Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Faculty Updates

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

What have SVACE faculty members been up to? We have exciting updates from course instructors Jade Doskow, Elise Engler, Emily Weiner, and Pan Terzis!

Jade Doskow will speak at SVA about Lost Utopias, her ongoing photography and book project. Doskow is known for her rigorously composed and eerily poetic images that examine the intersection of people, nature and time. Her talk is part of the i3: Images, Ideas, Inspiration lecture series, which features photographers and industry experts, presented by SVA MPS Digital Photography.

Image via Jade Doskow

Image via Jade Doskow

Elise Engler is featured in The Times, a group exhibition at the FLAG Art Foundation that takes The New York Times as its point of departure. The Times includes over 80 artists, artist duos, and collectives who “use the ‘paper of record’ to address and reframe issues that impact our everyday lives,” according to the press release. Given Engler’s project, “First Radio Headlines Heard of the Day,” her daily documentations of news updates are perfect fit for the show – and above the fold.

Image via Elise Engler @drawitall

Image via Elise Engler @drawitall

Emily Weiner is featured in The In, With and Between Us at the Gerðarsafn – Kópavogur Art Museum, Iceland! Focused on four artists, including three MFA alumni from the School of Visual Arts, the show comprises “a research-based conversation around non-linear readings of place and time, language and translation.”

Pan Terzis opens up to The Comics Journal about printing, publishing, and politics in his collaborative practice. He writes, “Publishing other artists’ work has been extremely gratifying. I benefited early on from other people going out of their way to publish, promote, show, and sell my work so I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to the universe and it feels good to give other artists the same opportunity.”

Image via The Comics Journal

Image via The Comics Journal

See more updates on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages!

Bushwick Beat

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

On this segment of Bushwick Beat, we stayed close to the Jefferson stop on the L train, visiting group shows at TransmitterSchema Projects, and Sardine.

At Transmitter, a group show titled “Photo II” ran the gamut of photographic practices, from bizarre portraiture and still life to architectural abstraction.

Erin O'Keefe at Transmitter

Erin O’Keefe at Transmitter

The work of Erin O’Keefe was immediately arresting for its bold color and solid form. After the initial read, however, the status of the work as a photograph quickly came into question. With unreliable space, gradients, and shadows that seem too sharp, these images reveled in their ambiguous status, blurring the distinction between documenting real space and creating an artificial image.

Eli Durst at Transmitter

Eli Durst at Transmitter

Showing off an equally bold sense of form, the photographs of Eli Durst explored a deadpan surrealism that thrived in the harsh contrasts of black and white. A particularly striking image casts an apple against the reflective light of a table. The sharp and exaggerated shadow becomes a tangible form as the table fades into a blurred white.  With a minimum of manipulation and by simply harnessing the textures of things, Durst’s photographs become a light show of the weird mis-recognitions in the act of seeing, of visions that refuse to relay and stay stubbornly inert.

Irina Rozovsky at Transmitter

Irina Rozovsky at Transmitter

Irina Rozovsky’s work shared the high key visual intensity of O’Keefe’s images as well as the surreality of Durst’s photos, contrasting the austere composure of those artists with a fragile vibrancy of broken, complex things. As a result, her photos felt more documentary in nature, less focused on the artifice of the photographic eye than the makeshift enigmas found in the world.

At Schema Projects, “Archetypewriters” was a group show organized by ROE Projects, focusing on small drawings that used systems and patterns and suggested a kinship with writing. As a bonus, most artists also shared a love of vibrant color.

"Archetypewriters" at Schema Projects

“Archetypewriters” at Schema Projects

The drawings were tightly hung along eye level, with dozens of works by the eight featured artists. All of the pieces were engrossing, whether for the simple visual power of neon markers, the precision of a lace-work pattern, or the indecipherable rules that set a given work in motion. For this visual eclecticism, “Archetypewriters” managed to be one of the most visually impressive shows we had seen in Bushwick in a long while.

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Butt Johnson in “Archetypewriters” at Schema Projects

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“Process +/- Pattern” at Sardine Gallery

Finally, we visited Sardine gallery, where “Process +/- Pattern” put five artists together along the theme of process and pattern. In contrast to “Archetypewriters” and “Photo II,” this show featured work that did not immediately speak in unison, and varied considerably in medium and approach.

A video display of a self-erasing page of the Old Testament by Willum Geerts

Willum Geerts in “Process +/- Pattern” at Sardine Gallery

A video display of a self-erasing page of the Old Testament by Willum Geerts sat alongside a pattern drawing and paintings by Keigo Takahashi and Shane Drinkwater. A Tatlin-esque wall sculpture by Karen Tepaz was hung next to a woven work by Heidi Hankaniemi. The broad themes of the show invited this extreme variety; and while “Process +/- Pattern” proved less focused than the two earlier shows, it was a welcome abandon of their principled approach to medium.  The focus was instead what these objects shared despite their disparity – a commitment by each artwork to be what it was, whether followed through by the rule of pattern or discovered in the process along the way.

-Will Patterson

Student Artwork Update: Gregory Mayes

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

We are pleased to present photographs by SVACE student Gregory Mayes! Gregory created this artwork in conjunction with the course, Digital Photography I.

Photo by Gregory Mayes

Photo by Gregory Mayes

Gregory writes: “I had a realization not long ago while walking the streets of New York – my view of the world had shrunk to a corridor ten feet wide and one story high. I paused a moment to expand my gaze, taking in the vibrant details of urban life that I had allowed to become mundane. It is these details perceived in our periphery – a flicker of reflection, movement of shadow or burst of color – which reaffirm the authenticity of our reality.”

Photo by Gregory Mayes

Photo by Gregory Mayes

“I have attempted to capture these details through this series of photographs. To remove them from context and separate into the basic elements of shape, line and color. To transform into something only seen by our subconscious.”

Photo by Gregory Mayes

Photo by Gregory Mayes

“New York is a city with an enormous gravitational pull – it beckoned me almost five years ago. It draws people from around the world, many wishing to practice alchemy on themselves. It was the same for me, a transmutation that is still taking form. I intend to make gold of that.”

Photo by Gregory Mayes

Photo by Gregory Mayes

See Gregory’s work in our exhibition space at 209 East 23rd Street, until April 30!

Open Casket

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

“The painting must go,” writes Hannah Black. Like a chant, she reprises the demand throughout an open letter to the Whitney Biennial curators, in response to Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket,” a painting of Emmett Till’s corpse.1

Photo: Michael Bilsborough

Artist Parker Bright protesting at the Whitney Biennial. Photo: Michael Bilsborough

“Neither are we all completely unknowable,” writes Dana Schutz. Beyond racial divisions, she seems to plea, she is a mother who happens to be white, she can relate to Mamie Till-Mobley. “My engagement with this image was through empathy with his mother.”2

Photo: Michael Bilsborough

Parker Bright at the Whitney. Photo: Michael Bilsborough

“A white woman had Emmett Till killed,” said Parker Bright to me, while he was physically protesting in front of “Open Casket.” His shirt read, “Black Death Spectacle.”

Hannah Black urges the destruction of “Open Casket,” accusing Dana Schutz of being so careless as to “transmute Black suffering into profit and fun.” Moreover, Schutz has overstepped the boundaries of subject matter, with damaging consequences.

“Black people are telling her that the painting has caused unnecessary hurt, she and you must accept the truth of this,” writes Black.

The Whitney curators classify “hurt” as “tremendous emotional resonance.”

Meanwhile, Henry Taylor’s painting of a police officer shooting Philando Castile sums up a horrifying plague of police violence against Black men, including Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Alton Sterling, and too many more. The violence is a catastrophe, as is the “spectacle” opposed by Parker Bright and Hannah Black:

“A similarly high-stakes conversation has been going on about the willingness of a largely non-Black media to share images and footage of Black people in torment and distress or even at the moment of death, evoking deeply shameful white American traditions such as the public lynching.”

Henry Taylor, “THE TIMES THAY AINT A CHANGING, FAST ENOUGH! (2017), Photo: Hyperallergic

Henry Taylor, “THE TIMES THAY AINT A CHANGING, FAST ENOUGH!”, 2017, Photo: Hyperallergic

Like Emmett Till’s casket, Philando Castile’s unjustifiable death was a spectacle that galvanized protest actions. But at the Whitney, nobody is protesting Henry Taylor’s painting, partly because Henry Taylor is Black.3

Hannah Black’s letter describes a world of artistic freedom based on binary (or trinary) race realities: Black, white, Non-Black. So how do we address non-Black artists appropriating images of lynching?

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Robert Gober, “Hanging Man / Sleeping Man,” 1989 © 2017 Robert Gober

Robert Gober? His “Hanging Man/ Sleeping Man” (1989) repeats a lynching as a pattern motif. Is it permissible because it implicates “white obliviousness and sins of omission,” as suggested by Thomas Micchelli in Hyperallergic?

Paul Chan, "My birds... trash... the future.," 2004, Photo: Greene Naftali

Paul Chan, “My birds… trash… the future.,” 2004, Photo: Greene Naftali

Paul Chan? His apocalyptic animated video, “My birds…trash…the future” (2004) depicted a lynching, almost in line with the “tradition of the lynched figure left out in public view as a warning to the black community,” something Emmett Till’s mother reversed, as described by Josephine Livingstone and Lovia Gyarkye in The New Republic. They write:

“Her son’s body would not be made into a spectacle nor be a symbol for black fear and white supremacy. By controlling the way that his body looked, Mobley was able to define its legacy. Although he was taken from her, the way lynched Americans were taken from their families, she was able to invert the final stage of public murder, which is spectacle.”

Demetrius Oliver, "Till," 2004

Demetrius Oliver, “Till,” 2004

Another artist who has depicted lynchings is Adrian Piper, an artist who has cast (and embodied) race to be far more ambiguous than Hannah Black does. In her “Cornered” (1988), Piper reports:

“In fact, some researchers estimate that almost all purportedly white Americans have between 5% and 20% black ancestry. Now, this country’s entrenched conventions classify a person as black if they have any black ancestry. So most purportedly white Americans are, in fact, black. Think what this means for your own racial classification. If you’ve been identifying yourself as white, then the chances are really quite good that you’re in fact black.”

Adrian Piper Cornered, 1988, Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Adrian Piper, “Cornered,” 1988, Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

How does Piper’s racial ambiguity hold up to Hannah Black’s outlook, which is based in a stark taxonomy? Even if we reject Piper’s genetic argument, could we understand it hermeneutically as a lesson that apparent racial differences should not fool us out of solidarity? That Black, white, and non-black people have more in common than is visible?

Cultural appropriation has felled many artists, like Kelley Walker at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis last year, all the way back to Rob Pruitt and Jack Early at Leo Castelli in 1992.

Kelley Walker, "Black Star Press; Star, Star, Star Press," 2007. Photo: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Kelley Walker, “Black Star Press; Star, Star, Star Press,” 2007. Photo: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

And calls for censorship are familiar, though they typically come from the top down, from institutions, not from artists. The Catholic League fought David Wojnarowicz’s video at The Hirschhorn in 2010; Rudy Giuliani infamously threatened the Brooklyn Museum for exhibiting a Chris Ofili painting. “Sick stuff,” he called it. Still, hostility comes from the ground up, too. “Fuck White Art” graffiti defaced a gallery in Los Angeles. And that’s just in the United States. Look abroad for more hostility.

Photo: Michael Bilsborough

Photo: Michael Bilsborough

Art thrives on freedom of expression, so we should never silence an artist – including those artists who use open letters as material. With the NEA in danger, a plurality of voices is more important than ever. Still, Hannah Black seems to ask, “Is this so-called freedom really worth hurting Black viewers?” Why should that pain be acceptable? And suppose consensus accepts that the painting must go. Would that really heal the hurt that it caused? Would that act stifle the valuable discourse resulting from the painting’s visibility? Although censorship is at the heart of this issue, there are other compelling issues to examine, sooner rather than later, many of which are unearthed in “Open Casket.”

