America’s Diverse Social Tapestry Shines with “IN/FLUX” on view at Pelham Art Center

by Elizabeth Barenis

 

On view at Pelham Art Center through November 2nd, “IN/FLUX” – co-curated by PAC Director Charlotte Mouquin and Gallery Advisory Board Member Victoria Rolett – features works by compelling contemporary artists wielding their perspectives on immigration as expressed through various mediums. Ranging from photography to painting, installation art to collage, artists on view don’t shy away from aspects of immigration – positive and negative – that have shaped the scope of their respective artistic practices. Artists on view include Corina S. Alvarezdelugo, Selin Balci, Nicky Enright, Jenny Polak, Alejandra Hernandez, David Rios Ferreira, Omid Shekari, Ruben Natal San Miguel, Natalia Nakazawa and Victoria-Idongesit Udondian. The works exude a sense that the wider narrative diversity brings to the table creates a more intriguing contemporary art experience.

The Republic of Unknown Territory by Victoria-Idongesit Udondian for IN/FLUX

Visitors to this unique survey exhibition are greeted at the entrance by sounds of immigrants reflecting on their experiences as captured by Victoria-Idongesit Udondian for her installation, “The Republic of Unknown Territory.” Various articles of clothing are scattered throughout the space, suspended in hidden narratives that allude to both the absence and presence of their owners.

Engaged with the macro, rather than micro, elements of immigration, artist Natalia Nakazawa creates a map of woven threads manifesting the journeys that immigrants have taken to start new lives for themselves in their chosen homes. Denoting trade and travel along immigrant pathways, Nakazawa creates her works by incorporating participation into her process. Similarly engaged with fabrics and mixed materials, this work contrasts with Udondian’s installation in its bird’s-eye view of the effects which immigration exerts on an international scale.

Our Stories of Migration tapestry by Natalia Nakazawa for IN/FLUX

Ferreira’s pop-infused postcolonial drawings peel apart the layers of mythology and truth that comprise each immigrant’s personal history as well as society’s response to immigration. The colorful hues spanning intricate drawings in Ferreira’s works speak to an overarching, allegorical immigrant experience: a wider narrative that embraces aspects of varying sociopolitical relationships and international transportation.

Similarly engaged with maps, travel and transportation, Corina S. Alvarezdelugo’s collage works meld imagery unpacking the emotional weight of what lays near and far, subjects both intimate and remote.

David Rios Ferreira with his Drawings for the opening of IN/FLUX

 

Corina S. Alvarezdelugo’s Pangaea for IN/FLUX

On view at Pelham Art Center from September 20-November 2nd, “IN/FLUX” will host a variety of immigration-themed programming over the course of its time at the Center. These events include:

Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba celebration with BombaYo! – Sunday, Sept. 22nd 2-4pm
Diwali the Hindu festival of lights – Sunday, Oct. 6th 2-4pm
Mexican Day of the Dead – Sunday, Oct. 27th 2-4pm
There will be additional performance art during ArtsFest weekend Oct. 4-6th

Jay Milder’s “Unblotting the Rainbow” Hosts Official Opening Sept 27

Friday, September 27th marks the grand opening celebration of painter Jay Milder’s formidable “Unblotting the Rainbow”, curated by Adam Zucker and on view at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum through Nov 10, 2019.

“Animistic Ark” (2015) Jay Milder

 

“Unblotting the Rainbow” marks a pivotal moment in Milder’s career: the painter, already a household name in Brazil, has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Casa de Mexico in Havana, Cuba in May 2020.

Born in Omaha, Milder exploded onto the scene alongside contemporaries Red Grooms and Claes Oldenberg, and his experimental approach to painting – focused through his intense reflections on spiritual mysticism – informing his changing artistic vision. At times abstract while adopting a scale of figurative elements over the years, the artist relies on elements such as Kabbalah and numerology to inform his compositions. A keen balance of formal qualities imbues his practice with a meditative presence. Works on view in “Unblotting the Rainbow” chart the artist’s continual progress from his roots as an emerging artist in the 1950s through today. As curator Adam Zucker notes, “(the exhibit) focus(es)…on his use of painterly Expressionism as a means to address physical and spiritual themes affecting the human condition. For Milder, it’s a return to exhibiting in Provincetown, a community that had a tremendous impact on his career.” The artist began an ongoing relationship with the Provincetown area in the late 1950s, maintaining links to the area and experiencing formative days and months learning from others in the close knit community. A homecoming of sorts for the artist, Milder continues to push artistic boundaries while maintaining his place as a premiere artist advancing American modern expressionism.

