Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

What’s What at NYCC?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

New York Comic Con is here! Attracting more than 150,000 fans, NYCC is the East Coast’s biggest pop culture convention – and the second largest event in NYC!

Not a bad place to be in line

Some lines are better than others

Four days long, NYCC comprises comics, video games, toys, movies, and TV. Panels and signings bring together fans and creators. Screenings tease viewers with previews of anticipated movie and TV premieres. And artists get to showcase original artwork and recent publications.  And then there are the costumes… (See the SVACE blog coverage from 2014!)

Faced with hundreds of events, how does an unguided visitor decide what to attend? We asked Ben Zackheim, faculty member of MFA Visual Narrative, to handpick the most promising NYCC offerings. Ben’s suggestions will appeal to fans with a keen interest in drawing or writing comics:


Show and Tell!

Hip-Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining (Thursday): How do Hip-hop and comics reflect each other?

Breaking into Comics the Marvel Way (Thursday): What kind of talent is Marvel seeking?

DC Comics – Master Class: Art History (Thursday): What’s it like to draw for DC?

Storytelling on the Page (Friday): How do writers structure a complete issue from beginning to end?

Comics 101: Where to Begin? (Friday): Need a comics sherpa?

ComiXology Submit: The Future of Self-Publishing (Saturday): What can ComiXology do for you?

Truthiness is Stranger than Fiction: New Reality-Based Graphic Novels (Saturday): Can comics handle “the truth?”

The Future of Comics for Children and Young Adults (Sunday): What does the future hold for #kidlit comics and graphic novels?

It's Raining Deadpools

It’s Raining Deadpools

And while you visit, be sure to visit Nathan Fox and MFA Visual Narrative at Artist Alley!

See you there!

See you there!

“Concerning Human Understanding” Panel Discussion

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Today’s blog post was written by William Patterson, staff member at SVACE:

The SVA Summer Residency Program hosted a panel discussion on the Residency alumni exhibition, Concerning Human Understanding, recently on view at SVA’s Visual and Critical Studies Gallery.  All three exhibiting artists were in attendance to discuss their work, along with art writer Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, who posed a number of thoughtful questions on the themes of communication, madness and the strategies common to all of the artists’ work.

The panel was preceded by a brief introduction by the three artists.  Sandra Erbacher was first to present, and spoke about her evolving interest in Institutional Critique.  Erbacher felt that the practices of Institutional Critique from the 1970’s had become narrow and limited in the way they critiqued the structure of power.  She decided to rethink  “Institution,” exchanging the term for the more far reaching “bureaucracy,” and replacing “critique” with “humor.”  This change in terms allowed her to explore new ways of commenting on the context, history and effects of  “bureaucracy,” with strategies that could be more immediate or insightful than traditional commentary.


Sandra Erbacher, “Ctrl+Alt+Del,” 2015, archival inkjet print, 22×42″

Works from the show, such as Ctrl+Alt+Del, 2015, are evidence of her thinking.  The image de-familiarizes a computer keyboard by erasing off the letters, leaving only blank keys and the plastic frame. This act interrupts the purpose of the device as a means of communicating and forces the viewer to see it as a blank object, a product of plastics and modernist design, in all its genuine strangeness. It no longer seems like a means to communicating human thoughts, but a series of blank and impersonal cells through which nothing can pass.

Marianna Olinger discussed the documentary film she was working on, about a corrupt and abusive mental health institution in Rio de Janeiro. She interviewed and shadowed mental health workers who had been working to rehabilitate the institution’s patients.  Marianna spoke of how inadequate normal, verbal communication was when attempting to understand these victims, and how the mental health workers had to place a much greater emphasis on their body language and tone of voice than we usually do in order to communicate.  Marianna decided to reinterpret the idea of a documentary with this in mind.  In following the cues of these patients, she sought to tell their story with that same emphasis on nonverbal language, and to understand what is often dismissed as “madness” as a form of language. It was this attempt that resulted in Wearing the Inside Out, her contribution to the Concerning Human Understanding exhibition. The video piece acts as a study in the structure of madness as a language, and as a precursor to the film she will ultimately create.


Marianna Olinger, “Wearing the Inside Out,” 2015, video

Tim Roseborough focused on a unique visual font that he invented called Englyph.  Tim uses Englyph in a variety of ways to both conceal and redirect statements written in conventional language.  Applications range from building visual puzzles out of the names of Tim’s friends to organizing a list of racial slurs in an Englyph pyramid by their frequency of use online.  This form of data visualization is always in negotiation with its own immediate aesthetic value, as it conceals a message behind an almost impenetrable code.

Nevertheless, the Englyph system can be read, and that possibility, if not always acted on, remains an important aspect of the work as it is written.  For Tim’s piece in the exhibition, he used Englyph to pattern a wall of the gallery with the message “Everything but Art.”  At center he placed a blank canvas. Words are Stronger than Art was the name of the installation, which served a potent irony within the context of the show, as the work of all three artists, each in their own way, proved just how untrue that really is.


Tim Roseborough, “Words Are Stronger Than Art,” 2015, vinyl mural, 11 ft x 18 ft, and canvas

A video of the complete panel discussion is available below:

It Depends

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The fifth edition of Independent features 50 galleries from 14 countries, which already makes for greater international diversity than The Armory Show.  It’s also a more fluid and relaxed design than the Armory’s rigid booths.  Independent’s exhibitors unroll themselves among angled dividing walls, so the boundaries feel arbitrary and impressionistic.  There’s daylight in this former DIA home, and no hot lamps to make for the Armory’s panopticon anxiety.  It’s no wonder that Creative Advisor Matthew Higgs has called the site “among the most iconic and art-friendly spaces anywhere.”


Independent is decidedly separate from the other concurrent fairs and arguably a better use of your time than The Armory Show.  There’s a greater density of relevant-feeling art at Independent, but Armory includes panel discussions and lectures, along with a greater range of modern and contemporary work.  So which ticket is more “worth it?”  There’s a debate to be had, but for now, let’s look at some art…

Photo and sculpture by Alexandre Singh at Sprüth Magers
Armin Boehm at Meyer Riegger

As in recent versions of the Independent, there’s an interesting strain of comics-derived art.  It involves either drawn or appropriated comic images, then often reapplies them with darker or ironic results.  From the slightly more “outsider” end of the continuum is William Crawford, whose 900 erotic drawings, with impressive perspective and architectural drafting, and adult film narrative (such as housewife-on-plumber action) were discovered in an Oakland home and may have been created in a prison, according to Galerie Susanne Zander.  More insider is Julia Wachtel, represented here by a Miley Cyrus/cartoon mash-up.  Dan Graham and Antoine Catala present a CGI love triangle involving a dolphin, presumably autobiographical.  ;)

William Crawford at Galerie Susanne Zander

Julia Wachtel at Elizabeth Dee

Dan Graham and Antoine Catala
Danny McDonald at House of Gaga

Reconstituted, recycled, and appropriated images pop up in works by Leo Gabin, Eloise Hawser, Josh Kolbo, Eva Kotatkova, John Stezaker, and Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen.

Leo Gabin at Peres Projects
Eloise Hawser at Balice Hertling
Eva Kotatkova tabletop fold-out photos at Meyer Riegger
Josh Kolbo at Société

John Stezaker at The Approach


Special adventures in materials are evident in a gunpowder abstraction by Tomás Espina, oxidized abstraction by Etienne Chambaud, and resin realism by Andras Ursuta.  Chambaud’s oxidized paintings are made from copper powder paint splashed with wild animal urine from jars; no paws or hooves touch the canvas.  Andras Ursuta presents blocks of resin embedded with resin-cast eggs, peas, and chicken legs – entirely inedible.

Etienne Chambaud at Labor
Adriana Bustos (l) and Tomas Espina (r) at Ignacio Liprandi
Andras Ursuta at Ramiken Crucible

Finally, there’s a semaphoric, geometric current encompassing David Diao, Paul Lee, and Richard Nonas.

David Diao at Office Baroque
Richard Nonas at McCaffrey Fine Art
Paul Lee at Maccarone

Other works that stood out to me were the cheeky text paintings by Morag Keil and the Matthew Brannon book in a jaunty booth with “mise en scene” designed by his wife, Michelle Elzay, and featuring an elegantly curved table by Jacques Jarrige. I liked the surreal works by Ruth Nemet and Enrico David, an Angela Davis poster by the politically active and St. Petersburg-based collective Chto Delat?, and Mark Dion’s squirrel.  Artist’s Space had tempting boxed portfolio editions available, including Carol Bove, Joan Jonas, Lawrence Weiner, Cory Arcangel, Stewart Uoo, and more.

Morag Keil at Real Fine Arts

Limited Edition prints at Artists Space

Three Star Books, featuring Matthew Brannon and John Armleder

Matthew Brannon's limited edition book at Three Star Books
John Armleder and Matthew Brannon works at Three Star Books
It says, "Knowledge is Power": A "Learning Poster" by Chto Delat? at KOW
Mark Dion at Galerie Nagel Draxler
Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen at White Columns
Creative Growth artist John Hiltunen at White Columns
Martina Kubelk at Galerie Susanne Zander
Glib Reena Spaulings postcards of art dealers at Campoli Presti
Reena Spaulings postcards of art dealers at Campoli Presti
Frances Stark photo of her boyfriend at Artists Space


And everything at Broadway 1602 looked great, with a special focus on 1960s and 1980s works by Evelyne Axell, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Rosemarie Castoro, Experiments in Art and Technology Archive, along with new paintings and a sculpture by Paul P., who also appears in the Whitney Biennial.

Rosemarie Castoro at Broadway 1602
Sylvia Palacios Whitman (l) and Evelyne Axell (r) at Broadway 1602
Experiments in Art and Technology Archive (Leon Harman and Ken Knowlton) at Broadway 1602
Paul P. at Broadway 1602

Of course, the best photo on view is Judy Linn’s portrait of the late Hudson, founder of Feature, Inc., to whom this Independent is lovingly dedicated.

Portrait of Hudson by Judy Linn

Back for More

Friday, March 7th, 2014

If you have a solution to the seemingly deterrent 40-dollar admission fee, the sixteenth edition of the Armory Show offers 205 galleries from 29 countries, including shows-within-a-show.  “Armory Presents,” the renewed version of the former “Solo Projects,” highlights solo- or duo-artist booths by emerging galleries.  It looks excellent and even includes an OPEC gallery!  “Armory Focus” is the red-labeled section (seriously!  Red China) curated by Philip Tinari that features 17 galleries from our great Eastern rival Republic, many of which will be exhibiting outside of Asia for the first time.

From the highlight reel, here are some memorable works at Pier 94, the contemporary wing of the fair.

A few glimpses of power (authority), power (energy), and technology are evident, especially in an infrastructure-in-drag landscape by David Lachapelle, constructed from drinking straws, hair curlers, water jugs, and cardboard – followed by an ancestral gas-guzzler by John Wesley and a miniature control room by Roxy Paine:

Daniel Rich at Peter Blum Gallery


Detail, David Lachapelle, "Land Scape Castle Rock," 2013 at Galerie Daniel Templon
John Wesley at Fredericks & Freiser
Roxy Paine, "Maquette of Control Room Diorama," 2013 at Kavi Gupta Gallery
Joseph Kosuth at Sean Kelly

Here is a heartbreaking work by Colombian artist Miguel Angel Rojas at Houston’s Sicardi Gallery, which features a former Colombian soldier who lost part of his leg in a battle with FARC guerillas. Rojas asked the soldier to pose as “David;” the soldier didn’t know the work. Profits from sale of this work have supported the soldier and his family, where they own a farm in Colombia. Meanwhile, art insiders can pose for a full-body 3-D scan portrait by Karin Sander.

Miguel Angel Rojas at Sicardi Gallery
Karin Sander at Galerie Nachtst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwalder

Whitney Biennial co-curator Michelle Grabner has tons of work at James Cohan Gallery and women artists are a vital force in this fair.

Whitney Biennial curator Michelle Grabner, "Oyster #5" at James Cohan Gallery
Shingle rhymes with Stingel: Marianne Vitale, "Shingle Painting 7," 2013, at Zach Feuer
Nicole Eisenman, mostly 90s paintings, at Koenig & Clinton
Anoka Faruqee at Koenig & Clinton
Jenny Holzer enamel signs from 1981 at Spruth Magers

Some hotspots at Armory Presents include Hayal Pozanti’s pop-Stuart Davis abstract paintings, accompanied by animated gifs on iPads, some rigid retro-design abstraction by Thomas Raat, and documentation of urban growth in Saudi Arabia by Ahmad Mater.

Best gifs in show: Hayal Pozanti at Jessica Silverman

Saudi artist Ahmad Mater (also a doctor in real-life) at Athr Gallery, Jeddah

Saudi artist Ahmad Mater (also a doctor in real-life) at Athr Gallery, Jeddah
Thomas Raat at BolteLang, Zurich

William Powhida keeps subjects in perspective, while Charlie White flattens subjects against a grid.

Detail, William Powhida at Postmasters
Charlie White at Loock Gallery

Some vintage works snap us out of shiny bijoux worship.

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Man with Rifle)," 1983 at P.P.O.W.
Betye Saar, "Wizard," 1972, at Roberts and TIlton

Matthew Hale’s effusive collages also boast this forced-perspective frame.

Matthew Hale, "Page 9 of Miriam's Body," 2013 at Ratio 3

Sean Landers’ paintings look nicer every time I see them, especially with this plaid squirrel writing equations; hopefully, he will keep a distance from Kati Heck’s cat.

Super Sean Landers, "Golden Section," 2013 at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Super Sean Landers, "Golden Section," 2013 at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen
Kati Heck, "Deal!," 2014 at Tim Van Laere Gallery

Projects in “Armory Focus: China” feature a broken Roomba and retina-bending op art.

Nadim Abbas at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong
Li Shurui at Aike Dellarco, Shanghai

After combing this show, you’ll more than satiated, ready to exit with Derrick Adams, retire to Urs Fischer’s bed, go thrash some public art, perhaps flee to the wild unknown captured in Robert Longo’s Burning Man tableaux, or move permanently to Bali, like Ashley Bickerton did.

Derrick Adams, "Welcome Back," 2014 at Tilton Gallery
Urs Fischer from 1997 at Eva Presenhuber
Still from Raphael Zarka, "Riding Modern Art," 2005 at Michael Rein
Robert Longo, "Burning Man," 2013 at Thaddaeus Ropac
King Ashley Bickerton at Lehmann Maupin

Purple and Cold

Friday, February 7th, 2014

What happens when one of the world’s most corrupt countries hosts the most expensive Olympics?  You get bribery and embezzlement.  What happens when one of the world’s most homophobic countries bans gay expression?  You get creative resistance.

Resistance to Putin’s Olympics includes boycotts, demonstrations, kiss-ins, a Google doodle, and even nail polish.  And arrests have begun, too.

Russia has come close to ruining the Olympics.  It has sparked a toxic triangulation of progressives versus the Olympics and Russia.  But let’s take the Olympics back, and turn that triangle: progressives and the Olympics versus Russia!

So what should cultural producers do?  They should produce!  Here’s Purple & Gold at Louis B. James Gallery, a design project and one-night exhibition for which New York artists created a “capsule collection” of queer tracksuits.  The tracksuits will be available for sale via PRINTALLOVER.ME, the print-a-porter startup founded by Jesse Finkelstein.  Proceeds from sales will benefit the Russian LGBT Network.

Designs by Robert Melee (left) and T.M. Davy (right)

Purple & Gold is curated and executed by David Fierman and PRINT ALL OVER ME.  Participating artists include Aay Kay Burns, Jibz Cameron, Deric Carner, T.M. Davy , Christian Dietkus, Scott Hug, Casey Legler, Kalup Linzy, Michael Mahalchick, Ryan McNamara, Robert Melee, Lucas Michael, Wardell Milan, David Mramor, Jack Pierson, Colin Self, David Benjamin Sherry, and more.

Concept by Jibz Cameron/Dynasty Handbag