Loren Munk’s “SOHO Map” offers a visual record of a densely peopled art world.
The exhibitions that rippled through our cultural fabric over the past year, at least those occurring in and around New York, have registered the predictable number of highs and lows, though 2014 did manage to plumb one nadir unlikely to be matched for a good long time.
Stacked against the market-driven myth of the solitary genius, the role of community in fostering creative ferment is generally given short shrift. The neatly coordinated categories we encounter in museums, arranged by time period, style or place of origin, barely touch on the diverse constituencies and influences that brought the art into being.
We asked three Hyperallergic editors to offer their picks of the best in the neighborhood’s art galleries.
In Loren Munk’s painting “An Attempted Documentation of Williamsburg, 1981-2008” (2008-2011), I recognized a slice of my own history in a place I had known well. After a lifetime of looking at paintings, this experience was oddly new to me.
Every so often the idea behind an exhibition comes across as so pertinent and expansive that it makes you wonder why it hasn’t already become part of the conversation.
This appears to be the case with Reticulate, a group show at McKenzie Fine Art on the Lower East Side, which explores the concept of the network — digital, biological, social, historical — across a range of sensibilities, mostly in the form of abstract painting.
I’ve been following the work of Loren Munk for years and had the pleasure of seeing the work currently on display at Lesley Heller in his studio years ago before most people even knew they existed. Today, Munk has been exhibiting regularly and developing a following for his map works that document art world scenes in New York and elsewhere. There is a frenzy of color in his paintings and the choices are obviously subjective (and rife with personal politics) but they are intense explosions of information carefully organized and constructed like a spider web in paint. I spoke to Munk about his latest show, Location, Location, Location, Mapping the New York Art World, on the Lower East Side that continues until this Sunday, October 16.
A golden nugget from James Kalm’s Facebook profile page and the birth of a fantastic new term, “vaginal surround sound.”
Mark Kostabi is a name I haven’t heard for ages. The man is synonymous with New York’s 1980s East Village scene but he’s disappeared from many recent narratives of the era. Now, our favorite guy on the bike (aka James Kalm) caught up with the artist at his current show in Soho. This short video is a taste of a longer interview James Kalm promises to post in a few days but it’ll give you a good sense of the once ubiquitous artist who art history (almost) forgot.
After watching Bushwick’s visual arts scene grow and usurp the energy of Williamsburg’s two decades of dominance as the epicenter of the city’s artistic edge, curator Larry Walczak decided it was time to put together an exhibition that investigates the neighborhood’s recent art heritage. The show, Williamsburg2000, opened on March 12 and includes 68 artists. Taking place at the small artist-run indy space Art101 on Grand Street, the exhibition focuses mostly on Williamsburg’s “second wave” that began in 1998 and continued until 2002, coincidentally its the same time period that Walczak ran the Eyewash gallery space with the late Annie Herron.
According to Eric Doeringer, the artist-curator of I Like the Art World and the Art World Likes Me, the exhibition’s title—a nod to Joseph Beuys’s 1974 performance “I Like America and America Likes Me”—is meant to convey the “fraught relationship between emerging artists and the art-world establishment,” one marked by a simultaneous desire to criticize the art world’s excesses and to be recognized by it. Art about the institutions of art, both physical and discursive, is hardly a new phenomenon, but unlike Marcel Broodthaers and Hans Haacke, cited by Doeringer as predecessors for the work included in this exhibition, what emerges most clearly here is not “institutional critique” but a sense of anxiety or anger about the artists’ own marginalization and lack of mainstream success.
A solo exhibition of works by Mark Lombardi at Pierogi gallery in Williamsburg, feels very timely. Maybe I’m into the paranoia-inducing conspiracy charts because New York’s just-ended art fair week, our own glimpse into the vastness of the international art world, reminded me that there are whole webs of infinite complex connections to the worlds and communities we inhabit. Lombardi’s intricate, highly-researched drawings are clear presentations of information that forces us to rethink how we see ourselves in relation to our political atmosphere.