~SIMON CERIGO . . GREENPOINT OPEN STUDIOS
SIMON CERIGO – A GHOST LIVES ON, IN GREENPOINT . . .
why am I not surprised !!
to find Simon’s work, alive and kicking – where the cool kids are !!!
the supreme hipster flaneur, Simon was always to be found at the heart of every hot scene.
anything but lazy, the very definition of the ‘boss’ on the streets, Simon was better known for the 100s of gallery openings he attended each and every month, and his subsequent ‘ratings’, aided by his consummate eye and deep art knowledge, more than for his own art – but that is surely gonna change, and one day – for sure, he will get his day – !!
because . . it’s my firm belief – that indie talent always wins out, even if it’s in the long run.
Simon could definitely call talent, he gave ANDREW GUENTHER a big thumbs-up at SILVERSTEIN GALLERY, in fact he hired him on the spot – Andrew’s very first job after leaving grad school and landing in the big apple, where he (un-typically) let Andrew curate shows, and even exhibit his work. Simon remained a great fan of Andrew’s work through-out his lifetime.
SIMON was a big contributor to artlovers, bringing in the real dirt esp from uptown – way before anybody else even knew it had happened !! everybody knew him as the art world maven, if you wanted the low-down scoop on anybody – he had it. trust me, a lot of the flair and buzz of the contemporary scene has gone out – has evaporated without his colorful on-the-scene – takes, and never-ending gossip.
he loved covering the big action, mostly the blue chip auction scene, he could call the prices and the ‘futures’ pretty good, but he also came head-to-head with the cutting edge scene, esp in the 80s .. but also even in the early 2000’s. it was he who unearthed the young CANADA GALLERY – via their DEVENDRA BANHEART drawing show. did we say, he also knew music ? he wrote the artlovers indie music reviews, which truth to be told had a bigger following at times, than the art reviews – and, which although seldom more than several lines long, always ending with: PLAY IT LOUD (!!), he was a classic slacker scribbler – relayed the essence of his extensive and deep-rooted oral history of the indie music scene, at its peak, seriously . . going back through the 70s.
yep, big art scene maven that he was, not to forget consummate party crasher, and bad boy – people don’t know that he really made (and destroyed) quite a number of careers, along the way. like I said, but can never say enough, a lot of the ‘air’ has gone out at several large galleries that he used to favor, and they don’t even know why – and, no I’m not mentioning names. just look around at crashing . . Chelsea. of course the best was when he brought in the first take on a brand new space, VENUS OVER MANHATTAN does come to mind, and of course the priceless low-down gossip, such why JASON RHOADES really hit the floor, despite the white-wash gallery cover-up. and always . . way way before it hit the mainstream headlines, put it this way, JEFFREY DEITCH was a big thorn in his side, and he called that MOCA director fiasco out west from day one. which Roberta got way wrong bye the way, and for which she had turn tracks in print, later on – at least a year or so later.
that was just the he way rolled.
Simon had a take on everyone, he had a memory like a walking rolodex. not only could he tell you who was who in a room, but who bought what, and for what price, who slept with whom, (and their sex habits !!) and most fun of all – who was trying to sabotage who’s career on the slippery path to fame & fortune – and trust me, he was not above doing a little bit of that himself, bye the way. JEAN MICHEL does come to mind, jealousy and hubris, oh yeah. colorful is not the word.
he could even tell you what someone was .. worth $$ wise. he was always: right. right down to the bank account.
not always nice, but always – right.
the one thing he didn’t know how do, probably because the mainstream art world sucks, everyone knows the art world is so damn cutthroat and unethical – was how to make real money off the ‘career’ consulting. people just got him partied up, took the info, and ran with it. “how did I know to buy this work ? heard it at a party”. was the common refrain.
it’s not a joke, he seriously had a largely unrecognized impact on the fortunes of many an artist, and gallery in this town – as he advised several big collectors on the down-low. and usually just for a good time, he absolutely didn’t know how to keep his mouth shout – til he got paid. well maybe you can’t be a tight-ass businessman, and call the scene . . you can’t have it all.
but, he had the goods, that’s for sure.
SIMON CERIGO, toy model base – with custom paint job.
and, I think that can pretty much stand for Simon’s ‘inner-most’ artist self, his artist side kinda got crushed in the sorry NYC mix, we all love . . and hate.
his daughter, KATE, now a graphic designer – who likes to be right where the action is, just like her dad !! lives in Greenpoint, and has Simon’s art work displayed everywhere.
so funny thing, a brand new generation of artists is getting to know him, but through his work, this time, as opposed to his . . ‘footwork’.
for sure, talent .. outs.
though it’s a damn hard road, for . . some of us.
this is a portrait of Simon’s son, Theo. it’s a piece from the early 1990’s.
like many an artist Simon was profoundly affected by the arrival of his 2 children, but unlike many others he was among the first to actually use t-shirts, and to stick-on or other-wise attach other found objects directly onto the painting’s surface.
he had a big t-shirt collection, inspired by the underground music scene he loved so much, which had just started to produce them, you know classic underground ‘band’ & ‘tour’ shirts.
this is also an early piece by Simon, from the same time period. early 1990s.
Simon definitely had a love-hate relationship with JEFFREY DEITCH. the shirt definitely does say:
‘DEITCH PRO JERK’ . . like a tattoo on her shoulder, a riff on DEITCH PROJECTS, of course. I will let you ponder who the wild-haired woman was, for yourself.
the deal was, DEITCH at that time was putting on a lot of smokin’ hot shows, so there was JEALOUSY, esp because the locals on the scene, who were most definitely making it go round !! like Simon felt slighted, because they weren’t part of that agenda, and in particular Jeffrey didn’t give Simon the time of day. even though Simon was doing a lot of footwork for him, creating buzz etc. maybe Jeffrey didn’t realize that, or maybe he just didn’t care. bigger fish to fry.
but it went deeper than that.
Simon was actually the VERY FIRST PERSON, as in ‘COLLECTOR’ – to buy VANESSA BEESCROFT paintings from Jeffrey, and I do mean: very f-i-r-s-t. Three of her ‘Amish’ looking ladies, do you know them, ? so beautiful.
it was like $10 grand for the 3 of them. so Simon figured just for that – Jeffrey should have shown some respect.
a little later on, when Simon needed some cash and tried to put one of them up at auction, he felt Jeffrey had stepped in, and nixed the deal. so Simon got very bitter over that. game on, DIETCH was fair bait to bad mouth after that, and he sharply elbowed Jeffrey’s rep at every turn, turns out he wasn’t so far off-base, about Jeff’s social skills.
JEFFREY DEITCH – PRO JERK, haha – Simon liked to get in the first, and . . the last word.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH