by Franco Mondini-Ruiz
Excerpt taken from the the New York Times, Art in Review by Roberta Smith on Franco Mondini-Ruiz's exhibition of 400 paintings entitled "Quattrocento" at the Frederieke Taylor Gallery.
If you like your paintings small, cheap and cute, Franco Mondini-Ruiz's pointedly irreverent way of making and selling art may appeal. True to its title, his exhibition consists of 400 canvases, all cleverly titled: fantasy landscapes and portraits, glamorous interiors, poodles and Venetian fetes whose dashed-off verve hovers somewhere between Thomas Trosch's stylish ironies and the New Yorker covers of Jean-Jacques Sempé. They are $400 each.
The son of an Italian father and a Mexican mother who grew up in San Antonio, Mr. Mondini-Ruiz gave up a law career to become a full-time artist in 1995. His first works were installations that favored kitschy found objects, then smaller assemblages of same. Accessibility, portability and spontaneity were key concepts.
Invited to be in the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Mr. Mondini-Ruiz sold objects on the street in front of the museum, some of them made on the spot, for 10 cents to $10. A few years ago, he took up painting in earnest, determined to initiate people into the joys of art collecting and also to bring different communities into contact with one another. He staged shows in Charlotte, N.C., San Antonio, Rome and Florence, selling quantities of paintings for $99 or 100 euros each in a few hours. Demand never exceeded supply: if someone wanted a painting that was already sold, he would make a copy, guaranteeing that it would be ''as good or better.''
"My art is about following my impulses as to what I feel is beautiful, interesting, and poetic."
- Franco Mondini-Ruiz