Archive for May, 2013

Open Wide

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

This weekend, studios downtown and in Bushwick will open their doors to the public!  If you are tired to thumbing through enviable pictures of gondolas, champagne, and merchants in Venice, then poke through art in your own backyard!

Open Studios weekend at the Workspace Residency of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council opens Friday night and continues through Sunday.  Workspace is a nine-month studio residency program for 18 emerging visual artists and 8 emerging writers.  Our eyes are on Rachel Mason, David Kennedy Cutler, and SVA Summer Residencies alum Grayson Cox, but you can see all Workspace residents on their profile pages.

SVA Summer Residencies alum Grayson Cox on his participatory sculpture

Across the East River, Arts in Bushwick presents the seventh annual Bushwick Open Studios and Arts Festival, which includes over 500 individual studios, spaces, and shows involving thousands of artists.  “This free event invites visual artists, performers, musicians, designers, and the public to celebrate creative expression in one of the most vital arts districts in the world.”  Here are our top picks, in random order:

Image by Loren Munk

Rock Street 2013: Sculpture on Rock Street (featuring SVA Summer Residencies alum Carol Salmanson)

The Parlor Bushwick

Amelia Midori Miller and Augustus Nazzaro 

Storefront Bushwick 

Secret Project Robot

Fedele Spadafora

Svetlana Rabey  (another SVA Summer Residencies alum)

Epic Fail  (featuring a DJ set by Ian Williams of the band, Battles)

Maria Britton, Amanda Browder, Kristen Schiele

We Eat, We Are 

Danny Balgley 


Animamus Art Salon


New Angles

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

The Whitney Museum has launched a new graphic identity conceived by Dutch design studio Experimental Jetset.  It appears to be anchored on a slender, ricocheted form they call the “responsive W.”  (Me, I’m opposed to any future “W.” of influence).  Is this new branding a step up from the indelible word form designed by Abbott Miller?  Caveat: branding an individual letter can lead to trouble!

I can't imagine ever wanting to be sans serif

Say what you will, but it does look good on the shopping bags!

Northern Lights

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Keith Mayerson just opened his sixth solo show at Derek Eller Gallery.  Titled My American Dream, the show is a narrative series that consolidates Keith’s autobiographical experience with his political and spiritual outlook.  Keith covers marriage, family, New York City, rural America, James Dean, icons, death, the subconscious, storms, and what the mind sees.

Keith is the son of a psychoanalyst, the husband of a professor, a mentor to countless students and artists, and a brilliant painter.  My American Dream is a prismatic album of warm memories, cool observations, inward exploration, and cosmic wonder.  Marriage is a touchstone of Keith’s worldview, as it was for Kierkegaard, who described it as an essential stage in the metamorphosis of a maturing person.  For Keith, it also open ups new social dimensions: the family, the state, the country.  Husband as citizen; citizen as husband.  It is like naturalization for the mind (and heart).

Keith Mayerson, Husbands (Andrew and I), 2012

Husbands (Andrew and I), 2012 is the best window into this show (though Family, 2013 is the best seat). Keith and his real-life husband, Andrew, pose for a #selfie at their home in California, where they married before California passed Prop 8; that is, before church-driven forces spent a fortune to mislead the public into denying Constitutional rights to an unpopular minority. Times are better now. Since the show opened, two more U.S. states have passed marriage equality and one embraced civil unions. But more central to the painting, which Keith has described as his own private Jewish Bride, is how its beatific religiosity overpowers the secular topic. Keith and Andrew look graceful and splendid in a bond that no zealot, storm, nor communist menace could tear asunder.  A light that never goes out falls centrally upon them, the spectrally striated sky behind them seems to roil with volcanic murmurs, colors shift and shimmer, and space appears to rush toward us as Keith-Andrew hurtle across the universe.

