Art

March 22nd, 2013

Open Reception for the General Public
Join us Friday March 22, 2013  6pm to 10pm
131 Christie Street

Artists Include:  Paul Brainard, Kate Clark, Lori Field, Aaron Johnson, Melora Kuhn, Hayley McCulloch, Dennis McNett, Pop Mortem, Lucia Pedi, Mac Premo, Graham Preston, Christy Rupp, Julia Samuels, Tom Sanford, Sigrid Sarda and Madeline Von Foerster.
Curated by Keith Schweitzer & Jason Patrick Voegele

Open to the public from March 21st through May 1st, 2013, Republic Worldwide deconstructs and reimagines the traditional Wunderkammer. With works by over a dozen New York based contemporary artists this exhibition is guaranteed to stoke your sense of wonder and odd delight.

The Wunderkammer, or “Cabinet of Curiosities,” evokes the encyclopedic wonder and spirit of discovery that was once the glory of the European enlightenment. Historically, room sized displays of exotic oddities and artifacts were unceremoniously presented in salon style to fascinated general audiences who were hungry for natural science, culture and entertainment at the dawn of the age of reason. Often described as a turned out junk drawer of the sublime, the traditional Wunderkammer resonates with the fundamental elements of what would one day become the world of contemporary art .

“Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue” celebrates our inherent fascination with the foreign and strange through an exhibition of paintings, sculpture, drawings, mixed-media assemblage, woodblock printmaking, multimedia works and interactive participatory installation. A series of performances, artist salons and additive artwork installations are scheduled throughout the run of the exhibition.

Sponsored by Hendrick’s Gin, Fig. 19 and RIOT Development.
For more information please visit, write to or call 917. 478. 7513

March 20th, 2013
Mike Reynold's portrait of me, discovered on facebook

Mike Reynolds' portrait of me, discovered on facebook

I likely spend too much time checking my facebook. Perhaps this is because my actual social life is pretty much on hold while we child rear. Facebook allows me to check up on what I am missing. It turns out an awful lot of my facebook peers also seem to be in the same situation judging by the volume of baby pictures that are coming down my news feed. But there is also a lot of art being made, and some of it looks pretty damn good.

Earlier this year, very shortly after my second little one was born, I discovered a painting of me on facebook. Naturally I loved the painting. I immediately responded to the brilliant choice of subject matter. I also love the illusion to Otto Dix, one of my absolute all time favorite painters. Perhaps the artist knew I reference the great German expressionist frequently in my own work and secretly hope people see my grand project as an heir to Dix’s nuanced critique of the Wiemar era bourgeois? Anyway, I loved the painting.

Mike Reynolds, an LA based painter, and I are friends on facebook but have not met in actuality. It turns out that Mike has an on going project in which he paints people who come up frequently on his facebook news feed. At the end of last year I was posting a lot of drawings from my 100 Little Deaths project and I must have been cluttering up Mike’s news feed. Luckily for me I caught the facebook portraitist’s attention. I looked into Mike’s work and found we have a fair amount in common art-wise. While I spent my early 20s painting Tupac Shakur, Mike seems to have devoted his early years to Justin Bieber.  He also does other neat socially oriented projects that engage his painting community. Each week Mike takes a fellow painter out to dinner, soliciting his dates online. I loved the generosity of Mike’s work and I simply had to own his painting of me.

I contacted Mike via facebook and told him how much I love the painting. I suggested that I paint a portrait of Mike and we trade paintings. Mike dug the idea and I got to work.

February 28th, 2013
Tea Party Rally (2010-2011)

Tea Party Rally (2010-2011)

March 8 – April 26, 2013

Artists: Toru Ishii, Don Porcella, and Tom Sanford
Curated by ISE Cultural Foundation

Opening Reception: Friday, March 8, 2013, 6-8 PM
Artist Talk: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 6-8 PM

ISE Cultural Foundation is pleased to present a three-person exhibition, “Weird World” featuring Toru Ishii, Don Porcella and Tom Sanford.

Mass consumer society manipulated by global economic strategy of the corporation, quick access to news and celebrity’s scandals by social media, the world we are living in is speedy, irrational, highly provocative and weird. In this exhibition, we invite three artists who cut through the wonder of contemporary society keenly with their art, and express discernment calmly or sometimes comically.

Using the century old Japanese traditional craft technique of Yuzen Dyeing, Tokyo based artist, Toru Ishii expresses highly competitive, materialistic and stressful capitalist society of today with keen sense of humor. Influenced by Japanese masters such as Hokusai and Kuniyoshi, Ishii’s work has dynamic composition and stylized elegance, at the same time, it captures people who are unconsciously restrained as a group and controlled by the busy corporate world.

Don Porcella states; “I am constantly engaged in creating a weird world. ” By producing his charmingly colorful hand-made works from materials such as woven pipe cleaners, Porcella seeks to transform these lowbrow craft supplies into a high art context, while laughing at the human condition and presenting a unique world that is shamelessly awkward and unabashedly comical. At this exhibition Porcella emphasizes his vision of celebrating nature and human absurdity.

New York based artist, Tom Sanford has been working on “History” paintings, which describe the very moment of our time. Inspired by wide range of today’s news, from Tea Party Rally to Celebrity’s gossip, Sanford edits the sources freely and creates hilarious epics in monumental scale. With his rich knowledge of art history of history paintings, Sanford refers both Italian Renaissance masters and contemporary street art in order to produce strong pictorial images that we all could recognize easily.


December 18th, 2012

Tom Sanford
100 Little Deaths
December 31 – February 9, 2013
Opening: NEW YEARS EVE, Monday, December 31, 6 – 9pm

BravinLee Programs 526 W 26th street, #211.

Tom Sanford 2012

Departures (Last Call), in progress detail Tom Sanford 2012. oil/wood

BravinLee programs is very pleased to present 100 Little Deaths by Tom Sanford, opening New Year’s Eve, 6-9pm.

Tom Sanford set out to draw one hundred notable individuals who passed away in 2012 with the idea of “Petite Morte” in mind. Translated literally, this means “little death” but it is often used colloquially to mean orgasm. It is a beautifully romantic notion, that with each orgasm a little part of one’s self dies and is gone forever; each person held particular interest for Sanford. 100 Little Deaths will open on New Year’s Eve.

In our post-Warholian culture, we celebrate the lives of the famous with a brief ecstatic excitement, a metaphorical cultural media orgasm. We read obituaries and articles about them, post on Facebook and Twitter, listen to their songs on the radio, watch TV specials and YouTube videos about their lives and accomplishments. Inevitably, however, the excitement fades and with each of these deaths, we have lost something forever.

Sanford, was able to meditate on each individual, as he drew, remembering their unique contributions, and according to Sanford, “As the drawings of those who passed away in 2012 accumulated, I realized that to see them all together would be very powerful. Installed together I hope that my 100 Little Deaths shows the immensity of what we lose every year. The wall of drawings becomes a mausoleum for 2012.” Among the portraits represented are political figures; music legends; cultural icons of our youth such as Davy Jones and Donna Summer; noteworthy artists, Thomas Kinkade, Franz West, and Will Barnet; publishers; religious leaders; comediennes; and news worthy individuals such as Rodney King and Joe Paterno. The list goes on.

In wishing to bring levity to a very serious and somewhat somber project, Sanford embarked on his most ambitiously scaled painting, measuring 8 feet by 16 feet. Sanford states “The painting is of an airport departures cocktail lounge where each of the 100 Little Deaths are depicted gathering for a last drink before they board flights to oblivion. I executed this painting in a more cartoonish manner and is intended to be a Mad Magazine meets Jorg Immendorff style purgatory scene of the dead before they depart, finally and forever.”

To further lionize the departed, Sanford invited other artists to make small works of one of the individuals for BravinLee’s project room. The artists include: Graham Preston, Jessica Ellis, Shay Kun, Rudy Shepherd, Les Rogers, Jonathan Allen, Dan Heidkamp, Kelli Williams, Joe Heaps Nelson, Noah Becker, Eric White, Nic Rad, Daniel Davidson, Taylor McKimens, Kristen Schiele, Ryan Schneider, Aaron Johnson, Michael Hilsman, Sydney Chastain-Chapman, Michael Scoggins, Robin Willimas, Josh Jordan, Ridley Howard, Holly Coulis, Natalie Frank, Paul Brainard, Jeremy Willis, Jeff Beebe, Michael Anderson, Guy Richards Smit, Michael Bevilacqua, Francesca Neiman, Alfred Steiner, Eric Doeringer, Peter Daverington, Thomas Broadbent, Dawn Frasch, Nina Chanel Abney, Kevin Klein, Erin McNalley and Aaron Zimmerman.

Tom Sanford lives and works in New York and has exhibited internationally. He has enjoyed solo shows at Leo Koenig Gallery in New York, Galleri Farschou in Copenhagen, Galleri Poulson in Copenhagen, and Gallery Zidoun in Luxembourg, and group shows at ACME in Los Angeles and Freight and Volume in New York, among many others. He recently completed a temporary public art project that was curated by Keith Schweitzer, ArtUp, FABnyc, and installed on scaffolding on the Lower East Side in New York.

For more information please contact BravinLee programs at 212.462.4404 or email us at

November 17th, 2012

Portrait of Neil ArmstrongBravinLee Programs will present a group of drawings and one painting at SEVEN. The works are a preview of my forthcoming exhibition at the gallery. “100 Little Deaths” will open on New Year’s Eve, December 31st 2012.


December 4 – 9th, 2012
2200 NW 2nd Ave. Miami, FL 33127

Here is my painting “Portrait of Neil Armstrong” (2012) oil on wood, 24inches x 24inches.

November 17th, 2012

6150 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90048

November 17th – December 22nd

ACME. is pleased to announce “About Face,” a group exhibition of small works on paper and paintings by over thirty-five artists curated by Los Angeles art dealer Daniel Weinberg. Approximately fifty pieces will be shown throughout ACME.’s three gallery spaces.

The exhibition showcases eccentric, small-scale portraiture that distorts classic presentations of the human face and/or figure. As a group show with roots in Surrealism and German Expressionism, the exhibition reflects the influences of individual artists such as Lucas Samaras’ Polaroids and Alice Neel portraits. The effects of the current Digital Age are also expressed in several works.

Artists include Richard Artschwager, Lutz Braun, Cris Brodahl, Kristin Calabrese, Brian Calvin, Anh Duong, André Ethier, Asad Faulwell, Llyn Foulkes, Steve Gianakos, Alexander Gorlizki, Scott Grodesky, Mary Addison Hackett, EJ Hauser, Kati Heck, Jonathan Herder, Becky Kolsrud, Robert Lostutter, Ashley Macomber, Josh Mannis, Eddie Martinez, David McGee, Damien Meade, John Mills, Malcolm Morley, Ryan Mrozowski, Loren Munk, Jim Nutt, Robyn O’Neil, Ed Paschke, Joshua Petker, Jerry Phillips, Stephanie Pryor, Helen Rae, Tom Sanford, Amy Sarkisian, Allison Schulnik, James Siena, Neal Tait, Michael Tetherow, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, John Wesley, Karl Wirsum, and Tad Lauritzen Wright.

August 12th, 2012
217842_4526281959408_2058262117_nPress Release


August 16 – September 22, 2012


@ FREIGHT+VOLUME, AUG 16 – SEPT 22, 2012

Featuring: Michael Anderson, David Baskin, Chris Biddy, Ion Birch, Paul Brainard, Shiva Burgos, Richard Butler, Francesco Civetta aka DJ CASH, Andy Cross, Jules De Balincourt, Erik Den Breejen, Kent Dorn, Joel Dugan, Austin Eddy, Johnston Foster, Rebecca Goyette, Duncan Hannah, Daniel Heidkamp, David Humphrey, George Jenne / Damian Stamer, Aaron Johnson, Ezra Johnson, Misaki Kawai, Kevin Kay, David Kramer, Maria Kreyn, Hye Rim Lee, Travis Lindquist, Noah Lyon, Panni Malekzadeh, Andrea Mary Marshall, Taylor McKimens, Greg Miller, Jazz-minh Moore, Joe Heaps Nelson, Lance Rautzhan, Max Razdow, Tom Sanford, Bill Saylor, Kristen Schiele, Ryan Schneider, Andrew Smenos, Emet Sosna, Jennifer Sullivan, Ulrike Theusner, Russell Tyler, Eric White, Genevieve White, Kelli Williams and Nicole Wittenberg.

When Robert Aldrich released his seminal war film in 1967 The Dirty Dozen, starring a seasoned, tough ensemble cast including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland, John Cassavettes, Jim Brown and Telly Savalas,, he created a genre not just pertinent to film but to other art forms as well. Music, writing, dance and the visual arts also have their renegades, their outcasts and outsiders, who prevail against impossible odds to find redemption through skill, cunning, madness – and their art.

The Double Dirty Dozen (& Friends) is an exhibition about the quest for freedom of expression – sexual, intellectual, spiritual, political – and ultimately salvation through making art. While most of the participating artists are not ex-cons, in the process of curating this unruly group I felt somewhat like the character Lee Marvin plays in the film, Major Reisman, assembling his posse of ne’er-do-wells for a suicide mission, in the face of art world establishment. The subject as presented to the double dirty dozen and their friends (which quickly morphed into a group of fifty rabble-rousers) was simply, sex: as explicit, raunchy, funny, bizarre, obscure or fetishistic as possible. Hence the “ratings” disclaimer on our doors during the months of August and September: “No One Under 18 Admitted”. While the goal is not to assassinate a group of German war criminals in a French Chateau, as was the task set forth for the ex-cons-cum-soldiers in the film, the challenge to win over the hearts and libidos of summer New York gallery-goers is no less daunting.

Among the highlights are Maria Kreyn’s Double Fractal Sex, featuring a threesome in full-on auto-eroticism; Tom Sanford’s interpretation of Whitney Houston’s last bath; Jules de Balincourt’s subtle wink and nod to the Sandusky scandal in Early Childhood Development Center; Johnston Foster’s gnarly, oversize sculpture of a dirty old man, El Natural; Jennifer Sullivan’s Adult Movie video; Francesco Civetta aka CASH’s Sex Ed 101 romp; Rebecca Goyette’s tongue-in-cheek X-rated Lobsta Girl adventures; David Humphrey’s dark humor via red-headed Clown Girl; Aaron Johnson’s bizarre Turducken, depicting a nubile blond having multiple penetration with live feces, complete with stinging nettles; Greg Miller’s prurient billboard-collage male gaze; Eric White’s literal Coming of Age handjob rendition; Hye Rim Lee’s digital, iconic sex; Kelli William’s exquisite anatomical arousals; Genevieve White’s abrupt, bodacious close-ups; Daniel Heidkamp’s faux-naïf portrayal of copulation; Panni Malekzadeh’s adolescent yearnings; Paul Brainard’s graphite slant on the kinky and bizarre in The Birth of Tim Tebow; Russell Tyler’s pastiche of blow-up sexdoll commerce; Taylor McKimen’s signature take on the crude and the lewd; Noah Lyons’ comic book relief; Erik den Breejen’s raunchy rock lyric canvas; David Baskin’s ironic cast rubber, dildo-shaped cosmetic bottles; Ulrike Theusner’s mannerist 19th century naughty musings and a multitude of other contributions by familiar faces and surprise guests.

I hope the viewer has as much fun delving into and experiencing this show firsthand, as I had putting it together. And that the few survivors – if any – come home triumphant, or at least find some sort of redemption.

Please join us for a rollicking celebration of The Double Dirty Dozen (& Friends) on August 16th from 6-9 pm. For more information please contact Nick Lawrence @ 212-691-7700, or

June 26th, 2012

June 6th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Contact: Tamara Greenfield at or call (212) 228-4670


Saints of the Lower East Side

June 5, 2012 – September 5, 2012

Works by Tom Sanford Curated by Keith Schweitzer & Presented by FABnyc Exhibition Location ArtUp Scaffolding Bridge, 70 East 4th Street Cultural Center Between Bowery and 2nd Avenue Artist Reception Tuesday, June 26 / 6:00-8:00PM @ FAB Café, 75 East 4th Street

The Saints of the Lower East Side by Tom Sanford

The Saints of the Lower East Side by Tom Sanford

NEW YORK – Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) presents “Saints of the Lower East Side” by artist Tom Sanford, the latest in a series of exhibitions produced through FABnyc’s ArtUp public art program. The outdoor exhibition features seven painted portraits mounted 14 feet above street level on a scaffolding bridge at the 70 East 4th Street Cultural Center. ArtUp is generously supported by the 70 East 4th Street Cultural Center, future home of Downtown Art and Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company. Project management services for this exhibition have been provided by Republic Worldwide.

This exhibition is Tom Sanford’s first outdoor public art project. The array of large gilded paintings are intended as an homage to the cultural icons who lived and worked on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In the artist words, “These seven artists, along with many hundreds more, made the Lower East Side the crucible of the American avant-garde and a neighborhood that captivates my imagination as a New York artist.”

Tom Sanford is a Harlem-based artist whose work has been exhibited all around the world. His paintings, which range from historical works depicting celebrity assassinations to portraits of cultural icons such gangsta rappers and Mao Zedong to elaborate cosmologies weaved together from Hollywood movies, reflect a deep ambivalence about the American cultural condition. He is currently preparing for an exhibition of drawings that will open this New Years Eve at BravinLee Programs in the Chelsea district of New York City.

A reception for the artist will be held on June 26th, 2012 at 6pm at FAB Café. An indoor installation of artwork by Graham Preston, who worked closely with Sanford on the scaffolding bridge exhibition, will be presented inside of FAB Café during the reception. Both exhibitions will remain on view through September 5th, 2012. The indoor exhibition, entitled “Our Ladies of Grandeur”, consists of a series of paintings honoring the exploits, undertakings and legends of lost cultural heroines from the historical Five Points.

This exhibit is the latest in a series of temporary art installations in atypical locations in the Lower East Side through FABnyc’s ArtUp program, which is produced in collaboration with MaNY Project and directed by Keith Schweitzer. Through ArtUp, FABnyc seeks to reinvigorate underutilized spaces through public art and community partnerships. The exhibit is funded, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

FABnyc was founded in 2001 as the nonprofit leadership organization for the East 4th Street Cultural District, a historic and vibrant arts corridor in Manhattan between 2nd Avenue and Bowery. Now a neighborhood-wide coalition of arts and community groups, FABnyc drives community and economic development, while also preserving the Lower East Side’s rich heritage and creative energy.

MaNY Project produces outdoor murals and public art exhibitions to enhance NYC’s visual landscape through community engaging work.

June 5th, 2012

IMG_0138For the past three weeks Graham Preston and I have been working like mad in my studio to complete my first ever out door public art project (youthful illegality not included).

I will write more about the project in a later post, but in brief I made large gilded icon paintings of a few of the cultural icons who lived and worked on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. These seven artists, along with many hundreds more, made the Lower East Side the crucible of the American avant-garde and a neighborhood that captivates my imagination as a New York artist.

I chose to pay homage to Martin Wong, Joey Ramone, Miguel Piñero, Ellen Stewart, Charlie Parker, Arthur Fellig and Allen Ginsberg. Of course I could have come up with hundreds of other equally influential and prominent figures who have haunted the streets of the LES, but these are my seven.

The Saints of the Lower East Side is installed between the Ellen Stewart Theater and the offices of La Mama etc. on East 4th Street (between Bowery & 2nd Ave). It will be there until September 5th or so, so please stop by and pay your respect to some of the saints of our American cultural heritage. While you are there please feel free to ping me, it always feels good to know that friends are communing with my saints.

The Saints of the Lower East Side

In the meantime I will be trying to find a more permanent resting place for the saints, hopefully in a public or semi-public place on the Lower East Side, so if you have any ideas feel free to pass them along.

Below are a few photos from yesterday’s installation of the piece. Many thanks to Keith Schweitzer and Jason Patrick Voegele for all of there help yesterday with the install and again to Keith and everyone at Fourth Arts Block for helping out with this, and a million thank yous to the great Graham Preston for his collaboration and help actually making these paintings. Also thanks to Carlo McCormick for providing the inspiration and Aaron Zimmerman and everyone at PPOW for help with great photos of Martin & Miguel. Cheers!

April 12th, 2012

Artist Talk with Tom Sanford

Presented by the Paul Robeson Galleries

In conjunction with the exhibition,

“The Wicked Twins: Fame & Notoriety”

Mao Lucha Libre

Tom Sanford, Custom Mao Zedong (Lucha Libre), 2011, oil on canvas, 36”x24”, courtesy of the artist

Wednesday, April 18, 1030am-1130am

Main Gallery, Robeson Campus Center, First Floor

350 Martin Luther King Blvd, Newark, NJ 07102


The United States has been described as having a fame hungry culture, which has been fuelled in recent years by the plethora of communication devices, social networking sites which facilitate the dispersal of information in real time, and a slew of reality programming on both television and the internet.  This exhibition focuses on the work of artists who address ideas about fame and infamy, celebrity culture, current idols, imitation of celebrities, and attempts to secure at least 15 minutes in the spotlight.

New York artist Tom Sanford’s work features irreverent/reverent takes on almost everything, from Tupac to Jesus to Sanford himself.  He has done solo exhibitions  in New York at Leo Koenig Inc as well as galleries in Copenhagen, Beijing, and Brussels, Sanford exhibits internationally and has been reviewed in publications such as artnet, Artinfo, The New York Times, The Barcelona Guide, Japan Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Whitehot Magazine.  Sanford received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Hunter College, CUNY.

April 9th, 2012

It’s Hard To Leave When You Can’t Find The Door

a group show organized by Tom Sanford and Ryan Schneider and featuring…

Nina Chanel Abney, Justin Craun, Rene Holm, Tom Sanford, Gretchen Scherer, Ryan Schneider

LaMontagne Gallery, 555 E. 2nd Street / South Boston, Ma 02127

On view: April 14th – May 19th, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 14th, 6 – 8pm


“I go to parties sometimes until four,
It’s hard to leave when you can’t find the door”

The lyric congers up a familiar scenario. Well, familiar to us at least. Long nights, numb on intoxicants, loitering near the beer stocked refrigerator at a house party, the beer stocked garbage can at an art opening, or in the darkest corner of a beer soaked bar. Talking about painting in a way that others argue about sports. Gossiping about other artists, luxuriating in the folly of the late hour, delaying the inevitable cold realization that if you want to get to the studio at a decent time tomorrow, you should be making your exit soon. But for some reason, the door cannot be found, anywhere. Well, fuck it. You sit back down with your friends, order another pitcher, make one more veiled trip to the bathroom, add one more comment to the now indecipherable discussion. Hey, the studio will be a little rough tomorrow, but you will be there. You’ll be there because, what else are you going to do? Where else would you actually go? There is always so much to get done, no matter how tragic you feel.

We asked a group of painters whose work we respect and admire to join us for this exhibition. These are artists with whom we have spent or would like to spend a long night. We told the artists the title of the show, and asked them to paint us a picture or two. This is the result. Painting as disjointed and harmonious as a sunrise ride home in a blurred taxi. Late nights, becoming mornings, becoming another day, becoming another night, becoming fodder for another painting. Then we hang them on a wall, and that’s that.

I mean, if you do actually find the door, you never know what you’re going to miss, so why even look?

Ryan and Tom, April 2012

February 12th, 2012


521 West 21st Street, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10011

Nina Chanel Abney, Michael Bevilacqua, Iona Rozeal Brown, Benjamin Edwards, Asad Faulwell, Wendell Gladstone, JP Munro, Justin Samson, Tom Sanford and Christian Schumann

February 23 – March 24, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 23, 6 – 8 pm

Disorder Show CardFor Immediate Release

The Kravets/Wehby Gallery is pleased to announce the group exhibition Disorder, including new work by Nina Chanel Abney, Michael Bevilacqua, Iona Brown, Benjamin Edwards, Asad Faulwell, Wendell Gladstone, JP Munro, Justin Samson, Tom Sanford and Christian Schumann, opening on Thursday, February 23 and running through March 24, 2012.

Surrounded by an excess of visual stimulation it often becomes difficult to focus. When faced with such an abundance of spectacular color and energy, one can do nothing more then succumb to the sensory overload. Finding ourselves in the presence of an abundance of exciting things, we could not help ourselves and slowly the collection of visible disorder emerged. Nina Chanel Abney’s mix of portraiture and narrative painting deals with controversial issues by inserting characters based on real people into imaginative worlds. Luminous silver works, painted with metallic lacquer byMichael Bevilacqua are musically influenced and adorned with lyrical text. The geisha subject matter in the work of Iona Rozeal Brown also touches on global influence of African American culture, illustrated by bold shape and imagery. The fractured landscapes created by Benjamin Edwards are visionary. Frenzied clusters of color shift into a woman’s face emerging from a dense cityscape. The seductive quality is mirrored in the work of Asad Faulwell, whose historically based portraits are saturated with bold color and mesmerizing detail. Wendell Gladstone’s quiet portrait weaves together the elements of the piece in a beautiful and focused way while the epic battle in a painting by JP Munro embodies opulence and elegant ritual. Justin Samson continues his exploration with fake fur, vibrant color and universal communication, blurring the lines between time and space. Tom Sanfordacknowledges a passing in time with a serene homage to Steve Jobs, speaking on his ambivalence about American culture. The dense visual flow in the work of Christian Schumann merges organic elements with technological forms. With no restraint from the artists, the calculated chaos is guaranteed to send the mind spinning with creative stimulation.

For further information please call the gallery at (212) 352-2238 or

February 7th, 2012



195 Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10002

Alben, Daniel Arango, Ghost of a Dream, Ted Noten, Rachel Bee Porter, Tom Sanford, Shelter Serra and Marie Vic

Featuring a pop-up shop exhibition by photographer Jesper Haynes

February 10 – March 16, 2012

Opening Reception February 10, 6 – 8 pm

Come and Get It! encompasses our inherent fascination with consumer goods. While the artist’s reference to popular culture is certainly not a new endeavor, the boundary between art and commerce has become increasingly faint. Come and Get It! exhibits the work of eight contemporary artists, each of whom explores the intersection between popular culture, consumerism and art. Inspired by bold and overt advertisements scattered throughout Manhattan, the title of this show further exaggerates on the sales tactics used to seduce us into making an impulsive purchase. For the duration of this five-week exhibition, Hendershot Gallery will redesign its gallery space – creating an ironic juxtaposition between the contemporary art world and the retail experience.

Highlighting this reciprocal dialogue between art and commerce, Hendershot Gallery has partnered up with local businesses, artists, and designers to contribute their products for this exhibition. Books, t-shirts and photographs will be available in Jesper Haynes’ pop-up gallery shop, revealing twenty years of iconic New York City memories captured from 1986 to 2006. Parked outside Hendershot Gallery during the opening reception, ICU’s mobile art truck invites visitors to climb aboard and take pictures. Initially appearing only as a pitch-black void, designs materialize within the vehicle through the use of flash photography.

The opening reception for Come and Get It! will be sponsored by our friends at BOMB Beer Company and The Little Cupcake Bakeshop.

January 11th, 2012


MIE: Portraits

Jan 21th~Feb 25th, 2012.
Co-curated by Mie Iwatsuki and Nick Lawrence.


530 W. 24th St.
New York, NY

Long a muse and subject of many contemporary masters in the art world, curator/model Mie Iwatsuki joins forces with gallerist/curator/artist Nick Lawrence, of Freight+Volume, to create a very special, intimate portrait show, aptly titled MIE: A Portrait By 35 Artists. Drawing on the ancient tradition of portraiture, but bringing the medium into a contemporary discourse, this show of multiple interpretations of one subject—MIE—promises to be rich and provocative in its variety, insightful and illuminating in its focus. MIE features 35 contemporary prominent and emerging artists, working in every medium—painting, drawing, video, sculpture and performance—who have achieved a unique voice in the realm of portraiture.

The contemporary discourse on the portrait is one of the most challenging to clarify because of its wide use and traditional importance throughout art history. For thousands of years we have sought to unveil the human condition by producing portraits of individuals which transcend particular moments of time, culture, and social circumstances. Idiosyncratic Greek and Roman portrait busts, masterpieces like the all-encompassing Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, Caravaggio’s stunning David, the haunting Las Meninas by Velásquez, Holbein’s quirky The AmbassadorsMadam X’s mysterious visage by Sargent, Andy Warhol, the psychological study by Alice Neel, and microscopically-detailedBenefits Supervisor Sleeping by Lucien Freud are just a few examples of portraits that have weathered the ages and whose stories are still analyzed today.

As a medium, the portrait has always been a revelation—both a dissection of its subject as well as an abstraction. We are not just looking into the soul of another person as much as looking into our own souls when we view a portrait: indeed, the art form is similar to a mirror. The moment in time in the life of one person is not only frozen by the artist and his or her subject, but also by the viewer when engaged by the work of art in front of them. When we encounter such great works either in gallery, museum or private settings, we become a part of the painting; a triangular relationship is created between the subject, the artist, and the viewer.

The subject recorded in a portrait does not speak directly to the viewer, but its voice emanates through the filter of theregional, social, and cultural circumstances in which the portrait is created. It is further shaped by the technique of theartist and the unique interaction that takes place between the artist and the model throughout the painting process; this can include things as subtle as the time of day that the model sits, or the banter between them for the hours of company they keep. We don’t see the subject of a portrait as just another person; we encounter ourselves, reflected back, as we construct a relationship with the subject and the artist who recorded him or her.

Considering the complex conditions that surround the creation of a portrait, what could we learn if we add the third voice of the model as a sort of mediator between the artist and viewer? The model has an advantageous position to observethe artist’s creative process. By describing the conditions of the work’s creation, the model can enrich the viewer’s experience by giving them access to the artist and steering their interpretations more closely towards the artist’s intentions.

Model and curator, Mie Iwatsuki has also written on the entire range of her experience, “Model’s Voice” as the subject for each of the artists’ works. Her objective has been to work as closely as possible with the artist in the creation of each piece. She has made herself available to the artists for as long as necessary and has interpreted the personal stories and processes behind the works in order to share their experience and intentions as much as possible. Her observations, anecdotes, and criticisms will add a third dimension to the exhibition in lieu of the traditional gaze between artist and viewer. Her text will also be included in the catalogue, in addition to essays by John Yau, Peter Frank, Anthony Haden-Guest and Nick Lawrence.

A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition and catalogue sales will benefit the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

A full-color softcover catalog will be released simultaneously with the exhibition, on sale to the public for $25.

Please join us for a gala artists’ reception on Saturday, January 21st from 6-8pm.
For further information please contact Nick Lawrence at 212-691-7700, or

January 7th, 2012


December 28th, 2011


Drawn to You
‘Works on Paper from New York’

Michael Anderson Michael Bevilacqua Daniel Davidson Aaron Johnson Mi Ju Erik Parker William Powhida Tom Sanford Alfred Steiner Jade Townsend Eric White

Vernissage Friday January 13th, 2012 from 5 – 8 pm
The exhibition runs until February 18, 2012

Gallery Poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts
Flæsketorvet 24, Den hvide Kødby
1711 København V.
Tlf. +45 4015 5588 // +45 3333 9396

December 25th, 2011



december 29th, 2011 – february 4th, 2012

Aaron Johnson, Assi Meshullam, Lisa Sanditz, Ryan Schneider, Shay Kun, Tai Shani, Tom Sanford.

As in a fantasy or dream, the gallery space contains the past, present and future commingling in a superfluity of familiar images, images drawn from the collective subconscious, the two-dimensional and three-dimensional compounded within sound and silence

The exhibition “Good Intentions” deals both with topics familiar to the updated viewer, as well as the critique of them. In their works the painters try to point to social-economic-political developments in Western culture. For example, the works of Lisa Sanditz, Tom Sanford and Shay Kun can be seen as dealing with the complexity of the relationship between the U.S. and China. Sanford takes the images of Mao and responds, turning Mao into a zombie, a popular culture icon or a man dressed in S&M attire. In her previous works, Sanditz dealt with the topographical changes in the landscapes of China and the U.S. as a result of the mass production of consumer products, thus raising the question of dependency between the two superpowers’ economies. One of her paintings in this exhibition shows SpongeBob SquarePants, the hero of a children’s animated television series identified with American culture though its brand-name merchandise is actually manufactured in China. SpongeBob is depicted wearing a Santa Claus hat, his body lying in a children’s pool in an American town abandoned after the last economic crisis. This sad end transports SpongeBob, like a yellow Ophelia, to the heights of Shakespearian tragedy.

Kun depicts ancient caves in strong pop colors inside these caves hot water balloons are forever trapped. The caves are a popular touristic hotspot for the American tourist crowd in China. Inside stalactite caves Kun creates a contrast that foreshadows a bad omen.

The work of Aaron Johnson reflects the deterioration of American culture. Johnson turns Jesus into an object that looks like half a turkey served for dinner on Thanksgiving Eve. The holiday rewrites American history, denying the murder of the indigenous inhabitants and creating the myth of an emergence of a pioneer and pluralist nation.

The works of Tai Shani and Ryan Schneider betray the contemporary generation of artists’ attitude vis-à-vis the feelings of alienation and loss of identity in their era. Shani tells the story of an actress who loses her identity, turning into an empty incubus of the character she plays. Schneider depicts modern man being swallowed by American consumer culture and banal male chauvinism.

Likewise, formalistic issues are addressed by the paintings in the exhibition, e.g., the return to a Pop-Trash style of painting and garish coloration are grasped as an attempt to endlessly recreate a moment that has passed, a moment that contains within it a glorification of consumer culture’s beauty and colorfulness with all of its tempting, addictive advertisements and billboards, and of its emptiness as well.

The themes emerging from these works represent an attempt by the artists to expose, dig up, point out and intelligently observe the contemporary state of culture. Opposite them, like onlookers, stand the statues by Assi Meshullam; like worldly-wise creatures, like ghosts of the past come to mend the ills of the future. They are equipped with litters and bandages, but it is unclear whether in order to heal or in order to kill. As such who have already experienced the fall of mighty empires, they are present at the exhibition and, looking back, can truly attest: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

So where do girls who don’t dream go to when they are asleep? She asked.” And I’m asking: what happens when reason sleeps? Thus are monsters born. As in a nightmare, among the exhibitions works crop up grotesque hybrids, partly recognizable and partly invented (half-Mao, half-Jesus, half-SpongeBob, half-woman, half-zombie), that bear witness to the disruption of the ideologies that began with such good intentions.

Ofra Harnam

November 4th, 2011

TS Tea Party Rally 2010 300_2
Galerie Nordine Zidoun,
rue Adolphe Fischer
L-1520 Luxembourg (LU)
Tel. +352 26 29 64 49
11 Nov 2011 – 31 Dec 2011
Opening Thursday 10th Nov 2011,  6 to 9 pm

Erna Hecey is pleased to announce New-York based American artist Tom Sanford’s exhibition CLASH at Galerie Nordine Zidoun in Luxembourg. While Tom Sanford’s work has been frequently presented in the USA and in Europe since the early 2000’s it is his first exhibition in Luxembourg.

Among the most mischievous of image makers working today, Tom Sanford wields the visual acuity of pictorial veracity to cut through mediated distance, laying bare ugly truths with satiric incision that lets us laugh just enough to disguise the more visceral flinch in our gut reaction. His terms of exaggeration, whereby caricature is a nearly sincere form of flattery, are emotional and epistemological- not so much an abnegation of truth as an investigation into what any truth might actually mean. That he does so in a common language and through events, figures and signs we all readily recognize, dispels the clutter of commentary so that clarity itself may guide us ever more deeply into the utter confusion by which we experience the hyper reality of events and existence itself. Rare in the art world today, his art actually makes sense, but it is that very rationality that gives room for the inane absurdity of his subjects to manifest their own irrationality.

Among Sanford’s favorite tropes by which he consistently frames the contemporary to a wider skeptical scrutiny is the academic genre of History Painting. Hierarchically considered above all other genres as the aesthetic epitome of fine art since its inception in the Italian Renaissance and until Modernism rendered such terms obsolete four centuries later, History Painting is the ideal medium for Tom Sanford’s uncanny confluence of signification and meaninglessness. Trivia, be it sports statistics, public opinion polls or nasty gossip, is only important in so far as we obsess over it, and fascinated as many of are by these things, Sanford takes this mass mania into the realm of personal fetish and public spectacle. By historicizing current affairs and giving the historical patina of grand import to contemporary figures- in this show the savaging of artist Shepard Fairey by leftist squatters in Copenhagen, a fatal stampede of sale hungry shoppers at a discount store amidst the economic crash of America, and the rise of the angry white voter in an early Tea Party rally, but in the past he’s given similar treatment to the killing of metal star Dimebag Darrell, a brawl at a music awards ceremony and populated his paintings with personages like Kate Moss, L’il Kim, 50 Cent and Tupac Shakur- Tom Sanford manifests the myopia by which we focus on the incidental while ignoring the larger issues and underlying forces that direct these events, as well as our delirious dedication to them.

Working inversely but to very much the same effect as his latest body of work included here, cheaply commissioned paintings of Mao from China the artist reworks to generic impersonations of identity, Sanford’s historical paintings invest petty behavior with heroic import and transform the quotidian into epic allegory. History Painting, from the Latin historia, or literally ‘story-painting,’ offers Tom Sanford the ultimate vehicle for getting across the imperatives of narrative by which the stories he tells dissimilate the modified and manipulative hybridity of news in the age of infotainment. His re-creation of events belong to the hyperbole of docudrama reenactments yet are rendered with an attention to detail and visual verisimilitude that could well place them in the journalistic documentary tradition of witness photography. Like Mao, the iconographic is both absolute and infinitely malleable, a truth posited in the telling and given certainty only as it is agreed upon.

At once prurient and voyeuristic, the pathos and absurdity by which this artist delineates the mutant persona of fame and notoriety in our society brings to mind the hysteria by which urban myth and conspiracy theory constitute a new kind of alternative reality today. As such they hearken back to the mythological and religious subject matter that was the original province of historical paintings, but it is not even the subject that matters so much here. Declamatory and authoritative, these are not just incidental paintings; they are History Paintings, a ‘you are there’ fabrication where actuality is made epic and grandly monumental in style and scale. We like it all larger than life, these paintings remind us, precisely because as such they are not life. And it is hard to think of an artist working today who paints fiction’s great impersonation with the deftness of our consensual deception than Tom Sanford.

Carlo McCormick,
NYC October 2011

Tom Sanford born in 1975 in Bronxville, NY  studied at   Columbia University, NYC
and Hunter College City University New-York. Tom Sanford lives and works in New York.
His work has been exhibited  since the early 2000’s at   Leo Koenig Inc., New York,  (2006 and 2008)
at Erna Hecey Project space in Brussels, as well as at ArtBrussels and Fiac 2009, at  gallery  Faurchou (2005/2009) and gallery Poulsen (2011) in  Copenhagen,  Wetern Projects, Los Angeles (2004) and   at Tomoyo Saito Gallery, Tokyo (2003)  Sanford ‘s work was included in Big Picture, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, NY.  (2010) Leisure Suite (curated by Martin Basher), Neiman Center Columbia University, New York, (2008)  No New Tale To Tell….,31 GRAND, Brooklyn, NY (2007) The Incomplete (curated by Hubert Neumann), Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY (2007) Heroes…Like us?, Palazzo delle Arti, Napoli, Italy (2007) Dangerous Beauty, Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY (2007) Leaving Cockaigne, Leo Koenig Inc., NYC (2006)

For further information please contacte Anne Solene Groppe t. + 352 26 29 or visit and

Galerie Nordine Zidoun
101 rue Adolphe Fischer
L-1250 Luxembourg
t. +352 26 29 64 49
f. +352 27 48 94 49

October 20th, 2011

29 October – 3 December 2011

From Where You Just Arrived | paintings from New York & Los Angeles

organized by Ryan Schneider & Jonas Wood


Pepin Moore | 933 Chung King Road |Los Angeles California 90012 | +1 213 626 0501

+ featuring work by +

Jennifer Guidi, Raffi Kalenderian, Joshua Nathanson, Ruby Neri, Laura Owens, Devin Troy Strother, Henry Taylor, Rob Thom, Jonas Wood, Benjamin Degen, Van Hanos, Valerie Hegarty, Ezra Johnson, Eddie Martinez, Jeanette Mundt, Tom Sanford, Ryan Schneider, and Ken Tisa

October 1st, 2011

dlyrmi-poster copy 3
Die Like You Really Mean It:
Curated by Paul Brainard and Frank Webster
October 26 – December 03, 2011
Opening reception: October 26, 6-9PM

Allegra LaViola Gallery

179 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002
T: 917 463 3901

Featuring the work of:
Erik Benson, Paul Brainard, Pia Dehne, Hiroyuki Hamada, Elizabeth Huey, Erika Keck, Emily Noelle Lambert, Frank Lentini, Eddie Martinez, Brian Montouri, Bryan Osburn, Kanishka Raja, Erika Ranee, Tom Sanford, Christopher Saunders, Kristen Schiele, Ryan Schneider, Oliver Warden, Frank Webster, Eric White and Doug Young

Allegra La Viola Gallery is pleased to present Die Like You Really Mean It, a group exhibition on view from October 26 – December 7. The exhibition is curated by artists Paul Brainard and Frank Webster and features new paintings and sculpture by over twenty artists living in the New York metro area.

The curators have assembled an energetic and dynamic show, where each work registers as a highly charged expression of the individual artist. Brainard and Webster have maintained a special interest in choosing works that register not as intentionally ironic but rather as sincerely and at times viscerally rendered. This exhibition celebrates painting as a healthy, living, and variegated mode of art making in New York.

The works included in this exhibition are often resistant to purely formalist and conceptual concerns, engaging themes that extend beyond the material media of painting. Figurative and scenic elements may invite narrative readings while color is used forcefully, liberally, or selectively. The expressive qualities of color among the works range widely from Oliver Warden’s transformative explosions of color, to Hiroyuki Hamada’s restrained, bi-chromatic capsule-like wall reliefs. Also of concern among the works is the relationship between the human being and its environment, exemplified by Erik Benson and Kristen Schiele’s depictions of inhabited indoor and outdoor settings, Pia Dehne’s complex compositions in which figure and ground are enmeshed through lyrical patterns of line and geometry, and Kanishka Raja’s use of pattern to unite various specific locations depicted in the same visual space.

Atypically, this show exalts in its contrasts. The works of Chris Saunders and Brian Montouri could best sum this up. Saunder’s paintings are slick and calm on the surface but belie an unsettling and subversive content, while Montouri’s vision is a veritable disgorgement of expressionist storm and bluster. Each artist pushes the medium with equal passion, but in radically different directions, with starkly different results. This passion however is one thing all of the artists in Die Like You Really Mean It share in common.

—Paul Brainard, Kristen Lorello and Frank Webster

August 16th, 2011

#WINNING (Charlie Scheen & Capri Anderson)

Gallery Poulsen

Flæsketorvet 24, Kødbyen
1711 Copenhagen V

Vernissage September 2nd from 5 – 8 pm
The show runs until October 1st, 2011

“2011 is fast, painting is slow. I am interested in history, but I work
in a post-historical period. I make paintings about the time I live
in. By the time I finish the paintings, their subjects are history. I
am an American, living at the end of the American Century. Things are
happening all the time. I learn about these things on the radio, on
television, on the internet, on Twitter. The media is my muse, I paint
by the light of my computer. I make paintings about the things that
interest me. I wish I had time to paint more things, but art is slow
and the world is fast.” – Tom Sanford

For his first solo exhibition at Gallery Poulsen, Tom Sanford’s work
continues to reflect the artist’s ambivalent fascination with a
culture that is driven by the 24-hour news cycle, hungry for scandal
and obsessed with celebrity. Sanford’s paintings use a variety of
genres to present the villains and victims, the tragedies and triumphs
of the moment. The story of the hijacked Mersk Alabama and the rescue
of Captain Richard Phillips by the USS Bainbridge is presented as a
history painting akin to Géricault’s “Raft of the Medusa”. The recently
deceased British rock bad girl, Amy Winehouse, is painted as an icon
to be venerated by her fans. The seamy exploits of anti-heros Charlie
Sheen and Silvio Berlusconi are painted in a garish, yet beautiful
tableaux; these paintings are part renaissance painting, part low brow
political cartoon. Sanford’s work is hybridized and bastardized like
the culture it emerges from.

In the four Custom Mao paintings, Sanford shifts genres to the
conceptual. Sanford takes advantage of globalization in his production
by outsourcing a large part of the labor to China, and then adding the
intellectual property himself in America. The artist has commissioned
Chinese painters to paint copies of the famous state portrait of Mao
Zedong, on which Warhol based his 1973 silk screen paintings of Mao.
The paintings are then shipped to Sanford’s New York studio, where he
“customizes” them by altering the paintings to become cultural
archetypes from his western cultural milieu. Through this conceptually
driven means of art production, as well as the juxtaposition of
eastern and western cultural iconography, the artist comments on the
shifting dynamics of global cultural and economic power at the end of
the American century.

Tom Sanford works in New York City and has exhibited all over the
world, including solo exhibitions at Leo Koenig, Inc. in New York and
Galleri Faurschou in Copenhagen. His work has been exhibited at the
Cincinnati Center for Contemporary Art, the Chelsea Museum in New York
City and the Palazzo delle Arti in Naples, Italy. He is currently
preparing for an exhibition in November at Gallery Zidoun in

July 22nd, 2011


About three weeks ago I received a late night phone call from Powhida. Some of you may know Powhida as the quasi-fictional alter-ego of William Powhida, I know Powhida as what replaces William after about 3 hours at Iona, the bar across the street from his Williamsburg studio.

Powhida didn’t seem to be where I normally find him, at Iona, but instead somewhere in the Hamptons. Actually he didn’t seem to be quite sure where he was. He had been on some collectors boat for “a very tedious party”. In an effort to spice up the evening, he had drunk this, snorted that, puked on this Dutchess, spat in the face of that media mogul. It was hard to get the details straight, as Powhida was, as nautical types might say, “three sheets to the wind”.

But Powhida didn’t call to name drop and try to make me jealous of his glamorously debauched evening, which is normally why he would call. He called to cash in a favor that he claimed I owed him. It seemed the Powhida had scheduled an exhibition at Marlborough gallery’s Chelsea space that was to open on the 27th of the month. He told me that he would be able to attend the opening, but there was “no fucking way he was going to spend a minute in his un-air conditioned studio in fucking hot-ass-Brooklyn July”, and besides he had altogether too many pressing social engagements between Venice and the Hamptons for this to be possible. I was able to understand only a portion of Powhida’s drunken ranting but it seemed he had yet to make any actual art work for the show. All he really needed was a painting of him, as that he explained, was all that anyone was interested in buying these days. Besides he figured I probably didn’t have too much going on (I have two solo shows in the fall of 2011), and this  would likely be the biggest opportunity I could expect to get anytime in the near future.

I told him to fuck himself and hung up and went back to bed.

The next day I received a series of calls from the suits at Marlborough who confirmed this problem, and offer to make this “worth my while”, and I really needed to start immediately. Later that day a canvas arrived in a truck, and 3 weeks later, here we are. I have the dubious honor of being Powhida’s ghost painter, having produced at least a portion of the work for his solo show that opens July 27th at Marlborough Chelsea, I really have no idea what he’ll use my painting for, in truth I shudder to think. This is not something I am altogether proud of, but I thought It best to get in front of this one and set the record straight…

Below is the press release

The directors of Marlborough Chelsea are pleased to announce POWHIDA, a site-specific project by the eponymous artist, will open Wednesday, July 27th, with a reception from 6-8pm. The exhibition will be on view through August 12th at 545 West 25th Street. Utilizing the entire ground floor gallery, POWHIDA is the artist’s most ambitious installation to date.

In keeping with his oeuvre, Powhida has taken his relationship with the art world as the very subject of the exhibition, employing numerous historical departure points and creating a vast conceptual spectrum reflected in the diversity of the artist’s approaches to making art.

The artist states: “The gallery is a world unto itself, a social space with a highly codified set of relationships having the formal beauty of a ballet.  I will transform it, literally, choreographing each movement, each gesture with every interaction. No two viewers will have a similar experience in the gallery if I can help it.  They may never see an art gallery the same way again.”

POWHIDA is generously supported by Flavorpill, The Mondrian Soho and Pernod-Absinthe.  Please see our website for more details and download the full press release.

For press inquiries, please contact Eric Gleason at
Copyright © 2011 Marlborough Chelsea, All rights reserved.
545 West 25th Street, New York, 10001

July 22nd, 2011


My Custom Zombie Mao Zedong decks are now available at i-20. The show MAKE SKATEBOARDS opened yesterday and there was an incredible turnout in un-imaginable heat. The show looks great and all of the skateboards, editions as well as unique decks are really amazing.

If you dig my deck and want one, i-20 gallery selling the first 25 for the low low price of $95. I understand that after the first 25 the price will raise. i am not sure of the size of the edition but the people at the gallery would know. I know they sold a bunch at the opening, but they might still have a couple cheap ones before they go up in price.

to get one either visit the gallery or email jonathan at

Below is Alfred Steiner’s copy of the deck. It is good to see that my man put the appropriate red wheels on for the father of Red China!


July 13th, 2011

MAKE_websiteScott Ogden and Jonathan Lavoie asked me to be in this skateboard show and were able to help me produce a TOM SANFORD SKATEBOARD DECK. Needless to say, I am thrilled to be involved, not only because i spent a bit of time skateboarding (poorly) as a youth, but also because this allowed me to make my first piece of true art merch. The very cool thing about this is that the merchandise (the deck) will be shown before the painting ever is, which will be shown this fall. Really putting the cart before the horse for the sake of commerce. I am totally stoked! Details to follow on the price and size of the edition.


DATES:    JULY 21 – SEPTEMBER 17, 2011


templateI-20 Gallery is pleased to announce MAKE SKATEBOARDS, a group exhibition and pop-up skate shop conceived as a throwback to the days when art took precedence over branding and a welcoming vibe met you at the door. The show will be a playful take on running a skateboard shop, transforming I-20 into a functional retail space offering a custom line of artist-designed skateboards, skate-related ephemera and accessories, original artwork, vintage objects, custom furniture and clothing by up-and-coming New York designers.

A true working skate shop, MAKE SKATEBOARDS will offer decks that are fully skate-able yet designed to an artistic standard. Two types of boards will be available: affordable, limited-edition silk-screened skateboards; and one-of-a-kind decks altered and embellished by hand, including several conceptual takes on the idea of skateboarding itself.

While contemporary art, skateboarding and other forms of street culture are at the forefront of current popular tastes, these worlds remain surprisingly inaccessible to much of the public. The creative interaction and welcoming feel of MAKE SKATEBOARDS will attempt to bridge this divide from a convenient location in the heart of the Chelsea art district, just a few short blocks from the Pier 62 Skate Park.

MAKE SKATEBOARDS’ inventory will change and grow throughout its two-month run, offering ever-changing aesthetics and variety to art patrons and skaters alike. Some of the pieces exhibited will result from collaborations with community groups such as the Brooklyn-based League Education & Treatment Center’s L.A.N.D. Gallery, a creative-outreach program for artists with disabilities. The shop will also join forces with KCDC, one of New York’s most established and respected skate shops.

*above image is of my ZOMBIE MAO ZEDONG deck

A string of weekly parties will celebrate new shop arrivals, book signings, album launches, and secret band nights. While most galleries close their doors for much of August, the MAKE Skateboards shop will stay open, serving as a refuge from the hot summer weather.

MAKE SKATEBOARDS was conceived by artist and filmmaker Scott Ogden and organized in conjunction with Jonathan Lavoie, Director of I-20 Gallery. This summer’s event will be the first of many pop-up incarnations of the shop.

For more information or visuals, please contact:  HYPERLINK “” or call (212) 645-1100.

Michael Alan, Michael Anderson, Hawkins Bolden, Slater Bradley, Carlton DeWoody, Chris Dorland, David Ellis, Orly Genger, Debra Hampton, Drew Heitzler, Horse Cycles, Grant Huang, Junk Prints, Jacob Kassay, Marina Kappos, KCDC, Sarah Kurz, Curtis Kulig, Wes Lang, L.A.N.D., Robert Lazzarini, Cameron Martin, Moris (Israel Meza Moreno), Scott Ogden, Olek, Erik Parker, Parts + Labor Workshop, Joyce Pensato, Portia & Manny, RePOP, Prophet Royal Robertson, Jenn Ruff, Tom Sanford, Eduardo Sarabia, Peter Saul, Bill Saylor, Kenny Scharf, Ivory Serra, Shelter Serra, MiYoung Sohn, Tony Bones, Vincent Szarek, Bruce Lee Webb, WHIT

June 19th, 2011


Curated by Jason Patrick Voegele of Republic Worldwide, Samson Contompasis of The Marketplace Gallery, Keith Schweitzer of M.A.N.Y. and Tyler Wriston of The B.A.C.
Hosted by 320 Studios at 320 West 37th Street FL 14
June 28 – June 30, 2011
6 to Midnight with VIP After Party
Concept by Jason Patrick Voegele

Much of what we know and how we learn comes through the study of explicit or subtle comparisons and contrasts. Meaningful opportunities for these comparative studies invite us into a more explicit and intentional approach that can both broaden our understanding of contemporary American art and help us draw connections and distinctions between the studio practices and conceptual intentions of today’s American Artist.

Produced and developed by four of New York State’s premiere curatorial teams, Town & Country presents just such an opportunity.

Much like the rest of the western world, our press, politics, and creative arts thrive on the institutions we have erected to illuminate our differences. We are often reduced to the divisive labels of righteous and heretical, pious and secular, liberal and conservative, formal and conceptual, urban and rural. Dressed up in the costume of duality it appears that we are a bisected people from the fundamentals to our personal tastes. This exhibition challenges those preconceived notions and offers a unique window into the collaborative state of American art. As a people, our founding fathers had faith in the principals of open dialogue, freedom of expression and the multiplicity of our intellectual and creative capacity to bind various philosophies into one singular union. As an exhibition, Town & Country celebrates these great strengths and offers up a chance to draw attention to the ties that bind us as a great creative culture wherever we are from. Through this lens, Town & Country proposes a new vision of American art reinterpreted for a new generation.

On June 28th through June 30th at 320 West 37th Street in New York City, Republic Worldwide, The Marketplace Gallery, Keith Schweitzer (M.A.N.Y.), and The Brooklyn Art Collective invite you to join the discussion and stoke the fires of debate as we present Town & Country: the very best of contemporary American art. Artists include: Scott Michael Ackerman, Doug Auld, Paul Brainard, White Cocoa, Hannah Cole, Annika Conner, Helen Dennis, Eric Diehl, Ira Eduardovna, Tara de la Garza, Charles Koegel, Elizabeth Livingston, Frodo Mikkelsen, OLEK, Sirikul Pattachote, Patrick Porter, Leon Reid IV, Julia Samuels, Tom Sanford, Chris Stain, Veng, Emma Wasielke

Much appreciation to John Stavros from 320 Studios.

April 14th, 2011

The Black Keys Tom Sanford Coachella Poster I made this concert poster for THE BLACK KEYS performance at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. It was pretty fun as I have never done anything like this before (ie. a band poster, or for that matter any type of quasi*-commercial art). Although the band’s people encouraged me to not be too literal about the project, i did what i tend to do, and make what I think is the most obvious and direct image I can (ie. “no art-wank bullshit”**).

I think it came out extremely well, and I have 50 of the edition of 165. The only 50 that are signed by me, if that is worth anything, and I am willing to sell a few of them off. I also want to keep a few for me and a few for gifts down the road. But if you are interested I will sell them for $25 each plus $5 for shipping*** (if you’re in Harlem you can pick it up directly from me and save the shipping if you like).

The posters are 24″ x 18″ 4 color silk screen prints on white paper. Just email me via my contact page if you’re interested.


*As I was basically paid in posters, I am not sure if I can say that I have fully entered the field of commercial art quite yet!

**quote attributed to Liam Gallagher.

***for international shipping it’s $10, sorry about that non-Americans.

March 25th, 2011

Black Friday (2008-2009)This will be a very cool group show. It is pretty much a list of my favorite artists, so i am just honored to be in it. Because it is such a f-ing great group of artists, I felt that I better bring my A-game. So,  I am finally showing a piece that I have been sitting on for a couple of years, one of my all time favorites: “Black Friday” (2008-2009, oil on paper mounted on wood panel). It is my painting of the post-Thanksgiving 2008 stampede at the WalMART at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream Long Island.


April 8- May 31st


Suite 702, The Fuller Building
41 East 57th Street, New York, New York 10022

Ion Birch, Steve Budington, Steven Charles, Steve DiBenedetto, Dawn Frasch, Aaron Johnson, Eddie Martinez, Tom Sanford, Peter Saul, Michelle Segre, Joceyln Shiipley, Kelli Williams, Jeremy Willis

Misc. is pleased to announce the opening of a new group exhibition, Sick!. This selection of works by 13 artists examines how artists give particular shape to abject feelings and fantasies. Surrealism, and later, nineteen-seventies postmodernism encouraged an active engagement between art practice and the unstable. The works in Sick! continue this dialogue by exteriorizing psychological tension as a crucial component in each artwork.

The exhibition aligns a fluid iconography, but it is the abject, or the sick, as cultural criticism, thoughtful structure and subtext that relates the work to each other.  Through a variety of methods, Sick! artists articulate personal interpretations about anxiety, clutter, suffocation, and other unpleasant feelings that suggest a fractured, but whole experience. Steadfast repudiation of the decorative and/or decorum ranges from malevolent to punch-drunk to pathos. This sensibility serves as a control-factor in a showcase of work that does not behave.

The artists are as at ease in blending categories of art history as they are with handling their visionary trajectories. In keeping with an overwhelming suspicion that human beings are as much propelled toward primordial, amorphous states as they are of achieving Organizational Man, these works have mastered their conditions by surrendering to that ancient urge rather than trying to escape it.

-Elizabeth Sapperstein

February 23rd, 2011

Gasoline Goddess 2010 (Sarah Palin)

My good friends at Nowhere Limited have recently released limited edition prints of two of my favorite recent paintings. I think that the prints came out really well, and I was so happy with them that I signed all 30 in each edition.

I think that “Gasoline Goddess (Sarah Palin)” (2010) might make the perfect gift for one’s bat-shit crazy, tea bagger uncle, or a more sane friend or relative with a sense of humor!

There is also a magnificent print of “The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbrigde” (2009), perfect for any fans of asymmetric warfare or bizarro global economics or just piracy in general.

Each of the prints are part of an edition of 30 and cost $80 plus shipping. check them out here.

In related news, i just finished a drawing for a poster for the Black Keys. It will be the official Black Keys concert poster for the bands upcoming performance at the Coachella Festival this year.

The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbridge

January 26th, 2011
Last year i received a google alert informing me that my Dimebag Darrell painting was featured on the blog of a periodical called Jailbate Magazine. Admittedly a dubious honor, but I will take what I can get. With that endorsement from the world of hardcore porn, it seems only right and proper that I was curated into a show on porn and related decadence by Allegra LaViola at her gallery.

I did a little research into the name of this group show and was interested to discover a mini series of HBO documentaries by the same name. Very interesting viewing. I am sure that this group show will be equally stimulating.


179 East Broadway, NYC 10002

February 04 – March 11, 2011

Opening reception
Friday February 4th, 6-9PM


Ryan Alexiev , Josh Atlas, Ion Birch, Alison Blickle, Paul Brainard, Amanda Church, Duncan Hannah, Catherine Howe, Stephen Irwin, Will Kurtz, Sarah Kurz, Daniel Lyons, Panni Malek, Kara Maria, Tom Sanford, Lyle Starr and Prudence Whittlesey


Allegra LaViola Gallery is pleased to present “Pornucopia”, a group exhibition featuring painting, works on paper, video, sculpture and installation pieces.

The exhibition takes the idea of plenty as its starting point. Once a notion so incredible it was given as a gift by the Gods, the idea of abundance is now an every day experience. Supermarkets are filled with brightly colored packaged foods that never rot and barely dressed women are used to sell everything from toilet paper to toothbrushes. In this world of excess, what do we use to fill the void?

In Ryan Alexiev’s The Wizard of O’s we are introduced to a shockingly bright landscape of breakfast cereal. Referencing the poppy induced journey that Dorothy and her friends undertook, Alexiev builds a city out of neon dust; just as the Wizard in the story turned out to be just a little man behind a curtain, so too the fantastical scenery here is only air with additive colors. Our sweet tooth is indulged again by Josh Atlas, whose “Donut Spa” is blackly humorous: the usual image of a svelte woman surrounded by celery is replaced by the revolting overabundance of sugary donuts, so many that the man in question is engulfed by the tide of dessert.

Junk food makes an appearance in the work of Paul Brainard, whose paintings and drawings combine the advertiser’s artful positioning with an onslaught of provocative images. Like navigating a video game or super highway, information is thrown at us from every angle, asking us to pause and indulge before being replaced by another equally captivating vision. Advertising also makes an appearance in Duncan Hannah’s cheeky collages, though what is on offer is not a straightforward as it seems. Similarly, the kaleidoscope world of Kara Maria, where aging naked women guzzle gasoline, is couched in the static world of TV and advertising. Images once used to be alluring are transformed into horrifying combinations, no longer seducing, just frightening. Tom Sanford does not shy away from transforming the ignoble into the stately, either. An unappealing trio of celebrity women are named The Three Graces, and the simple beer can and rolled bill are changed from mere tools of indulgence to monumental icons. The celebration of beauty and elegance comes up empty when what is venerated is hollow.

Taking a more delicate approach, Catherine Howe presents richly constructed still lives that vibrate with veiled energy. From deep within the fecund arrangements, small ghosts manifest and then disappear as our gaze shifts. There are no preservatives here: the bounty is real, but rotting. The classical also informs the work of Alison Blickle, Sarah Kurz *and *Panni Malekzadeh, whose beautiful women frolic indoors and out. Though the characters seem complicit in their seductive gestures, their cinematic allure is all for an audience of no one. Like the airbrushed women who wink from the pages of pornography magazines in solitary splendor, these figures are performing for the viewer alone.

The more graphic sexual content of pornography is embraced by Stephen Irwin, whose works are the classic embodiment of “know it when you see it” pornography. Even with the choice bits missing there is no question what is going on here. Ion Birch’s cartoon romps seem innocent from afar, but viewed for more than a second leave no doubt as to what is going on. Amanda Church and Daniel Lyons also thrust the explicit at us, leaving little doubt as to how we approach and commodity the bodies presented as objects. And if it is action we are after Will Kurtz, Lyle Starr and Prudence Whittlesey do not shy away from delivering the goods.

As we give ourselves permission to satisfy every desire or craving with a quick fix, we must ask what we give up in the process. Trading the real cornucopia for the plastic version doesn’t preserve us forever, it merely staves off the inevitable. But we certainly will have a good time getting there.

January 13th, 2011

IMG_0371Alex Glauber has put together a very cool public art piece: a painting show in Bryant Park. A very unusual venue for a painting show, but i think it will be an unusually good show. After a conversation that we had over a beer about the frustrations associated with making art in a pluralist context where everything goes, Alex came up with the excellent idea of making a show in which two aesthetic agendas where pitted against each other; a battle between Abstraction and Representation.

Alex curated a great, but small group of artists for a this first round of this competition. He has big plans to make a series of exhibitions with this competitive spirit in the coming months, but the first battle will be at

BRYANT PARK – JANUARY 20th thru FEBRUARY 2nd (24 hours a day)

OPENING RECEPTION (with heat lamps and lots of hot chocolate) THURSDAY JANUARY 20th 6-8PM on the Southwest porch on the 6TH Avenue side of the park.

We are hoping to organize artist tours of the work on SAT JAN 22 & SAT JAN 29 – details TBA

Corporate Art Solutions in collaboration with Bryant Park and Upsilon Ventures is pleased to present “Battle of the Brush: A Civil Reenactment of Two Painterly States,” a contemporary painting face off between realism and abstraction on view in Bryant Park from January 20th – February 2nd. Utilizing the existing template of Upsilon Ventures’ kiosks from The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park, two of the booths will be retrofitted with the help of painting conservators into temporary climate-controlled exhibition vitrines. These vitrines will be used to exhibit paintings for the first time ever in Bryant Park and in the process reveal how public art can be innovated through the creative adaptation of existing resources.

In an attempt to playfully reconsider the historic painterly debate between realism and abstraction, “Battle of the Brush: A Civil Reenactment of Two Painterly States” draws upon Bryant Park’s history as an encampment for soldiers during the Civil War. In using this little known historical fact about Bryant Park as a conceptual theme, the exhibition takes a tongue-in-cheek look at how one of the painting community’s most persistent antagonists in the 20th century was itself; specifically, the aesthetic and ideological divide between realist and abstract painters. More than just a question of style, this polemic has historically symbolized the tension between tradition and innovation. One such example was the boycott of the Metropolitan Museum’s 1950 exhibition titled “American Painting Today – 1950” by eighteen abstract painters who claimed the show’s jury was “hostile to advanced art.” Their ardent opposition earned them the name ‘Irascible Eighteen.’ These days, we are much more civil than irascible. Therefore in the same way that Civil War Reenactors come together to imitate a moment in history when they stood apart, so too does this exhibition in order to reveal some of the more interesting directions realism and abstraction are being taken today.

Participating artists include:

REALISM REGIMENT: Alison Blickle, Tom Sanford, Nicola Verlato, and Eric White

ABSTRACT REGIMENT: Justin Adian, Anoka Faruqee, Patricia Treib, and Roger White

November 30th, 2010

Sexy Monument (after Guston)I am in the XMAS show at GALLERY POULSEN. I won’t be able to make it to the opening, which is a great shame because the dynamic and courageous Morten Poulsen throws really incredible opening parties. He is threatening to buy 10 kegs of beer! I am sure that there will be tonnes of Xmas cheer and even more really excellent art.

For my part, Morten will show my newest painting, “Sexy Monument (after Guston)”. It is my updated, and super sexy version of the great Philip Guston painting, “Monument”(1976), that hangs at the Tate.

If you happen to be in Copenhagen this December, please go check out the show.

“The Poulsen X-Mas Show 2010″

OPENING Thursday December 2nd, Reception 5-8PM @ GALLERY POULSEN

Flæsketorvet 24, Kødbyen
1711 Copenhagen V


Tom Sanford (US) Aaron Johnson (US) Smike Käszner, Peter Ravn, Olafur Eliasson, Kristleifur Björnsson (IS)
Liv Carlé Mortensen, Debra Hampton (US) Vuk Vidor (F) Jeanne Susplugas (F) Lars Grenaae, William Anastasi (US)
Dove Bradshaw (US) Jeppe Hein, Javier Aguilera (ES) Christian Finne, Mihael Milunovic (SRB) og traditional Christmas exhibition at Gallery Poulsen has in other words a lot of fine art for its guests and offer a chance to purchase an exclusive Christmas gift to you or your dearest. The art that is shown is all selling at a modest sum.
We are shooting in “The Poulsen X-Max show 2010” Thursday, December 2nd at 5 pm. All of the Gallery´s permanent artists is presented and shows their new and interesting work. It is names that have performed well in 2010 and whom are expected to do even better in 2011. As an extra spice, we will surprise with other artists; The exhibition includes work that is done by World Stars, Olafur Eliasson, Jeppe Hein, Dove Bradshaw and William Anastasi. All four are represented at world greatest museums and are among today’s acclaimed and popular artists.
2010 has been wonderful and an eventful year for Gallery Poulsen. New location, new daring exhibitions and new artists. With the Christmas exhibition we review the past year and look forward to 2011, which will be an even greater year!


November 24th, 2010

TransferofPower_CI am going to Bergen, Norway for the opening of a three person show called “Three Amigos” with Eric White & Nicola Verlato and myself. I am pretty excited to spend Thanksgiving with Eric and Nicola as they are not only two solid dudes, but they are both genius painters and artists whom i have looked up to for a while. I plan to spend the holiday weekend giving thanks while living like a viking, feasting on reindeer and swilling schnapps on the fjords – Valhalla, I am coming!

If you happen to be in or around Bergen, Norway over the next two months you i hope you go to Galleri S.E. and check out our show.

VERNISSAGE, Saturday – November 27th, 18.00 – 20.00

Duration: November 27, 2010 – January 23, 2011

g a l l e r i  s . e

Kalfarveien 74b, N-5018 Bergen, Norway
+47 55 31 57 55 (Office)
+47 958 53 680 (Mobile)

October 29th, 2010

RaTT Invitation card

I am in a show upstate at the SUArt Galleries of Syracuse University. Eric Gleason is going to drive a party bus up from NYC for the opening, so I will be there for the opening. I understand that I will be staying at Gleason’s old frat house. I will do my best to recreate Old School, playing Frank the Tank and get some eats at the original Dinosaur BBQ location while I am at it:

RUN AND TELL THAT: New Work form New York

curated by Eric Gleason and David Prince.

November 9, 2010- January 9, 2011

Public Reception: Thursday, November 11, 5-7 pm

Moderated Panel Discussion with artists in the exhibition:
Thursday, November 11, 3-5 pm, Shemin Auditorium, Shaffer Art Building

Run and Tell That! New Work from New York presents, for the first time in Syracuse, recent and new work by twenty-one young New York City artists.  Included in the exhibition’s wide array of media are several installation pieces created specifically for the SUArt Galleries.  Co-curated by SU alumnus Eric Gleason ‘05, Sales Director at Marlborough Chelsea, and David Prince, Associate Director at the SUArt Galleries, the show illustrates conceptual and aesthetic trends in contemporary art.

Synonymous with “spread the word,” Run and Tell That! is a phrase attributed to Antoine Dodson of Huntsville, AL, whose flamboyant July 28, 2010 television interview following the attempted sexual assault on his sister, quickly became an internet sensation.  The phrase has since been integrated into contemporary vernacular; a phenomenon that could only happen now, in a time when information is digested and distributed constantly via the World Wide Web.  The artists in Run and Tell That! take advantage of this wide spectrum of media to develop a conceptual focus that characterizes this younger generation.

Painters Kamrooz Aram, Steven Charles, Inka Essenhigh, Aaron Johnson, Liz Markus, Tom Sanford, Ryan Schneider and Aya Uekawa use personal experience, art history, abstraction, and social commentary to keep the medium fresh and relevant.  Sculpture becomes a widely encompassing term as pieces by Robert Lazzarini, Diana Al-Hadid, Will Ryman and Ethan Greenbaum broaden the definition.  In the series of thirteen prints entitled Ars Magica, William Powhida continues his astute satirization of the art world by likening its practices to sorcery.  Turkish photographer Pinar Yolacan, in her Mother Goddess series, examines deity figures from pre-neolithic periods which were the archetype of beauty in her geographic region thousands of years ago; while Rashaad Newsome’s contemporary coats of arms elevate hip-hop culture to high culture by replacing traditional shields, wreaths and charges with Lamborghini’s, Rolexes and iced-out medallions.

Site-specific installations include a first-time collaboration between Ethan Greenbaum and Adam Krueger; a dynamic wall-length installation in which a tree violently emerges from a Hudson River School painting by Valerie Hegarty; Virginia Overton’s minimal trompe l’oeil construction using only an eight-foot 2 x 4 and two sheets of mirrored Plexiglas; Vlatka Horvat’s repurposed ceiling fan and aluminum ladder; and individual projects by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen whose monumental collaborative installation White Stag, 2010 is currently on view at Mass MoCA.

Please join us for a free, moderated panel discussion with several of the artists on Thursday, November 11 from 3-5 pm in Shemin Auditorium in the Shaffer Art Building.  Following the presentation there will be a catered opening reception next door in the SUArt Galleries, also free and open to the public.

Visitor information
Gallery hours for Run and Tell That! are Tuesdays–Sundays from 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays. The SUArt Galleries is accessible to persons with disabilities.

Paid parking is available for weekday visitors in any SU pay lot. Free parking for weekend and evening visitors is available in the Q4 lot, located on College Place. Patrons should notify the attendant that they are visiting the SUArt Galleries. Evening and weekend parking is on a space-available basis and may be restricted during events held at the Carrier Dome.

Patrons attending Run and Tell That! are encouraged to ride Centro’s Connective Corridor Shuttle Bus (Centro Route # 543) to visit the SUArt Galleries. The shuttle stops at all marked Centro bus stops along the Connective Corridor and is free. For more information and to view the shuttle schedule, visit

The SUArt Galleries strives to provide the best possible environment for art appreciation and scholarly development. No photography will be allowed in exhibition spaces. For approved, press-ready images, visit the exhibition website.

The SUArt Galleries, accessible through the Shaffer Art Building on the SU campus, enhances the cultural environment of SU and the Syracuse area through meaningful educational experiences and encounters with the University’s permanent collection and traveling exhibitions. It is the main campus venue for the visual arts and home of the University’s extensive permanent collection. The facility hosts a variety of temporary and permanent exhibitions throughout the year. The SUArt Galleries and the Palitz Gallery are members of SU’s Coalition of Museum and Art Centers (CMAC).

October 4th, 2010

exposition_190_1If you happen to be lucky enough to be in Paris for the FIAC art fair or any time through the end of 2010 please check out this group show that I’m in that Hubert Neumann put together:

From October 16th to December 30th at the GALERIE JEAN-LUC+TAKAKO RICHARD « THE INCOMPLETE – PARIS » will present a selection of American contemporary art from the last two decades made by one of New York’s greatest art collector: Hubert Neumann.

74 Rue de Turenne / 3, Impasse Saint-Claude, 75003 Paris

October 16 – December 30, 2010
“The Incomplete – Paris”, artists
from the Neumann Family Collection

A “collective” exhibition
The 28 emerging or established artists who preseet 45 recent artworks are all supported and collected by Hubert Neumann, collector and now curator too.
The gallerists Jean-Luc and Takako Richard, in collaboration with twelve international galleries and some of the artists themselves, have made up the exhibition in France. “THE INCOMPLETE -PARIS” gives the opportunity to see the latest works of some of the best – and still relatively unrecognized in France – contemporary artists well exhibited in New York City. Ultimately it heightens the role of the collector in the contemporary art world.

It began with a meeting
It all began in March 2010 at the Pulse Art Fair in New York when Hubert Neumann (one of the 200 most influent art collectors according to Artnews magazine’s rating) met the gallerists Jean-Luc and Takako Richard specialists in American Contemporary Art. As it happens, they all share the same passion for some artists such as Benjamin Edwards, Ashley Bickerton or Jeff Elrod. Hubert Neumann invited them to visit his family art collection the next day. Jean-Luc Richard recalls an unforgettable aesthetic experience “seeing such a big art collection and so many masterpieces from the 20th and 21st century that have been gathered over two generations in his townhouse …” He then puts forward that Hubert Neumann should select among the artists from his art collection those whose work it would be the most interesting to show in Paris. THE INCOMPLETE – PARIS exhibition was born out of this meeting. It shows the unique vision of a collector on New York latest art trends.

A certain idea of how to collect
Jean-Luc Richard and Hubert Neumann share a passion for contemporary art that is not based on rates or trends. Hubert Neumann’s collection is first and foremost the trace of meetings made over the years as well as journeys in France and the United States. His father was also a great contemporary art lover but at that time, when Morton Neumann came to Paris in order to follow the work of young unknown artists, those were named Picasso, Dubuffet, Miro, Giacometti, Gris, Braque or Léger… Nowadays, with unaltered passion and freethinking, Hubert Neumann keeps on completing the family collection.

An “INCOMPLETE” and “NON-MODERNIST” exhibition
Why “THE INCOMPLETE”? “A collection is an unending quest and therefore never completed. It goes on through generations“. On a conceptual point of view, Hubert Neumann explains that “we live in an uncompleted world and that lack of definition or closure is reflected in all aspects of our lives that feed and perpetuate the ever-mutating organism that have become the contemporary art world“.
“THE INCOMPLETE” illustrates a new artistic vision that Hubert Neumann defines as a “non-modernism”. The “non-modernism” is neither a movement nor a clearly definite term, but expresses “a fundamental rupture from modernism of an overwhelmingly diverse character”. The artworks, either at the gallery or in Hubert Neumann’s collection, demonstrate the possible coexistence of divergent, and sometimes incongruous, ideas.

The gallerist point of view
According to Jean-Luc Richard, “the most interesting aspect of this collector lies in its spirit of constant discovery and absolute confidence. This enables him to present on an even level artists whose fame still greatly differs”.

THE INCOMPLETE – PARIS includes works by the following artists: Nina Chanel Abney, Michael Van Den Besselaar, Ashley Bickerton, James Busby, Sydney Chastain-Chapman, Devon Costello, Justin Craun, Benjamin Edwards, Jeff Elrod, Manuel Esnoz, Wendell Gladstone, Ridley Howard, Chris Johans Johanson, Karen Kilimnik, JP Munro, Stan Narten, Erik Parker, Charlie Roberts, Matthew Ronay, Justin Samson, Tom Sanford, Christian Schumann, John F. Simon Jr., Aya Uekawa, Meyer Vaisman, Xavier Veilhan, Kelli Williams.

August 26th, 2010

I’m in a group show in Bergen, Norway. When the gallery wrote me with the name i miss read it and based my work on the original Phil Collins song title, “50 ways to leave your lover”- so i drew 50 empty beer cans, as i figured that is one way you could exit. I guess if you wanted to keep your lover it would be best not to drink all 50!

50 Ways To Keep Your Lover: 4 Sep – 10 Oct 2010

Galleri S.E.
Kalfarveien 76,

artists: Unni Askeland, Heather Bennett, Ingrid Berven, Bjørn Bjarre, Gio Black Peter,  Pavel Büchler, Bjørn Carlsen, Anja Carr , Nicola Costantino, Stanislav Ginsburg,, Line Hvoslef , Brian Kenny, Dominik Lejman, Maleonn Ma, Slava Mogutin, Trine Lise Nedreaas, Richard Pasquarelli, Thomas Pihl, Erik Sandberg , Tom Sanford , Federico Solmi, Nicola Verlato, Ronald Versloot, Eric White, Simon Willems, Santiago Ydáñez

August 16th, 2010

TS+Rush+Limbaugh+Feasts+on+the+Brains+of+Haitian+Children+2010+300NEW PAINTINGS
curated by Renee Bovenzi
August 21st -22nd, 2010

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 21st 6-8pm

Exhibition Hours: Saturday, August 21st 12-8pm
Sunday, August 22nd 12-6pm
560 Broadway 3rd fl. suite 305

“New Paintings” is a two-day pop up exhibition comprised of 18 New York based artists. All paintings have been created within the last year and range thematically from physical landscape to political powers. This exhibition creates a dialog among disparate works, offering an exciting view of current painting.

Ali Banisadr, Erik Benson, Megan Bisbee-Durlam, Guillermo Creus, Ariel Dill, Jeffrey Gibson, Vera Iliatova, Dan Kopp, Greg Lindquist, Francesco Longenecker, Amy Longenecker- Brown, Gina Magid, Andy Piedilato, Eulas Pizarro, Nathlie Provosty, Carlos Roque, Tom Sanford, Wendy White

June 28th, 2010


Organized by Ryan Schneider & Tom Sanford
Priska C. Juschka Fine Art
Opening July 8th, 6-9PM

In simplest terms BIG PICTURE is just that, a show of big pictures. The pictures – all paintings – are big in terms of size, subject matter, energy, ambition and visual generosity. Many are aggressive or even garish in the color, they are often over worked, heavy layer upon layer of paint, combining dissonant styles and subject matter. These paintings are big in that there is a hell of a lot to look at. Some of the pictures are so big in scope that they seem unresolved, open ended, too big for the canvas they are on.

We (Schneider & Sanford) organized this show to make a case for a young generation of New York picture-making painters who have emerged over the past decade. We asked each of 19 painters that we invited for one big picture that would serve as a strong argument for that artist’s position. Ostensibly, these paintings vary widely and wildly in style, subject matter, and point of view. However, when we look at the show, we like to view it in terms of the big picture.

These are all painters who make pictures of things, in that they all refer to the culture at large; their paintings are about painting, but they are about other things as well. The pictures deal with the biggest of universal themes, like Love, Sex and Death. The big subject matter is often juxtaposed with more idiosyncratic information about subculture or the extremely personal, political or emotional.  These are painters of a generation to whom irony and collage-like juxtapositions are second nature, where high/low cultural distinctions are meaningless, to whom technology allows access to every image that has ever been seen or even imagined. These are painters who take advantage of the vastness of their surroundings, the open-endedness of their culture, and this Big Picture is reflected back in their work.

The artists in BIG PICTURE: Kamrooz Aram, Colleen Asper, Paul Brainard, John Copeland, Holly Coulis, Justin Craun, Van Hanos, Daniel Heidkamp, Aaron Johnson, Emily Lambert, Wes Lang, Liz Markus, Eddie Martinez, Brian Montuori, Lisa Sanditz, Tom Sanford, Ryan Schneider, Michael Williams & Jeremy Willis.

June 9th, 2010

irascible assholes

Ryan Schneider and I are traveling to Copenhagen for a show that Ryan organized and we are both showing new paintings in at Gallery Poulsen:

The Irascible Assholes – New Paintings from New York

June 19 to July 17

Vernissage and opening party friday June 18 from 5 to 10 pm

Gallery Poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts
Flæsketorvet 24, Den hvide Kødby
1711 København V.
Tlf.+45 4015 5588

The Irascible Assholes are: Ryan Schneider, Tom Sanford,  Aaron Johnson, Daniel HeidkampVan HanosWilliam Powhida, Jamison Brosseau

There is a press release for the show, but a brief summery of the conceit of the show might be: The Irascible Assholes: A bunch of new paintings by some dudes from NYC who make bad ass paintings.

Ryan and I will be in Copenhagen for about a week leading up to the June 18th opening and are hoping that Morten Poulsen will allow us to make a few collaborative paintings in the space, we will probably also spend a good amount of time at the world’s coolest dock bar, Halvandet with our pal Jens-Peter Brask.

June 7th, 2010

I am in a group show in the contemporary gallery at the Nassau County Museum of Art. If you are on Strong Island and you have time the museum is totally worth the trip, not only for the show, but the beautiful grounds/sculpture park. The museum grounds are the perfect spot for a Sunday picnic.

Exhibition: Currents
Sunday June 13, 2010 – Monday September 20, 2010 from 11:00am – 4:45pm
Nassau County Museum of Art
One Museum Dr.
Roslyn Harbor, New York 11576
Currents showcases three exciting artists working today: Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Benjamin Edwards and Tom Sanford. All three artists have been shown widely in group and solo exhibitions here and abroad. Hutchins’ sculptural work was seen in the 2010 Whitney Biennial. Benjamin Edwards reflects contemporary society in hallucinatory and visionary landscapes. Tom Sanford paints vibrant representations of pop objects and celebrities. The exhibition is organized by Elaine Berger for the museum’s Contemporary Collectors Circle.

Nassau museum wall

April 22nd, 2010

Wednesday, April 28: 6 pm
apexart 291 Church Street, NYC

Kamrooz Aram
Dike Blair
Holly Coulis
David Humphrey
Deborah Kass

moderated by Tom Sanford – painter & Bad at Sports correspondent

These “Painters of Painting,” representing various generations of New York painters, are all prominent voices among their cohort who enlist a wide variety of approaches to the medium. They will discuss the current concerns in painting as well as painting’s enduring relevance as a humanistic and idiosyncratic antidote to the prevailing corporate culture of consensus and commoditization.

In conjunction with the exhibition Don’t Piss on Me and Tell Me it’s Raining curated by Bad at Sports & will be recorded for podcast on an upcoming edition of the Bad at Sports Podcast (AKA the Amanda Browder show).

Kamrooz Aram was born in Shiraz, Iran, in 1978, and received his MFA from Columbia University in 2003. Aram’s works bring together traditional, modern and contemporary cultural references to create images reflecting the complexity of contemporary life. His work has been shown in museums and galleries around the world and featured and reviewed in numerous publications. In spring 2010 his work will be featured in the group exhibition Self-Consciousness in Berlin at VeneKlasen Werner, co-curated by Peter Doig and Hilton Als. Aram lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Dike Blair is a painter and sculptor who lives and works in NYC and Hortonville, NY. He teaches painting at RISD and has contributed articles to a number of magazines.

Holly Coulis lives and works in Brooklyn. She was born in Canada and received her MFA in Boston. Her work can be seen at Cherry and Martin Gallery in LA.

David Humphrey is a New York artist represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co. An anthology of his art writing, Blind Handshake, was released by Periscope Publishing this year.

Deborah Kass’ paintings examine the intersection of art history, popular culture and the self. She received her BFA in Painting at Carnegie-Mellon University, studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, and the Art Students’ League. Her work is in museum collections throughout the U.S. and numerous public and private collections and has been shown nationally and internationally. She is a Senior Critic in the Yale University MFA Painting Program and is represented by Vincent Fremont and the Paul Kasmin Gallery.

April 5th, 2010

basI’ve been a listener of Bad at Sports for years and ever since Amanda Browder interviewed me a couple years back, I’ve been a sometime contributor. When apexart asked Richard Holland and Duncan MacKenzie to put on an exhibition at their Tribeca gallery, which happens to be about 100 yards from my studio, I knew it was time for me to finally pull my weight for my friends from Chicago. So, I have been helping out however I can to organize and manage the logistics of BAD AT SPORTS’ FIRST NEW YORK GALLERY SHOW:

April 7 – May 22, 2010
Opening reception: April 7, 6-8 pm
apexart – 291 Church Street – NYC

One of my jobs has been to organize a series of events, the first of which is:

Thursday April 8th, 6PM @ apexart

On the eve of Jeffrey Deitch’s departure from New York, Carlo McCormick will talk to him about his experience and legacy as one of the most visible, dynamic and controversial players in the New York art world.

A few of the future events are listed here.

In the show, we have submissions from almost everyone ever interviewed on the podcast, as well as a video booth project in which visitors are invited to participate.

Featuring objects, images, and ephemera by: Carol Becker, Britton Bertran, Temporary Services, Adam Brooks and Mathew Wilson, Ivan Brunetti, Tom Burtonwood, David Coyle, Death by Design, Elizabeth Chodos, Miguel Cortez, Tony Fitzpatrick, Rob Davis and Michael Langlois, Jeremy Deller, Lisa Dorin, Jim Duignan, Dan Devening, Cody Hudson, Jason Dunda, Fendry Ekel, James Elkins, Anthony Elms, Pete Fagundo, Mary Rachel Fanning,Tony Feher, Rochelle Feinstein, Pamela Fraser, Liam Gillick, Helidon Gjergji, Michelle Grabner, Dylan Graham, Madeleine Grynsztejn, Sarah Guernsey, Terence Hannum, Anni Holm, Brian Holmes, Astrid Honold, Christopher Hudgens, Meg Onli, Amanda Browder, Tom Sanford, Duncan MacKenzie, Christian Kuras, Ben Tanner, Scott Hug, Richard Holland, Carol Jackson, Paddy Johnson, David Jones, Alex Jovanovic, Atsushi Kaga, Mark Staff Brandl, Vera Klement, Peter Saul, Gregory Knight, Monique Meloche, Leo Koenig, Chad Kouri, Steve Lacy, Caroline Picard, Jose Lerma, Laura Letinsky, Kerry James Marshall, Ed Marszewski, Eric May, Dominic Molon, Anne Elizabeth Moore, David Morgan, Julian Myers, Gavin Turk, Liz Nofziger, Jamisen Ogg, Neysa Page-Lieberman, Trevor Paglan, Raymond Pettibon, John Phillips, Allison Peters Quinn, Lane Relyea, Lawrence Rinder, David Robbins, Thomas Robertello, Julie Rodriguez Widholm, Elvia Rodriguez, Nathan Rogers-Madsen, James Rondeau, Marlene Russum Scott, Alison Ruttan, Dan S. Wang, Stephanie Smith, Deb Sokolow, Scott Speh, Chris Sperandio, Lisa Stone, Shannon Stratton, Randall Szott, Christine Tarkowski, Tony Tasset, Tracy Marie Taylor, Ron Terada, Philip von Zweck, Hamza Walker, Chris Walla, John Wanzel, Chris Ware, Oli Watt, Tony Wight, Anne Wilson, Jay Wolke, InCubate, Curtis Mann, Michael Velliquette, Clare Britt, Shannon Stratton, Damian Duffy, William Conger, M N Hutchinson, Mark Francis, Annika Marie, John P. Lee the artists of Blunt Art Text, and more.

March 17th, 2010

My good friend Guillermo Creus has teamed up with Marcel Hüppauff , Photios Giovanis,  and myself to put together a giant, grand-slam of a TWO DAY ONLY PAINTING POP UP SHOW.

BUSHWICK SCHLACHT! Half Germans, Half Americans – a battle royal of painters to see once and for all which country is the super power of contemporary painting.

The is no better place to do this than the urban war zone that is Bushwick Brooklyn, SATURDAY APRIL 3RD, 6-10PM, 245 Boerum Street, Brooklyn NY.

Exhibition hours: Sunday April 4th, 12-7pm and Monday April 5th, by appointment.

Here is a Loren Monk/Kalm James video interview with Guillermo & Marcel in front of the installation of paintings.

Gregory Amenoff, Axel Anklam, Kamrooz Aram, Abel Auer, Josh Blackwell, Christophe Boursault, Nicholas Buffon, André Butzer, Brendan Cass, Amanda Church, Elizabeth Cooper, Holly CoulisAriel Dill, Hannah Dougherty, Raynald Driez, Sven Drühl, Dawn Frasch, Sven Drühl, Brian Faucette, Bella Forster, Tine Furler, Rico Gatson, Alicia Gibson, Torben Giehler,  Andrew Gilbert, Tamara Gonzales, Sebastian Gross-Ossa, Stefanie Gutheil, Michelle Hailey, Daniel Heidkamp, Andreas Hofer, Richard Holland, Ridley Howard, Alexa Hoyer, Marcel Hüppauff, Eric Jahnker, Aaron Johnson, Dorota Jurczak, Benjamin King, Henning Kles, Shawn Kuruneru, Molly Larkey,  Christopher Lee, Erik Lindman, Brett Lund, Duncan MacKenzie, Chris Martin, Eddie Martinez, Stefan Marx, Paul-Aymar Mourgue d’Algue, Brian Montuori, Jan Muche, Jeanette Mundt, Aakash Nihalani, Richard Phillips, Humberto Poblete-Bustamente, William Powhida, Orlando Mostyn-Owen, Aaron Ribeiro, Benedikt Richert, Ted Riederer, Les Rogers, Daniel Rosenbaum, Christoph Ruckhäberle, Adam Saks, Sam Salisbury, Christian Sampson, Tom Sanford, Ryan Schneider, Thomas Schumann, Markus Selg, Astrid Sourkova, Juli Susin, Mamie Tinkler, Maria Walker, Wendy White, Jeremy Willis, Thomas Winkler, Ulrich Wulff, Michael Wutz

February 28th, 2010

T-Bill Gaming will host a LIVE SIMULCAST of the Phillips de Pury Now Auction on Saturday, March 6th, 12pm, at Winkleman Gallery as part of #class.

consign (Page 1) In an effort to bring the broadest possible array of art practice to #class, William Powhida and Tom Sanford have come together to host and underwrite an afternoon of the sometimes-overlooked art of book making. Through this event, (the artists’ first venture into book making), Tom and Bill (or T-Bill Gaming) hope to use this medium to make the world of contemporary art auctions more accessible to the Average Joe on the streets of Chelsea. This highly educational afternoon promises to teach all of us a little about the auctions while having some good fun and maybe making a little quick cash***.

The live video feed of this exciting and important auction will be projected at the gallery. Gallery visitors are invited to watch the excitement unfold as shadowy and anonymous international art patrons determine the actual market value, not only of the works, but also of the hundreds of artists themselves!

As if that is not excitement enough, T-Bill gaming will allow you, the little guy, to get in on the action and ride these fat cats tails to fortune at the expense of the blood, sweat and tears of the artists at auction. T-Bill gaming will take bets on any and all lots taking place during the afternoon sale. Bring your money and a little bit of lady luck ‘cause “all you need is a dollar and a dream!”

*** T-Bill Gaming would like it to be clear that this event is a relational aesthetics art project and not a real gambling operation!

Check out James Wagner’s blog post about the Auction OTB.

Artists with work in the Phillips de Pury Now sale on the auction block are (in order of appearance):


February 19th, 2010

LA Tom SanfordThe shadowy figure who is the conceptual artist/curator/aspiring mormon calling himself Qi Peng has curated me into an exhibition called “The Artist Guide to the L.A. Gallaxy” at the West Los Angeles College Art Gallery. I think this is my first show in an academic institution that i did not attend. I guess I am finally going legit.

I won’t be able to make it out to LA, so I sent my painting of “LA Tom Sanford”, a painting from a series of several other Tom Sanfords whom I have met and then painted. I had hoped that LA Tom Sanford would be able to attend the opening as my surrogate. Unfortunately he is currently busy in northern California doing a bid as a organic farmer and will not be able to get away from his crops long enough to make it downstate to the opening. This is a shame as I got on famously with my LA namesake over many beers at the Red Lion when I met him back in August of 2008 and very much wanted to have him stand in for me on this one. I would have happily given LA Tom Sanford license to act on my behalf at the opening and probably all matters art related on the left coast.

Below are the details included in a very lengthy press release. If you are in the area please stop in and let me know how it came out, maybe even take a photo and send it to me, I’m very curious to know what exactly Qi Peng is up to!



West Los Angeles College Art Gallery
9000 Overland Avenue
Culver City CA 90230
Tel: +1 310 287 4200 or
Exhibition dates: February 10-March 18, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 20, 6-9
Gallery hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:30-4, Friday, by appointment

The West Los Angeles College Art Gallery is proud to present “The Artist’s Guide to the L.A. Galaxy,” a group exhibition curated by Michael Arata and qi peng featuring work by William Brovelli, Kadar Brock, Vincent Como, Jon Coffelt, Eric Doeringer, Julie Dunker, Emilie Duval, Jeff Faerber, Daniel Heidkamp, Megan Hildebrandt, Joelle Jensen, Matt Jones, Mindy Kober, Shay Kun, Amy Lincoln, Jenny Morgan, Jenny Morgan + David Mramor, Tom Sanford, Dannielle Tegeder, Dave Thomas, Leah Tinari, and Jeremy Willis.

INTERVIEWER: Hello there, Michael and qi. I just heard about this new show called “An Artist’s Guide to the L.A. Galaxy.” Sounds like a crossbreed between Douglas Adams and David Beckham’s soccer team. So what is going on in this exhibit here at West Los Angeles College?

CURATORS: This group show is a critical dialogue about the idea of portraiture, including self-portraiture, in the age of new media such as the Internet and social networking particularly with Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. We decided to focus particularly only on “traditional” media and exclude video and internet art because we are interested in presenting the strong impact of our Internet-based lives on these “traditional” forms such as paintings, sculptures, installation art, photography, and works on paper. This group show is pretty extensive, including both emerging and established artists, in looking at how artists who do not work specifically in new media are influenced by the shifting of the Internet as a portal for mostly getting information online during the early 2000s towards a virtual medium for people interacting with each other in a parallel universe through social networks during the late 2000s. Also we felt that focusing on the theme of portraits would give us an overview on how human identity is perceived and constructed in the postmodern era.

INTERVIEWER:. There does not seem to be a common language by which these artists explain their own version of what human identity is. So what is the underlying thread amongst all of these seemingly different works?

CURATORS: These works are significant innovations because they are all about painting/photographing degree zero. They are subject to endlessly open interpretation and all attack human identity as a closed set of qualities. Whereas the mainstream media depict people within preset stereotypes, the artworks in “The Artist’s Guide to the L.A. Galaxy” present an alternative view of human identity as a set of shifting constructs. This continual refusal to pinpoint who the “characters” within these pieces beguile the viewers who see these works in its remixed context. You can think of this show as an ambiguous cross section about who we are today.

INTERVIEWER: Does this allusion to Barthes suggest that the artist is constructed by how their works are created rather than the other way around? For example, will the viewer figure out who the original “Shay Kun” is based on the two paintings that exist now here in Los Angeles?

CURATORS: Yes, we invite the viewers to recreate a “Shay Kun” of their liking based on how they interpret his works in person. It’s like becoming a detective who is not interested in solving a crime but making up fictional ghost-like criminals to catch based on their intertextual fantasies of who they want to be the opponents.

INTERVIEWER: Can you give us an overview on who are participating in this visual mixtape of the past decade?

CURATORS: Okay, let us head to the breakdown:

Within illustrative caricatures, Faerber, with his acerbic wit, attacks the secretive and dictator-like tendencies of Karl Rove as a bespectacled bandit or the Patriot Act-era satellite peering into our personal lives within his explicitly political depictions of the Bush administration during the 2000’s. Tinari’s gentle yet sharp humor portrays Edith Wharton-like characters who seem to be celebratory and optimistic against all odds while living in idyllic beach resorts. Her gouaches examine a cultural fin de siecle where slogans such as “White Tail” or “I Heart Sex” become acts of defiant self-expression in the repressive culture of conservatism. Are Tinari’s works a satire of an age where economic hoodwinking and materialistic excess were predominant or affectionate character studies of people who act as if they really knew how to love their lives in the American spirit? She provides no answers for the viewer. Finally, Sanford’s portrait of his “surrogate Tom Sanford” whom the artist had discovered and met through Google suggest that the uniqueness of any person’s identity is subsumed by our ability to find other versions of ourselves in parallel universes such as New York City and Los Angeles. These political and sociological works examine how we are a tenuous constructs of double or multiple fragments of how others see us.

Other works contain more postmodern and conceptual methodologies or viewing angles. For example, Jensen’s photographs apply portraiture as a framing device of our own personal histories, in this case, one’s high school years. Like the images in Proust’s novel, her memories are vague recollections of the ghost of her early years within these photographs of photographs like doubled identities. Heidkamp’s neo-expressionist painting of a photograph or the act of photographing using a digital camera is intellectually playful. Is he suggesting that our culture of YouTube and Flickr where people pose for seemingly throwaway snapshots is becoming our more democratic historiography? Como’s ability to use a single color black as his signature arrives in his dark humor whether he offers the viewer mass-produced editions of monochrome paintings or a thoughtful self-portrait in the form of a parody of the Guinness World Records. Kober’s pieces reflect her own take on commonplace historical and cultural images that are remixed into new contexts that subvert the images’ original meaning.

Other portraits represent a deliberate fragmentation of the human identity within dual or serial formalism while exploring how artworks gain cultural and economic value. Doeringer’s brilliant remix of an obscure Charles Ray piece taken from a Christie’s auction lot using his own clothes and his own body is not just another piece of appropriation art. Here is a direct confrontation of basic assumptions about how we value art. For example, why would the Eric Doeringer version of this concept be valued less or more than the Charles Ray if the idea is what forms the artwork? Can art be separated from its sociological context? Brovelli’s offering of an Etch-A-Sketch with apropos documentation of its creation is not only completely self-referential in which receipt and purchased object become the completed piece but also a ruthless probing into how consumerism became an art form during the 2000s when the art market become a high stakes game. Jones’ “ghost” drawings can be read as profound explorations into the complex nature of communication and expression and as metaphor for human identity as a form of Schrodinger’s cat (where identity is not a fixed concept but a complex set of possible interpretations). In addition to adding an allusion to one of the exhibit’s curators (qi peng), this set of drawings show that mark-making combine to form complex drawings as individual characteristics combine to form one’s personality.

Some of the portraits have the strong roots in traditional painterliness of the individual while reflecting the themes of social networking, the conflict between the personal and the public domains of life, and the artist’s concern with the art historical context. For example, Lincoln’s subtle portraits are firmly modernist in its outlook with references to outsider art whether it be her exquisite depiction of the painter as the subject in the vein of Picasso’s theme of artist and model or her subjects within a reflective mood that captures the inner essence of her sitters. Hildebrandt’s self-portrait takes a distinctly more feminist slant with her subversion of the blonde stereotype as a cultural artifact to be struck down by social judgment of women by character rather than physical appearance. Morgan’s seemingly photorealistic nude studies of her female subjects in regal, fleshy contrapposto are interrupted by the Renaissance era obsession with anatomical studies and the corporeal attention to tight detail of blood and lighting. Thomas’ cartoon-like self-portraits gently mix expressive gestures of the artist as a provocative minstrel with obsessive graffiti and stencils like Pensato crashing into Twombly. Willis depicts a colorful portrait of a terrified male that mixes up horror and insanity to suggest the madness of our fast-paced lives today. Brock’s examination of the spiritual conflict between the abstract pattern of the magical diamond and the figurative self-portrait of himself as an alligator derived from a dream becomes an universal archetype of an artist as a restless wanderer always looking for that elusive chord of resolve. His paintings express an innate freedom of the artist to use whatever tools he or she has on hand ranging from oil to spray paint to flashe for the building of self-identity. Like Brock’s works, Morgan and Mramor’s collaborations also explore the conflict between the figurative and abstract worlds within a painter’s vocabulary. In a creative homage to the Surrealist movement, the duo mash up graffiti stencils with precisely rendered photorealism while illustrating the linguistic pun of eye/I as the epitome of self-creation.

Various portraits focus on the unit of society beyond that of the single individual, particularly on how one person relates to the environment, within conceptual landscapes impacted by the human touch even though humans seem to be mostly absent. Kun’s fascinating paintings of a man dwarfed by his placidly rustic landscape interrupted by the absurdity of human or animal activities whether it be nuclear explosions or parachuting soldiers or mutant reindeers. He allows the viewer to ponder how humanity perceives and controls Nature. Is an artist a shaman over a fictional Nature in a parallel universe? Duval’s pastel-hued wallscape depict a world of interrupted boundaries where political identities are defined by our global dissolution of nations into a new world order threatens to erase our cultural uniqueness. Even though Kun’s and Duval’s portraits seem to be more environmental and political than the previous set of portraits of single individuals, these pieces study the way that our single identities are molded by external cultural or scientific factors that surround us every single day.

The final set of portraits delve into the world of pure abstraction where the artist attempts to translate his or her innermost thoughts of his or her personality into a formal language of abstract marks on the work itself. Dunker’s painting is a literal depiction of a geometric composition derived from her own psychology merged into hard-edge brushstrokes that masks her own identity rather than a landscape as a translated form of an actual scene in reality with the touch of personal effects. Coffelt’s complex abstractions combine his own fascination with electrical circuit boards infused with a personalized color scheme and a mechanical symphony of synthetic patterns reminiscent of Halley’s work. Tegeder’s installation of an encyclopedia of her drawings deploying a collision between lines and shapes into balanced forms (of which the original version had these drawings translated digitally into sonic landscapes played over speakers) reflect her own love of classical music, particularly Scriabin, as well as reflecting on art history tied into musical composition, particularly the Suprematists and Kandinsky, within the context of our era of seemingly random information where a tidbit of Paris Hilton’s life is equal to an axiom of Wittgenstein’s book. Tegeder’s work reminds us that refined draftsmanship is the basis for the portrait as a philosophically viable idea rather than simply a straightforward portrayal of a human being. One could argue that her piece is a scalpel into the human soul that is part of the inexpressible.

INTERVIEWER: Whew, this is a lot to take in! I really cannot wait to see this exhibition soon. Any final thoughts?

CURATORS: We are excited to see how the public responds to our comprehensive survey of portraiture and self-portraiture during the past decade that extends on the human subject as depicted by Currin and Yuskavage during the 1990’s. Hopefully all of you can check out our new media portrait of the exhibition at and also there will be a physical catalogue/artist’s book for the show as well with introductions by Matt Jones, New York painter who is featured in this show, as well as Brian Staker, art reviewer for the Salt Lake City Weekly and freelance journalist. PROST!

For further information or visual information, please contact the gallery at (310) 287-4200 or at or

February 13th, 2010

February 5th at Claire Oliver Fine Art, talking about my paintings included in the Antidote.


(left to right) “Tiger Woods,” 2009, oil on canvas mounted on wood, 16″ x 12″. “The Salahis,” 2010, oil on canvas mounted on wood, 18″ x 18″. “Susan Boyle,” 2010, oil on canvas mounted on wood, 16″ x 12″.

February 4th, 2010

lil'wayne smdixportraitsmokerIf you have ever wanted a Tom Sanford but don’t have the piles of cash needed to buy one of my paintings perhaps you might be interested in this: Cyanaa is selling an archival limited edition print of “Lil’ Wayne” (2010) for only $200!

The image on the left is my painting “Lil’ Wayne.” It is 16 inches x 12 inches, oil on canvas mounted on wood, painted in 2010. The image on the right is the inspiration: Otto Dix’s 1913 “Self Portrait as Smoker.” I really love how Dix handled the smoke, and decided to riff on this beautiful painterly move in my portrait of Wayne Carter. I used the same basic composition as Dix, but decided to treat the smoke specifically in a painterly manner. I employed a more traditional technique to paint Weezy, using several glazes to portray him.

The painting of Lil’ Wayne is from a series of small portrait paintings of celebrities that I have been working on as of late. I have used celebrities as a device in my paintings for some time, but I do not think that these works are only about celebrity. That is to say that while this subject matter is ostensibly superficial, I think there is much more to these paintings than merely the stars that they depict.

I think that this sort of celebrity subject matter is in some sense a common denominator in our culture. These people are celebrities because almost all of us know who they are. In order to communicate we need a common experience as well as a language. We all know who these people are, and we also have pretty similar ideas about what various celebrities mean in our culture. Al Gore represents very different ideas than Snooki; we all understand  this. Sometimes these distinctions are much more nuanced: the difference between Gore and Snooki is obvious, the difference between Snooki and Paris Hilton is a little more complex. That said, we all understand these complex ideas. This level of universal understanding is useful to me, as what different celebrities have come to represent can be the basis for complex communication and it allows me to make my work accessible to as many people as possible without being at all simplistic. So, while my work is intended to be understandable to a almost anyone, I believe that this iconography is sufficiently complex to allow communication in the most highly evolved art/culture dialogue.

I was very pleased with how this painting came out and the print looks really great as well, so get them while they are still available!

January 24th, 2010

Susan Boyle (2010) sm

PartyCrashers (2010) sm

Tiger Woods (2009) smI am in a group show of several generations of contemporary painters:

The Antidote
Claire Oliver Fine Art
513 West 26th Street, NYC 10001
January 28th – March 6th, 2010
Opening: Thursday January 28th, 6-8PM

The photos shows the three small paintings that I will be exhibiting in the Antidote: Susan Boyle (2010) , The Salahis (2010) & Tiger Woods (2009).

Artists: William T. Wiley, Herb Jackson, Ulf Puder, Rina Banerjee,
Jessee McCloskey, Aaron Johnson, and Tom Sanford

In the 160 years since French painter Paul Delaroche
proclaimed “from today painting is dead”, many scholars
and critics of art have echoed his sentiments. As each new
concept or movement in the visual arts comes to the fore,
judgment is passed on all that came before it. In
Delaroche’ time, the advent of photography changed the
usefulness of painting as documentation, in the 20th
century, modernist painting transitioned paint from a
representational two dimensional medium to art grounded
in codes rather than images. In our contemporary culture
of instant access and short attention spans, painting has
once again reinvented itself.

By examining the validity and variety of painting in the post-modern era, The Antidote shines light on paint’s continued potential for innovation and influence. Uninhibited by traditionally expected technique, these artists have developed their own processes in order to best execute their
contemporary concepts in this historically rich medium. The Antidote features new works painted for
this exhibition by three generations of artists embracing paint as their medium of expression: William T.
Wiley, Herb Jackson, Rina Banerjee, Ulf Puder, Tom Sanford, Aaron Johnson and Jesse McCloskey.

