Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Brooklyn, Dumbo Arts Center, Emily Colucci, installation, Living Installations, Michael Alan, mixed media, performance art, soundscape, We Are All Living Installations
It isn’t even May and Brooklyn has transcended the 80 degree mark on the Fahrenheit scale. In feeling so jovial, I wanted to return to my homebase and share the excitement! The evacuation of the art community upon first mention of humidity allows for investigations of artist’s studios and a tizzy of group shows. Emergent artists and artists visiting from abroad blossom in the summertime, and the energy is unfathomable. The first stroke of genius of the season can be found at Michael Alan‘s installation occurring this weekend at Dumbo Arts Center. Alan was recently granted an award from the Brooklyn Arts Council that allowed for the rebirth of his Living Installations: an experiment in performance, artistic production, and the union of audio and visual. The production on April 21st is called We Are All Living Installations and will be curated by the ever-clever Emily Colucci, who has followed Alan’s performances closely for several years. This work will integrate a soundtrack, part of Alan’s Sound Drawing project, made over the course of the last several months featuring artists such as Japanther, Geneva Jacuzzi, Noah Becker, Kenny Scharf, and many others. The installations are loosely guided by Alan’s paintings, which are at once intense, lyrical, delicate, and incredibly aggressive. The show is like resetting and engaging your retina like you’ve never done, tasting an image in a spaghetti bowl of narrative obscurity. Tickets for the show can be purchased online through Alan’s website here.
I recently had a conversation with Michael and have posted the interview on .CRUDO, a bilingual (Spanish/English) platform for commentary on music, art, film, and video. The interview can be found here for your pleasure! Here’s a short snippet:
“LM: You started with the Draw-a-thon and moved into Living Installations, both of which engage the community while developing your own process and stressing your practice to mutate it. What might be your next move in the live sphere?
MA: The Living President Project where I dress up like the president and do dance moves on TV, pointing at weather patterns and what to buy next with girls in bikinis in the back dancing, drinking Lamborghinis. Sign up now and you can get a free scarf! Don’t you just love global warming?
LM: I read a bit about your early performances, which discuss you performing in a Freddy Kruger outﬁt and doing remixes to “Ice Ice Baby”. What direction is your current music going in, considering the slew of new collaborations?
MA: Well, luckily, I’m not dressed up like Freddy Kruger anymore. I definitely exert myself and push and turn myself inside out during the show with different material. I can joke and act out the music and scenes with the talented models (those freaks love it).”
Filed under: Uncategorized
Today is my birthday, and I am feeling overcome with gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had in the last year. This blog has been an incredible starting point for my writing and has pushed me to stay with it when I haven’t been as busy as I’ve liked. That being said, I have recently started writing for several publications you should check into!
As Contributor at Large for ON-VERGE, you can find me posting suggestions and features quite regularly. White Zinfandel and Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes are two recent subjects of my extended ramblings. I am musing a potential feature on Stanley Whitney’s mindbending exhibition at TEAM, and looking to get some more news commentary on the site as well.
MilkMade is another outlet I’ve been putting my efforts wholeheartedly into in the last month or so. Milk Studios is a treasure trove of incredible photographers, evocative fashion, and some of the most enjoyable characters I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. The Milk Gallery is home to a constantly evolving series of photographers, ranging from Cliff Watts to Kevin Erskine. The Milk Underground exhibition of emergent photographers, which finds its way to the gallery several times per year, illustrates how committed the Studio is to fostering talent and providing the space within which they can be discovered.
Furthermore, I am still churning out work with Whitehot Magazine and Whitewall, as well. You can find my Armory Week coverage for Whitewall at the left. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming reviews in Whitehot on the Brucennial currently in SoHo and Agathe Snow’s exhibition with Eli Hansen at Maccarone.
On the brink of expansion, I won’t forget where I came from.
(quotation from Elizabeth Cady Stanton)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Allegra LaViola Gallery, CUE Art Foundation, interview, Jil Conner, Megan Garwood, ON-VERGE, painting, Sarah Kurz
Greetings, readers! It is hard to believe I haven’t written in almost three months, but things have been chaotic in the best, busiest way. I have successfully moved into a new apartment with my delightful significant other, and am expanding my writing into new outlets. I am contributing to a spectacular arts journalism blog founded by CUE Art Foundation called ON-VERGE. I have been chosen as the Contributor at Large for 2012-2013 and am ecstatic to be working with Jill Conner and Megan Garwood. I will be contributing regular features and show recommendations for the site, so check it out for my latest! I am going to dedicate more of my leftover material and exuding opinions to this space, allowing it to be a supplement to the material I present to ON-VERGE.
So thus, my first feature to share! Last week I interviewed Sarah Kurz, an absolutely lovely figurative painter with a show up at Allegra LaViola Gallery in Chinatown as we speak through March 11. Please check out the full interview here, let me know what you think! Here’s a small excerpt:
“The desire to reinvent the figure has become a point of contention, demanding more than the gestural theatrics of Parmigianino or blatant authority of Velazquez. Sarah Kurz rehashes the versatility of figurative painting by provoking a psychological intimacy with her audience and a physical solidarity with her medium. I spoke with her prior to her first solo exhibition at Allegra LaViola gallery in Chinatown about the work in the show, her guiding lights, and the comedy of sex.
LM Let’s talk about your upcoming show, “Made for Love”. Why is everything so small?
SK I am thinking about human size, interaction, and intimacy. I want the viewer to relate to the image. I am interested in cropping an existing image to only show what needs to be shown. You know, ‘less is more’. I edit inconsequential information and only keep what is absolutely necessary. It’s about conveying as much as possible through as little information as possible. Asking what really needs to be in this image to convey what I want to convey. It’s a reductive approach. I had a critique with Eugenie Tsai and she said the teapot painting [Never in the Morning, 2009] was like the cover of a romance novel. She said she could feel the whole novel through that image. The teapot painting is a new take on a still life, it captures a moment mid-action, it’s an active still life.”
((Coming up on ON-VERGE: An ode to ‘On Photography’ (Susan Sontag) via the current programming at ICP.))
Filed under: Uncategorized
Um….well, this is awkward…hi.
I realize it has been quite some time since I’ve written, but I have an excuse! I swear! A relentless work sched (blahblahblah) combined with a sabbatical to the Iberian Peninsula for the month of October has had me out in the world rather than reflecting in physical form. Until now! I have returned with a lust for life and so much visual stimulation stocked in my neurons I could almost topple over. And now…THE INTERNATIONAL WONDERS!
Readers, be enticed: the blog will be back in full force after December 1st, the day of my reckoning that will optimally culminate in finding a roof over my head. Wish me luck!
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: art theory, Art&Education, collaboration, e-flux, Federica Bueti, MENT, participatory art, performance art, process, time lapse
An extremely insightful article that I helped edit by Federica Bueti, an Italian curator based in Berlin, was put up today on Art&Education. I’ve worked with her a few times before digitally and thoroughly enjoy her inquiries into time-lapse work, process, and the politics of art. This newest article, entitled ”Give Me the Time (for an Aesthetic of Desistance),” investigates participation in art and its evolution from the 1960s to today: is participation still an act of resistance within the traditions of art? Has the socio-political environment completely neutralized participation and its aim to challenge participants and spectators? Has participation just become an institutionalized, almost predictable and thus stagnant, form of art practice? Here’s a small excerpt from the full article:
“But in order to establish a different meaning for participation, we should perhaps reconsider current cultural attitudes and social behaviors. Time, for example, needs to be re-introduced into current artistic, critical and curatorial production. Not as an oscillation of time, but as a “spatialization of the subject”. Against the backdrop of contemporary virtual and physical progress, one could oppose the necessity of durational experience and the sense of prolonged time that resists rapid consumption. Experience is comprised of time spent as well as a space of experience and shared intensities. Time is an essential element in participatory practices. Diverse knowledge and exchanges, and fruitful long-term relations require not just physical time but steadfast consistency. Endured duration is particularly vital in the context of virtual-communications. The reason is quite simple: people don’t share the same level of understanding or sensitivity, and a model of learning, exchanging and developing relationships varies extensively. Speed of pace is different for everyone. We cannot wish for the contrary without surrendering to the trap of authoritarian vision.
Adopting a creative model based on collaboration does not only mean maximizing outcomes or saving economic resources. People should revel in the space and allow for participation, discussion, and confrontating beliefs and modes of thinking. Only then can operative possibilities for transforming the acquired knowledge into operative models of actions unfold. A space of conflict where dissimilarities can play out and subsequently be used rather than liquidated at the first mention of a discrepancy is essential.
We should not forget that collaborations have become a necessity for the growth and implementation of profits in the capital industry. Today managerial agendas abide by more complex yet malleable democratic models. Groups can be identified through their representative members, for example, which spurs homogenization and the dissolution of the individuals ultimately relied upon for the decision. Participation, under the guise of performance, is constantly compromised. It accepts the conditions for the benefit of others, further perpetuating the current illusory, consensual democratic trend. Any partnership in this context becomes a tool for pursuing individual interests at the expense of potentially collective achievements.”
((Federica Bueti is also the founder of MENT , a journal that explores contemporary culture, art, and politics.))
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Alex Maclean, art historical, Edwin Bethea, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Mark Beerens, painting, Photography, portraiture
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 1974, A Brief History of Time, Blue Velvet, books, David Lynch, Errol Morris, graphic design, graphic diagrams, information, Masters of Cinema Series, Mulholland Drive, outer space, quantity, Stephen Hawking, Thierry Jousse, walter herdeg
Graphic Diagrams: The Graphic Visualization of Abstract Data by Walter Herdeg: I absolutely adore the fusion of art and seemingly practical knowledge, which is precisely the case with Herdeg’s intuitive parallel of information with graphic design. There are two editions of this book, one from 1974 and a second from 1976 that apparently isn’t as challenging, that integrate a variety of designers and artists to visualize quantity, statistics, and flux.
All photos courtesy of Designer Books
From the Masters of Cinema Series: David Lynch, by Thierry Jousse: Because everyone should know a little more about David Lynch and his breathtaking use of atmosphere, illogical narrative interjections, and ability to observe and highlight the peripheral details. ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Mulholland Drive’ are cinematic gold.
A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, by Stephen Hawking: Who doesn’t love outer space and the eternal mystery that is time?! I, for one, am mildly obsessed with the contemplation of time and am sold on acquiring Hawking’s insight into cosmology. It was a New York Times Best Seller and sold millions of copies, plus Hawking apparently was inducted into the Royal Society, an organization pushing for scientific innovation which had Issac Newton himself as president in the 18th century. The book was noted for including minimal mathematical formulas yet explaining phenomena like black holes and quarks with stunning simplicity. Also, diagrams and drawings are a major accompaniment to the text, which always helps us visual-memory aesthetes. Hawkings is so inspiring that Errol Morris generated a documentary on the genius’ life in 1991, also named A Brief History of Time.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 16mm, 35mm, collective memory, film, foliage, Funeral (memory), Funeral (projection), installation, Jan van Woensel, new media, One and Three Quarters of an Inch, Peter Clough, Photography, public memory, St Cecilia's Convent, time, trauma, Vanessa Albury, Whitehot Magazine
Despite being somewhat stagnant on the freelance writing front for the last month (I blame moving out of my Brooklyn apartment, a lack of inspiration, and a general desire to be anywhere but New York in the dog-days), I have a recent piece that went up on Whitehot Magazine that I am incredibly proud of. I was introduced to Vanessa Albury, a daring new media artist working in the mediums of 16/35mm film and photography of all breeds, at Peter Clough’s One and Three Quarters of an Inch show at St. Cecilia’s last year (it was brilliant!). Her piece was an exotic thrill, an incredibly overwhelming display of tropical foliage that wrapped up the central, spiral staircase in the convent. Poignant scents ascended the stairwell and several lights illuminated the lush vegetation for dramatic emphasis. The piece was inspired by her grandfather’s Miami greenhouse and maintains Albury’s emphasis on triggering collective and public memory, milking and challenging time, and astutely hypnotizing the viewer. The profile recently published analyzes her oeuvre of photographic and cinematic work spanning approximately ten years and links it to new, even unfinished, works.
Below is a small passage, but check out the full review here.
“Photography has been regarded as an indicator of passing time and death since the turn of the 20th century. Theoretically, the snapshot was an inexplicable moment: impossible to recreate and a betrayal to the truth of the moment in its lack of breath, of movement. ‘Funeral (Projection)’ (2005-08) cleverly mocks photography’s mythological magnitude. The piece was realized at Albury’s grandmother’s funeral in 2004. The wide-angle, 35mm shot of a cleared out funeral hall situates the deceased, resting in her coffin, at the center of the image. A chandelier and several table lamps within the frame beam triumphantly, almost on the verge of bursting from augmented amplification at the time of death. A subterranean perspective bellies vulnerability. The photograph is presented as an installation: it occupies an entire wall as the hum of a projector contributes a drone to the collective viewing experience. The viewer slips into reverie amid the murmur of machinery and the weight of the relentless moment. Albury asserts this photograph as an uninterrupted, persistent memorial. It is an emotional scene identifiable to the subconscious of the viewer. Albury provides ‘Funeral (Memory)’ (2005-08) as a keepsake reflecting upon the installation. The highly pixelated Xerox copy of the projection challenges the subject’s timelessness in memory. The Xerox is a synopsis, degrading the poignant image into a muddled scene of black and white diamonds. Photography parallels memory in this case, reflecting the instability of emotional documentation and the nuances of time. Repetition, as was the case in learning cursive or multiplication tables, can solidify memory while numbing one to the particulars of the present. “
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Abel Barroso, Afro-Cubans, Alexis Leyva Machado, ambition, crafty, Cuba, drawing, drift wood, Ernesto Rancano, Havana, hectic, indecision, indifference, Kcho, marginalization, Marlborough Chelsea Gallery, Marlborough Gallery, neutrality, oilstick, Pablo Vallecilla, paradoxical, Portland, proactivity, procrastination, racism, revolutionary, Roberto Diago, sculpture, updates, William Perez
It has been the best of times and the worst of times recently. On the positive end of things, I just returned from a two-week sabbatical to Portland, Oregon, which infiltrated my lungs with fresh atmosphere and seduced me with its temperate climate. The roses, the cheap booze, and the company were better than I could have ever imagined. Prior to that, I traveled to Fair Haven, NY, for their annual July 4th Spectacular. A traditional parade through the single main street of the town, 3 fireworks shows in 3 days, and Solo cup after Solo cup of Labatt truly commemorated the season. After so much hopping around, it is refreshing to be back in Brooklyn despite how transitory I feel. I am moving out of my apartment at the end of the week, and looking for something steady in September after all the needy students have settled into their over-priced shoeboxes and stopped inflating the market. Needless to say, it has been an eventful month that has deterred seeing or writing much on the art front. I will be back in the swing come August, and you can look forward to more recent updates and more material.
I wanted to share a review of Marlborough Gallery’s Living in Havana show that closed at the very end of June. I was impressed by the show and Pablo Vallecilla’s curation, and have been enamored with Cuba for quite some time. The show considered art by 5 middle-aged Cubans still living in Havana. I look forward to investigating my generation of Cuban artists still inhabiting the motherland, searching for their voice outside of Castro’s residue and the paradoxical nature of the country.
Living in Havana –
Nationalistic loyalties are a common yet often clumsy curatorial framework that can intensify an insular viewing of a particular nation. Living in Havana at Marlborough Gallery Chelsea reflects upon modern practices of five mid-career artists residing in Havana. Pablo Vallecilla, the organizer of the exhibition, explained that these artists sustain a “cohesiveness” in their hardened perspectives. They divulge a jaded insight into an evolving nation plagued with paradoxes.
Living in Havana occupies two full floors of Marlborough Gallery. An impressive installation by Kcho, born Alexis Leyva Machado, entitled “The Way” (2010) occupies a large portion of the first floor. Two life-sized wooden shacks are connected by a chain of black inner-tubes who’s diameter stretches from the floor to roof of the huts. Vallecilla noted that the installation is “conceptual in a very raw, authentic vocabulary.” Each hut implies a particular demographic from the decor within: one is furnished with a proper table-lamp and finished wooden planks, the other is bare save a hanging light and a naked stool. Despite discerning the distinct worlds, the viewer is restricted to the exterior of the installation and can never know the difficulty of the transition. Ernesto Rancaño’s “Have Patience With Luck” (2009) is placed behind Kcho’s installation at the back of the gallery. In Luck, a shrunken silver man and his sickle are cradled by a horseshoe easily 100x their size. A magnifying glass hangs from the ceiling in front of the horseshoe. The figure is swimming in luck yet remains torn between limited proactivity and indifference. Communism or the general pains of labor after the fact have blemished the sitter’s ambition, and thus he awaits his fate passively. Oil-stick drawings by Kcho encircle the room, further summoning a sense of excessive, regular mental strain. “She Who Does Not Wish to See” (2010) is a gestural drawing of red oars superimposed over a nondescript bust. The oars serve as barriers, encapsulating the anonymous sitter and adhering her ambitions to emigration. An overwhelming sense of vulnerability wafts through the room. Each artist uncovers the transition from hesitation to indecision that culminates in neutrality.
The second floor of the exhibition expands upon specific issues in “deep Havana”: the communities of Cuba overlooked by tourists that seethe with injustice, masked by the exotic terrain. Roberto Diago’s autobiographical insights into the Afro-Cuban perspective consume most of the wall space in the room. “Energy of the World” (2009) is an oil painting on driftwood, approximately four feet by three feet. It depicts a suspended head alongside a barren tree and a minuscule house labeled with possessive pronouns in Spanish. The mouthless skull relays the severe social marginalization of Afro-Cubans and their collective insecurities about their rights as Cubans. It’s as if possession of the negligible environment is the figure’s wildest dream. Abel Barroso’s several hand-carved wooden sculptures are approximately one yard square and scattered around the gallery on pedestals. In “The Intruder” (2010), an anthropomorphic shack cunningly hustles toward a city through a subterranean chute which ironically empties into the metropolis’ sewage system. “Almost There” (2009) depicts a similarly fervent shack riding a half-pipe between his meager village and an imposing city. Barroso installed a crank through which the viewer can facilitate the house’s sway between both communities though the hut never reaches the taller, wealthier, side of the ramp. Barroso’s satirical jabs offset the intimacy in Diago’s work. The works denote “identity suspension,” Vallecilla says, where social acceptance on the micro and macro level is seemingly impossible. Together these images contrast the quiet suffering of a people with the hysterics of their nation and challenge overreaching conventions with subliminal disruption.
Despite the overall pessimism of the exhibition, William Pérez provides a humorous morsel of reverence with three incised plexiglass illustrations on the second floor. “Battleship” (2009), measuring about five feet long, is a topographical aerial view of Cuba drawn simply and surrounded by airplanes. Each plane is on its way out, departing the dark mass of Cuba that serves as the center of command. The image lends a timelessness to Cuba’s revolutionary spirit. The title could imply impending conflict, allowing the pilots to escape their stronghold without shame or disrespect. Despite their discordance with the island, the collective Cuban voice in the show is one of awareness. The artists unveil their truths and dedicate themselves to self-reflection, dwelling on the past rather than contemplating the future. Their work refers to Cuba but also accentuates universal subjects like migration, racism, and emotional paradoxes of the individual “that the Third World can assimilate to,” according to Vallecilla. Each artist transcends the ‘Cuban’ filter and expands beyond the stereotypes of Caribbean artistry despite being lumped into an exhibition revolving around their nationalism. Vallecilla claims that “to leave is to die a little,” but these artists have proven their individual ideologies deserve life elsewhere.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 54th Venice Biennale, abstraction, aggression, Amy Feldman, animation, archaic battle, Basquiat, conflict, consumption by fantasy, deflation, Design Boom, details, Erkut Terliksiz, faux cardboard, figurative, gesture vs. freehand, guns, Japanese Pavilion, Kate Pane, knives, Mallick & Williams, Manny Prieres, Mattia Biagi, meat head, organic, Palazzo Bembo, party down, Personal Structures, reflective, religious awareness, rotten food, steel, sustenance vs. decay, Tabaimo, tar, Tony Matelli, Turkey, Venice Biennale, Venice Biennale 2011, video art, visual mischief
((Currently showing at the Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Bembo as part of the ‘Personal Structures‘ exhibition.))