Archive for the ‘fine_arts’ Category

The Essex Street Market Recordings

without comments

Recetas y Gangas

Proposed work “Recetas y Gangas” audio montage of vendors projected onto the street through a bullhorn mounted on the facade of the Essex Street Market

Commonly street markets around the world have both an outdoor and indoor space. The perimeters of the market may extend on to the street to invite pedestrians in to the market. Rather than walls, street markets may present large openings and awnings to create an arcade where people are at once outside and inside. The Essex Street Market in the Lower East Side of New York City does not have a side walk extension beyond sandwich boards and signage outside its brick wall. The Essex Street Market facade does not even present pedestrian level windows for those outside to peer in to the interior. The facade is rather an uninviting brick facade, perhaps a planned institutional barrier that Mayor La Guardia desired as he sought to take cart vendors off the sidewalk in an effort to clean up the streets from obstacles and noise. For the exhibition “Lettuce, Artichokes, Red Beets, Mangoes, Broccoli, Honey and Nutmeg: The Essex Street Market as Collaborator” at Cuchifritos curated by Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful , I have sought to extend the Essex Street Market on to the sidewalk through sound.

There is a long history of market vendors announcing, singing or chanting their goods to the public. On Essex Street before cart vendors were moved off the street and into the market, they would call out their goods, hoping to attract buyers. I imagine that when the market first opened this practice continued. Today, walk through a traditional Latin American market and you will hear various products sung in to the air. To develop my project, I solicited vendors to vocalize their products and the more performative, the better. Only two vendors played along, one eagerly – Rosella Albanese from Pain d’Avignon and another through a bit of coaxing – Yanivis Rodriguez of Luna Brothers. You may listen to each of their recordings below.

Yanivis Rodriguez, Luna Brothers


Rosella Albanese, Pain d’Avignon


When I was trying to talk Yanivis into the recording while she worked the register, a shopper began to tell me about her recipes for preparing yams. It was an older Dominican woman, perhaps in her 60s who after describing her recipe, told me about the many health benefits of yams.

As I was having a difficult time convincing vendors to sing or chant their goods, I decided to request a recipe from them. This turned out effective as I’ve collected several recipes from vendors and customers. Over the next few weeks, I will describe the interactions with the subjects and you may listen to the shared recipe. The final piece is an audio montage that captures a portrait of the Essex Street Market through the voices of vendors and customers alike all recorded within the market. The audio montage is titled “Recetas y Gangas” (Recipes and Deals) and is available online. And please check out the show at Cuchifritos in the Essex Street Market opening on February 22nd, 2016.

FAILE at the Brooklyn Museum

without comments

FAILE

“FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at the Brooklyn Museum is the epitome of hipster art. It’s fun, participatory, ambitious, cool, but lacks substance. I enjoyed the work visually and appreciated the nod to rock posters and arcades, but as with the video games presented, the work is not layered or nuanced or provocative. (The video games are worth playing for only a minute as they are more so about hip graphics and chirps, than game play or social commentary as much of game art is.)

FAILE

FAILE

“Temple,” a sculptural structure reminiscent of a classical temple or mausoleum in ruin is the most striking work. The ceramic and iron work is highly detailed. At the rear center where one might find an alter is a male torso with a horse head wearing goggles and an oxygen tank. It is an end-of-times idol. An ironic creature more foreboding than an object of worship. The beautifully detailed work is unfortunately riddled with kitsch and self-labeling as the name “FAILE” is embedded in the work. I suppose that the kitsch as well as the identity stamped throughout the work is a critique of consumer culture. Unfortunately the identity FAILE is so prevalent in the work that the art itself becomes objects of consumer culture, hip, cool to look at, but one walks away with nothing. Perhaps that is the goal.

FAILE

FAILE

FAILE

Two recent sculptures “Wolf Within” and “Fantasy Island” are monuments to youth culture – white, hipster youth culture. Not surprisingly, FAILE – Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller are a couple white dudes based in Williamsburg.

FAILE

FAILE

There is so much craft and attention to detail that I want the work to tell complex tails, but it is also such a cacophony of stuff that the work lacks an anchor, a base to reflect upon and allow me as a viewer to traverse. As soon as I start enjoying one tableau, I’m jolted by some kitsch material lifted from a 50’s movie poster or pulp book cover.

FAILE

“Dictator Cycle” at Art Student League of Denver

without comments

My illustrated series of dictators is up at the Art Student League of Denver. The series has six dictator pairings from dictator to liberator or reformist turned dictator… Stalin/Putin, Somoza/Ortega, Idris/Gaddafi, Smith/Mugabe, Batista/Castro, Hirohito/Kim Il-sung with current day repercussions. Ah, the effects of power…

Dictator Cycle

Dictator Cycle

Dictator Cycle

Written by ricardo

July 12th, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Adrián Villar Rojas at Moderna Museet

without comments

Adrián Villar Rojas

Adrián Villar Rojas at Moderna Museet in Stockholm

While seeing Adrián Villar Rojas’s “Fantasma” exhibition at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, I was immediately reminded of Gabriel Orozco. The work, the objects, the installation and presentation were a second coming of Orozco’s efforts, however, unfortunately much more affected.

With Orozco’s work, I tend to be presented with a sense of discovery by mistake or happenstance. Many of Orozco’s photographs document a visually engaging observation that is about to fade or capture a playful intervention. And the objects as well, may be found objects with slight interventions or playful ideas that have been produced at human scale. Although Villar Rojas’s objects harken to Orozco’s sculptures, they appear entirely artificial and do not have a sense of playful discovery. They seem entirely manipulated and in the end not very interesting or engaging.

I wish that the large installation of objects were all in the vein of the defeated Robotech diorama in the stark white space preceding the larger hall (pictured above). At least this piece has more fun with the Fine Art museum setting than the pretentious tall island of stuff in the main gallery.

Adrian Villar Rojas

Adrian Villar Rojas

The museum presents an interview with Adrián Villar Rojas in which he unfortunately comes across as a bit pretentious. I’ll be surprised if this work is worth restoring and preserving.

Written by ricardo

June 24th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Art in Copenhagen’s Meat Packing District

without comments

Emil Toldbod

Sculptures by Emil Toldbod at Gether Contemporary

Emil Toldbod sculptureGether Contemporary’s “Beneath the Surface” features the work of five young artists from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts; Esben Gyldenløve, Oskar Jakobsen, Christine Overvad, Emil Toldbod and Nicky Sparre Ulrich. The only work that caught my imagination were the mixed-media sculptures by Emil Toldbod that comprise a series titled “Second Dive: Entering Another World”. Apparently the sculptures are employed in a film in which he wears and uses the sculptures to walk the surface of the sea digging through it’s ground. Below is what I imaging to be a test video in which he wears weighted boots to try and walk along the bottom of a swimming pool. The shoes in the video are pictured to the left.

At the bottom left of the image is a helmet that Emil wears in his film and to the right is a shovel that he pushes along the sea’s bottom. To the right of the helmet, are concrete rings that he wears on his thighs and in the back concrete weights that he drags along to help him remain below the water surface. The sculptures immediately brought to mind the literary genre Speculative Fiction as the artist crafted survival tools from found objects to allow him to trove the bottom of the sea after the waters have risen over much of the continents. These are make-shift tools assembled and crafted by impoverished survivors of a not so distant future that will help them continue living from the debris of past civilization. As I know nothing about the film or “Second Dive: Entering Another World” other than seeing a few sculptures on view at Gether Contemporary and a still on the Gether site, I’m just making all this up in contemplating Emil Toldbod’s work.

1. Første skridt i min søgen efter det omvendt drejede sneglehus. from Emil Toldbod on Vimeo.



Above Gether Contemporary in Copenhagen’s Meat Packing district is Galleri Bo Bjeggard where I enjoyed the whimsical exhibition “Flowers for Poul” (PDF catalog for “Flowers of Poul”). “Flowers for Poul” celebrates the 90th birthday of deceased artist Poul Gernes by presenting the work of John Armleder, Cosima von Bonin, Paul Fagerskiold, Callum Innes, SUPERFLEX, Janaina Tscape and Eriwn Wurm as well as work by Poul Gernes. Flowers for Poul The exhibition is beautifully installed and visually engaging as large colorful works keep the viewer engaged from room to room. The works that stood out to me are SUPERFLEX’s “Information Machine” and “Commons Machine”. Although these pieces are simple and don’t function very well, particularly the make shift tops of “Information Machine” the pieces allow for simple interactivity that inanely reflect on our networked society.

Flowers for Pou
SUPERFLEX’S “INFORMATION MACHINE” “models the struggle between the desire to share information and the desire to contain information. Player A (represents the desire to share information) plays against Player B (represented by the pole in the middle) to choose between sharing information or containing information. The player with the most rings on the pole wins. If there are no rings on the pole the people do not have to choose between sharing information or containing information. The game is endless.” As described by SUPERFLEX, the players are our desire to share as well as contain information and their goal is to have us engage.

Flowers for Pou
COMMONS MACHINE, I would enjoy a lot more if the tops actually worked. Built for 2-10 players acting as “software programmers are working together to develop an open-source system. The programmers are contributing by launching their SPINNING TOPs with open source codes (the spinning top). The source code must not end up in the proprietary domain area (the yellow area) but remain in the common area (the purple area). If any source code ends up in the proprietary area, the operating system is no longer free.” Unfortunately, the tops don’t really spin, it’s art.


From Bo Bjerggaard we walked over to V1 Contemporary Art Center which featured the art of two artists who began their careers as grafiti and tag artists in the Eighties – Barry McGee and Todd James. Their work is well documented and critiques, so I’m only including a few images more so for my own visual archive. I love Barry McGee’s patterns and the simplicity of Todd James’s fantasy drawings in his zine “Beyond the Gates” of viking-like warrior women.

Barry McGee

Barry McGee

Barry McGee

Todd James’s drawings are powerful in their printed comic format, I do not find the paintings at all interesting.

Todd James

Todd James

Todd James

Todd James

Boring…

Todd James

Written by ricardo

June 19th, 2015 at 1:37 am

Galleri Specta in Copenhagen

without comments

Andreas Schulenberg

Crumpled $500 bill featuring Angela Merkel made from felt by artist Andreas Schulenberg

Today, my second day in Copenhagen, art work in the gallery Specta caught my eye while wandering about the city, so my son and I walked in. The gallerist immediately greeted us and even gave us a tour of the show (as a New Yorker, I was immediately taken aback). The woman explained that the exhibition titled “Money Makes the World Go Round” (May 9 – June 13, 2015) features four international artists that use money as the subject of their work. All of them with a critical bend toward the power of money and yet featured in a swank art market gallery, of course.

Carlos Aires

Money Makes the World Go Round II by Carlos Aires

The central piece upon walking in to the space is “Money Makes the World Go Round II”, by Spanish artist Carlos Aires who cuts iconographic silhouettes from the currency of the 30 wealthiest countries to create a sphere strewn with what appear to be fruit flies. The sphere is formed by pining the cutout silhouettes and flies to a white canvas surface.

Also by Carlos Aires are a grid of collages that cut news print figures into the country’s currency.

Carlos Aires

Money Collage by Carlos Aires

In his multi-tiled piece titled “Domino” Swedish artist Lars Arrhenius represents the flow of a piece of currency from an ATM withdrawal to any number of exchanges until it is redeposited in to a bank.

Lars Arrhenius

Domino by Lars Arrhenius


Lars Arrhenius

Domino by Lars Arrhenius


Lars Arrhenius

Domino by Lars Arrhenius


Lars Arrhenius

Domino by Lars Arrhenius

South African artist Frances Goodman has created bills from woven beads, beads once functioning as currency in various cultures. And in a separate series Goodman creates drawings from fake eyelashes.

Frances Goodman

South African currency made from braided beads by Frances Goodman

Frances Goodman

South African currency made from braided beads by Frances Goodman

My favorite and most striking work is by Danish/German artist Andreas Schulenberg who has created giant dollar bills from felt and in them replaced the portrait of a president with that of the “losers” in American society.

Andreas Schulenberg

Paper airplane bill featuring Osama bin Laden made from felt by artist Andreas Schulenberg

Andreas Schulenberg

Dollar bill featuring poor man made in felt by artist Andreas Schulenberg

Andreas Schulenberg

$50 dollar bill featuring Sitting Bull made in felt by artist Andreas Schulenberg

Andreas Schulenberg

$20 – Slavery, $10 – Burglary, $5 – Drug Addiction bills made in felt by artist Andreas Schulenberg

Andreas Schulenberg

Felt chicken holding $1 bill while laying a money egg made in felt by artist Andreas Schulenberg

“Drifting in Daylight” at Harlem Meer

without comments

After getting lost in beautifully tucked away trails toward the north west corner of Central Park, the discovery of the S.S. Hangover made for successful end of art hunting in Central Park this past Saturday. The only one disappointed in our group of six art viewers was the 5 year old who had envisioned riding the boat along the lake as the music played. Fortunately the soft pleasant music performed from the boat by the brass sextet calmed our disillusioned interactive art connoisseur.

Upon studying the ship, my 6 year old immediately asked why there was a fat unicorn on the sail. A Creative Time attendant, corrected him that it was not a unicorn, but the winged horse, Pegasus from the myth of Hercules. To everyone’s disappointment, she went on to explain that the fat Pegasus represents the struggling artist who has gotten older and is unable to achieve artistic recognition and glory. I immediately wondered why the artist had to take a nice performative piece and stamp it with such a trite concept.

The boat appeared to circle around a small island as it performed a piece by Kjartan Sveinsson. We only remained for iterations that were relaxing and pleasant. As we continued to walk around the Harlem Meer, we encountered Karyn Olivier’s “Here and Now/Glacier, Shard, Rock” – a lenticular signboard that shifts between photographs of the immediate environment behind the billboard, a glacier and pottery shard that resembled a Western classical pottery work.

Upon exiting Harlem Meer and Central Park on the east side, we encountered Spencer Finch’s “Sunset (Central Park)” – a soft-serve ice cream truck that employs solar panels to cool and power the soft-swerve. The line for the free ice-cream was far too long for us to experience the solar-cooled ice cream.

Overall the work that we encountered was poetic and relaxing at a time when so much of the immediate social issues carry friction, stress and the growing schism between the rich and poor on our earth.

audiophile at RedLine’s “Press Play” Exhibition

without comments

audiophile (2001)

audiophile (2001) The software presents remixes of the sounds of the city, from Managua, Nicaragua to Mexico City to Manhattan

My 2001 net.art project “audiophile” is on view as part of the exhibition titled “Press Play” curated by Ruth Bruno and Cortney Lane Stell. “Press Play” is collaboratively produced between RedLine and Denver Arts & Venues. The exhibition is on view at McNichols Civic Center Building 144 West Colfax (corner of West Colfax and Bannock) from March 21st through June 28th.

Curators Stell and Bruno describe the conceptual premise of the “Press Play”:

“Rules of games, like those found in video games, imply ethical models or boundaries to be kept within in daily societal interactions and experiences. These parameters often structure our actions, perspectives, and worldviews. The artists in Press Play use these normative tools as structure, starting points, or forces to push against in their work. While some artworks explore conventional modes of structured play, other works use ruled play systems in order to subvert these conventional models of participation and competition.”

Participating Artists: Mark Amerika, Molly Bounds, Brody Condon, Milton Croissant III, Humberto Duque, Joseph Farbrook, Miltos Manetas, Eva and Franco Mattes, Alex Myers, Chad Person, and Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga.

Notes on “The Fear of Art”

without comments

Jack Persekian – Caravaggio collaged with contemporary Palestinian reality.

Today, February 13th 2015, I attended the last two sessions of the New Schools “The Fear of Art” two-day conference. I have a few notes from the last panel.

Jeffrey Deitch: on mural of coffins with dollars by Blu… I’m sure that Jeffrey is familiar with the term “parachute artist”… why in this day and age would a museum and an artist create public work ignorant of the immediate community? It seems so unprofessional, disrespectful, naive, ignorant… inform oneself before creating a work, particularly a work destined for the public space. Some veterans protested against the white washing of the wall. They believed in what the mural portrayed – the union of money and war.