From Keith's previous show: Our Wedding, July 22, 2008, Meadbrook, CA, 2010

That cosmic awareness makes an experience that is almost out-of-body in View from our Chelsea Window, 2012. The only thing real is waking and rubbing your eyes, and in this painting, it’s like waking up really late or really early.  Historical uncertainty.  An American flag, clewed up, halfway, like a rising eyelid, reveals a golden street scene. One could pause to admire how the vertical buildings outside square off with the horizontal window frame and will, or one could move on and consider the purple and intimate private space inside sheltered from the brassy public space outside.  And then we learn that on July 4th, Keith and Andrew layed in bed to watch the Independence Day fireworks outside their window, which actually does have an American flag as a window dressing. Two joined souls are sharing a bed, contemplating the long history that made this moment possible; they share a bed and a consciousness, looking together through one eye.

Keith Mayerson, View from our Chelsea Window, 2012

A theme that precedes the topics listed above is commitment, which is an ethical choice.  Most of the paintings in this show depict behavior and activity that require commitment.  Marriage is an obvious example.  Family, too.  Surviving in NYC is a commitment.  Painting is definitely a commitment.  Insistently looking inward is a commitment.  Researching James Dean could be a commitment, but it strikes me as obsession, which is a relative of commitment, but possibly younger.

Keith Mayerson Family, 2013

Weld Done

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Check out How Things Are Made, curated by Sam Gordon, at Spot Welders.  Spot Welders is a busy post-production studio in a new space designed by 1100 Architects with custom furniture by Roy McMakin.  Sam Gordon is a busy artist with shows currently up at Feature, Inc and Printed Matter, as well as a curated performance series at NADA NYC called Contemporary Dancing.


How Things are Made, Alpha at Spot Welders

How Things Are Made examines “the processes artists use to make their work and how that may reflect meaning into the results,” according to Sam, whose recent work has combined layered fabrics, clothing remnants, and studio sweepings in abstract paintings.  The exhibition will unfold in three parts, a point that uncovers the “facture” of a curated show, alongside the entries in that show.

Guyton/Walker and Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco at Spot Welders

How Things Are Made, Alpha includes Katherine Bernhardt, Lucky DeBellevue, Daphne Fitzpatrick, Jake Ewert, Mariah Robertson, William Kentridge, Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco, Boro Textiles (courtesy of Sri Threads), Guyton/Walker (courtesy of Maharam Digital Projects), Stuart Sherman & Takeshi Murata (courtesy of EAI).


Magic Flying Carpets of the Berber Kingdom of Morocco

Jake Ewert’s painted pizzas are a highlight, as are Daphne Fitzpatrick’s photos and her 3D-printed pipe miniature.  Katherine Bernhardt’s paintings interact beautifully with the Moroccan carpets arranged throughout the studio.  And Stuart Sherman’s diagrammatic performances on video embody the theme of the show.  But everything in this show is terrific and I’m seeking an internship at Spot Welders so I can see Lucky DeBellevue’s dreamcatcher in daylight, every day.

Katherine Bernhardt at Spot Welders

Lucky DeBellevue and Jake Ewert at Spot Welders

A key precedent to the show is Peter Kubelka’s infamous beer commercial, described this way:

“In 1957, Peter Kubelka was hired to make a short commercial for Scwechater beer. The beer company undoubtedly thought they were commissioning a film that would help them sell their beers; Kubelka had other ideas. He shot his film with a camera that did not even have a viewer, simply pointing it in the general direction of the action. He then took many months to edit his footage, while the company fumed and demanded a finished product. Finally he submitted a film, 90 seconds long, that featured extremely rapid cutting between images of dimly visible people drinking beer and of the froth of beer seen in a fully abstract pattern.”

Daphne Fitzpatrick at Spot Welders

A Pop Up “Souk” and opportunity to tour the exhibition takes place Friday, May 10th, 3-6pm at Spot Welders, 44 East 32nd Street, 5th Floor.

All of the above images are by Steven Probert!