Deconstruction 90: 8th Grade Art Exhibition

“To deconstruct is to destroy a framework. “

June 2nd we celebrated the final thesis art exhibition featuring works of 8th Grade Students of Achievement First Brownsville Middle School.

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Their projects are based on New Jim Crow and our prison system, Immigration, photography about neighborhoods in Brooklyn evolving over time, and right now they are working on audio/sound pieces based on their idea of home.

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To deconstruct is to destroy a framework. For scholars finding their way through the education system in Brownsville, Brooklyn, frameworks are often forces of restriction, oppression, suffocation, alienation, perpetuation and, at times, ruination. Some of these frameworks were put into place consciously and strategically to keep power dynamics in place which have benefited some and subjugated others. Others have been developed as by-products of social ills and were created insidiously beneath the surface of social consciousness.

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Thoughts from Krystal Seli:

When the night was over I thought, to myself, I wish I had something like this when I was in high school. Walking into the gallery, I saw honest and raw pieces of art from young adults who had been given then opportunity to share their thoughts about everything from feminism to sexual orientation to beauty standards. They were asked questions like, “How does One’s Home affect One’s Identity?” and “How is suicide perceived in the eyes of society?”. The students answered in kind with music, painting, film and poetry, collectively sharing an immersive window into the life, thoughts and feelings of a New York teenager, which I could see, were not far from my own. I left the show asking some of those questions to myself and wondered if I had the opportunity to answer as my younger self, what I would say and how would I say it.

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About the author:

Krystal Seli

Over the years, I’ve worked many a job for some amazing non-profits. Some of my favorite jobs have been copywriting for The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, guest services hosting at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco as well as teaching at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland. When I’m not volunteering at The Living Gallery, I make weird theater with my friends. My favorite food in the whole world is a Filipino dish called Kare Kare, a dish my Grandma makes with Oxtail and a whole jar of peanut butter.
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“WE ARE GOING TO DIE” Masked Event, Monday Feb 8th

Join us on Monday Feb 8th 7-10pm at The Living Gallery for a special evening of performances, wearable art, installations and music! The event is free, and guests are urged to wear their own masks, masks will also  be available at the event.

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 The goal of the event, and designs by artist Nyssa Frank , is to remind people that we are all mortal, and animals, and in this world together. Nyssa alters clothing, painting words such as “Death Means Nothing to Death,”  “I am a homo sapien” or “Who Am I” to express this goal. She also creates jewelry, mostly body parts, to illuminate both on the absurdity, and beauty of our human body.

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Performers for the evening include: Bethany Sick Din, Veronica Torres, Ursula KennedyThe Sewer Gators Each performer is epic in his/her own way, engaging the audience in a mesmerizing, and introspective entanglement!!

 

The Sewer Gators

Constructed by Mike Garcia, The Swere Gators is a band that spews sewer funk and sewer punk
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Bethany Sick Din

Sick Din is the music personae of the multimedia artist Bethany Dinsick.  Bethany Dinsick is a self taught musician, video artist, experimental dancer, performance artist, painter, costume maker, and sculptor from Baltimore currently living in Brooklyn. www.bethanydinsick.com

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 Ursula Kennedy

URSULA KENNEDY is cathartic howling wading through the treacherous squalls of love and oblivion, accompanied by contrapuntal, distorted guitar pulses. Artist Martha Ursula Moszczynski might bestow an epic dance performance during this event as well!

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Veronica Torres

Torres is the lead singer in the band Pill. Her words and performances vibrate on a very honest and mind curling plane, making you dance and listen and become inspired.

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“Tight in a Bud” A Solo Exhibition by Cheryl Georgette @ Alt Space

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin

Alt Space is pleased to present “Tight in a Bud,” Cheryl Georgette’s first solo exhibition featuring innovative live music photography, collage, and mixed media. Edited using analog techniques and developed in a dark room, these portraits depicts the raw energy of live performance.

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Alt Space Brooklyn
41 Montrose Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11206
Opening Reception Oct. 9th 7pm-9pm
The show will run from Oct. 9th to Oct. 23rd

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Meet Artist Liene Bosque

I first met Liene Bosquê while she was working on her installation Suspended Memories at Point of Contact Gallery in The Nancy Cantor Warehouse at Syracuse University. She took time out of the installation to talk to my graphics and communications class about her work as an artist. Bosquê is a Brooklyn-based artist originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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She started her training in Brazil where she majored in architecture and also received a BFA.  She then went on, spending time on a specialized program in Portugal before moving to Chicago to work on her MFA in Fiber and Material Arts. She didn’t do a lot of gallery exhibitions during graduate school, only starting after she moved to New York.

When she first came to New York, she obtained several residencies, that allotted her free studio space for 2 years. Afterwards, she moved to 56 Bogart, but was located in the center of the building with no windows or natural light. The second year, she moved into a shared space with 3 other artists and tall windows. 56 Bogart is a large 4-story warehouse that was remodeled in 2005 and converted into artist lofts and gallery spaces.

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Liene’s work focuses a lot on mold making, her favorite medium, but she is always experimenting with different mediums and techniques that she incorporates with her work. In regards to mold making for her sculptures, she spotlights the idea of the positive and the negative where in the mold is a negative space and the object after its creation, becomes positive space. She is also interested in how the materials experience multiple state changes during the mold making process. For example, with plaster, it comes as a powder, then water is added to create a liquid, and after it dries in the mold, it becomes a solid.

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When working in these different mediums, space often becomes an issue. For her project at Syracuse University, she needed to rent out a kiln from a Williamsburg ceramic studio to complete her vision for modified Syracuse China plates. Afterwards, the installations are often stored at her studio space in crates piled high up to the ceiling. Because of the site-specific nature of many of her works, they don’t always transition well into a different space. There is more of a powerful relation to the space for some pieces. Other times only certain aspects can be used, but the works can have a life outside of the original space being reincorporated into new installations. Sculpture does not sell as easily as other works either, so mainly, her work is made for the sake of making, with grants and residencies supplementing her income. Periodically, collectors have purchased work, mainly in Lisbon and Sao Paulo.

With Liene’s work, due to the lack of salability, she mainly works with non-profit galleries and museums. Periodically, she is invited by curators who have done studio visits or seen her work through her artist residencies, but this may take some time for them to reach out to her, sometimes over a year. For the most part, she is constantly submitting for exhibition opportunities as well as writing grants and applying for residencies at least twice a month.  When asked how much time is spent doing applications, she stated “more than the fun part of making stuff…about 50/50 doing art and doing administration.” After a moment, she corrected herself “60 percent work and 40 percent art.” Bosquê is responsible for managing all of her own administrative work, personal marketing through facebook and other social media, and updating her website. This sometimes leaves her with little time to experiment with new mold making processes, the downfall of a DIY approach, a necessity nonetheless.

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For the most part, non-profits or artist run spaces do not offer any stipend or supplement expenses, but commercial galleries will on occasion. One of her biggest hurdles is transporting her work, which can become very costly. She also needs to hire helpers with certain projects. She pondered whether “it is worth it to pay to work” in the case of her art. She tries to avoid shows with no budget, unless they’re particularly important and/or she is using light and easy to commute works that can go on the subway or fit in a cab.

Bosquê supplements her income by teaching sculpture classes part time at a local arts center in Brooklyn. Her part time work allows her to have more studio time to work on what she loves doing, making art. One of the most interesting points she brought up in our interview was the lack of community that she experienced at 56 Bogart. While there are many artists and gallery spaces, she never has the opportunity to interact with her studio neighbors except at big events like Bushwick Open Studios. The downfall of that though, is that when there are big events at the warehouse, she is usually there showing off her own studio space, and is unable to leave to check out anything else.

One area that she has found a strong sense of community with is New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). NYFA offers an Immigrant Artist Mentoring program, where she started out since she was an immigrant from Brazil, and worked her way up to becoming a mentor to other immigrant artists. She has really enjoyed the experience working with artists who are coming to live and work in the US for the first time and also help for them to continue doing art even though their transition might be tough. Bosquê continues to enjoy making art, helping others make their own art, and tackling any challenge that she may face.

Image credit: Point of Contact Gallery

By Anna Kovach

BOS 2015 By Anna Kovach

Here is one woman’s view of BOS 2015! We’d love to hear yours as well! Contact us at thelivinggallery@gmail.com to submit! 

     Bushwick Open Studios 2015, was once again a full body experience. Friday night started out with the launch party and Seeking Spaces exhibition at Be Electric on Willoughby Ave, and a line that stretched down the block. Seeking Spaces was a multimedia art immersion with sculptures, video art, along side more traditional works by over 60 artists . Pine Box Rock Shop graciously hosted the open bar with beer donated from Brooklyn Brewery and a small 2nd floor room in the space was host to a digital photo booth by The Bosco that not only printed 4 small pictures, but also animated them into a looping gif file.

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Saturday was the busiest day by far, with swaths of visitors pouring into the various Bushwick train stops.  Community Day took place at The Maria Hernandez Park on Knickerbocker Ave and featured musical acts, live painting, circus performances, and also tables for local community organizations.

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The Bushwick Collective Block Party was also going on, just down the road between Troutman Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue. Local street artists were doing performances of live painting for new mural pieces in the neighborhood (one of its main attractions). 17-17 Troutman is a large building full of artist studios and one of the most popular stops for visitors. Each floor has lots of studios to wander in and out of, where you can see many different types of artists and makers.

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House of Yes also had a reopening celebration, with performances of all types throughout the day. 56 Bogart was also another time consuming place to visit, again with each floor of a large warehouse housing studio spaces and galleries. Live performances by Matthew Silver and friends went on outside. Local darlings Roberta’s Pizza hosted an outdoor Art Party where one could drink, nosh on pizza, and wander through a maze of art under a large tent.Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 9.43.27 AM

While there were just as many studios and galleries open on Sunday, the lack of the block party drew in less crowds. The spaces thatwere open felt much more low key and relaxed in the knowledge that it was the last day in a long art intensive weekend. Bushwick Open Studios is one of NYC’s largest arts events and each year outdoes itself. Between Friday and Sunday, I walked close to 20 miles.

BYO ART AT The Living Gallery

BYO ART AT The Living Gallery

I was able to volunteer for The Living Gallery 2 days in a row to assist artists hanging their work on Friday evening and to promote the gallery on Saturday at Community Day. Bushwick’s street cred in the art scene is starting to rival that of galleries in Manhattan. I look forward to seeing how it develops over the coming years.

 

Circle and Line: Response to “Vivo Vitro Silico Sitru” at American Medium

by Conor O’Brien

Images are taken from Zak Davis’ exhibition, “Vivo Vitro Silico Sitru,” at American Medium, which is on display until Feb. 12th. Information on the exhibition and gallery can be found here

Gray Candle I, Zake Davis, 2015

Gray Candle I, Zake Davis, 2015

Rainwet soil beckons a luminous line from the sky. So intense and sudden, and so suddenly evaporated, it leaves a visual echo upon innereyelids; a red vein glimmering in darkness, the first bloodconsecrated separation. It is the crease where flesh first splits with mud; mud still clinging in obstinate streaks, in rolling lines from eyevertices that cleave cheeks, a chiaroscuro of being and oblivion. It is the deep, mudblack furrow from which shivering senses sprout: the body girds itself, retreats into manageable proportion and clenches to shape, moves toward separateness articulated. More than an awakening, it is the first that waking is felt as other than sleep, life other than dream.

Gray Candle Pair, Zak Davis, 2015

Gray Candle Pair, Zak Davis, 2015

Blue Candle Pair, Zak Davis, 2015

Blue Candle Pair, Zak Davis, 2015

Through the dimness of newborn sight we follow this bright diameter–linear division of the round and freeflowing, lightsource driving nothingness into a separate hemisphere, foretaste of future machinery–in exodus out of the dark.This diameter produces a fire that shaves forest, disrobes earth, and bares fields to meekly curl with grain and grass, shy fantasies of past abundance. The same fire by which we are spliced into shadow and light, two bodies defining each other–the one a skyward tangent, the other earthbound and pointing toward Night.

t-foam, Zak Davis, 2015

t-foam, Zak Davis, 2015

Wellspring, Zak Davis, 2015

Wellspring, Zak Davis, 2015

From intestinal oblivion a cloven tongue emerges, presses its shape against the cold pane of Night, and, clicking, licks the air. At once it is the Articulator, the cradle of speech, where dark, guttural noise is assembled into syllabic sense; as well as the Perceiver, the seat of taste, smell, and sight, whose million buds sip the atmosphere, whose belly licks the soily Earth. It is an ovoid rotating on its axis between twin natures, Perception and Articulation, incubating until a thin crack splits its surface. The chaotic mass within the ovoid is blanketed with the outterworldly, shapedefining light that filters through this opening, a luminous line bisecting the circular sky.

Wellspring, Zak Davis, 2015

Observers and Performers: On “Life and People” at BAMcinematek

Written by Conor O’Brien

The films discussed were shown at “Shorts Program: Life and People,” during BAMcinématek‘s 2014 Migrating Forms series. 

Jon Rafman, "Mainsqueeze" (still), 2014

Jon Rafman, “Mainsqueeze” (still), 2014

Jon Rafman’s film “Mainsqueeze” opens with a washing machine in a backyard. The machine starts to cycle. The familiar rattling din as its innerchamber spins, a common enough sound now, this comforting chorus of appliances, dishwashers, ovens, boilers, toilets, the white noise that (no, not at all secondary or incidental to their “intended” functions) keep sedated blank silence, cooed into coiled submission under the mothering hum. Soon the sound grows from the familiar to the discomforting, blooms from an innocuous, mechanical buzz into an hominoid, earthen growl. The machine is pushing its rotation to increasingly violent extremes. The frame becomes unhinged and loosely wobbles about the innerchamber’s fierce convulsions. As parts of the outerstructure are cast off, it is only this, the innerchamber, that still belongs to the “washing machine,” the idea of it, the limp frame having lost all identity and coherence in the mad self-destruction. Soon, even the gaping core of the appliance loses this center of control in a final burst of intensity. It collapses, and lies still in the silent backyard.

The full video, which is returned to repeatedly during Rafman’s film, could be at home in (and was most likely taken from) the Internet’s video landscape, populated in large part by such documentations of home experiments. Does the sadistic destruction of household appliances speak to a pent-up frustration with the ease and sterility of the modern experience? Is it a lashing out at the mask of convenience that, with one finger to its lips, shh’s our primal anxieties into an uneasy quiet? Is it the basis of all spectacle and theater, tragedy and comedy, the perverse thrill of seeing the shimmering and godlike erode into profane parody? To locate on these seemingly-enclosed and stone-perfect systems an obscene, belching hole? Rafman’s film continues: iphone snapshots of teens unconscious at parties with horrifically Sharpie-marred faces, images of devils and demons from the various Infernos of classical painting, a woman lovingly caressing a large prawn-like creature before setting it under her foot to crush it in callous close-up, a person in a frog costume bound to a table writhing, the unsettling musings of an inhuman voice-over. In this barrage of grotesque sadism, the film could come off as invariably bleak: an indifferent, robotic distillation of human behavior rummaged from the Internet’s shadowier nooks. Yet, there is something behind that, perhaps compassion, but maybe just pity, for the hopelessly abusive and self-destructive creatures it depicts.

Barry Doupé, "Life and People" (still), 2014

Barry Doupé, “Life and People” (still), 2014

 

The camera is the disembodied eye, functioning with the unblinking, clinical lucidity reserved for ghosts and machines. The camera itself disappears in the film illusion, never to be caught by its own gaze: even that image, the one that passed there on that polished, silver ovoid, that looked strikingly like a camera, though distorted by the convex surface, is not the Camera. This anti-Narcissus, completely unmoved by its reflection, does not identify itself as part of the scene it observes. It is not fooled by make-up, costumes, sets, performance; it will not be drowned in the illusion. Film is a product of an argument between subjective human performers, in their manic, self-mutilating frenzy, and this uncaring, alien Eye.

In Barry Doupé’s “Life and People,” the performers, paradoxically, seem to take on the perspective of the Camera in that, though they performing in the scene, none seem to have an emotional/psychological/economic stake in it. They are vessels for the delivery of dialogue that, because of misplaced facial expression and lack of eye contact between players, is always disconnected from the speaker and unperceived by the spoken-to, existing in a neutral auditory realm that is only intercepted by the Camera and the audience. All of the action takes place in a unidentified location, seemingly a warehouse that is partially obscured by several white walls. The film consists of a series of discontinuous scenes, ranging from the utterly mundane (parent-teacher conferences, open houses, gossip, various consumer situations) to the tragic (sexual abuse, suicide), all delivered in the same robotic disinterest, a vague approximation of human interaction. The situations are made more alien by the choreography: players stand in random relations to each other: sometimes too close or far away, facing in different directions, some characters climb a ladder in order to deliver their lines without relevant reason. The film concludes with a woman lying on her side in the center of the shot. She remains motionless while arguing with another woman outside the frame, and over the course of the argument, the camera, disinterested, revolves around the woman, closes in on the back of her head, and then returns to its original position. This final scene brings together all the techniques of disconnection used throughout the film. There is disconnection on every level: setting, choreography, cinematography, delivery, facial expression, no element interacts with or relates to any other element. This is the perspective of the removed Eye, the Camera, which without emotional investment, perceives the scene as a collection of disparate contrivances that never resolve into a coherent illusion.

Jeremy Shaw, "Quickeners" (still), 2014

Jeremy Shaw, “Quickeners” (still), 2014

 

The interplay of disinterested observer and delusional performer is further dramatized in the final film of this shorts series, “Quickeners” directed by Jeremy Shaw. The piece takes the form of a faux-documentary film reel from a future after the extinction of homo sapiens and the emergence of our evolutionary successors, “quantum humans.” The film is from the perspective of these quantum humans, who are an immortal, hive-mind species, and the subject of the film is the disease “Human Ativism Syndrome.” HAS is described as causing in victims a reversion to the obsolete behaviors of their human ancestors. The documentary focuses on a certain group of HAS victims who have embraced their disease, and try to tap into the ritualistic delusions it induces in order to experience something called a “Quickening,” which is a kind of orgasmic trance caused by a feeling of disconnection from the Hive. The deathless quantum humans have transcended the need for ritual, performance, music, dance, etc, all of which reemerge in the Quickeners’ meetings and are contextualized by a monotone narrator for the quantum audience who may not understand the absurd customs. Part of the ritual involves the handling of a poisonous snake, which creates a “simulacrum threat of death,” recalling the mortality of the ancestors they intend to imitate. The narrator emphasizes the importance of the serpent, expounding on its ubiquity in global culture and its varied symbolic meaning. The serpent becomes a unifier, bringing into the same symbol opposing associations: at one side it is corruption, sickness, sin, evil and on the other medicine, health, intelligence, ingenuity. Maybe most significantly the serpent is the ouroboros, symbol of life-death-rebirth infinitely looping, the self-consuming, self-regenerating system.

This is the image of life and death in intimate concert, the supreme opposite resolution. The “simulacrum of death” in ritual is of vital significance: if ritual is a performance of life, than death too, with its unblinking glass eye, must be reflected somewhere on the mirror. More than this, ritual is a movement beyond death, which is no more graspable to us than to any hypothetical immortal being. Only the threat of death, a withdrawing shadow, is available to us: past this we make assumptions, create symbols, take faith-leaps. But there is always that threat, reflection flickering time to time in the corner of our vision, and when we turn to face it, gone, save a lingering absence. It is this tormenting ghost that induces our sadomasochistic obsessions. It is before this featureless, stone gaze we perform the scrimmage of our annihilation. It is to this icey lab-table we strap ourselves, awaiting the scalpel’s descent. This is the true Camera, of which every other camera is a distorted reflection. Film, a death-ritual, teaches us that the act of living is necessarily self-destructive, just as self-destruction is necessarily regenerative, and every film is indicative of the infinite performance before the true Camera: but onto what blank screen, and into what theater, reeking of artificial butter, white noise of wrapper-cracks and mechanical humming, is this Film projected? By what silent audience watched?