‘IT’S AN INVASION’ – CURATED BY JOSH HUBBARD, KELSEY BENNETT & LELE SAVERI
PHILLIP SPRADLEY, NATIONAL ARTS CLUB – PROGRAM DIRECTOR
APRIL 29 – MAY 10, 2014
NATIONAL ARTS CLUB – 15 GRAMERCY PARK SOUTH, NYC
EXHIBITION PIX – PART I
no doubt about it – this rough and tumble group show at the National Arts Club – was the best thing to happen, as in . . pop-up !! FRIEZE ART FAIR WEEK, NYC 2014.
it was the perfect storm.
the perfect ‘invasion’.
the perfect clash between posh (the venue) and . . what’s happening – heavy !!
the perfect antidote vs. the mostly academia-driven . . art fairs.
except, for maybe the MARIE LORENZ hand-made rowboat, a nice inclusion . .
but, wake up – this is work from over a decade ago, not exactly cutting edge.
well, maybe that is .. cutting edge – to the status quo ?
though still, a nice . . ‘island’ theme – touch.
but, ‘It’s An Invasion’ . . stood for something, and lived up to it.
that being: the big ‘challenge’.
as in . . ‘throw-down, baby’ !! to the otherwise absolutely stifling status quo – here in NYC.
the fact that it happened at the otherwise staid National Arts Club – was just, a happy riot of competing visual signals – on the corner of what was – and what . . is !!
bringing back the – grit !!
you went up a short staircase, in a very over-decorated but gorgeous ornate old-school clubby building, and once you caught a glimpse of the hallway beyond the velvet rope – you knew you were in the right place.
and, you’re . . in !!
look at the . . ‘blue sq.’ at center – in that entry hallway – in photo above.
yes, that is . .
JACK GREER, ‘Urine’, 2014. color pencil on paper over wood support.
18 x 18 in.
lucky timing, two of the 3 curators were manning the show, JOSH HUBBARD, above – and KELSEY BENNETT. all of the curators are artists, and all 3 had work in the show.
JOSH HUBBARD, ‘Do You Believe That?’, 2014.
felt on vintage fabric, 55 x 34.5 in.
($1,000,000 / open to offers)
so fun. okay so the room was dark, or at least the walls were. and the lighting didn’t ‘absolutely’ suit all the pieces, esp this one, but that was half the fun, taking the posh . . and going over-the-top. looking back, I’m liking this presentation, a lot.
just get that art, up.
pop-up vs white box vs tent, you gotta shake things up, sometimes.
like I said bring back . . the grit !!
I asked JOSH HUBBARD if he did all the that hand-stitching, and he said: yes.
nice job, from one hand stitcher, I re-store vintage quilts – to another.
funny thing, when he answered . . I got a ‘London calling’ kind of feeling.
the accent, the grace, duh.
sure enough, besides being artist & curator – he is also a Brit guitarist, he used to play with DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, one of our recently departed music reviewer Simon Cerigo’s faves . . oh well, c’est la vie. no words possible on that score, anymore.
anyways, seems JOSH HUBBARD recently joined forces with singer MICHAEL IAN CUMMINGS to form the New York City based-band . . SKATERS.
CHECK OUT: SKATERS – ‘DEADBOLT’, published OCT 16, 2013, YouTube
just to show you, how it goes in NYC, the band also just scored a really nice interview with – INTERVIEW, last week or so, actually APRIL 29, 2014 – and where you can find their pretty nice cover of THE SMITHS – ‘THIS CHARMING MAN’.
see: SKATERS – EXCLUSIVE SONG PREMIERE/INTERVIEW
this: is their official website – SKATERS
KELSEY BENNETT. a co-curator of the show, she has 2 color photos in the ad hoc exhibit.
apparently it’s through her connections, TONY BENNETT, the famous crooner, and . . loves-to-paint guy – is her uncle, that this show happened.
good move, National Arts Club. thanks.
KELSEY BENNETT, ‘Crypt Keep in the Sun’, 2013.
digital c-print, 12 x 18 in.
KELSEY BENNETT, ‘Raw Thrills’, 2013.
digital c-print, 12 x 18 in.
LELE SAVERI, a selection of his monotone xerox photograph / collages.
Lele Saveri . . the final, and third co-curator of ‘It’s An Invasion’ . . was not around the day I passed by, but he has a pretty big, and mighty ‘hip’ presence on the web, just google him.
and, re: the dark walls.
in fact, as I look back at the installation pix, I’m liking more and more – the look of those dark walls, so – party-time, club time . . feels very, immediate.
contrarian !! low-fi. just – happening.
LELE SAVERI . .
left: ‘Untitled (Invasion No. 8)’, 2014. xerox, 8.5 x 11 in. ($100 edition of 10).
right: ‘Untitled (Invasion No. 9)’, 2014, xerox, 8.5 x 11 in. ($100 edition of 10).
RYAN McGINLEY, ‘Shane (Flashlight)’, 2013.
c-print, 45 x 30 in.
($14,000 + frame)
actually there were quite a lot of photographs in the show, prob the most famous contributor being – McGINLEY.
and it was a . . beaut, and I bet that is a good price, too.
detail, RYAN McGINLEY, ‘Shane (Flashlight)’.
it was a treat to see it, in person. very . . raw.
TODD JORDAN, ‘Aiden, New York City, September 2011.’
digital c-print, 32 x 22 in.
maybe not quite as mainstream famous as McGINLEY, TOOD JORDAN – still has quite a following of his own, and . . you can see why.
it’s hard to put into words, what’s so drop-dead stunning about this work, and maybe that’s why – it is so fascinating.
I bet at that price, it’s a steal – though no edition number is given.
MORE PIX – TO FOLLOW.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
ERIK DEN BREJEN – ‘THERE’S A RIOT GOIN’ ON’
OPENED MAY 1, 2014
the show runs thru JUNE 7, 2014
FREIGHT+VOLUME – 530 WEST 24 St, CHELSEA, NYC
ERIK DEN BREEJEN . . at the opening.
this is his 4th solo show at FREIGHT+VOLUME, and the relationship has been a very happy one, if you can call these things, just from seeing the work, which has gone though several stages of experimentation over the years – to the full stride & depth of this show.
ERIK DEN BREEJEN, ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’, 2013. acrylic on linen. 90 x 68 in.
this show is not what it seems, and back again !!
the portraits, strange icons of 70s revolution all on their own, disappear into absolute abstract fields, in physical reality, i.e. real time viewing . . only the “down-sizing” scale effect of photography, and seeing the work through a camera lens – is keeping the subjects in focus, on this page . . in the gallery they are . . ‘puzzles’.
and then the pure abstraction and color field platform – is itself broken down in the other direction, as opposed to portraiture, you have colorful handwritten building blocks of text, songs and words that exert their own magic, and power.
detail: ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’.
so there’s a lot going on !!
and it is . . kind of riot, in and of itself.
detail: ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’.
it’s like these paintings have . . no beginning and no ending.
a concept all the more interesting to consider, since they are all based on hyper real portraits of actual people, composed of small building blocks of ‘word/text’ units.
the best thing I could say, is go experience this for yourself.
photography is not going to be the key to opening up this . . Pandora’s box of painterly tools.
ERIK DEN BREEJEN, ‘Harry Nilsson – All My Life’, 2013.
acrylic on linen, 47 x 45 in.
the disappearing face, brings to the front, the very musical use of pure vibrant . . and, unpredictable COLOR. from a distance the text ‘slugs’ do not even factor in.
detail, ‘Harry Nilsoon’
this would be the face . . as you approach the ‘text’ elements, you can easily see from how the color is patterned and distributed, compositionally – that the words are very, very loaded. actually song lyrics – it’s like looking into a shimmering pool of . . . ‘thought’ water.
detail, ‘Harry Nilsson’.
if you haven’t read . . .
the very colorfulpress release . . that accompanies this show, you should.
not only will it shed a lot of understanding on these paintings, and expand on their evolution and background – but it is ‘hands-down’ one of the best press releases ever put out there. it becomes instantly clear how a complex formalist painter like ERIK DEN BREEJEN has came to produce such a focused, emotionally deep – exhibit that touches upon many many issues, both visual and conceptual. it is really striving to capture – the big picture / the culture in flux – the 70’s.
what I mean is, I’m thinking . . one cannot underestimate the impact on an artist, when his home base, gallery – is so clued into his ‘journey’, and is able to articulate it so well – and bring it alive . . to disparate viewers.
detail, “Harry Nilsson’.
