Michael Dinges uses the shiny white surface of discarded Apple MacBook computers as his canvas. He engraves them in much the same way that sailors decorated the byproducts of their world- whale teeth and bone – to create the works of art known as scrimshaw. By transforming these mass-produced computers into singular objects of wonder and beauty, Dinges “forces us to reconsider what we used them for in the first place and whether they’re now devoid of value. Do they disappear just because we threw them away?” (More…)
“Coonskin 2: Flight to Canada”, a collection of art works by Terrance Hughes
Opening reception: Saturday, October 8th, 6 – 9pm
For Hughes, this upcoming show is a concoction of two inpirations: Flight to Canada, a novel by Ishmael Reed, and Coonskin, an animated film by Bakshi. Flight to Canada tells the story of Raven Quickskill, 40’s, and Leechfield slaves who run away from their master, Mr. Swille, in search of freedom. Coonskin tells the story of Brother Rabbit, Preacher Fox, and Brother Bear, who flee the American South during the 1970s in search of liberation. Using satire, sex, violence, identity, and history to tell the stories of their characters, both Reed and Bakshi make clear that transformation can only come from within—a theme that is the cornerstone of Hughes’ work and that resonates deeply in his life. Consequently, there is “Coonskin 2: Flight to Canada”, which is Hughes’ vision of a sequel that will never happen. The show serves as homage and “thank you” to the great works of Reed and Bakshi and is a representation of Hughes’ love of the lost art of animation. Terrance Hughes was born in 1975 in St. Louis, Missouri, and currently lives and works in New York City. He is a self-taught artist, whose work deals with different periods of Black American history and issues surrounding cultural and social identities. Hughes’ works consist of two elements: graphite and charcoal on paper to create rendered portraits and landscapes from photo references, which are meant to mimic the photo itself, complete with imperfections; and animation Cel Vinyl on acetate, providing stark contrast through its vivid color and three-dimensional effect. It is his belief that the lost art of animation deserves a place in the art world.
Hughes has had recent exhibitions at Modern Eden, San Francisco, The Cheaper Show, Vancouver, and Mad Art Gallery, St. Louis. In March, Hughes participated in a group show to benefit Japan relief at graphite., Williamsburg.
Laurie Lipton:Carnival Of Death
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 1st, 7-11pm
Last Rites Gallery presents Carnival Of Death, new works by Laurie Lipton, in what will be her first solo show at the gallery. A master of graphite, Laurie Lipton’s detailed drawings explore the passages of life and the portal into death. With technical prowess, she approaches her subject matter with a unique blend of both elegance and dark humor. Influenced by Dia de los Muertos iconography, this exhibit runs just prior to The Day Of The Dead, commemorating the holiday by which it was inspired…
Louis C.K. @THE BELL HOUSE
Friday, September 30 @ The Bell House 7pm and 9pm show
Born in 1967, Louis CK got his start in comedy after moving to New York City in 1989 and appearing on as many of the numerous televised comedy programs being shot in the city as possible. Soon making short films and touring the country on the comedy circuit, CK got his start in television as one of the original writers for the wildly irreverent Conan O’Brien Show when it premiered in 1993. Masterminding such long-running skits as the “Staring Contest” and “Actual Items” (some of which continued to appear regularly, years after his departure), CK continued to make short films as he later worked for The Late Show with David Letterman and The Dana Carvey Show, all the while gaining popularity as a talented comedian. (READ MORE.)
The Super Coda at The Mixology Cellar.
Downstairs at the Cutting Room in Williamsburg. 44 Berry. 8-11:30. Valerie Kuehne/Ian Colletti think up phantom concoctions of the alcoholic variety all night.
We are the 99% Solidarity March with #occupywallstreet
Saturday, October 1 · 3:00pm – 8:00pmWe the 99% will not be silent and we will not be intimidated. This Saturday thousands more of us will march together as one to show that it is time that the 99% are heard. Join us on the 2nd week anniversary of your new movement. March will end with a gathering and some eating at Brooklyn Bridge Park 5:30 pm Special Guests include Amiri Baraka and others! Food provided.
Sat 10/01, 6/8pmThe Dust Busters are an old-time string band based out of Brooklyn. Ballads, fiddle tunes, old-time songs & banjo breakdowns — their distinct sound is contemporary, meaningful, raw… and foremost, fun With their new album “Forth” The Four Bags continue a decade-long adventure. The Four Bags tackle death metal, Persian classical, Brazilian pop, and French electronica, ever expanding their stylistic palette while imprinting a distinctive stamp on the music. “Forth” follows three critically acclaimed releases on NCM East Records.
Described as maintaining a “rightful place at the crossroads of the shoegaze and post-punk revival” Astral’s 2011 release, “Forever After” from Vibraphone Records feels like a fast ride through a field full of flowers. The band currently lives in San Francisco and frontman, Dave Han took a moment to talk to Matt Mowatt about the project.http://the22magazine.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/narcissus-by-astral.mp3%20
This past Friday, I paid a visit to Deborah Simon who has an upcoming show at NY Studio Gallery‘s LZ Project Space opening this Friday, May 20th. Deborah has been a painter and sculptor for several years now and will be part of the Sculpture Space residency in Utica, this coming October and November. She has worked at the Bronx Zoo building habitats and “intellectual toys” for the animals, and her work reflects the understanding of the dual nature of man-made versus natural environments and the drawbacks and necessity of both. Her sculpture’s present a strange encounter and cause the viewer to approach the animal in an unusual and raw manner, suggesting a reevaluation of the nature of human and animal interaction.
We truly appreciate her taking the time to talk about her work and upcoming show.
The 22 Magazine: You worked at the Bronx Zoo correct? Can you tell us a little about what you did there?
Deborah Simon: Sure, I did some design work. It was everything from giving exhibits face lifts to mural work, to sometimes just flat out designing and building exhibits. [I also built] intellectual toys for the animals. With that you have to make everything look natural. So [you have to make a] tiger toy that looks [for example] like a rotten piece of wood. It was one of those oddball weird request situations, keepers would come and say we need hummingbird feeders made out of XY and Z and we’d have to figure how to make them look natural.
The 22: How did you get into that kind of work? Did you study design in school or elsewhere?
DS: No, I’ve got a fine arts background. [I studied at] San Francisco Art Institute, which prepares you for nothing but making conceptual art. I just happened to have a realistic bent to what I do, which was thoroughly discouraged but…
I started working as a muralist and then the zoo had an ad in the paper. I replied to it and got hired. It’s one of those jobs where the guy who runs the department is fantastic, and he just expects that you need a lot of on the job training. You need to be able to weld, you need to be able to fiberglass, you need to be able to do some basic carpentry. There are just so many skills that no one person is going to have them all. They do invest in teaching you quite a bit [so], I learned a lot, and it all goes back into what I do.
The 22: In regards to your artists statement, which talks a little about the animal confronting the viewer in an unrestricted environment, did working at the zoo conflict with ideas of how animals should be treated in any way?
DS: I think it’s a conflict a lot of the people who work at the zoo have, because everyone who works there more or less loves animals. We all have multiple animals, we are deeply concerned about animal welfare. Some of the holding areas are very old and not that great. Some of the animals are permanently on medications because [there is] not the best ventilation but, on the other hand, you can’t just let them go. [I believe] Finland ran into this problem. They decided it was cruel and inhumane to keep this baboon exhibit. They decided it was inhumane to keep more tropical animals in Finland, but they couldn’t get rid of them because they breed really well and every zoo has a ton of them. So, they were going to euthanize them but the public had a fit and they had to keep them. So, now they have these unhappy baboons; animals that are obviously not doing well, but there are no other options for them. [I think] a lot of the people [that work at the zoo] go through this. [They think] these animals didn’t ask for this, they didn’t want to become ambassadors of their species, but on the other hand sometimes when your standing and watching the public watch these animals and they suddenly make this connection to the human traits of the animals you really hope it does something. They are suddenly more aware of them and, you think, I hope this means that it will translate into something, maybe [that wouldn’t be there] if they hadn’t seen it. Then again, zoo animals they don’t behave like wild animals, they have three meals a day, they sleep all day. [In the end] it’s a lot of mixed emotions.
The 22: A lot of your animals actually are puppets or look a lot like traditional marionettes. Stylistically how did you decide this was how you were going to build?
DS: It’s weird because I have this totally anal goal to be as accurate as humanly possibly, but I’m always reminding myself it’s art, not taxidermy. I was living in India for a while and India is a very sculpture oriented place. I had been painting for years and years at that point, and maybe it was just being around so much sculpture. I was home in the states and one day I just thought, what would happen if I make sculpted animals with fake fur? The hyena was the first one. I found [the hyena’s fur] in the bargain bin and I thought, this looks just like spotted hyena fur, no wonder it’s on sale. I brought back Sculpy and fur and whatever else I thought I wouldn’t be able to get in India, and just started working. I was originally thinking of porcelain dolls-[with] the hard heads and the soft body. I was thinking more along the lines of what would it be like to make these things so they look like creeped out porcelain dolls, but they actually ended up a little but more like [weird] taxidermy.
The 22: They seem to have this really human quality, a very aggressive straight on gaze…
DS:I feel even though animals are a really popular subject right now, it’s always animal as metaphor or animal as parable. They play the role of an odalisque and they don’t confront the viewer. They are a stand in for history, they’re a stand in for human behavior, but they are never just themselves, and when they are themselves it’s more kitschy animal art. I want it to be as if you were walking into their space. It’s kind of that feeling when you out in the woods or hiking, or even in Central Park [where] it tends to be a bird of prey, a hawk or something, and you have that instant where they look at you, and you look at them, and you have no idea what’s going to go on. Especially if it’s big enough to hurt you. Then it’s this totally different interaction than the zoo or anything else. Your walking into their space, and they are psychologically dominating it. The sculptures themselves are going to be hung so your going to have to walk around them. They force you to move around them instead of being on the walls or giving a pathway.
The 22: Can you tell me a little about Coyote Pursue’s puppet project?
DS: It was a pretty amazing experience. Collaborating was new to me but Matt Reeck is a good friend and amazing to work with. We shored up each others strengths and weaknesses really well. I would never have been able to direct something like that. I think in the future I may do more puppetry but do it so it’s video.
The 22: Is there a difference between building the puppets versus building the sculptures? Is that something you had to learn?
DS: Yes. St. Ann’s puppet lab is a nine month program so they are a huge resource, but it took me forever just to figure how to walk them. It took me two months just to build one, to actually physically construct it so that it moved properly. Once I got the basic structure it took me weeks to figure out how to string it, and that’s one of the times the lab was great. I brought them in and said I don’t know what to do, and one of the guys [showed me], and it was done. It was wonderful.
The 22: The piece itself was about a world where humans are gone, and coyotes are the only ones left right?
DS: [Matt Reeck] is a wonderful poet and he gave me a book of his poetry and asked me to illustrate it. At the time I was just feeling like, I don’t want to paint anything, and I don’t want to sketch.
[But] I was thinking [the poetry] would be perfect to do a puppet show with, and so we said what the hell, we’ll write a puppet lab. We threw it together in two weeks, and we were really surprised we got in. Originally we had taken three of his poems, more short prose really, and the one we both had a very clear vision-that was the same vision-was [the coyote] one. We started building and time started ticking by, and we realized the other two we’re never going to make it, and that we wouldn’t have time [to perform more than one]. You only got twenty minutes tops to perform. So, we decided just to focus on the coyotes, and it was really based on his writing, and [the idea of] not using the animals as parables but to be really Darwinian about it. What would a coyote really be doing if they were wandering around in this world with nothing really left. We were thinking of it as The Road but with coyotes.
The 22: Did you do a cover for The Beastie Boys [Intergalatic]?
DS: I had actually done the paintings and they ended up on the cover. The paintings were actually in the small works show at NYU and Mike D’s wife bought them. So, she came over to my studio and she’s chatting and we’re having this very nice conversation, and she keeps talking about her husband’s band and so I’m thinking….ok, band whatever and being polite, I ask oh what band is your husband in? And she’s says, The Beastie Boys, and at that point I’m immediately intimidated. So about six months later, they called to see if it was ok with me if they used it as an album cover and I just thought….ooook, twist my arm. It was just this little freak thing, they were just these little freak paintings, that I wasn’t planning to do as a body of work or anything.
The 22: What about the memento mori series paintings? Can you talk a little about what this series means to you and why you decided to do it?
DS: I think in that series I’d been reading a lot about evolution. I was thinking about how death influences life. I was thinking about a Darwinian perspective, you have these animals with these constant pressures, and it’s survival of the fittest but also thinking about viewing what human’s do in the world [destruction and pollution] as unnatural, but it is natural because we are part of the world and this is part of what we do. Animals routinely destroy their environments, but they don’t do it in the same numbers that we do. Elephants constantly trash environments and have to move on, but there are so few of them, they aren’t ruining Africa or Asia-we sort of beat them to it. I guess I was thinking about that simple pressure and interaction, and how some of your stiffest competition is from your species. You know species always have more children than your going to need. You really only need a one to one replacement and chances are that’s all your going to get if your lucky.