Posts Tagged ‘James Siena’

Keepin’ It Rail

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

SVA alumna Inka Essenhigh with Chuck Close

At Saturday night’s Brooklyn Rail Benefit, hosted by SVA at the Visual Arts Gallery, the uniting theme among the brief speeches delivered by Irving Sandler, Chuck Close, and John Elderfield was that it’s a mystery how Phong Bui runs the venerable publication, now more than a decade old.  There’s, like, no money in it!

Music by Grog: (l-r) Don Sunderland, Michelle Segre, James Siena, Bill Komoski, Jennifer Coates

Sure, the writers gladly contribute for free; but what about overhead?  And lord knows the new Congress won’t be sending any helpful funding.  If anybody deserves to try a little help from his friends, it’s Phong, an accomplished artist, writer, curator, teacher, and publisher.  And what friends he has!


Grog, a string instrument ensemble consisting of five artists, including SVA instructor Bill Komoski (on bass), performed throughout the evening…

Eloquent Elderfield

Curator and BR writer Benjamin Gottlieb

…providing a music score to the deliberations of one hundred minds wondering if their budgets could accomodate a Lynda Benglis abstract drawing, or a James Castle landscape, or a James Hyde painted print, or Wolf Kahn pastel tropicalia, or a Lisa Yuskavage lithograph (“You have to be a real masochist to make lithographs,” I overheard from a nearby artist), or even a near life-size aquatint nude by Philip Pearlstein.

Artist Will Cotton and Gagosianian Rose Dergan

Alas, ’tis the season to cut spending, so I did not bid on the enchantingly Pythagorean Abby Leigh smoke-on-paper, nor the gonzo Peter Saul colored pencil sideshow.  I know I’ll kick myself later, especially for the latter, because that guy is a messiah!

Good looking crowd, right?

Take Me Home Tonight

It was also a warm, amiable congregation, rich with real-deal artists who have built an intergenerational community as generous as it is brilliant.

P.S. Thanks to artist Jessica Hale for the tip and invitation!

The Birth of Quill

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Your "Peace" in the Show: Joe Flood with Keith Mayerson

Curated by artists’ artist Keith Mayerson, the neo-NeoIntegrity (or post-NeoIntegrity) migrates from Chelsea to SoHo, where, 15-20 years ago, it would have been in the capitol of the art world.  The first incarnation at Derek Eller Gallery in 2007 felt like the Justice League Satellite, a zero-gravity chamber of unimpeachable art that surely anticipated Reporta Smith’s recent summoning for “art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand.”  And this show does, too.

Inside the gallery at MoCCA (the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art), the show seems as far from Chelsea as Narnia, Gotham City, or Krypton, despite the presence of the Chelsea canonized Mike Kelley, Jim Shaw, Ellen Berkenblitt, Carroll Dunham, and Peter Halley.  And has the Whitney been by to see the Ad Reinhardt collages?

Big balls in a square-paneled world: Keith Mayerson's shout-out

Visitors to NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition might recall recent “visitations” in Chelsea from this alien planet: Basil Wolverton at Gladstone Gallery (2009), R. Crumb at David Zwirner (now), Thomas Woodruff at P.P.O.W. (2008), David Shrigley at Anton Kern (2008) and many other shows of artists working in sequential imagery, grotesque countenance and figuration, and mostly pencil and ink.  Keith Mayerson’s own mini-retrospective and end-of-empire narrative Both Sides Now at Paul Kasmin Gallery (2009) shuttled back and forth between these worlds.

(l) MoCCA Chairwoman Ellen S. Abramowitz, youngsters, MoCCA Director Karl Erickson

Generously funded by School of Visual Arts, a longtime fount of cartooning and illustration talent, Keith’s massive project includes over 200 artists and four or five times as many drawings, paintings, sculptures, and videos.  Hot!  The tiny gallery is packed from floor to ceiling, and you really have to watch your step, too.

Krazy Kats: (l-r) Artists Michael Magnan and TM Davy, muse Liam O'Malley, and artist Scott Hug

The bifocals crowd might struggle with the abundance of 10-pt handwritten text extruded throughout the paneled pages, and there is enough black-and-white action to make any newspaper’s editorial page see red.  But that just means that it’s even more of a knockout to see full-color from chromo sapiens such as Dana Schutz, David Sandlin, and John Wesley.  An “Adults Only” section designed by artist TM Davy includes grown-up material ranging from suggestive homoeroticism and explicit T&A to downright  obscenity – more, please!  Here, you’ll find a really beautiful and moody package from James Siena and a multivalent Shel Silverstein that gazes inward, outward, and downward, all at once.

Gold-Medal winning illustrator Yuko Shimizu, SVA MFA '03

More pictures to come after the rain subsides, but the photos today are from the opening reception last week.

IMAGES: Michael Bilsborough