I guess that’s called . . sharing the love !!
and these paintings are definitely about . . sharing.
from the press release:
“There’s a riot Goin’ On takes a commanding look back at the early 70’s and specifically
explores the lives and works of creative revolutionaries such as RICHARD PRYOR, HARRY NILSSON, MARVIN GAYE, JOAN BAEZ, and ALLEN GINSBERG, among others. Den Breejen investigates the role of the artist as messenger from another state of consciousness. These artists, comedians, musicians, poets, and rock stars channeled their inspiration to confront the rules and norms of their time . . .
His portraits revisit and transform their observations. His recent paintings tell a history that has been recorded, portrayed, lived and felt by these people. In this sense, his technique can be seen as a kind of time travel.”
ERIK DEN BREEJEN, ‘Billie Holiday (God Bless the Child)’, 2013.
acrylic on panel, 24 x 20 in.
this might be the first show in the history of art, where you actually have to have your friends view to the work through your iPhone camera, to see what’s really . . goin’ on !!
detail, “Billie Holiday’.
this photo approach – is more approximate to how the paintings come across – in actual ‘physicality’.
ERIK DEN BREEJEN, ‘Marvin Gaye (What’s Goin On)’, 2014
acrylic on linen, 90 x 50 in.
what can I say, gonna give the last word to . . MARVIN GAYE !!
ERIK DEN BREEJEN and NICK LAWRENCE at the opening.
Nick is the hands-on owner/director of FREIGHT+VOLUME, he’s been bringing the scene some pretty awesome art shows, and it’s he – who penned that awesome press release.
go see the show.
it’s a one-of-a-kind, hands-on eyes – kinda of last word, information graphics doesn’t scratch the surface – kind of art, word, people culture revolution . . game on, dish that paint, kind of thing . .
where the poetry of ‘song’ meets the poetry of pure ‘plastic’ formalism . . head on.
no explanations, or art history required.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH
ERIK DEN BREEJEN – ‘THERE’S A RIOT GOIN’ ON’
OPENS THURS MAY 1, 2014 / 6-9 PM
the show runs thru JUNE 7, 2014
FREIGHT+VOLUME – 530 W. 24th ST – CHELSEA, NYC
for: more pix, info & artist bio
ERIK DEN BREEJEN, ‘RICHARD PRYOR’, 2014, acrylic on linen, 84 x 72 in.
looks like the big blow-out summer group show . . is happening early this year,
and . . . at the NATIONAL ARTS CLUB, of all places !!
curated by: KELSEY BENNETT, JOSHUA HUBBARD, and LELE SAVERI,
all 3 artists themselves, each with work in the show – always a good sign, kudos . . 15 Warren St.
opening tomorrow night TUES APRIL 29, 2014 / 7-10 PM, the show is only up for 2 weeks – thru SAT MAY 10, 2014
. . so don’t blink.
NATIONAL ARTS CLUB – 15 GRAMERCY PARK SOUTH – NYC
HRS: weekdays 10am-5pm / weekends 11am-5pm
and unlike that sad and dreary, all gray Whitney Biennial advert in the subways – which proclaims to a very disinterested, captive, NOT !! audience . . “see it here, or see it somewhere else tomorrow”,
this show is . . bound for glory !!
just look at some of the names in the line-up:
TODD JAMES, TODD JORDAN, ANDREW KUO, RYAN McGINLEY, TAYLOR McKIMENS, ANDREW SUTHERLAND, PETER SUTHERLAND, SEAN VEGEZZI, PETE VOELKER, and JOSHUA WILDMAN.
IMAGE: NATIONAL ARTS CLUB
IMAGE: NATIONAL ARTS CLUB
changing gears & getting back to . . LOCAL NEWS !!
love these ‘graphics’ – coming out of FLUX FACTORY, this week.
‘YOU MADE IT’ – a group show of FLUX ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE – curated by CHRISTOPHER STIEGLER
OPENING + PERFORMANCES – FRI MAY 3, 2014 / 7PM
OPEN HOUSE + PERFORMANCES – FRI MAY, 16, 2014 / 1-3 PM
FLUX FACTORY – 39-31 29th St – LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS, NY
the show, looking to lively . . . will highlight work from their 2013 – 2014 program.
“The artworks will be arranged according to the artists’ heights (!!) and the installation of the show will change throughout the duration of the show.”
more info . . .
as well, ZUZIA JUSZKIEWITZ will host a small BOOKBINDING WORKSHOP – SUN APRIL 27, 2014 / 2-4 PM
POETRY READINGS, included.
more info . . .
that’s . . tomorrow, looking good – it’s free and open to all.
it’s not just crazy, maybe autistic, and even if . . , so what ? artists who have tragic flaws, apparently so does the legal world . . esp when it comes to almost everything COPYRIGHT and the ART WORLD – with this week being . . a stunner.
FIRST UP: RICHARD PRINCE vs EVERYBODY & ANYBODY WHO HAS A CREATIVE, ORIGINAL THOUGHT & IS SILLY ENOUGH TO PUBLISH THE ‘PRODUCT’ aka THEIR ‘VISION’ – AS A BOOK.
or poster, or advert, cartoon etc, etc.
from the RICHARD PRINCE ‘CANAL ZONE’ (2008) series – image via ART IN AMERICA
in what most artists would feel to be a major rip-off, s-o-m-e-h-o-w . . could it be BIG MONEY ?
(some of the disputed paintings sell for over $10 million, each !!), some (sketchy, at the very least) appeals court in NYC, let this obvious ‘trashing’ & exploitation of another artist’s original content – French photographer PATRICK CARIOU and his ‘Yes, Rasta’ book of photographs, published in year 2000 – get a: ‘pass go and collect the $$$$$’.
how this qualifies as ‘FAIR USE’ is beyond reason, or is that just me, esp being a photographer.
and you better damn well keep the paws – off my pix !!
I mean, doesn’t the SHEPARD FAIREY ‘OBAMA’ ruling have any relevance here.
you damn well know it’s bad, as in . . s-t-i-n-k-y !!
when everybody in the art media world proclaims it a A HUGE LANDMARK SUCCESS, with no question or thought . . must be the power of those ‘GOGO’ media mega dollars at work.
if you read between the lines, the judge left 5 pieces in the gray area, so obviously GOGO & PRINCE will shoot a lot of money at the wronged CARIOU, and that will be that, no more appeals – and voila: a landmark ruling on copyright ca. 2014.
trust me, even I know, small nobody business that I am, I’m not the only person in the world . . whose has been told by a lawyer, “it’s a business decision, it’s not about right or wrong.”
at the very least, PRINCE should have credited the photographer, if not licensed the work for his creative use.
the trouble with copyright law – is it really hit the fan – with the web.
basically: google engines brought down copyright law, copyright law was already dog-eared and arcane / but now . . nothing goes up – that can’t be seen by the original source, even oceans apart.
never mind that copyright law originated before reproduction became as easy as 1,2,3 – click ..
and, esp now with .. ‘image’ google, and it works good, too.
this quote unquote ‘landmark’ decision makes the courts look bad, and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to stick, let alone be the ‘landmark’ the GOGO camp is claiming. personally, I wouldn’t rush out and buy anything as tainted and anti-artist original content as this, just on principle, if not with an eye towards . . hopefully, future righteousness. it’s definite low rent skuzzy.
further, this series of work, along with Prince’s ‘Marlboro Cowboy’, etc makes him, Prince look more and more like a gifted ART EDITOR, with an eye to a good art image – than a particularly good or talented artist.
though, thanks for bringing PATRICK CARIOU to the stage.
but, victory aside, GOGO, PRINCE & CO better watch out for those . . duppys – the Rasta Jamaican undead / as in . . ghosts !! calling on . . BOB MARLEY, y’all.
and if a blog ain’t reggae, what is it ?
GOGO, PRINCE, and DUPPY, huh. come on, somebody . . make me a rhyme.
see: Richard Prince Wins Major Victory .. ART IN AMERICA
SECOND: PAUL McCARTHY & MIKE BOUCHET vs GUGGENHEIM BILBOA
‘BILBAO BATTLESHIP BILLBOARD’ by artists PAUL McCARTHY & MIKE BOUCHET
PHOTO: CAMILO BRAU via THE ART NEWSPAPER
if the GOGO / PRINCE caper wasn’t bullsh-t – what’s this ?
just looks like: THE BIG MONEY WINS, EVERY TIME.
no matter what. end of story.
am I just jaded. autistic, stupid. I don’t think so.
if any image deserved to come out on top re ‘FAIR USE’ . . you’d think it would be this, satire. plus what is a ‘cutting edge’ contemporary art museum doing being so censorious. shame shame shame . .
plus . . it’s such a great image & such a great provocative info / image too.
and, it got taken down in like 24 hrs.
by an art museum sourced outta NYC. so, bad news. unbelievable, I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.
forget Spain, put that banner up in Times Sq.
haha: PAUL McCARTHY & MIKE BOUCHET should do a piece ripping off every nurse painting RICHARD PRINCE ever did, by reproducing them, with a big purple ‘blotch’ over their faces, and claim: ‘TRANSFORMATIVE’ – and then sell those for – 10 million smackeroos, ea. !!
and yeah, I want 10% – for the idea.
see: Guggenheim Bilbao Fires back .. WALL STREET JOURNAL
see: Billboard work taken down .. THE ART NEWSPAPER
THIRD: WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO . . DAN ASHER ASHER vs DONALD BAECHLER !!
which makes it a . . full circle day.
well, since DAN was so unrecognized in his lifetime – ORAL HISTORY is the only way to go, and if I don’t get it on paper, trust me – DONALD BAECHLER sure as hell ain’t gonna pony up – to the time he ripped off Dan’s work – outright, and exhibited it as his own.
and, yes – he did !! !! !!
DONALD BAECHLER, ‘Self Portrait’, 1986.
image courtesy: ELMHURST ART MUSEUM
“Self-Portrait”, my foot.
well, this might NOT be an exact one of the ‘rips’, but you get the picture.
check that date: 1986.
here’s the story:
Donald was always creeping around other people’s studios, Simon always used to say . . he got his ‘primal’ flower painting silhouette from me, and we know what he did with the Enger Bros. imagery, but – to get to the point, the Dan Asher lift – was quite . . black and white, no grey areas of ownership.
no . . he said, she said. I did it first, etc. etc.
and this is the truth.
DONALD bought a whole bunch of small charcoal, or black oil-stick drawings of faces, from Dan, in the early 80’s, maybe 1984 ? he then projected them onto big canvasses, and reproduced them large & verbatim, except for the scale, and then took them to Europe, and exhibited them, under his own name, of course – for sale at some gallery booth in an art fair in Europe, maybe in Cologne ? Berlin ?
thinking, nobody would know. there was no google engine back then, and anyways that was just his modus operatus – just like all ‘appropriation’ masters, KOONS and PRINCE etc.
haha, if Dan doesn’t scrape up the dough, and fly over to see the fair.
talk about shit hitting the fan.
Dan was so crazy, you’d have to be a real fool to mess with him. and maybe that’s why he was, crazy mad. part of the downside of autism, is people thinking clueless means dumb.
and this is one time, the BIG MONEY did NOT win out.
the . . BIG RAGE won out.
and if Donald wanted to feel safe heading out to the Red Bar – on any given night – he did what he had to, he shelled out something like $60,000 to appease Dan.
that was a lot of money back in the 80s.
when the rents were cheap, sushi was not blown wide open dollar-wise . . and Pearl Paint was the go-to art supply emporium. and cheap . .
like I said, DAN wasn’t always broke, he just knew how to go broke. and, fast.
spending money was like an art form to him. he could spend it faster than anybody I’ve ever meet then or since.
well, Josh Harris comes in a close second . . oh god, just my luck, all the guys I depended on for work, were mad crazy with the money.
c’est la vie,
duppy don’t you come abotherin’ – me.
but you see that lawyer, go for the throat.
it’s the damn lawyers, rockin’ the boat.
BRANDON JOHNSON, MANAGING EDITOR, ZINGMAGAZINE. NYC. APRIL 22, 2014.
AT THE ZINGMAGAZINE SOHO OFFICE – that’s DEVON DIKOU’S, ZINGMAGAZINE’S founder/editor/publisher . . ARTWORK on the WALLS.
PHOTO: NANCY SMITH
I went by the ZINGMAGAZINE very fashionable downtown office yesterday to meet with BRANDON JOHNSON, who is putting together a series of interviews with people who knew DAN, while they are still around (!!). the collected / edited interviews are scheduled to come out next Fall 2014 – in paperback format as a pre-packaged addition to that season’s ZINGMAGAZINE.
although it was great to learn of the project, and to share in Brandon’s plans – it was definitely bittersweet to remember so far back, and to miss not one, but 2 really close friends: DAN ASHER my friend and fellow high functioning (maybe !!) autistic, and SIMON CERIGO, father of my 2 kids, so-called hubby, (well it was pretty ok, for a while), and mostly – great great really missed: fellow art buddy, and talent scout.
