~DAN ASHER . . ‘AN ANTHROPOLOGIST ON MARS’ / MARTOS GALLERY / PIX FROM THE OPENING

DAN ASHER – ‘AN ANTHROPOLOGIST ON MARS’
OPENED MARCH 16, 2018
the show is up thru . . APRIL 22, 2018
MARTOS GALLERY, 41 ELIZABETH ST, CHINATOWN, NYC

‘After reading ‘An Anthropologist on Mars’, (1995) by Oliver Sacks, DAN ASHER remarked to a friend, “that’s me!”. The story he was referring to is one of seven in this collection of paradoxical tales of neurological disorders and creativity. The titled tale is about Temple Grandin. Grandin said she could understand ‘simple, strong universal’ emotions but couldn’t comprehend … the emotional games people play. She spoke of heightened sensations to an almost excruciating level and had difficulty following usual codes of human interactions. “Much of the time”, she said, “I feel like an anthropologist on Mars.”

‘Before passing away in 2010, Dan Asher (b.1947, Cleveland, Ohio) exhibited internationally for almost four decades. A capricious (!!) character who worked like an anthropologist; observing and documenting human behavior, and admired the fine balance between both the inspiration and malaise of city life. Known for his photography, video, drawing, painting and sculpture, Asher always tried to push beyond what we know and are comfortable with, and what we fear. AS a result, his works reflect his infatuation with the human element and our poetic relations with one another.’
~gallery press release

having known Dan since 1981, I would add to that, that he was also a visionary (the iceberg & extreme wrestling photographs). a dramatic, tormented, and obsessive ‘scribbler’ . . parsing in ink, or pencil, his ‘codes’ to the universe. in a word, a shaman: both in his art works & as seen through his videos / one who could reach out and grab the heart of the matter, by the throat !! and then swish it out on paper – in few intense gestures, but who had difficulty ordering a bowl of soup, without getting thrown out / for making a rude comment. often erring on the funny, as opposed to the mean side of ‘civilization’ . . as we know it, inclined as we are as a group – to hypocritically accept life with all its quirks, and nonsense – something he could never understand.

note: on the occasion of ‘An Anthropologist on Mars’, there will be a short program of Dan’s ‘documentary’ films at Anthology Film Archives, April 3rd, 2018 at 7:30 PM.
see: SPECIAL SCREENINGS, ‘THE VIDEOS OF DAN ASHER’, APRIL 3, 2018 / ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES

PIX FROM THE OPENING:
DAN ASHER . . ‘AN ANTHROPOLOGIST ON MARS’, MARTOS GALLERY, MARCH 16, 2018.


JOSE MARTOS, with . . BEN BERLOW, executor of the Dan Asher Estate.


EBONY L. HAYES, Martos Gallery director, who produced the show / and, who, without ever having meet the mightily brooding man himself, captured his intensity . . nonetheless.


you got the full sweep, and contrariness of emotion . . of Dan’s work immediately upon entering.
the generous platform of small, ‘anthropomorphic’, robed, and teasing clay forms – and then all around, the deliberate lay-out of the paintings and drawings, with again, a generosity of spacing / just enough open, empty quiet a space to let you ponder . . the full thought, painterly gesture, & raw emotion.
to take in, the ‘scream’ of the ultimate, solitary ‘outsider’ . . who could not understand why?, he didn’t just flow with the rest of the river, when he so understood the powers of art and music.
you walked among the works / as if in a garden of strange fruit, and even stranger . . trees.


the biggest is 12-1/2 x 8-1/2 x 8 in. / the smallest: 5.8 x 3.4 x 5 in.
white clay, fired but not glazed . . they date from 1994.
some were like shelters. some were little monks, some were like books. some were like beckoning, shy sirens.
Anthropology defined . . in a handful of clay.


DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1980s.
oil on canvas. 59 x 52-1/2 in.


DAN ASHER, R.I.P.
ghost army . . of one.


KUBI NNAMDIE . . of RESTAURANT PROJECTS.
the work on the wall:
DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, oil on canvas, 1980s.
MARTOS GALLERY, Chinatown, NYC. 2018.


DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1980s.
painting on canvas, 71 x 58-1/2 in.


DAN ASHER . . . Anthropologist


DAN ASHER . . . Shaman

on the left:
DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1985.
oil on canvas, 78 x 71 in.
om the right:
DAN ASHER, ‘Untitled’, 1980s
oil on canvas, 59 x 24-1/2 in.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH