“All of us face days when it can seem like change is hard — days when our opposition and our own imperfections may tempt us to take an easier path that avoids our responsibilities to one another. But even when little sunlight shined into that Robben Island cell, he could see a better future — one worthy of sacrifice.” -President Barack Obama on Nelson Mandela
Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
The eminent artist K8 Hardy presents Kate, a series of new sculptures and one “selfie” for her her third solo exhibition at Reena Spaulings Fine Art.
They are crap. Literally! Scrapped together from “flotsam” washed ashore at Fire Island, the sculptures are radically provisional, combining odd garbage with painted sticks of wood. They appear fragile, with an arbitrariness verging on accidental; they seem intentional only in their uprightness. Then again, a sign of tight control grounds the show at its physical center, in the form of a fist gripping driftwood.
But they also strike lively, fabulous, and humble poses like dancers or models, if we mean faceless dancers or models who can hardly stand and are missing limbs. Still, despite their decrepit depravity, these “precarious bodies” are survivors who exude a winning vulnerability. In fact, these “bodies” become “figures” when we pause to admire their adornment.
Visitors can join this cast of harried models by posing before K8′s eponymous, peach-tinted mirrors. As K8′s press release says, “Viewers can photograph and share their own reflections in the artists’ name: a narcissistic work for multiple selves, this sculpture holds its space in the gallery and in the cloud.” Post your #K8Hardygram!
On the wall directly across from that is Ur-Selfie, K8′s interpretation (and restating?) of Courbet’s The Origin of the World, a work of art that isn’t as social media friendly, because it can get you kicked off Facebook.
Is this K8′s departure from performance? In the recent past, her live events and performative photos rightly intensified her audience. But actually, these static objects do seem performative. It is performative to present as sculpture such found materials, especially those made from pollution. Here, K8 performs radical resourcefulness: an attitude materialized as practice; an outlook extruded as behavior.
More brilliant, however, is the way she channels those qualities into the sculptures. Indeed, as she writes, “These are works whose sense of belonging in the world can only be found in their struggle to show up here.”
An interesting issue for photojournalists: press photographers are mad at the White House! Major news organizations petitioned the White House for access to photograph events involving the president. Their letter argues that access “has decreased markedly under the Obama administration when compared to previous presidents.” The letter also suggests that access restriction is unconstitutional, and it lists some examples, including meetings with foreign leaders, U.S. senators, and Malala Yousafzai.
The White House argues that these events are private. Journalists object that the White House releases through social media some of the images captured by the official White House photographer. If these events are so private, then why do they pop up on social media? Does the White House need to adjust its privacy settings? And are these vetted images really a substitute for independent press attention?
But social media outlets were unavailable to previous administrations! Past presidents might have stored these images in archives less readily available. To release images of private presidential events does not necessarily contradict the privacy of these events; it could actually expand the availability of private events.
Meanwhile, South African photographers illegally photographed President Jacob Zuma’s private residence, which features ”a mini-football pitch, gym, helicopter pads, a tuck-shop for one of his four wives and even a reported 98,400-dollar pen for his livestock.” To photograph Zuma’s residence can get you arrested, but aerial views are available on Google Earth: a tweet with the Google Earth co-ordinates of the compound, released by journalist Barry Bateman, was an instant hit on Twitter.
The Artist Volunteer Center is a new non-profit focused on art and volunteerism. Founded by artist and social activist Jason A. Maas, the AV Center aims to inspire and promote socially conscious artistic endeavors based on volunteerism.
Through its innovative model, participating volunteer artists will earn “cultural currency” to exchange for access to open-call and juried artist opportunities, and artists can apply for funding to develop and present socially conscious projects. Moreover, artists can immerse themselves at the residency program, collaborative workspace, and an exhibition venue at The AV Center (set to open in 2014).
