Artists Unite Issue

May 1, 2013

Call for Art: Northern Manhattan Artists

Filed under: Opportunities — Peter Ferko @ 5:20 am

Posted; December 1, 2016

MTA –Artists Unite Subway Elevator Poster Project

Deadline:  Friday, December 30, 2016 at 12:00 Midnight

Northern Manhattan Artists

Administrative Fee: $15

(see  for prior winners).

We are looking for seven (7) original artworks by artists residing in CB 12* to be produced as posters and placed in the subway elevators at the A-Line 184th. St. (181st. Subway Stop) and the 190th. St. Subway Stations. (Three elevators per station)

Work will be seen by thousands of residents and tourists en route to the Cloisters Museum and on view for a minimum of six months.

(* CB 12 covers Manhattan north of 155th street, river to river.)

Guidelines: Material must be sensitive to and respectful of the diversity of the community and be appropriate for viewing by persons of all ages and varying backgrounds.

  • Material can not include messages that might reasonably be interpreted as an endorsement or advocacy of any political, religious, social or ethnic organization, cause, or belief nor contain logos or other symbols of same.
  • Materials can not include depictions of commercial establishments or photographs of individuals, pets, or private residences.
  • Materials can not include written or printed text.
  • Material can not include content or references which might be reasonably construed as being of a sexual or violent nature.
  • Proposed art must lend itself to reproduction as a two-dimensional poster, no more than 29.5 inches wide by 45 inches long, (vertical/portrait orientation).
  • Of the 7 posters frames, 6 are portrait, and 1 landscape. Please indicate the direction of your image. And, CONSIDER that your chances of being selected are greater submitting work in the portrait direction, since we only have one horizontal frame.

Deadline for submissions: Friday, December 30, 2016, 12:00 Midnight.

Previous Winners Not Eligible.


Please submit no more than 4 images in JPG format for viewing. JPG files should be no more than 1440 pixels in any direction (e.g., 800 by 1440, or 1440 x 800 pixels). Include artist’s last name in the file name for each image (e.g., Rodriguez-landscape1.jpg).

Original work may be in any medium: painting, collage, sculpture, photography.

Selected artists will be contacted regarding image specifications for reproduction.

Send Images by e-mail to: along with your address in CB12 (Manhattan north of 155th street, river to river). In the subject line enter Poster Contest 2015.

Mail the Administrative Fee: Fee must be received by Friday, December 30, 2016. Please send a check for $15.00 payable to Artists Unite and mail to: Artists Unite, 720 Fort Washington Ave. #2K, New York, NY 10040

For More Information:

Contact or call: 212.740-9378


Artists Unite will convene a 3-5-person panel to select artwork. Final approval is by the MTA in accordance with listed guidelines.

We look forward to your entries.

Thank you,

Rosa Naparstek,
Director, Artists Unite

May 21, 2011

Don Voisine at McKenzie Fine Art

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 10:02 am

Don Voisine Pan

On a mini gallery crawl in Chelsea, topping my list was McKenzie Fine Art, Inc., where I stopped by to see Don Voisine’s show just before the opening. I was disappointed to not be able to take in all the energy of the opening, but there was a great advantage of having the gallery to myself – the calm before the storm. It was electrifying!

Voisine is a notable player in an increasingly visible contingent of artists painting in an abstract, hard-edged geometric style. Neo-geo, minimalism, I’m not sure what the current tag is for this work, but the jargon and semantics hold little interest for me, especially when the work itself is so compelling. I believe the loosely connected group of artists, if one would call it that (more like a Facebook friends’ mutual admiration society?), might be clustered around a vision of ‘reductive abstraction’ or something like that. I suppose labels are effective marketing tools, but that’s not the point of what’s going on here.