In the end a problematic image that created public outcry was short lived… It sounds like our mass media cycle – is this as art should function or the type of work and outcome that a museum desires? Deitch leaves it up to the artist, and that seems too easy. It is the makings for a lot of bad art getting a good run. What about the question of the maturity of the artist. By maturity, I mean an artist undertaking the responsibility to inform oneself, to talk with people, to do research and consider the nuances of a neat visual idea. If an artist informs herself and then proceeds with the work, great, but if an artist runs with a strong visual idea without carefully considering the meaning from various perspectives… then should this type of work be supported? Can research lead to self-sensorship?

Boris Groys: at museums pray to religious artifacts… always imagine what an ancient Egyptian or Greek or Aztec would feel or think if visiting a contemporary museum with these artifacts.
To offend people is a good thing to do because it provokes a reaction, it makes clear the attitude, it puts things on the table.

Lisa Phillips: the strongest art is disrespectful, problematic, because it’s a new way of seeing, a way of seeing that is disruptive and exists before entering the mainstream and being accepted.

Jack Persekian: Installation in preparation for the Pope’s visit to Palestine, images that merged Baroque art with current life of Palestinian’s… what we think of the Holy Land and what it means to live in the location… Carvaggio – Thomas asked to touch Jesus’s wounds – switched to identity card used to scan the finger print of Palestinian’s. The work turned out to be too confrontational to be presented to the pope.

Jack Persekian – Baroque painting collaged with current Palestinian reality

Jack Persekian – Baroque painting collaged with current Palestinian reality

Written by ricardo

February 13th, 2015 at 8:57 pm

“Universal Pictures” Roundtable at the Jewish Museum

without comments

Still from Lucy Raven's

Still from Lucy Raven’s “Curtains” (2014)

Tonight (1/22/15) I attended the Jewish Museum’s “Universal Pictures: Considering Contemporary Video Practice” – a roundtable discussion with artists Joan Jonas, Ken Okiishi, Lucy Raven and Jennifer West.

I was 30 minutes late and unfortunately missed Joan Jonas’s presentation.

I walked in at the end of Lucy Raven’s talk as she introduced the excerpt from her film “Curtains” (50 minutes, 2014). Raven traveled around the world to capture various post-production studios where films are processed into stereoscopic 3D films. The snippet itself appeared terribly boring to have to watch, but the conceptual basis is striking. In considering the use of sound, Raven remarked how, the 3D processing flattens the film to a moving hologram, whereas sound when using surround sound is much more immersive and physical and 3 dimensional. There was little time for question and answer, however, I would have liked to have heard Raven’s thoughts regarding the temporal reality of a given digital technical labor. Today these post production studios are getting tax breaks in major cities. As the tech becomes less specialized the labor will move to cheaper markets rather than major cities, I wondered how quickly these studios would dissolve. I would have liked to have heard her reflections regarding digital labor after having visited all these post production studios throughout the globe.

To Ken Okiishi, I have one suggestion – don’t put video in a PowerPoint presentation – doing so will keep your computer from crashing. The interactive paint ball installation was cool, but trite. And the painted screens seemed to be too much of a shtick, not very interesting as objects though momentarily engaging. I did like the parallel between these art objects and our use of smart phones with traces of greasy finger marks…

Jennifer West presented fascinating material, including a satirical 18th century illustration of people’s fascination with lenses. She discussed her practice of using recycled film, drawing from the magic lantern, interests in pre-cinema practices, the beauty of 70mm film. The use of flash light projections in her installations. And she ended with images or brainstorming around her ongoing project on film memory. Which lead me to consider what do I remember of a favorite film? The pieces that stand out? And to consider the psychological power of circulation & cinema upon a mass public.

The Jewish Museum should have allotted more time for this roundtable, I’m sure other people had questions, but they pressed how they had gone beyond the given time.

Written by ricardo

January 22nd, 2015 at 8:45 pm