Newark, New Jersey—Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to bring the latest solo project by Ethan Shoshan. The artist will present an intimate collection of more than 100 objects—some art, some ephemera, some gifted, some found—all of which have a story. In the tradition of oral storytelling, making it both subject and medium, Shoshan presents a narrative for each object on display. Stories range from rhetorical and touching to explicit and provocative; each lending clairvoyance to a voyeuristic experience. Guests have the freedom to peruse the objects and listen to an accompanying audio guide. Shoshan also provides live storytelling performances every Saturday, from 2:00 to 4:00pm.
Free Public Film Program: "Intimate Portraits" March 11, 7:00-9:00pm
“Intimate Portraits,” is a series of queer autobiographical stories of personal, social, and political experiences confronting relationships of desire and alienation. These films are engaging, heartfelt and compelling. Come experience a sensual buffet of short films that explore intersections of identity and physicality, seemingly natural sites of marginalization. International films by Jamika Ajalon, Dino Dinco, Mónica Enríquez, Leor Grady, Dana Inkster, Vince Mascoli, Nguyen Tan Hoang, Matt Palazzolo, Timothy Smith, and X'Ho. Co-Presented by the MIX New York Queer Experimental Film Festival
This project has been reviewed in Art In America:
Another article on the work:
FEELINGS FRUITSTAND by Vince Golveo, 2010
My first glimpse of Ethan Shoshan’s work was after meeting him with friends on the way to a gay bear party in Chelsea. Sharing a cigarette he rolled for me, he showed me a few folded origami kung-fu stars that he had given out made from porn magazines. I thought, “Oh, I see, a porn-star, how clever.” The pointy flesh-colored stars embodied a pun, a simple joke giving us some solidarity as modern homos. Its guile was in displaying a marker of identity as folding, intersecting, flying, and fierce.
Shoshan’s recent project contains a larger but similar interlocking intensity. In I'm always thinking of you even when I'm kissing another boy there are numerous narratives examining intimacy between objects and identity. The objects range from abject to beautiful. The stories crafted around each are disarmingly personal. The narrator’s tone is reflective and meditative, describing each object in terms of relationships and actions, real or fantastic. In contrast, some of the artifacts are quite provocative. A sign in the show has red handwritten lettering on scraps of white paper glued to an orange board screaming out “Hey— why won’t you fucking pay attention to me?” In a sparse frame, there’s a pair of white boxer briefs covered with suggestive brown muck (it’s actually chocolate). There’s also a wrists and neck shackle made of knitted red yarn. These are just a small fraction of the objects on display.
What’s not on display are some objects that also really touched me. While working on this project, Shoshan showed me some folded paper tessellations he created for an artist friend who wanted to construct them as fabric. Tessellations are mathematic structures that fill up planes without any gaps. They can be seen in the famous Alhambra palace, Escher drawings, and the skin of computer generated 3D objects. In physics, which Shoshan has studied extensively, tessellations are described as translational symmetry.
Translational symmetry of an object means that a particular translation does not change the object. For a given object, the translations for which this applies form a group, the symmetry group of the object, or, if the object has more kinds of symmetry, a subgroup of the symmetry group. (Wikipedia)
The obtuse technical definition for me is a reprieve from another technical document I recently read explaining Facebook application development. It stated that “to be statistically valid, social graphs require that their nodes (or users) are unique…requiring that each account be backed by a single physical person.”
On first experiencing Shoshan’s work, it might feel akin to browsing through social networking sites and reading multiple snippets of a “node’s” personal “social graph.” But after more time meandering through the maze of objects and words Shoshan presents, one begins to realize that these things are not disposable snippets, especially on encountering a yellow ribbon barricade with the word “GENTRIFY”, marking space with an intractable urgency. Underlying the work is symmetry of intention, locking together, describing fleeting states of intimacy, performed with a persistent lack of cynicism or irony. Underneath is something worthy of understanding, a distinct voice, an artist, gay‐identified, observing and being observed, each observation holding a confession, each meaning more than the sum of its parts—perhaps a psychosocial tessellation, a millennial queer Gestalt? For now I like to think of what I’m describing, to quote a Shoshan artifact, as a “Feelings Fruitstand.”
Vince Golveo is an artist who develops websites and rich media applications. He moved from Los Angeles to Brooklyn three years ago. Golveo hates slushy snow, but loves New York.
Concurrent with this Special Exhibition are 2 other exhibitions on view at Aljira
Dreamtime overtones from a fantastic brown planet
Special exhibition of works primarily from Aljira's temporary collection with a curatorial focus on the color brown. Artists include Pacita Abad, Pablo Agudelo, Keith Anderson, Firelei Baez, Suzanne Bocanegra, Matthew Burcaw, Matthew Fischer, Gerard H. Gaskin, Lennon Jno-Baptiste, Richard Koppe, Russell Murray, Kenya (Robinson), Ryan Roth, Juan Sanchez, Carlos Sandoval de Leon, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Wahala Temi, Megan Williams and more.
Her Dark Materials by Jenny Salomon
An EmergeNEXT exhibition of hybrid drawings to expose aspects of the emotive self that might normally be concealed.