Art Army Royalty Sketches by Mike Leavitt

The Art Army Royalty by Mike Leavitt
Art Army Royalty © Mike Leavitt

It’s looking like September 10th is the day I finally return Paris Hilton’s phone calls so that I can ride her private jet and fly to art shows in several disparate cities at the same time. Dril One has his first solo show in Sacramento. Twelve-year-old Super Cooper is curating his second show (a group charity benefit designed to expose the dangers of bullying) in LA. And my favorite commander of the Armed Forces, Mike Leavitt, is about to get his purple heart from Jonathan LeVine. Leavitt is throwing down the blue chips with his newest installation of Art Army figures. For his solo show at Jonathan LeVine Gallery opening September 10th in New York, he presents the superstars. He writes:

Action figures are a traditionally mass-market product. For many, these realistic toys represent a bittersweet mix of pungent nostalgia and corporate marketing. The format is one of several vehicles that have intoxicated children of recent generations with consumer culture at the earliest stages of development. Since the 1950’s, fine art has a lush history of satirizing consumer culture. The action figure medium is rarely used to effectively bridge the gap between mainstream commerce and fine art.

Art Army Royalty sketches by Mike Leavitt
Art Army Royalty sketches © Mike Leavitt

The Art Army project (consisting of hand-made polymer clay action figures rendered in the likeness and style of contemporary artists) has been a decade in the making. There are some 300 soldiers in the Art Army (even me!). For the LeVine show: “Celebrity art star icons are reduced to action figure form. This is a big freakin deal. Show of a lifetime.” The new series includes: Matthew Barney, Christo, Chuck Close, Lucian Freud, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Claes Oldenburg, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Tom Sachs, Julian Schnabel, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Frank Stella, James Turrell, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker and Ai Weiwei.

I’m bummed I can’t be there! Leavitt is currently setting up at the gallery and has promised updates later. Check out his sketches for the figures below and his artist statement and more details here.

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