Alice Neel at David Zwirner Gallery

Alice Neel at David Zwirner Gallery

Jerry Saltz describes it as “…thick, sluicing…”.
“Ms. Schutz doesn’t picture his wounds as much as the pain of looking at them,” writes Roberta Smith.
3  The style of Dana Schutz’s painting is also a factor, as detailed by Josephine Livingstone and Lovia Gyarkye in The New Republic. “Schutz has smeared Till’s face and made it unrecognizable, again. The streaks of paint crossing the canvas read like an aggressive rejoinder to Mamie Till Mobley’s insistence that he be photographed.”

Spring/Break 2017: The Above-Ground Underground?

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Covering the Spring/Break Art Show is our guest blogger, Emily Weiner, who is an SVACE faculty member, visual artist, writer, and founder, The Willows Apartment Show.

Daniel Horowitz, Civilization and its Discontents (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Windowsill view (above); Room View (Below):

Daniel Horowitz, “Civilization and its Discontents” (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Windowsill view.

Spring/Break Art Show, the art fair initiated in 2012 as an alternative to the high-polished Armory Show and its satellites (Volta, Pulse, Scope), was held this year on two vacant floors of a massive corporate building overlooking Times Square. Featuring 150 curators showcasing rooms of work by more than 400 artists, the show felt equal parts MFA Open Studio and Art Fair, drawing ample collectors, regulars like Jerry Saltz, and lines of artist crowds extending out the door.

Daniel Horowitz, "Civilization and its Discontents" (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Room View.

Daniel Horowitz, “Civilization and its Discontents” (Solo Booth), curated by Ella Marder. Room View.

The fair was also meant to give the impression of a thematic show—curators were asked respond to the idea of Black Mirror and identity. Given the number of works included, however, this was not so obvious to the uninitiated.

JONALDDUDD presents Show Mein, featuring work by seven artists contributing works that pay homage to New York City’s Chinese restaurants.

JONALDDUDD presents “Show Mein,” featuring work by seven artists contributing works that pay homage to New York City’s Chinese restaurants.

However, this fair had a very different feeling from that of its first iteration, presented six years ago in the dilapidated Old St. Patrick’s schoolhouse in the Lower East Side, where there were no numbered booths, free Perrier, or panoramas of giant screens and the NYC skyline.

A solo booth of stellar paintings by the French artist Juliette Curtis, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

A solo booth of stellar paintings by the French artist Julie Tuyet Curtiss, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

A solo booth of stellar paintings by the French artist Juliette Curtis, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

A painting by the French artist Julie Tuyet Curtiss, curated by NYC artist Hein Koh.

In art, the success of anything “alternative” creates a catch-22: It can’t stay on the fringe for long. The Independent, founded in 2010 by gallerist Elizabeth Dee, now depends on a smart reputation and the participation of more than 40 carefully selected art institutions from across the US and Europe. The New Art Dealers Alliance—launched in Miami as a scrappy alternative to Art Basel—is now a mainstay in New York, too, where new-to-established galleries show their best and most innovative emerging-to-mid-career artists in carpeted booths. There is no pretense of being avant-garde or fringe anymore in these fairs, as they have evolved to have a different function.

Soft sculpture by Hein Koh: "Eye of God," 2017; curated by Nicole Grammatico + Christina Papanicolaou

Soft sculpture by Hein Koh: “Eye of God,” 2017; curated by Nicole Grammatico + Christina Papanicolaou

Is the flow from success to mainstream inevitable—and if so, is that a bad thing? One argument for “no” is that good art should be seen. All over the country since the market crash of 2009, small groups of artists and curators have been exhibiting exceptional work outside of a conventional gallery context.

Installation view, Matthew Morrocco, Portrait of Elliott, 2015. Inkjet print.

Installation view, Matthew Morrocco, “Portrait of Elliott,” 2015. Inkjet print.

Installation view: Left, Matthew Morrocco, Portrait of Paul, 2015. Inkjet print. 30 x 24 inches. Right, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Vanessa and Diane, 2016. Digital c-print, 36 x 24 inches.

Installation view: Left, Matthew Morrocco, “Portrait of Paul,” 2015. Inkjet print. 30 x 24 inches. Right, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., “Vanessa and Diane,” 2016. Digital c-print, 36 x 24 inches.

Spring/Break has capitalized on this wave of curatorial independence, bringing artist- and curator-driven exhibitions into the spotlight (or in this case, Times Square’s neon).

Immersive, panoramic photos (online photos don’t do justice!) by Phil Buehler in American Trilogy: Ferguson, Washington, Arlington curated by Larry Walczak of Eyewash Projects.

Immersive, panoramic photos (online photos don’t do justice!) by Phil Buehler in American Trilogy: Ferguson, Washington, Arlington curated by Larry Walczak of Eyewash Projects.

Radiating exhilaration bordering on exhaustion, this year’s Spring/Break art fair seemed on the precipice of being too big for its own good. Only time will tell if next year’s iteration can keep the fair’s original exuberance going, while increasing in size and visibility. As for this year, there were many moments of inspiration, including these selections (pictured above and below).

Matthew McConnell, Untitled (from More Possibilities for Distance and Mass), 2016. Earthenware with Bone Charcoal and Graphite.

Matthew McConnell, “Untitled (from More Possibilities for Distance and Mass),” 2016. Earthenware with Bone Charcoal and Graphite.

Masterful cast-ceramic sculptures of low-fi materials by sculptor Matthew McConnell were a highlight of Infinity Pool, a selection of work curated by artists Rebecca Morgan and Stephen Eakin.

Paul Gagner, "The Artist as Receptacle," 2016. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches.

In a similar trompe l’oeil spirit: Paul Gagner, “The Artist as Receptacle,” 2016. Oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches.

By Proxy, a room curated by gallerists Caroline Tilleard and Anna Maria Cuevas, was a quiet respite from the busy hallways, with some perfectly balanced wall works.

Left: Tracy Thomason, A Well and a Wealth or a Spine and its Center, 2016. Oil, Marble dust, and activated charcoal on linen. 20 x 16 inches Right: Alex Ebstein, Long Division, 2017. Hand Cut PVC yoga mats and enamel on wood panel, 20 x 16 inches

Left: Tracy Thomason, “A Well and a Wealth or a Spine and its Center,” 2016. Oil, Marble dust, and activated charcoal on linen. 20 x 16 inches. Right: Alex Ebstein, “Long Division,” 2017. Hand Cut PVC yoga mats and enamel on wood panel, 20 x 16 inches

Featured in the booth Psychic Dream Girls, curated by Rachel Phillips, was a video by Katie Cercone, alum of SVA MFA Fine Arts, 2011)

Katie Cercone, "$wagophilia’s Song of Fleshy Wind," performative video, 2014.

Katie Cercone, “$wagophilia’s Song of Fleshy Wind,” performative video, 2014.

And in the colorful presentation, Mirror Mirror, artists Adam Mignanelli and Caroline Larsen curate the work of one another on different sides of the booth, complete with houseplants.

Oil painting by Caroline Larson (with artists pictured behind)

Oil painting by Caroline Larson (with artists pictured behind)

Paintings by Adam Mignanelli

Paintings by Adam Mignanelli

Cosmos-conjuring work filled a room curated by artists Mark Joshua Epstein and Will Hutnick, To see the Moon Fall From the Sky.

Dan Perkins, "Midnight," 2017. Oil on panel, 12 x 9 inches.

Dan Perkins, “Midnight,” 2017. Oil on panel, 12 x 9 inches.

Ian James, "Stimulates Cell Regeneration and Repair," 2016. Collagen Neck Mask, slate, stainless steel, 39 x 19 x 15 inches.

Ian James, “Stimulates Cell Regeneration and Repair,” 2016. Collagen Neck Mask, slate, stainless steel, 39 x 19 x 15 inches.

Editor’s Note: don’t miss paintings by Angela Dufresne and Rosemarie Beck in room 2215, curated by our very own Eric Sutphin! For students interested in curating, check out the upcoming courses “Digital Feminism” and “Spring Exposures: Photo Developments in the Chelsea Gallery Scene.”