The intertwined energies of art, technology, and environment were alive in Brooklyn on the night of Thursday, October 13. I was scheduled to speak at Hyperallergic HQ about the work I am doing with my Ecoarttech collaborative on social, political, environmental and media ecologies. When the first press release for the talk went out, a friend emailed me with an uncannily similar event happening nearby on the very same night: the opening for Ecologías Correlativas at 319 Scholes.
We have the best office in the world and we want to share it with you. Over a year ago, we moved into this giant space from our previous office — which was 20% the size of this — with the intention of hosting numerous events and renting out desks. We haven’t hosted as many events as we thought we would — since blogging, editing, organizing and the business side of things consumes most of our time — but our summer renter has left and it’s time to talk about renting out those desks.
After happening on several graffiti statements by the writer FADE, I realized that graffiti may be one of the most long-lasting artistic and political protests.Occupying public space and asserting the power of the individual, every tag, piece, statement or other form of graffiti is a true demonstration.
Curator Charles Wilkin has put together a show of collage at Picture Farm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The show, presented by Ugly Art Room, opened last Friday and made me wonder how the art form might be different today in contrast to its origins in the early 20th C. I spoke to the curator about contemporary collage.
There I was, sitting in a rocking chair at the Microscope Gallery in Bushwick but I felt like I was visiting a friend in her own home and we were just sitting around bullshitting. No, it wasn’t one of those snobby holier-than-thou art shacks in Manhattan. It was Marni Kotak’s show, The Birth of Baby X and the rocking chair had belonged to the artist’s mother.
Earlier this week I posted a review of MCASD’s current show Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface. Reading this, you might have thought, “Cool! Perceptual deprivation! Now I’ll know what it was like doing LSD in the 1960s and 1970s without worrying about passing a drug test at work!” Which is all well and good. But you also might have wondered, beyond the entertainment factor, why should you care. What exactly is the Light and Space movement and why is it important?
So … by now we are all familiar with the critical fanfare surrounding MoMA’s de Kooning retrospective. Jerry Saltz is a big fan of the exhibition, Peter Schjeldahl thought it was awesome, Tyler Green keeps writing about it, even MSNBC covered the opening. I’m going to go ahead and agree with the common wisdom on the show. The exhibition, which is organized chronologically, takes the artists career as a whole, for better or worst. Apart from a slightly out of place wall of abstractions from the 1930s in the first room (small and gemlike) the whole show flowed intuitively and easily from development to development.
Sometimes art happens by accident, like teenage pregnancy. On occasion the mishap can be fortuitous.
Last week I had the pleasure of checking out Step and Repeat at Toomer Labzda gallery on Forsyth Street in the Lower East Side. The space is new, and this is their first attempt at a group show. As I’ve written before, I am often skeptical of the whole commercial gallery thematic show thing. I was pleasantly surprised by the exhibit, which features the artwork of Marin Abell, Ivin Ballen, Alisa Baremboym and Leah Dixon. The first thing I realized when I walked into the gallery was how much I love small spaces. I think that gallery goers often take the large caverns in Chelsea for granted. I for one, find it difficult to actually be reflective in Gagosian or Pace. Instead I rush around on their polished concrete floors like a wanton six year old lost in his parents snack cupboard, gorging and sampling, but always short of reflection. On the flip side, the physical constraints of Toomer Labzda gallery are pretty extreme, it’s super tiny, but the husband and wife team have put that to good use. In a one room gallery there is nowhere to hide weak ideas, or b-list artworks.
Last night, I sat in on an Arts and Culture meeting at Occupy Wall Street to check in on what the group has been up to. After keeping track of and participating in their Google group for the past couple of weeks (I currently have over 400 Arts and Culture threads crowding my inbox) it was good to finally put faces to certain names. The meetings take place every night at 6:00 PM at 60 Wall Street in the building’s pristine atrium complete with palm trees and tweeting birds. The building, which serves as the American headquarters of Deutsche Bank, is taken over by several of Occupy Wall Street’s working groups by night where they meet to hash out ideas and discuss administrative tactics.
In my art explorations around Bushwick I ventured off the beaten track and visited a few new art spaces.
MIAMI — Loriel Beltran and Alejandro Contreras both moved to Miami from Caracas, Venezuela when they were 15 years old. They met at the Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH) in Miami, brought together as two of the five students in the ESOL class learning English as a second language.
Today they are best friends and enjoy successful careers as full-time artists. They have also created a creative infrastructure for themselves renting a warehouse with a group of artist in which they live and work. Although the aesthetics of their individual artwork remain fundamentally different, they do share strong similarities in their resourceful approach to materials.