Articles | ArtSlant https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/show en-us 40 Under the Radar: Viet Ha Tran | Alexandra Gallagher | Nadia Rapti <table style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <table align="center" border="0" style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/editorial?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Mag" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">magazine</a> to our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">residency</a> and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">prize</a>. Every week our editors select the best artist profiles from under the radar. </span></em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">watchlist.</a></span></em></span></p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/452501-viet-ha-tran?utm_source=VietHaTran&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" georgia="" large="" palatino="" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">Viet Ha Tran &ndash; Madrid</span></span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/993273?utm_source=VietHaTran&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/993273/u3azr9/20160611065423-IMG_9590.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/996211?utm_source=VietHaTran&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/996211/mf2ji7/20160625224417-Sony_Open_Competition_-_Viet_Ha_Tran_1.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/993274?utm_source=VietHaTran&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/993274/mf2ji7/20160625223840-El_lago_de_loto_II.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/975272?utm_source=VietHaTran&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/975272/mf2ji7/20160308160603-Viet_Ha_Tran__Spain_.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/476319-alexandragallagher?utm_source=AlexandraGallagher&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Alexandra Gallagher &ndash; Manchester </span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/1028733?utm_source= AlexandraGallagher&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1028733/u3azr9/20170203152133-Swollow_Blind_-_Alexandra_Gallagher_-_web.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/1028736?utm_source=AlexandraGallagher&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1028736/u3azr9/20170203152145-Cassie_-_Alexandra_Gallagher_-_web.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/1028732?utm_source=AlexandraGallagher&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1028732/u3azr9/20170203152113-Flamingo_Flowers_-_Alexandra_Gallagher_-_web.jpeg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/1028740?utm_source=AlexandraGallagher&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1028740/u3azr9/20170203152203-Love_Touched_the_Gods_-_Alexandra_Gallagher_-web.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/452665-nadia-rapti?utm_source=NadiaRapti&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Nadia Rapti &ndash; Athens</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/978762?utm_source=NadiaRapti&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/978762/u3azr9/20160326142927-Got_the_power.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/978761?utm_source=NadiaRapti&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/978761/mf2ji7/20160326142914-Hard_and_cold_out_here.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/1005429?utm_source=NadiaRapti&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1005429/mf2ji7/20160831180522-Escaping_the_cocoon_-_80x100cm_Acrylics_and_embroidery_on_cotton_canvas.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/works/show/978753?utm_source=NadiaRapti&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/978753/mf2ji7/20160326131940-Guarding_the_nest.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant supports thousands of contemporary artists through our outreach and exposure programs&mdash;come join the best online arts community today!</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/84518/3mfh/20170213165906-ArtSlant_Prize_IX_2017-01.jpg" style="width: 100%;" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/par/foundation?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Residency"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182447-residency-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.amazon.com/s?marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;me=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;merchant=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;redirect=true" style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182634-sales-room-200-logo.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182549-profile-subscriptions-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></span></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Sun, 26 Feb 2017 15:10:53 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Jinhee Park Answers 5 Questions <p><em>This is&nbsp;5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/45815-b-stylecolor-333333under-the-radar-audrey-roger-zzin-park-jonathan-aliboneb">Under the Radar</a>, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/373164-zzin-jinhee-park">Zzin (Jinhee) Park</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Jinhee received an ArtSlant Prize 2016 Honorable Mention. We&rsquo;re presenting Jinhee&rsquo;s work this week at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1874240336181007/">SPRING/BREAK Art Show</a>.</em></p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" noshade="noshade" size="0" width="100%" /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What are you trying to communicate with your work?</strong></p> <p>Well, I don&#39;t have any particular messages in making art. Instead, I am responsive to each day and each spot. If I feel sure of myself, I have only to wait for what will be spewed out of the intriguing mystery box.</p> <p><strong>What is an artist&rsquo;s responsibility?</strong></p> <p>An artist has to realize their own desire, which can never be surrendered due to another or their surroundings. For me, establishing dynamics in art happens not just through a plan or concept, but through remaining within myself. But in many cases, one tends to be playing &ldquo;flat&rdquo; rather than learning self-expression. Rather than being afraid of adverse attention, one has to use their own initiatives.</p> <p><strong>Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)? </strong></p> <p>This work happened while arranging a two-person show with another gay fellow last February. I had a plan to make a different work, but didn&rsquo;t end up using it. Instead, I made this work with just about four days left before the show. This work was very spontaneous and fun to make, and was very suited for the show, and how boys feel in early spring.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170226141915-Untitled.png" /></p> <p align="center"><span style="font-size:12px;"><em>Adam</em>, 2016, Blanket and elastic bands, 51 x 118 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:</strong></p> <p>I once talked about IT start-ups, including a game company, with an interior designer, who is now making a collaborative project with me. Having worked with him and other technicians, I found that I can ask them for difficult technical things&mdash;if one has a will to learn, it won&rsquo;t take that long to know Rhino software, welding metals, or other hand skills or crafts. If I decide to develop a mobile game, the overall process would not be that different from making collaborative artwork&mdash;if it were possible to have strong cooperation with a technician. Also, social forces or earnings in IT industries wouldn&rsquo;t be comparable to in arts. But, when it comes to my dream project, however, I am too unilateral to provide stable services.</p> <p><strong>Who are three artists we should know but probably don&rsquo;t?</strong></p> <p>I read <a href="https://books.google.com/books/about/Anti_object.html?id=ittIAQAAIAAJ&amp;source=kp_cover&amp;hl=en"><em>Anti-Object</em></a><a href="https://books.google.com/books/about/Anti_object.html?id=ittIAQAAIAAJ&amp;source=kp_cover&amp;hl=en"> (2008) by Kengo Kuma</a> in the plane yesterday. I recommend it if you are interested in the history of 20th century architecture.</p> <p>Painter <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33677271">Aaron</a> (computer program), and Francis Bacon in the text of <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Logic+of+Sensation+(1981)+by+Deleuze.&amp;oq=The+Logic+of+Sensation+(1981)+by+Deleuze.&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57.269j0j9&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8"><em>The Logic of Sensation</em></a><a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=The+Logic+of+Sensation+(1981)+by+Deleuze.&amp;oq=The+Logic+of+Sensation+(1981)+by+Deleuze.&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57.269j0j9&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8"> (1981) by Deleuze. </a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" noshade="noshade" size="0" width="100%" /></div> <p><em>ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/editorial">magazine</a>&nbsp;to our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747">residency</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize">prize</a>.&nbsp;Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143">watchlist.</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Jinhee Park, <em>Over the Rainbow</em>, 2016, Acrylic on duvet, silk and polyester, 100 x 130 cm, Made in collaboration with&nbsp;Kayoon Kim (MA in Fashion Design at Royal College of Art).)</span></p> Sun, 26 Feb 2017 14:39:01 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Hannah Black Conjures a New Dawn in the Timeless Loop of History <p>Berlin-based artist Hannah Black&rsquo;s solo presentation <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/events/show/435409-soc-or-barb" target="_blank"><em>Soc or Barb </em></a>at New York&rsquo;s Bodega lingers like a heavy fog drawn from today&rsquo;s political climate. The title, short for Socialism or Barbarism is borrowed from Rosa Luxemburg&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/junius/" target="_blank">early twentieth century wager</a> on the future of capitalism. Its prescience is foreboding.</p> <p>Entering the gallery, I am confronted by a clay audience of roughly shaped creatures. Black&rsquo;s fingerprints define and add texture to these tiny spectators, most of which are wearing cotton white t-shirts that have infinity signs on them. Though the figurative clay sculptures sit together in a group, they nevertheless feel isolated from one another. The stupefied gaze they collectively share is familiar: it is the same hypnotic captivation I observe when watching others stare at television screens or smartphones. These figures are doing just that, being together and separate at once.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170225153308-02_HB019-a.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Hannah Black, <em>New Dawn</em>, 2017, 3-Channel HD color video installation with audio 3 minutes, 31 seconds on loop. Courtesy of Bodega</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Three wall-mounted flat screen televisions surround them, each looping a video depicting the sun at daybreak (<em>New Dawn).</em> The accompanying soundtrack is a compilation of personal conversations between the artist and friends, a fascist British song, Celine Dion&rsquo;s &ldquo;A New Day Has Come,&rdquo; and academic recordings and readings by Octavia Butler and Kofi Agawu, amongst others. The un-synched audio weaves in and out of the installation, interlacing Black&rsquo;s boundaries between private and public space. Stemming from a private experiential place, the audio excerpts grow outwards with a variety of cultural signifiers that helps clue the viewer into the political overtones of the exhibition.</p> <p>The installation&rsquo;s narrative is easy to follow: the clay figures or &ldquo;beings&rdquo; adopt a passive attitude as they watch the endless daybreak on each screen. It is as if they wait in anticipation of something, like instructions as to where to go from here. Off to the side, framed by a sunny LED glow, a Philips &ldquo;Wake Up Light&rdquo; clock displays &ldquo;00:00.&rdquo; Time is moving and not moving. Is it the beginning or the end of time? The tension between the clock and the video loop brings me to a standstill. Almost as if I, too, were awaiting instructions. Is awaiting instruction at a time when action is needed a submission to fear, a response to feelings of helplessness? I see myself in the clay creatures and rehash what I&rsquo;ve been thinking about since Trump won the election: how do I transform my passivity into <em>effective</em> action?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170225153329-09_install6.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Hannah Black,&nbsp;<em>Soc of Barb</em>, 2017, Installation view at Bodega. Courtesy of Bodega</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The work resonates deeply with me in this new Brexit and Trump era. That Black&rsquo;s title cites a moment in time, almost exactly one hundred years ago, reminds one of the cyclical nature of history&mdash;how it undulates politically, between right, left, and center in an endless loop. However, knowing that history is cyclical doesn&rsquo;t offer much comfort.</p> <p>While polarities rhythmically shift, technology and power continue to grow exponentially. This infinite loop of life promises nothing. The work becomes as symbolic as the ongoing mass protests in the U.S.: both are simultaneously empowering and impotent. I want to know that the pain the country is experiencing is worth something that can yield a positive return. Leaving the gallery I found myself wanting something as reliable as Black&rsquo;s repetitive screens, a sense of comfort and knowing: a promise.</p> <p><i><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/events/show/435409-soc-or-barb" target="_blank">Soc or Barb</a> ran at Bodega, New York City, from January 14&ndash;February 19.</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/472848-audrey-l-phillips?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Audrey L. Phillips</a></p> <p><em>Audrey Phillips is a Toronto-based writer. She is a regular contributor to AQNB.</em></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top:&nbsp;Hannah Black,&nbsp;<em>Soc of Barb</em>, 2017, Installation view at Bodega. Courtesy of Bodega, New York)</span></p> Sun, 26 Feb 2017 06:10:05 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Facing the Black Mirror: Michael Holman Owns the Confederate Flag <p><em>Oscar Wilde famously suggested great art &ldquo;reveal beauty and hide the artist.&rdquo; For the 2017 BLACK MIRROR exhibition at </em><a href="http://www.springbreakartshow.com/"><em>SPRING/BREAK</em></a><em>, more than 100 curators will feature artworks that explore the dance of identity the artist undergoes&mdash;between showing what&rsquo;s unseen and hiding in plain sight&mdash;especially in the face of modern technology, political unrest, and glimmers from ghosts of Art History&rsquo;s past.</em></p> <p><em>ArtSlant will be </em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1874240336181007/"><em>exhibiting the ArtSlant Prize 2016 Winners</em></a><em> at SPRING/BREAK. In expectation of this uniquely site-specific, curatorial fair, we&rsquo;re featuring interviews with participating curators and artists, asking them what they see reflected in the black mirror. </em></p> <p><em>Previous interviews: <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47337-facing-the-black-mirror-jack-leigh-ruby-cut-up-reality-at-the-barbershop" target="_blank">Eve Sussman and Simon Lee on curating Jack &amp; Leigh Ruby</a>, <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47383-facing-the-black-mirror-chashama-transforms-unused-properties-into-art-venues" target="_blank">Janusz Jaworski on chashama</a></em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Michael Holman doesn&rsquo;t shy away from making big, off-the-cuff proclamations about the meaning of life and art. &ldquo;Art is the engine that propels evolution,&rdquo; he told me in a recent conversation. A creative polymath, Holman gesticulates as he speaks, occasionally breaking into song: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=modfq47onwU" target="_blank"><em>ticka ticka ticka ticka timing</em></a>, <em>cha cha cha, a few steps forward, a few steps back</em>. He peppers his pronunciations with cinematic metaphors, pulling from horror, sci-fi, and drama.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not surprising that Holman samples intuitively from diverse genres and art forms. A vanguard of the Downtown New York art scene from the 80s, he is the accomplished <a href="http://www.michaelholman.com/" target="_blank">wearer of many hats</a>: from his experimental band with Jean-Michel Basquiat, to his journalism (he&rsquo;s credited as the first person to use the word &ldquo;hip hop&rdquo; in print), to his screenwriting, filmmaking, and television production. His hip hop archives were <a href="https://www.nypl.org/press/press-release/october-3-2016/new-york-public-library-performing-arts-acquires-michael-holman" target="_blank">acquired</a> by the New York Public Library for Performing Arts last fall.</p> <p>Throughout all these endeavors, Holman has been making art. And this month, his decades-long series of paintings, <em>Native</em>, is ready for its close-up. Since the early 90s, Holman has been deconstructing the Confederate flag, forcing a conversation about ownership, identity, symbols, and the complexity of meaning. &ldquo;Trump allowed this to happen,&rdquo; he says a bit incredulously, reflecting on the turns that have gotten him to his upcoming show.</p> <p>Organized in partnership with SPRING/BREAK founders Ambre Kelly and Andrew Gori, Holman will exhibit works from <em>Native</em> at SPRING/BREAK Art Show during Armory Week. Holman&rsquo;s clear excitement for this moment is tinged with irony. &ldquo;Out of this anger,&rdquo; he says, &ldquo;out of this insane conversation where we&rsquo;re talking past ourselves, out of this bubbling cauldron, comes my flags. It&rsquo;s me proud of who I am as a Black man, but also embracing my history.&rdquo;</p> <p>Holman spoke with me about the currency of symbols, his embrace of the Confederate flag, and the white privilege reflected in the black mirror.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222170029-Where_Am_I_Coming_From.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Where Am I Coming From</em>, 2008, Gold leaf on layered gesso on canvas, 28 x 28 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Andrea Alessi: How do you feel about your work being shown at SPRING/BREAK in this specific cultural moment?</strong></p> <p><strong>Michael Holman:</strong> After Trump was elected, I felt a marked urgency and a sense of inclusion for my work in this show. As Trump continues polarizing the country and alienating people, baiting them against each other, let&rsquo;s face it, my work is perfect to speak to this idea: I&rsquo;m a Black man deconstructing the Confederate flag with ancestors who fought in the Civil War <em>on the South side</em>.</p> <p><strong>AA: It&rsquo;s a challenging subject.</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> My approach has never been some kind of attack on the Confederate flag. I want to ask the question: Are symbols innocent? When does a symbol have to be responsible for the actions that people do in or under its name?</p> <p><strong>AA: So, <em>are</em> symbols innocent?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I don&rsquo;t think I have an answer for that. I could take $5 worth of paint and $10 worth of canvas and paint a swastika or Confederate flag and it&rsquo;s still just $5 worth of paint. Does the material that made that object also carry the burden or the hatred or the political point of view ascribed to that symbol?</p> <p>Some bigots have chosen to use that flag as a weapon to intimidate Black people, and Black people play right into it too&mdash;they&rsquo;re like &ldquo;yes, that&rsquo;s the evil flag.&rdquo; I&rsquo;ve chosen to take a different tack: My attitude is: &ldquo;Fuck you. I own that flag as much as you, and maybe more. I&rsquo;ve got documentation, motherfucker.&rdquo; I&rsquo;ve got documentation that says that I&rsquo;m a son of the Confederacy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165952-IMG_SILVER_CROSS.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Silver Cross</em>, 2009, Silver leaf &amp; acrylic on Xerox paper on canvas, 26 x 40 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AA: Tell me about that.</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> My father&rsquo;s family comes from Texas and we have a long history there that&rsquo;s mixed with Black and white, slavery and master. My father told me I had family, <em>Black</em> family, that fought in the Confederacy. They didn&rsquo;t see much action&mdash;hardly anyone from Texas did&mdash;but they were nevertheless Confederate soldiers. I reached out to the archives in Austin and there were quite good records of my ancestors fighting. They knew they were Negroes, and this defeated army still upheld its obligations in terms of health and retirement benefits, widow compensation, etc. It was eye opening. I&rsquo;ve used Xeroxed copies of some of these family records in my work.</p> <p>But my point is: I own that flag. I refuse to let some white racist use that as a weapon against me, to threaten me, to intimidate me, to frighten me.</p> <p><strong>AA: This isn&rsquo;t about &ldquo;taking it back,&rdquo; so much as saying &ldquo;I never <em>didn&rsquo;t </em>own this.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> If you want to play that game of the power of symbolism and you want to use something as a weapon, you better know who else owns that weapon.</p> <p><strong>AA: How do you see the work relating to the theme of the Black Mirror?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I see the black mirror in contrast to a clear mirror. The black mirror would be a reflective and shiny black surface, but it&rsquo;s an inversion of what you&rsquo;re reflecting back: whether it&rsquo;s visual or philosophical or conceptual. It&rsquo;s reflecting not reality as we understand it&mdash;which would be our clear mirror&mdash;but some parallel reality. Is it a corrupted reality, or is it a more accurate reality on some levels?</p> <p>On a personal level, I&rsquo;m seeing backwards. When I look into the mirror of my genetics I see my ancestors having fought in the Civil War for the South. I&rsquo;m saying: &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s not question <em>why</em> they did it&mdash;they <em>did </em>it. When I look in that mirror, it&rsquo;s <em>there</em>. The truth is there.&rdquo; I&rsquo;m looking at a dark side of my history and I&rsquo;m owning it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165801-ART_Playboy.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Playboy</em>, 1993, Acrylic on canvas, 54 x 66 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AA: Do you feel pride or shame?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH: </strong>Shame doesn&rsquo;t enter the equation. I feel a certain pride in the longevity of my ancestors in this country. We&rsquo;ve been here since the beginning of slavery, probably for 300 or 400 years. That&rsquo;s why I use that term &ldquo;Native&rdquo; for these artworks.</p> <p><strong>AA: Tell me about that title.</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> Obviously it&rsquo;s not &ldquo;Native&rdquo; in terms of Native American. It&rsquo;s the native that many of the &ldquo;first white Americans&rdquo;&mdash;the English and the French&mdash;used against the Irish and Italians and Poles when they first came. These white colonists wrapped this name of nativism around themselves. It&rsquo;s a term that would never be ascribed to Black people, but we were right there with them the whole time.</p> <p>If you went back in time, it would blow your mind. It would be at once a lot worse and a lot more benign.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165712-Red_Native.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Red Native</em>, Acrylic on gesso on canvas, 46 x 30 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AA: Do you think about time travel a lot?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH: </strong>All the time. We have to time travel. Historians are time travelers, evolutionists. I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s as mysterious as science makes it out to be. The past is still with us. In our DNA. Time travel happens all around us and we see ghosts of the past and hints of the future. We&rsquo;re time travelling in spite of ourselves.</p> <p>Today, a lot of white people are starting to recognize the pervasive, systemic nature of racism in this country. Especially the millennials, they&rsquo;re like, &ldquo;yeah I get it now.&rdquo; <em>Because</em> of media, <em>because</em> of iPhones. We&rsquo;re seeing Black people being murdered by the police in a way that was happening all the time. In films like <em>13th</em> we&rsquo;re seeing the prison industrial complex in its most naked form. We&rsquo;re seeing how all these things are just a continuation of slavery&mdash;that&rsquo;s part of time travel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165632-IMG_SELF_PORTRAIT.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Self Portrait</em>, 2009, Gold &amp; silver leaf and Xerox paper on layered gesso on canvas, 38 x 38 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AA: Could another conception of the black mirror&mdash;our smartphone and television screens, like you&rsquo;re saying&mdash;be that it&rsquo;s revealing and reflecting white supremacy?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> Yes! Modern devices are so powerful for communicating ideas and sharing data. They&rsquo;ve taken away the last vestiges hiding the existence of racism. iPhones are capturing these moments that are naked&mdash;episodes of blatant obvious police brutality. The blinders have been pulled back and now we&rsquo;re looking into the black mirror of white privilege and racism.</p> <p><strong>AA: Part of the issue of white privilege is that people don&rsquo;t want to own up to it. In the same way that you&rsquo;re taking a very real, candid look at your history&mdash;could part of the solution be white people being equally candid with their histories and themselves?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> Yes! By owning the Confederate flag, that symbol of hatred, and by owning it <em>legitimately</em>, because I <em>am</em> a son of the Confederacy, I dilute the power of that flag. Not only do I dilute it, I actually change that power. If you&rsquo;re KKK and you&rsquo;re marching with the Confederate flag, and a whole bunch of Black people turn up with Confederate flags, the power of that symbol is brought deeply into question.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m turning it upside down, and maybe if you turn <em>your</em> lens upside down, then maybe you&rsquo;ll see your white privilege.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165557-ART_Black_Panther_3D.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Black Panther/3D</em>, 1993, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AA: Is it a difficult object to sell? Do people want to have these flags in their homes? </strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I&rsquo;ve had these internal conversations with myself: <em>Am I crazy</em>? <em>Am I begging to not be collected?</em> <em>Is this self-sabotage?</em> Do I know that this is going to be super challenging for people&mdash;even if they like the work&mdash;to want to own it, buy it, hang it on their walls? Yes. I know that&rsquo;s all real. Does that stop me? Apparently not.</p> <p><strong>AA: <em>Do</em> people buy them?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> Oh yeah.</p> <p><strong>AA: White people and Black people?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> Yeah. They hang in people&rsquo;s houses. What is art supposed to be? Should it sit over the couch and be non-offensive? My posse from the 80s, they would never have anything to do with art that was purely decorative. I believe that artists are the vanguard of evolution, the light that shines through the darkness of human confusion, through the self-destructive behavior that threatens our continual evolution and survival. Art&rsquo;s job is hard; its job is to save us.</p> <p>So, shouldn&rsquo;t art be challenging in that respect? Shouldn&rsquo;t collectors have the courage to hang a piece of art that might offend someone but is going to trigger debate and dialogue about what the art means, and symbols in general? Shouldn&rsquo;t we be going there?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165402-ART_LV_NATIVE.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>LV Native</em>, 2009, Gold leaf on acrylic on layered gesso on canvas, 38 x 38 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>AA: You also use commercial symbols like Louis Vuitton, Seven Eleven, and Everlast logos&mdash;what&rsquo;s the role of a logo like Louis Vuitton in your work?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I came from being a hip hop pioneer, helping bring it Downtown and to the rest of the world. I saw how hip hop kids were deconstructing these luxury brands and saying &ldquo;I&rsquo;m gonna wear this luxury brand and make it my own.&rdquo; This one cat would print these logos himself and make these ghetto-fabulous clothes that Gucci or Louis Vuitton would never make. He was taking the cache of Louis Vuitton and deconstructing it for his own purposes.</p> <p><strong>AA: Do you consider yourself an appropriation artist?</strong></p> <p><strong>MH: </strong>Like a sample artist? Yeah, I&rsquo;m an appropriator. I&rsquo;m not gonna ask for permission.</p> <p><strong>AA: Since November 9, my readings of artworks are so different than how I would have read them before the election&mdash;that&rsquo;s inevitable. Your work really speaks to this moment. It becomes even more powerful.</strong></p> <p><strong>MH:</strong>&nbsp;There have been times when I was afraid to do this work, because I was like,&nbsp;<em>I&rsquo;m going to look like an Uncle Tom, no one&rsquo;s going to understand what I&rsquo;m trying to say or do here, I&rsquo;m wasting my time, what am I doing?&nbsp;</em>But I&rsquo;m just an evolutionist, exposing and clarifying the complexities of meaning.</p> <p>Trump is part of the cha cha cha of evolution&mdash;he&rsquo;s the back steps&mdash;and then we go forward, and then we go back. There&rsquo;s no straight line to evolution. It&rsquo;s painful; and we grow through pain. My paintings reflect the pain of evolution, the back steps, the forward steps.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170222165318-ART___Everlast_.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Michael Holman, <em>Everlast (gold)</em>, 1993, Gold leaf on layered gesso on canvas, 28 x 28 inches</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>SPRING/BREAK Art Show will take place at 4 Times Square, from February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017. Tickets available <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/o/springbreak-art-show-12813445625" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/95201-andrea-alessi?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Andrea Alessi</a></p> <p><em>Andrea Alessi is Managing Editor of ArtSlant.</em></p> <p><br /> <span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Michael Holman, <em>Black Native</em>, Acrylic on gesso on canvas, 46 x 30 inches. All images: Courtesy of the artist.)</span></p> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:03:27 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Artists Respond to Feminist Novelists in Two Timely Literary Group Shows <p>Though widely read, novelists Octavia Butler and Angela Carter were often pigeonholed as &ldquo;genre writers&rdquo; in their time. In recent years, however, these women&rsquo;s writings have experienced a resurgence in readership and, decades after publication, they still generate relevant political discussions about intersectionality, capitalism, and the environment. In a testament to their influence beyond the literary canon, two recent art shows engaged with Carter, Butler, and their vital subject matter, as well as the visuals that their writing inspired.</p> <p><em>The Bloody Chamber </em>(1979), possibly Carter&rsquo;s most notable collection of stories, transports readers to a world of she-wolves, damsels who revolt, and other strong female creatures, retelling fairy tales from a feminist perspective. Her stories are rich with visceral imagery, but <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/438874-strange-worlds-the-vision-of-angela-carter"><em>Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter</em></a>, now on view at RWA in Bristol, centers less on illustration and more on the themes of horror, fantasy, and sexuality that pervade the late British writer&rsquo;s work. The exhibition features artists who were either inspired directly by Carter&rsquo;s work or who dealt with themes that relate to it. Co-curator Fiona Robinson told me, &ldquo;In selecting the contemporary work for the exhibition I wanted to approach Angela Carter from the point of view of an artist, which is what I am, rather than an academic. I wanted to avoid work which merely illustrated her stories.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170221120901-tessa_farmer.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Tessa Farmer, <em>The Forest Assassins&nbsp;</em>(detail),&nbsp;Installation view of <em>Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter</em>. Photo: Alice Hendy</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Los Angeles exhibition <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/428259-radio-imagination-artists-in-the-archive-of-octavia-e-butler"><em>Radio Imagination</em></a> drew from Octavia Butler&rsquo;s archives now at the Huntington Library: a vast collection of papers, photographs, and ephemera that is an art piece in itself. Artists attempted to expand Butler&rsquo;s unfinished works, an ambitious task considering the writer&rsquo;s unorthodox organizational methods. Though she saved and archived all of her writing and papers, her cataloging systems varied and were sometimes utterly confounding. One envelope ominously labelled &ldquo;<a href="http://www.huntington.org/uploadedFiles/Files/PDFs/Frontiers_SS_2014-octavia.pdf">Pandora&rsquo;s Box</a>,&rdquo; read: &ldquo;Owner not responsible for pain and damage to eyesight and mental health suffered while reading contents without permission.&rdquo; Inside &ldquo;Pandora&rsquo;s Box&rdquo; was an empty bag of potato chips, catalogued with the same precision as her unfinished manuscripts. It is perhaps a joke on the madness of the archival system, a paradoxical gift Butler left in the depths of the works she left behind. Butler died at the age of 58, in 2006, before she could finish her last novel <em>Parable of the Trickster</em>, leaving behind two filing cabinets and 35 large boxes of unfinished works.</p> <p>Carter also died before her time, in 1992, while working on a sequel to <em>Jane Eyre</em> based on her stepdaughter. That she died while reinterpreting Charlotte Bront&euml;&rsquo;s text adds another layer of irony: the work of artists and writers dialoguing with one another seems to never be complete.</p> <p>Artistic interpretations of literary texts respond to a common question writers ask themselves: <em>when is a work done?</em> If a story can be infinitely retold in film, theatre, and art&mdash;as the works of Edgar Allan Poe, who also recently has inspired <a href="https://news.virginia.edu/content/uva-art-museum-presents-exhibit-inspired-writings-edgar-allan-poe">several group shows</a> <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/20121007_Art__Works_inspired_by_Poe_s_dark_words.html">themed around him</a>) are&mdash;never. One wonders why visual artists don&rsquo;t look to literature more for inspiration, considering that filmmakers have no qualms about doing so again and again. Perhaps visual artists feel responding to an author is inherently dangerous; there is a risk of the collection coming across as derivative or unserious (one need only look to the reputation of fan fiction in comparison). But what is most pressing about both Carter and Butler is the social relevance of their works, which is no doubt a reason we&rsquo;re seeing artists engaging with them today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170221120705-red-rising-hood-2-marcell-hanselaar-2010_30824062821_o.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Marcelle Hanselaar, <em>Red Riding Hood 2</em>, 2010. Oil on canvas, 90 x 120 cm. Courtesy the artist. Photograph: Irene Rhoden</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Strange Worlds</em> steers clear of cultish artwork while still retaining the delightfully macabre quality of Carter&rsquo;s oeuvre. Di Oliver&rsquo;s <em>Fairy Tale Book</em> sculpture, a doll resting between the pages of a hardbound fairy tale, does not seem subversive or dark at first glance. But it is a subtle commentary on the misogyny of traditional fairy tales that Carter undermined in her stories. One thinks they are merely reading their young daughter a bedtime story, but they are nestling them into a world where female protagonists are powerless. As writers like Carter and Butler knew all too well, fiction can impact the perception of reality. Oliver&rsquo;s sculpture materializes this idea.</p> <p>Another piece that dialogues with the fairy tale theme is Marcelle Hanselaar&rsquo;s <em>Red Riding Hood 2</em>, which relates to Carter&rsquo;s reinterpretation of the fairy tale as a seduction of the wolf<em>. </em>Other works were commissioned especially for the exhibition. Fiona Robinson highlights Tessa Farmer&rsquo;s installation <em>The Forest Assassins</em>, which &ldquo;takes its inspiration from the forest scenes in &lsquo;The Erl King&rsquo; and &lsquo;The Company of Wolves&rsquo; stories. Tessa&rsquo;s tiny skeletal fairies made from plant roots and bumble bee wings fly around the forest in crocodile skull ships trapping birds and performing other evil deeds.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now more than ever it is necessary to create art that empowers women and girls, and to write new stories that feature strong, complex female characters. Carter&rsquo;s influence extended beyond her fiction writing; her essays such as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/12/27/specials/carter-sadian.html"><em>The Sadeian Woman</em></a> and <em>Nothing Sacred</em> approached pornography and sadism by looking at how gender and class factor into both. Looking at Marquis de Sade&rsquo;s works, she argued that his cruel but powerful female protagonists were progressive as they balanced out the overwhelming amount of meek female characters in literature.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170221120425-30083771633_237f755d36_k.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Lauren Halsey, <em>And It Was a Natural Extension of My Dreaming</em>, 2016, Installation view at <em>Radio Imagination: Artists in the Archive of Octavia E. Butler.</em> Courtesy Armory Center for the Arts. Photo: Jeff McLane Studio</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Butler, too, saw the critical roles representation and visibility could play; she once <a href="https://charlierose.com/videos/28978" target="_blank">countered a question</a> about race with &ldquo;<em>Do</em>&nbsp;I want to say something central about race? Aside from, &lsquo;Hey we&rsquo;re here!&rsquo;?&rdquo; In her science fiction realms, Butler addressed racism, sexism, and classism, exposing injustices on Earth by envisioning alternate realities. Her world-building was great material for visual artists to illustrate new realities where Earth&rsquo;s hierarchies don&rsquo;t exist, or where they are even more exaggerated. In <em>Radio Imagination</em>, Lauren Halsey built an immersive structural work inspired by the landscapes of Octavia Butler&rsquo;s novels that includes ravaged streets and living spaceships. In her installation <em>And It Was a Natural Extension of My Dreaming</em>, based on a description of an &ldquo;ice desert&rdquo; from one of Octavia Butler&rsquo;s notebooks, pressing issues of climate change come into play. There is a long history of so-called &ldquo;genre&rdquo; writers making political statements in alternate worlds, such as the feminist writers who used the Gothic novel to interrogate the notion of female vulnerability, and the effect is often much stronger than it could have been in &ldquo;realist&rdquo; literature.</p> <p>The same can be said of a work of visual art, which, in lacking language, can speak a universal truth. Connie Samaras took materials from Butler&rsquo;s archives at the Huntington and overlaid them with images from the Huntington Gardens, creating an otherworldly representation of excavated imagery. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170221120350-connie_samaras.jpeg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Connie Samaras, from the series <em>The Past is Another Planet: Huntington Rose Garden</em>. Courtesy of the artist and Armory Center for the Arts</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Along with Sun Ra, Butler created a lexicon for Afro-futurist art movements to flourish, and because of her pioneering work, more writers of color were able to publish their fantasy, science fiction, and literary fiction. As literary scholars continue to survey Butler&rsquo;s archives and more readers are exposed to her writing, her works will undoubtedly inspire further art and literature that take into account her intersectional feminist perspective&mdash;a perspective that could hardly feel more urgent.</p> <p>Both Carter and Butler broke ground in genre writing worlds that were dominated by white men, and created characters whose marginalized perspectives were not only placed in the center, but went on to shape strong role models for the next generation. In today&rsquo;s political climate, their voices are needed to mirror the oppressed and inspire resistance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/452094-sola-agustsson?tab=REVIEWS">Sola Agustsson</a></p> <p><em>S&oacute;la Agustsson&nbsp;is a writer based in New York. She is working toward her MFA in Fiction at Columbia University and has contributed to The Huffington Post, FLAUNT, Bullett, Hyperallergic, Salon, and ArtSlant.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Di Oliver, <em>The Fairy Tale Book</em>, 2016, Altered book with handmade doll. Courtesy of the artist.)</span></p> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:47:58 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Transmediale’s Revolution from Within <p>What are the implications of media in today&rsquo;s so-called post-truth society? Mediating technologies permeate everyday life, and rather than serving an emancipatory agenda, they tend to reinforce baked-in prejudices and ideological assumptions. Global media corporations like Google and Facebook extract billions of dollars of surplus value by exploiting their users&rsquo; self-generated, cultural and biometric information. Positive feedback loops like &ldquo;fake news&rdquo; emerge as the expression of such platforms&rsquo; structural logic of capitalist accumulation. Fact checkers strive in vain to refute lies and encounter indifference; Mark Zuckerberg writes<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-zuckerberg-idUSKBN15W05B" target="_blank"> a letter</a> to a presumed enlightened subject while he continues to profit from their unpaid labor.</p> <p>Does agency lie in the human, the machine, or the mediation in between? Agency can be staked out in two concepts of freedom: a negative freedom-from (a refusal of things as they are) and a positive freedom-to (a refusal and simultaneously future-building project). The former entails resistance, even a claim to purity by refusing to participate in an unjust system. The latter entails refusal, but it also contains a recognition of contingency (&ldquo;there is no outside&rdquo;) as a means to construct an alternative future from within the entangled complex of the present.</p> <p>Transmediale, Berlin&rsquo;s festival for art and digital culture, makes a case for the latter. Aptly titled <em>ever elusive</em>, the 2017 edition, its 30th anniversary, draws from the festival&rsquo;s three-decade history while keeping its orientation toward the future. The theme of perpetual elusiveness picks up on expressed ambiguities between the human and nonhuman, which have become evermore intertwined.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170220162639-LIUC_TRANSMEDIALE_HKW_093.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Installation view of&nbsp;<em>alien matter</em>&nbsp;at transmediale. Photo: Luca Girardini</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Founded in 1988 as a humble side project of the Berlinale film festival, transmediale (originally VideoFilmFest) was a space for experimental media productions typically excluded from traditional film festivals. Under the artistic direction of Kristoffer Gansing since 2012, transmediale has recently taken on a savvy and sophisticated program exploring the intersections of media, art, and activism.</p> <p>Transmediale&rsquo;s 2017 iteration, largely held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, sprawls out over a month of performances, presentations, panels, workshops, excursions, and an exhibition. Most of the programming took place over the traditionally jam-packed festival weekend, February 2&ndash;5, including a conference program curated by Daphne Dragona and a film and video program curated by Forian W&uuml;st.</p> <p>Opening that inaugural weekend was the exhibition&nbsp;<em>alien matter</em>, which remains on view throughout the duration of the festival. Curated by Inke Arns, the thematic show focuses on the becoming-environmental of technology, that is the naturalization or environmentalization of man-made, technological artifacts. The result is matter that has become alien: neither purely natural nor technological.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170220161048-LIUC_TRANSMEDIALE_HKW_138.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Johannes Paul Raether, <em>Protekto.x.x. 5.5.5.1.pcp</em>, Installation view at exhibition <em>alien matter.</em>&nbsp;Photo: Luca Girardini</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>One illustrative work is Johannes Paul Raether&rsquo;s installation <em>Protekto.x.x. 5.5.5.1.pcp</em>. It is based on<a href="http://www.aqnb.com/2016/08/01/johannes-paul-raether-when-life-echoes-art/" target="_blank"> his scandalous and widely criticized performance</a> at the Berlin Apple Store last year, which he led as self-fashioned drag character WorldWideWitch Protektorama. The installation, which he calls a &ldquo;precipitation&rdquo; of the performance, includes material artifacts, images, and sound derived from the performance. Visitors interact with the installation by donning headphones and plugging them into the installation&rsquo;s headphone jacks. In sound recordings, Raether reflects his own complicity within global supply chains of rare earth metals and their resultant simulacra-conjuring consumer products.</p> <p>Another emblematic work is<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/show/45239-wednesday-web-artist-of-the-week-morehshin-allahyari" target="_blank">&nbsp;Morehshin Allahyari</a>&nbsp;&amp; Daniel Rourke&rsquo;s<a href="http://additivism.org/cookbook" target="_blank">&nbsp;<em>3D Additivist Cookbook</em></a>, displayed on vertical touch screens in the exhibition. It follows up on their 2015<a href="http://additivism.org/manifesto" target="_blank">&nbsp;<em>3D Additivist Manifesto</em></a>, which calls for an onslaught of disruptive 3D printing uses. Scattered throughout the exhibition are three 3D prints from the cookbook, including a shimmering pair of synthetic dildos made from magnified scans of microscopic insect genitalia (a work by Joey Holder titled&nbsp;<em>The Evolution of the Spermalege</em>). The human and nonhuman, the material and digital, come together in Allahyari and Rourke&rsquo;s radical call for the (quite literal) creation of an alternative future.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170221082221-LIUC_TRANSMEDIALE_HKW_186.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke, Installation view of <em>The</em>&nbsp;<em>3D Additivist Cookbook&nbsp;</em>at <em>alien matter</em>, transmediale, 2017. Photo: Luca Girardini</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In keeping with the festival&rsquo;s last five years under Gansing&rsquo;s direction, the subject matter may have come off as esoteric for visitors outside its Twitter bubble. The predominance of an especially academic English language did make the festival accessible to a more international crowd, but it also resulted in inaccessibility or even alienation for many of Berlin&rsquo;s non-anglophone inhabitants. Nevertheless, attendance numbers were high and there was a genuine sense that the concepts transmediale is grappling with are more relevant than ever.</p> <p><em>Ever elusive</em> presents a polyphony of positions that testify to the necessity of contingency. At the press conference, transmediale was referred to as a prognosticating &ldquo;distant early warning system,&rdquo; a befitting metaphor for a festival that embodies a high aptitude for technological and cultural formations, tinged with a critical, transformative agenda couched within.</p> <p><em>Transmediale runs through March 5, with programming including thematic excursions and a new iteration of Laurie Anderson&rsquo;s &ldquo;The Language of the Future.&rdquo; For more details, including information about the newly published</em><a href="http://www.sternberg-press.com/index.php?pageId=1719" target="_blank"> <em>transmediale Reader</em></a><em>, visit www.transmediale.de.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;Benjamin Busch</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.benbusch.info">Benjamin Busch</a> is currently researching critical modes of architectural production within the field of spatial practice. Treating architecture as a symptom of abstract processes, his artwork and writing investigate complex fields of relations within the built environment.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top:&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">Joey Holder</span><em style="font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">,&nbsp;The Evolution of the Spermalege</em><span style="font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">, Part of <em>The</em>&nbsp;</span><em style="font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">3D Additivist Cookbook</em><span style="font-size: 12px; text-align: center;">, Installation view at&nbsp;<em>alien matter</em>.&nbsp;Photo: Luca Girardini</span><span style="font-size:12px;">)</span></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:24:20 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Under the Radar: Roger Josefsson, Sylwia Kaden, Maja Ruznic <table style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <table align="center" border="0" style="width: 100%;"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/editorial?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Mag" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">magazine</a> to our <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">residency</a> and <a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">prize</a>. Every week our editors select the best artist profiles from under the radar. </span></em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: medium;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; line-height: 24px;">Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your <a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">watchlist.</a></span></em></span></p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/64979-roger-josefsson?tab=PROFILE?utm_source=RogerJosefsson&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" georgia="" large="" palatino="" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; text-decoration: none;">Roger Josefsson &ndash; Stockholm</span></span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/862593?utm_source=RogerJosefsson&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/862593/u3azr9/20141026162218-untitled.2._2012._125x125_cm.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/862592?utm_source=RogerJosefsson&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/862592/y8wnrh/20141026162201-untitled.1.2012._125x125.cm.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/863837?utm_source=RogerJosefsson&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/863837/y8wnrh/20141101170706-untitled.9._2012._55x52_cm.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/658649?utm_source=RogerJosefsson&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/658649/y8wnrh/20130203194832-P1000065.JPG" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/469782-sylwia-kaden?tab=PROFILE?utm_source=SylwiaKaden&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Sylwia Kaden &ndash; Amsterdam </span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1012491?utm_source= SylwiaKaden&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1012491/u3azr9/20161019064525-18_untilted__A5__pencil__pastel__crayon_on_paper_Sylwia_Kaden.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1012488?utm_source=SylwiaKaden&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1012488/y8wnrh/20161019064135-untilted10_newer.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1012658?utm_source=SylwiaKaden&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1012658/mf2ji7/20161019174756-tumblr_o5qnacBXfB1urw8ifo1_1280.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1012481?utm_source=SylwiaKaden&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1012481/y8wnrh/20161019063704-05_untilted__A4__pencil__pastel_on_paper_Sylwia_Kaden.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <hr /> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/140226-maja-ruznic?tab=PROFILE?utm_source=MajaRuznik&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar" style="text-decoration: none;"><span color="#097ff5" face="georgia, palatino" size="4" style="color: #097ff5; font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: large;">Maja Ruznic &ndash; Los Angeles</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1030594?utm_source=MajaRuznik&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1030594/u3azr9/20170216171024-The_Wailing_Sisters.jpg" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="100%" /></a></p> <table width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1030593?utm_source=MajaRuznik&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1030593/y8wnrh/20170216171018-One_Last_Look.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1030596?utm_source=MajaRuznik&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1030596/y8wnrh/20170216171029-Twitching_Eye__Self_Portait_.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="33%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/works/show/1030595?utm_source=MajaRuznik&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Radar"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/work/image/1030595/y8wnrh/20170216171024-The_Water_Fetcher__My_Mother_.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino; font-size: medium; line-height: 24px;">ArtSlant supports thousands of contemporary artists through our outreach and exposure programs&mdash;come join the best online arts community today!</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/84518/3mfh/20170213165906-ArtSlant_Prize_IX_2017-01.jpg" style="width: 100%;" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.artslant.com/par/foundation?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Residency"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182447-residency-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="https://www.amazon.com/s?marketplaceID=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;me=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;merchant=A2JPU387EQQ9HR&amp;redirect=true" style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182634-sales-room-200-logo.jpg" width="100%" /></a></td> <td style="padding 0px;" width="25%"><a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Subs"><span style="font-family: georgia, palatino;"><img src="http://dbprng00ikc2j.cloudfront.net/userimages/84518/3mfh/20150605182549-profile-subscriptions-logo-300.jpg" width="100%" /></span></a></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Sat, 18 Feb 2017 14:13:46 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Abdul Mazid Answers 5 Questions <p><em>This is&nbsp;5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ams/articles/show/45764-b-stylecolor-333333under-the-radar-larry-yung-abdul-mazid-noelle-malineb" target="_blank">Under the Radar</a>, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from <a href="https://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/251547-abdul-mazid" target="_blank">Abdul Mazid</a>.</em></p> <hr /> <p><br /> <strong>What are you trying to communicate with your work?</strong></p> <p>Underneath it all is this interest in upending perception and expectation. Our society is structured in a way that begs us to differentiate, categorize, and now, to isolate. I want to blur categories and ultimately extinguish those barriers. I believe that if we look long enough the patterns and similarities come to the surface.</p> <p><strong>What is an artist&rsquo;s responsibility?</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m afraid that question is far more complex than I could ever articulate. Currently, the artist&rsquo;s responsibility seems to be unprecedented. Ai Weiwei gets raked across the coals for posing as drowned Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi, while Illma Gore is assaulted by a Trump supporter and threatened to be sued for depicting Trump&rsquo;s micro phallus.</p> <p>What is the artist&rsquo;s responsibility in real-time? I honestly don&rsquo;t know! It is evolving moment by moment. I will say that an artist should always be authentic in their studio. That is where their responsibility is to themselves and the work and that alone. Once it leaves the studio, however, that&rsquo;s a different story.</p> <p><strong>Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?</strong></p> <p>Jeesh, I had to log into my Myspace to get this pic. Is it art? Does it matter? To me, this was the greatest thing I ever made because it opened a universe to me that I had never considered: That the basic tools and skills for survival are innately embedded in our DNA and that everything else is just noise.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170215143938-Costa_Rica_2008.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:</strong></p> <p>Those who know me well know that I speak often of creating a new form of currency. The simplified version would be to create a two-part currency that has a decaying function and an accumulation portion yet functions democratically. Of course it sounds good in theory; real world implications may not be so straight forward. That&rsquo;s my white whale.</p> <p><strong>Who are three artists we should know but probably don&rsquo;t? </strong></p> <p>Can I just link you to the artists I follow on Instagram? Seriously, there are so many brilliant artists out there who are just on the cusp of being household names. That being said, here are some badass artists who should be on everyone&rsquo;s radar right now:</p> <p><a href="http://amitismotevalli.com/" target="_blank">Amitis Motevalli</a>, Jessica Wimbley &amp; Chris Christion&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.biomythart.com/" target="_blank">Biomythography Practice</a>, and <a href="http://www.lenawolek.com/" target="_blank">Lena Wolek</a>. Check them out.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</p> <div align="center"> <hr align="center" noshade="noshade" size="0" width="100%" /></div> <p><em>ArtSlant is an open Arts community with over 200,000 free, user-generated&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/intros/plans" target="_blank">artist profiles</a>. The support of our community is an essential part of our mission &mdash; from our&nbsp;<a href="https://www.artslant.com/ew/articles/editorial" target="_blank">magazine</a>&nbsp;to our&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/33747" target="_blank">residency</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/8456?utm_source=Radar&amp;utm_medium=image&amp;utm_campaign=Prize" target="_blank">prize</a>.&nbsp;Follow your favorite artists to see new work and exhibitions by adding them to your&nbsp;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/articles/show/11143" target="_blank">watchlist.</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Abdul Mazid, <em>I am</em>, 2016, Artist&rsquo;s body hair, adhesive, and canvas, 20 x 30 x 2 inches.)</span></p> Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:41:19 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Facing the Black Mirror: chashama Transforms Unused Properties into Art Venues <p><em>Oscar Wilde famously suggested great art &ldquo;reveal beauty and hide the artist.&rdquo; For the 2017 BLACK MIRROR exhibition at </em><a href="http://www.springbreakartshow.com/" target="_blank"><em>SPRING/BREAK</em></a><em>, more than 100 curators will feature artworks that explore the dance of identity the artist undergoes&mdash;between showing what&rsquo;s unseen and hiding in plain sight&mdash;especially in the face of modern technology, political unrest, and glimmers from ghosts of Art History&rsquo;s past.</em></p> <p><em>ArtSlant will be exhibiting the <a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/articles/show/47340-announcing-the-artslant-prize-2016-winners-and-exhibition-at-springbreak-art-show" target="_blank">ArtSlant Prize 2016 Winners at SPRING/BREAK</a>. In expectation of this uniquely site-specific, curatorial fair, we&rsquo;re featuring four interviews with participating curators and artists, asking them what they see reflected in the black mirror.</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Arts non-profit <a href="http://www.chashama.org/" target="_blank">chashama</a> is no stranger to exhibiting artwork in unexpected spaces. Since 1995, chashama has worked with property owners across New York City to transform unused real estate into affordable spaces where artists can work, perform, and exhibit. Today, its Workshop Program, which grants more than 100 artists private, subsidized studio space, is the largest non-profit residency program in New York City.</p> <p>When SPRING/BREAK Art Show takes over a former office space at 4 Times Square this Armory Week, chashama will join over 150 curators (and 400+ artists) exhibiting at the fair. The alignment of these two institutions could hardly feel like a more natural partnership; in converting unused properties to support artists and arts professionals, chashama has a clear affinity with the six-year-old fair. At SPRING/BREAK chashama will feature artists from across its studio network, with work responding to the 2017 theme: Black Mirror.</p> <p>Approaching a quarter century in the service of artists, chashama will also be honored by this year&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.artsy.net/auction/spring-slash-break-benefit-auction-2017" target="_blank">Artsy Benefit Auction</a>. &ldquo;Re-thinking what &lsquo;art space&rsquo; means and how to provide artists and art professionals with more has always been their vision, and that vision has changed the city we live in for the better,&rdquo; says SPRING/BREAK cofounder Andrew Gori, describing the tribute. &ldquo;We couldn&rsquo;t think of anyone more fitting to partner with for this year&rsquo;s auction.&rdquo;</p> <p>In the throes of preparation, curator Janusz Jaworksi spoke with us about chashama&rsquo;s art historical approach to the Black Mirror, and offered meaningful pushback against the idea that New York City ever had a &ldquo;traditional arts landscape.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170215135617-Nicholas_Fraser_-____2_APR_11_2015_NIGHTBLOOME____-42x72-crop.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Nicholas Fraser,&nbsp;<em>APR 11 2015 NIGHTBLOOME</em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s your conception of the Black Mirror, and how will that play out in chashama&#39;s SPRING/BREAK presentation?</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_glass" target="_blank">Claude glass</a>, or black mirror, was something that people would carry around with them in order to see the world differently. It was a low-tech way to break away from the reality around them, and instead see things in a slightly abstracted way&mdash;a softer, more &ldquo;picturesque&rdquo; way. But in the process of using the black mirror, the person would focus on the world behind them, sometimes completely missing what&rsquo;s right in front of them. For chashama&rsquo;s take on the overall SPRING/BREAK 2017 concept of the black mirror&mdash;simultaneously obscuring some features of the artist and thereby enhancing others&mdash;I&#39;ve gone back to how the original black mirrors were used, but instead of focusing on what&rsquo;s behind us spatially, I&rsquo;ve picked work that looks through the black mirror in a temporal way.</p> <p><strong>Tell us more about an artist whose work you think is really emblematic of this exhibition&rsquo;s argument.</strong></p> <p>Danny Licul has built a cardboard model of an amalgamation of his former schools and populated it with students and faculty made of clay. He creates scenes with these clay figures, lights it in a theatrical way, and then paints those scenes. We don&#39;t know what the young Licul&rsquo;s school life was like, but we are given the opportunity to imagine it from the glimpses he brings forward in these works through his current day reflections on that time.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170215135852-Danny_L_-____Sock_Puppet_Presentation__44____12x9.jpg" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Danny Licul,&nbsp;<em>Sock Puppet Presentation #44</em></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>What was your process curating this exhibition like? How did you choose the artists?</strong></p> <p>We sent the SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2017 curatorial theme to the 120+ artists in our studio program, and I received 35 responses from artists who felt that their work fit within that theme. Working the the SPRING/BREAK Art Show curators, I started noticing the temporal element in some of the works and the final curation developed from there.</p> <p><strong>SPRING/BREAK and chashama share some of the same goals when it comes to exhibiting art in unexpected and otherwise unused spaces. Can you describe some of the work chashama does, and how you see that shaping or challenging the traditional arts landscape in NYC?</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;m going to challenge the notion that there is/was a traditional arts landscape in NYC. There was one that was branded as such, and I&rsquo;ll get to that in a moment, but there are many arts landscapes in NYC. Their traditions reach back into the history of the city and its people&mdash;and given the large influx of people from around the world into New York City, those traditions extend well beyond our five boroughs.</p> <p>People make and present work in so many ways, and in so many parts of the city, but until the last few decades or so, the only arts landscape that was branded as the city&rsquo;s &ldquo;Traditional Arts Landscape&rdquo; involved works made in studios by Artists (predominately white males), and then exhibited and sold in galleries (usually owned by white males), or presented in museums (see previous parenthetical statements regarding who was in charge of these).</p> <p>The traditions within the predominantly white, predominantly male, art world are changing, and a lot of the time it&rsquo;s been through co-opting and appropriating traditions from other parts of the art world that have been existing side by side, or actively working against that white male world. Fortunately for us all, technologies are making it possible for people to bypass the &ldquo;Traditional Arts Landscape&rdquo; and see/support the work of a multitude of artists.</p> <p>With that as the truer picture of our city&rsquo;s artistic landscape, chashama, in partnership with property owners, opens presentation spaces in various parts of the city and finds people who live and work in those areas who are interested in presenting their work to the public. Some of our spaces look a bit like galleries (white walls and such), but others are simply places made available for artistic expression to be seen. We have a diverse database of artist projects awaiting space, and if even a small fraction of vacant storefront owners would contact chashama, we could work together to transform the visual landscape of this city with art.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170215140039-MASSEY____Artisanal_14____23x20x5_2016.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Christina Massey,&nbsp;<em>Artisanal 14</em>, 2016</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4 Times Square is a unique exhibition space, and chashama&#39;s known for transforming unexpected properties across the city with art. When curating this show, how much did this specific office space play into your decision making?</strong></p> <p>For me, the physical aspects of a presentation venue are always the first part of curating or programming a space. The easiest way to make good art look bad is by putting it in the wrong space (well, that and not lighting it properly). Given that most visitors will be coming from a white box gallery mindset, we&rsquo;re sort of re-creating a bit of that world, albeit a little disjointedly, and also working with the givens of the space.</p> <p>Its past life as an office space didn&rsquo;t figure into my curation at all. For the weeks that we&rsquo;re using it, it&rsquo;s not an office space; it&#39;s an an art space. It&rsquo;ll be an office space again soon enough, so for now we&rsquo;re celebrating this other life it can have. There&rsquo;s a lot of vacant office space in this city (9.2 percent in the third-quarter of 2016, and given that NYC has more than 450 million square feet of office space in Manhattan alone, that&rsquo;s approximately 41 million square feet of space that&rsquo;s vacant just in Manhattan!) Perhaps&mdash;and I know this is a big perhaps&mdash;building owners will see what art can do to transform a space, and in the future having exhibitions in otherwise empty floors of office buildings will be a standard practice.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>SPRING/BREAK Art Show will take place at 4 Times Square, from February 28&ndash;March 6, 2017.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;The ArtSlant Team</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Caleb Nussear, Penrose module A, 84 x 44 x 12 inches. All images: Courtesy of the artists and chashama)</span></p> Thu, 16 Feb 2017 07:57:06 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list Crafting “Feminine Monsters,” Bonnie Lucas Takes on Growing Up as a Girl <p>On an overcast morning in January, I arrived in Washington D.C. wearing a ratty old t-shirt with the words &ldquo;My Body My Choice&rdquo; emblazoned across the breast, ready to march with hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children. It was a t-shirt handed down to me from my mother, who first wore it in 1989 at a Mobilize for Women&rsquo;s Lives March, organized by NOW. Walking down Independence Avenue almost thirty years later, with scores of protesters brandishing signs and pins and protest t-shirts of their own, I felt a strange mix of pride and sadness: pride that so many of us were continuing the fight our mothers began, and sadness that is pretty much summed up in a sign that read, &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t believe I&rsquo;m still protesting this fucking shit.&rdquo;</p> <p>About a week or two after the Women&rsquo;s March on Washington, I went to see Bonnie Lucas&rsquo; show <em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/439802-young-lady" target="_blank">Young Lady</a>,</em> at JTT Gallery, curated by Marie Catalano. I was struck by both the intricacy of the craft, and the potency of its content. Again I felt a sense of prideful excitement tinged with sadness. Pride and excitement that this work, which is from roughly the same era as that My Body My Choice t-shirt, still feels fresh and important; and sadness that still, after thirty years, the discussion of women&rsquo;s bodies, sexuality, and imaginations remains so fraught and regulated.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170214135735-Lb-1986-059-2.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Bonnie Lucas, <i>Young Lady</i>, 1986, Assemblage on fabric, 26 x 21 inches. Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Much like the pink hats that flooded Women&rsquo;s Marches all over the world on January 21, Lucas&rsquo; art is subversively and unapologetically feminine. Her high relief works look like quilted collages, or perhaps collaged quilts, utilizing materials like baby dolls, children&rsquo;s dresses, craft yarn, beads, baby blankets, needles, underwear, and toys. These all fall into a palette ranging from Pepto Bismol to the palest blush, with a primary-colored pop every now and again. But the images that emerge from the deluge of layering and weaving and stitching and sewing reveal a deeper narrative infused with violence and sexuality&mdash;a narrative that dissects the abject underbelly of girlhood.</p> <p><span style="text-align: start;">Lucas twists panties into ragged smiles over meticulously inlaid embroidery floss designs; an explosion of gaudy baubles flood from between the outstretched legs of a baby doll as a patent leather belt looms ominously above, poised for penetration; facile, pastel gauche paintings depict bazar scenes of flesh-like lumps dressed in lingerie secreting babies and sprouting flowers.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170214140536-Lb-1983-101.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Bonnie Lucas,&nbsp;<em>Smiling Girl</em>, 1983, Assemblage on fabric, 30 x 21.5 inches. Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Penetration and secretion are themes not just in this work&rsquo;s content, but within the craft itself: the poke of a needle, the spilling of beads. And it&rsquo;s precisely this penetration, destruction, and recreation that brings a kind of satisfaction to Lucas. There is something almost sexual about &ldquo;a tutu bent out of shape&hellip;violated by a symbol of femininity,&rdquo; like a pin or pendant, as she says.</p> <p>Lucas&rsquo; work is seeing a reemergence now, but for the majority of her career, the artist was not recognized as a part of the &ldquo;Second Wave feminist&rdquo; canon. The truth was that most card-carrying feminists wanted nothing to do with her intense association with what they saw as oppressive femininity. Even artists like Hannah Wilke and Cindy Sherman, who often skirted the line between objectification and agency, still did so under the serious aesthetic of black and white. Women artists from the &rsquo;60s through the &rsquo;80s categorically denied &ldquo;pink&rdquo; as an idea; pink was lipstick, high heels, homemaking, porn, and everything else that confined women to their cookie-cutter roles of caretaker or homewrecker, desexualized mother or sexual deviant. But rather than rejecting this &ldquo;pink femininity,&rdquo; Lucas wanted to understand why she was at once attracted and repelled by it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170214135923-Lb-1986-041.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Bonnie Lucas, <em>Quality Time</em>, 1986, gouache on paper, 13 x 10 inches. Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This question drove her decades-long investigation into how the materiality of femininity has been used as a tool of oppression. Moving to New York in 1979, after receiving her Master&rsquo;s from Rutgers University, Lucas found a small studio apartment on the edge of Chinatown and SoHo, where she still lives and works to this day. I met her there, amidst her piles of &ldquo;treasures&rdquo; from Chinatown and the Fashion District, and artworks in various states of completion hung across every open wall, to talk about her process, which she described as &ldquo;buying, crafting, dreaming.&rdquo;</p> <p>There is an element of performance to these highly feminized acts, as well as a self-proclaimed sense of &ldquo;outsiderness.&rdquo; Lucas is participating in the materialist culture that women are so often held to (there are so many<em> things </em>women must to buy to stay &ldquo;women&rdquo;), but she does so in all the wrong ways. She&rsquo;s not buying these beautiful little dresses, or toys, or hair clips, for their intended purpose of being used by a little girl. Rather she&rsquo;s collecting them just to break them apart and rearrange them, and she&rsquo;s doing it with both love and hate: the attraction and repulsion to &ldquo;pink.&rdquo; As she says: &ldquo;I love the pink doll, but I love even more ripping her head off.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12px;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170214135340-Lb-1986-010.jpg" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Bonnie Lucas,&nbsp;<em>Spoiled</em>, 1986, Assemblage on fabric, 52 x 37 x 5 inches. Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York</span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p>Lucas is dismantling these objects associated with subjugation in order to gain power and agency over them. By breaking apart, refastening, and sewing these feminized objects into new configurations, she recontextualizes the cheap, feminine aspects that are ascribed so little social value. She confronts what goes on beneath the surface. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>When these works were first presented in the &rsquo;80s, many critics seemed to miss out on the abject, implicit horror that is buried under the tawdry, girly, saccharine luster. The symbols were often attributed to humor or satire&mdash;but the work is not so much satire as it is a coded truth telling of the dangerous business of growing up a girl. This truth is filled with contradictions: pleasure and pain, objecthood and self, women&rsquo;s bodies as &ldquo;leaky containers,&rdquo; as curator Marie Catalano so aptly described it. Many of the &ldquo;feminine monsters&rdquo; on view at JTT don&rsquo;t explicitly deal with issues of menstruation, sex, or violence, but the symbols are there to provoke such intonations&mdash;like the tiny red rivulets made from embroidery floss or beads, or the little rubber ballet flat placed right at the crotch of a dress skirt that is being lifted open by ribbons and threads (<em>Jane Baar</em>, 1985). The narrative constructed through these inanimate objects poking, pulling, or revealing themselves, still feels shocking and titillating after all these years. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.artslant.com/userimages/32120/1dkh/20170214135050-Lb-1985-054.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:12px;">Bonnie Lucas, <em>Jane Baar</em>, 1985, Assemblage on fabric, 50 x 34 x 3 inches. Courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I asked Lucas how she feels about seeing the work on view once again, especially in light of the women&rsquo;s protests and movements that have been rekindled in the wake of the current Republican administration. &ldquo;Everything that I&rsquo;ve been seeing at these marches, we tried in the &rsquo;80s and were marginalized,&rdquo; she says, exasperated. And yet the persistence excites her. Even though we are seeing generations of women fighting arm in arm in what seems to be a Ground Hog&rsquo;s Day of protest against the patriarchy, after thirty years, at least the fight is getting more explicit. Lucas quotes fellow artist Joan Snyder when she says &ldquo;pink is sex,&rdquo; which is why she feels the pussy hats carry such a strong message&mdash;she loves the idea of an army of women angrily knitting pink hats in protest, then taking to the streets wearing their crafted vulvas on their heads.</p> <p>It also excites her to see this work re-shown, especially in the context of a contemporary gallery run by women. For her, it&rsquo;s an opportunity for the work to be seen with fresh eyes, for its onlookers to finally understand how it connects to the feminist art trajectory. It is the chance to be re-written into art history for creating, as she says, &ldquo;a complex, emotional, and pleasurable examination of growing up as a girl in a sexist world.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Bonnie Lucas&rsquo; </em><a href="https://www.artslant.com/ny/events/show/439802-young-lady" target="_blank">Young Lady</a><em> is on view at JTT through February 26, 2017.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/452624-olivia-b-murphy?tab=REVIEWS" target="_blank">Olivia B. Murphy</a></p> <p><em>Olivia B. Murphy is a writer and editor based in New York, covering arts and culture. Her work has appeared in various publications both in print and online, including&nbsp;L&#39;Officiel Magazine,&nbsp;Hyperallergic, Freunde Von Freunden,&nbsp;Whitehot,&nbsp;Riot of Perfume,&nbsp;doingbird, and&nbsp;Whitewall Magazine.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:12px;">(Image at top: Bonnie Lucas, Installation view of&nbsp;<em>Young Lady</em>, at JTT, New York, January 25&ndash;February 26, 2017. All images courtesy of the artist and JTT, New York)</span></p> Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:38:03 +0000 https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list https://www.artslant.com/ny/Articles/list