Simon and Dan were joined at the hip, from the moment they meet, sometime in the summer’s heat of 1981 at the legendary Red Bar, in the East Village. I meet Dan shortly after, and we developed our own relationship, and we were very very close for many decades. Simon was to give Dan his first really serious shows at his short lived, but critically acclaimed SIMON CERIGO GALLERY on AVE A at 12th St. and I was to be Dan’s studio assistant, on and off during the years but esp from 1996 – 98, the years of the Iceberg photos, working for cash when he had it, or for (his) art work – when he didn’t.
how do you convey almost 3 decades of knowing someone as complicated, and contrary !! as Dan, or Simon for that matter. I esp felt the loss of Simon in speaking about Dan – as Simon had the oral knowledge, he had a mind like a huge roladex – he was a classic ‘flaneur’, and there is such a void on that level with him gone, it’s unbelievable how the art world gets up in the morning any more, without his daily ‘buzz’. Simon took a lot of stories, and even more rock solid knowledge with him, and I don’t see any . . clones. they were both severely under-estimated & under-valued by the mainstream scene in their lifetime – and maybe it is that void – that is making it more apparent just what gifts, natural born talents, and intense to the very last drop – those 2 guys had.
all I can say is, they sure don’t make characters like either one of them, any more – and how I survived it, living with them !! and how I survive their being gone – I just don’t know, my kids watch out for me, and they both know . . the legacy.
in fact I had to confer with my son, Theo (and yes, corny or not – me and Simon – did name him after Vincent V G’s younger bro – kindness to artists – and yes, apparently, he has lived up to the name . . last night to confirm a few facts – that Brandon brought up.
SPECIFICALLY: DAN & THE STOCK MARKET !!
yes, it is true that in 1995 DAN inherited, after a mad crazy legal battle with his dumb-ass brother, $400,000. yeah, I know that’s a lot of sushi !!
the deal was . . DAN was to keep $200,000 to fund living and art projects .. month long cruises to the Antarctic, & daily $400 sushi jaunts – anybody !!
and Simon invested the other $200,000, in Dan’s name – in APPLE STOCK.
the understanding being, that when the stock took off, which it did, big time !! Simon would get 10% of profits for the management/advice. so we all felt set for life, sure we would be millionaires in minimum 5 years time. APPLE was selling at $11 a share in 1995.
but, Dan just could not keep his autistic obsessive hands off the stash. despite many a screamin’ battle in the streets, and between the two, believe me Simon could scream louder . . Dan started pissing it away – on penny stocks. with Dan saying, “but it’s my money, Simon !!”.
sad story short – within 6 mos it was all gone, not just the entire $200,00 – but it’s vast vast potential. was Simon depressed, don’t even ask.
the opportunity – just flew though Dan’s ginger-stained hands like sand.
was Dan broke and starving. on the edge of apt eviction, and stressed for medical bills . . for the rest of his life ?
you guessed right, if you guessed: yes.
put it this way, Theo did the math – the $200,000 invested in APPLE in 1995 – would have been worth, easily . . $29 million, yes: 29 MILLION in 2010, the year Dan died. he could have been dipping into it, and taking out a nice chunk every year to live on, and paying us our share – and still, still he would have had – at the very least . . $10 more million in the fund.
it was a little hard for us to feel sorry for him, after that. esp when Dan had no money, we had no money, as we both worked for him in different capacities, and we, unlike him, had 2 young kids to feed and clothe. I mean we did feel sorry for him, but not as you would say . . in a ‘good’ way.
no wonder Dan had to turn to new, and younger friends, like BEN BERLOW . . who didn’t know, didn’yt have a clue, about the real bottom-line drop-off. I’m sure the hidden inner secret of his financial wipe-out, added to Dan’s inner stress, and countered any of the numerous homeopathic medications, he surrounded himself with, that’s for sure.
ah, of such stories, tragic character flaws, and major fuck-ups – Jackson Pollock had his groupie & speeding alcohol-driven car . . legends are born.
and if ‘autism-compensation’ telepathy extends to the after-life, I hope you guys are having fun up there, and . . please send a sign.
a little ‘HELLO NANCY’, sky-written across Manhattan, tomorrow – would . . suffice.
ANTHONY HADEN-GUEST, keep your grubby little paws off the content – or I swear I will sue you, and your publication for plagiarism. and up the wa-zoo. dude.
consider yourself warned . . you fake skank.
the Alfredo Martinez ‘rips’ in the New Yorker – were the last straw.
you, and . . that sleazy douchebag RICHARD PRINCE, cut from the same cloth.
landmark trademark decision re appropriation, my foot.
3 day old . . skanky ‘uni’ – is more like it.
SIMON CERIGO, ‘Newspaper Piece’, early 1990s. acrylic & watercolor on New York Times, 12 x 22 in.
CURATED BY THEO CERIGO, NYC
PHOTO: THEO CERIGO
just so you know . . .
NANCY SMITH, watercolor. early 1990s. watercolor on arches paper. 18 x 24 in.
CURATED BY THEO CERIGO, NYC
PHOTO: THEO CERIGO
‘BEN BERLOW – RECENT WORK’
opened SAT APRIL 12, 2014
the show runs thru MAY 18, 2014
RAWSON PROJECTS – 223 FRANKLIN ST, BROOKLYN, NYC
HRS: SAT & SUN / 1-7 PM
the gallery space was the perfect setting for viewing the work. serious, quiet, not too big. with nice clean, modern lines.
but, still lots of old time – character back outside on the street.
modern plate glass storefront windows allowed a flood of natural light to play up Ben’s nuanced color block hues, and, the seriously ‘off’ tonality of the work . . did well, in the natural light.
the plastic ‘fictional’ i.e. creative tensions on the paper, and the very real – real estate tensions . . outside in the street, kind of went hand-in-hand. the power plays of gentrification – starting to play hardball, wrecking havoc with the rents. people moving in, people moving out. some happy, some sad. like they say . . a million stories, nothing stays still for long, in this town.
just even on the very block of the gallery. you could feel it.
the contrast between the old walk-ups, the mom & pop hardware stores now shuttered, and with fading signs . . the chic hipster hang-outs, great pop-up restaurants, and the ‘rush’ of new beginnings. it’s not a matter of good or bad, it’s just . . the new wave, coming in like it always does. it’s classic New York City moment, it’s both exciting, and . . super fraught with tension.
yeah, Greenpoint was right at the tipping point, and just about to fall over on the other side, hard.
you could so feel the ‘pulse’ of change in the air, you could smell it.
the works were small, but strangely dynamic beyond their inherent scale . . each work on paper with its own ‘pulse’ . . talking bout, pulse. just saying.
the swings of their individual . . emotive and compositional range, each offering up a differing pictorial ‘focus’, or ‘story’ was clearly apparent – as the diversely proportioned selection . . ran playfully along the walls.
BEN BERLOW . . with JAMES MORRILL, a partner in the gallery.
as it happens, this gallery – RAWSON PROJECTS . . seems to have an unofficial ‘acorn fallen off the tree’ aspect, that tree being DAVID ZWIRNER GALLERY in Chelsea, esp today with this show . . in that BEN BERLOW happens to be the registrar at Zwirner, while James Morrill is their Director of Finance.
meanwhile, CHRIS RAWSON, the other partner in the gallery, and from whom it takes its name . . is the archivist at ZWIRNER.
it’s always good to have a day job, when you are starting a new gallery, esp from the street up.
but when that day job provides experience, and gallery skills, not to forget the essential ‘networking’ . . it’s a no-brainer.
it was interesting to watch people really engage with the work. though the work seems simple at first glance, there is a lot of compression, both of ideas and forces . . in those defining lines, shapes, and color fields – that just open up, and, then . . like they say: game on.
as well there was something about the small scale of the work, as opposed to the huge color field paintings of many generations back by now, that brought the viewer ‘in’, as opposed to . . say, ‘taking over’.
it’s not as easy as you think, to carry that off.
so much so-called abstract art today, is just so bad, don’t get me started.
I’m talking 99% of it. I’m thinking, people who don’t know anything about art, turn to quote, abstract art because if they seriously can’t make heads or tails of it, that must make it . . good ?
when it’s really quite the opposite.
abstract art, good abstract art lays down a very very well written trail.
BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. acrylic, gouache on paper. 33 x 25-1/4 in.
entrancing and tough, not too tough, and more entrancing. that’s ok with me.
the brown paper surface was an integral, intimate element of the work. it was all about a subtle universe of scale, where even the small crinkles of the paper, and its borders, including a serrated edge, played a part.
even the ‘commercialism’ of the paper, as well as the ‘found’ aspect – played into the whole story presented here. it was 24-7 pure / pictorial forces at work. no slackers.
small measures – became like tidal waves.
shadows, enter the equation, too.
it’s really, the work – not all that ‘flat’, or ‘still’ – as it appears to be on first impression.
no flat screen here.
it’s kinetic – in its own way. very subtle.
of course if you frame it, you are going to have to include a slight depth to the interior ‘box’ of the frame, and . . ‘floating’ the work – with no overlapping mat, is the only way to go.
it’s interesting to google Ben’s early work, and see just how focused, and evolved the journey has become.
BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. Acrylic and gouache on paper. Two parts:
left: 25 x 7 in. / right: 25 x 9-1/2 in.
this piece was unique in that it was a two-parter.
the space between the two paper surfaces . . helped emphasize the contrasts, or dynamics at work.
though the color work was very very . . gentle.
it’s the opposing shapes, the way the borders, or edges get defined. and of course, the varying degree of ‘hue’ that is imparted to the paint areas.
the un-painted paper, what we call the negative space, took on an important role.
in a nutshell . .
it’s kind of a . . ‘shape-shifter’.
it struck me as very oriental in impulse, as well.
very zen. lots of opposition, but, no . . war !!
BEN BERLOW, ‘Untitled’, 2013. Casein on brown paper, graphite. 22.5 x 14 in.
I esp liked this piece, it plays out like a more apparent . . ‘puzzler’.
more straight-forward, less rounded, what can I say.
that about suits . . my mood these days.
no-nonsense, just show me the real stuff !!
and though, I was very happy just to gaze upon these works as pure non-objective abstraction . . poems without words, I did finally take the time to read an accompanying artist statement, a printed hand-out, available on the gallery reception desk, which takes the form of a ‘conversation with the gallery’. . in which you learn these pieces were done while Ben was lucky enough to be on a residency
in the rural countryside, specifically . . Steep Rock Arts, in Connecticut. and so yes there may be some residue of the sun’s orb, and the landscape in that ‘Two Parter’, or an actual barn roof rhythm in this one . . but, I think mostly what you feel, intuitively . . is that he got to really step back, and immerse himself in the solitude of being, and was able to slow down . . and really think. and . . feel. and then express that.
also you get a sense of his being so aware of how rare this is, in his life, in all of our fast paced lives, today. add to that, the super powerful feeling of knowing that this is . . just such a lucky break, such a special moment in your life, and . . yes, in such beautiful surroundings . .
going from the crazed hyper city to a sun speckled barn, with no worldly cares for the moment, is surely a transformative, powerful, maybe fleeting, but still . . zen state of mind.
but you don’t really need to know the specific background story – to pick up on the isolation, and wonder . . the focused, slowly realized energy forces that . . ‘flow’ through the the work.
the work has its voice, irregardless of what you know about Ben, or not.
but it was still very interesting to read, and all info . . is good.
but, talking about barns, and the countryside,
made me suddenly think about . . old quilts and rural quilt patterns, and I realized, maybe that’s why I can relate to these shapes – so much !!
yep, there was something, definitely .. . very quilt-like in this one !!
those early quilters even used to cut out their ‘template’ pattern pieces from common household brown paper – just like this, too.
and sometimes you can even see the pencil lines, traced on the material, some slips of the hand . . peeping out in the ‘geometry’ . . just like happens here, too.
talking about quilts, and zen-like paintings, and all things dear to my heart, including the recently departed ones, DAN ASHER and SIMON CERIGO . .
and Dan ?
DAN ASHER was like an uncle, to my kids. their very eccentric uncle !!
sushi dinners . . with booster seats – here we come !!
and believe it, they have lots of their own stories about Dan.
in fact, I hear an artists’ kid named Theo could pick up a small fortune in coins . . right off the floor, just by shifting a few books, and such . . when visiting Dan’s notoriously ‘squalid’ apt on 10th St – right across the street from the Russian baths, and nobody would know the difference, least of all, Dan.
Dan wasn’t always broke, he just always spent the money, and fast. til he did get good and broke !!
that’s Theo, looking a bit like his dad, Simon. in the face. the smile.
I hear it was: first, Dan’s – and then . . TOYS R US !!
and Simon would be like, Theo . . where’d you get all that money ?!!
he’s in finance now, something about bank derivatives and hedge funds so . . go figure, guess he liked rolling with . . lots of coins.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH