Fight or Flight

February 22nd, 2015

New Works and the Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre is Anton van Dalen’s first show with P.P.O.W and his first solo exhibition in eight years.

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Anton van Dalen at PPOW Gallery

A forty-year resident of the East Village, Anton van Dalen is a neighborhood icon. For decades, his work has documented and depicted the problems of his dynamic neighborhood and its looming surroundings, from junkie dystopia to bank-branch mall. Along with making art, he breeds white pigeons from his Avenue A rooftop and reportedly kept roosters in his home.  And he assisted Saul Steinberg, secretly, for thirty years.  His paintings commingle these influences: several of these East Village views are from up high and employ the “graphic clarity” that van Dalen has described of Steinberg: “the idea of drawing with a single line, no shading, etc.”

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Sunrise in the East Village: “Self-Portrait with Pigeon Coop Looking South,” 2014

 

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Sunset in the East Village: “Self-Portrait with Pigeon Coop Looking North,” 2014

New Works is a series of paintings that feature the new East Village, fully “cleaned up” and luxury-class.  Van Dalen selects the polarized colors of sunrise and sunset, perhaps to coordinate with his diurnal pigeon schedule.  Van Dalen’s street scenes look flattened and blocky, like colorful dioramas or stage sets, offering a noncommittal interpretation that might be an adaptation to a changing neighborhood.  Instead of realism, Van Dalen expresses his vision of the East Village in a naive, though skillful, painting style based in drawing and rich in geometries, figuration, and perspective: just short of cartoonish Canaletto.

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“Avenue A, Day/Night,” 2008-2011

 

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The burdens we carry: details of Anton van Dalen paintings

 

The colorful naïvete relents in Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre, the set for his one-man puppet show, which he has previously performed at MoMA and the New York Historical Society.  Here, Van Dalen stages violent clashes with police in riot gear.  Could this be his telling of the brutal repression, usually invisible, that paves the way for a more user-friendly East Village?  Driving out the undesirables?

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Anton van Dalen in “East Village U.S.A.”

 

If so, then we can look for skepticism in Van Dalen’s vision of Alphabet City coexistence.  Answers might await when he performs at PPOW next weekend. For now, check out this great interview at Interview with Martha Wilson.

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SVACE Faculty Shows

February 9th, 2015

Several SVACE faculty members are in new exhibitions!  First, Anton van Dalen opens New Works and The Avenue A Cut-Out Theatre at PPOW Gallery.

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Anton van Dalen, “Avenue A, Day/Night” 2008-2011

Barbara Segal exhibits several fetishistic marble sculptures in Radical Intent at Gallery 151.

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Barbara Segal, “Flight of The Fancy”

And finally, Barbara Nitke is featured in Irreverent: A Celebration of Censorship at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art!

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Barbara Nitke in “Irreverent”

 

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The Choice

February 4th, 2015

Via Simon Schama, here is Walter Liedtke on Rembrandt.

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