Joann Moser, Senior Curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum says of William T. Wiley’s work: He has created a distinctive body of work that addresses critical issues of our time. Art, politics, war, global warming, foolishness, ambition, hypocrisy, and irony are summoned by Wiley’s fertile imagination and recorded in the personal vocabulary of symbols, puns and images that fill his objects. His wit and sense of the absurd make his art accessible to all with multiple layers of meaning revealed through careful examination. Wiley’s works employ a playful treatment of language and image, producing a nonlinear mix of words, gestures, and figures to convey his concepts.

William T. Wiley is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. and many other important museums and institutions. Wiley was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 2004.

Herb Jackson’s paintings are built up in many layers which are scraped off as they are being applied. Shapes and marks come and go as the painting develops to a hundred or more layers. There is an unmistakable dissonance between the luminous, often pearlescent colors and the raw sense of corrosion and violent gesture which Jackson’s compositions and surfaces combine to convey. The final outcome is the result of a process of discovery Jackson says is similar to the life experience itself. Herb Jackson has had over 150 one-person exhibitions and his paintings are in the permanent collection of over 100 Museums including The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. Jackson’s work was included in the first exhibition of contemporary American art, curated by Donald Kuspit and presented in the former USSR in 1989.

Ulf Puder belongs to the first tier of famous graduates of the Leipzig’s Academy of Visual Arts. Along with his peer, Neo Rauch, Puder has created a new vocabulary that combines the neo-realism prevalent in the former Eastern Germany with a surrealistic bent. The artist skillfully balances comfort and ruin as well as reality and abstraction. His assemblage of squares, symmetrical triangles and rectangles each add a different texture to a controlled sense of imminent disaster. By locating his scenes on smooth, sandy plains or glassy lakes and recording them in soft grays and purples Puder’s orderly chaotic world is both two and three dimensional, constructed and deconstructed, present and imagined.

Tom Sanford says of his work that he “hopes the subject becomes dated even before (He) finishes the painting”. Using painting, a “slow food” visual medium, the artist creates advertisement like posters of the latest tabloid gossip. By juxtaposing tradition and our throw-away contemporary society, Sanford has created his own Modern-day history paintings.

Rina Banerjee is an Indian born New York based artist whose work explores the aesthetics of exotic beauty, physical illusion and ornamental object. Her imagery stems from her dual cultural history of both eastern and western art. Banerjee seeks to transform everyday objects (and their cultural identity), recreating their identity as a thing of beauty cultural gap. Says the artist of her work: The global place is a garden made out of travel – both real and imagined – and is my illusionary world. Banerjee has exhibited her works in the Greater New York Show, PS1 MOMA, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.

Jesse McCloskey’s work is certainly representational, yet he considers himself and abstract artist. He begins each work by making several large colorful abstract paintings which he then cuts into hundreds of exacting abstract shapes. These small pieces of painted paper are then painstakingly applied to a stretched canvas, layer by layer, building up dimension, color, impact and design. Influenced by a childhood full of gothic New England legends, the final work is representational, haunting and mysterious and can be twenty to thirty layers thick.

Aaron Johnson’s frenetic patterning, drips, psychedelic swirls and iridescent globs collage to create a singular apocalyptic universe of grotesque figures and carefully controlled painterly excess. Johnson creates a strikingly effective fusion of paint, process, and image that oozes evil. In his latest series of works, the artist takes on the old masters, reinventing an established vocabulary of imagery while creating a dichotomy of old/new, east/west, painting/design. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith says of the work: if you look carefully it is all there in works that are visceral, beautiful and flamboyantly timely, which is saying a lot.

Aaron Johnson’s work has been exhibited at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO, Art House Texas, Austin, TX and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY.

For more information:

January 21st, 2010

Autographs $5

Brent Birnbaum’s ICE ICE MAYBE in store appearance at Ted Reiderer’s NEVER RECORDS went extremely well. Brent channeled Vanilla Ice with such gusto that not only did he autograph and sell hundreds (well at least well over one hundred) of Sanford/Birnbaum prints, but he also signed almost as many body parts. Yes he signed boobs!

We still have a few prints left which we are selling off over the internet to people who weren’t able to be at the performance, they are moving at a pretty good clip, so if you want one ACT NOW! If you are interested you can send Brent an email with you address and the name you want the print to be autographed to. They still only cost $5 but we are adding an additional $5 on internet sales to cover the added costs, such as shipping, packing and paypal fees for a total of $10. Brent will send your limited addition print out asap once ordered and bill you via paypal. Email Brent at

Here are some photos of the event, but if you want more check out VANILLA twICE – Brent’s offical ICE ICE MAYBE site. He is available for parties and bar mitzvahs….

January 18th, 2010

ICE w fans Yo Tom,

How was the rest of your weekend? That was fun and I’m kinda glad its over…. as far as the prints goes: WE SOLD MAD PRINTS. I bought a fresh pair of SKIDZ and got the 5.0 detailed to celebrate. I do have a few prints left over and if there are any of the V.I.P. Posse who weren’t able to get into the show (due to lines around the block – for realz) I can hook up a few peeps if they don’t sleep on this and move fast….

people can PAYPAL me $10 through my email:
($5.00 – print   and    $5.00 – packaging, shipping, paypal fee)

select: this is a purchase of:  Goods.

Also, please email me your name and address after you paypal me,
and the prints will go out ASAP.

if your not down with paypal, checks can be mailed to:

Brent Birnbaum
723 Humboldt #2
Brooklyn, NY 11222


December 23rd, 2009


No Longer Empty is putting on a show called Never Can Say Goodbye at the (now defunct) flagship location of Tower Records at East 4th street and Broadway in money makin’ Manhattan. I am excited to be collaborating with Brent Birnbaum in the show, as part of Ted Reiderer’s NEVER RECORDS installation.

Ted will be realizing a grand, multi-artist installation in which he will create a simulation of a long forgotten relic of the 20th Century: the record store. Ted’s project, called NEVER RECORDS, will include work and merch from a whole bunch of artists:

Richard Hambleton | Ted Riederer | Josh Shaddock | Stephanie Syjuko | Brent Birnbaum | Shane Caffrey | Nicholas Brooks | Ryan Sullivan | Doug McQueen | Allison Hester | James Rubio | Richard Barnes | Ted O’Sullivan/Rebecca Potts | Michelle Matson | Brendan Carney | Arturo Vega | Tom Sanford | Johnny T. Yerington | Chris Yerington | Jay Ivcevich

Where I come in is in collaboration with Brent Birnbaum. During the opening reception for the show, Brent will appear dressed as Vanilla Ice (c. 1990 of course) and do a performance which he calls ICE ICE MAYBE. The performance will resemble an “in store appearance,” where Brent will assume the character of Rob Van Winkle’s 1990’s cross-over hip hop villain/scapegoat Vanilla Ice, and he will autograph some ICE ICE MAYBE merchandise, which I had a hand in creating. I am not exactly sure whether or not he will spit some white-boy flava, but I guess there is a chance, depending on how “full of 8-ball” he is. Either way, I know for a fact that Brent has a full array of V.I.P. Posse dance moves.

For my part, I have made a couple of my poster paintings in support of Brent’s vanilla vision. One of the posters is to publicize the performance (pictured above) the other will be reproduced in 8X10 form and autographed for fans willing to wait in line and thus “participate” in Brent’s Rob Van Winkle re-awakening. Those who do cue up to meet ICE will not only have the opertunity to have a brief chat with with the pseudo-star, but will get the chance to purchase his autograph on a LIMITED EDITION ARCHIVABLE* BRENT BIRNBAUM/TOM SANFORD PRINT FOR ONLY 5 DOLLARS!

Brent and I have produced a very limited edition print of one of the posters that i painted for his performance. The print will be signed by both of us artists and numbered one of two hundred and fifty. In addition ICE ICE MAYBE will autograph every print bought to the lucky fan on the spot and personalize it with an ice cool vanilla message. If you bring a camera you will even be allowed to take one photo with ICE ICE MAYBE with each print purchased. So get to the opening early so not to miss your chance to get you print and photo op.

* These prints are archivable in that one can archive them. We make no claim that the paper is in any way archival, in fact it was selected to approximate the quality of the pages of the Tiger Beat magazines that inspired Brent’s performance. Anyway they look great and judging by Brent’s collection of Tiger Beat magazines they should hold up for at least 20 years with absolutely no quality issues.

Never Can Say Goodbye will open on January 15th from 6-8PM, and be open for at least a month. No firm end date has been established as of now. The show will be in the old Tower Records location on the northeast corner of East 4th street & Broadway.

In addition to the artists participating in NEVER RECORDS, the following other artists are also contributing to Never Can Say Goodbye:

Ryan BrennanJoe DiebesLuke DuboiRichard Garet | Nir Hod | Josh Jordan | Kaz Oshiro | Ted Reiderer | Naama Tsabar | Meredyth Sparks | Seibren VersteegPaul VilinskiInvader | Bob Gruen | Dario Robleto | Jason Farrell | Brandi Merolla |Arturo Vega/DeeDee Ramone | Exene Cervenka | Olaf Bruening | Jake Berthot | Jeff Beebe | Marylin Minter | Jason Losh | Evan Gruzis | Damon Locks |Steven Bindernagel | Ethan Minsker | Mike Egan | Mathew Bradley | James Woodward

Curated by Manon Slome, NLE; Steven Evans, Dia Art Foundation; and Asher Remy-Toledo, NLE.

November 20th, 2009

Judith and Holofornes

Ridykeulouse Hits Bottom opens tonight at Leo Koenig Projekte and includes this drawing by Aaron Johnson. I checked out the show yesterday while the Ridykeulouse ladies were installing. It is a really wonderfully vulgar show, and one would expect nothing less – lots of exceptional work, including Aaron’s gruesome drawing. The show includes work by the following artists:

A.K. Burns, Aaron Johnson, Anna Sew Hoy, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Cody Critcheloe/ssion, Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff*, Dana Schutz, Dawn Frasch, Dawn Kasper, Dawn Mellor, Dean Daderko as Referee, Eve Fowler & Math Bass, Explosion Robinson, Fastwurms, Leidy Churchman, Two Serious Ladies, Ulrike Muller, Zackary Drucker + A.L. Steiner

I wanted to post Aaron’s drawing, not only because I love it, but also because it is of my wife Alex and I. When Alex and I got married back in 2007 Aaron gave us a lovely drawing of Alex and I, or at least monstrously ghoulish versions of us. In our drawing I am putting a ring on Alex’s finger in honor of our nuptials. We love the drawing and currently have it in our kitchen. At the time he told me that this was not the original wedding gift drawing, but the first one was not appropriate for the occasion and so he had made a second drawing which he presented to us.

I had forgotten about this, until Aaron told me that Nicole Eisenmann had asked him to participate in the Ridykeulouse show and had selected the original wedding drawing for the show – needless to say I was eager to see the first drawing. It is great as well. I guess I do understand why he thought better than to give us a picture of Alex decapitating me on our wedding day,  as perhaps it is not the most conventional marriage portrait – but brilliant none the less. Bravo Mr. Johnson, you are the master of monsters!

November 11th, 2009

DimebagIt seems that my 2005 painting “The Assassination of Dimebag Darrell” is going back to auction and this has re-ignited the ire of Dimebag’s fans. In fact I learned of the auction through a surge in the regular trickle of hate mail/criticism that this piece engenders. Roadrunner records blog, called Blabbermouth, posted a short (and I thought remarkably fair) article about my painting and the upcoming Phillips de Pury auction. This post was picked up by various other metal blogs and was heavily commented on by their readers. The post linked to my website, and led to an onslaught of email to me. Most of the email amounted to cursing me out while accusing me of crimes ranging from poor taste to exploiting the death of Dimebag. I guess that I am guilty of both.

Back in early 2005, when I made the painting, the reaction of Dimebag’s fans was actually not on my mind. I was interested in this tragedy as a historical event that occurred in our media saturated world, but was without a defining image of the event. Normally the pervasive 24-hour news and infotainment industry is able to define news worthy events with an image or video. In this case the event was only captured in the accounts of witnesses who saw the horrific event live at the Alrosa Villa. This afforded me an opportunity to make a painting that might be the only visual depiction of the tragedy, and yes I exploited this opportunity.

In my defense I thought it to be an extremely significant event, and one that needed to be remembered. I thought my painting might help remember the tragedy. The painting is certainly in poor taste, but I think that when one is describing a mass murder, etiquette is really not an issue.

Poor taste is pretty much the baseline criteria for my work, so fundamental to my project that I really do not consider it when I make a painting. I have no interest in being in good taste. My work is always subjective, inaccurate and incorrect, and I stand behind this position. I am however surprised that Metal fans would be so sensitive to taste, as it seems that their genre of music operates in a context without taste. For fucks sake, Dimebag played a guitar with a rebel flag painted on it! For any non Americans who might read this, the rebel flag is a symbol of the civil war era American south. While it is not solely a symbol of a pro-slavery political position, it cannot be divorced from this meaning, much like the swastika is forever linked to the holocaust. While I would not pretend to know Dimebag’s views on anything, and certainly not race, I do think this guitar shows he was not concerned with issues of etiquette or sensitivity to people’s feelings. I would hope I would be allowed a similar social leeway as a fellow artist. Neither paintings nor flags kill people – crazy fucks like Nathan Gale do.

More generally, I certainly respect anyone’s right to get their panties in bunch about something they find offensive. But I can’t help but be amused by the irony of this particular situation. The iconography of metal heavily features imagery of violence. The culture police are constantly complaining about its offensive and obscene song lyrics. Many, many metal albums depict images of war, rape, murder etc etc. And when the PMRC (et al.) complain I would be the first to tell them to shove it up their ass. I didn’t mean this painting to be offensive, but I am not in the least bit sorry if it is. That is not to say that I don’t empathize with the family and friends of Dimebag and all the victims, their loss must have been horrible beyond anything I can comprehend. But Art’s job is not to be polite.

I guess this little dust up between me and a few vocal metal fans gets at larger issues in my work and I am glad to get the chance to address them. For the most part I am of the opinion that most contemporary painting has little relevance in our larger culture, except for that some paintings can be extremely valuable luxury goods. But since I really love making paintings, and it’s all I’ve ever been much good at or interested in, I try to think of ways to make paintings that are relevant memes in our current context. I admit that I fail at this often, however all of the hubbub around this painting confirms it as a success in terms of my criteria (despite its extremely low monetary value judging by auction estimates!) I honestly didn’t make this painting with the intention of being transgressive (and I have made things with that goal in mind and would gladly admit it). That being said the fact that this painting is so extremely controversial in some circles is a testament to the power a painting can have and i guess this is extremely empowering for artists.

November 1st, 2009


I’m in another group show curated by Guillermo Creus. It is only open two days, but there are some really excellent artists in the show – so it’s worth the trip to Bushwick if you have the time.

FORTRESS TO SOLITUDE a portrait show

November 7th and 8th, 2009

Opening reception November 6th, 6-9

245 Boerum Street,

Brooklyn NY 11206

Participating artists:

Mauricio Alejo – Jonathan AllenLucas Blalock – Phong Bui – Katie CommodorePeter DobillGlen FogelSebastian Gross-Ossa – Karen Heagle – Andrew Hurst – Barney Kulok – Anne Kunsemiller – Christopher LeeLauren Monk – Antony Patti – William PowhidaDon Pedro Pablo – Tom Sanford  – Ash Sechler - Alfred Steiner - Pablo Tauler – Cibele Vieira

Curated by Guillermo Creus

October 24th, 2009


Here is a reposting of an interview that Scott from Look Into My Owl art blog did with me. Scott also runs an artpress called Now Here Limited and we are planning to do a print version of one of my paintings soon. I am reposting the interview in order to add comprehensive likage. The orginal is here.

Your studio is located in Tribeca, anything significant happening there that might interest my readers?

Tribeca is a pretty great place to have one’s studio for several reasons. There are multiple art supply stores within walking distance (Pearl Paint, Soho Art Supply, and Dick Blick). Another plus is there are a few really great galleries that are only a short walk away, such as Deitch Projects, Team, Spencer Brownstown, Jack Hanley, Renwick, and Canada. I am also a 10-minute subway ride from Chelsea, so it is pretty easy to see art when I need a break. After working in the studio, I have the Nancy Whiskey Pub just down the street where I can grab a beer and a burger while I watch a ballgame. But the best thing about my location is that I am centrally located so it is pretty easy for most people to come by and visit me, no matter where they are in the city.

What combination of forces led you to becoming an artist?

I guess initially it was a series of bad decisions and failures that made becoming a professional artist my only real option. When I was an undergrad at Columbia, I was an economics major, however I had little facility for it and after I was awarded the staggeringly low grade of a C- in econometrics (almost unheard of due to grade inflation), it was clear to me that my future was not an analyst for a hedge fund. At the time I was minoring in art, and perhaps it was the 60 or so hours a week I would spend on my one art class per semester that lead to poor results in my economics classes. The only sensible thing to do seemed to be to change my major and graduate with a BA in Visual Art. After college, I realized that with an art degree I was all but unemployable in a mainstream sense. I really had no other choice than to start working for various artists (mainly Alexis Rockman, Deborah Kass & Gregory Amenoff) as well as various other extremely odd jobs. As it turns out, working for actual artists is really the only way to learn how to be an artist. I’m not saying you can’t learn how to make art in other places, but if you hope to go pro, this is the way to learn the business and what it means to be an artist. So, for a few years I lived on as little money as possible so that I could devote as much time to painting and living the fast life of a young New York artist. Soon enough I was showing my art pretty regularly and after a while I was selling enough to quit my other jobs. I guess it was at that point that I became a full-on artist and have been so for the past six years. At this point, having been out of college for about a decade without any experience that one could put on a resume, I am pretty much resigned to a life of art.

Your Tompac experiment (linked here) garnished a lot of attention, good and bad. How was that experience?

At the risk of revealing my intellectual laziness, I am going to go ahead and lift my answer directly from an interview Qi Peng did with me a few months ago:

….I certainly do hope to grow up “young black and famous / money hanging out the anus” (Sean Combs), but my TomPAC project, and for that matter, my series of paintings of gangsta rappers, were not primarily about Hip Hop. I have always been extremely interested not only in the music and aesthetics of Hip Hop culture, but also in Hip Hop as a truly postmodern form. As an art form, it has gone beyond outdated ideas of authorship and originality. This being said, my art projects that you asked about (the paintings and TomPAC) are about the notion that it is a transgressive action for, in the case of the paintings, a white male artist to depict black men, and later in the case of the TomPAC project, I upped the ante by claiming to be a black man. The idea was initially inspired by Jack Early & Rob Pruitt’s controversial 1992 exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery called “Red, Black, Green, Red, White and Blue” which dealt with black male identity and stereo-types. The reaction to the show was so extremely negative that the two artists were essentially kicked out of the art world for about a decade. I started painting black rappers in 2000 in large part to test this taboo. I soon decided that mere paintings in this case represented too little risk on my part, so in 2003 I transformed myself into TomPAC, a white version of the dead rapper Tupac Shakur. This project attracted a lot of media attention from places like NPR, MTV and the LA Times. While people were interested in the tattooing, piercing, head shaving, pot smoking etc., I regarded these aspects of the project merely performative flourishes. The real issue was whether it was ok for a white man to pretend to be a dead black man, and what does it mean that he does this? The public reaction to this project was pretty overwhelming, and in large part negative, but that was precisely the point of the project. Interestingly enough, white liberals/intellectuals and neo-nazis seemed equally uncomfortable with my claim on Tupac. Certainly some people of color were uneasy with it, but not all were, and once i explained the agenda of the project for the most part people where interested and less offended by it. I really don’t have much desire to do another racially provocative project. I learned a lot from that work and it is among the art of which I am most proud; however I have said what I needed to say on the subject. As to the article in XXL, that was not a review, but it is probably the coolest piece of press i have ever received. Back in 2006 XXL did a special issue to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tupac’s death, and they included my project on their timeline of important Tupac related events – I guess I am a footnote in the official history of Tupac Shakur and I’ll drink to that!”

After reading this answer in the previous interview, my friend and colleague, Justin Lieberman provided an insightful critique of my answer:

“Why do you say that post-modernism does away with authorship and originality? To me, it is only the neo-conservative version of post-modernism that does this. And I think you have offered a clue to this very thing when you point out that white liberals and neo-nazis were offended. I mean really, what does this say? It would be reductive to say that these two groups are the same because they are both offended by the painting. In the case of the neo-nazis, perhaps they were offended because you pulled the “other” too close, creating a situation in which there was no difference. It is easy to piss off neo-nazis, I’m sure that they find “Will and Grace” equally offensive. To them different equals primitive and base. The whole program of the nazis was based on an aestheticisation of the political. They see difference as degraded, low, against civilization. And so they try to get rid of it. White liberals are a different story. They PRETEND that there is no difference, that black and white can be united in harmony and so they ignore (or in Obama’s words “press the reset button”) the violence of colonialism. They pretend it doesn’t exist and do not speak of it and so they leave it hanging in the air because they are incapable of ACCEPTING difference. But your images seem to show the disjunction that occurs when you do the exact opposite of the neo-nazis, that is, pull the other in as close as possible. But in doing this aren’t you insisting on the neo-nazi’s conception of this difference, and just showing the reverse side of it? The white liberals pretend it isn’t there, The neo-nazis push it as far away as possible, and the surrealists pull it in as closely as possible. The whole idea rests on the idea that “further away equals more primitive”. A conflation of subconscious drives with geographical distance.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Justin’s criticism as well as his very astute point about the issue at the core of my project. I was a bit lazy and narrow with my usage of postmodernism and again due to this intellectual lethargy, I will leave it at that.

Can we expect any more experimental/performance work from you down the line?

I wouldn’t rule it out, but I would probably only go down that path if it addressed a problem I was running into in my painting, and I am very unlikely to do another extreme makeover type project – that sort of thing is so 2003. I am currently working on a few quasi-conceptual projects, but they are a little more long term. For instance, I have been contacting and trying to meet other people named Tom Sanford, then painting them. This project goes in fits in starts, as in order to travel to meet another Tom Sanford I need to have both extra time and money. I have met four other Tom Sanfords thus far. Recently I’ve come across another Tom Sanford, who is a police chief in Dalhart Texas, and he has been in the news with regard to a homicide case. I have spent almost no time in Texas and this might be a good excuse to visit.

Many of your recent paintings are based on current events. Do you anticipate becoming bored with the world or can you imagine a lifetime of work reflecting your personal external highlights?

Hmmm…”personal external highlights”? That isn’t how I would put it. Most of the current events that I choose to paint are anything but highlights. In fact I would say the “history painting” genre of my work focuses exclusively on the low points, the most horrific and bizarre moments in recent history. Of course, crazy and awful things seem to be happening all the time, but my paintings take me quite some time, so I have to be selective and I tend to gravitate towards events that seem particularly culturally poignant to me at the time. It is hard to say how long this avenue of investigation will interest me, but as long as people are doing things like balloon boy hoaxes to get on reality TV (just the latest nonsense as I type) there is no end of material in sight.

Could you take us on a tour of “The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbridge” painting?

This painting is one of my history paintings. The scale is quite grand, about 7 feet tall and 9 feet wide, so it is on the level of the sorts of big battle paintings that you might find at Versailles or the Louvre, however in this case I did not have a particular painting in mind.

I picked this event, first because of timing, as the event took place just as I was finishing up a large painting of the Black Friday WalMART stampede of 2008, and I was looking for a new subject. I also picked it because this event so beautifully illustrates global economics and the power dynamics of a pluralistic world. And besides, I love the idea of living in a world where pirates roam the Indian Ocean.

In all seriousness, while this particular transaction between the pirates and Maersk went tragically wrong (at least from the pirates point of view) – it was fascinating to learn about this little industry of hijacking and cargo insurance that seems to be benefiting all parties involved (except I guess the crews of the hijacked boats that often spend months in limbo while the terms of ransom are negotiated like any other run of the mill international business deal). In the case of the Maersk Alabama, it is clear that the pirates misjudged the reaction of the US government, or more likely didn’t realize that the Alabama was an American vessel. And of course the stand-off was a beautiful case of asymmetrical warfare when it doesn’t work out for the little guy.

In my painting I took some liberties when depicting the scene in the life raft where captain Richard Phillips was held by the three ill-fated pirates. First of all, the actual raft itself had a covered top, which I changed for sake of the image. I also altered Captain Phillips to look quite a bit like the Bill Murray character (Steve Zissou) from Wes Anderson’s movie The Life Aquatic. And for that matter, I also referred to the pirates from The Life Aquatic when designing the look of the Somali pirates in my painting. I also chose to give my pirates some of the classic accoutrements of their profession, such as a peg leg, a hook for a hand, and a skull & cross bones flag, for comic effect and to heighten the lopsided nature of this standoff. I made sure to have three African vultures as a nod to the ultimate fate of the three pirates on the raft. I also enjoyed adding circling sharks and toxic waste, which I understand are accurate to the location and add some drama to the scene.

If you could have any celebrity alive or dead stop in at your studio, who would it be and why?

As much as my work might suggest otherwise, I am actually not generally interested in meeting celebrities. In fact, I fear that meeting the ones that I am interested in would likely humanize my perception of them, and render that celebrity useless to me as far as my work goes. I don’t have any interest in celebrities as people. I use celebrities in my work for what they represent in our culture – they are symbols, archetypes, allegories, or metaphors, but certainly not people. This is not to say that I am not interested in people – quite the contrary. I love people and I am pretty social. I would not want to be unfair to people, especially ones that I know and have empathy for, and that is why I am very careful about how I depict non-celebrities in my work. Actually meeting a celebrity would ruin our relationship, at least as far as I am concerned. I guess the larger point is that my work makes no effort to be fair to celebrities or to any event or issue that I tackle. I am not interested in being correct, I would go as far to say that any art that is correct, or fair, or defensible is almost certainly uninteresting, and in my mind, bad art. I think art does very well at expressing opinion and viewpoints, but it is an absolutely lousy vehicle if you want to express the truth. That said, I would like to have Cosimo de’ Medici to my studio, if he could be counted as a celebrity. I like to think that he might be sympathetic to my work.

It is clear that you enjoy painting. What else places demands on your time? Please describe your perfect “day off.”

I don’t really have any hobbies apart from my art. I try to take a day off each week and spend it with my wife. And any day with her is a perfect day (assuming it doesn’t involve too much shopping or other chores). When the weather is nice we tend to take walks around our neighborhood in Harlem, or go over to the Bronx for a Yankee game (we are only two subway stops from the stadium), or on special occasions we like to go to the horse track. When the weather is bad we watch a lot of television, cook, occasionally the shooting range, and sometimes we go to a museum – our favorite is the Frick Collection.

Anything coming up that we should know about?

I have a show coming up at the end of November at Gallerie Erna Hecey in Brussels.

October 21st, 2009

DimebagOne of my most discussed paintings, at least on the internet, is The Assassination of Dimebag Darrell (2005). So, it seemed fitting when I received this, my first piece of fan mail to my new and improved website from an admirer of the painting:


well first off i dont know how you can call your self an artist painting stuff like that…being a dime bag fan and him being my idol i find that piece of “art” i find it very offensive…even if you are trying to show your respects to him it is still wrong..did you even stop to think what dime bags fans would feel seeing something like that..his death hurt so many people and changed the music era for ever…he is a amazing respectable person and that piece of “art” to me is disrespectful…in the future if i where you when i wanted to paint or draw a respectable musican or celeb dont show the way they died…do something peaceful something people would love to have on their wall or computer. You Should be ashamed of yourself and that piece of “art”. and i am not the only one who would feel this way about it. Amanda Mollica


Thanks, Amanda. I am really glad that you enjoyed my painting, and enthusiastic responses such as yours confirm my feeling that it is one of my best. I think of it as a history painting that attempts to depict one of the more bizarrely tragic moments of the past decade. Dimebag’s death was certainly a great loss to the music world and a truly poignant cultural event – a real rock hero slain on stage by a seemingly psychotic fan. A horrifying symptom of the kind of cultural malaise that permeated  Bush II era America. In a way this painting is my answer to Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa. One of the things that interested me about making a painting about this event was that as there was almost no visual documentation of the event, just some very unclear security camera footage from the Alrosa Villa. Thus, there was little to get in the way of my imagination of what this might have actually looked like and I was able to base my painting on the oral reports from witnesses of the four murders as well as Nathan Gale’s eventual death. As you probably know, these gruesome accounts were all over the news and the internet in the following days and months.


Btw Amanda, I tried to look you up on facebook to friend you, but your address is attached to the profile of an Amanda More – cookie monster 69, huh? I’m not sure if I want to even consider what this implies – a bit much for my delicate sensibilities!

October 14th, 2009


Yesterday Jens-Peter Brask visited my studio and told me about a guy in Denmark who had customized his kitchen cabinets with large printouts of my painting. So I friended Jacob Schøler on facebook and sure enough he had photos of the custom Sanford kitchen.

I guess he pulled them off my website? The photos Jacob has on facebook are pretty small files, so i can’t see how the resolution held up but I think the cabinets look really great. This unexpected quasi-honor makes me think perhaps I have a future in home decor or maybe I could get on Top Design (a la Ryan Humphrey). I eagerly await IKEA’s offer to design kitchens. In the mean time, any and all contractors, interior designers, or DIYers are welcome to use my intellectual property in order to liven up that kitchen nook, just let me know first please!

October 12th, 2009

TOO BIG TO FAIL Another group show: TOO BIG TO FAIL is curated by Dan Heidkamp and is at the new NADA Gallery Space at 395 FLATBUSH EXTENSION in downtown Brooklyn, USA.

PLEASE NOTE: it is not 395 Flatbush, but 395 FLATBUSH EXTENSION which is at the Fulton Mall. It is the same block as the Nevins Street 2,3,4,5 as well as the DeKalb B,M,Q,R Station. I made this mistake and went to 395 Flatbush yesterday to see the space and it is a half hour walk from there to get to 395 Flatbush Extension. CLICK HERE FOR A MAP.


“TOO BIG TO FAIL” brings together big paintings from 16 contemporary artists whose creativity and impact are impervious to swings in the marketplace or capricious fashionable trends. The sheer size and grandiosity of the paintings, boldly displayed, transform a derelict space into the magical realm.  These works provide both the artist and the viewer an engine for creativity and claim an unassailable significance beyond the realm of any art world paradigm.

The show is sponsored by NADA and LaMontagne Gallery. N.A.D.A. (New Art Dealers Alliance) has procured a block of large vacant commercial storefronts at 395 Flatbush Ave in Downtown Brooklyn for exhibition purposes. This show will be (partly) installed and set up by Sunday October 18th to coincide with the “Nada County Affair” event, with an official opening the following Friday the October 23rd.

OPENING RECEPTION: 6-8PM Oct 23rd 2009. This will be very fun. The exhibition will run until JAN.

James Wagner on the show & NADA store fronts.

September 30th, 2009

IMG_1714Earlier this summer Manon Slome asked me to be in the 3rd installment of No Longer Empty at the Invisible Dog. When I checked the space it seemed perfect for a site specific project, and a lot of the work proposed by the other artists in the exhibition was going to be made out of materials found at the venue, which was filled with the remains of its past: a belt and dog collar factory abandoned for the last 5 years or so.


In order to make my piece site specific, while also a painting, I decided to make a mural. A mural is of course by definition fixed in place, painted on the wall, and so site specific. I also wanted it to be site specific in concept, and so the mural should be a product of its location, just as a chandelier made of old belt buckles found in the factory would be (another piece in the show). I decided that I would paint a mural of the L&L taxi service / detective agency from Jonathan Lethem’s novel Motherless Brooklyn (1999).  In Lethem’s novel, L&L was located at Smith and Bergen – the same block as the Invisible Dog, so this mural refers to the history (albeit fictional) of the city block that is its location. It would also be a tribute to Lethem, who grew up in the area and still lives around the corner.


As we (I was helped by  Don Liestman, Michael Hilsman, and Josh Jordan) worked on the mural, passersby would recognize the subject matter and tell us that they knew Lethem as he lived in the neighborhood. So, once the mural was done, I asked a friend who works in publishing if she might be able to get a message to Mr. Lethem. Within an hour or two Jonathan was in touch and was very kind to agree to meet me at the mural. Jonathan was super generous with his time (especially as he was only a few days from the launch of his latest book Chronic City) and spent some time with Josh Jordan and I checking out the mural. He even came to the opening a few days later. 


Motherless Brooklyn has an ongoing theme of (as Frank Minna would say) “Wheels within Wheels” – or different layers of truth so that things are always more complicated than they might seem at first glance. With this in mind, I asked Josh Jordan to paint Frank Minna’s portrait within my mural, so as to create a painting within a mural, wheels within wheels. Josh generously agreed and his portrait of the departed Frank Minna is my favorite part of the piece. It turned out that Josh is also a big fan of the book (and lives on the same block in Greenpoint where Frank Minna was killed and stuffed into a dumpster in the book). While the Motherless Brooklyn mural is my piece, I think of the portrait of Frank Minna as an autonomous work of art functioning within the mural – or at least a reference to Josh, and this text serves as its footnote.

September 28th, 2009

Motherless Brooklyn MuralBROOKLYN, SEPTEMBER 28, 2009 — The Invisible Dog, a former belt factory in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn and the much loved home of the novelty gag of the 70s, the “INVISIBLE DOG,” will re-open on October 3 with an exhibition organized by NO LONGER EMPTY. NLE is a not for profit whose mission is to revive the numerous vacated storefronts and empty spaces throughout New York City. Many of the works presented in the exhibition reflect both the history of the space and the oxymoronic construct of the Invisible Dog:  a fantasy, a legend, something born out of nothing.  Artists have also been given the opportunity to work with the many trimmings, reels of fabric, leather and other materials left behind at the factory at the request of director, Lucien Zayan, who understood their future artistic value.

One of the featured artists, Tom Sanford, has created a site-specific (both location and subject matter) mural for the exhibition, called “L&L Taxi (Motherless Brooklyn)” based on Jonathan Lethem’s novel “Motherless Brooklyn” (1999). Sanford chose this subject matter because the Invisible Dog is located on the same block as the fictional L&L taxi / detective agency in Lethem’s novel (Bergen & Smith). The 12 x 22 ft mural imagines L&L in the present day, ten years after the story ends in the novel, with characters Lionel Essrog, Gilbert Coney, Loomis & Danny Fantl (left to right in the painting) still on Bergen street operating the L&L taxi service (no longer a detective agency) with a portrait of the departed Frank Minna on the wall in remembrance. The mural celebrates the history (albeit fictional) of Smith & Bergen, and honors one of Brooklyn’s many important contemporary authors.

Sanford claims that he “also decided to make the mural because I understand that actor Edward Norton in producing a film adaptation of “Motherless Brooklyn”. Norton will play Lionel Essrog, the orphan detective with a poetic case of Tourette syndrome from whose prospective Motherless Brooklyn is written. While Norton is a fine actor, he is nothing like how I imagine Lionel, and I thought I would take this opportunity to put my two cents in with regards to making the visual version of the characters of the book. A sort of one man insurgence against the Hollywood, the dominant force of visual imagination in our culture.”

Other artists in the exhibition include: Thomas Bell, Ryan Brennan, Amanda Browder, Gina Czarneck, Jeanette Doyle, Richard Garet, Monika Grzymala, Guerra de la Paz (Alain Guerra & Neraldo de la Paz), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Kaarina Kaikkonen, Sarah Modiano, Miguel Palma, José Parlá, Rey Parlá, Ian Rawlinson & Nick Crowe, Tom Sanford, Keith Schweitzer, Francesco Simeti, Alfred Steiner, Giuseppe Stampone, Giles Lyon, Steve deFrank.

NO LONGER EMPTY was conceived as a meeting point between art and the economic crisis.  The organization seeks to provide a challenging platform to artists whose opportunities have been similarly curtailed by the economic ravages and to revitalize empty commercial spaces by creating more traffic, showing the sites filled with positive energy instead of bordered up shells. The organization also hopes to encourage the local business community of each area through the increased flow of visitors that these exhibitions will bring. A supporting program of events has been planned that will include band nights and performances.

The Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn.