Don’t miss it! Are We Already Gone? An analysis of contemporary social diaspora
I was so excited when my lovely friend Negin Sharifzadeh let me know about her show Are We Already Gone? An artist and an animator, Negin’s curation is consistently both controversial and relatable. The exhibition, addressed themes of diaspora and loss in lieu of the animation office’s relocation. The shift in space after 20 years provided this opportunity to examine widespread absences on a social, global scale. Extended until tomorrow, you should definitely check it out!
I planned to publish this review in ArteNews, and will definitely link if it ends up going in! In the meantime, check out the exhibition and the photos by Karen Sterling:
All works are for sale, please contact us if interested and I’ll pass your info to Negin.
Earthen branches welcome at the entry to the showcase, literally rooted in transition. Negin’s own work was particularly haunting: Story of a Curse and Holding in the Sound, both mixed media with wood, had a fairytale quality, as if the viewer was walking through a forest on a path to discovery. The second half of the space evolves into expressions and articulations of self. Maiden Voyage is a curatorially linking work by Suprina Kenney, with a carved face springing from the curving branch.
Another striking work was Mehran Saber’s Metamorphosis, an arguably magically realist large oil on canvas. The older couple centered in the painting has a haunting expression, seemingly overwhelmed by the animation surrounding them. This pathos is undeniably provocative for the viewer, not least with the juxtaposition of artistic styles in seamless diversity.
Identity takes the particularly powerful form of anger with Ruth A. Mora’s Ignorance and Indifference. The viewer crouches beside sheared papers of vice in a red-lit room, reading the shreds of “corruption” “racism” and violence. In a faint and monotone voice, a woman said “I don’t know. I don’t care” on repeat. The dichotomy created between repetitive indifference and literally piles of unavoidable woes feels deliberately false, ultimately powerful in its subtle suggestion of the need for change.
Not all the work is forceful, however. Ali Chitsaz’s mirrored acrylics expressed the same questions of identity even comically: First the viewer peered into a speck of mirror painted with a loose self portrait for See yourself in me, and then another abstract expressionist rendering of See yourself in John Travolta. In a way, this quick infusion of a seemingly irrelevant celebrity has elements of Warhol, whereas the strokes of Chitsaz’s painting are almost reminiscent of Max Beckmann. Although undeniably humorous, the allusion to fragmented identity is challenging.
Iranian, Palestinian, Egyptian and American artists among others expound on this theme of loss in self. In a sociopolitical atmosphere too often plagued by hate speech and misguidance, an artistic overture on disappearance, and inadvertently, belonging, is critically valuable.
12:53 pm • 30 September 2014
Prune Nourry’s Terracotta Daughters at the China Institute, Sept. 11-Oct. 4
Prune Nourry often questions gender in her work, but the aesthetic power of 116 Terracotta Daughters is exceptionally staggering. The Parisian artist worked with a craftsman to sculpt the life-size terracotta, modeled after eight living Chinese girls. The showcase directly references Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army, a national treasure of China dating back to ca. 210 BC, but the marked change from warrior to young girl has an undeniable symbolism.
Nourry’s showcase has traveled across Europe, making its debut in New York just in time for September Asia Week. It opened in Shanghai, and plans to be closed there: the work will be buried until 2030 just like the Terracotta Army was buried until the 1970s, hopefully to be unveiled again as an archaeological revelation.
I jocked this off the artist’s website: http://vimeo.com/79253556
6:27 pm • 17 September 2014
(No it’s not porn, it’s art)
See our favourite performance artist (and dear contributor) trapped in a cage on September 9th and 10th! Watch it from your laptop, computer, ipad, cellphone on livestream & join the discussion!
"TOMORROW: I will begin my stay in Maio Jiaxin’s cage, Sept 9th and Sept 10th. You can observe what I do 24/7 via live stream at https://new.livestream.com/accounts/8810058/miaojiaxinstudio From 9am -12pm I must sit in the Cage with no electronic devices, reading materials, craft work, writing utensils, or exercise activities and sleep is forbidden. I will be meditating and beautifying for the day in my catsuit. WHAT ELSE is left to do?” - Yana
Looks crazy, I can’t wait. /Anna Mikaela
6:25 pm • 9 September 2014
Made in L.A.
A biennial worth mentioned due to it’s ground-breaking artist selection - it features more female than male artists! Given the statistic that more women than men go to art school and become artists, it makes sense. Curated by Hammer chief curator Connie Butler and independent curator Michael Ned Holte, who slammed the the previous inaugural 2012 biennial in Artforum, work fills all the museum’s galleries and several of it’s outdoor spaces. It feels fresh as 3/4 of the artists are under 45 and most have not had solos shows in L.A., those who have were predominantly exhibited in smaller or alternative venues.
WEST COAST COOL! / Anna Mikaela
Made in L.A. is on view at UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles until September 7th, 2014.
Pictured: Sara Rara, The Pollinator, video still. Channing Hansen 13.35, installation. Tala Madani.
3:50 pm • 4 September 2014 • 2 notes
Happy Belated Birthday to our visionary leader! She is off somewhere at the last-ever Burning Man gettin’ cray.
BE SAFE HAVE FUN KEEP AGING FANTASTICALLY
1:43 pm • 27 August 2014
Côté Basque & Bilbao
The Basque district spans over the South-West France into Spain and roads and shops bear both French and Basque names. It is less crowded and flashy than the Côte d’Azur yet it has many super chic pockets - a local artist told me that Vito and Lola Schnabel learned how to surf here.
Zako’s studio in Bidart
I spent a week exploring the art scene with ex-pro snowboarder now artist and sculptor Zako (who is thanks to my surfer uncle part of my family- Yeah!!!). She mainly works in metal and embroidery with large-scale sculpture of the human body, skulls and design objects with a recent foray into conceptual work around religion.
After being denied her spot in the Spanish Olympic team (because she recently had mothered a son-WTF?!!) she decided to, after putting up a fight, finally leave competitive snowboarding to work on her art. Her recent series reflects the identity-crisis she went through during this shift, “losing my religion.” Like the large-scale rosaries with ovaries hanging in her studio and the crucified bunny rabbit “Jesus Crabbit” looking out over the garden.
Guggenheim Bilbao & a spider by Louise Bourgeois
Guggenheim Bilbao, that unfortunately does little to support local art practice apart from having a Spanish wing, is the regions main cultural attraction. The building designed by Frank Gehry is impressive in it’s own right but the stainless steel walkways, asymmetrical space and large sheets of metal seem to compete with the art exhibited. The Yoko Ono retrospective was fantastic - Fly(1970), a video following flies on Ono’s body was great to see IRL.
Another incredible building, reminiscent of a wave is the The Cité de l’Océan et du Surf in Biarritz designed by Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Solange Fabião. The museum’s content seems to be a disappointment but the photography show on view on the lawn outside was cool. Magnificent photos of waves by Sylvain Cazenove and the underwater creatures Francoise Latour caught my eye.
The launch party of the International Surf Film Festival of Anglet was a great venue to meet the creative crowd, each town has atleast one gallery and in the summer there is a new show opening every week! One of the cooler spaces is Space Junk, with an impressive output of publications, founded by Jérome Catz in 2003. Representing “low brow” artists including an array of ex pro-snowboarders, and skaters they have launched many artists careers, including Zako’s. When we visited the Bayonne location art historical and political reference heavy work by French street and stencil artist Goin was on view, her work is awesome, poignant and if you’re looking to decorate your home - very affordable!
PS —- I helped Zako with the piece below - in protest to the war on Palestine, Guerilla Art!
4:49 pm • 17 August 2014
A few days ago I visited the studio of Santina Amato… I was in for a treat. While Amato’s past work has included performative installations, such as repeatedly attempting to cast the perfect pair of ice stilettos in Frozen Volatility, 2013 (pictured above), her more recent work is more of an skewed study of the body through video, installation, and sculpture. One of the strongest pieces I found in this studio was a slow motion video that rolled past stuffed stockings, which appear to be unrecognizable flesh on camera. A relationship guru gives advice in the audio background as the video rolls over the intimately intertwined sculptures.
"Voyeuristic in it’s approach and adopting a deceptively childlike charm, logic and aesthetic, my work instantly transports the viewer into a feminine surrealist wonderland, a fairytale-esque environment that explores the "in-between", the tension that lies both within the physical and psychological space of the female identity." — Santina Amato
This is not feminist work, but it is decidedly female work. In today’s art world that alone is still a striking public declaration. Let’s hope this artist finds museum programming in more than just “feminist” art shows. Her mass exposure is recommended.
Amato’s next exhibition “Erroneously Predisposed” will open September 6th, 2014 at the Governor’s Island Art Fair.
There is also an an amazing photo journal of her work available for $100 USD + $10 shipping. Email email@example.com for more purchase information.
12:02 pm • 12 August 2014
WE’RE ON HOLIDAY xo Anna Mikaela
Alex is flying across the U.S. with a dashing beau in a small Cessna plane, Ayana is on her way to Chicago after hosting major birthday celebrations with NYC’s performance art clique and I am recovering after a tumultuous night of crossing wheat fields with a couple of young tattooed townie-boys trying to sneak into a music festival on the English country-side…
We will report back again shortly! IN THE MEANTIME just SCROLL DOWN.
(David LaChapelle, underwear ad)
9:19 am • 28 July 2014
So I discovered the @TheRealHennessy Twitter paintings today by Greg Allen (@gregorg on Twitter). At first I thought the paintings were made by Jayson Musson. Then after a brief twitter exchange (which was of course quite funny, so I’m posting it here) I realized, I was wrong. These paintings are the work of Greg, who has simply appropriated his buddy’s tweets.
I find this work brilliant on many levels. And I expect others to have the critique that it’s not real painting, it’s not really his work, it’s feeding off his friend’s art cred, blah blah blah. Whatever. This work is funny and abstract. I’m sold.
More formal musing on the art from greg.org here:
"The series of monochrome tweet paintings, of which @TheRealHennessy Tweets, Moby is an outstanding example, presents the viewer with a strangely puzzling juxtaposition of a minimalist canvas and painted words. Although this can be interpreted as a reference to postmodern linguistic theory, the work also points to two quintessentially American features: hard-edge abstraction and popular humor. Cleverly subverting the clean and serious language of abstract painting, the tweets’ amalgamation of low and high culture characterizes @TheRealHennessy Tweet’s most iconic work. This intelligent fusion of conceptual strategies with popular cultural references, which has been the driving force throughout @TheRealHennessy Tweet’s influential practice, is perfectly merged in @TheRealHennessy Tweets, Moby. Wittingly parodying the uncomplicated jokes from vernacular literature, the artist has found a way of incorporating a difficult subject-matter - humor - into a deeply serious artistic practice.
AND THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART OF IT ALL: “The first painting is available for $1,800. Please tweet, DM, or email for further information. —www.greg.org)
Ayana Evans @yana_handbags on Twitter
4:33 pm • 18 July 2014 • 29 notes
Bear Kirkpatrick! A well-groomed artist
I hope everyone is having a lovely summer. We know Mikaela is, now that her magnificent Swedish Wooden Toy project has come to fruition. In my life, I just went to the beautiful wedding of Zoe and Bear. Zoe is a curator and blogger, not to mention the designer of one the prettiest weddings I’ve been to (I’ll get to her later), and Bear is a pretty cool artist in his own right.
I did my best to give them an appropriate wedding gift, but in the meantime, let’s take a sneak peak of an art critical look at the groom, shall we?
Bear works with portraiture, using digital programming to super-impose and reimagine imagery from ranging from the historic to the fantastical. In addition the imagery, there are also printed books available.
The subject of this image, from the Early Settlers series, is actually this weekend’s bride!
That’s her brother, in Portraits Praelium. The bird theme is recurrent throughout his work as well, having been featured in the earlier Human Diaorama series, as was active in 2012.
Bear has been well-received in various galleries, having shown in New York on numerous occasions. His glorious website, from which all these images are ruthlessly stolen, has a cohesive list.
Then there was the time they covered me in poppy seeds, Photoshopped me into a pregnancy, and then the picture got picked up by Le Monde. Stay tuned for an updated version of this post with that image in a little while!
Many congratulations to the bride and groom!
3:31 pm • 14 July 2014
SWEDISH WOODEN TOYS, LES ARTS DECORATIFS
(Paris Je t’aime, part 3)
Swedish Wooden Toys opened on June 18th at Les Arts Decoratifs in Paris, it is the exhibition to see this summer, fall and winter. It is the premier exhibition in Paris right now. It is magnificent. Tell one tell all.
A treat for any design aficionado, nostalgic adult and child. The exhibition is a library of knowledge mapping the history of Swedish toy manufacture presenting more than 250 toys from the 17th-21st century. Major Swedish toy companies like Gemla, Brio, Micki, Playsam, IKEA are represented alongside more rare items from smaller factories like Berglinds, Kometen and ACNE JR in the toy galleries of Les Arts Decoratifs.
Most of the toys are from the ‘golden age of toys’ 1860-1930, arranged in themes such as Doll Houses, The Horse, Transportation and Winter Toys showcased in a magical immersive environment of birch-trees and rainbows in cardboard created by celebrated french designer Matali Crasset. The toys will tour to New York in 2015.
Advanced amateur made toys, like the the 19th century dollhouse with an electric elevator contrast more simple ones such as a moose carved in wood. In the realm between toys and decorative household objects and representing a shift from home-made to larger scale manufacture a herd of Dalcarlian horses stand in one of the cases ready to be admired.
The exhibition is accompanied by Swedish Wooden Toys the first major publication on the history of Swedish wooden toys, published in English by the Bard Graduate Center and Yale University Press. The book features contributions by specialists such as the exhibitions curators Amy F. Ogata, professor in Design History, Susan Weber, founding Director of Bard Graduate Center and Peter Pluntky, a Swedish toy expert and collector as well as Solveig Nordh, curator of the BRIO Lekoseum, and Hedvig Hedqvist, a journalist, among others.
All of the works in the exhibition are vividly reproduced with magnificent photographs in the catalog.
As all things American the exhibition in New York at the Bard Graduate Center opening in the fall of 2015 will be bigger and, I dare say, better - showcasing one hundred more toys than the Paris exhibition!
Swedish Wooden Toys at Les Arts Decoratifs is open until January 2015.
ps. By the way, my name is in the catalog, I wokred on the exhibition as curatorial assistant for 2.5 yrs!!! HÄFTIGT!
Amusez-vous bien! / Anna Mikaela
3:12 am • 11 July 2014 • 1 note
Happy 4th of July! Here’s Some Patriotic Art
I know, I’m a dork. But, my fellow Americans, and Swedes and Brits and whoever else skims my articles, this is AMERICA. WE ARE AMERICANS NOW. Before you watch fireworks or eat cake or run off to the South of France, take a moment to reflect on GREAT AMERICAN ARTISTS. Unfortunately, my list is a little too laden with males. America will get over itself one of these days…
- Jasper Johns
Flag (1954-1955), via MoMA
Duh. Move over Betsy Ross.
- Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), also via MoMA
Nothing says America like commercialism, mass production, catchy refrigerator magnets and muses with heroin problems.
- Jeff Koons
Michael Jackson and Bubbles, (1988), via The Whitney
Nothing else says America like balloon animals, Michael Jackson, pissing off the Louvre and getting rid of back-stock from Gagosian. Also, Lady Gaga likes him. Go to the Whitney or you’re a communist.
- Cindy Sherman
Untitled #466 (2008) via MoMA again! Do I hate myself?
Not everything born in New Jersey is good, but every once in a while you get a gem. Sherman’s chameleon-like ways are a one-woman melting pot, and have spanned decades of fascinating insights into character and presence. My favorite is the “Rich Women” series, once exhibited in situ at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich. I wrote a piece about it for Art Observed that has been lost to posterity in the blogosphere. RIP February 2011.
- Richard Prince
Untitled (Cowboys) (1992) via Gagosian
Cowboys and plagiarism anyone? Maybe just breakfast at Tiffany’s?
- James Franco
Just kidding. How is this still a thing?
- Jean-Michel Basquiat
The artist in 1985, via the Brooklyn Museum
Before the mostly-terrible Schnabel movie, Basquiat was as New York as 99 cent pizza.