Don Voisine

The artist and blogger Joanne Mattera is among the ranks of these painters, and has found a way to use Facebook for good instead of evil. Recently, she asked her Facebook friends who worked in geometric abstraction to send her images of their work featuring rhomboid shapes. Mattera then curated a wildly varied and potent on-line exhibition of these works. A piece by Voisine is included, and the grouping is a great overview that demonstrates the startling variety of approaches and visions within this relatively cohesive bunch of contemporary artists. Introducing the show, “Rhomboid Rhumba,” Mattera writes, “The works in this scroll-down reflect a variety of ideas: tectonic shift, Archimedian displacement, spiritual thinking, a textile sensibility, references to the body, constructivist principles, optical challenge, formal push/pull, and the pure pleasure of geometric abstraction. Materiality, another of my interests, is very much in evidence here as well.” Minus Space is another place to visit to extensively explore work in this vein. (Voisine can be found here too, along with some others worth knowing about like Karen Schifano and Douglas Witmer.)

Don Voisine

Voisine’s bold blacks and crisp compositions have enough of the artist’s hand visible, paired with enough sensuality to engage the viewer immediately. The work is hard-edged but with a dry wit instead of being just dry. It says HEY to get your attention, but the conversation immediately gets deeper. The paintings slyly change as you move in front of them, rewarding the patient eye over and over with their idiosyncratic symmetries, subtleties and shifting planes and voids. Voisine’s self-imposed limitations result in a flourishing body of work that feels anything but restrictive and repetitive. These are paintings made to stand up to a lifetime of looking.

I recently saw Voisine’s work at the American Academy of Arts & Letters Invitational exhibition, and had hoped to have a chance to write about it then. Happily, I heard he received a coveted Arts & Letters Purchase Prize, so the work can still be seen at the gallery on Audubon Terrace until June 12th, as well as at McKenzie until June 11th, and I will definitely be making another trip to revisit this show before it closes. Here’s congratulating Don Voisine for doing terrific work and garnering well-deserved recognition for it.

Don Voisine

I sometimes make note, at least a mental note, when gallery owners or staff are either exceptionally talented or awful in their dealings with the public, collectors, press, and/or artists. In this case I would like to recognize gallery owner Valerie McKenzie for her friendly and knowledgeable interaction. Her enthusiasm and astute conversation about the work she is representing are superbly refreshing. She sets the bar a little higher for others in the field.

Images from top to bottom, all © Don Voisine, Courtesy McKenzie Fine Art, Inc.
“Pan, 2011 Oil on wood 13 x 24 inches
“Off Register,” 2011 Oil on wood 16 x 17 inches,
“N,” 2011 Oil on wood 20 x 16 inches
“Otto”, 2011 Oil on wood 32 x 60 inches

[This article is reposted from Sky Pape's blog "Drawn Together"]

February 2, 2011

Appropriation, redux

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 10:18 am

Appropriation may be an old topic, but it still is a tricky issue. In photography, I’ve often looked at something someone else has created, either as art or craft, architecture or landscape hobby and had second thoughts about whether a photo of it constitutes more than just documentation.

Wendy Perron of Dance Magazine looks at appropriation as tribute in her interesting, history-referencing article. Check it out.

May 10, 2010

Peter Walsh fights for artists rights

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 9:08 am

From artist Peter Walsh:

I’m doing a series of portrait exchanges with professional portrait drawers in Manhattan’s Central Park.

The City of New York and the NYC Parks Commission are proposing that most of the artists working in Central Park and in other NYC parks be shut down. Part of the way they intend to do this is by insinuating that these artists aren’t actually artists and don’t deserve full First Amendment rights. One way to challenge this assertion is to create an art project that highlights the quality of the work created by professional artists working in the parks.

And so, the Central Park Portrait Exchange is born.

Portrait Exchange Session One:
Time: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Artists: Li Qun, Peter Walsh, Xiang Yue Chuan, Dario Zapata
Location: On Northwest corner of 59th Street and East Drive, directly across from Grand Army Plaza. This location is near the Plaza Hotel.

Go to the blog for details (including a map), weather-related schedule changes and other updates:

April 1, 2010

Your Voice as Art

Filed under: Events — Stephen @ 10:20 am

Join us April 7th at Caerleon Isle for the opening of Through the Virtual Looking Glass and the premiere of the Your Voice as Art, Field of Voices. Slurl,


Collaborators Dekka Raymaker, Misprint Thursday, Penumbra Carter, Selavy Oh, and Aequitas have encapsulated the theme of the Real life / Second Life crossover exhibition with their Networked Collaboration, Field of Voices previously mentioned in New World Notes January 21, 2010.

