~LUKE MURPHY . . STUDIO VISIT

REV LUKE MURPHY – AT HIS STUDIO in HARLEM, NYC. SEPT 1, 2014.

LUKE MURPHY – MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

I’ve been wanting to visit LUKE MURPHY in his studio, ever since I first saw his work, cutting edge, power point chart presentations !! at CANADA, in 2000 – way back when the groundbreaking gallery was just a tiny sublet, under LEO KOENIG, who he himself was also renting from Pseudo.com, and it’s super-visionary, now bust leader: JOSH HARRIS – in a big ole building downtown at Broadway and Franklin. I was working for Josh as an artist ‘liaison, and although he, Josh, dealt with Leo personally, I was delegated to collect the rent from Canada – and, that’s how I first stumbled upon them. they were happy to just see a body – come through the door. and let me tell ya, Leo was no piece of cake either. the only way to access the fledgling CANADA was thru his gallery, and he wouldn’t let them be open on the nights when he held his openings, lest they spark some rival interest, among his own devotees.


LUKE MURPHY .. with one of his large, painted, very mysterious . . knowledge-spanning-in-code !! canvases in his studio.

so that’s about 14 years, that it took to get some free time from Luke, not that he wasn’t interested – he’s a big supporter of artlovers, from a tech angle – that’s his lukelab animated banner at the top of this page, but he’s a really busy guy, basically a (very cool) cat with 9 lives, but esp as a top tier code developer. he doesn’t like name-dropping, but how about . . web-founder of the MTV website, ditto Cartoon Network, and winner of a coveted webby for web design for Stephen Colbert’s show ?
among others .. !!
got the picture, yep, they don’t call him REV Luke .. for naught.
so when we say this guy is CGI . . it’s not bluffing.

see: Luke Murphy / lukelab.com


I really liked this one, because it was a weirdo ‘play’ on wood / woodsy pattern, wood paneling ? organics vs tech. with great voids and . . ‘drop-off’, and what ?
maybe word / thought bubbles – like in cartoons ?
a mind map . . that looked like it started life, in somebodies 1960s den . . !!


if I got it right, Luke says he starts off doodling or drawing, and then uploads that onto a computer and then uses the computer to cut out a patch – so that the image feels more ‘random’, as as opposed to a more obvious beginning and ending, human action.
well, we are all merging with our ‘devices’, and morphing into machines, more and more – everyday.
Losers !!
so: check !!


in Luke’s world vision, which gets pretty darn deep, agnostics, ancient libraries, many many god systems, cosmology, and etc. etc. – all universal code for us trying to understand what we are up against. let alone, where we come from . . . there is happy, sad, and . . random.


and this for example, looks to be . . sad.


and this is just: daydream .. gorgeous. painting.


it’s kind of an austere studio, a thinker’s place.


Luke’s studio is in the lower floor of his newly renovated brownstone, smack in the middle of a rapidly changing Harlem, there is even a sweet little backyard with garden just beyond.
I wonder if he and Gavin (Brown) ever passerby each other, on the street ?


Luke’s shaped canvas over the door . . . with scribbled notes, and signs. code. as to the marvels of the night sky, and mankind, no doubt.


back down to earth, the painter’s supplies. this has got to be the neatest studio I have ever been in. kind of arranged like you imagine a logic board to be, before the wires get all jangled up.


but that doesn’t mean, it’s not without – it’s eccentricities !!


likewise, c-u-r-i-o-u-s !!


Luke Murphy . . . exposed !!
aka the secret to the . . human condition & evolution & . . entropy.


I NEED 2 . . .


always make.


LUKE MURPHY – a bio landscape, and . . narrative.
or: behind the code, lies . . . us.
behind us, is the landscape. the world, the orb, the globe. with mountains.


wait, is that a self-portrait ?
a sad face with a painter’s palette, yeah, the way things are going – doesn’t look so good.
does it. wait til China corners the market on memory chips. flash forward: your lifetime, your LIBERTY, erased by a gesture, or worse a hidden snarl of ‘mean’ code – in a future vision gone bad.

see: State-owned Chinese Chip Maker Tsinghua Unigroup Makes $23 Billion Bid for Micron – WALL STREET JOURNAL, July 14, 2015

can I be the only one – who sees a dark future catastrophe . . here ?
forget Iran and Nukes.
and. I thought Tsinghua was a . . beer ?

and, you thought art – was just for smiley faces !!
emoji code, and other . . new age short-cuts, for communication . . l-o-v-e-r-s.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~LUKE MURPHY, ‘LOSER EVERY TIME’ . . last week

LAST WEEK To CATCH . . .

‘LUKE MURPHY: LOSER EVERY TIME’
up thru SAT JULY 18, 2015
POSTMASTERS GALLERY – 54 FRANKLIN ST, TRIBECA, NYC

“IF THERE IS ONE THEME to my work, it is that it is a project to find a unifying system that will explain everything from unhappiness to joy, from technology to what is the meaning of randomness.”

more: on the show + images

LUKE MURPHY, ‘PLANE FEAR GRAPH’, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 56 in.




~I KNEW IT, what nerve! . . DAN NADEL & BRIAN CHIPPENDALE / BLAST FROM THE PAST !!

I KNEW IT – !!!

‘WHAT NERVE! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present’ . . .

curated by . . DAN NADEL, who has paid his dues, and many times over in comic-book-la-la-land . .

MATTHEW MARKS – 523 W 24th St., Chelsea

is up thru . . . AUG 14, 2015

and it is . . . BLOWING UP, BIG TIME !!

way to go, DAN !!

DAN NADEL and BRIAN CHIPPENDALE, NYC, JUNE 22, 2007
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH

FORCEFIELD – MATT BRINKMAN, JUM DRAIN, ARA PETERSON and LEIF GOLDBERG . . were FORT THUNDER roommates with LIGHTNING BOLT aka BRIAN CHIPPENDALE, in Providence, Rhode Island – in the late 1990s, and the rest is now . . . history !!
in a word: explosive alternative Americana & lots & lots of comic book art – !!

the web is is just bursting / exploding . . with images – from the show !!

everybody is going crazy for it, duh. or is that: doh !!




~WHAT NERVE! . . opens tonight TUES JULY 7th

gonna be the big, BIG BLOW-OUT OPENING & SHOW !! . . . of the SUMMER
long live the indie rebels !!
may they always re-group . . . as legends !!

DAN NADEL: “when confronted with a system that seems impenetrable, outsiders tend to band together.”
~from the Press Release


this looks to be the work of JIM DRAIN, or FORCEFIELD . . in general ?

What Nerve! – Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present
opens tonight Tues July 7, 2015 / 6-8 PM
the show runs thru AUGUST 14, 2015
CURATED BY – DAN NADEL
MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY – 523 W 24th St, Chelsea, NYC

apart from the now legendary Chicago-based, HAIRY WHO, active 1966-1969 . . . watch out for, among others. . . the FORCEFIELD crew, 1966-2003: MAT BRINKMAN, JIM DRAIN, LEIF GOLDBREG and ARA PETERSON – all well known to savvy art scenesters here in NYC, though maybe a little bit before your time – my newbie YALIES !!
how time flies, and then: you are a l-e-g-e-n-d !!

more info on the show: ‘What Nerve! – MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY’


HAIRY WHO, HAIRY WHO poster, 1966.
offset lithograph, 28-3/4 x 22 in.

see: more works in the exhibit, . . . here

ps:

looking back, seems to be a big part . . . of looking FORWARD, right now – and damn straight. yes, I’m thinking . . .
‘Under the Volcano: SIMON CERIGO, DAN ASHER, NANCY SMITH’.




~INSTAGRAM ? . . who you ?

Instagram,
What, me ?

artlovers is on instagram, now: @artloversnewyork

where you can catch ‘gems’ from the past, as well as . . breaking news.
and my mood – of the . . . momento.
yes, everybody is a JOKER !!!!!
and comic book art – is coming on STRONG !!!

super looking forward, to the new fall season, and being able to send 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

FLASHBACK:

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.




~FAMOUS YOUNG ARTISTS: NICHOLAS STEINDORF & PAT McCARTHY – STRAWBERRY SWITCHBLADE

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




~FAMOUS LAST WORDS: 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




~FAMOUS LAST WORDS: SIMON CERIGO

‘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.


real, vinyl.


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.


‘Sanjuro’.


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 . . OPENING PIX

‘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: underthevolcano.les@gmail.com

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH, unless otherwise noted




~5 RIVINGTON ST, EAST STOREFRONT . . JUNE 2015

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.