Art & Development, Community

A Week in Review: Seven Days in My Art World

Art and art experiences from the past seven days.

So I haven’t been to the Whitney or MoMA lately. Does that mean I’m taking living in NYC for granted? Possibly. But over the past eight days, I’ve experienced art and art dialogues in lots of ways….

  • Self-organized studio visits among Bronx AIM participants (Margaret Inga Wiatrowski, Didier William, Tatiana Isotomina, and Anna Ablogina). The cohort’s practices are quite developed; members ask very thoughtful questions; and we stay fueled up on candy and snacks. There’s a lot of mutual goodwill and I’m so thankful to be part of it.
  • A few Chelsea galleries off the beaten path. Making a highly-edited list on forced me off my usual four-block slither…. Killer charcoal drawings by Robert Longo at Petzel—an art school fundamental, executed to perfection. Peter Dreher painted the same glass of water, over and over (Koenig & Clinton); hardheaded persistence seemed winsome to me. Insignia intermixed with Thai embellishments by Jakkai Siributr at Tyler Rollins Fine Art…. My list exceeded my time; yet to see the shows by Justin Matherly, Lisi Raskin, David Maisel, Kristen Morgin, Josephine Mekseper, and Adam Pendleton. [Funny, all but one of these artists I have worked with, or handled their artworks, or heard them speak. This makes me think that Chelsea is less predictable than I usually give it credit for, or galleries are putting their best foot forward for this month’s fairs. Or maybe I’m just getting around more.]
  • Artist’s talk at a Parson’s undergrad class.* Under-slept and over-caffeinated, I delivered a zippy talk about my work, opinions on the art world, and professional strategies.  Seeing the students sprawled out on the model plinths, half-broken stools and paint-splattered floor made me a little nostalgic for art school.
  • My studio. Finishing up a new ribbon text—actually a translation of an existing text—for a forthcoming billboard overseas. (Details will be announced soon.) Starting a new project—the hardest part. I remembered the art school assignment to do 100 drawings—it’s still a great way to declare a no-judgment zone, overcome self-critical inertia, and get to work. Patti Smith’s descriptions of her and Mapplethorpe’s passion for getting lost in creative activity in Just Kids helped too.**
  • LMCC’s Open Studios. Visited one of the strangest settings for art—an entire semi-reconstructed floor of a corporate high-rise in the financial district. Lots of great artists in this highly competitive studio program. I was also very moved by an interactive play-in-progress by Aya Ogawa.

*Thanks, SAS, for inviting me!

** Thanks for the book trade, CLF.

Citizenship, Community, Sights

get excited: open studios, mfa shows, more

Besides Frieze, NADA, and Pulse art fairs in NYC this week, there’s a slew of auxilliary events, open studios, and MFA shows to check out. In support of friends and community, here’s my list:

Go Stephanie!

May 4–6
Stephanie Syjuco: RAIDERS (Redux)
Catharine Clark Gallery’s New York Pop-Up Gallery
313 W 14th Street, 2F, NYC

May 4–6
LMCC’s Open Studio Weekend
125 Maiden Lane, 14th Floor, NYC

Go Michael!

Saturday, May 12
2012 MFA Interaction Design Festival at the School of Visual Arts
Thesis Presentations: 11am – 4pm @ SVA Theatre
Thesis Exhibition: 5–7pm @ SVA Interaction Design Department
Go Nyeema!
May 12–13
NARS Foundation Open Studios
88 35th Street, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn
May 18–19
Kambui Olujimi: A Life in Pictures
Apex Art, 291 Church Street, NYC
Saturday, May 19
Question Bridge: Black Males Blueprint Roundtable
Brooklyn Museum 
Finally, if that’s not enough, learn about Emergency USA‘s amazing projects building medical infrastructure in areas of conflict:
Thursday, May 3, 7pm, E-USA office @ 21 Exchange Place. Presentation. RSVP to
Sunday, May 6, 5–8pm, Randolph Beer, Nolita. 15% benefit happy hour.
Community, Research

Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Open Studios

Open Studios is a chance to talk to artists, peek at studios and works in progress, and think about methods and materials. I enjoyed this very much in my visit to the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Open Studios last night. The EFA Open Studios continues today and Saturday.

The EFA has a building in midtown Manhattan with six floors of studios rented by established and emerging artists. There’s also a project space, as well as a print shop. The whole building was a hive of activity for Open Studios; it reminded me of being an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA, where I opened my studio to the public many times (Visit the Headlands’ Fall Open House this Sunday, October 17). EFA had a similar cross-section: a few big names; many interesting, under-recognized artists; and a cadre of East Asian artists with crafty or pop/anime sensibilities. There were lots of painters and few video artists; meticulous, feminine papercuts (by Amina Amed and Jaq Belcher); and a few very commercial enterprises balanced by a few wacky conceptualists and performance artists. I was surprised to see that some artists had large etching presses or Vandercook letterpresses in their studios. (You see how important elevators become when your studio is 5 or 6 or 9 floors up.) I was most excited about these artists:

Saya Woolfalk, Cartography of No Place, Gouache on paper, 30" x 40", 2008

Saya Woolfalk, 2008, Cartography of No Place, Gouache on paper, 30" x 40". Image source: Artist’s website.

Saya Wookfalk makes paintings, installations, performances and videos in Hello Kitty hues. She works with cognitive scientists and dancers, and teaches herself theater lighting. Need I say more?

Kristian Kozul makes kinda bad-ass sculpture. In his studio, he’s working on fantastic militaristic busts dripping in rosettes and covered in a glossly black resin.

David Greg Harth[/caption]

David Greg Harth, World News Tonight, 2010. Image source:

David Greg Harth’s immensity can’t be captured here, but I’ll try: weird, painful, simple, public interventions, like collecting autographs in a Bible, tumbling down public steps, and opening a kiosk that only sells newspapers with horrible, 300-pt. headlines. Provocative, hilarious and wince-worthy. I liked that the artist was complicit in his projects about human folly: his willingness to humiliate and hurt himself was in plentiful evidence.

Dane Patterson, The Wedding, Graphite on Paper, 22 x 30 in, 2009

Dane Patterson, 2009, The Wedding, Graphite on Paper, 22 x 30". Image source:

Dane Patterson can draw like crazy; but many steps—performance, sculpture, and photography—lead up to it.

Of the painters, I was attracted to Patty Catuera’s and Gary Petersen‘s work. Both make hard-edge, brightly colored, super flat abstractions. If you said that these paintings appeal to my design sensibilities, you’d probably be right, and I see nothing wrong with that. Patty’s work seems especially vibrant and sweet in its simplicity. The imagery originates in landscapes, and with the large expanses of flat, abstract space, there is room to push and pull the volumes and imagine a narrative unfolding.

I also liked David Storey’s mildly figurative mid-mod abstractions. They’re cheeky. They make me think of Mad Men interiors and knowing smiles.

Hong Seon Jang, Forest, tape on black chalkboard, 2010, 25x19 inches

Hong Seon Jang, 2010, Forest, tape on black chalkboard, 25×19 inches. Image source:

Hong Seon Jang, Geographic wave (in process) National Geographic magazines, binder clips, push pins, 2009, 140x80 inches (variable)

Hong Seon Jang, 2009, Geographic wave (in process) National Geographic magazines, binder clips, push pins, 140×80 inches (variable). Image source:

Hong Seon Jang had some terrific lichens cut from National Geographics, and forest scenes made out of cellophane tape. Nice!

Noah Kersfield

Still from a video by Noah Kersfield. Image source:

Noah Klersfeld’s videos were weirdly mesmerizing, partly from the sheer technical prowess, like stained glass come to life from pedestrian, single-camera shots.

Jihyun Park‘s large punched-paper and burned-paper works are really beautiful. I’m not especially compelled by the imagery, but the craftsmanship and perceptual experience are fantastic.

I admired Yuken Teruya’s paper sculptures in graduate school. I also love the graphic quality of batik, so it was a special treat to visit Teruya’s studio and see his most recent dye-resist paintings.

Hank Willis Thomas’ work is clean and super provocative; if, like me, you were most familiar with his advertisement-based work, he’s been busy with lots of text-based signs and lenticulars as well. I’ll leave it at that, since I’ve been helping out my fellow CCA alum.

Brian Whitney set up four mirrors to successfully merge two images into a 3D image; he’s also figured out a way to print photographic images on mylar. Jealous!

I also really enjoyed talking to Jimbo Blachy and his guest, who I assume to be his collaborator, Lytle Shaw. They had the skeleton of a boat set up in their studio, a whole lot of boating and Brit-ish ephemera, and they were wearing matching striped sailor shirts. That is, until you looked closer and realized that one of the shirts was actually a white t-shirt with stripes painted on it. That kind of geniality and jokiness immediately appealed to me. Later, I passed by their studio again, and saw the two of them alone, busy cracking each other up.

Art & Development

Headlands Open House / Home for Artists

One of my favorite things about being part of the Headlands community is the post-Open-House walkabouts. Since I’m reluctant to leave my studio during the Open House, it’s nice to go around to the other artist’s studios and see everything I missed. We visited about two dozen studios tonight. I love visiting studios and hearing artists talk about their work.

Here are a few photos. Click on the image for a larger file.
headlands center for the arts post open house walkable photo collage

And if you were caught in Fleet Week traffic and missed Open House, here’s a 360 shot of my studio. Click on the image for a larger file.
lorem ipsum series, miniature charcoal ingots, the best person i can be lighted sign

I haven’t got installations up in my studio, because I’ve got an installation and sculpture out at Bay Area Now‘s Galleon Trade exhibition at YBCA, and am also preparing for the Headlands’ Mystery Ball on Oct. 25. The Lorem Ipsum series (2 panels plus 2 hand-drawn wall texts) will appear in Kearny Street Workshop’s Shifted Focus exhibition, which opens Oct. 25 as well.