AROUND TOWN: Lots of exhibition openings!

LOTS OF OPENINGS AROUND BUSHWICK TODAY!

“Glorious Creatures,” an exhibition featuring artworks
by Jeff Davis, Deborah Mesa-Pelly, and Michael Wetzel.

Reception 6p-9p
Honey Ramka
56 Bogart St.
(646) 401-4431

Adam Simon: Swipe
Reception 6p-9p
Studio10
56 Bogart Street
(718) 852-4396

“PAST/FORWARD”
Reception 6p-9p
Amos Eno Gallery
1087 Flushing Avenue, Suite 120
(718) 237-3001

AZETTAGH
Reception 7p-10p
OUTLET Fine Art
253 Wilson Ave
(915) 525-0410

Reva Castillenti | Corporeal Digest
Reception 6p-9p
et al projects
56 Bogart Street
(914) 498-8328

Things That Barely Exist by Pancho Westendarp
Reception 6p-9p
Robert Henry Contemporary
56 Bogart St
(718) 473-0819

X-istential
Reception 6p-10p
Loft 594 Gallery
594 Bushwick Avenue
2nd Floor
(305) 205-9722

and a performance at
Grace Exhibition Space
“BODY/MASS” Performances
by Faith Johnson, Nyugen E. Smith,
Geraldo Mercado and Thomas Albrecht
Curated by Samuel Burhoe (with Jill McDermid and Esther Neff)
Doors 9:00 Performances 9:30-11:00 pm
Donation suggested $5-15
840 Broadway, 2nd Floor

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REVIEW: Candy Colored Clown: Response to “Economy Candy” at Harbor Gallery

Candy Colored Clown: Response to “Economy Candy” at Harbor Gallery
written by Conor O’Brien, The Living Gallery

Ross Moreno is clown apparel

Ross Moreno is clown apparel

Justin Cooper, dressed in park ranger garb, introduces himself as yet another park ranger who has moved to Brooklyn. He explains that like most park rangers, he needs a side job to support himself: so he does performance art. This joke works mostly on the level of its simplicity, specifically the awareness of its own simplicity. Most of the performance operates on this hyper-aware level wherein the jokes, magic tricks, and stunts adopt an aesthetic of simplicity and childish absurdity as the joke is often the joke itself: its awkward and/or childishly sincere delivery, basic structure, and anti-climatic punchline. Cooper and his partner Ross Moreno so often comment on the performance (usually self-deprecating) within the performance that it can become unclear at which point a seeming mistake is genuine or just part of the performance, part of its self-referentiality.

Another park ranger moving to Brooklyn

Another park ranger moving to Brooklyn

In the first part of the two-parted performance, Cooper makes a joke about his partner’s birth saying “He was born with a full head of hair, and a cigar in his hand that he used to cauterize his own fallopian tube.” Realizing his mistake, Cooper fumbles for the correct term, needing to ask the audience before he remembers what he meant to say is “umbilical cord.” By the time he returns to the punchline (“But I don’t believe it. Cause I don’t think he ever had hair”) the audience has already forgotten or lost interest in the joke’s set up, and the punchline loses all steam. But those who went to both performances would realize that what seemed as a genuine mistake was actually intentional, as Cooper repeats the same joke with the same mistake in the second show. The duo often undermine themselves in this way, and to some extent they do it to play with the audience: a Kaufman-esque effort to baffle, antagonize, or otherwise playfully prank the viewer. The performance feeds on audience reaction, its confusion or discomfort in particular, often going as far as implicating the audience in the performance, during moments where character/fourth wall is broken or the audience is invited (or more likely forced) to participate.

April Childers “Santa for all Seasons (Cheeseburger Santa)”

April Childers “Santa for all Seasons (Cheeseburger Santa)”

April Childers “Pocket”

April Childers “Pocket”

The two performances are part of Harbor Gallery’s “Economy Candy” exhibition. The name is taken from a Lower East Side candy shop that opened during the Great Depression. A candy shop which sells discount candy, whose existence is necessitated by a harsh economic reality, acts both as a distractive relief from those realities as well as a reminder of them, this reminder just thinly and almost mockingly veiled by the shop’s colorful, candied walls. This juxtaposition, the dual role of distraction and reminder, which can be applied to comedy and art as well as to candy shops, seems to be the main concept dealt with by the artists exhibited in the show. These artists, playfully and with a sense of humor, explore the ways that art can distract/ soothe/ even numb and the ways it can make reality felt more immediately. These two effects of art are not mutually exclusive, as all art contains some ratio of both, and each effect can be used to produce the other: reality, struggle, pain can be sublimated into entertainment while alternatively, as seems to be the case with some pieces in this exhibit, a more kitschy/ readily accessible aesthetic can be adopted exactly for the moment when it is broken, the veil lifted, and rather than being distracted, people are made more  keenly aware of their discomfort for the element of surprise.