“The AV Center will be a destination for those seeking a forum to witness, present and participate in artwork that is derived from direct engagement with socially conscious issues,” says Maas. “Certainly our roots are in New York City, but our goal is for the organization to exact a global footprint, aiding and revitalizing communities through community service by artists, here and abroad.”
The AV Center is fiscally sponsored by Brooklyn Arts Council. The AV Center’s Advisory Board is in formation and currently includes Joyce Frost, Travis Laughlin, of the Joan Mitchell Foundation; Kristian Nammack, activist, independent curator, and art industry consultant; Jay Paavonpera, and Gregg Petan.
On behalf of the Advisory Board, Mr. Nammack said, “We want to encourage artists to develop a consistent relationship with volunteerism and the communities they are serving by engaging in ongoing volunteer activities that require prolonged involvement. We look at volunteerism as mutual aid and not charity. Both parties benefit as equal partners in the personal relationships they forge.”
Maas adds, “Volunteering is one of the most meaningful human experiences. Artists have the remarkable gift to take their experiences and share them. Therefore, it is critical to the development of culture that we, first, help artists become volunteers, and, second, allow their voice to be heard.”
The AV Center will debut a launch event in New York on October 29th to coincide with the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. This launch event will begin the 100 Hour AV Challenge, starting with a day of service to benefit the Henry Street Settlement. There is also an open competition to design a mural based on the theme, The Power of Volunteerism.
Eight outdoor walls around DUMBO are now clad, inked, or adorned with monumental murals painted by an international selection of artists. Produced through public and private partnerships DUMBO Walls, the series of murals packs a range of images within a four-block stretch of DUMBO along the BQE. The images are representational, illustrative, typographical, abstract, and architectural.
Participating artists include CAM, DALeast, Eltono, Shepard Fairey, Faith47, MOMO, and SVA faculty members Stefan Sagmeister and Yuko Shimizu.
This extensive project is being presented through the NYC DOT Arterventions program, which produces short term art projects on city assets; DUMBO Walls could appear for up to six months, according to DOT’s published guidelines. Funding was provided by the DUMBO Improvement District and Two Trees Management Co.
Stefan Sagmeister and Yuko Shimizu exchange affirmations under the BQE, with individual, yet coordinated, murals bearing the exclamation, “Yes!” and painted by Coby Kennedy. Sagmeister’s style, like the painted lines on the asphalt, is black, white, and sleekly hard-edged; it unscrolls in a Coca-cola-esque typeface. Shimizu’s “Yes!” unfurls in the long tentacle of an octopus. Cleverly, the artists coordinated their serpentine script, echoing each other’s over-under layering of the lettering. The effect is that the octopus is mimetically voguing the script modeled before it. Cool! (Given the splashy, white-capped waves around the octopus, one wonders what he or she is doing with the other tentacles.)
An emblematic mural by Shepard Fairey presides over the paved surface of Bridge Park 2, just a few blocks from the temporary gallery space where he exhibited his 2007 show, E Pluribus Venom. Fairey’s DUMBO Walls mural features a woman carrying concentric symbols of peace; this image is flanked by the words “Justice” and “Peace.” Fairey told Gothamist: “I’ve incorporated peace and justice in several of my images over the past few years. Having to do something that the city is going to approve and making it pretty with these floral motifs, but incorporating the ‘Peace’ and ‘Justice’ in there, was a way to subtly get to people’s conscious and consciousness.”
Two more murals stand out as bold interventions. One lurks behind trees, but is worth beating back the bush. If you do, you’ll find a phalanx of wide-eyed, colorful owls painted by NYC-based artist CAM. The owls peer from the wall of Bar & Grill Park, painted in a style inspired by stained glass. You can see their preliminary stages here. I think they’ll be exciting to see in winter, without the curtains of leafy trees.
But nothing can conceal the widest mural – at 200 feet long – painted by the American artist MOMO. His is a primary-colored abstraction that features geometric shapes, spectral gradients, and cascading stripes. The mural is a feat of impressive utensil dexterity; indeed, MOMO is known for working with handmade tools.