~UNDER THE VOLCANO . . then & now / w JOE BRADLEY & feat: SIMON CERIGO & VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER
UNDER THE VOLCANO,
WHERE THE UNDERGROUND FIRES . . rage.
I’m not so much interested any longer in those artists I’ve known, that are becoming ‘successful’, or even ‘junior’ hugely successful in the mainstream, like the two I just posted: STERLING RUBY, and MICHAEL WILLIAMS, because by this time, usually a decade has passed – and it’s game over for me. it’s old news, and it’s priced so far out of the ball park, as to be purely a commercial, or foreign venture.
plus, so much other new stuff is going on, ripping up from the bottom, with that’s far-out new & compelling – and wanting to be . . engaged with & . . discovered.
not only that, but most certainly to my mind, most of this critic/institutional curator-certified & big gallery-branded work, has powered down, ebbed out. bleed out, lost something in the climb.
what I’m really saying when I post those oldie but goodies, is: I own . . some bragging rights.
I can knock the very first photo down on the table, like the winning ace of spades, and say . . not only was I there, but I called it. and sometimes I even own it / perhaps only a small piece of the action / but at that point, it’s still going up by $2 or $5 thousand a pop. not bad, for a lowly street call.
but, if you are talking about ‘flame’ as in ‘fire’ – it’s the raw depths of the underground, that call to me.
and, it’s not just the newbies spiraling around the volcano’s inner void, that call out.
it’s all the hardcore, driven striver / hustler artists who ‘will’ to prevail, who rise and bubble, stumble and regain a higher perch, hopefully to one day boil up and get spit out – into security and history – that are the most exciting to me. I don’t care too much for credentials. I want the juice.
you know, the ‘naturals’, the ‘insiders’, the visionaries, the goddamn stubborn . . freaks.
and obviously I’m not alone, or you would not be reading this.
there’s just something awesome magic, powerful . . about being holed-up in the deep dark fire-y guts of that volcano, a Dante’s hell of ride, if there ever was one, with just as many circles and permutations, that forges the hardcore hardest of the rotters – who will themselves to prevail, who won’t stop, won’t take no for an answer, who change and mutate, and will not be denied, at least creatively . . that do eventually come to flower, in the land of . . myth.
you know, like . . Memphis.
is – to song writers
and that’s so so so !!
my own little backyard, whether I like it or not. that’s where I lie, those are the cards I got dealt . . . for whatever reason, but just like every other hardcore striver, I’m just waiting, waiting . . to blow the lid off the game, and say hey: by the way.
the last laugh – c’est moi. whether I flame out, or flame up – no diff. I’m damn well playing poker – with that deck of cards.
it’s the only slogan to live for / when you run wild & true / just below the commercial scene / in the pit of volcano – that harsh sea of tossing flame.
“touchdown in the land of the delta blues, in the middle of a pouring rain.”
JOE BRADLEY, wood sculpture. Edition of 4 + 1 AP. GAGOSIAN GALLERY uptown NYC, April 2 – May 3, 2016.
PHOTO: COURTESY GAGOSIAN GALLERY.
even among the heavy hitters, it gets brutal, til there is only – one man standing.
JOE BRADLEY is about the only one of the new super stars – to still hold my attention.
the poster for our pop-up show, ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’.
the show ran June 6-7, in the summer of 2015, in an empty storefront in Chinatown, right on the Bowery.
curated by KATE & THEO CERIGO, it captured the imagination of a new wave of artists.
based on a newspaper piece by SIMON CERIGO, thecollage features an early photo of the 3 of us, Simon Cerigo, Dan Asher at center, and myself, Nancy Smith, NYC. Tribeca. ca. 1981.
and a young ALLEN GINSBURG at the top.
PHOTO: of the Poster on the Bowery storefront – NANCY SMITH
hanging the show, archival photo: NANCY SMITH
that’s THEO CERIGO at the right, and NICHOLAS STEINDORF at the left.
those are my pieces – going up on the wall.
NICHOLAS would go on to play a major role, in the recent past few months of 2016/17 . . in working with
Paris-based JEAN-BAPTISTE LENGLET . . to digitally re-create the show for Jean-Baptiste’s VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER /
an online artists’ interactive digital ‘game’ platform.
it is free to download, go to . . . VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER
where, you will find ‘UNDER THE VOLCANO’ . . . under: VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER 1.1.
JEAN-BAPTISTE LENGLET / @virtualdreamcenter . . .
has just started posting to Instagram – images from the archival re-creation.
it is shown in the actual ‘kinetic’ format, or flow – as you move through the re-constructed digital space.
this is the 1986 Artforum, that SIMON turned into his scribbled diary – and, on whose page deep inside,
co-curator KATE CERIGO, and Simon’s daughter . . found his seemingly heartfelt inscription, “under the volcano”.
the namesake movie had just come out.
Simon obviously resonated with it’s dark themes, just as many young artists today, apparently find his free-for-all, yet poetic 80s imagery, both inspiring, and historic, even though he was totally unrecognized, in his own time.
Simon Cerigo, (1952-2013) definitely lived the life, of the Lower East Side gadfly in its 80s/90s heyday.
an indie gallerist for a brief few years, he was an avid collector with a golden eye, who depended on his street smarts & art flipping to feed his young family, and who in so doing, set many a career on their way.
he was a true ‘flaneur’- who also liked to party down hard.
he was also a artist, which not too many knew, or would give him credit for.
SIMON is just having his voice – heard now.
be stubborn, brave & strong, my dedicated young artists.
pages from his Artforum journal are found in the menu/index of . . VIRTUAL DREAM CENTER.
all 3 images above via Instagram @virtualdreamcenter
SIMON CERIGO . . probably holds the record for going to the most openings, on a weekly basis, for years.
actually, for . . decades, ever since arriving in NYC, from Montreal, in the early 80s.
he also was known as the art scene’s biggest & best . . party crasher, as well as being, the life of any party.
Flaneur . . was not a title – he took lightly.
born in Greece, he loved to wear sunglasses that made him look like the famous Greek ship builder, Onassis.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH. Chelsea, NYC. Sept 2010.