~KEITH SONNIER . . ONE MORE LOOK

there’s so much going on out there . . this month.
some real good stuff.

but before we move on, ONE LAST LOOK.

ONE LAST ‘TRIPPIN’ the light, lightly !!

ONE LAST ‘TRIPPIN’ . . the light fantastic !!

KEITH SONNIER – ‘ELYSIAN PLAIN + EARLY WORKS’
JAN 24 – FEB 22, 2014
PACE – 510 W 25th ST – CHELSEA, NYC


KEITH SONNIER, (left) ‘Neon Wrapping Incandescent’, 1969. and, (right) ‘Mirrored Slant’, 2013.
this is an interesting juxtaposition of .. an early work, and a later, as in ‘happening . . right now’ piece.
we lose the incandescent bulb, the roping neon tube . . and gain instead, as dancing partner: a shaped flat mirror, and a shaped flat acrylic surface. more ‘ghost’ in the machine . . less ‘drawing’.

more . . ‘scientific’.

it’s also pink and blue, though the pink is more acid, but that sharp rind . . yellow – nails it.

the neon light elements move further back into the ‘distance’, and decrease in ‘volume’ – but their dynamic, the visual play of their ‘sharp’ color hues, and minimalist spacing . . is just as strong – wherein lies the great beauty of this piece.


KEITH SONNIER, ‘Mirrored Slant’, 2013. neon, glass, mirror, acrylic, aluminum, electrical wire, transformer.
9′ 6-1/2″ x 76-1/2″ x 17″.
($225,000)

reflection, refraction. transparency, hue. dot dot dash.

what I also love about this piece, is . . how anthropomorphic – it is !!
it looks just like a little robot man – from a future planet !!
or maybe even us, when our bio/wired digital integration is . . complete.
what . . they say: a brother from another . . mother.

I was thinking, too bad it’s not wireless, but then again, maybe it’s just ‘charging’ !!
I mean there is always going to be the ‘juice’, the energy source, even in TRON.

but if you also read about the inherent ‘fold’ and ‘open’ power in micro bacteria, you know what.
maybe . . NOT !!
yep: energizer bunny !! Bacterium !!
see: BACTERIA as GENERATORS of ELECTRICITY – WALL ST JOURNAL

(if the link doesn’t work for you, just re-paste ‘THE ENERGIZER BACTERIUM’ in your browser / as if we all don’t want to get paid for content . . )


it’s interesting to ‘integrate’ with the piece, even though it’s flat and structurally ‘finite’ on the wall, as you move, you can see different depths of field in the reflections.
so, go on: break that . . ‘plane’ !!

it’s also interesting to compare the ‘mirror’ to the ‘acrylic’ surface . . very subtle, but quite the game changer.


I absolutely adore how those two dashes of acid pink sit there, so exquisite.
like two . .
little hands.

and then .. how the bottom acrylic panel extends slightly outward, with almost human balancing stance, and then, how the yellow neon tubing was put against the back wall, instead of up against .. that jut forward.
it’s all those little details that bring great humanity, and beauty, to the piece.

it’s like the opposite of ‘brutality’.
it’s like the hand of god, the presence of man .. in its most graceful aspect .. that you would follow, and hope could change the world, and it does . . for the brief moments you spend with it.

it’s the opposite of ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’

that’s . . the take-away.


it’s definitely: interactive.
finite / infinite.


it’s definitely: the ghost in the machine !!

some people trade in hedge funds, penny stocks, and IPOs . . and others / in dash dot dash . .

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~KEITH SONNIER . . NEON LIGHT

KEITH SONNIER – ELYSIAN PLAIN + EARLY WORKS
JAN 24 – FEB 22, 2014
PACE – 510 W 25th ST – CHELSEA, NYC

see: SONNIER: Elysian Plain + Early Work / Gallery


KEITH SONNIER, ELYSIAN PLAIN + EARLY WORKS

left: ‘Lunar Slice’, 2013. neon, acrylic, aluminum. electrical wire, transformer.
11’1″ x 9’3-1/2″ x 4″
($250,000)

right: ‘Zig Zag Square’, 2013. neon, enamel paint, glass, aluminum, electrical wire, transformer.
96″ x 9’11” x 9-1/2″
($175,000)


KEITH SONNIER, ‘Zig Zag Square’.

after being so entranced by the use of light, esp neon light – in the raw 15 WARREN St. underground pop-up show, I was drawn to see this exhibit by KEITH SONNIER, one of the the founding fathers of neon light . . wall sculpture.
and it did not disappoint !!
damn, if I wasn’t entranced, all over again.

yes, it was blue chip. yes it was white boxed, but yes, it was also . . supremely – on the ‘edge’.
right at the very point of: well, basically . . great art.
totally abstract, it was evocative of . . nothing except, the subtle intersection of art, creation and man.
it was evocative of ‘nothing’ . . except: supreme creative judgement.
it was living .. zen. perfectly balanced, perfectly at ‘play’.

just like 15 WARREN . . colored light reflected and refracted like a 4th dimension . . playing with you, as you took a foot forward, or changed viewpoint. dancing, ever so lightly, but dancing, yes.
an interactive plane, from a stationary art piece, yes.


the workmanship was precise. and very light handed.
but despite the perfection, and technicality, yes: the ghosts of art to be seen . . came out to play !!

I found myself wondering what ARSENIY, and all the other young, new age & ‘under-budget’ artists of 15 WARREN, would be thinking of these sleek ‘corners’ !!
all this hi-budget and very pro handling, including the sleek metal wall mounts.


light at rest / stationary, and . . at play.

Mr. Sonnier (now 72) “gained recognition in the 1960s as part of a group of artists, among them RICHARD SERRA and BRUCE NAUMAN, that experimented with nontraditional materials for sculpture – from found objects and organic matter to video and light.” – a quote from a very appreciative review by ANNA RUSSELL, that posted in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, a few weeks, ago.

most interesting, also vis-a-vie the 15 WARREN ST show, which included much ‘light’ – but also dialoged so insistently . . on the childhood influences . . of these young downtown NYC artists, many of whom who grew up in the shadow of the Twin Towers inferno, was the last 2 paragraphs:

“The artist said his fascination with neon began in his hometown of Mamou, Louisiana, about three hours outside New Orleans. ‘I grew up in the dark – when it was dark at night, it was dark,’ he said. ‘You had the stars and the moon and the neon sign of the roadhouse,’ one of the few bright spots after sunset.

‘We always seek out the light and the warmth,’ Mr. Sonnier said. ‘Even if it is this artificial light.’ ”

read the article: ‘An Artist Who Is Always Looking Toward the Light’ – WALL STREET JOURNAL


KEITH SONNIER, ‘Lobbed Claw’, 2013. neon, acrylic, enamel paint, aluminum, electrical wire, transformer.
93″ x 75-1/2″ x 15-1/2″
($225,000)

not too whimsical. nowhere near ‘sweet’.
just right.


detail, ‘Lobbed Claw’.
a tinge . . sci-fi.


KEITH SONNIER, ‘Neon Wrapping Incandescent’, 1969. neon, incandescent light bulbs, transformer.
94″ x 64″ x 13″.
($185,000)
this was an example of an early work.


even in the early work, the play of the elements was precise, supremely balanced.
exactly, on .. point.
graceful, playful, but not too playful.
maybe ‘entrancing’, really is . . the right word !!

pink and blue are such American colors. such early colonial, founding colonist colors. if you study early American quilt arts, and, the big revival of the form, in the 1940s, and including decorative embroidery from that time – you well know, this shade of pink and blue. it backed many a quilt. it livened many a threaded & hand stitched nursery ‘sampler’.
if you have ever stopped to watch a North East American sunset, then you know, why . . these are the colors of American folk art.


this early piece plays the colored neon tubing . . around incandescent light bulbs.
electricity, and the light it produces is just as much an American folk tale, as . . quilt stitching.
the innovation of the founding fathers.


even in his early works, Mr. Sonnier had the technology down. precise.
not to forget the . . F-L-O-W.
the elegant, slightly twisted . . glow of the flow.
supremo.

under-statement . . is a hard thing to do.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN ST . . NIGHT LIGHT


a lime green light emitting . . recycled bottle ‘chandelier’. .
greeted you – at the show’s main floor entrance.


innovative, spirited. sad. funny. futuristic, elegant and clumsy, but g-l-o-w-i-n-g.


glowing acid shades of green, like a veritable dracula of light . . fix-tures !!


this light fix-ture stood, or I guess ‘spoke for’ . . a lot of what this one week show, put together in less than 2 weeks, by 3 young downtown artist / curators, SEAN VEGEZZI, ABELINE COHEN and ANDREW KASS . . was all about:
namely,
1. raw-ness . . a thrown-together hyper party-mastery of the new, splashed onto the old (building).
2. freshness, as in cutting edge expression, arms asunder . . world !!
3. technically: site-specifc under-pinnings . . of all manner.
4. thematically: childhood, and often, specifically a Tribeca, NYC childhood.
5. the Tribeca twin towers that were crashed down. directly, implicitly, or just bye the way . . as fallen empires, go.
6. TRI. TWIN. SINGULAR. a lot of word, mind & life gaming. mapping. reaching out for.
7. and . . l-i-g-h-t.
light flickered, and light cast. light produced as above, and light pin-pointed. light as by-product, and light as subject . . light as fire, and light as candles. light as reflection and light as refraction / both off-shoots of digital screens pulsating here and there. or dancing: thin strings of party lights overhead. serious: florescent tube lights that framed windows, glowed .. pink. defined depths, turned alcoves into hauntings, lit open coffins, lit tiny subterranean gardens . . as much light as could be defined in as many different ways, and s-t-i-l-l, the place was dark, and mysterious and spoke to the nighttime, the New York City night. all the children of the night . . had come out to play.
light sparked, life energy crackled . . the real NYC downtown ‘underground’ had came to life, lit up . . and spoke up.
for a moment, outside the usual routes & rituals of ingrained & over-grown art system – it had flared up . . into being, with a huge walking on the dark side . . gorgeousness.
a huge bang-up rebel outlaw bonfire !!
of an artist-run, found space, one week long art show party opened year . . 2014.
apparently, surprisingly. the downtown heart, is alive and well,
and keeps on . . beating.

15 WARREN ST, 10007

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN ST . . NEW ORDER

catchin’ the scene / checkin’ out the vibe.

diggin’ the new art ‘rays’ . . . .

literally. note the diversity, of the light sources . . duh.

15 WARREN ST, 10007

MORE PIX, to follow. one more post !!

GIVE ME . . LIGHT !!

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN ST . . NEW ART

NEW GENERATION . . ARTISTS.


ADAM ZHU.
this was a first time / debut exhibition . . for this young artist.


a sienna grey monotone, a site specific collage . . that looked to be pasted directly onto the raw wall.
it was both graphic, eroding, full of history, and . . political.
if you didn’t know Chinese, you didn’t know what the vertical banners said.

but even so, and perhaps, because of . . . this piece spoke to a lot of people.
I saw it pop-up in the online dialog that immediately sprung up, following the opening night . .

the other thing that struck me, from my vantage point of observing the cutting edge scene, the so-called ‘underground’ in NYC since the early 80s . . was how consistently some people just land like . . cats.
they land . . right on the thin fine line, the vibrating edge – in the heart of a huge scene within a huge ‘art’ focused city. the power of the individual voice vs the mass momentum.

for sure, that’s one of the things that makes covering the ‘frontier’ in New York so interesting, this consistent dynamic of landing so perfectly, in such a vast environment. and, making your ‘singularity’ mark.
New York is very very magical that way.


the piece worked just as perfectly, within the raw confines of the show – it was a ‘perfect’ storm.
from the the eroding wall, the old copper pipes overhead, to the reflections of new media, and light (!!) from the sides.

cut and paste.


the collage spoke of lost civilizations, eroding empires, history. the rites of time. entropy.
virtual time travel via the diverse cultural pathways of past artistic visions, & . . glories.
but: the American flag ?
upside-down. and in color. blood .. red.
and dying, seriously.


the piece seemed to be dominated by a heroic ‘sadness’.
a kind-of overall Greek tragedy blow-out. human civilization .. flawed. the Lotus eaters.
even ancient civilizations that were capable of such heights of artistic wonder, fall prey to political destruction.
and even on a personal destiny: we are born . . to fail. or at least, surely to struggle.
it made me think of Simon.
it made me think of JOE BRADLEY, and his abstract story, of last year. but still the same story: the Lotus Beaters.


and, the . . ferocious ancestors, they all knew:
walking on the face of the earth, is not such a gentle . . gambol, after all.


all the ancients knew this. Greek, Hindu, Mayan . . Minoan. whatever.


when people say . . a work of art is: authentic, this is what they mean.
it resonates . . without needing an accompanying verbal narrative.
it connects to an untapped, or unspoken knowing-ness, and willingness . . within the intuitive, collective unconscious of each individual viewer, who can walk away with his own . . message, and ‘meaning’.

the powerful magic of the piece . . seemed to find a ‘echo’, or a ‘sign’ . . in the eroding wall.
for sure, that was some ancient god’s all-seeing ‘eye’ . . hovering, a-b-o-v-e.

APOPHENIA
PAREIDOLIA
ALGORITHM
TO PROCESS . . . KNOWLEDGE.

15 WARREN ST, 10007
MORE PIX, to follow.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN ST . . GENTLE ART

GIRL ART ?


these pretty little paintings were found among an array of old electrical ‘findings’ . .


they couldn’t be more than 4 x 4 in. ea, maybe 4 x 6 inches at most, site specific tour de force !!
I’m thinking they speak to a female’s gentle hand . . .
and peaceful i-m-a-g-i-n-a-t-i-o-n !!
as well as to: childhood . . . esp children’s book illustrations, ca. 1980s.

the sunnier side of . . growing up.


they were there . . on the left, halfway down a staircase.

15 WARREN ST, 10007

MORE PIX, to follow.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN ST . . HARSH ART

BOY ART ?

15 WARREN STREET, 10007

MORE PIX, to follow.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN ST . . VIEWING STATIONS


in another sub-basement alcove was a cozy . . ‘screening’ station.


it was actually quite dark, and the real life experience, was more like this.


another screening station, among the basement pipes.
all the screening stations were ‘retro’ based.
there were no cold hard flat screens sticking out from walls.

15 WARREN STREET, 10007

MORE PIX, to follow.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN . .


small watercolor on paper, by under-recognized 80s downtown artist . . . MICHAEL McCLARD.


watercolor by MICHAEL McCLARD in the recent, blink and you’ll miss it – cutting edge group exhibit,
. . 15 WARREN STREET.

SEAN VEGEZZI told me that this was one of his . . “most favorite pieces in the show”.

I’m thinking that what most attracted him to this piece, was the way the watercolor . . broke apart the otherwise flat conventional paper plane,
the inherent surface plane . . into multi-colored rays, of rainbow . . ‘light’.

it has an ‘immediacy’ that was echoed in the exhibit – as a whole.

the portrait was certainly ‘magical’.
as opposed to hyper-realist, or abstract expressionist, just saying.

also prob the ‘overlooked’ & ‘outcast’ status of the artist . . was bound to appeal to a ‘rebel’ crew.


part of the magic of the piece was most def, it’s presence – and presentation – in this utterly raw and mysterious, old bricked alcove, in the old store’s sub-basement.
MICHAEL McCLARD had most definitely been given . . a ‘place of honor.’

SEAN asked me – if I knew of . . MICHAEL McCLARD ?

of course, I did.

in fact SIMON, the recently departed SIMON CERIGO . . my so-called hubby, fellow art maven buddy, and learned music reviewer – was one of the first people, to support and show Michael McClard’s work, at the tail end of the Lower East Side glory days – in the early 80s. at his short-lived . . SIMON CERIGO GALLERY on AVE A, near 12th St.

we all, all of us un-recognized artists, hope we might pop up .. big, eventually (!!) on the art world grid.

that we will be saved by the newest generation to burst down the conventional forces that be. and just really weren’t that good at calling the art – are / were they ?
we all hope: to have lost the battle, but not the war ?!!

but, speaking of SIMON !!

ha ha – he would be rolling with laughter in his grave, now.
though actually what metaphor do you use, for someone whose ashes got scattered in a Vermont stream ?

oh, well, he’s still choking . . with side-splitting laughter, no matter.

RICHARD JOHNSON of PAGE SIX, has just informed the world, that MARK KOSTABI is taking up with CICCIOLINA !!
ha ha.
a true opportunist never leaves a ‘porn star’, unturned !!
or what / !!

hey, you never know: do we have buck-naked, hyper-realist Russian-type paintings of KOSTABI entwined with the 60+ CICCIOLINA . . to look forward to ?
can what worked huge for . . JEFF KOONS, work its magic again ?

talk about: S-L-O-P-P-Y SECONDS !!

read: KOSTABI PLANS BIO PIC . . for new SWEETIE: PORN-STAR POL CICCIOLINA !! – NEW YORK POST

XXX (!!!)

15 WARREN STREET, 10007

MORE PIX, to follow.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH




~15 WARREN . .


SEAN VEGEZZI, the 3rd curator of 15 WARREN STREET, along with . . his Tribeca childhood pals: ABELINE COHEN, and ANDREW KASS.


if you don’t think a . . VOID, could be the heart of the matter, think again.

it almost looked . . blood-like, from a distance.
a detached, cut-out, human organ – blown up, hyper scale.
kept alive, on mechanical life-support.
in the basement.

sci-fi does come to mind,
like-wise, human ‘squishy’ ness, our fragile bio state vs the eternal beating heart, king of all earthly metaphors.


this is SEAN VEGEZZI’s site specific piece for the show.
how so much excitement could lie in . . such ‘silence’ . . . is also the heart of the matter.

so much laid bare.
history. rawness. spatial definitions . . undone.

so much open-fisted, plastic/composition field . . ‘questioning’, and a twisting of perception, a twisting of imagination, a veritable, beating . . ‘heart’ in the center of the show.

it speaks to: unbound.
a state of reaching, of reaching beyond the usual visual ‘arts’ parameters . . by, ironically going to the very bottom.


the subterranean, on fire.
take away whatever metaphors you wish, they are aplenty, and they are yours . . for the asking.

actual ‘light’ – was a big factor at play, in the show as a whole.

this coppery color on fire, was even more interesting if you actually knew Mr. Vegezzi’s earlier, main body of work . . photographs taken in the deep forbidden underground infrastructure, the subterranean tunnels of the NYC / MTA – the subway system . . those photographs had a very eerie sour candy-like translucent / lime green light . . to them.

from green comes copper.
from copper comes green, exposed to the elements.
in your imagination, move from the subterranean . . to the old church spires, all around you, in a big city like this,
the core and the spires . . are very inter-related. the hidden basement cores, and the crowning roof spires, and they move with us, stationary and inter-related, just like time does: past, present, future. though one is as man-made, as the other is physics . . on the path of our planetary orbit.

the deep basements and slightly wobbling towers – the man-made structures that mark cities, and stay rooted in place, as the planet turns, and spins.

unless they are ‘downed’. of course.

the artificial light glowing up like embers, from the excavation . . revealing the site-specific history, but also, art-wise: breaking down the usual white box walls, destroying most flat non-engaging surfaces, and challenging the usual art history ‘perceptions’ !!

you walked through this show, you didn’t just . . view it.

you walked around Mr. Vegezzi’s ‘pit’, and you saw a continuum though space, vis a vie the construction bags lined up against the wall.

this was a break-down and break-away show, no doubt about it, the best of the best of the underground – literally popping up, and taking on all comers. esp the institutionalized . . ones.
NYC has a great history, of this. of art. of new generations popping up, and breaking down barriers.

this was a ‘take-down’.

it took as its stated target . . the current glut of no-where art, with very little meaning or plastic ‘freshness’, that dominates the scene, and its many no-where commentators, profusely citing paragraphs of art history, as if that meant . . anything really, about the work at hand.

as if nothing has changed in a million years.

not even a little thing like . . the digital revolution.

not even a thing like growing up in the shadow of destruction, while the world as a whole, scientifically and culturally . . is on the cusp of ‘discovery’ and ‘communication’ . . so beyond, our ancestors’ broadest imaginations.

15 WARREN STREET, 10007

MORE PIX, to follow.

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH