Cenedella refers to Jasper John's quote, "Oil, tar, nails and socks are no less important than paint." This series, "Art about Nothing," stands on its own as a deeply, masterful, reflective series that illuminates (an aspect of) the foundation and commencement of art making.
The artist chose his medium of communication to be wooden stretcher bars that have to be milled, fabricated, joined and constructed to support the substrate canvas, mirror, or metal that becomes foundational for making a painting or assemblage according to his vision. Cenedella's usage of vast varieties of common and rare woods (combined and used singularly) becomes the vocabulary for the significance of making art. These choices inform the viewer of the structure of (a particular kind of) art making early in the process.
This series is a teaching tool that reminds us that underneath a canvas there is a construction necessary. Experiencing this collection requires the viewers to ponder many questions: where does art making begin? Does the rarity of material constitute better, more beautiful or more important art? Are commonly found chains, nuts, bolts and burnishing tools meaningful and valuable, or do only the rarest materials have to be intrinsic to a work to give it the respect of the collector and the critics?
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As a New Yorker, Cenedella has seen it all (and then painted it). From subway paintings, street scenes, famous landmarks, and Broadway shows, Bob managed to freeze moments in time and preserve them for our viewing pleasure.
Commissioned by the infamous restauranteur, Sirio Maccioni (1932-2020), Cenedella's Oil on Canvas depicts the elegance and spirit of one of the world’s most preeminent restaurants in its original setting. It is a visual feast, a family portrait including more than 100 celebrities and political habitués over the years such as Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Philip Roth, Paul Newman, Tony Randall, Sophia Loren, and Barbara Walters.
“Yes Art!” was Cenedella’s farewell to art when he decided to join an advertising agency to escape the commercialism of the art world. Predicting that this gimmick-filled show would draw more attention than any other show that year, “Yes Art!” was exhibited in 1965 at the Fitzgerald Gallery. “Yes Art!” was subsequently taken seriously and imitated by many artists, yet without the humor and commentary present in Cenedella’s work.