talkin’ about transitioning !! whoa.
how about . . .
NYPD detective to cutting edge artist.
walking the art scene walk, on the wild, west side . . of town.

opened WED NOV 8, 2015
the show runs thru JAN 19, 2016

the opening was packed !!
the venue was . . quelle picturesque !!
and the work was – off the grid !!
heavy in the drawing skills, in fact: skillz, yes with a . . z.
a definite street vibe & edge, very graphic. just like the best street art happening today.
and fresh !! fresh as farm-to-table eggs.

in the city that never sleeps, but whose art scene has become . . well, let’s face it, pretty sleepy !!
I’d even say: lame.
along comes a cop detective who can draw circles around anybody.

it was . . . a mad wake-up call – for the jaded !!
and a nice, and very surprising west side throw down – to the more populist, street-cred hogging, small indie galleries of Brooklyn, who have been stealing all the art buzz of late.

hey, ever since the mighty GBE picked up his art & split big to Harlem . . it was bound to happen, a new meatpacking blow-up – to fill the legendary west side/walk on the wild side void.
but who – knew !! and Gavin liked BBQ, too.
let’s hope this unconventional newcomer, that is Fort Gansevoort – can keep up the momentum !!

if, the originality of vision and high skill quotient of this off-the-grid show are any indication – this gallery/bbq/pop-up/event outpost, situated in a most historical NYC location, (which the venue seems to really appreciate judging from the IG/Instagram photos they post), is going to be one west side twirl – that’s going to be worth the watching.
put me down – on the dance card.

it reminded me of my high flying days with . . JOSH HARRIS and PSEUDO.COM !!
Josh loved to party, loved off-the-wall talent, the more off-the-beaten path, the better.
our venue – was hardcore downtown, and multi-plex too. art parties, pop-ups, free-flowing booze, check.
and, the media ? – the media was always his go-to number 1 target !!
the NYPD ?
it came next, usually to shut the party – down !!
along with the guys from FEMA & . . the FIRE DEPT !!
ha, if you go back that far – you know what I’m a-talking about !!
QUIET & WE LIVE IN PUBLIC – rock on !!

talk about . . transitioning !!
so, lol:
both themainstream media, the New York Post – Josh’s fave !!, and the NYPD, (lordy, the bomb squad !!) showed up !!
for this first time exhibit – by artist JASON HARVEY, whose day job just happens to be: a professional NYPD crime scene forensic artist . . !!

“Members of the NYPD Bomb Squad showed up to gallery space Fort Gansevoort . . not to defuse anything, but to see an art show.” !! !! !!
read the full article: NYPD Bomb Squad takes night off . . . PAGE SIX, NEW YORK POST/NOV 12, 2015

JASON HARVEY . . . at his Fort Gansevoort opening, NYC. Nov 11, 2015
a 10 year forensic artist with the NYPD, Jason Harvey’s frontier carving path to the west side & Fort Gansevoort, began with the apparently sharp-eyed for talent & action . . indie filmmaker JOSH SAFDIE, who apparently is a crazed & dedicated fan for . . the NYPD twitter feed !!

the story goes something like this:
Mr. Safdie, struck by Jason Harvey’s crime scene sketches on the NYPD feed, asked Mr. Harvey to do some crime sketches for a film project, but Mr. Harvey could not use official ones, for obvious reasons, so proposed doing some fictional ones . . . or ‘composite fantasies’ based on all the diverse characters that populate New York, that have caught his gaze, and maybe even some, or ‘composite’ parts of some, who lurk in the dark & gory tragic, mean side of things, aka his day job. impressed with the ‘fantasy’ work, (the why is obvious from the exhibit), and realizing the depth of the find, Josh Safdie in turn brought it to the attention of his friend, art consultant & indie curator, ADAM SHOPKORN, who had just recently opened a gallery space of his own.
and who, it seems, was just as open to new, and surprising talent.
they are both credited on the gallery web site as: ‘co-organizers of the show’.

it takes a rare bird to scout talent, esp outta the conventional box – so I’m really getting behind them on this. so many great natural-born artists are left out in the cold to wither on the vine, labelled as ‘outsiders’ – by the ingrained, and most of all cliched, narrow-minded – NYC art scene. these, in truth the real ground-breaking, authentic voices, are left aside, totally neglected & snubbed – with their only option, to wonder . . if death will redeem their legacy.
or, if they are really passionate fighters, they take up the sharpie & spray can, destined to become . . graffiti/street artists. pretty much the only way out of establishment box dead-end, except for fast forward . . Brooklyn, of course.
but, then you pretty much have to be part of the circle of friends that already ring a gallery space, and it’s a pretty close-knit little circle.

ADAM SHOPKORN, co-organizer of this exhibit, and co-founder of FORT GANSEVOORT.

CAROLYN ANGEL, co-founder of FORT GANSEVOORT GALLERY . . “a platform for experimentation and collaboration that exhibits emerging and established artists whose practices bridge relationships between old and new and high and low culture.” ~ gallery press release.

yes, that is !!
CHIOMA Nnadi – Fashion News Director of vogue.com, behind her.

there was also, concurrent to the JASON HARVEY exhibit, a fashion-centric/artisanal pop-up, 3 person offering on view – as part of the ‘S,M,L.’ program at Fort Gansevoort. more on that – next post !!
suffice to say, it was unexpectedly, quite . . sensational.
with a capital S !!

JASON HARVEY, the drawings look to be done in pencil, on paper, 10 x 14 in.
they went all the way from grotesque, in the art world sense of the word, lol !!
I’m thinking: Berlin, German Weimar art of the 1920s.
twisted !! utterly fab in . . the war vs fascism.
no, I do not want to talk about the terror attack in France today, but WEIMAR – does come to mind.

to the hardcore real world, surreal !!

not completely an ‘outsider’ to the art world, just to the ‘art scene’ – JASON HARVEY b 1973, did receive a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, 1996. he has worked as a detective, doing forensic sketches for the NYPD for the past 10 years, completing the Facial Imaging Course at the FBI Academy in 2010.

and back again, to the ‘cowboy’ next door, or even the guitar strumming/singer in the newest, down home Jersey neo-folk band . . . who, we all know, and love !!

riding the NYC subway, you can often look up, and find a face like this staring back down at ya.
that even butter would not – melt.

indeed, many in the audience, suddenly found themselves face-to-face with elements of . . themselves !!

it wasn’t just the range of the assorted characters, from high grotesque to surreal, and then back to your ‘usual’ suspects: cowboys, hipsters, street hipsters, gangstas, and gals – that had people captivated. nor, was it the truthfully, awesome cross-hatch rendering !!
but it was the way these quiet, unassuming, fictional – drawings, based on memories gathered over years of encountering and observing real life in NYC, and prob as well through his grim, gritty police work . . all had a real depth of emotion, and BEING – that is so hard to describe in words, and that’s why people freak out when they see it – locked-down on paper, in such a natural-born, casual, yet studied way.
lots of people can catch a portrait, not all can get to that depth.

plus: yeah, ‘Heads’ are the big thing in the art scene right now, in case you did not notice, one word; TAYLOR McKIMENS.

which is why, this show is a-gathering attention – like a rolling stone collects moss . .
it’s NOT . . just the ‘fun’, ok, novel police back story, let me assure you of that.

struck . . . by the work, in a real – way.
you get a sense a real moment, a real narrative, has been – put before you.
that it is shorn of ‘glitz’ – is a nice add-on.

but, after we live in the moment – then, what ?

just like the girl that kicked that hornet’s nest. you know, the girl with the dragon tattoo, you hope the culture vultures don’t get eat . . this guy, alive.
hopefully he doesn’t quit his day job, for now, anyways, and more importantly, he stays grounded. he looks pretty strong, and hard to knock off balance. but, you also hope he keeps on drawing. fictional, surreal, grotesque, dryly comical, ethnically exotic – the whole gamut.
and, perhaps even from life – too !!

you just don’t want to see him devolve into that typical Kehinde Wiley, and many others before him, ‘formula’ trap . .
that . . get big, get large scale & blow-up, ego-wise route that takes almost everybody it entices . . . down.
no diss, KEHINDE. it’s just like an old Greek fable.
that’s why a lot of us stay out, and far away from the established gallery scene.
and stay: indie strong.
go, indie. stay, rebel strong.
and that’s also why a lot of us – stick to watching the underground, where these rebels flourish.
because once they hit big, above-ground, that green light – that flashes ‘go’, more often translates d sadly, as: o-v-e-r.

way too often, failure is a built-in, add-on, that comes pre-packaged with success in this town, and let’s just leave it at that.
ok, in a few quick words: Jeff Koons. even DAN COLEN has become obvious & formulaic.
in fact some may just say, that Jean Michel was lucky. that the art world success he so desperately wanted, ate him up, and almost simultaneously spit him out. Basquiat, R.I.P.
lucky: DASH SNOW, R.I.P. dead.
likewise: JACK GOLDSTEIN, R.I.P. dead.

omg, how did we get here.
scratch an art fan – find a cynic.
must be the ‘transitioning’ part . . . and, the double-edged lure of the art world.

on a more positive note, which is what this show deserves:
there’s always hope – that you will . . survive the art world !!
good luck.

who knows,
maybe your natural gift for insight and ‘detachment’ . . will give you the winning edge.
as they say, stay hungry – my friend !!