DEAD vs ALIVE ?
artlovers is on instagram, now: @artloversnewyork
where you can catch ‘gems’ from the past, as well as breaking news.
super looking forward to the new fall season, and sending out – gallery pix in real time, esp from the un-trampelled underground. watch out.
currently up on instagram, from artloversnewyork: a golden, really silver !! flash from the ‘storied’ past !!
‘FREE PUFFY’ – a MARK ENGER limited edition silkscreen on black t-shirt, silver ink, 1999. R.I.P. Mark
collection: Nancy Smith
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
you momma was right – save your old clothes, they will always come back into – fashion.
well, come on, great art is always – TIMELESS !!
and way to go, Puffy. or what. falls into a hole, after swinging a kettlebell ?!! damn.
diva . . . does a dive !!
but, as for his son . . . poor rich kid, or what ?
and . . . speaking of mega rockers.
DONALD CUMMING, lead singer of (now defunct) THE VIRGINS, and WES LANG, currently of KANYE WEST merch fame . . . back in the day.
at a book launch for RYAN McGINLEY, NYC, Feb 19, 2003.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
first publication: ART LOVERS NEW YORK – ARTNET, MARCH 2003, when WALTER ROBINSON was king, and Charlie Finch was the royal jester.
COMPUTER vs CLAY
my very fave moment . . . !!
at ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’ – NYC, JUNE 6 & 7, 2015
getting to introduce NICHOLAS STEINDORF to PAT McCARTHY – !!
2 young artists from totally different sides of the scene, who do totally different work.
their one big thing in . . common ?
both register: extreme awesome !!
on the . . . watch-out !! – new talent take-over meter.
ps: Nicholas says that, in his opinion . . “ED ATKINS is the best computer animation artist around right now”, so I guess – yes, art ‘worlders’ will be doing the long haul up to Gavin’s new place in Harlem, come the Fall.
pss: yes, that is my drawing behind him.
unlike 99% of the other young artists who swung by ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . Nicholas had the chance to meet Simon several times, and enjoyed his ‘stories’ from back in the day, as well as his ‘blue-chip’ take on the current scene. a lot of ‘oral’ history went down with Simon, R.I.P.
and in fact, although he looks like a natural born ‘rocker’, which he is !! and in more ways than one, Nicholas is wearing a vintage indie band t-shirt, STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE, from Simon’s very own collection, on loan for the occasion, and Nicholas wears the honor well, party on !! – via his daughter, Kate.
Saturdays are Pat’s ceramic days with his clay mentor – JJ PEET up at 92nd St Y.
so he had his newest, finished piece, a tablet – with him.
you might recall that Pat is also know as the Bushwick Pigeoneer, and was the young break-out star of ‘Satan Ceramics’ – at Salon 94, this past Fall. we first met him at his glorious low-down ‘Pat’s Pigeon Club’ install at Muddguts, a few short summer months before that big blow-out ceramics show at Salon 94, and we feel really lucky for that !!
me, Kate and Theo – took a spin down there to Muddguts, (no more R.I.P.) one hot summer Sunday afternoon, just on the basis of the email flyer – and had a great time. seeing the work, and having the chance to talk at length with ‘new-to-us’ . . Patrick.
learning so much about new clay work, form follows function !! but imagination takes off, as well – just like the pigeons !!
and, raising pigeons, lol. you can start with one, but soon you have a hundred !!
that’s what I mean, so fun to see Nicholas . . . meet Pat.
the big . . . cross-over !!
it’s been so fun, this past year – to careen off both. Nicholas, with whom we just posted a studio visit, a cutting edge, concept-rich, the life of ‘Zach’, the boy who would play with matches. digital animation artist – to Pat, forward-reaching, off-the-grid, but grounded. ceramics artist. clay tablets, nesting bowls, mini-coops, and of course: the life of pigeons.
both artists, seemingly a world apart – but connected by being right on the exact opposite side, of a thin line.
Nicholas and Pat – two sides of a razor thin, and very . . cutting edge.
we got it all covered now, NYC, SURF CITY, USA !!
SURF: as in ‘catch’ the wave. the ‘newbie gen’ wave.
SURF: as in ‘move’ . . thru the cutting edge underground, skimming right over the status quo – mainstream.
SURF, SURFACE as in: come up through the ‘waters’ of . . THOUGHT, and bio-human existence – whether by land (clay) (Pat) or air (digital animation) (Nicholas).
Pat’s clay tablet – is a recording grid, a ‘census’ for his so-named ‘Babylon’ pigeon coop and roof. although the tablet has been fired, he says he can write the info in, as it happens, with a special ‘pen’, and then have it, the tablet – re-fired !!
a permanent record of a . . transitory life force ?
in a word: metamorphosis.
something Nicholas is into, too.
both artists are very smart in the head, multi-dynamic, and very, very . . hands-on.
not so much into myths, or pictures, as . . into reaching out to understand the world around them.
how it breaks down, around them – on their own piece of specialized ‘turf’. computer vs clay.
well, hey: both start with a ‘c’.
like I said: ‘watch – out !!
IN HONOR OF . . . SIMON CERIGO,
whose short, “listen to it loudly”, lol, but always on-point – indie music reviews used to liven up this website, greatly.
but alas – no more.
listen to, the aptly named: ‘SINCE YESTERDAY’ – by STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE.
and . . . “play it loud”.
more background: STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE, a 2-girl Scottish ‘pop’ group, from the mid-80s.
LA LA LA LA – poppy & frothy – but, but damn – that’s ghostly !!
looking for a reason to go on, shut your eyes, thoughts of yesterday.
great . . . dot dot dot punk graphics !!
SIMON SAYS: “I FEEL VERY – ALIVE” . . . !! !! !!
COMPUTER vs CLAY – DEAD vs ALIVE.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
talking about . . . CATHEDRALS ?!!!
I wrote that our ‘Under the Volcano’ show was . . . “in the cathedral of pop-up storefronts”, in a post dated JUNE 10th, 2015.
how fun then to read, barely a week later, that GAVIN is referring to his unconventional new gallery space up in Harlem, this way: “it reminds me somewhat of a cathedral – an urban secular cathedral.”
great minds, think alike, or what !!
aka: catching the wave, as it happens. just as it b-r-e-a-k-s.
Surf City, NYC.
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
looking at SIMON CERIGO, small collage with white acrylic paint on stretched canvas.
Simon was into comic book art, Japanese art of all periods, and of course contemporary art, but esp heavy on the big and not so big, German artists of the 80s and 90s.
MARTIN KIPPENBERGER was a big big influence.
SIMON was a storyteller, but more along the lines of an observer, and an . . archivist.
we have boxes of his ripped, now vintage indie music flyers, posters and art show cards, in particular he liked to rip old flyers – off the street. he liked to put the music, and the art – that was happening, back to back.
or side by side. literally. nobody but nobody on the art scene knew the indie music scene as well as he did.
Simon was into ‘distressed’ – way before it was the norm.
SIMON CERIGO, this small painted collage on stretched canvas, approx 1-1/2 x 2 ft . . used to hang in Collin DeLand’s AMERICAN FINE ARTS gallery office, forever. Collin loved it. and even though, ART CLUB 2000 included Simon’s work in one of their early group shows, Collin never thought to look at, let alone . . . show any other of Simon’s work – and that was Simon’s life / career arc . . . in a nutshell.
he also used this ARTFORUM, SUMMER 1984 – as a journal, scribbling down thoughts, and drawing in it. he only did this once.
with this one Artforum, so we have kept it close at hand.
it’s where Kate found his scribble: ‘Under the Volcano’. the movie must have just come out, and the phrase stuck with her, and became the title of the show, the metaphor for the times.
what’s so funny – is !!
me and Theo were just watching a re-run of ‘HOLLYWOOD COP’ with EDDIE MURPHY, on TV last week, and the villain, who is also a sleazy, slick wannabe high-end art dealer, holds up this very same Artforum !! it’s very distinctive . . with that blue and orange grid – we almost fell off our chairs !!
SIMON CERIGO: ‘I hear the rain, outside . . .’
note: the Samurai warrior.
we all 3 – loved Japanese art, Japanese films, me and Dan, too.
we all 3 fought hard, to make our art in life, and to survive – making that art.
we weren’t exactly careerists, we were . . indie artists – to the end.
there was no dealer who we could totally relate to, or . . more importantly, or maybe the same / no diff . . . who ‘got’ us. we were classic ‘outsiders’, so far inside, that we flew right off . . the grid.
right over everybody’s . . heads.
SIMON CERIGO, famous last words:
“I hear the rain outside while I write and I feel SAD and very ALIVE.”
the talking dead.
walking the walk.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
A 2 DAY POP-UP SHOW PAINTING SHOW – LOWER EAST SIDE 80s ART SCENE
CURATED BY KATE & THEO CERIGO. PRODUCED BY THEO CERIGO.
169 BOWERY, AT DELANCEY. LOWER EAST SIDE, NYC.
OPENING RECEPTION, SAT JUNE 6, 2015 / 6 – 10 PM
AND ALSO OPEN, SUN JUNE 7, 2015 / 11 AM – 10 pm
PIX – FROM THE OPENING . . .
the entry – Flowers by KANA TOGASHI of SAFFRON, BROOKLYN.
DAN ASHER drawing in black ink or paint, on paper, early 80s. approx 2 x 3 ft. – on the left.
NANCY SMITH, acrylic paint on stretched canvas, early 80s. 4 ft. 10 in. x 5 ft. 3 in. – on the right.
PHOTO: NICHOLAS STEINDORF
SIMON CERIGO, detail, ‘LEMONHEADS.
this is one of my faves of Simon’s – it’s very minimalist, Simon at his best. just pencil on raw canvas, and some white acrylic paint, and an indie band t-shirt glued on. in this case the LEMONHEADS. Simon was an obsessed audiophile, and the top pencil drawing is some piece of equipment, he either just scored, or wanted.
but Simon could go to town, too.
‘Culture against US / LOWER EAST (SIDE) in SOLIDARITY’.
SIMON CERIGO, mixed media ‘mural’ on found curtain, that’s a found oil paint-by-number horse, on the lower left. he was crazy for those. he’d hunt them down in thrift shops.
SIMON CERIGO, ‘KEITH HARING by ANDY WARHOL’, t-shirt, pencil and acrylic paint on stretched canvas.
4 ft. x 4 ft. 9 in.
later at the opening, I overheard someone say, “the t-shirt is probably worth more than the painting” – !!
this is the painting, that WALTER ROBINSON – instagrammed out at the world – at the opening.
DAN ASHER, detail.
Dan went to town, on his works, too. esp the oil sticks.
but he could also do the most delicate, finely etched, almost invisible, ‘nano’ finger print, tiny trace line drawings, as well. some in pencil, some in ink/pen. we have some, but a story for another day.
all the works in the show belong to our own collection.
this one feels like a tarot card – to me.
I’m thinking: this is our art, this is our hustle.
how do we survive ? how do we prevail – in this game of ‘thrones’.
aka the cutthroat art world.
DAN ASHER, detail.
when Dan exhibited his work, he usually gave his pieces really long, really elaborate, mythical story-telling titles. but he only did that when he had some secretary to write it all down. a man with all imagination, but absolute zero, no patience – he never notated any ideas on the works themselves, not even on the backs, so that part is pretty much lost. except for in the archives of his early gallery outings.
SIMON CERIGO, detail, ‘Samurai’
THEO . . calls us, “the three samurai” – for how obsessed we were for our art, how we lived our art, how we fought to make that art & also . . live. survive, under the volcano.
meaning, survive under the intensity of our artistic vision within, and the intensity of the scene that was swirling around us, and therefore, around him, growing up among us, and in the heart of the hardcore underground that was the Lower East Side of the 80s.
he saw up close, it was a fierce battle, no holds barred.
NANCY SMITH, detail, watercolor.
what’s out there, from under the . . volcano, and into the vase.
I was really into .. MOEBIUS. Simon turned me onto him.
well, that’s what you get – when you marry someone, for their record collection.
NANCY SMITH, charcoal drawing in paper, 38 x 50 in.
from a tarot card series I made up, inspired by an old medieval Italian deck.
I think these young artists today can understand my work, because of things like, ‘Game of Thrones’ ?
medieval, uncertain. stark. swift. also the ‘hand-made’ quality, the free line. artisanal. you have to shut your eyes, and understand when I was making these, the ELI BROADS of the world were buying, and only buying (!!) CINDY SHERMAN. the hyper-realist pictures generation. which isn’t to say I don’t like her work, because I do, I just say: I was a duck . . out of water.
but maybe, that’s just the – point !!
NANCY SMITH, detail.
a lot of people were asking me if this was a . . king ?
but clearly . . it’s a QUEEN. a very androgynous one, but nonetheless.
a Queen . . with a SAMO crown.
and while I’m around, unlike my 2 old dead & grizzled king friends here, Dan and Simon, I may as well set the record straight – while I can.
NANCY SMITH, detail, charcoal drawing.
back at ya – dudes. I hadn’t lived through enough hard times yet, for Crackula to be born, yet. hadn’t meet the king of ‘clubs’. the love hate maven – burn in the fire, but still I see you, Charlie Finch yet.
but if Crackula had a ‘seed’ – this was it.
they are standing in front of a large t-shirt painting by their dad, SIMON CERIGO . . . and mostly they just wanted . . to set the record straight.
Simon, Dan and Nancy, 3 samurai artists – under the volcano.
Kate is wearing a MARK ENGER, EXPLODING SKY ‘skull’ t-shirt.
R.I.P., MARK. DAN. & . . . SIMON.
want more info .. write: email@example.com
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, unless otherwise noted
5 RIVINGTON ST, EAST STOREFRONT . . . is now a high-end Japanese ‘home’ design shop, called Green Fingers Market, with a very Japanese-through-rural American take on fresh plants & flowers, with a strong focus on retro American design, with plenty of retro American objects, new and old, like re-configured iron lamp fixtures, a wide array of very chic vintage clothes, like distressed white t-shirts from the 40s, a few old Navajo rugs, some handsome handmade trinkets, fabulous design books, and trend-setting contemporary Japanese pottery, and even some very modern wooden and lacquer vessels.
Richard Hambleton’s name is still on the top of the buzzer at the doorway into the apartments inside, but I got so spooked !! the photos I took, that I thought I took of them, don’t seem to exist. when I looked at my camera, when I got back home, they just weren’t there ?!!
flowers arranged in profusion outside, and they are not even locked – down !!
when we lived there, we had a concrete wall, like a bunker – instead of a plate glass window in front, it was so scary raw, and full of low-life that once the kids sat outside on the door stoop, and a ‘couple’ offered them ice cream, if they would come for a walk !! . . yep. that was the last time they sat outside.
the most beautiful flower arrangements inside.
it was ghostly, to think of all the flower watercolors I had painted many years ago, in that scuzzy downtown bunker – and, now to find such a lovely flower shop in place. and Japanese too. I wrote my masters thesis on Japanese art.
we lived here for something like 10 years. 1987 to 1997. we originally sublet the floor-thru space from Hambleton for $600 a month and then, scuzz-bag that he was and is, he didn’t pay our rent to the landlord, and long story short, we were in landlord tenant court for 8 or 9 years, not paying any rent at all !! all that time, and finally they had to pay us $80,000 to get out.
the area had taken a brief 10 years to gentrify enough, to make that worthwhile for them . . .
that’s the way it was, the Lower East side, back then. very raw, and really exciting, gritty, hardcore, with boarded-up windows on the outside, and often, if it was an artist home – a beautiful garden, like you would never expect, outside in the back.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, except where noted.
‘magicstance’ . . ? love it !! Game of Thrones – roll, on !!
‘JJ PEET: MAGiCSTANCE’ – OPENS TO-NITE / WED JUNE 17, 2015 / 6-8 PM
the show runs JUNE 17 – JULY 31, 2015
ON STELLAR RAYS, 1 Rivington St, at BOWERY, LOWER EAST SIDE, NYC
you can check out, 5 Rivington – the East Storefront, our old digs, from 1987- 2007, while you are there.
one word: g-e-n-t-r-i-f-i-c-a-t-i-o-n !!
but the guy, who we originally sublet the place from . . . last I checked,
his name is still on the buzzer: notorious street artist & real life .. ‘huffer’ RICHARD HAMBLETON, aka ‘shadowman’.
more info on the show: JJ PEET – MAGiSTANCE
yes, that – JJ PEET !!
you know – the wizard of SATAN CERAMICS !!
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ vs GAME OF THRONES ?
if you go by body count, per capita – then, ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . . wins.
it’s t-r-u-e !!
of course, there’s only 3 main players in ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’, and the 2 old kings are down, but CRACKULA still sputters on, presiding over the raw and often, thorny underground.
against the dark, she gathers an ever-growing army around her . . .
lead by a new generation of indies, and an in-house band of the fraternal ‘order’.
but who knows ?
maybe her own ‘tongue-in-cheek’, will bring her down ?
though, she’s really liking that . . CERSEI LANNISTER actress, LENA HEADEY got to use a ‘body double’ !!
some people are just born to be behind the camera, not – out in front.
some people are just born to ‘write’ – under a ‘persona’, esp street artists.
back on the far-flung turrets of the mainstream, the art scene remains every bit as gory, as ever.
while back here at home, street art, is no longer the darling.
and Muddguts is down.
it looks to be more a battle of the art schools, than a battle of the . . wills.
the young armies ?
YALE vs COLUMBIA.
and I, CRACKULA . . .
personally nominate ELI BROAD as the pretentious, and brittle . . art world HIGH SPARROW.
social media has transformed the playing field, and the established art realm, with it’s doubled-down choke-hold on so many dreams and ambitions – better be warned.
‘change’ – gathers like horsemen on the horizon.
LONG LIVE CRACKULA. LONG LIVE THE POWER OF ‘IMAGINATION’ vs the MARKET BRANDING of a few old men.
LET THE NEW AGE – ART GAMES . . . BEGIN.
here’s a brief scorecard, for those who were unable to make the show & read the posted bios:
SIMON CERIGO was born in Paris, France in 1952. He emigrated with his Greek-born parents to Montreal, Quebec, CANADA in 1958, when he was 6. Simon died after a sudden illness in Jan 2013. he was 60.
He received a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal in 1979, where he was already known as a collector of both fellow student work, and within the gallery scene proper in Montreal, purchasing exclusively photography work, which was a very rare thing to be doing at the time. He also collected comics, big time. and indie music. Joy Division.
Simon was a studio assistant to Canada’s foremost abstract, color field painter at the time, GUIDO MOLINARI. The new painting of JULIAN SCHNABEL and DAVID SALLE is what lured him to New York, where he arrived in the summer of 1982, never to look back.
Simon quickly became a colorful fixture on the art scene, attending as many openings as he could with unstoppable passion. Through the years he gained a reputation as an art maven, but not many knew he was a painter himself.
His artist statement from June 5, 1987:
“To be an artist in this age of materialism is the height of Romanticism. My paintings are first of all about ‘being’. I am not interested in technical categories, such as, abstraction or figuration. My main concern in painting is to ‘live in paint’. Painting for me is a way to talk to myself and the world. My work incorporates toys, not only because of my own fascination with them, but because I feel that on a sublime level they reveal something about the particular civilization they belong to.”
DAN ASHER was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1947, moved to NYC in the late 70s, died April 23, 2010 after a long struggle with cancer. he was 63.
Immediately after, if not during high school, Dan took off and followed BOB MARLEY on tour and in Jamaica taking black & white photographs, which decades later were purchased by the Bob Marley estate, and are now regarded as a remarkable legacy of the time.
Dan then came and settled in New York City, where he hung out at the now legendary Red Bar, where he met Simon Cerigo in 1982, and they became life-long friends. At this point he began working in very free-handed, gestural and expressionistic oil stick on paper. He had a solo show at Club 57 in 1982, and a solo show at the Red Bar in 1983.
Simon had started his own gallery at this point, SIMON CERIGO GALLERY, on Ave A, in the East Village, and he gave Dan one of his earliest solo gallery shows there in 1986. Dan went on to show extensively in New York, LA, and Europe. One of the main galleries he was represented by was GALERIE AUREL SCHEIBLER, KOLN. By 1997, TOMIO KOYAMA GALLERY, TOKYO, was showing his work in Japan.
Dan also had a deep passion for indie music, and made several documentary videos based on his favorite bands, and musicians. Vic Chestnut.
NANCY SMITH was born in 1951 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She met Simon Cerigo in the MFA program at Concordia University, in Montreal in the early 70s. Nancy and Simon both shared an avid passion for contemporary art, and the art market in general. Simon was the first person to buy and collect her work. At the time she was working in watercolor, and doing large scale, ‘mythical’ figurative charcoal drawings on paper.
Also drawn by the energy in NYC, Nancy arrived here in Oct 1982, never to look back. She partnered in the behind-the-scenes admin of the SIMON CERIGO GALLERY, as well as in their on-going art collecting and ‘flipping’, which is how they supported their family. Kate was born in 1986, and Theo in 1988. They lived and worked in a gritty storefront on Rivington Street, right off the Bowery. 5 Rivington, East Storefront. Nancy had a solo show at the gallery, and her works on paper were included in several of its group shows.
At some point in the 80s, inspired by the many flea markets that used to be all over the Lower East Side, she developed a life long interest in restoring, by hand, vintage American quilts.
Like Dan Asher, Nancy was always into photography, except while Dan documented indie bands, and far-away places, Nancy was more more interested in documenting what was going on around her in the art scene close to home. Twenty years later her photos on the art scene began to be published on artnet.com: ‘Art Lovers New York – Photos by Nancy Smith’, 2002-2004.
While Walter Robinson, artnet’s venerable editor at the time, branded her: ‘artlovers’, you can thank Charlie Finch, artnet’s most colorful scribe for bestowing . . ‘Crackula’ upon her, a well-earned nickname, it is.
Nancy left artnet in 2005, to start her own ‘indie’ website, artloversnewyork.com – which she still runs, with a focus on the underground, and new talent.
Nancy was hired as a quilt collection consultant by JOSH HARRIS, of JUPITER and PSEUDO dot.com fame, in the late 90s which led to her being part of his million dollar ‘QUIET’ Millennium art party / social experiment / 24-7 surveillance wired project, 1999-2000. She is one of the many hardcore, downtown indie artists featured in the documentary, based in good part on raw surveillance footage from ‘Quiet’, that resulted 7+ years in the making, in the internationally well-received & critically acclaimed . . ‘WE LIVE IN PUBLIC’, a full length film directed by ONDIE TIMONER, and winner of the grand prize documentary, SUNDANCE 2009.
. . . BIO-TEXTS BY KATE CERIGO.
‘Under the Volcano: Simon Cerigo, Dan Asher, Nancy Smith’. June 6 & 7, 2015. 169 Bowery, NYC.
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
CURATED BY KATE & THEO CERIGO – PRODUCED BY THEO CERIGO
POP-UP, 169 BOWERY STOREFRONT, NYC – JUNE 6 & 7, 2015
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . . was a huge success – a B-L-A-S-T !!
BUT DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT,
check out what DOUGLAS TURNER at AOT/THE ARCHITECTURE of TOMORROW had to say . . . !!!!
PHOTO: DOULAS TURNER via AOT/ARCHITECTURE OF TOMORROW
INDIE CURATORS, KATE & THEO CERIGO at the opening of ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ – their very first curatorial project.
and it was a . . hit !!
behind them is their late dad, SIMON CERIGO’S . . huge & wild paint & collage piece, with found artifacts, made on a found ‘curtain’.
for: WE LIVE IN PUBLIC insiders, yes !!
KATE . . is wearing a real, limited edition MARK ENGER, of EXPLODING SKY – silkscreen T-Shirt, of a skull.
skull, skull, death & bones – shiver me timbers all ye young hipsters !!
– . . for ye shall surely die one day, too.
done in his signature rebel indie style, RIP, MARK . . I miss you, we miss you – so much !!
the t-shirt was given to Kate, by Mark in person at a studio visit, we did just about a year or so, before he died, too.
a couple of years back. was he even 50 ? I don’t think so ?
no ventilation in the silkscreen studio, and a bad ciggie habit – !! and, that’s what happens.
I wanna say, ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG – but where does that leave me ?????
I guess someone has to stick around – to tell the tale, and yep: I’M TELLING IT – !!
I’M SCREAMING IT !! – FROM THE ROOF-TOPS OF THE WWW / THE WORLD WIDE WEB !!
THIS IS OUR ART, THIS OUR HUSTLE !!
the scene has been hi-jacked by lowlifes – and, the banal – for, far too long !!
LONG LIVE THE HARDCORE REBEL INDIES !! LONG LIVE THE UNDERGROUND PUNKS !!
I hear ‘love/hate’ maven, you just never know ??
CHARLIE FINCH is calling me . . the “widow” – behind my back !!
haha – love it.
CRACKULA is a WIDOW !!
LONG LIVE CRACKULA !!
but I must admit, I am a little lonely with 3 of my best art ‘buddies’ – gone, gone from the face of this dusty globe, finally free of the . . red red dust.
but, watch out . . for that ghost army !!
that surely follows close . . behind !!
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
SAT & SUN / JUNE 6 & 7, 2015 – STOREFRONT / 169 BOWERY at DELANCEY
A 2 DAY POP-UP PAINTING SHOW – FOCUSING ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE 80′s ART SCENE
yeah, a huge crowd came out.
it was a huge space, and it was packed by the end of the night.
IT WAS AMAZING.
the night before, a large scroll-like DAN ASHER goes up.
an imaginary, and powerful, mystical and archetypal, gestural and expressionistic . . . face on a long scroll of paper, early 80s.
PHOTO: DICK DEMENUS
curators KATE and THEO CERIGO grew up ‘under the volcano’, right smack in the midst of the intense, personal, explosive creative action that was the 80s art scene.
they grew up in a raw storefront on Rivington St, just a few doors up from the Bowery, when it really was, the wild frontier. flophouses, bums, druggies, junkies, and . . artists. they ran around at many a wild, crazy and now legendary opening, including the first shows of Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat in the East Village. the mid 80s shows of Schnabel and Salle on West Broadway, and Rirkrit Tiravanija on Greene St.
me, Simon, and Dan, we were all over the scene. we had it all covered.
the energy never let down.
. . . day job ? what was a day job.
pay check ? what was a pay check.
Dan sold his works hard-scrabble. their parents, Simon & Nancy . . ‘flipped’ other people’s art to support the family, and so . . the art was coming and going, in and out of the storefront, all the time.
including at any given point:
DAVID SALLE prints, a large JACK GOLDSTEIN hyper-realist lightning painting, MARIKO MORI’s ‘Love Hotel’ photograph, assorted works by MICHAEL McCLARD, paintings by WALTER ROBINSON, prints by CLEMENTE, and VANESSA BEECROFT’s ‘Amish women’ portraits.
the outlines of a huge Keith Haring crawling baby, quickly sketched in white chalk by him one day, on a found refrigerator cartoon on the street, leaned in one corner. and, of course their parents’ work, and Dan’s work, was all over the place, too. along with street posters, show invites, early zines and, stacks of artforums. it was 24/7 indie music. Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus and Mary Chain. Built to Spill. Galaxie 500. Al Green.
there was no www, no internet. no social media. there were no personal computers, or cellphones. you got out, and you moved around. and it rocked.
the scene on the street just outside, was just bursting.
you could open the door .. . and Jean Michel would be strolling by.
if you were tough & savvy, money could be made. art works flipped FAST, and the East Storefront, at 5 Rivington, all ‘tagged’ up on the outside by the ‘writers’, was . . art city central. it was underground grit to the core,rebel indie, and hardcore, down to the very last . . drop.
just sold a Keith Haring chalk piece, $5 grand . . ca-ching !!
cut it down from the 14th St. subway, yesterday.
THEO had told us he had snagged a storefront, legit and all . . in a great location, but he hadn’t told us it was – the Cadillac, the cathedral of pop-up storefronts . . go, THEO !!
it was huge, and well-lit !! big wide open space. flat, uninterrupted walls.
no columns. no cubicles, no inner partitions, with double-height ceilings.
raw concrete floor, raw white walls, with some construction markings, but – just clean enough !!
just, the way we like it.
it was like the the mini-’museum’ of pop-ups, and in that sense it suited the show, which was in a great sense archival, but it also seems to have been timely, and relevant.
and, well, they were saying . . . it was: historic.
the energy in the room was amazing. serious, classic ‘art drunk’ – it was a hit.
a huge huge turn-out, mostly all under-30, it felt like Brooklyn !! including a big Yale contingent. and a couple of under-40s, major players, strolled in, and stayed . . like ANDREW GUENTHER. and then throw into the mix, a few veterans from way back, Charlie Finch and Walter Robinson, and . . ka-boom.
then, at some point Walter instagramed Simon’s ‘Keith Haring’ painting . . and the ball really started rolling, and did not stop.
as the opening progressed, everybody was on their phones sending out images & buzz.
the momentum just grew and grew.
it was awesome, really. I was floored. I couldn’t believe it. I was shell-shocked. I mean nobody had shown my work in 30 years, and this was my own in-house team, I guess indie, all the way, is my fate.
it was definitely over-whelming. lots of requests for stories, and first-hand info. the young artists seemed to enjoy the character both of the show, and the work.
they seemed to super dig . . the indie spirit of the entire production. but even more, they just really really rocked with the work, the flat-out expressionism, the intensity, the powerful ambition . . . to ‘own’ the era.
I’m thinking it was – something about the works having been so ‘under-recognized’, but so hardcore indie, a stubborn . . ‘so-what-stance’, this is our art – really rocked them.
this is what we do, this is our art, this is our hustle.
now, how do we .. SURVIVE !!!!!!
many said they wished the show could have lasted longer, so their friends could make it, or they could come back, for a second look.
Kate and Theo are still fielding requests for ‘visuals’ and installation shots, so they can be blasted out – into the infinite social media sphere.
the show is definite living a virtual double life, just like we envisioned.
go, indie – go, pop-up.
though we hadn’t known what to expect crowd-wise, esp with Bushwick Open Studios happening the same weekend, and we were definite anxious, and so, so surprised by the crowd.
but as one sane person told us, there is always something going on in NYC, these days, and this how they work it: they all just get on their phones, and tell their friends to get on down here, this is where the action is at !!
A SPECIAL SHOUT-OUT & THANKS TO:
Brooklyn artists, NICHOLAS STEINDORF, and JAMES MILLER . . for hanging the show.
it looked great.
it came together, right on time. and in a very short window of time. literally. very cool.
totally professional job.
. . there is no way we could have done this – without you !!
thanks to everybody who came by.
for supporting the art, art that just sort of flew by, under-the-radar, at the time it was made.
and, for supporting so warmly, the vision of these 2 young hardcore artist-kids, first-time curators – KATE & THEO CERIGO.
this is the show’s poster.
we made a short edition of them to plaster on the scaffolding, outside the storefront . . .
it is a complete reproduction of an early ‘newspaper’ piece by Simon, and from which we could get the only image of the three of us together. lucky it even exists, and that’s part of the magic behind it, I guess.
there are no other copies of the photo, at all. I mean there are plenty of digital ones now, but no negatives, no hard copy vintage prints. and, there are absolutely no other images of the three of us together.
it’s kind of fitting, that Simon ‘collected’ this photograph – he was very much into keeping ‘records’ of life – as it swirled around him. if Dan and I shared an (obsessed) interest in photography, for ‘holding onto time’ . . . . Dan documenting far-away places and indie bands, while my focus was on the art scene happening right before me, Simon was into collecting hands-on, actual ‘artifacts’, including working on newspaper pages that caught his eye, with their continuous moment-in-the-news immediacy, and gone-again . . temper.
coming to New York in the early 80s, was a really exciting time.
we all just thought, this is how it is, and – dive in !!
this is Simon’s ‘artist’ statement’ from 1987 – that I found in his old papers, while getting ready to put up this show.
“To be an artist in this age of materialism is the height of Romanticism. My paintings are first of all about ‘being’. I am not interested in technical categories, such as, abstraction or figuration. My main concern in painting is to ‘live in paint’. Painting for me is a way to talk myself and the world. My work incorporates toys, not only because of my own fascination with them, but because I feel that on a sublime level they reveal something about the particular civilization they belong to.”
this piece incorporates a small army of tiny war planes, Simon was into building model airplanes, tanks, and ships – with a narrow focus on WW II. WW II fascinated him. the ‘strip’ down the the right hand side is a piece of an actual model kit box, with ‘detailing’ – instructions.
so yeah, Simon got ‘tiny’ !!, nano, reproduction, replica – whatever.
me and Dan . . were not into ‘mini’ – at all.
I think the scientist-type nerd / character in the newspaper image, is Allan Ginsberg ?
the image of the retro 50s family on the right – probably references his own family.
his mom and dad.
his mom was very stylish. she studied medicine at the Sorbonne in Paris, and his dad was a financial newspaper reporter.
the ape on the left – ?
his inner demons !!
a lifelong battle & hence the magic of the title, ‘Under the Volcano’ – as well !!
when he died, he had left a little pink pencil eraser on the top of his diary of notes, it said – it had printed in black script on the top side:
“TIME WILL ERASE MY MISTAKES” – if only life was so, easy. Not.
but it all adds – up to great art. everybody can feel the emotion, even if they don’t know – the exact details.
war on the horizon, global warfare in the past, advanced technology warfare, and the war – within.
within the self, and within the family unit – as well.
even our goddamn genes – fight each other.
we love, we fight. we reproduce, and we start all over . . .
and here I am in . . . NEW YORK CITY.
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
CURATED BY KATE & THEO CERIGO
PRODUCED BY THEO CERIGO
DOORS OPEN SAT JUNE 6, 2015 at 2 PM / OPENING RECEPTION 6 – 10 PM
ALSO OPEN SUN JUNE 7 / 11 AM – 6 PM
169 BOWERY – STOREFRONT – JUST SOUTH OF DELANCEY, LOWER EAST SIDE / CHINATOWN, NYC
PARKOUR – FOR HIPSTERS vs the NYPD !!
I heard mint&serf’s pop-up last Sat got shut down by the NYPD because they were essentially ‘squatting’ without permission – in an ‘abandoned’ parking garage. supposedly they managed to stay up for a good hour, and they had about 100 people there. but everything lives a virtual life now, f-o-r-e-v-e-r so . . . go indie !!
& long live social media !!
I liked that they did that, hijacked a place, rather than just a a wall, lordy !! – so urban subversive – !!
I even liked their use of ‘rsvp’ and secret location – game !!
created great buzz for the pop-up genre – in general !!
everybody has their own – style, street style, free-form.
in true street cred style, with true grit/ low-down guts, and innovation.
F the institutions, and galleries – going nowhere, and certainly NOT on point.
cheers for . . . the hardcore hippity-hop lo-down, low-fi par-tay. . .
doing the street dance, making your mark – underground NYC style !!
NO WORRIES, hopefully – on our show being shut down.
THEO has a signed & dated, totally legit & legal – 4 day use . . commercial lease. the developer of the space, which is a big big empty storefront at 169 Bowery, just south of Delancey . . is a friend of his, who is being very generous in letting us have the space for one weekend, $10 a day (!!) who is putting up with all the chaos that this entails, including tons of paperwork – right smack in the middle of its renovation.
THEO & KATE, with a small volunteer crew of young artist pals, are working mad crazy to get the show up – right now !! they could only get into the space late yesterday afternoon, just in time to deliver the work, start to unpack it, and roughly start planning it out.
here’s a few sneak peeks !!
169 BOWERY, an under-renovation storefront – just shy of DELANCEY ST, on the border – where Chinatown meets the Lower East Side, face-to-face.
right in the the heart of the (don’t blink) downtown LIGHTING & CHANDELIER district.
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
A 2 DAY POP-UP PAINTING SHOW – FOCUSING ON THE TRUE GRIT UNDER-BELLY of the LOWER EAST SIDE 80s UNDERGROUND ART SCENE
OPENING RECEPTION: SAT JUNE 6, 2015 / 2-10 PM
DOORS OPEN: SAT JUNE 6, at 2 PM
also open on SUN JUNE 7 / 11 AM – 6 PM
169 BOWERY – CURATED BY KATE & THEO CERIGO
& . . NO, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE . . . SHUT DOWN,
and yes . . . OPEN TO ALL, TOTALLY LEGIT & NO RSVP REQUIRED.
IT’S A HUGE, HUGE RAW SPACE, GREAT BIG WALLS, NICE LIGHT TOO – !!!!!!
good going, first-time show producer/curator – THEO CERIGO !!
SIMON is ROLLIN’ OVER IN HIS GRAVE, and so is . . . DAN !!
THE GHOST ARMY – IS ON THE MARCH !!
go, INDIE !!!!
more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
INSTALLATION PHOTOS: are from KATE CERIGO, who just sent them in via her iPhone !! – from on-site !!
hurray – for the digital world.
ha, we didn’t even have computers back in those mad crazy wild low rent, 80s days !!
blowing up images on an xerox machine, at a copy shop – was the only ‘technical’ magic, available to us !!!
but it was party-on hard, central !!!!!
the biggest downside of course, was that there was little in the way of alternative options, in terms ways of getting your work out, and your voice – heard.
but you know what, F that.
we felt the electricity, we all had dirt cheap storefront / apt studios. we felt the excitement & fire in the air. we felt the love. everyday was an adventure.
you could make a living, pay your rent & eat, and have just enough left over to party some, just on your street smarts. all the action was in the Lower East Side. you didn’t have to travel, it was all happening below 14th St. F the ‘stodgey’ low-ceiling ‘no-brains’ that ran the status quo publications, newspapers, mags/magazines, and rusty-crusty gallery ‘markets’.
we left them behind the dust, and EVERYDAY !!!!
everyday – was a trip. a hustle here, a sold painting there. a flip. a trade.
a ripped-down Keith Haring black chalk subway poster – could bring in $5 grand. no sweat.
I know – because we did that – check !!
you could buy a limited edition, David Salle ‘garbage day’ line drawing print, also white chalk on black paper – for $2,000 and flip it for over $20 grand . . within 2 years.
I know – because I did that, check !!
and that was almost – a whole year’s rent, so . . are you beginning to get – the L.E.S. 80s picture ?!!
and so. it went.
those were the days, for sure.
when the pauper art kings, Basquiat crowns, and all – ruled the streets.
yep, F the stodgey.
I see it’s not them you are reading today – it’s ME !!!
talent – always outs.
that’s the one thing I always loved about the art world, from day one – above all else.
ring that curator’s bell, and the dance will surely . . . grow and grow.
it’s interesting to note that the LO-DOWN . . . didn’t seem to know who . . DAN ASHER was . . ??!!
it’s even more interesting to note that they would give some, really generous !! . . . press, and warm encouragement to two young, 20-something first-time curators, KATE & THEO CERIGO – who grew up in a storefront in the hood, back in the 80s, and, now want to show the world – what it was like to . . .
“live under the volcano” – of the fierce, wild, and mostly underground creative energy – that had the Lower East Side on fire, back in the day.
of the 3 artists in their pop-up show that runs through this upcoming weekend, ‘Under the Volcano: Simon Cerigo, Dan Asher, Nancy Smith’ – DAN ASHER would be the one artist, whose name would be most recognizable to the art scene ‘players’ of today, the various. and diverse movers and groovers, who make the scene go round.
in fact Dan’s work has been seeing a steady, and in fact remarkably wide-spread resurgence of late, finding a new & growing audience, esp among the newest wave of young curators, collectors, artists, and writers, spurring a new-found respect, among the older generations especially with regard to his expressive, wildly gestural, figurative . . oil stick drawings.
case in point, and the other show . . I’d love to see in LA, after weeks of trashing the ‘bubbling-over’ art scene, down there – in the southern ‘parched’ lands !!
the water might not be bubbling over, down there, but the art scene – sure as hell, seems to be.
SO, if you are in LA, and quick on your feet, and in your brain !! – don’t miss it.
it’s not only got a way catchy ‘title’, just as good as . . ‘Under the Volcano’, lordy !!
and, an interesting line-up of mostly under-recognized, hands-on artists – and, some POTTERY (!!!!)
but, they’ve also included a really radiant . . and early, DAN ASHER oil-stick on paper, a New York Times newspaper page – to be exact.
I guess you could say, from ceramics on up, ‘hands-on’ expressionism – seems to be having it’s . . ‘on fire’ moment !!
‘What’s Wrong With We ?’
Dan Asher, Aidas Barekis, Keith Boadwee & Club Paint, Jennie Jieun Lee, Bruce M. Sherman, Bjarne Melgaard, Bill Saylor, Spencer Sweeney
organized . . by PIERRE-ARNAUD DOUCEDE
the show runs: APRIL 30 – JUNE 6, 2015
MARTOS GALLERY, LA – 3315 W. Washington Bvd, Los Angeles
note: PIERRE-ARNAUD DOUCEDE runs . . . GLOBAL ART NEWS, where you can also catch – some other great photos from the show, including another really, really brilliant, dark and brooding – DAN ASHER !!
and, a final last word: just because . . . I can !! and I feel strongly about it !!
SPENCER SWEENEY – the new DAN ASHER ? . . . I DON’T THINK SO – !! !! !!
ELI BROAD – where are your DAN ASHERS, not !!
DAN ASHER,’Untitled’, 1983.
oil-stick on newsprint, 22.5 x 14.5 in.
photo: MARTOS GALLERY, LA
I wonder what – it’s going for ?
last I looked – Martos was selling similar Dan Ashers for, ballpark: $15,000 – $18,000.
KATE & THEO CERIGO . . will be showing much much bigger, never before seen, super early 80s . . DAN ASHER oil-sticks – in their ‘Under the Volcano’ pop-up show. part of their own personal collection, passed on down from their dad, SIMON CERIGO – who was a big, big, and very early collector of Dan’s work.
in fact, Simon was Dan’s first dealer.
unlike Walter Robinson !!
if, you read the art news, you know – what I mean !!
“yeah, and I should have bought Facebook at $12, too” – famous last words, Walter – !!
YO YO YO – YO !!!!!!
READ – ALL ABOUT IT, CLICK: 1980s ART SCENE MAKES A COMEBACK – THE LO-DOWN !!!!
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
a 2 DAY POP-UP PAINTING SHOW / CELEBRATING THE TRUE GRIT – UNDERGROUND LOWER EAST SIDE 80′s ART SCENE
OPENS NEXT SAT JUNE 6, 2015 / 6-10 PM
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, NO RSVP. NO SECRET LOCATION.
JUST THE WAY – IT USED TO BE, BACK IN THE DAY !!!!!
SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER & NANCY SMITH. NYC, 1982.
doors open: SAT JUNE 6 at 2 PM
the show continues on SUN JUNE 7 / 11 AM – 6 PM
169 BOWERY – BETWEEN DELANCEY & BROOME, AT THE EDGE OF CHINATOWN, ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE / DOWNTOWN NYC !!!!
currently an a empty, if somewhat . . illustrious storefront ??!!
or is that . . . notorious ?
anybody else recall . . . COLLECTIVE HARDWARE !!!!
we’re taking it over, for one more – hurrah.
PARKOUR ? – check !!!!
CURATED BY KATE & THEO CERIGO
more info: email@example.com
up-date: they don’t want the location on the ‘web’.
but, if you walk around the post office on Varick & 7th Ave – you’ll find it, happy hunting.
PARKOUR – for HIPSTERS !!!!!
YO, YO, YO ——- !!!!!
TALKIN’ ABOUT . . . POP-UPS !!!
DOWNTOWN . . . POP-UPS !!!
MINT&SERF PRESENT . . GIMME SHELTER – !!
a one day pop-up exhibit in SOHO.
EXACT LOCATION TO BE DISCLOSED . . TOMORROW at NOON
CHECK BACK – HERE.
or RSVP: THEMIRF@GRITCREATIVEGROUP.COM
SAT MAY 30th, 2015 FROM 3PM – 7PM
FILE UNDER: what if . . . . ??!!!
NUR KHAN recently told thethick.com – ‘Downtown New York is nowhere near as cool as it used to be’. .
and their reply ?
“As tempting as it is to lament the ongoing gentrification of Downtown NYC, it is satisfying to look at the remaining bars, parking lots, garages and vacant buildings and think up some outlandish ideas.
What if . . someone did a show at 190 Bowery ?, What if someone painted the ledge of the Canal and Walker St Building ? What if someone opened a tiny museum in an old elevator shaft in Courtland Alley ?
There are still many places for the taking.”
tell me about it . . . !!!!!
right on !!
all it takes is ONE NIGHT – in this shaky, creaky, gritty and way down-low, and even, m-e-a-n !! town !!
the underground scene – POP-UP, grab that space and run: is WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT.
a kind of art world urban jungle gym – game, let the pop-up games, begin !! !! !!
‘MARIA CALANDRA – NEW DRAWINGS’
opens SAT, MAY 30, 2015 / 6-9 PM
the show runs thru JUNE 28, 2015
SARDINE, 286 STANHOPE ST, GROUND FLOOR, BROOKLYN. NY.
between WYCKOFF & IRVING AVE in BUSHWICK
DeKalb L Train – exit on Stanhope
Knickerbocker M – is also nearby
HRS: SAT & SUN 1 – 6 PM
“NEW DRAWINGS . . . introduces a body of Calandra’s work in which she draws public and private art collections from direct observation. It is her second solo exhibition with Sardine and features a series of subtle graphite graphite drawings on panel. Where her first show, ‘Pencil in the Studio’, was a series of drawings that depicted the contemporary artist’s immediate environs, ‘New Drawings’ follows an artist’s work where it often ends up living
; in homes and museums. More than simply documenting the world of art objects, they are poignant notes of admiration and homage to the presence of art and artists in our lives today. Whether it’s the the Rothko room at the Met, or a collection of smaller, more contemporary work hung salon style in a home, they reflect the vibrancy of this experiential and intimate relationship. Lovingly rendered in Calandra’s signature style, the artist’s voice comes first and we are all the better for it.”
MARIA CALANDRA lives and works in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of Cornell University’s MFA program and has previously exhibited with Sardine, Sierra Nevada College, Kinz and Tillou Gallery, Norte Maar, Daily Operation, DNA Gallery, Shoot the Lobster and Storefront.
MARIA pens a fascinating ‘drawing’ journal/blog: pencilinthestudio
. . where she visits other artists in their studios, and while they chat she does real-time sketches of the work, and usually a portrait of the artist too.
check out her take on . . . JULES de BALINCOURT – it’s my fave !!
kind of a travel, souvenir, diary, sketchbook, comic book, illustration, hard core ‘locator’/raw data, insider/outsider view from . . a very curious & ‘notating’ kind of – mind !!
very entertaining, and . . very informing.
very gentle, but eerily detailed . . the draftsmanship is quite light-handed.
but veers off in the strangest of ways.
and wanders in its own way. making its own shapes from the landscape, the objects, the personality – at hand. free-form ‘examination’ come to mind.
the drawings are sourced from the real, but definite verging towards . . the fictional ?
as in the fictional . . ‘picture’ plane.
almost as if, in a storybook. but . . too hard-edged, too on-the-case !!
they definitely belong to an artist, not a story-teller.
and yet, they are observational . . as if, in a dream.
an artist’s . . dream !!
this is a curious place, where I am . . smack down in the crux & flux of another artist’s world.
a lot of people are looking forward – to seeing this show, which just happens to synch up – with BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND, so for sure – drop by.
BRIAN WILLMONT . . . a young artist/curator based in Brooklyn, seemingly with a force-field all his own . . . witness: the small, but essential . . GREENPOINT TERMINAL GALLERY that he runs out of a space adjacent to his studio in the historic American Manufacturing Corp rope factory, right on the edge of the Brooklyn waterfront . . . has work in 2 out-of-town shows, this month as well.
the Brooklyn brand is . .. out there !!
first up, NICHOLAS STEINDORF & DARJA BAJAGIC & some pals at a ‘new video’ screening organized by ANTONE KONST in PARIS, so e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g.
Antone Konst is also a very talented Brooklyn-based artist, and sometime curator, who is on a residency over there. he’s coming back soon, next week – so look forward to hearing more from him – when he’s back on his own turf, but in the meantime, thanks for getting the word – out.
now comes word, that BRIAN WILLMONT & some pals are in SWEDEN and SAN FRANCISCO.
BRIAN, a huge behind-the-scenes force, in terms of getting the “Brooklyn brand” out there . . organized the show in Sweden, as well as exhibiting new work of his own in it, and in fact he is over there this weekend, for the opening, so – again: e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g.
not to forget, Brooklyn-based DUKE RILEY just took some pals, including clay slab & big zine maker, also known as the Bushwick Pigeoneer, PAT McCARTHY . . over to CUBA this weekend.
which is sure to be a ‘rocking’ . . that little island.
see: DUKE RILEY to participate in HAVANA BIENNIAL / Ice Skating Rink, artnet
so Brooklyn, and its cutting edge art is on . . the march, apparently towards global domination !!
no . . . looking back.
watch out – world !!
opened MAY 22, 2015
and runs thru JUNE 20, 2015
organized by BRIAN WILLMONT, and featuring the work of: KEEGAN mCHARGUE, JEANETTE MUNDT, JAMES ULMER, RYAN SCHNEIDER, BRIAN WILLMONT
GALLERY STEINSLAND BERLINER , STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
‘JUG LIFE: New Contemporary Still Life’
opened MAY 22
and runs thru JUNE 28, 2015
curated by ANDREW SCHOULTZ & PATRICK MARTINEZ – featuring the work of:
CODY HUDSON, BRIAN WILLMONT, GLEN BALDRIDGE, RYAN WALLACE, RICHARD COLE=MAN, MICHELLE BLADE, HILARY PECIS, ALEX LUCAS, ERIN RILEY, JOSEPH HART, and many others.
PARK LIFE GALLERY, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
NICHOLAS STEINDORF. all of Nicholas’ work is computer generated, or digitally directed in some way, so no wonder – his desk with its big screens, and all the free-flowing notes, is the first thing that greets you as you open the door. the ‘core’ niche, the ‘head quarters’ – literally.
at the top of the stairs.
Nicholas lives and works in a floor-thru second floor walk-up in Greenpoint, just off McCarren Park.
I had come to pick up the short video piece of his, with original sound track by DARREN WILL, that I had purchased at Spring Break, 2015.
titled ‘PURPLE’, it was a brief projection, that was more of a kinetic ‘sculpture’ – than a film in the conventional sense. an intense pulsating energy ‘beam’. a tiny pulsating force of a nano ‘dot’. . played out against a large white screen.
he had told me at the time I saw it, that it wasn’t ‘just’ a color dot, per se – but that it was a simple color ‘code’ card, that was switched from front to back ? I couldn’t really visual it, but I instantly recognized the small color card – as the image source, of my kinetic video loop.
so curious. almost the story of evolution, 2 cells meet and multiply. on speed.
the parts becoming greater, as a whole.
watch: ‘Purple’, 2015 – animation & concept by Nicholas Steindorf, sound track by musician Darren Will, you’ll see why I fell . . hard.
very brilliant, very aggressive. poetically severe. playful. bullet-paced. curious, even futuristic. even planetary. totally graphic, yet very sensual, physical.
an in-your-face light show.
crazy enough, I first meet Nicholas a few years back – through a random throw of Craig’s list.
somebody I knew was looking to rent a room, found a share they liked, and threw a typical Brooklyn house-warming dinner party. Nicholas was one of the roommates, and his small early paintings, acrylic on canvas were on the walls, and so the dialog began.
I look back and think, how ironic.
this digitally-sourced , absolutely random, luck of the draw meeting – with a new generation digital artist.
and the dialog, just kept moving forward.
two art world ‘junkies’ going . . ‘smack’. a metaphor of course, but, yes – that intense.
one a newbie, Nicholas – with new skills, and a new vision, with a new scene just starting to emerge around him. the other, the old battle-scarred veteran, me . . with plenty of first-hand tales from the old days, when the ‘giants’ ruled the Lower East Side, back in the 80s.
at this point, I wasn’t quite sure what a ‘digital’ artist was. but I quickly found out, via several intense video screenings of Nicholas’ work – CGI animated, mostly abstract-leaning, pattern-dominated video loops – presented by YULIA TOPCHIY, of Co-worker – at the chic downtown boite, Entwine.
these videos were, compared to the small dinner party paintings, very experimental.
they came off as purely abstract animation, a lot of kinetic patterning, usually with some kind of poetic narrative informing the ‘action’. some of the patterns were easily seen as based in reality, and then digitally manipulated. but only by a big, big stretch, their ‘source’ wasn’t the point, the pure patterning was the point.
fast forward, a few years later, and here I am walking into his studio. and, wow.
his work had done a 360.
it was still animated and digitally manipulated, but the final image was not abstracted down to visual elements or repetitions. it had become CGI hyper-real, focused on a man-child, and furthermore, it . . took off in a sci-fi direction !!
I guess you could say, ‘Purple’, 2015, was the height of that earlier kind of digital animation. very abstract, but then it flipped, a creative corner, quite literally.
a seemingly very ‘abstract’ patterning, was in fact – a speeded-up, and very simple ‘color’ card – trick !!
and now, I was struck by how everything had changed – again !!
the ‘Zach’ project was very literal, hyper-real. yet fantasized. blown-up by kind of pumped-in science fiction. very post literal. very surreal.
and yet – there was also this other element, in the studio today. a visual force harder to put down in words, in the midst of this very literal CGI boy-man, who looks like a proto-scientist ?
a floating scrim, a transparent veil, a non-digital . . material transparency, fluttering by . . almost everywhere you looked.
hyper-real computer wizardly action – meets the elusiveness of the physical world. the studio space itself was animated by real light, caught on the surface of things like transparent, mylar banners, and screened windows.
it was a strange polarity, it was something you experienced physically, visually, not just intellectually.
like they say, a photo – is worth a thousand words.
the view to the . . window, the real-world, real-time source of the natural light.
the total effect, even if the individual image itself, was CGI-derived, is the very opposite of computer-generated, in that it is, just the crossroads, the casual moment of . . real life.
the transparent material of the banner activates the drama of the light play. and the hyper-real, graphic printed image of ‘Zach’ shifts around to great effect, because of that.
conceptually – it was many-layered.
it was hard-edged graphic vs shimmery. elusive. floaty.
a many-faceted manipulation of reality . . that started life off, as a CGI image. ?
on another wall, that same effect.
a ghostly ‘scrim’ panel wavers, above a deep pink, fuchsia shag rug. a ‘texture’ collision.
a surreal, but very real arm . . floats by. metaphors . . begin, and the story line . . beckons.
but the real impact – is one of surfaces.
like-wise, light shimmers . . from the stained glass windows of Matisse’s cut-out Chapel.
what is it about ‘up-endedness’ – that appeals to us so much, in this age of a thousand up-right images a second ? what, are we questioning ?
or just trying to be . . . noticed.
these ‘Zach’ studies have a classical . . Da Vinci feel.
the first ‘Zach’ image I ever saw, was the quasi-boy child man, playing with a lit candle or was it a match . . on fire, arranged in a fashion heavily favored by Andy Warhol, a typical straight-forward 4 patch grid – or basic . . quilt style.
or is that a very rough, thoroughly really refined, take-off on a Brit Brit kind of FRANCIS BACON . . ‘light’ & cubic geometric figure thing-y thing, at play ?
like the Matisse reference, Nicholas has a lot of conversations going on in his head, all at once, and this is his way of detailing some of them – for us.
thought becomes a prism. a personal geometry. a study.
everything is up, for . . examination. sometimes it seems he takes time to dialog with the great art that is out there, showing us . . a moment of intersection, with the greater artistic community.
maybe just because he is zooming, so fast, so forward. and showing us that, hell no – he doesn’t just talk to himself.
art history meets futuristic sci-fi, head-on . . is a big part of it, the human code, the human dialog.
I like it. I like to see . . the ‘passwords’, the under-pinnings of some of that thought process.
anyways, all thoughts aside, this a really nice, beautifully articulated piece.
this one reminded me of . . childhood, the code was: Where’s Waldo ?
where’s Zach. in a more comic stance . .
and yet confrontational as well. where, are – we anyways ????
it’s a real not so ‘comic’ scene out there.
I just read this morning some guy is saying, soon the human race will become extinct itself, killed off by super robots.
I can believe it.
one of my favorite pieces, is on that wall between the windows, it looks to be totally abstract, great colors. but it is actually based on a whale sighting he had in Maine a few summers back.
it is an over-print. it’s a great reduction of Nicholas’ workings, take what’s real . . and run with the ball.
so fun to see how grounded this digital dreamer is, after all.
grows plants from seeds in CLAY POTS – !!
it’s Brooklyn 2015, and the hand-crafts, including a little window ‘gardening’ – is how these computer dare-devils, balance things out.
plus it’s so positive, of a stance, amidst all the surreal anhilistic, nihilistic (?) ‘Zach’ imagery. code born of a world culture gone digitally – stark mad. humans: curious. humans: compete, compete. rip off. red tape. war, war, anger. and if not, then, for sure: corruption. and blood feuds. entropy. environmental degradation, tragedy, space exploration ?
hi-def cameras speeding into deep space, 24/7 surveillance down on the planet. reproduce, copy, copy exactly.
you can see that ghostly ‘scrim’ effect – happening in the window screen too. unintentionally, but still, there.
mother nature vs the computer – that ultimate clash. elusive reality vs manipulated parlor trick.
from the window garden gazing , we get to downloading . . my copy of ‘Purple’ !!
sold for $1 per MB – at Spring Break – it was a bonafide collectors’ opportunity, if you were smart enough to grasp it. limited edition of 3. 36 MB – $36.
my first strictly, CGI animated video . . purchase.
I mean, I have traded LUKE MURPHY for the digital interactive banner, that runs at the top of this page,
and I’m sure I have several digitally manipulated art works in my collection, but this is strictly my first loop on an SD memory card. that’s a kind of milestone – when a new medium enters your collection.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, BROOKLYN. MAY 2, 2015