Noah’s Ark #1 (2002) Jay Milder


Along with an opening to the public on Friday, August 27 from 8 pm on, the artist will also be giving a talk on Sunday, August 29 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum from 1 pm. See the PAAM’s website for more details: https://www.paam.org/exhibitions/jay-milder-unblotting-the-rainbow/

Joan Walton’s Transcendent Works Shine in “Montauk Love Song”

“Montauk Love Song” celebrates its opening on Thursday, Sept 27 from 6-8 pm at Atlantic Gallery, suite 540, 547 W 27th street NYC. The opening is free and open to the public and the artist will be present.

 

There is No Room for Colonizer, White Savior Mentality in Art Criticism – or Anywhere

This opinion piece represents the views of the Editors at ANTE. Mag. It was written as a direct response to the Whitehot Mag article, “Kill Your Darlings: The End of the White Male Ally” which in turn was a response to the NY Times’ “The Dominance of the White Male Critic”

-Ed.s, ANTE. Mag

 

There is nowhere to begin this article.

There is nowhere to begin – because the subject of this article is all around us, it is limitless, boundless. It affects what we say in polite society, what we talk about with museum funders, collectors – those in positions of power. But power is bounded by silence: the type of silence that reifies the entrenched systems of oppressor and oppressed that has persisted since the first Portugese slave ships set off from the island of Goree off of the West coast of Senegal, and long, long before.

It is wrapped in the embrace of those same systems of power that enable police officers to turn off their bodycams and plead innocence even while causing suffering to our brothers and sisters, like Eric Garner – it spans far and wide in underground networks, supporting entrenched inequality from homeownership and credit to college admissions, the use of public space, the right to assume a place in the art world. The right to have a voice – any voice, much less to assume a position of authority. The right to exist alongside and in spite of a culture rooted in hatred for the very autonomy of others. The right to not be questioned or accused of representing a “threat” to an established majority.

When allies demand to be recognized for their efforts, they undermine the very platform for marginalization they purport to support. When ego overcomes the hard work put in to empathize with those whose experiences in life have not been defined by the lines of privilege, they lose the ability to be true advocates.

What angry white men, whether in Congress or in Art Journalism, conveniently ignore is this: there will never not be room for white cis male writers in the art world: in every aspect of our world. By insisting otherwise, these critics undermine efforts to recognize and confront the persistent, inevitable influence of white supremacy continuing to determine the trajectory of our culture and the world at large.

By ignoring that the pathways are already uneven, that our very foundations are built upon the flawed premise of white supremacy, these “saviors” of cis, white male art critics everywhere deny a pervasive force – they may as well deny the existence of the magnetic field. Just because a force cannot be made manifest, and remains invisible, does not mean that it effects are not seen.

When hegemony exists – that-which-must-not-be-named, white supremacy – it is our duty collectively, as marginalized voices, as allies, to call it out. To provoke it, not to pacify it. To question it, not to submit to it. There is no reason to support a status quo that continually dampens the spirit of those bright voices who have always existed and who form our future – people of color, women and non-gender conforming folks, those of diverse sexual orientations, religions, backgrounds.

Too often, those who have privilege never understand the effects of everyday life that terrorize those who don’t “present” like them. Those who have experienced these effects are often silenced or disparaged when they present their truths to a wider public – they become Anita Hill’s, Christine Blasey Ford’s, the greater “radical other” in our collective consciousness. They become widely disparaged, threatened – challenged.

Demonized.

Here is a great barometer for equality: would this collective Shunning or “Other”-ing happen to someone who represents a white, cishet male member of the hegemony? Would they be run out of town, have their lives threatened, be demonized and disparaged for daring to stand up to a power structure that – oh wait, they are the power structure. The fiber of their own, elevated histories sustains and supports that same, buried power structure that subjugates those who do not subscribe to a white, colonizer patriarchal mentality.

This mentality feeds an endemic system of thought that silences voices from the margins, holds back new ways of seeing and processing: prevents new connections to form between underrepresented voices and those who represent them and – even more critically – prevents us all from reaching our true potential as a society by stifling voices of genius through fear, coercion or threat. This process is fundamentally de-humanizing to those who have keenly felt the piercing threat of white supremacy.

Venice Biennale Golden Lion Award-winning artist Arthur Jafa notes that his practice centers around the idea that empathy is key to his practice. “The people who are dehumanizing others are trying to maintain or hold onto the sense of their own humanity,” reflects Jafa. “Ultimately it comes down to the relative presence or absence of empathy. You cannot oppress people without expending a certain type of psychic energy, unless the whole mechanism, the whole superstructure is supporting that understanding of the other as being less human, less feeling than you are. I think you learn empathy. I think it has to be taught.”(1)

A self-appointed savior is not exercising empathy, and their remonstrations of justice or demands for consideration for the pitiable, cishet white male – those who have never tasted the angry steel of prejudice – smack of hypocrisy and egotistical protests. The measure of the threat they perceive is in direct response to the lack of their own ability to empathize with the internalized oppression that marginalized members of American society – of our world at large – have unfortunately learned to anticipate every day.

Colonizers and white saviors have no place in guiding us forward in a realm where ingrained prejudice is giving way at slow, small intervals to inclusion and diversity of opinion – so slowly that the monolithic cliff face preserving colonizers’ value systems is still firmly recognizable.

The perspicacity of artist Titus Kaphar’s insights in 2017 holds true today. He notes of the criminal justice system’s glaring inequalities that a careful and circumstantial examination of the realities of the existing system must be dealt with in order for evolution to have a firm foundation to rest upon. “I’m heartsick and sorry about it at the same time,” notes Kaphar, “because in the justice world it…a deeper investigation of the issues is standard. You dig deep to find out answers, and you look more into the issues, and you try to come to some conclusions. Then you try to work towards change.”(2)

Kaphar continues, “The art world is not like that, and that’s where my fear comes from. The art world can be extremely fickle. The art world is often about just what’s novel. I don’t want this to just become one of those issues that’s in fashion right now, and therefore we’re making art about it. That would be disheartening.” (2)

Too often, subtle changes and improvements in social justice for minorities are measured in relation to a majority: we ask, why there is a need to place distinct populations in direct opposition? Why is an increased presence of POC, non-male identifying, LGBTQIA+ art critics such a threat to an entrenched bevy of white cis-male art critics?

Where does the threat lie for a hegemony that feels happy to highlight artists and creators of diverse backgrounds, but suddenly chafes at the idea that they may not be in the best position to do so?

In seeking answers to this frequently occurring yet problematic phenomenon, I came across a formidable article written by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – hardly an unrecognized voice in contemporary American culture. His reflection on the period of Reconstruction, a bright and shining moment between the defeat of the Confederate states and the rise of Jim Crow laws in the United States, merits particular scrutiny. “Reconstruction, the period in American history that followed the Civil War, was an era filled with great hope and expectations, but it proved far too short to ensure a successful transition from bondage to free labor for the almost 4 million black human beings who’d been born into slavery in the U.S., “(3) notes Gates. He continues on, tracing the rise of overzealous white supremacists who had suddenly found the foundation of their very existence shattered by the insistence of another population of American society that they were equal to them in every way despite the atrocities of bondage they had been subjected to in this country. Gates reflects on this period of promise in American history. “Reconstruction was fundamentally about who got to be an American citizen.”(3)

One wonders whether the same white men who had dominated American society to that point were protesting, ultimately, whether this was all too much. Were they wondering if they were being erased, much as contemporary white, cishet male critics now argue today?

Reconstruction is a particularly dirty word in the South, where I was born. As a white women descended from a firmly middle class, non-plantation owning family, it never occurred to me that I was heir to a force that was tearing apart the very fabric of what it meant for Americans to feel free. There were the hesitant looks of the older black man who worked with my grandfather, who kept his eyes bowed when I was around, as well as the firmly segregated church congregations that still (for the most part) continue to permeate Southern society. Born and raised part-time a stone’s throw from where Arthur Jafa is from  – Jafa, a Howard-educated, prize-winning, internationally recognized artist – I rejoice at the prominence of an African-American artist on the world stage who has known the darkness of suspect glances and long stares in the Mississippi Delta – and I find myself destroyed by the fact that he, or the millions of other descendants of Africans kidnapped by Europeans and brought to the new world, have ever had to inhabit a world that told them they were not good enough.

The world changes, but never soon enough.

Jubilant periods arrive – the era of Reconstruction, a black American president – and are followed by suspicion, threats to “whiteness”, perceived enmity.

The pendulum never swings one way.

Thankfully there exists a long legacy of cultural criticism of colonization. I won’t flatten it here for lip service, though it spans the many paradigm-shifting theorists ranging from Frantz Fanon to James Baldwin, to Deborah Willis, to Kellie Jones. Who is to argue that there wasn’t a need for cultural criticism and engagement with diverse art theories, for educated cultural theorists who are not white cis-het males, to comment on an expanded view of what constituted art and cultural heritage?

How poor would our legacy of cultural criticism be today without these formidable thought leaders! And who take up the mantle now to argue that there is “enough” now – that there doesn’t need to be an ever-expanding, level playing field for art critics and cultural producers of diverse viewpoints to continue to grow, engaging with a range of cultural contemporaries far beyond the prominently white, cis-het male artist-dominated era of, oh I don’t know, every century before this one?

I see color. I recognize the significance that two prominent cultural figures, Okwui Enwezor and Audre Lorde, have continued to influence how I approach cultural criticism and art theory. I appreciate the efforts it has taken for them, and other public figures of diverse backgrounds, to emerge on the international stage to a place of prominence.

But I recognize I am not the sole reference point of iconic thought leaders like these – there are rising, marginalized voices in art criticism and cultural theory who are able to learn from and identify with those who have come before and paved the way, seeing those who have come before – those who have achieved all this while looking like them. This is far more valuable than any tired platitude, repeated bon mot or expression of encouragement. This recognition that greatness has come before – this is even greater than the promise of tomorrow. It is, in fact, the proof that tomorrow can exist beyond the concept of “whiteness.”

In the words of the incredible Betye Saar, “It’s a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.”(4)

By confronting the past, present and our future with honesty, clarity and humility – and most of all, with empathy – we can recognize that as allies, it is only by taking the time to pause – taking the time to listen – that we can allow space for the tired epithet of “white savior” to finally wither away, crushed under the weight of its own bloated fallacy.

———————————————–

1. Jafa, Arthur and Tina Campt. “Love Is the Message, The Plan Is Death.” E. Accessed July 09, 2019. https://www.e-flux.com/journal/81/126451/love-is-the-message-the-plan-is-death/.

2. Keller, Bill. “Titus Kaphar on Art, Race and Justice.” The Marshall Project. February 02, 2017. Accessed July 09, 2019. https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/02/01/titus-kaphar-on-art-race-and-justice.

3. Jr., Henry Louis Gates. “How Reconstruction Still Shapes Racism in America.” Time. April 02, 2019. Accessed July 09, 2019. https://time.com/5562869/reconstruction-history/.

4. Artist Statement by Betye Saar. Accessed July 09, 2019. http://www.betyesaar.net/.

 

The Empowering Artistic Practice of Marguerite Elliot

There is much to uncover in the diverse and precise artistic practice of artist Marguerite Elliot. Her career spans decades of women’s art herstory along the faultlines of second-wave feminism on the West Coast. Elliot’s career incorporates a vibrant interdisciplinary practice as an artist, welder, author, curator and video producer. Previously based in LA, Elliot now lives and works in Marin County in the northern San Francisco Bay Area. She was a pivotal founding member of the renowned LA-based Woman’s Building, the premier center for Feminist art, that operated for 18 years beginning in 1973. Recently, the world-renowned Getty Research Institute was awarded funding to preserve archives related to the Building, and on April 22nd Elliot will be honored alongside other women pioneers at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In addition to her work teaching art at the LA Woman’s Building, she also taught at the Otis College of Art and Design. Her work has been included in exhibitions across the United States, including in a prestigious exhibition, Committed to Print, that dealt with about social issues – including feminism – at the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY.

 

“Saved for Eternity” Marguerite Elliot. Mixed media.

 

Elliot has been and continues to be a formidable artist spearheading developments in West Coast feminism while also serving as an incredible force for social critique and pioneering postmodern artworks created from metalworking and steel. Her vibrant presence as a Founding Member of the LA Woman’s Building informed the community’s incredible impact, exerting a presence that could be felt over the life and cultural scene in the greater Los Angeles area. A welder and sculptor, Elliot regularly creates large-scale artworks that require a precise and exacting skill set and complete mastery of metalworking methods. Working in steel from an early period of her practice, Elliot was a trailblazer not only for a cohort of women sculptors but she has also purposed her artwork into a means of addressing hot-button topics such as nuclear proliferation, environmental preservation and homelessness.

“Rift” Marguerite Elliot. Mixed media.
“Saraswati” Marguerite Elliot. Mixed media.

In addition to sustaining a demanding art studio practice, Elliot has steered feminist art history and theory with her incredibly thorough the comprehensive publication, “The Woman’s Building and Feminist Art Education, 1973-1991: A Pictorial Herstory.” Edited by Elliot and Maria Karras and published by the Otis College of Art & Design, provides an in-depth look into the remarkable influence the LA Woman’s Building sustained as a force for change as a part of the greater second-wave feminism movment. Outlining how the Woman’s Building steered the career trajectories of artists and changemakers such as Judy Chicago, Miriam Schapiro and many, many more, this tome holds a pivotal place in defining women’s impact in the Modern Art canon. Elliot’s position as a guest of honor at the Getty to honor her legacy as part of this group of powerful and unrelenting women on April 22nd is well-deserved and long overdue.

Elliot’s work is decisive and, frequently, physically demanding. With a carefully developed skill set that encompasses the punishing and technically precise requirements that welding requires, Elliot not only operates within a formally precise artistic lexicon, she applies her artistic acumen toward realizing socio-political change and working toward a common good.

 

“Where Did I Come From” Marguerite Elliot. Cast Bronze Rocks on Shelves.

 

Currently practicing across small and large-scale welded and mixed media sculpture, she exhibits a keenly psychological and insightful approach to her artworks. Elliot’s artwork titles, such as “Where Did I Come From” and “Saved for Eternity” also assume an autobiographical, yet ambiguous, approach. Continuing to pursue abstraction, Elliot continually digs deeper into her iconography to produce precisely rendered forms that resonate with viewers in an introspective and, often, personal significance. Viewers of Elliot’s work can ponder the meaning of eternity and the now within her practice: space and time seem to collapse under the significance of her keen and philosophical vision.

Elliot’s works have been shown in countless solo and group exhibits in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City, and they are held in numerous public and private collections including New York’s MoMA. Elliot’s exhibitions have been reviewed in major art publications including the Los Angeles Times, the NY-based Village Voice, Art Week, and the Washington Post. She is a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Elliot’s curatorial experience includes private, non-profit, and municipal galleries In Los Angeles and San Francisco and she is currently head of Elliot Art Productions, a company that works with artists to market their art and specializes in creative, promotional videos for artists. Upcoming exhibits include at North Bay Investment Partners in Berkeley, and the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica, CA, and her studio in Fairfax welcomes visitors by appointment.

“Don’t Touch Me” Marguerite Elliot. Mixed media.

 

 

Altered States: Artist Evelyne Huet Abstracts Humanity in DEAR HUMANS

“Envious Thoughts”, Evelyne Huet, DEAR HUMANS at Atlantic Gallery

Evelyne Huet‘s solo exhibition at Atlantic Gallery, DEAR HUMANS, extracts the pure essence of humanity in a range of mostly abstract compositions. Spanning sombre-colored hues and bright flashes of neon, the digital paintings on view intersperse various references to the human psyche. Linear compositions merge with organic forms to allow the viewer’s subconscious to create spontaneous responses to the overall effect of each artwork. Translating the spirit of Color Field painting from the analog to the digital, Huet’s works draw from the same elevated abstraction as artists like Gerard Richter. Color and line merge to form in Huet’s DEAR HUMANS, with the works forming a digitally-painted deep dive into various psychological and emotional states. On view through March 30, 2019, DEAR HUMANS provides a nuanced and provocative exploration of both normal and altered states of human consciousness.

“The Innocents”, Evelyne Huet, DEAR HUMANS at Atlantic Gallery

Huet draws from her professional background in anthropology, mathematics and fine art to create a new, digitally-created sensorial realm. With colors seemingly melting back toward flat planes of tones beyond amorphous figures, Huet doesn’t hold back from bold juxtapositions in these works while still maintaining an ethereal quality. “I choose to study this discipline for its infinitely dream-like dimension,” remarks Huet. Creating works centered around the human form and psyche, Huet physically creates these digital paintings using her fingers on a screen: building these complex representational works directly with her body, mediated by technology. Drawing from Western art history’s roots in religious subject matter, specifically by bestowing titles such as “The Parables of Jesus of Nazareth” and “Nativity” on her artworks, Huet’s exhibition spans social and historical themes that remain timeless. The primitive and cutting-edge technology merge in her artistic stylings, with the final paintings printed specifically in Brussels with rare, museum-quality Diasec® finish (in limited editions of 3).

“Nativity”, Evelyne Huet, DEAR HUMANS at Atlantic Gallery

Evelyne Huet is a French artist who lives and works in Paris. She was originally trained as a mathematician, before teaching for years at the Sorbonne in Paris before re-orienting her career toward Fine Arts. Originally working as an oil painter, Huet changed to digital painting and as a new means of translating her artistic vision. She is a member of the Sociétaire of the Salon d’Automne, as well as membership in the OpenArtCode group of international artists. DEAR HUMANS is on view at Atlantic Gallery, 548 W 28th Street, Suite 540 New York, NY 10001, through March 30th (open Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6 pm).

Augmented Humanism: The Digital Art of Marjan Moghaddam

Artist Marjan Moghaddam is many things, but bored isn’t one of them. A multi-disciplinary artist whose viral sensations, Glitched Goddesses, are propelling the artist toward phenomenal digital art visibility, Moghaddam is that rare artist whose formal stylings and conceptual acumen are equally stunning. Stemming from an #ArtHack Instagram project which the artist initiated in 2016 to disrupt and democratize the exhibition space, her glitch aesthetic permeates the oscillating female forms depicted in her Glitched Goddesses series. Buzz around the series has reached fever pitch, with over 3 million views of her works combined across Arts in Paris and Facebook. So far, her hacks have engaged in dialogue with exhibitions and events at locations ranging from Miami Art Basel to the Guggenheim, the New Museum and Mary Boone gallery – the last three, it is worth noting, were founded by women. “When my ArtBasel Miami hack went viral on Facebook, that’s when I realized the Internet has matured enough for serious, conceptual, thoughtful digital art to go viral and find an audience, ” Moghaddam explained. She now routinely receives collector inquiries on Instagram for work from her #ArtHack collection due to the ongoing social media demand for digital artworks.

“To See if I Still Feel At The Armory Show 2019” by Marjan Moghaddam, with Tonny Cragg Sculpture at Galerie Thadeus Ropac (image provided courtesy of the artist)

We sat down with the artist in the wake of her recent exhibitions for the Smithsonian and National Cathedral, commissioned by arts nonprofit Halcyon and digital art center Artechouse, for the 2018 #WeThePeople Festival. Moghaddam has also recently shown in high-profile exhibits with the Rowan University Art Gallery and Piramid Sanat Art Center in Istanbul. Discussing her upcoming exhibit, Re-Engineering Humanity, at 836m gallery in San Francisco this March, curated by lady Pheonix of Yes Universe, Moghaddam walked us through some of the key components of her practice, reflecting on what this sudden success means for her as an artist with decades of artistic creation behind her.

“Kavanaugh Haunted my Frieze London #Arthack” by Marjan Moghaddam , with original video taken from @mqtfas (image provided courtesy of the artist)

We kicked things off by questioning Moghaddam about the forms she uses. Why women’s figures, and why the glitch animation format digitally transforming this shiny amorphous substance into different women’s bodies? The artist points to her own evolution as an artist, watching as male artists have continually garnered the lion’s share of market value and attention in the press. She points to recent exhibits of women artists at major institutions – Sarah Lucas at the New Museum, and Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim, as evidence that while things are changing, there is still work to be done. “I set this #ArtHack (of these women’s exhibitions) to [the sounds of] PJ Harvey and Bjork screaming out the Rolling Stones’ “No Satisfaction” as a reminder of how far women and especially rebellious and outsider women artists still have left to go, in comparison to their male counterparts,” notes Moghaddam.

“To See if I Still Feel At The Armory Show 2019” by Marjan Moghaddam, Perrotin Gallery (image provided courtesy of the artist)

The artist focuses on women as the subject matter, shifting the lens toward the female gaze by celebrating and extolling the wonders of our own bodies. Extending this concept of equality and equanimity, the artist explains that she engages with advocacy in her artwork, remarking specifically that women deserve representation regardless of their abilities, appearance, age, etc. “The #GlitchedGoddesses glitch the concept that a woman can be a singular form as they shift from heavy to slender, buff, young, old and pregnant, this is how the digital can intervene to expand the conceptual and aesthetic possibilities in art,” she explains. She notes of the #GlitchedGoddesses that although they occur in dialogue with other artists’ work, they don’t solely translate to appropriation art. “Merely hacking is just transgressive, but to do so with social and political activism and as a critical dialogue, becomes transformative,” the artist concludes.

Scholars have taken notice, as these figures were were recently presented at Colloque international Jeptav2019 conference on Art, Intelligence, and Intuition. An Iranian-born creative living and working in the United States, political and social freedom have remained a mainstay in Moghaddam’s artistic practice. Last September, the artist embedded an angry Kavanaugh talking head, in a Vagina Vedanta from Happy Happy Leaf artist Rae-Yen Song for her Frieze London 2018 #ArtHack, in what she views as a type of collectively sourced artistic imagination on social media feeds. This expanded view of collaboration and intervention re-examines methods by which artists can engage both the art world and society on the whole in reckoning with the lack of women’s art being represented at major art world fairs and market events. 

“#GlitchGoddess with a Fractal Niche”, Print triggered- Augmented Reality app with Chronometric Digital sculpture, on exhibit at Enamored Armor, Rowan University Art Gallery “#GlitchGoddess with a Fractal Niche”, Print triggered- Augmented Reality app with Chronometric Digital sculpture by Marjan Moghaddam, on exhibit at Enamored Armor, Rowan University Art Gallery (image provided courtesy of the artist)

Moghaddam has never been someone to stay inside the box or play by the rules; since her early days as an artist on wildly creative scene at the Pyramid Club in the 1980s, where she also exhibited her very first computer animations (she remarks that these were created on a Commodore 64). In the 1990s, Moghaddam became the featured artist for the launch of DOTCOM Gallery and International Forum for the Digital Arts – the very first commercial NY art gallery based entirely on the Internet (Archived on Rhizome.org), with GIF animations of her 3D CG avatar and fractals. As a rebel and an artist, her work has often been positioned on the fringe: a place that has served to her advantage in the viral digital space that is social media. She cites various factors that have continually worked against her since she relocated to New York, to where she currently lives and works in Brooklyn. “Being a woman, doing cutting edge and disruptive technology art, being an immigrant from Iran, and not being wealthy or having any proximity to wealth and privilege [do seem to work against me],” reflects Moghaddam. She continues,  “I also think my rebellious nature is another strike against me, since that is usually celebrated in men but not women. But these barriers have also fed my practice and forced me to forge my own path.” Because of this persistence, her early virtual reality installation “The Box” went straight from Soho galleries to Internet pioneer Josh Harris’ executive office at Jupiter Communications, in what was then the heart of NYC’s 1990s Silicon Alley in the early internet era. Tech and art both find a voice in Moghaddam’s work, and her continued attention and acceptance from the tech community indicate how her work also embraces philosophies which are relevant outside of just the fine art community. 

The artist may march to the beat of her own drum but her work is firmly rooted in art theory and social critique. She cites influential post-war philosophers as crucial to her development of the #ArtHacks as a body of work. “A few [philosophers] that I would list are Norbert Weiner, Baudrillard, Sloterdijk and even Foucault whose ‘art of the museum spaces’ I have cited with my #ArtHacks as part of my art of the social media space.” Embedding these concepts within the depth and breadth of her digital artistic practice has proven critical to connecting with a new generation who is eager for art that speaks to their social moment, and teaches something of value through cutting-edge technological methods.

Additionally, her signature style and aesthetic innovation, a practice that she has termed Chronometric Sculpture, blends the ideals of sculpture with the aesthetics of animation. Social media has continually uplifted her work to viral status: as of 2019, her work is even shared by various digeratis and Futurists on Linkedin as a starting point on discussions about the future of art.

Previously her Baisser at Mary Boone in Glassish and Waxish had garnered over 2 million views on a single Instagram post, and another 1.7 million views on a Facebook post.

Autonomous, location-based, Chronometric Sculpture, Augmented Reality app by Marjan Moghaddam on exhibit at the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, Washington DC (image provided courtesy of the artist)

With a multi-disciplinary practice spanning digital art, animation, painting, sculpture, and augmented and virtual reality among other disparate creative pursuits, Moghaddam is an unstoppable force in contemporary art, adapting to new formats and carving new paths ahead at the advent of cutting-edge technologies. In addition to “Re-engineering Humanity,” on view through Spring/Summer of 2019 at 836m gallery in San Francisco, the artist also has new animations available now on the Noow.art digital art collection platform, and an upcoming exhibition at Art Jed gallery. Future projects include another commissioned, site-specific public Augmented Reality art project with City Unseen projects, so stay tuned – knowing Marjan Moghaddam there is plenty more where that came from!

Bold Tones Define “Self Alive” at The Yard South Williamsburg

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” 

In an era of dissonance, “Self Alive” brings the wisdom of self-awareness to bear, playing witness to a whirlwind of textures and hues. Featuring the work of artists Katie Hector, Tomo Mori and Jean Rim,
“Self Alive” remains on view through Spring 2019 at The Yard, South Williamsburg. Drawing from themes of self-expression, “Self Alive” explores the beauty we can bring into the world through our relationships with those around us as expressed in a variety of artistic mediums. The exhibit is curated by Deborah Oster Pannell, curator at The Yard South Williamsburg, whose curatorial perspective is informed by decades of experience as a writer, editor, performer, director and producer. She has curated and performed at KGB Bar, Animamus Art Salon, Shag, Green Oasis Community Garden, Chinatown Soup, The Red Room at KGB, UNDER St. Marks Theater and JCC Harlem. Pannell currently works at C24 gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan.

“Nexus”, Tomo Mori for The Yard’s “Self Alive”

Artist Jean Rim connects disparate aspects of her Korean-American identity through her practice. She draws links to different layers of her identity with intricate patterns of shimmering, geometric compositions. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Rim currently works in Brooklyn, NY and exhibits in South Korea and the United States. Her vibrant juxtaposition of line and color form exuberant compositions accessible to everyone, regardless of cultural background. These bright, rhythmic abstractions speak in a universal language that both astonishes and delights.

The diverse works of Tomo Mori reveal a thoughtful and labor-intensive process. Sculptural forms emerge from accumulations of discarded clothing, making reference to her labor as an artist and a mother. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Mori studied both Western and Japanese traditional painting and drawing. Her rope installation works make explicit the important links connecting us all as human beings, across cultures, countries and social constructs.

Katie Hector, “FOMO Banner II” at “Self Alive” at The Yard

 

Katie Hector‘s work explores the inherent anxiety of modern-day life in her “FOMO” series, on view in part in “Self Alive”. An artist, curator and writer, Hector is also Founder and Co-Director of Sine Gallery. Based in New York, she received her BFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and has participated in numerous international exhibitions and received numerous scholarships and accolades. The “FOMO” series as a whole is based around abstracted ovals, which could reference eyes or vision. In a world in which vision is constantly facing distraction and disassociation, the self can feel distant or insecure. Hector’s abstractions aggregate multiple layers of color and painterly gesture, hinting at the social anxiety and chaos that engulfs us all.

Rooted in the search for a higher self-awareness, the meditative and enticing artworks on view in “Self Alive”  reveal a survey of contemporary color and material palettes. An incisive look into unique artists’ practices, they also comprehensively reveal a society fearlessly searching for truth in every direction.

“Self Alive” is on view through May 4, 2019 at The Yard, South Williamsburg.

 

Irreverent Gestures: The Work of Ivan Lardschneider

Ivan Lardschneider isn’t afraid to play with toys.
“Untitled”, Ivan Lardschneider. Courtesy the artist.
Imbuing his work with references to playthings and just a hint of pre-pubescent immaturity, Lardschneider’s pointed yet playful approach proves remarkably efficacious: a concise survey incorporating the objects from our youth. The emotions and nostalgia these objects portend frame a potent look into the human psyche as found through the artist’s oeuvre. His sculptures, simple in form yet trenchant in their observation, form a lexicon of emotion and vulnerability.
“Untitled”, Ivan Lardschneider. Courtesy the artist.
Recalling Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol and Michelangelo Pistoletto along with the stylized figuration of Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti, Lardscheider hones in on his singular style with a simplified color palette and straightforward textures. Figures are marked by their stillness or incorporate simple gestures into their pose that reveal an underlying simplicity. Poses are childlike, silly yet wise, operating with an innocent and guileless logic all their own. Witty, provocative and poignant, Lardschneider distills the essence of both animate and inanimate forms into intuitive compositions both humorous and thought-provoking.
“Untitled”, Ivan Lardschneider. Courtesy the artist.
Ivan Lardschneider is based in Italy and his work is represented by Armanda Gori gallery, and his work has been exhibited in New York, NY at Galleria Ca’ d’Oro. His work has been featured in D/Railed Magazine, Wall Street International, and more. More examples of his work can be found on his website and on Instagram. 

Fresh Approaches Feature At Spring/Break 2019

Every year during Armory Fair week, a refreshing breeze traipses down the avenues, blowing past the piers from its irreverent, unsanctimonious perch. This breath of fresh air originates at Spring/Break Art Show, where emerging gallerists, independent curators and contemporary artists present installations and exhibitions centered around a proposed theme. This year’s theme, FACT AND FICTION, goes as far as to feature artist residencies and nonprofits – expanding the platform to emerging artistic voices from their “Suites” section to other presentations amassing considerably larger square footage. Situated for 2019 at 866 UN Plaza, floor 2, the fair – on view through Monday, March 11 – presents a thoughtful re-contextualization of societal constructs by channeling and filtering them through a subversive, and at times perverse, lens. Best of all, there is plenty of space for exhibits to sprawl, taking on meanings in relation to one another that were unintended even by the curators themselves!

Real Fairy Tale by Lulu Meng and Naomi Okubo, for Spring/Break Art Show 2019

For this year’s iteration, standout presentations center around revealing and concealing information, allowing fairgoers access to alternative viewpoints to their own, and imagining a world differing vastly from our current version.

For starters, Lulu Meng and Naomi Okubo‘s “Real Fairy Tale”(S8) provides a poignant and tech-loaded exploration of femininity as prescribed by the Walt Disney world princess trope. Placing identity within – and in direct contrast to – fairy tale figures such as Snow White and Cinderella allows the artists to examine their own identities while provoking visitors to reconsider theirs. Particularly rooted in a deeper exploration of feminism, ethnicity and privilege, this clever and touching re-imagination of Disney princesses touches a deep cultural nerve.

Roxanne Jackson’s “Third Eye Fuck (Devil’s Card)” for Spiritual Art Advisory

In “Spiritual Art Advisory”(E25), contemporary culture’s penchant for tarot is taken all the way to its logical conclusion in the form of an art exhibit in which each piece represents one of the 22 Major Arcana cards in the tarot deck. Curated by Sarah Potter and Caroline Larsen, the exhibit displays a wide array of artists – Roxanne Jackson‘s sculpture stuns – and proposes a reconsideration of the intersection existing between spirituality and art.

Artist and curator Vanessa Albury’s Coral Projects (E33) is presented with Albury and Tamara Weg leading the booth’s curation. Featuring artwork reflecting the diminishing state of our ocean due to climate change, works of art include a fish bowl sculpture (including fish upon purchase!) by Albury, which is on view along with sculptures reminiscent of coral. The presentation also introduces a public art project, to be installed off the coast of Jamaica: consisting of sculptures placed underwater near the shore, the project will hopefully lead to more coral growth in this tourist-prone area.

There is much to see – don’t miss the last two days, March 10&11, to check out Spring/Break’s multitude of artistic offerings at 866 UN Plaza! Tickets at the Spring/Break Art Show website.

“Taped Shut” by Rachel Lee Hovnavian, presented by Jenny Mushkin-Goldman and Jessica Davidson (E8)

 

work by Jen Dwyer as part of Anna Cone’s “A World All Her Own” (E31)
INLIQUID’s presentation for Spring/Break Art Show featuring work by Christina Massey (S9)