The idea was to illuminate the shift of perception from outside to inside the virtual world. The visitor is presented with a beautiful expanse of white columns not unlike a circuit board or a graveyard. Jumping down in to the field we are treated to the voices of a diverse group of real people belaying the sterile perception of Second Life, and social media in general by reminding us there are people behind the virtual avatar on the screen. The effect is quite touching and before you know it the visitor falls through the floor and is treated to a soothing light show as they walk through the amusing, touching, and clever proximity activated voices in the poles.

This is all part of Virtual Art Initiative and the the RL/SL crossover exhibition Through the Virtual Looking Glass opening April 7th in five real world galleries and other spaces in as many countries, specifically, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and the United States.

Australia will also participate in the April events virtually, while hosting a real world exhibition at a time later this year.

Organizers of the exhibition in each country will choose its content and methods of display which will include interactive artworks from the virtual worlds Second Life and OpenSim, images and machinimas (virtual world videos) shown on plasma screens and digital frames, prints of virtual artworks, physical sculptures and paintings inspired by virtual art, some with embedded electronic components, and literary readings and musical performances occurring in the real world exhibition spaces and streamed live into Second Life and OpenSim.

Through the Virtual Looking Glass is organized and presented by a network of international groups, all of them leaders in the field of virtual art, including the Caerleon Sims/Virtual Art Initiative, Cybernetic Art Research Project/Diablous, Museo del Metaverso/Uqbar, Pirats, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Western Australia.


It’s never too late to share your voice and participate! more info here.

March 16, 2010

Voices Soar

Filed under: Events, Opportunities, WebLog — Stephen @ 11:08 am

If you haven’t had a chance to contribute your voice to the project we open simultaneously in six countries: Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Brazil, and the USA this April 7th. Students seem to be the most creative at this point and we have an overwhelming majority from the US with Australia a close second. Is your country represented? I made a new video showing a tease of what the visitors experience is withholding a few surprises for the opening. I contacted William Powhida about adding the project to his #class extravaganza. If your in NYC and went to the Whitney instead of this, shame on you. Here’s a chance to make your voice heard in new media art throughout the world.

January 18, 2010

Through the Virtual Looking Glass

Filed under: WebLog — Stephen @ 12:53 pm

I am working on a project which is kind of snowballing lately and was wondering if anyone knows a gallery that wants to get in on this. I have pasted part of a letter below which explains it a wee bit. There is a website forthcoming. I will be placing embedded electronic components and am leading a virtual collaboration which you can see a trailer of and participate in here.

> I am writing to invite you to participate in a series of international

> exhibitions in the month of April, 2010 the purpose of which is to introduce

> the art currently being made in such Virtual Worlds as Second Life, OpenSim,

> and VastPark to real life audiences. The project originated at my university,

> the University of Massachusetts at Boston. The art gallery on our campus, the

> Harbor Gallery, will be hosting a month-long exhibition of virtual art this

> April, mostly presented with large scale computer screens, digital projectors,

> and digital frames, though we will also show prints of virtual work as well as

> physical sculptures inspired by virtual art, some with embedded electronic

> components. I organized the exhibition to coincide with an online course I am

> teaching next term titled, Art and Philosophy in Second Life and Other Virtual

> Worlds.


> Recently a number of galleries located in different countries have asked me if

> they could host similar exhibitions in April under the title we are using in

> Boston, Through the Virtual Looking Glass, as part of a connected set of

> international exhibitions. We now have galleries in France and Holland

> committed to hosting exhibitions in those countries, as well venues in Germany

> that will host real life literary events that will be streamed into a virtual

> literary cafe in Second Life. Key figures in the virtual art world are now

> exploring the possibility of holding similar exhibitions in Italy, Brazil, and

> Mexico.

Hoping to hear from you soon.



> Best,


> Gary Zabel

> Department of Philosophy

> University of Massachusetts at Boston

November 13, 2009

scoring performa

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 8:38 am

Artist Peter Walsh is a writing fellow for Performa ‘09. He just let me know about the project Scoring Performa, which has a number of writers, well, scoring the annual performance art festival. The resulting document is a wide variety of takes on what the assessment of art can be: critique, summary, reaction, etc.

From Peter’s own post (an excerpt):

“Some Notes on Liveness: Part One”


I’m addicted to the privilege of “being there.” In a society where the eyewitness testimony of one person can put another person behind bars – or set them free, it’s hard not to be. We honor the power of the witness. As a sensing person, my being shaped by a constant bodily flow of information, I prefer, for example, a well-made meal to simple calories. I also prefer theater to cinema, a big movie premiere to stuttering YouTube videos, the passion of a lover to the secondhand “sexiness” of pop culture….

November 3, 2009

Tabula Lunar by Hector Canonge

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 5:17 pm

Washington Heights artist Hector Canonge’s work Tabula Lunar was the subject of the second in a series of projected exhibitions staged by Artists Unite in 2009. Canonge’s work serves as a public intervention and was a perfect match with the Projection Show series attempt to bring the experience of art directly to the public rather than through the venue of gallery or other specialized location.
Canonge worked with a custom video mixer to combine his collected footage of things “lunar,” including animation, classic film, and stills with live images of people in the street. The work effectively places the public into the artwork. From Canonge’s artists statement:

Public Intervention Projection explores the universal fascination of people with the moon while evoking mythical, romantic, fantastic, and obscure attributes of the celestial body. TABULA LUNAR is an ephemeral surface on which people’s street presence is incorporated into visuals of and narratives about the lunar landscape appropriated from popular cinematic culture. Poetic and intrusive, familiar yet out of this world, intimate yet made into a public collaborative performance, the project prompts a possible dialogue of our connection to the night sky and what can be seen of it in an urban setting.

More information about the artist can be found at

More photos from the event are available at

Watch for the next in the Projection Show series in late November/early December.

Creative Venues/Projection Show is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, both supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Artists Unite LIVE! is funded in part by a discretionary grant from Councilmember Robert Jackson. Artists Unite receives support from the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

October 8, 2009

Rirkrit Tiravanijas

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 12:25 pm

A nice interview from Studio Banana TV

September 14, 2009

did you ever want it to be real?

Filed under: WebLog — Stephen @ 7:48 am

Dear Stephen,

As an assistant to an artist representative and curator based in New York
City, I am always looking for wonderful artists. After seeing some of your
works, I am very motivated to assign a writer to review your works.

I think you work is very strong,
wonderful compositions and lovely use of color.

We wish to start our collaboration by giving your works immediate
international exposure in prestigious publications. Please check below to
see the list of opportunities we are able to give you.

We hope to work together on other great projects in the near future such
as group shows in New York and our artist residency programs Beijing.

the following page collects these scams and should be checked regularly

September 2, 2009

Poets in the Galleries v3: Amir Parsa

Filed under: WebLog — Stephen @ 5:50 am

The Poets in the Galleries series utilizes the Museum’s exhibition space as an invigorating site for exploration, interactive readings and discussions. Each Sunday in September, a different poet will conduct a lively presentation in response to the Museum’s current exhibition, Tarjama/Translation. These gifted participants, all distinguished and emerging voices in the local, national and international literary scene, have been asked to devise an original presentation in response to the works on view. The current exhibition lends itself especially well to the series, by creating an open-ended forum in which the poets and visitors alike can explore the related themes of how poetry is translated across languages and cultures. Join us for a cocktail hour followed by the interactive gallery tour & readings by a different poet each week. Participating poets include Amir Parsa, Ali Husain Mir, Ammiel Alcalay, and Sinan Antoon.

An internationally acclaimed writer and poet, Amir Parsa is the author of over ten literary books, including Kobolierrot, Tractatüus Philosophiká-Poeticüus, Feu L’encre - Fable, Divan, Drive-by Cannibalism in the Baroque Tradition, Erre and the multilingual L’opéra minora. An uncategorizable body of work, Mr. Parsa’s literary oeuvre - written in English, French and Persian - constitutes a radical polyphonic enterprise that puts into question national, cultural and aesthetic attachments and discourses while fashioning new genres, forms and even species of literary artifacts. His work has been read and debated in galleries and museums, in streets and on rooftops, in broad daylight and in hiding, and at various festivals, events and curated venues. Books and photographs have been exhibited in both group and solo shows, most recently at the Uncomun Festival ‘08 and Engendered Festival ‘09 in New York. He was included in the anthology of new French and Francophone poets (Ed. Huguet 2004). Born in Tehran, Mr. Parsa was educated at Princeton and Columbia universities. He is Lecturer, Educator and currently the Manager of the Alzheimer’s Project at the Museum of Modern Art, and teaches at Pratt Institute.


Tarjama / Translation
Reshuffling the pertinence of geographical boundaries through the multivalent practices of translation, this unprecedented exhibition features artists from the Middle East, Central Asia and its diasporas. The exhibition examines the different ways with which artists engage with people, objects, images, and ideas traveling across geographic spaces, media forms, histories, and personal contexts. Encompassing a variety of media and artistic strategies, Tarjama / Translation treats the multiple processes of translation as dynamic and complex, from linguistic and textual maneuvers, to the transformation of consciousness engendered by the increasingly globalized world.

The Queens Museum of Art

New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens NY 11368
Telephone: (718) 592-9700


Via #7 Flushing IRT. Exit Willets Point/Shea Stadium and follow the yellow signs on a ten-minute walk through the park to the museum, which is located next to the Unisphere. Alternatively, exit at 111th Street Station. Walk south on 111th Street past the New York Hall of Science. Left on 49th Avenue into the Park. Continue past fountain over the Grand Central Parkway bridge. Museum is on right, next to Unisphere.
Please Note: If you plan on taking the subway to the museum during the weekend, check the MTA Service Advisory Postings before leaving home.

48 to Roosevelt Ave and 111th Street.
Walk south through park (toward Unisphere)

Q23, Q58 to Corona Ave and 51st Ave.
Walk east through park.

From West and midtown Manhattan: Take the Midtown Tunnel to the Long Island Expressway. Use Exit 22B, Grand Central Parkway West toward the Triboro Bridge. Exit the Grand Central at the first exit, Tennis Center (9P), turn right and follow signs to Museum.

From Brooklyn: via Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) to LIE Eastbound, to exit 22B exit 22B (Grand Central Parkway/Triboro Bridge), then exit GCP at Tennis Center (9P) and turn right to the Museum.

From North and Triboro Bridge: via Grand Central Parkway, exit at 9E or 9W and follow signs to Museum.

From East and Long Island: via LIE to GCP West, exit GCP at Tennis Center (9P) and follow signs to Museum. Free parking.

August 21, 2009

quit fondling your ego

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 9:02 pm

Dear Eva,

You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don’t! Learn to say “Fuck You” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, gasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, rumbling, rambling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding grinding grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and your ability, the work you are doing sounds very good. ‘Drawing — clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger, bolder, real nonsense.’ That sounds wonderful — real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever — make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your ‘weird humor.’ You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you — draw and paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as ‘to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistent approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.’ You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO! [The DO's are drawn and decorated and very large.] I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work. The worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell. You are not responsible for the world — you are only responsible for your work, so do it. And don’t think that your work has to conform to any idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO.

[Letter from Sol Lewitt to Eva Hesse, April 14, 1965.] …CONTINUED on Drawn Together - Sky Pape’s Drawing and Fine Art Blog

August 18, 2009

Health care reform & those of us who remember the 80s

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 3:43 pm

This morning I was thinking about health care reform, and the vociferous opposition to it in the form of people, many armed, showing up to disrupt town hall meetings on the subject. I thought about those who would say it’s not wise for an artist to publicly express an opinion about this issue, because he or she could risk alienating collectors or others who may bear some power over them. Then I went back to thinking about those fearful, raging people who are so afraid that providing health care for the over 50 million uninsured people in this country is somehow going to infringe upon their own freedoms, especially their right to carry weapons. Who are these people who hate so much? Oh yeah. They’re the same people who hate gays and and anyone of color (especially in the Oval Office). They are the same people who want to wrest the right of reproductive choice from women, and who are suspicious of artists and anybody who doesn’t fit into their mold.

Americans for the Arts has joined with 20 national arts organizations to issue a statement calling on Congress for health care reform, and “to fully recognize the rights of individual artists and arts groups in the health care reform debate.” I want to exercise those rights.

So, when I got dressed this morning, I pulled from deep in my drawer a T-shirt I got after going on the AIDS walk many years ago. It was imprinted with words and an image by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, who was one of the legions of talented people the art community lost too early because people tolerated a screwed up system for too long. I pulled on my T-shirt and got on the crowded subway for the long ride downtown. On my back, his words seared:

If I had a dollar to spend for healthcare I’d rather spend it on a baby or innocent person with some defect or illness not of their own responsibility; not some person with AIDS…” says the healthcare official on national television and this is in the middle of an hour long video of people dying on camera because they can’t afford the limited drugs available that might extend their lives and I can’t even remember what his official looked like because I reached in through the T.V. screen and ripped his face in half and I was diagnosed with AIDS recently and this was after the last few years of losing count of the friends and neighbors who have been dying slow and vicious and unnecessary deaths because fags and dykes and junkies are expendable in this country “If you want to stop AIDS shoot the queers” says the governor of texas on the radio and his press secretary later claims that the governor was only joking and didn’t know the microphone was turned on and besides they didn’t think it would hurt his chances for re-election anyways and I wake up every morning in this killing machine called america and I’m carrying this rage like a blood filled egg and there’s a thin line between the inside and the outside a thin line between thought and action and that line is simply made up of blood and muscle and bone and I’m waking up more and more from daydreams of tipping amazonian blowdarts in “infected blood” and spitting them at the exposed necklines of certain politicians or government healthcare officials or those thinly disguised walking swastika’s that wear religious garments over their murerous intentions or those rabid strangers parading against AIDS clinics in the nightly news suburbs there’s a thin line a very thin line between the inside and the outside and I’ve been looking all my life at the signs surrounding us in the media or on peoples lips; the religious types outside st. patricks cathedral shouting to men and women in the gay parade: “You won’t be here next year–you’ll get AIDS and die ha ha” and the areas of the u.s.a. where it is possible to murder a man and when brought to trial one only has to say that the victim was a queer and that he tried to touch you and the courts will set you free and the difficulties that a bunch of republican senators have in albany with supporting an anti-violence bill that includes ’sexual orientation’ as a category of crime victims there’s a thin line a very thin line and as each t-cell disappears from my body it’s replaced by ten pounds of pressure ten pounds of rage and I focus that rage into non-violent resistance but that focus is starting to slip my hands are beginning to move independent of self-restraint and the egg is starting to crack america seems to understand and accept murder as a self defense against those who would murder other people and its been murder on a daily basis for eight count them eight [nine, ten...] long years and we’re expected to quietly and politely make house in this windstorm of murder but I say there’s certain politicians that had better increase their security forces and there’s religious leaders and heathcare officials that had better get bigger dogs and higher fences and more complex security alarms for their homes and queer-bashers better start doing their work from inside howitzer tanks because the thin line between the inside and the outside is beginning to erode and at the moment I’m a thirty seven foot tall one thousand one hundred and seventy-two pound man inside this six foot frame and all I can feel is the pressure all I can feel is the pressure and the need for release.

I took more than a moment to remember all those who were gone like Wojnarowicz and Keith Haring, and countless others who were willing to Act Up to save lives. It’s not just about AIDS now, nor was it then, really. Think about it.

Tomorrow I will have to resurrect another ancient T-shirt, one emblazoned with an image by the late Keith Haring, and bearing the ever-so-relevant words: IGNORANCE=FEAR, SILENCE=DEATH.

[originally published on Sky Pape's blog, "Drawn Together: Sky Pape's Drawing and Fine Art Blog"]

[Text from my T-shirt: copyright Estate of David Wojnarowicz. Audio of David Wojnarowicz reading at The Drawing Center in 1992, shortly before his death.]

[images from top: David Wojnarowicz, "Untitled (Peter Hujar), 1989, silver print, 30-1/2" x 24-1/2"); David Wojnarowicz, "Untitled (Face in Dirt", 1990, silver print, 28-1/2" x 28-1/2", both copyright Estate of David Wojnarowicz and courtesy of PPOW Gallery. Keith Haring, "Ignorance=Fear", 1989, poster, 24" x 43-1/4", copyright the Estate of Keith Haring, courtesy of The Keith Haring Foundation.]

August 15, 2009

Aint’ nothin’ like the real thing, baby

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Sky Pape @ 2:11 pm

My thoughts have returned to the superiority of first-hand over virtual experience. By this, I mean looking at original artwork as opposed to viewing it on a computer monitor, taking off your iPod and going to hear live music, attending a dance performance, a play, a poetry or book reading, and yes, even just kicking yourself outside to move your legs, smell the flowers, and hear the birds sing.

The in-person experience and meaning of a large-scale work of art cannot be conveyed by a jpeg any more than looking at a picture of a gourmet meal can compare to savoring it oneself. Any more than typing XOXO is like kissing and hugging someone you love. This is the problem. Seeing or reading something on-line is not an acceptable substitute for real experience, yet the more we get sucked into it, the harder becomes to pull away, unplug, and venture out into the physical world, where engaging with people and art and nature can be challenging and even messy, and slightly risky because you can’t just click and instantly transport yourself somewhere else.

I recognize the irony in writing about disconnecting oneself from the computer and other electronic devices, and then posting it on my blog. Well, life is full of little ironies, including the one about how computers were going to save us all scads of time and make us all so much more productive (except for those Facebook and Twitter junkies who get themselves fired).

When psychiatric diagnosis-like terms such as “Information Anxiety” (coined by Richard Saul Wurman who created the TED conferences) and “Nature Deficit Disorder” start showing up, it’s time to acknowledge there’s a problem. “We must keep in mind that information or raw data is not knowledge. Individuals achieve knowledge by using their own experience, distinguishing the important from the irrelevant and making critical value judgments.”

[Note: Extra reading - You also might enjoy Nicholas Kristof's NDD-related article "How to Lick a Slug" if you missed it, and Brad Stone's NY Times article, "Breakfast Can Wait. The Day's First Stop Is Online."]

Today, people spend less time looking at a work of art itself than they do looking through the viewfinder of their digital cameras so they can snap a picture to post online to show others what they’ve seen - when they haven’t even really looked at it! This NY Times article by Michael Kimmelman hit it dead on:

“Cameras replaced sketching by the last century; convenience trumped engagement, the viewfinder afforded emotional distance and many people no longer felt the same urgency to look. It became possible to imagine that because a reproduction of an image was safely squirreled away in a camera or cell phone, or because it was eternally available on the Web, dawdling before an original was a waste of time, especially with so much ground to cover…”

“…The art historian T. J. Clark…has lately written a book about devoting several months of his time to looking intently at two paintings by Poussin. Slow looking, like slow cooking, may yet become the new radical chic.”

“Until then we grapple with our impatience and cultural cornucopia. Recently, I bought a couple of sketchbooks to draw with my 10-year-old in St. Peter’s and elsewhere around Rome, just for the fun of it, not because we’re any good, but to help us look more slowly and carefully at what we found. Crowds occasionally gathered around us as if we were doing something totally strange and novel, as opposed to something normal, which sketching used to be. I almost hesitate to mention our sketching. It seems pretentious and old-fogeyish in a cultural moment when we can too easily feel uncomfortable and almost ashamed just to look hard.”

I could go on, but I realize this post has just exceeded 600 words, and I don’t want to strain anyone’s techno-abbreviated attention span. More importantly, it’s time to begin my weekly 24-hour, technology-free, official Day Off, so I want to get away from the computer as much as I want you to do so too.

So that’s it until next time, but ’til then, let’s all do something to get out there and remind ourselves there ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby.

[article reposted from "Drawn Together" - Sky Pape's Drawing and Fine Art Blog. Please visit it for more!]

July 27, 2009

a moment of silence for merce

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 11:27 am

I received a link today to this 2006 televised performance of a piece by Merce Cunningham’s long-time collaborator John Cage. I then learned of Cunningham’s death and heard highlighted on Brian Lehrer’s show Cunningham’s process of not choreographing to music (music appeared in his pieces at dress rehearsal). So I thought this performance of 4′33 was an apt tribute, albeit unintentional. Cunningham was at the forefront of his craft and of the world of art to the end. His website, broke ground by streaming webcasts of rehearsals; he planned for the disbanding of his company two years after his death, pre-settling artistic questions about how to carry on his work.

July 22, 2009

socks as art

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 3:24 pm

Sky Paper recently twittered about an attempt to flag public art around the city. Here’s what I’ve seen lately, on a phone booth on Bleecker Street. yeah now…

July 20, 2009

have you high lined?

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 2:35 pm

take your first chance to see new york’s newest perspective. It’s beautiful. The rest of my pics are here:

July 6, 2009

uber art blog roll

Filed under: WebLog — Peter Ferko @ 7:06 am

A site called just posted a list of 100 best scholarly art blogs. It makes a good anotated reference list if you’re looking for someone to check out or follow; it also breaks blogs into some interesting categories, including news, criticism, and artist community — where you’ll find Artists Unite.

June 23, 2009

Like So Many Things

Filed under: Articles, WebLog — Pamela Popeson @ 9:30 pm

Like So Many Things… 

(but so very unlike most of what’s out there in viral video garage band land)


In 2001 BMW set the bar for short indie film work on the internet with the magnificent series “The Hire.” And then they came back and hit it high again with the 2002 edition   really setting us up for a big fall. How exciting was that? It seemed like a promise of great things to come but instead it’s mostly been Jackass style hi-jinx, family pet, and frat boy part-tee videos, or uploads of that guy doing his jig or the Complaint Chorus since then. Some things better than others, but still basically nothing more than visual garage band land - “uh-huh, that’s great, good for you, yeah and oh hey, are you gonna finish those fries” stuff. Nothing nowhere near what “The Hire” was about – which is inspired short feature filmmaking.1

Probably there’s been some good video work out there on the so called “viral video” scene that is trying to break away, but I’m not finding it. Luckily IFC has also been on the lookout for good work for their website programming and they found something: “Like So Many Things…,” a new online video series by This Thing Films. “Like So Many Things…” is smart and funny, beautifully shot and edited, well acted and well directed with good writing - seven “webisodes” that are spot on and spot on for the internet.

The series follows Lucy and Karl, two lonely, but young and game, hearts who meet at a bar on a Friday night. We meet them when Karl (played by Greg Keller) runs out of the bar looking for Lucy (played by Marin Gazzaniga) with an offer to walk her home.

Okay, they just left a bar; they’d been drinking; figure reason and sound judgment, or at least common sense standards, have dropped far out of sight. That leaves them thinking they maybe got something here and neither wants to let go of the possibility of a possibility so they’re off and running, or rather lurching and stumbling about, in pursuit of the connection.  The filmmakers run that thread through the seven episodes of timed and chanced meetings of this idiotic, pathetic, funny, charming and dear duo with great success.  Episode 2, Future Days, Future Nights, begins on a wonderfully comical moment as Lucy and Karl run into each other on the street and stand on opposite sidewalks shouting their conversation over and through the traffic. It’s as hilarious as it is touching and sad and you find yourself shaking your head wondering what’s wrong with these two while hoping like mad that they can get it right.  You recognize them; they’re familiar in fact that could be you out there – or me. Could be, that is, if our lives are so much more together.

As the story takes turns, leaps here or bounds there, and suggests, hides, or reveals itself the filmmakers are right on it, with nary a misstep, and like good short film making the pieces have the tease that slips in from nowhere lands a punch, or a slap, a soft caress or a kiss, and then just as just when you thought you were getting on to it; it slyly slides out of your life.




(1 The Complaints Chorus is good, but it’s the choral work that inspired, not the filmmaking, and this is true of most of the good video work on the internet - the good part isn’t related to video/filmmaking, and that’s what we’re talking about here; that’s what we’re wanting.)








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