Jeff De Golier “Spirit Lake”

Jeff De Golier “Spirit Lake”

Jeff De Golier “Motor Boat”

Jeff De Golier “Motor Boat”

Two pieces by April Childers use familiar symbols of American culture to make large, absurdist sculptures. “Pocket” is an oversized, denim pocket filled with a half-deflated beach ball so that it balloons out from the wall. With “A Santa for all Seasons (Cheeseburger Santa)” a cartoonish depiction of Santa Claus resembles an anthropomorphic cheeseburger. The combination of these otherwise harmless and familiar images creates a sculpture that is as unsettling as it is humorous. Jeff DeGolier creates sculptural collages using a variety of objects and materials: coffee cups, champagne glass, sawdust, glitter, mirrors, yarn. His piece “Motor Boat” is constructed from a car stereo and two large speakers which are draped in doilies and yarn, a collage of the loud and the delicate. Maria Britton makes abstract paintings using acrylic paint on bedsheets, which are wrinkled so that the canvas, rather than being simply a backdrop on which the piece is painted, asserts itself as being part of the piece. Alicia Gibson uses acrylic, oil, and spray paint to make colorful, loud, disorienting paintings which seem to reflect a chaotic experience of urban life.

Series by Maria Britton

Series by Maria Britton

Alicia Gibson “Notes of a Dirty old Woman”

Alicia Gibson “Notes of a Dirty old Woman”

Much of the humor in Justin Cooper and Ross Moreno’s performances come from playing with these two juxtaposed forces in art and comedy. At one point Moreno, dressed as a clown, performs a magic trick only to start berating the audience for not “understanding” it. Distraction and diversion are the fundamental techniques of a magician; it is important for the magician to divert the audience’s attention or mislead their expectations so that trick takes them by surprise. In the case of Moreno’s bit, it is the magic trick itself that is the diversion, they expect some sort of surprising conclusion to the trick but they do not expect the performer, dressed as he is in a clown costume, to suddenly turn on them. At one point Cooper plays a lounge singer who in between songs confesses to his lingering, debilitating depression. Similarly, the show’s “encore” features Cooper playing an overenthusiastic pitchman who at one point begins bleeding from his mouth and reveals a wound on his torso before collapsing to the ground. Their humor comes from diverting the audience in some way, with some silly/ childlike aesthetic, soothing lounge music, or excess of enthusiasm, only to allow the things broiling below the surface performance, some antagonism between performer and audience, depression, etc., to reveal itself.

The “Finale:” Justin Cooper attempts to break a cinderblock over Ross Moreno

The “Finale:” Justin Cooper attempts to break a cinderblock over Ross Moreno

All photos on this post are © Conor O’Brien 2014.

Gallery Location: 17-17 Troutman #258, Queens, NY 11385
Hours: Saturday/Sunday from 1pm to 6pm and By Appointment
Exhibition Dates: January 11th through February 16th, 2014!
Gallery Contact: info@harbor1717.com

AROUND TOWN: “Show #9” at The Parlour Bushwick

Show #9

Location: The Parlour Bushwick, 791 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Exhibition Dates: January 25 through March 9, 2014
Opening Reception: January 25, 2014 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Gallery Hours: Sunday from 12:00pm to 6:00pm and By Appointment
Contact: info@theparlourbushwick.com or (718) 360-3218 / (718)360-6973

Text from their website:

The Parlour Bushwick is pleased to present “Show #9”. The opening reception will take place Saturday, January 25 from 6 – 9pm. The Parlour Bushwick is located at 791 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11221. The exhibition will run until Sunday, March 9, 2014. The gallery is open Sunday from 12 pm – 6 pm and by appointment. 


The work in show # 9 exudes a minimal aesthetic. Simplicity rather than decoration guarantees the essentialness of the piece. The work speaks to you thoughtfully as if carefully controlled. That is not to say that chance does not play a role in their process. In fact, all the artists’ experiment with the materials they work with whether it is a printer, a form or a surface. The decisions made during their process, calculated or random have an introspective quality.

Andrea Monti’s polaroids are a result of playing with different techniques, including multiple-exposure, long exposure, interference, addition of filters, as well as straightforward shots documenting his life. The accumulation of these images creates a sensory experience that describes a quiet and pensive solitude. On the other hand, much of his work can be playful. His piece entitled “The Most Useless Machine Ever” not only is a study in futility but is also a documentation of what has become a universal pastime – obsessively watching seemingly ridiculous and random subjects on the Internet. Combining YouTube videos of other peoples’ obsession with building and then displaying machines that immediately shut themselves off is a meditation in the act of nonsense and displays a sense of mischief.

Stacy Scibelli’s work is a contemplation on form. Intuitive and conceptual, her pieces are made to look like clothing but are impossible to wear. They call to mind minimalist art and fashion while denying the functionality of the clothing adding an element of frustration and suprise.

MaryKate Maher makes terrestrial-like objects that are based on notions of how to manipulate and control nature. The perilous arrangement of rocks in “Cairn,” convey a metaphorical unease. You don’t expect the rocks to fall nor the paper bag that supports it. The piece stands as its own entity, free from the laws of gravity. It is the restrained elegance and careful placement of parts that draw associations and mood while defying a narrative.

Images courtesy of The Parlour Bushwick.

REVIEW: Stoned Apes and Good Vibrations: The Work of Josef Bull

Stoned Apes and Good Vibrations: The Work of Josef Bull
by Aviram Yap, Guest Contributor (aviram.yap@gmail.com)

VIDEO: Josef Bull – Full Body Didgeridoo from Josef Bull on Vimeo.

Josef Bull’s latest exhibition is psychedelic, mind-bending, and as scientific as ever. In conjunction with the opening of his exhibition Casa Piramidal, this past weekend at Bushwick’s Jackie Klempay Gallery, Bull organized a performance with his PVC-pipe Didgeridoo sculpture, which enables full-body sound bathing for participating audience members, featuring musician AJ Block.

Bull weaves a fine line throughout his examination of spiritual phenomenon conducted in domestic environments.  He takes easily dismissible subject matter, such as the didgeridoo or DIY culture, and tweaks it just enough to make you wonder if Bull is critical of, or embracing of, this mash of cultures on display. People current on druggie-hippie-rave culture understand that this group has wholeheartedly embraced the “didge,” instantly transforming an Aboriginal Australian wind instrument into an object of controversy.

When asked about his choice of subject matter, Bull responded by saying, “I like the didgeridoo as a ‘material’ because it’s so hated. Didgeridoo players are hated! Jim who I collaborate with in Sweden regularly has experienced people spitting and shouting at him because of their hatred for the didgeridoo. It’s insane. I’m interested in these cliche spiritual and often mass produced attributes. Like didges and hippie shirts from nepal. I like ‘low’ materials and to see how they transform with different contexts. The cool thing though is that every didgeridoo player I’ve met through the project this far has been anything but cliche and incredibly interesting and intelligent.”

Following Bull’s explanation, it should be made clear that his didges are anything but hated. Bull succeeds at taking despised subject matter, extracting the essence, and producing an inquisitive object that embodies any relevant attributes it may possess.  Indeed it takes real skill to be able to turn something so hated into high art.

The first major attribute setting it apart from the hippie didge, is the complex construction and performative aspect. Seeking out and hiring the local didge expert is part of the process, which culminates when gallery-goers lay within the instrument so that they can meditate while completely enveloped by sound and vibration.  There are 7 openings for air to flow through – 1 for the musician to blow into, 2 for the ears, 2 for the breasts, 1 for the belly button, and 1 for the groin. (It hits all the chakras.) The PVC pipes are painted with a stone-craft patina, and placed on a hand-woven yak-wool blanket.  When the performance is not happening, most people do not realize that the object has anything other than a purely aesthetic purpose — it is indeed a curiously beautiful apparatus.

Internet-based research is also a huge resource for Bull’s work.  He’s inspired by amateur enthusiasts, garage scientists and fringe thinkers sharing their work on the web.  Framed and overlooking the entire space is one of the characters he came across while surfing youtube – the owner of Casa Piramidal, a pyramid-shaped mansion in Santa Catarina, Brazil. In the back room, there is a video projection of a suburban backyard. When you don the headphones, vibrating ‘OMs’ fill your ears. Both of these visual and audio elements were culled from the internet.

Adorning one gallery corner is a “rain stick” covered in luscious salt crystals that the mad-scientist Bull grew onsite with bluing and ammonia. In the garden space, the thread between inexplicable meditation techniques and casual Western comfort continues. Three butterfly sporting chairs sit in the grass, outfitted with copper-piping and chic pyramid-shaped crowns. Beside them is an analogous cooler of beer.

Born 1984 in Stockholm Sweden, this is Josef Bull’s first solo show in New York.  He  graduated from Konstfack University College of Arts in 2009 and has exhibited internationally at Museum of Ethnograpy Stockholm; Mare Gallery, Crete; Hanaholmen Cultural Center, Helsinki;  Forgotten Bar / Galerie Im Regierungsviertel, Berlin;  Peter Bergman Gallery, Stockholm. He’s a co-founder and editor of the publishing house and artist collective Nautofon. With such a stunning exhibition history and this New York debut, I can’t wait to see what curiosities the young Bull has up his sleeve next.  Until then, this show is a must-see.  Jackie Klempay Gallery is open the night of the opening, always by appointment, and usually on Wednesday evenings 7:30-9:30 pm.

AROUND TOWN: Exhibition at Jackie Klempay Gallery, “Josef Bull: Casa Piramidal”

josef bull - casa piramidal

JOSEF BULL: CASA PIRAMIDAL

Exhibition Dates: November 16 to December 31, 2013
Location:
Jackie Klempay Gallery, 81 Central Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Gallery Hours: Wednesdays, 7:30pm to 9:30pm and By Appointment
For More Information Contact: 
KLEMPAYJ@GMAIL.COM

From their website:

Guided by garage scientists and fringe thinkers, youtube videos and dust bunnies of the internet, Josef Bull cross-breeds western backyard culture with tools of transcendence. This exhibition includes a series of meditation-pyramid folding chairs and a functioning PVC-pipe Didgeridoo that enables full-body sound bathing, providing solutions for spiritual experiences in domestic settings. 

Josef Bull (b. 1984) graduated from Konstfack University College of Arts in Stockholm, Sweden in 2009.  He has exhibited internationally at Museum of Ethnograpy Stockholm; Mare Gallery, Crete; Hanaholmen Cultural Center, Helsinki;  Forgotten Bar / Galerie Im Regierungsviertel, Berlin;  Peter Bergman Gallery, Stockholm. He’s a co-founder and editor of the publishing house and artist collective Nautofon.

We thank The Swedish Arts Grants Committee for their generous support of this exhibition.

REVIEW: Code and Language in DataSpaceTime’s “Thresholds”

Review: Code and Language in DataSpaceTime’s “Thresholds”
written by Conor O’Brien, The Living Gallery

Video of a crosswalk as it is offset by video of a taxi

Video of a crosswalk as it is offset by video of a taxi

Microscope Gallery co-founder Elle Burchill said of the people who’ve seen the gallery’s current exhibition, “Thresholds” by DataSpaceTime duo Ray Sweeten and Lisa Gwilliam, those who seemed to respond most enthusiastically to the work were the poets who read at the gallery’s recent poetry event.

Distorted text of code

Distorted text of code

Poetry uses language in a particular way. It is about association more than point-making. A word does not only signify: it has a sound, a shape, and a web of connotations and image-inducing capabilities aside from whatever its standardized definition may be. Language, of course, is not limited to words. Language informs how we think and, by extension, what we think.  If we only “read” a certain way then we will only think a certain way, and will only think certain things. Poets often play with language in order to elucidate language’s relationship with thought, and how people’s ways of thinking can be manipulated by language.

View of the space

View of the space

DataSpaceTime’s installation consists of four screens that operate on four different browsers which send information to each other, and respond accordingly, using “web-chat technology.”

The two center screens

The two center screens

Two of the screens are separated into grids that play a series of image gifs. At times the gifs work together to form a larger, coherent moving image (aerial view of a street, the top of an escalator, panning view of a graffitied wall at night), at other times the gifs off-set the larger image into abstraction. These screens sometimes resemble a digital tapestry, the motion of the gifs often suggest weaving.

The smaller screen, detail of two gifs

The smaller screen, detail of two gifs

The two other screens, a smaller one to the left of the center screens on the same wall and another screen on the opposite wall, show a visual decomposition of the information being sent to the center screens. The smaller screen breaks down the image gifs being fed to the center screens. The other screen is similar in size and grid-structure to the two center screens, but instead of images of urban scenery, this screen displays a page of distorted text under the image of a magnifying glass. The press release reveals this text to be the code the artists wrote to run the piece.

Fourth screen: Image of magnifying glass offset by image of text

Fourth screen: Image of magnifying glass offset by image of text

The code is not hidden; it is aestheticized and incorporated into the piece. This can be framed in a poetry context, as a poetic use of this language. The language of computer programming is both ubiquitous and invisible in the internet age, and only a relative minority of people can “read” it or understand its rules. The piece reveals how text informs image informs text: the language of computer code influences the images as they appear on screen, manipulating and distorting them, while the text of the code itself also becomes an image that is manipulated.

At the Listening Party, sketch #2

At the Listening Party, sketch #2

DataSpaceTime’s Ray Sweeten performed during the Microscope Gallery’s “Listening Party.” During the event he premiered what he described as two unfinished “sketches,” using the same technology as the “Thresholds” to allow the browsers send and respond not only to gifs, but also different sounds, creating audio compositions that correspond to the visual ones.

Ray Sweetey, ½ of DataSpaceTime

Ray Sweetey, ½ of DataSpaceTime

Before beginning the second sketch, Sweetey opened up a computer file in order to put finishing touches on the program’s code, explaining to the audience that he needed to “pull back the curtain for a second.” The effect is that of making the audience aware of the language behind the experience of the piece. It is a comment on language, a breaking down of text, image, and sound, and the relationship of language to experience. There is a sense that our experience, the sounds we hear and images we see, can be manipulated not only by the languages we can “read,” but perhaps even more so by those we can not, such as the language of computer code. Our everyday experience is similarly manipulated by the ways we can or cannot “read” it. DataSpaceTime is interested not only in creating the experience, but allowing the mechanics that inform the experience to be unveiled and incorporated into it.

“Pulling back the curtain”

“Pulling back the curtain”

For more information about this show visit the gallery’s page
or check out their Facebook Event. The show runs through December 1st.

AROUND TOWN (TONIGHT): “Transitions v.1 (Like an Indefinite State)” Opening

Upcoming at Associated:
Transitions v.1 (Like an Indefinite State)

Running: November 16, 2013 through December 1, 2013
Opening: Saturday November 16, 2013 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays from 1:00pm to 6:00pm and By Appointment
Contact: associatedgallery@gmail.com (Email for confirmation.)
Location and Further Contact: http://associatedgallery.tumblr.com/Visit

Transitions

“Associated is pleased to announce the first of a series of group shows evoking the theme of transition. Please join us on Saturday, November 16 from 7-10pm as we celebrate the opening of Transitions v.1 (Like an Indefinite State), featuring works by Michael Alongi, Diane DiMassa, Peter Hoffmeister, Shinto Imai, Robert Nava, Elizabeth Riley, Cecilia Salama, and Mika Yokobori.

From the start of life, we begin to die; Transition between parent and child, or one force to another (Shinto Imai), a blue tarp as a metaphorical dividing line between self and other (Elizabeth Riley). By spending time with them and taking pictures, I feel that I’ve been able to participate in something meaningful – a relationship with each – which is something that can’t be overlooked (Michael Alongi). I could not see the image on this, and carefully washed the mud off, to have a portrait emerge… (Diane DiMassa). I choose to use biomorphic images as a metaphor for social hierarchy, as well as human cells, body parts, or organs as for an individual or a collective functionality within an organism or culture (Mika Yokobori). The fluidity of borders which change according to government policy and conflict, but which can also provide a people with sovereignty (Peter Hoffmeister) is a narrative of the integration of the body and an individual’s psychological states with the city (Elizabeth Riley). In the process of streaming ideas and imagination onto canvas or paper, I become an observer and a single component of my own social environment (Mika Yokobori). The words transcend into the mind, hopefully to a somewhat familiar place of an emotional loopty loop that can occur during a tear-jerking argument (Robert Nava). It definitely begs for an archeological explanation, as it is a sort of enigmatic object that feels like something you can’t quite identify (Peter Hoffmeister)… A mold that has tiny nodules which create a sort of binary-code onto the iridescent latex when it dries (Cecilia Salama). Finally, the text piece, I feel, is left for the mind to handle, in the flow of a circular conversation (Robert Nava).”

(INFO/IMG/TEXT SOURCE)