Leghead is an underground kind of guy right now, but you might have seen his work. Blogger Mitch Broder does a good feature on him.
This one time I was sitting in Rox Gallery, and Leghead came in and started singing. Then he went into the store next door, swiped a mannequin and a hammer without discussion, and started louding banging outside. Needless to say, I love his work and try to keep an eye out for it out and about in downtown Manhattan. If random, kind of crazy, and really fun isn’t the best amalgamation of American values, I don’t know what is.
- Helen Frankenthaler
I shamelessly stole this image from a blog called The Artsy Ladies. You love it.
Mid-20th century America was arguably its heyday as a formidable source of art and culture. For all the Cowboys of the Abstract Expressionist movement, there were just as many women making fantastic work. Helen is my long lost secret soul sister grandmother, to put it in art historical terms.
- John Singer Sargent
Madame X (1883-84), via the Metropolitan Museum of Art
This famous piece had to be repainted, because the original had a fallen strap. Strumpet! Happens to the best of us though, on the real.
Remember the past, you guys? #history
10:01 am • 4 July 2014
Paris je t’aime (part 2)
New York is filled with artist & curator-run spaces - apparently Paris is not – which due to the French state’s generous support to the arts and museums isn’t surprising, small spaces are quickly institutionalized. Such as the Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain (FRACs) contemporary art museums funded by the state in major cities of the country.
Upon leaving Palais de Tokyo we ran into resident curator Gallien Dejéan who is also an art-critic and one of the founders of Treize, an artist/curator run space in Paris. I asked him many questions but forgot all of his answers.
Shanaynay is another curator-run space in the trendy quartier of Bellevue. I didn’t manage to get any information out of anyone at the opening of their current exhibition organized by a space in Vienna. I did however chat to one of the founders, Romain Chenais who recently opened a gallery down the street High Art, he was quite attractive and most probably straight to so I am going to keep an eye out!
In the summer time hot men trump good art.
11:01 am • 3 July 2014
HOLIDAY READING— Last Saturday, Staten Island’s LUMEN performance arts festival just held its “fifth incarnation where it all began: Atlantic Salt Company’s waterfront dock — 561 Richmond Terrace.” The festival was curated by David C. Terry and Esther Neff. And while it’s tempting to wax on about whether or not LUMEN 2014 was as good as LUMEN 2013, that debate is a bit old and really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that artists who I think are the best (and most underrated) performance artists in NYC participated yet again this year. My favs this year included Whitney V. Hunter, Ian DeLeon and Future Death Toll. I think the two are too different to properly discuss in the same post so for now I will turn your attention to Mr. Hunter. (More posts featuring Future Death Toll & DeLeon later this month.)
I asked Whitney Hunter to give me a little more insight into his project for Lumen. I was in intrigued by the poetic appeal that performer Germaul Barnes brought to the piece and wanted to know more. Ever the perfect ambassador for his own work (and YES this is a skill) this is what Hunter wrote:
1st American Shapist House for the Practice of Performance/Ritual:
SALT, a ceremony of 5 actions
Conceived by Whitney V. Hunter. Performed by Germaul Barnes.
SALT, a ceremony of 5 actions, is a “faith ritual” of the 1st American Shapist House for the Practice of Performance/Ritual. It reasserts the power of belief and faith in the transformative potential of art through the work effort and interaction with such a substance as rock salt. The sheer weight and quality of this substance presents a significant physical challenge that instigates authenticity and honesty. As a public ceremony performed at the top of each hour and for as long as the action takes, the performer confronts in real-time the challenge of duration and endurance.
I am interested in the possibilities that performance festivals and curators of performance art have in offering alternative outlets of expression through such activities as panels, writings, workshops and of course performances. These kinds of activities offer the artist the opportunity to develop his/her artistry to include both a theoretical and practical grounding. The presenting of such, often transgressive, subject matter does not come without first a question posed to the artist by the artist his/her self. Development of this kind relates directly to the Shapist aim of “creating alternative pathways of cognition through ritual-based performance,” which in essence asks the question, “why does this matter to me and how might it impact others.”
You would be foolish not too keep an eye out for Hunter’s upcoming performance at Judson @ Movement Research, fall 2014.
10:01 am • 3 July 2014