Author Archive

Fight or Flight

Sunday, 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.

SVACE Faculty Shows

Monday, 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”

 

The Choice

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Via Simon Schama, here is Walter Liedtke on Rembrandt.

Baby, It’s Warm Outside

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The Outsider Art Fair is now open New York City.  Featuring works by self-taught artists from around the world, the fair will showcase 50 international galleries from 27 cities, representing eight countries.  Founded in 1993, the fair attracted a passionate collecting community each year at New York’s Puck Building.  In 2012, dealer Andrew Edlin and his Wide Open Arts took ownership of the fair and relocated it to the former home of the Dia Art Foundation in Chelsea – the same site as the Independent.

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An Insider at Outsider Art Fair

The 23rd edition of the Outsider Art Fair in New York brings together veteran galleries presenting legendary artists like Henry Darger, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wölfli, James Castle, and Martín Ramírez, among others. The fair also welcomes first-time exhibitors, such as Arte del Pueblo, with Haitian works from the collection of Jonathan Demme, and Kent Fine Art, offering paintings by visionary artist Paul Laffoley.

Grandma Moses, "The Last Load of Wood" at Galerie St. Etienne, NYC

Grandma Moses, “The Last Load of Wood” at Galerie St. Etienne, NYC

These galleries are joined by younger, contemporary art galleries with some outsider artists on their rosters.  Lower East Side dealer Louis B. James features drawings by New Orleans artist Bruce Davenport Jr., who has a solo show up now at that gallery.  Bushwick’s Jackie Klempay offers limestone sculptures by Jerry the Marble Faun (the youthful gardener at Grey Gardens).  Also representing Brooklyn is Scott Ogden’s Shrine.

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David Fierman of Louis B. James Gallery with Bruce A. Davenport drawings

 

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Great installation at Shrine

Jackie Klempay: “I became involved with the Outsider Art Fair initially because of curator Sam Gordon. He curated Purple States/Cafe Dancer at Andrew Edlin Gallery this past summer and included some of the artists I work with – Mary Manning, Frank Haines, Robbie McDonald, and Corinne Jones. We were discussing my upcoming exhibitions and I mentioned Jerry the Marble Faun was the next exhibition. [The Fair] is attempting to inject some energy into the fair by inviting younger galleries to participate. They invited us to put together a project booth, so here we are!”

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Sculpture by Jerry the Marble Faun at Jackie Klempay Gallery

 

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Sculpture by Jerry the Marble Faun at Jackie Klempay Gallery

Along with Jerry the Marble Faun, another highlight of the Fair is Melvin Way, represented by two clusters of dense drawings that look like crypto-HTML coding and proto-chemical equations underlying a reality of intuitive interconnectedness.  Find those at the Healing Arts Initiative (HAI) booth, and in If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day, a special group exhibition curated by dealer Jay Gorney and artist Anne Doran.  This show features works by five artists whose art responds, in part, to their paranoia: Melvin Way (b. 1954), Emery Blagdon (1907–1986), Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930), Mark Lombardi (1951–2000), and the Philadelphia Wireman (20th century).  Melvin Way has experienced a long journey from oblivion to a place where his incredible art can be preserved, and I learned that we can credit much of that to SVACE instructor Andrew Castrucci.

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Drawing by Melvin Way in “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” curated by Jay Gorney and Anne Doran

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Drawing by Melvin Way in “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” curated by Jay Gorney and Anne Doran

What a relief to see art up close without the burden of branding and the gloss of luxury.  If New York Times writer Carol Vogel was right about art fair fatigue, then this show offers a way out.  See more pics on our Instagram page.

Restored Reports

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Kevin Brainard, SVACE design instructor, redesigned Consumer Reports in print! His firm, Area of Practice, modernized the venerable consumer journal and revitalized its design for a new audience. Print Magazine has a great interview between Kevin and Steven Heller. Kevin describes how the new design will function, appeal to its audience, and preserve the research behind each issue.  Here are some take-aways:


“Our goal was to create a magazine that functioned on multiple levels, drawing attention to the advocacy and giving readers a reason to return for more than product reviews. We felt that the organization’s lesser-known and highly influential advocacy work would resonate with a broader and younger audience.”

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“The content is what makes the publication great. We wanted to honor the painstaking research that goes into creating that content all while telling each story in the most compelling way possible.”

See more images at Kevin’s website.