Artists Unite Issue

May 26, 2009

Internship at Artists Unite

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 8:08 am

Gain valuable experience this summer as an intern at Artists Unite. Artists Unite is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to explore innovative collaboration and to make opportunities for artists to make work and for people to view art and performance. This is an excellent opportunity for a student of arts administration or for artists looking at ways to make projects a reality. To learn about our organization, please visit our web site at and our member network at

Duties include:

  • Maintenance of facebook, web and other media, including writing
  • Assistance with production of summer exhibitions (coordination with artists, work with vendors)
  • Public relations (arranging distribution of materials, searching for press coverage)
  • Help with web site/social network integration


  • Familiarity with web and social networking
  • Good writing and communication skills
  • Graphic design/art skills a plus

Dates of internship: two sessions: June 1-30; July 1-August 31 (it is possible to do both sessions)

Hours to be arranged. June session approximately 10 hours/week; July-August session approximately 5 hours/week.

There is no pay for this position.

Please send cover letter and resume to

May 25, 2009

Aequitas June 2009

Filed under: WebLog — Stephen @ 2:25 pm

Social media has drawn together a group of international artists to New York for Aequitas, an exhibit of art based on childhood experiences.

Artspace OSA in New York City and the virtual community of Second Life will host a joint exhibition of international artists: paintings, digital work, and virtual world installations during the month of June 2009.

Artists can be a solitary lot but with the advent of virtual worlds and web 2.0 they are finding each other and communicating in the way they know best: making and exhibiting art together. This disparate group of artists, having never met face to face, nevertheless finds a common ground in exploring their childhood for art.
Sowa Mai, also known as the artist Stephen Beveridge, conceived and planned this exhibit as an extension of the relationships he had formed in the Second Life virtual world with artist/avatars from different time zones and cultural backgrounds.
The exhibit in Washington Heights, New York City will display paintings and digital work by the human artists. An exhibit in the Second Life virtual world will consist of (art) installations and scripted objects by the human artists’ avatar counterparts. Both exhibits are based around the theme of mining childhood experience for art.

Dekka Raymaker Andrew MacLachlan Penumbra Carter Beth Olds Nebulosus Severine CM Pauluh Sowa Mai Stephen Beveridge David Ferrando Banrion Constantine Robert Garlick Elif Arat

Artspace OSA
June 1 - June 30, 2009
Reception Friday June 19th. 6:30-8:30
178 Bennett Ave @ 189th St, NYC
1 train to 191st Street | A train to 190th Street

Second Life Version
Caerleon Art Collective
June 26 - July 3, 2009
Reception June 26th. 6:30-8:30slpm

Stephen Beveridge
212 928 8351

April 28, 2009

Posting 2: decima Bienal Habana

Filed under: WebLog — Pamela Popeson @ 5:02 pm

posting 2: decima bienal habana

jose Bedia detail

The Havana Biennial runs from March 27 to April 39, 2009 with 16 major installation national sites and numerous galleries and studios exhibiting works: there’s a lot of art to be seen even considering that the Morro Cabana, one of the major exhibition sites, closed early for reasons unexplained.

Luckily the works some of Cuba’s greatest artists: Wilfredo Lam, Raul Martinez and Jose Bedia, are still on view in an exhibit called “Resistancia y Libertad’ at the Museo Nacionale des Belles Artes.

On the wall text (and in the excellent exhibition catalogue) curator Corina Matamoros tells us why these three: because they “are united by the same method, a similar way to produce their poetics. Surrealism meant to Wilfredo Lam what Pop meant to Raul Martinez and the trends derived from Post-Conceptualism to Jose Bedia; a model as starting point to tell of something else and in a different way.” Surely that is exactly what we’re all hoping for.

And why not consider also the wellspring culture as vehicle equal in its own way to method, style, or school. We know that Lam’s Afro-Cuban experience runs hand in hand with his surrealists’ view. All three are certainly products of their time and “region” or their culture, yet the work moves far far beyond regional concerns. Yes I’m still thinking, talking, writing about regionalism and I’m not the only one. Matamoros continues with “a model to be enriched until even its own original context could not develop it further,… an alternative form of inserting in history for the benefit of all narrative.”

Wilfredo Lam’s beautiful paintings can be read as manifestos for social change but they’re much more. The compositions are surprisingly light and warm and inviting even at their darkest. His surrealist and cubist connections to Picasso and that bunch are evident though for the first time I saw his work as the bridge straight to the heart of the next generation of Abstract Expressionists, in particular to where Jackson Pollack went.

