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.
love this: “Cultured Couple – Jay-Z and Beyonce attend a WES LANG art show in LA . . ” – DAILY MAIL, JUNE 23, 2015
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.
CGI/computer animation artist . . NICHOLAS STEINDORF.
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.
PAT McCARTHY, seemed amazed at what KATE & THEO had pulled off.
he is standing next my drawing.
NANCY SMITH, ‘Tarot card’ series, charcoal on paper, 38 x 50 in. NYC. 1985.
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”.
catch: ‘SINCE YESTERDAY’ – by STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE
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” . . . !! !! !!
R.I.P. SIMON, even though you were a tough customer, and a lot of knowledge went down with you, your dreams will always – stay alive. karma is a funny game.
esp, under the volcano.
COMPUTER vs CLAY – DEAD vs ALIVE.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
NANCY SMITH, detail, watercolor. ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
PHOTO: 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.
source: Gavin Brown Moving Gallery to Harlem .. NEW YORK TIMES, June 18, 2015
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’
it didn’t seem right to show Kate & Theo in front of Simon’s painting, without showing the whole painting, and its rebel rebel indie . . cry.
SIMON CERIGO, acrylic paint, t-shirt and found ‘vinyl’ on stretched canvas. 6 x 7 ft.
the t-shirt says: FASTER. PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!
talk about ‘growing up’ under . . the volcano.
well, now you know where they got . . their ‘moxie’.
great portrait. Simon was also heavily into comic book art.
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 CERIGO, detail top, exhibit card: GILBERT & GEORGE 1971-1991.
Simon was into ‘distressed’ – way before it was the norm.
SIMON CERIGO, exhibit card: COLLIER SCHORR, DECEMBER 3-23, 1994.
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.
SIMON CERIGO, detail, THE MURMURS . . at CBGB’s.
SIMON CERIGO, detail. HI. ART CLUB 2000. CLEAR. AMERICAN FINE ARTS 22 WOOSTER. SATURDAY JULY 23 6-8 PM THROUGH AUGUST 13.
Simon wasn’t prolific in his art making – although he was prolific in his collecting .. !!
he only made a few of those small, white paint / collage canvases.
he called the series: ‘The Big Sadness’.
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 !!
from Simon’s Artforum journal . . .
the reference to the movie is at the top of this page.
‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’.
SIMON CERIGO, Game of Thrones, or what ?!!
SIMON CERIGO, ‘I Just want to cry’ – the classic, ‘tears of the clown’.
‘Yojimbo’ – Simon loved nothing better than . . Japanese Samurai movies.
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
UNDER THE VOLCANO . . I did that.
I was always a street artist at heart.
behind them is one of Simon’s paintings . . . ‘LEMONHEADS’. 6 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. 8 in.
SIMON CERIGO, ‘LEMONHEADS’. NANCY SMITH, ‘THE WRITING ON THE WALL’.
DAN ASHER . . ‘UNTITLED’, BLACK FURY OF AN ANCIENT FACE ON A SCROLL OF PAPER.
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.
SIMON CERIGO, detail, ‘LEMONHEADS’.
SIMON CERIGO, detail, ‘LEMONHEADS’. collaged t-shirt.
I think he was the first person to glue band t-shirts, or t-shirts in general, onto paintings ?
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, oil stick on stretched canvas, 5 ft. 3 in x 6 ft. 3 in.
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.
DAN ASHER, oil stick, 2 ft. 4 in. x 3 ft. 8 in.
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.
looking at Simon’s work . . .
SIMON CERIGO, newspaper piece, oil stick, collage, photograph, toy airplanes.
17 in. x 24 in. framed.
SIMON CERIGO, detail newspaper piece.
SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH, 1982 – NYC.
art buddies vs the world, full of dreams, when dreams were possible.
SIMON CERIGO, ‘Samurai’. pencil, acrylic paint and t-shirt. 7 ft x 6 ft.
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, watercolor, 18 x 24 in.
and then there was me, as contrarian as can be, with radar like a sieve.
soaking up the info, and always wondering, what was to . . be.
NANCY SMITH, detail, watercolor.
what’s out there, and I mean . . really. what’s out there.
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, charcoal drawing, Tarot card series. 38 x 50 in.
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.
NANCY SMITH, Flower study, charcoal on paper, 38 x 50 in.
but even in the flower drawings, the ‘cracks’ – were beginning to show.
KATE & THEO CERIGO CURATED ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’.
Kate gave the show it’s most magical title, and Theo found the space, and produced the event.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 . . .
looking from inside the store – out the back window, onto the backyard . . .
the new store had re-designed the backyard garden, apparently it had fallen into disrepair, but we had had a beautiful garden back out there, too.
in the backyard garden, at 5 Rivington, 1993.
our upstairs neighbor, CLIFFORD designed and took care of it.
5 Rivington St – East Storefront, I guess it must have been about 1989 ?
SIMON CERIGO, NANCY SMITH, Kate & Theo.
PHOTO: SCOTTIE HARRISON
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 . . .
at the inaugural opening of his SIMON CERIGO GALLERY, 202 AVENUE A, EAST VILLAGE. it was Nov 15, 1985, and, he was all of . . . 33.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
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 . . .
at his opening, ‘Bird of Prey’, GBE@PASSERBY, NYC. Oct 15, 2005, he is 58.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
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 . . .
with one of her vintage quilt repair projects, photographed in a park on the Lower East Side, in 1998, making her 47 at the time.
PHOTO: SIMON CERIGO.
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 . . . !!!!
hit: UNDER THE VOLCANO, SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH – reviewed by ARCHITECTURE of TOMORROW
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.
PHOTO: DICK DEMENUS
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.