I was prepared to dismiss Raul Martinez’ work as derivative pop repetitive graphics in no way transcending their time or purpose of heralding and furthering the cause of the revolution, but giving them second and then third moments I saw beyond that to their intimate and personal nature - though there is no escaping seeing them, at lleast in some part, as art propaganda.

Jose Bedia’s paintings take us on an exquisite journey, along a ritual procession of line, toward some certain future, with extraordinary grace and sureness of a visionary but without the slightest bit of the usual heavy-handedness of sci-fi to accompany it.

Photography was not allowed but here is one image from the catalogue.When I’m back in New York I’ll come back in and link some sites to this post.




Next stop: less formal settings / more contemporary pickings


Pamela Popeson


April 27, 2009

postings from: decima bienal habana

Filed under: WebLog — Pamela Popeson @ 10:59 am


I’m in Cuba catching the tail end of the decima Bienal Habana, the tenth biennial, on the 25th anniversary of the Havana Biennial. “Integration and Resistance in the Global Era” is the theme of the biennial but clearly it’s just as much about poetics.

This is definitely an international art event, several 100 artists from 44 countries, including the installation “Chelsea Visits Havana,” however the works have a regional feel or sensibility - at least the better works do.


I’ve been thinking about the idea of regional art a lot lately though to be perfectly honest what I mean by regional art is anything being done or shown, or more accurately anything I’m seeing, out side of New York City.  Mostly I’m wondering what I think regional art is and why we (I) bother to make such a distinction.

One of the installations at the Wilfredo Lam Center, the prime organzer of the 10th Havana Biennial, is a series of paintings by Herve Fischer, a French-Canadian Philosopher, writer, and artist. In a dialogue with the Art History students of the University of Havana prior to the opening of the biennial, Fischer suggests, “The crisis of contemporary art becomes evident in biennials or large exhibitions. Artists from the North find themselves in an adequate context to give free rein to their personal narratives without any interest in dialoguing with the spectators, in a space that considers as a good artist the man who enjoys extreme liberty but without meaning, without communicating with the public, without an idea of social responsibility.”

I don’t necessarily agree that giving rein to personal narratives precludes communicating with the public or creating works of social responsibility, however I think he’ observed a, if not the, fundamental difference between the work one generally sees in galleries and museums in Central and South America, and what ones sees in the North, particularly New York City.

 He goes on to say, “here (in Cuba) there is a sense of commitment, a research on social and political matters that have to do with society.” I think that must be true, but I think it may also be true of the work created elsewhere including in the North. Perhaps the differences lie instead in what matters reflect the respective societies’ concerns. Perhaps the main social and political concerns of the North are the exploration of the personal narrative.



Pamela Popeson

April 25, 2009

Tacita Dean

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 8:34 am

Just saw Tacita Dean’s work at Marian Goodman up through April 29. Half the show is overpainted photographs. The larger ones are interesting: the ancient burial rocks silhouetted using black paint are striking; but the photo texture and paint didn’t work for me (I became more interested in the brush strokes than the subject matter). On the other hand, the small paintings, using white gouache to silhouette and other marks on photos of trees, are gorgeous.

Her 16mm film Michael Hamburg, about the British poet, documents him in his home in Suffolk. The film is lush with soft images of trees and cropped compositions inside the house. While stacks of books and journals fill the house, most of the film — and one assumes most of his life — finds this man who escaped Nazism as a child talking about his apple orchard and the numerous unusual varieties he grows. The film, which is poignant and sweet like an apple, emerged from a commission about author W.G. Sebald who has his narrator meet Hamburg in the book The Rings of Saturn.

April 16, 2009

Stephen Beveridge in Manhattan Times

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 3:18 pm

Those of you who receive northern Manhattan’s local newspaper, the Manhattan Times, in the mail, know they have done an amazing thing in the publishing field: they feature a full front page on an artist’s work, with accompanying article inside. This was a bold move and adds to the general positioning of northern Manhattan as an arts community. 

This week (April 9) features Artists Unite regular, Stephen Beveridge, for the work that he has on display as part of Artists Unite’s show That!, which was scheduled as a winter show, but due to scheduling quirks with AU and our venue host, NoMAA, has continued to grace the NoMAA gallery walls. I hope this feature in the Manhattan Times will encourage some additional art fans to stop by to see Stephen’s terrific paintings, as well as the works by Amir Parsa, Rosa Naparstek, Karen Greene, Anthony Gonzalez, Keesje Fischer, and Peter Ferko. At NoMAA, 178 Bennett Ave, by appointment 212-568-4396.

See more about Stephen’s work at

April 8, 2009

Where can you call home?

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 8:04 am

As a board member of an arts organization, it’s been a long challenge to be without a space of our own to call home. Claudia La Rocco in the New York Times reported this week on the flip side: what organizations with too much home are doing in New York. The story touches on Dance New Amsterdam, where my friend and Artist Unite fan Kate Peila has been slashing costs and building innovative solutions. Here’s an excerpt. Read the full story here.

Dance Theater Workshop is one of many organizations that have invested in buildings in recent years, hoping for homes in which to safeguard their artistic mission. But these spaces have become burdens, contributing to escalating deficits and distracting the institutions from their core purpose.

“You get a building, and then you buy it, and then you get an endowment, and then the heavens open and the angels sing,” said Clara Miller, president and chief executive of the national Nonprofit Finance Fund. “And at each one of those steps up that ladder to heaven you’re actually becoming less flexible. You’re building more of a kind of organizational shell around yourself — which you may need, which may be the right kind of cradle for your mission. But you may be really undermining your flexibility to change with the times.”

March 15, 2009

Review: American Academy of Arts & Letters Invitational

Filed under: Articles, NHT, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 10:40 pm

Traversing the vast expanse of Audubon Terrace always brings on a sense of exhilaration. There just aren’t that many wide open public spaces surrounded by imposing Beaux Arts architecture to be found these days. So, last Tuesday night, passing the statue of El Cid on a rearing stallion, I took a deep breath of brisk air and soaked up the scene as I made my way to the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the opening of their annual invitational exhibition.

The Academy’s premises have just undergone an enormous expansion, and the new exhibition space is impressive. There’s a lot of work in this show (116 paintings, photographs, multi-media works, sculptures, installations, and works on paper by 30 artists), up until April 5th, so I’m just going to point out a few highlights:

A trio of neon pieces by Stephen Antonakos infused the east gallery of the new space with their jewel-like glow. This mature artist not only knows how confident, modern, & minimal can still be engaging, warm & welcoming in terms of art, he lives it!

In the south gallery, three portraits (one of herself) by Ann Gale assert a subtle, yet undeniably strong presence. The canvases coalesce animism of paint and the energy of the living human. These paintings evince a kindred connection to Lucien Freud, but perhaps more importantly to both Cezanne and even Giacometti in the attention paid to locating a mark or bit of paint in a very particular physical space, with the paint simultaneously describing and deconstructing. When much portraiture relies on photography and digital resources, becoming flat and lifeless, these portraits hum and buzz and bristle with the intensity of living and looking — the experience of the eyes, interpreted by the mind behind them, without any intervention. The portraits’ subjects are rendered alive and real, and the recognition of these daubs of paint coming together to convey an individual with such psychological power is to wonder at how our own cells happen to hang together to create the assumed reality of self.

Artists ultimately selected to participate in this exhibition have first been invited by one of Academy’s members to submit work, so it’s a generally high bar of peer recognition. In this year’s show, there are a number of big-name artists such as April Gornik, Gregory Crewdson, Roxy Paine, and Beverly McIver. To these eyes, the biggest surprise and stand-out of the exhibition came by way of paintings bearing titles like “To Crack a Smile,” and “Vaudeville Hook” by David Nelson, an artist with whom I was not familiar. Nelson’s non-objective canvases are both technically and aesthetically seductive in a manner as modest, genuine and self-effacing artist as the artist himself. I’ve rarely met anyone who seemed so truly touched and surprised to receive well-earned compliments and congratulations. Unfortunately, my camera was out of juice, and I couldn’t find any other images of his work on-line to show you, so you’ll have to take my word for it or go see for yourself!

[images above: Audubon Terrace looking east, c. 1950, courtesy American Academy of Arts & Letters; Installation view of work by Stephen Antonakos, "Departure" 1993-2007, 61 x 51 x 5"; "Arrival" 2008, 88 x 46 x 5", and "Respite" 2000-2001, all pieces white paint on versacel, neon, copyright and courtesy of Stephen Antonakos; Ann Gale, "Self Portrait with Blue Stripes", 14 x 11", oil on masonite, courtesy of Hckett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco, copyright Ann Gale.]

[review via Drawn Together]

March 7, 2009

coming to our living rooms: a gallery?

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 9:59 am

Artists Unite’s last event used the time honored artists tradition of blurring the lines between party, performance and exhibition in the comfort of Rosa Naparstek’s residence. The New York Times‘ Cara Buckley today has a story on the growing phenomenon of using one’s living room as a gallery on the other side of the East River (”Art Galleries with Less of a Profit Motive Flourish in Brooklyn”).

March 1, 2009

Thinking outside of the box (of crayons & pencils)

Filed under: WebLog — Sky Pape @ 1:52 pm

Things you can do with crayons and pencils if just drawing with them seems just far too ordinary:

Christian Faur makes pixelated images from hand-cast encaustic crayons.

Here’s one for those who think you might be able to erase a few pounds from the backside whilst sitting on it, doing nothing! Pencil bench by the twin Boex brothers.

[Both sites via Monster-Munch, a site which may just have the most adorable favicon ever, plus tons of other wondrous stuff.]

February 28, 2009

Gallery crawl Feb 13 - recap by Sky Pape

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 3:58 pm

Our February 13th gallery crawl began at Howard Greenberg Gallery on 57th Street, in the magnificent Fuller Building, itself a fine example of Art Deco architecture. We passed beneath the limestone frieze by sculptor Elie Nadelman, and headed up to the gallery to see an assortment of photographs from India. There are three separate exhibitions on view, Betsy Karel: Bombay Jadoo, Sacred Sight, and Mary Ellen Mark: Indian Circus, all united by the theme of India . (On view until March 14th.)

Off in a side area is a very small selection of photos of Indian circus performers by Mary Ellen Mark. You could easily make the mistake of bypassing the unobtrusive portal to this strange and impassioned world. Mark’s camera seems to disappear, and the viewer steps right into her place, experiencing with a direct jolt the intensity of connection with her subjects.

Betsy Karel’s “Bombay Jadoo” and the assortment of photographs in the main gallery by ‘Anonymous’ to not-so-anonymous artists like Margaret Bourke-White and Henri Cartier-Bresson fully rounds out this large range of images that effectively transports one to India old and new, conveying little of the misery, and much of the jadoo (A Hindu term for magic or wonder-working).

From there, we saw Judy Pfaff’s show Paper, at Ameringer Yohe Fine Art. [Exhibition closed Feb 21.] An affinity between sculpture and drawing is often remarked upon, and that was clearly evident here. These pieces exist somewhere in the realm between the two disciplines, leaning closer to relief sculpture and assemblage or collage, but none of those are fitting labels. They are works on/of paper, but you can find just about anything else amidst the layered and cut paper, including found images, ink, wire, artificial flowers, coffee filters, plant stems, fishing floats, and umbrella parts. The colors range from earthy to day-glo, and as wild and chaotic as these pieces may be, one doesn’t lose confidence in Pfaff’s ability to orchestrate the entire composition. It’s easy to envision how these pieces would evolve organically in the studio with the artist deliberating over each decision to build the complete whole, which deceptively looks as if it burst forth into being all at once.

Pfaff’s dynamic works encompass the complex experience of the natural world around us. Within each piece one can find beauty and decay, messiness and fine detail, chaos and order, fear and delight — all the stuff of life. Pfaff comes across as a fearless, mature artist who obviously loves her creative process — one of discovery and adventure. Viewing this work, you feel you get to take that exciting ride along with her.

Next was Kori Newkirk’s show at The Project [up until March 20th]. There was something very affecting about being in The Project’s space. Rounding the corner from the large, open main room, one turns to the left and enters the more intimate gallery spaces. There are less than a handful of pieces in this show–three drawings in the small front room, and then a lit, sculptural piece in the darkened back space. The sensitive, seductive lines of Newkirk’s drawn self-portraits are done using bleach on pigmented paper, a sort of reductive process that appears paradoxically both ghostly and very physical. For such a spare show, Newkirk’s work fills the space with a silent forcefulness that has remained strong and persistent in memory.

At the front of the gallery, there is a display of literature on some of the other gallery artists. I picked up a catalogue on Julie Mehretu, and although Meheretu’s accomplished drawings/paintings are much more tightly worked than Pfaff’s, there seemed to be a visual connection, a language in common between these artists of different generations.

Jack Sal at Zone Contemporary Art, [closed Feb 28th]. This show presented a varied cross-section from small, naturally weathered lead plates that look allude to landscapes and natural phenomena, to minimal works on canvas of gesso, ink, and silk surgical tape.

As noted in the gallery’s press release, Sal is an under-recognized artist in the United States, in spite of his long, accomplished career, including a series of site-specific installations in Europe, collaborative projects with William Wegman and Sol Lewitt, and inclusion in public collections such as MoMA. In the front of the gallery, one was able to get a nice sense of this artist’s journey by spending some time with a wonderfully installed wall of dozens of widely varied smaller pieces, hung salon-style.

We ended up at MoMA to see Rebus (closed Feb 23), curated by artist Vik Muniz, and while there, also stopped in to see the show of work by Marlene Dumas, both of which have been widely reviewed. A “rebus” is a combination of visual images and symbols that piece together to add up to another meaning. As a kids’ brainteaser, you might see a letter, then a plus sign, then an image that would add up to an unrelated word or phrase.

Muniz was the 9th artist in MoMA’s Artist’s Choice series to don the curator’s hat and hand-pick this show from the museum’s vast collection. The pieces included are not just culled from the art collections, but also include many design items, such as a piece of bubble wrap, that may leave viewers scratching their heads. But scratching your head is indeed part of Muniz’s intention, as this show is one big brainteaser. You are intended to follow through it as chronologically installed, and make a connection between each piece you see and the one situated before and after it. This makes for some fun, especially if you’re visiting with friends. Who can guess the connection first?

I feared Muniz’s concept would turn out to be a bit of a one-liner, leading one to dash away as quickly as one could figure out the connection, rather than stopping to really consider the pieces in the show. “Oh, it’s yellow, and the glass piece that looks like an egg-yolk is yellow, and next to that is a timer, like you’d use to time your egg, and next…” But besides providing an easy in for looking at the work, it also provides a context to think about the ways art connects to our world, the ways it evolves from our world, the ways things are connected, and ultimately to the basic concept that making connections between things is a key to understanding. The show’s first piece is the tremendous 1987 homage to Rube Goldberg in film by Peter Fischli and David Weiss called The Way Things Go, and it’s hard to go wrong with a start like that!

[...article continued at Drawn Together]

[Images above: Contortionist with Sweety the Puppy, Great Raj Kamal Circus, Upleta, India, copyright Mary Ellen Mark , 19" x 19", 1989, Platinum print, printed later, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery; Benares, India 1956, copyright Marc Riboud, gelatin silver print, 40 x 30cm, printed later, courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery; Konya, 2008, copyright Judy Pfaff, Layered/cut paper, Joss paper, found images, ink, wire, artificial flowers, wire, Crown Kozo paper, umbrella parts, framed: 94 1/2 x 94 1/2 inches, courtesy Ameringer Yohe Fine Art; Detail of drawing, copyright Kori Newkirk, bleach on paper, courtesy The Project Gallery; White/Wash III, 2008, copyright Jack Sal, courtesy Zone Contemporary Art; Yellow from the series Line, Form, Color, 1951, copyright Ellsworth Kelly, colored paper, 7-1/2 x 8", The Museum of Modern Art; Yolk, 1999, copyright Kiki Smith, Multiple of glass, overall: 3/4 x 1-1/2 x 1-1/2", The Museum of Modern Art; Timer Model No. 152, 1960, copyright Rodolfo Bonette, ABS polymer, 2-3/8" x 4-1/2", The Museum of Modern Art; Installation view of portraits by Marlene Dumas at the Museum of Modern Art.]

February 26, 2009

Brooklyn Museum’s women’s vision

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 10:38 am

Brooklyn Museum Presents SPEAK OUT!
Women’s Visions For the Nation: What’s it Going to Take?
March 21, 2009, from 2 to 4 p.m.

In celebration of the second anniversary of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Brooklyn Museum will present
SPEAK OUT! Women’s Visions For the Nation: What’s it Going to Take? onSaturdayMarch 21, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium. 

The event features a keynote address by C. Nicole Mason, Women of Color Policy Network, NYU Wagner School, titled “Now is the Time: Activating Women Leaders for Collective Change;” an audience speak-out moderated by GRITtv host Laura Flanderswith respondents Ana L. Oliveira, New York Women’s Foundation, and Ai-jen Poo, Domestic Workers United; a performance by award-winning musical artist Toni Blackman; and closing remarks by Liz J. Abzug of The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute.

SPEAK OUT! was created by UNFINISHED BUSINESS, a think-tank founded by a core group of diverse women to identify ways of mobilizing external networks to raise public awareness about intergenerational communication, issues of race/class/gender, and the effects of current events on women and children. Participating founding members include Liz J. AbzugSharna Goldseker, 21/64: Strategic Philanthropy Through the Generations; Sara Gould, Ms. Foundation for Women; Mia Herndon, Third Wave Foundation; Carol Jenkins, The Women’s Media Center; C. Nicole MasonMonique Mehta, Independent Consultant; Benita R. Miller, The Brooklyn Young Mother’s Collective; Elizabeth A. Sackler, Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation; and Amy Sananman, Groundswell Community Mural Project. 

February 21, 2009

Review: ADAA The Art Show at Park Ave Armory 2/19-23

Filed under: Events, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 2:10 pm

On Thursday, I had a couple of hours to dash through The Art Show of ADAA member galleries at the Park Avenue Armory. Given the amount of work on view, you do have to keep up a fast pace to see it all in that amount of time.

The overall mood of the dealers was perceptibly and understandably somber, and the show had far less exciting work to offer than usual. Some galleries had a big sticker next to a piece stating “ADAA Dealer’s Choice.” At first, I didn’t know what this meant, but apparently it was code for “This piece is $10,000 or less! Get your bargains here!” They might as well have had a sign “Buy one, get one 1/2 price!” It was depressing, and if you were the artist who created the “Dealer’s Choice” piece, I bet you’d cringe to see that big, ugly sticker next to your work.

I missed encountering the wild and unknown tangential work of major artists, often sequestered in private collections forever, which had become the main thing I always looked forward to seeing. Nonetheless, there were still plenty of things that stood out, and as always, I wish I had more time to peruse!

Here’s a list and some pictures of highlights:

Ron Nagle at Rena Bransten Gallery. Nagle’s two diminutive sculptures on view were some of the most surprising and original work to catch my eye. A catalog from a recent show of his made me crave to see even more. The work has something of the comic sadness of Guston. Nagle’s idiosyncratic use of form and color make these engaging abstract sculptures both entirely human and entirely his own. [Above, "Scrunchabunch," copyright Ron Nagle, courtesy of Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco.] Also at Rena Bransten, a beautiful wire piece by Ruth Asawa. A rare treat to view work by this superb artist.

Above: An untitled slate sculpture from 1945 by Isamu Noguchi (for $1.2 million) at Martha Parrish & James Reinish. This booth also had a couple of outstanding Milton Avery landscapes, pure and simple.

One could watch the subtle movements of Julian Opie’s digital piece Maria Theresa with Red Shawl, 2008, above, at Barbara Krakow, for hours. It was interesting to overhear discussions about the problems the technology of this work presents in terms of preservation and conservation. It’s a concern for the artist, collectors, and museums alike. There were some other powerhouse works in this booth, notably Tara Donovan’s untitled (glass drawing) and a very dynamic series of wood block prints of spirals by grand dame Louise Bourgeois.

[continued at Drawn Together]

February 19, 2009

Who’s your artist?

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 10:14 am

Think Picasso rocks? Think he’s the most overrated artist of all time? Join the Times of London’s poll to pick the 200 most influential visual artists of the era (lumping together modern with contemporary). Sattchi Gallery Online and the Times put together the polling list from user votes, narrowed to 500 — so you can’t put yourself in — but the list is pretty interesting, from my once over.

GOT SOMEONE WHO YOU THINK IS MISSING? Add it as a comment to this post.

February 7, 2009

What do casinos, golf courses, and museums have in common?

Filed under: WebLog — Sky Pape @ 10:18 am

Well, according to the Senate, they should all be banned from receiving any funds from the the economic recovery bill. Casino = museum? This is ridiculous.

Breaking News
Americans for the Arts reports that yesterday the U.S. Senate, during their consideration of the economic recovery bill, approved an egregious amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that stated “None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.”

Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a wide vote margin of 73-24, and surprisingly included support from many high profile Senators including Chuck Schumer of New York — who just received my opinion about that!

Please take a minute if you can to send a pre-prepared and easily customizable letter to your senator. This form will let you know how your senators voted on the matter, so if nothing else, at least keep yourself informed!

February 6, 2009

Alert: Please take 2 minutes to support the arts!

Filed under: WebLog — Sky Pape @ 3:46 pm

Americans for the Arts is calling for a coordinated public relations response to educate the public and put pressure on Congress to support the arts. Please take two minutes to send a short letter to the editor of your local media outlet. They’ve provided the talking points and just ask you to customize it to your community.

As Americans for the Arts has previously reported, the House bill includes a $50 million provision for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which will act as a lifeline for many nonprofit arts organizations, and by extension, for artists as well. There is solid research to demonstrate the stimulus gains that can be provided by this funding. However, here are some examples of the negative press on the matter from publications across the country:

  • “True to form, Congress has loaded the [bill] with hundreds of billions in wasteful spending. The bill includes $650 million for digital TV coupons, $140 million to study the atmosphere and $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. None of these proposals would create jobs or boost our economy. They’re just old-fashioned waste” - Op-ed in the Indianapolis Star
  • “The National Endowment for the Arts would get $50 million for new exhibits to deem America racist and sexist.” - Op-ed in the Norwich Bulletin
  • “The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts.” - National Review Editorial
  • “I just think putting people to work is more important than putting more art on the wall of some New York City gallery frequented by the elite art community.” [U.S. Rep Jack] Kingston said. “Call me a sucker for the working man.” - Congressional Quarterly report

Congress will spend the next few days completing their work on this legislation, so now is the time for arts advocates to write to their local media outlets today and fight back against threats to the funding and anti-art amendments. If you take action today, this pro-arts message will show up in news reports by early next week, when Congress is expected to be making final decisions on the legislation.

February 2, 2009

Review: Notes from the playing field

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 12:41 pm

I confess: I know less than nothing about sports. In fact, my closest connection to any football field came last Thursday at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea, where I went to see Jane Dickson’s show Night Driving, an exhibition of about twenty recent oil paintings on astroturf. Yes, that’s right. Astroturf. Think pointillism meets the playing field. It’s difficult to capture in reproduction, but the effect is quietly mesmerizing, even hypnotic.

Dickson is no stranger to the exploration of unusual painting grounds, having already used sandpaper and carpet surfaces for her paintings. The astroturf bears a certain relationship to velvet paintings, imbuing an eerie luminosity to the works, but these lack any overt sentimentality or kitschiness.

Dickson provides views of cars on highways, bridges, garages, and sights so familiar they might seem bland. However, as the artist states, she is “…drawn to represent the uncanny, defined by Freud as, ‘the familiar grown strange,’ aiming to pull the unnoticed, the unquestioned, into the foreground, aiming to provide a space within my work for reflection on where we now find ourselves and what that tells us about who we are.” These stated intentions are extremely well-realized through her new paintings. Slightly three-dimensional and definitely tactile, these works, not just for their scale, demand to be seen in person.

From afar the paintings appear to be realistic, but with each step closer, shapes dissolve into a shimmering surface of color. Depth perception disappears, and indeed the familiar grows wonderfully strange.

This show is up until February 14th at Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea, 525 W 25th St., New York, NY.

(FYI, Jane Dickson is also the artist responsible for the mosaic of New Year’s Eve Revelers, permanently installed in the NYC subway tunnel between Port Authority and Times Square.)

[image above: Blue Tunnel 2, 2006-2008, Oil on astroturf, 29 x 36 in., 73.7 x 91.4 cm. Copyright Jane Dickson, courtesy Marlborough Gallery, New York.]

For more reviews, visit Sky Pape’s blog Drawn Together

February 1, 2009


Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 9:26 pm

After reading Damon Krukowski’s review in Art Forum of Brian Eno’s latest venture in atmospheric composition, I rushed right over to the iPhone Apps store and bought my very own copy of Bloom. Bloom is an interactive compositional piece by Eno and Peter Chilvers made exclusively for the iPhone and iPod touch.

I’ve spent hours over the last two days creating and enjoying the recurring and “evolving” loops that you create by tapping the iPhone’s screen. Each tap becomes a blooming dot of color as well as a piano note in your composition. While Krukowski analyzes the minimalist musical considerations, I love the improvisational instrument where every note sounds good.

It will cost you $3.99 for all this fun. If you don’t have an iPhone, I’d advise you to buy it for a friend who has one (just be sure you get playing rights!).

January 30, 2009

Renaissance Redux

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Pamela Popeson @ 5:20 pm

Still from \

This weekend is the last chance to see “Pour Your Body Out,” the new Pipilotti Rist video installation at MoMA. 

It’s not perfect, it’s not even great but it is bold and it reaches even if it doesn’t grasp, and it’s provocative in a number of ways, and it’s worth seeing. Rist’s MoMA commissioned, site-specific installation doesn’t relate to the museum’s atrium space or set up a dialogue with it the way the recent Olafur Eliasson free-swinging by virtue of it’s own essence fan by did, but it certainly transforms the space. The artist has created a lush and warming colorful, almost baroque, womb at the heart of an ice-cold, white walled, grey steel and glass skinned modernist box which is something in and of itself.

And it’s big, 7,354 cubic meters, a panorama of moving imagery 25 feet high and 200 feet across in almost every direction. Big doesn’t necessarily mean better, but it does mean something. There is something to big; think of big deal, big idea, talk big, think big, make it big, go over big, in a big way. To stand or lay around in the big room on the big sofa on the big rug that’s part and parcel of “Pour Your Body Out”, while giant floating dripping bodies, or giant green strawberries, or giant bubbling pits of pinky liquid, or giant monstrous wild boars traverse the four walls two stories high is surely curious. The big scale dictated slowing the speed so nothing happens in real time. It’s not quite slo-mo, but slow enough that the lush organic forms creepily morph into close ups of facial pores in the dreamiest of ways.

Of course one of the problems with big is that there’s always bigger, and in fact I immediately wanted that. Why weren’t the walls of the uppermost floors were also covered with video images?  Why not seventy-foot wild boars peeking through one hundred foot grasses, and eighty-foot high feets sloshing through muddy puddles the size of Rhode Island, and psychedelic flora and fauna the size of houses floating from two hundred foot heights? 

No doubt the imagery was meant to provoke and it does. For me it most provoked thoughts of a slightly-almost R rated version of Bugdom, the third-person action platform computer game developed and published by Pangea Software. Like In Bugdom, there’s a mesmerizing sound track. The “Pour Your Body Out” sound piece composed by Anders Guggisberg loops at a slightly shorter time frame than the video so at no time does the image and sound match-up repeat. Bugdom doesn’t have that but it is also set in a garden or outdoor bug kingdom. There the goal is to help a pillbug named Rollie McFly defeat evil fire ants, free imprisoned ladybugs, and restore peace and tranquility to the wonderful world of Bugdom. In “Pour Your Body Out” unlike in Bugdom, it’s not obvious who the protagonist is, though you get the sense that there is a one; nor is the through line clear, but there is something Stanislavskian or at least psychophysical about the entire experience.

It’s also evocative of the Disney experience. I was reminded of someone’s explanation of why she and her husband continue to vacation at Disney World long after their kids were grown. And that is, for example, because they have this big theatre with a big screen (IMAX I’m guessing) and they show these cool movies, like the one of the rain forest, and you stand there inside this big room with big screens and you feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of the forest and then they have misters that all of a sudden spritz water and you really think for a second that you’re really in a forest in the rain.

This person as it turns out lives in the woods and when it was suggested that they might just take a walk in their back yard the next time it rains she further explained, in total exasperation, that it’s not that easy, not everyone can just go out in their backyard in the rain.

Which is all to say that despite the fabulousness of the experience - size, sound, color, and couch wise - something essential is missing, something like meaning.  Unless of course the medium is the message, and unless this is what it looks like when you push up against a new art frontier, one that lies beyond the land of viewing art into a realm where we inhabit it.

Like that of other contemporary installation artists, for example Olafur Eliasson’s “The Weather Project” and Doug Aitken’s   “Migration”) - both with recent major MoMA installations also curated by the razor smart, fearlessly grooving head of media, Klaus Biesenbach - Rist’s work seeks to take humanist thing further than it’s ever been.  So there they are, re-visioning art in a world full of re-visioning, like a Renaissance Redux.

Go see it if only to see what you think and while you’re there check out the Viz Muniz curated show, “Artist’s Choice: Vik Muniz, Rebus.”

Pamela Popeson

January 18, 2009

drawing lessons!?

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 12:41 pm

my father sent a link to this flash movie. Tracking it back, it appears to be part of some kind of software/cloud site called Virtual Postcard (Wendy helped me translate the Russian). Great fun to watch, but also a reminder about getting your anatomy straight when drawing the figure (I instead thank god for cameras!). I can’t find the main page to see how you can make your own, but it seems to be possible, with lots of authors there on the site…

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