Filed under: ART, PERFORMANCE ART, PUPPETS, REVIEWS | Tags: 22, basil, dream, HERE, liaochai, magazine, new, of, puppet, puppetry, puppets, strange, tales, the, theater, twist, york
by Cat Gilbert
Strings break. They bend. They lead, and they follow (if prompted.) It was physical strings that brought me to Hanne Tierney’s most recent piece “Strange Tale of Liaozhai” at HERE arts center, (as it did many) and it was more metaphorical ones that lead me to learn her rich history as both puppeteer and person. Known for her elaborate puppet rig utilizing (this time) over 114 strings, even Tierney’s herself in an interview for her past work (My Life in a Nutshell) says “80 strings can tangle, can break, can slip out, it’s such a high risk business that I kind of say “Why am I doing this?” Knowing Tierney’s tragic history of losing her son in Sierra Leone and picking up his designated NY space to create a community art gallery (FiveMyles) that has won an Obie for its ability to energize a transition community, it’s easy to see there is very little that truly scares Hanne.
Whether the audience echos the sentiment of “why” or not, they certainly are aware of the elements of “danger” or at least the intricacy involved with watching three dedicated puppeteers manipulate the medieval mechanism (creaky as a ship but with no threat of storm) that Hanne has created. A self-professed “art performer,” who works in galleries as well as theaters, Tierney’s work, while sometimes autobiographical, is also the product of her love affair with Gertrude Stein’s ideal of theater without actors. “Strange Tales of Liaozhai” was aesthetically driven by Stein’s piece “A play called Not and Now,” which employed ball gowns and tuxedos to create a piece which deconstructed the foundations of theater.
“Strange Tales” uses 18th century folktales to tell the stories of a bad trade among a pigeon merchant, and the story of two lovers (one a fox spirit) who struggle for martial bliss. The pigeon piece does so through shadow screens and the hand drawn visual projections of Hannah Wasileski, while the lovers pieces utilizes the inanimate puppet players in the forms of scarves, bamboo, umbrellas and the like. Both pieces were joined by the complex, strange constructions of Jane Wang, who played a setup that rivaled the string mechanism of the puppeteers in its visual interest and sound. The stories though slow, are poignant and worth the patience of watching, however anyone who has seen (or heard) Hanne’s work, knows that a good portion of the engagement of the audience relies on her beautifully subtle, slightly accented narration, and on the puppeteer’s ghost within the machine movements. The genius behind creating something that resembles the interior of a grand piano, complete with string manipulators is almost enough to capture audience for the full hour in itself.
The “new” puppets in the piece (many of Tierney’s older “puppets”-bamboo poles, beaded curtains made appreciated cameo appearances), were mostly the silk scarves which made up the bulk of the cast. The stage itself was cloaked in purposefully laid cloth, and each main character was represented in choice colors, that changed pattern with movement and time across the stage and in the plotline; the overly doting mother in deep reds and pinks, the brash, fickle uncle in blacks and blues, the young lovers in pinks, sky blues and rainbows, and the fox spirit, a satiny silver.
Jane Wang’s setup included a variety of musical instruments (perquisite toy pianos included) but the most interesting moments came when she engaged the “space plates” (metal plates balanced on balloons, balanced in plastic containers), and more simply in her playing of the upright bass which she plucked to create beautiful movement and drama within the puppet pieces. Jamey McGilray and Shawn Lane helped manipulate the puppet strings and did so with a great amount of grace and ease.
“Strange Tales of Liaozhai” the book certainly relies on a great amount of history (with humans or no) to appreciate its tales and appropriately enough Hanne’s work is no different. Woven within the strings she pulls there are connections to both her past apprenticeship at a spinning wheel factory, her ability to see more than mundane in simple machinery, and her choice to move forward even and sometimes because of the great danger within.
Filed under: THE WEEK/THE WEEKEND | Tags: 2012 THE, a, Allen;, Allow, Amado’s, and, angela, Annie, Arias Harry, Around, art, Art Odd, ARTISTS Taka, Arts SoundWalk, at, Bach’s, BAHAMA, Bambara, Band Crystal, beat, beautiful, Beckman, Beekeepers, bell, Bickley, big, bill, Blunders, book, Bowery, Box Isle, bright, by Michael, c, Cambrian Newtown, CATFOX N, Cauldron, celebration, chris, cinema, COMPOSERS Gayle, Corringham GLOBAL, Corsano Neil, CREATURES Day, Creek, daniel, david, doug, Echo, Electra The Disposable, Evidence Wondering, exploring, FAIR Next, Fest, Festival SCHOOLNIGHT, Festival The, FestivalVeronica, film, FILTER Pictures, food, for, fowler, Fracking, FRANGE, from, Fugue, Fur, GAS Urban, G’HOKTASAURUS Jason, Gibbs, girl, Glorious, Goats Devotchka, Gracie Art, greens, guest, Hands Ryan, Hearst’s, Holograms, Hotel Don’t, HOUDINI, Howlin’, Hunt FLASH, Hwang Melanie, in, IRANIAN, J.S., Jackpot, job, joey, josh, joy, KADDEN, Kao, Kigawa, klaus, kristin, late, Lee, Lendvay, Liaozhai Thomas, living, Lo ELISA, Luck, Marshall, Mesiko ICY, mitch, mixed, moon, Moons, Moth, mountain, Nancy, new, Newtown, Nonfiction, Norderval Leland, Nort, ny, nyc, of, off, Oliveros, on, Opening VICTOR, Orcutt, Pageant DAVE, paper, Parade, party, Peggy, performing, Perley, piano, Point, Poison, presents, Progress, puppet, Pussy, Raquel, record, Reinhard, Reitzenstein Butoh, release, rhodes, Rolnick, room, RUTNER’S, Salon LUSH Curated, Sculpture Strange, SHIELD Skye, SILVER, sings, Slam, small, snow, Songbook, songs, SOT, sound, special, state, STATMAN Creative, Steele’s, story, street, Sundries, Sunshine, SYMPOSIUM, tales, the, TIGER, tom, Tough, Turley’s Hi, unusual, Ups, van, Viv, Wandering Pauline, WASTE, wave, Waxman Michael, Wilsen BACHSTAR KOTORINO ANDY, with, Workshop Braulio, writers, Y, york, young
Exploring the Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Mitch Waxman
August 25, 2012, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11
The 22 is headed out this Saturday to check out Atlas Obscura’s tour of Newton Creek. We’ll have a full update afterwards, but in the meantime buy your tickets and join us! We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.
Battle for Bergen Street
Monday, August 27, 7pm
at the corner of Smith and Bergen Streets
“Battle on Bergen” is a site-specific performance incorporating elements of dance, street theater, puppetry, and live music, depicting certain events from the Battle of Brooklyn and drawing parallels between the American Revolutionary War and events today. Sometimes forgotten in the very neighborhoods where it took place, the Battle was fought on August 27th, 1776 weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “Battle on Bergen” is co-directed by Selene Colburn and features David Freeman, James Hannaham, Aaron Stanley, Willis Bigelow, Alan Balicki, Katie Merz, John Bauman, Tyler Sussman, and J.J. Hill-Wood.
Michael Hearst’s SONGS FOR UNUSUAL CREATURES
A celebration of the under-appreciated creatures that roam the planet. From the Australian Bilby to the deep-sea Magnapinna Squid, to the Saddleback Caterpillar. The songs are brought to life by a gaggle of curious instruments and peculiar sounds including theremin, claviola, stylophone, and more.. With Michael Hearst, Ron Caswell, Allyssa Lamb Ben Holmes and Kristin Mueller.
Fri, August 24, 2012
Day Joy is the creation of Peter Michael Perceval and Michael Serrin of Orlando FL. Their music began acoustically on the porch and recordings began with just the duo layering instrumentation together and and creating the lush and layered Dream Folk/Pop recordings you can hear now.
Art for Progress presents “Mixed Greens”
Saturday, August 25th
AFP returns to The Paper Box in East Williamsburg for a new monthly multimedia experience showcasing some of the finest emerging talent NYC has to offer. Most recently, AFP hosted “Brooklyn Beat Music and Arts Festival” at The Paper Box, and will continue the multidisciplinary arts experience with their new monthly series “Mixed Greens.” Taking place on Saturday nights the third week of each month, “Mixed Greens” will bring together a fresh new mix of musicians, artists, and DJ’s, creating an eclectic experience.
Sound Off Salon
16 Beaver St
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Sound Off is an intimate performance series of sound art and experimental music that connects audiences with composers, musicians, artists, and one another. It takes place in a simple loft: no stage, no curtain, and little distance between performer and audience.
The Australian so-called “graffiti artist” LUSH is having his debut New York solo exhibition at Klughaus Gallery on Saturday, August 25, 2012. Following successful shows in Australia and London, LUSH is going to be bringing his “Art” to the Big Apple.
FLASH POINT/ NYC: WRITERS AND COMPOSERS
Thursday, Aug 30 – 6:00PM
Cornelia St Cafe
A multidisciplinary call-and-response experience, the FLASH POINT/ NYC ensemble of writers and composers interweave new hybrid texts, flash fiction, micro memoir and prose poems across the harmonic rhythms, inversions, melodies and lines of original live jazz. Synchronicities and spontaneities emerge, converge and diverge to cross genres, provoke tradition and explore the territories ahead.
Gayle Young with Reinhard Reitzenstein
Young and Reitzenstein combine pre-recorded sounds — ranging from oceans to railways — with two of Young’s stringed instruments, one wood and the other a prototype in aluminum. Their approach is a playful exploration of sound that integrates soundscape with unusual tunings.
August 29 – September 8
The magnificent, intense and intelligent Butoh Electra is created and performed by the highly acclaimed ensemble, The Ume Group. A “beautiful and disturbing” piece (NYTheatre.com), Butoh Electra presents Sophocles’ Greek revenge tragedy as the story of a woman whose vibrant inner life is corrupted by the world of walking dead in which she lives.
The Disposable Film Festival
Thursday August 23
The DFF was created in 2007 to celebrate the artistic potential of disposable video: short films made on non-professional devices.
Veronica Klaus Sings The Peggy Lee Songbook with special guest Joey Arias
7:30 PM – August 29
Veronica Klaus delves into the amazingly broad songbook of the inimitable Miss Peggy Lee and brings her own sultry, smokey soulful style to some favorites and some lesser known gems from the Lee songbook, with the Tammy Hall Trio backing her, this is a great night of music for fans of jazz and the immortal Peggy Lee!
Neil Rolnick/Kristin Norderval
Neil Rolnick works for violin, piano and computer, with violinist Todd Reynolds and pianist Vicky Chow. Including Hammer & Hair, Digits, Fiddle Faddle and Robert Johnson Sampler.
Harry Pussy Record Release Party with Bill Orcutt & Chris Corsano
Thursday, August 30, 2012 @ 8:00 pm
Record release party for Harry Pussy’s Let’s Build A Pussy (1998) & One Plus One (1992-1993) with solo sets and a world premere duo performance by Bill Orcutt (one of the most influential noise artists of the 20th century) and “one of the most exciting drummers on the planet”, Chris Corsano.
Leland Sundries/Angela Perley and The Howlin’ Moons/Raquel Bell and David Marshall of Mesiko
Pete’s Candy Store
Leland Sundries, a band from New York led by Nick Loss-Eaton, is dedicated to storytelling in a way that recalls Woody Guthrie and his Folkways brethren.Raquel and David are performing a rare duo set of past songs from their now defunct band, Norden Bombsight, and some of their new material from recently formed, Mesiko (Ray Rizzo, Chris Rodahaffer).”Taking her cues from the bold ladies of classic Americana country, Angela Perley’s vocal whippoorwill twang and down-home lyrics are so darling they will keep you up at night.
ICY & SOT IRANIAN STREET ARTISTS
Neverheard Inc and Klerkx Art Agency will be presenting ICY AND SOT’s Made in Iran at Openhouse Gallery. The street art duo will be debuting at Openhouse 379 Broome in Nolita. Made in Iran will expose viewers to site-specific installation and new stencil work that has been seen on the streets of Paris, Turin, San Paolo, New York, and many other cities.
Taka Kigawa, piano – performing J.S. Bach’s “The Art of Fugue”
Le Poisson Rouge
Mon., August 27, 2012, 7:00 PM
Critically acclaimed pianist TAKA KIGAWA will present a solo piano recital on Monday, August 27th, 2012, at 8:00 pm, at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Doors open at 7:00 pm. For this recital, Mr. Kigawa will perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (complete.)
The Snow / C. Gibbs/Annie and The Beekeepers with special guest Wilsen
9:30 PM – August 30
The Snow is a cinematic literary-pop quartet from Brooklyn, New York led by Pierre de Gaillande (Bad Reputation, Melomane, Morning Glories) and Hilary Downes. The Snow’s influences are as diverse as its sound – having been described in turns as post-apocalyptic French cabaret, gypsy pop, and carnival Americana.
Creative Nonfiction Opening
VICTOR FRANGE PRESENTS GAS
Urban Food Waste Workshop
Braulio Amado’s: HOUDINI
Cinema, Cinema/Bambara/Jackpot Tiger/Big Fur/Big Ups @Paper Box
Isle of Rhodes/Tough/Luck, Late Cambrian
Newtown Creek Celebration: Puppet Parade and Pageant
DAVE KADDEN/BAHAMA GIRL/CATFOX
N Y Moth Story Slam (Blunders)
SCHOOLNIGHT at the Bowery Hotel
Don’t Allow Fracking in New York State!
Nancy Beckman and Tom Bickley/Viv Corringham
GLOBAL LIVING ROOM FEST: JOSH RUTNER’S G’HOKTASAURUS
Jason Kao Hwang
Melanie Daniel: ECHO SHIELD
Skye Steele’s Glorious Sunshine Band
Crystal Bright and The Silver Hands
Ryan Turley’s Hi/Lo
ELISA LENDVAY: Small Sculpture
Strange Tales of Liaozhai
Thomas Allen: Beautiful Evidence
Wondering Around Wandering
Pauline Oliveros with Doug Van Nort and FILTER
Pictures from the Moon: A Symposium on Holograms and Art
Odd Job @Fowler Arts
THE NY ART BOOK FAIR
Next wave Festival
The Mountain Goats
Filed under: THE WEEK/THE WEEKEND | Tags: 1, 1 Christophe, 2012, 2012 WHITE, 22, 3, 3rd, Agopian, air, Alan, Alcorn, Alexis, america, and, andrew, ann, annual, art, artist, artists, arts, AVELLA, BAGUR Floating, BAND Sycamore’s, Bark, be, BEIJER MARABUNTA Women, Bernstein, bill, BLUSHING, body, Boil Darmstadt, brass, brooklyn, Brown THE, by, by Brian, camera, CD, Chamber, Christoph, collaborators, Colorists, Crawfish, curated, david, de, deborah, deep, diane, DJ, drink, Eozen, eugene, Fefer, Fest, festival, for, from, GAULD, Geoffrey, george, GHOST SINGLE, gilbert, giving, golden, Gordon, graham, Heemann, HEIN, Improbable, Ink newARTtheatre, Innovators ANT, joe, Katarzyna, Kleiman, LAB Masterpiece, LEAN, Liberation, like, literary, LORD’S, Luijk, magazine, Majak JOHN, Mayo LABAPALOOZA, McPhee MIKE, ME Freewheeling, Meatyard Eat, michael, Mini, Mivos, Mixer OMAR, moderator, MONVELYNO, MOORE, Nace, national, new, Noon by, ny, nyc, of, oliver, on, organized, Panel, PARTS LP The, Patchett The, Paul, PAYER, P’CHENN, Pekler, Permanent, plays, Popejoy, Power Photographs, Project Jared, puppet, RELEASE ANDY, ROOTS Nomad, sarah, schroetter SPOTLIGHT, Scream, secular, series, Sholis edgar, society, Souls JASPER, Sperrazza SCREW, states, STATMAN The, Stewart, STOOGES, Stuart, Surface, surreal, Susan, SWELL, talent, the, theater, Theater Curated, Theodore, Theologies, three, Timo, to, TO In, Unconventional, united, up, van, Veil Centuries, VioSac, w, walls, way, week, weekend, Wet, WETCHENN, with, Wollesen, works, york, YOU Ralph, Young DJARARA, Young Thurston, Zarou Hedy
Three Colorists: curated by Michael Walls — Eozen Agopian, Alan Kleiman, Diane Mayo
Where: Lesley Heller Workspace
When: June 6 – July 6, 2012, Opening Reception: Wednesday, June 6, 6-8pm
Three Colorists, curated by Michael Walls, highlights the work of three artists who have several things in common: they began their professional life as painters; the oeuvre of each importantly involves the role of color; and the work of each is not only labor intensive, but also revealing of a hard-won mastery of the chosen craft.
LABAPALOOZA! MINI FESTIVAL OF NEW PUPPET THEATER FROM THE LAB
Where: St. Ann’s Warehouse
When: MAY 31-JUNE 3
It’s the last show before we move to our new location at 29 Jay Street! What better way to say goodbye to 38 Water Street than with our 14th annual Labapalooza Festival? This year’s line-up of works-in-progress ranges from the traditional to the irreverent, from the ground breaking to the nostalgic, and from delightful to downright punk-rock.
Masterpiece Theater Curated by: Geoffrey Young
Where: Morgan Lehman
When: May 31 - June 30
If theatrical is the question, masterpiece is the answer. Modesty in art is over-rated, as anyone with a Schnabel complex knows, so be prepared for the challenge of ascertaining the significance of what these artists have been cooking up over the past four months. Yes, each can draw, paint, and employ color to bold effect, but that’s of secondary importance (the least we can expect of an artist). What drives these artists is Imagination. Another word for imagination is risk, another word for risk is danger, another word for danger is aesthetics. And aesthetics, as we know, is for the birds. But these artists aint tweeting.
Thurston Moore + Bill Nace + Joe McPhee
When: May 31, 8pm
Three pillars of the noise and avant-jazz scene collide : Thurston Moore, singer/songwriter/guitarist for Sonic Youth, teams up with free-noise guitarist Bill Nace and avant-jazz saxophonist Joe McPhee for an evening of mind bending cacophony.
Filed under: THE WEEK/THE WEEKEND | Tags: $10, 00pm, 100, 11, 11 The, 22, 3, 30pm Jordan, 57, 6, 7, 9, a, Absorb, abstract, air, also, an, and, art, artist, Aspirations, ASTRAL, at, b, Bearing, BELLY Independence, Below, ben, Bjerklie, booking, box, Burch, by, BYOC, c, Causey, Cell, central, Chatterson, climb, clown, club, Collaborative Insurgent, color, Contemporary, Cornelia, CURATES, DALACHINKSY, DEV, Diffuse, don, DORIAN, downtown, Eagles, early, Eccentricity, EDWARDS, ELY, Empires, event, Everybody, exhibition, Exploding, eye, eyes, fall, Fallen, FAMA, fence, Festival Crazy, film, find, FLIGHT, friends, gallery, GARFUNKEL Kris, Georgian, glass, Gray, Grunge The, hack, HANGAR, HARLAN, Hediger, Heller, HEMOGLYPHS, HERE, history, home, HOMOPHOBES, HOSTESS, House, hugo, ICP, in, institute, Instiut, international, is, john, julie, Keever, kim, kitchen, klompching, la, lady, Landscapes “Another, Later Das, Lehman DEFINITIONS, Lesley, Lied, LIES THE, life, like, LL, location, Lordan, Loren, Loteria, Loves, lush, lyons, magazine, mahler, man, Mapping, martos, me, microscope, Milo, mind, Missing, Mobility, MOMA, momenta, morgan, Munk, Negron, never, new, Newman, nights, NIKLEWICZ, NORWAY, now, ny, NY1 The, nyc, NYC ADAM, observatory, of, on, opening, Opera, or, Oral, our, Paintings The, paper, Parker, PARTY THISORGANIZED, Passage, performance, perspective, peter, photographers, photographs, pieter, Pioneers, PLUG, poetry, Popiashvii, puppet, reading, reception, Resistor Autuerist, Reuben, RITTER, S, saul, Schoenberg Signs, Sekaer, september, series, SHIPLEY, SHOW Pieces, simon, snapshots, sound, special, spice, SRandS, stars, steve, surreal, SWALLOW, t, terrarium Craft, the, theater, theatre, this, three, through, to, town, tuesday, UGLY, unknown, UOTS, up, valley, Vernacular, view, ways, weir, white, Within, Witness, Worked, world, writing, years, yes, york, Yossi
WHITE SWALLOW READING SERIES: B.C. EDWARDS LL BEN FAMA LL ELY SHIPLEY @ CORNELIA.
Tuesday, September 6 · 6:00pm - 7:30pm
B.C. EDWARDS lives in Brooklyn. He is the recipient of the 2011 Hudson Prize put out by Black Lawrence Press which will be publishing his collection of short fiction, The Aversive Clause in 2012 and his collection of poetry From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes in 2013. His work can be found in Red Line Blues, The Sink Review, Food-i-Corp, Hobart and others. His short story “Illfit” is being adapted into a piece by the Royal Ballet of Flanders. BEN FAMA is the author of the chapbook Aquarius Rising (UDP 2009) and NEW WAVES (Minutes Books). He is the founding editor of Supermachine Poetry Journal. His work has been featured in GlitterPony, notnostrums, LIT, Poor Claudia, and on the Best American Poetry Blog, among others. He has contributed tips to gawker, words to urban dictionary, and has an ongoing correspondence with Lady Gaga. ELY SHIPLEY’s first book, Boy with Flowers, won the 2007 Barrow Street Press book prize judged by Carl Phillips, the 2009 Thom Gunn Award, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His writing appears in the Western Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Diagram, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Baruch College, CUNY. Hosted by Angelo Nikolopoulos $7 cover includes a house drink.
Filed under: INTERVIEWS | Tags: activist, album, and, animal, animals, ann's, art, beastie, boys, Bronx, carson, cover, coytoe, culture, D., darwin, darwinian, davis, deborah, drawbacks, dual, enviroments, envrioments, francisco, gallery, habitats, hip hop, human, india, institute, intellectual, interaction, intergalatic, lab, LZ, mad, man, marionettes, matt, mccullers, mike, muralist, natural, nature, necessity, new, November, ny, october, of, painter, painting, perspective, poet, poetry, project, puppet, puppets, pursues, reeck, reevaluation, residency, road, saint, san, sculptor, sculpture, show, simon, space, st, st. ann's, studio, tamara, taxidermy, the, toys, Utica, versus, with animals, york, zoo
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.
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531 West 26th Street, NYC
Guy Richards Smit satirically bends artistic authorship with new paintings and video in Grossmalerman! Thanks to Guy Richards Smit for the following text from Jonathan Grossmalerman, writing in defense of his portrayal in Grossmalerman!, Amagansett, April 2011:
“That a man, any man, be he a thundering genius or a mere citizen, might die never having had his own sitcom, seems to me, a terrible injustice.” Those were the last words of my father, Saul Grossmalerman, a strikingly sullen man with few ambitions, a habitual liar about boring things not worth lying about. What a piece of shit. In any case, this was one of the more interesting things he said and that it was uttered on his deathbed gave it a certain…approximation of gravitas. For what it’s worth, it has always been a burr on the tunic of my outrageous success. It was with that in mind that I, perhaps foolishly, gave permission to the painfully charismatic Guy Richards Smit when asked to use my name and paintings in his “sitcom,” a show ostensibly about me and my life. Let me state frankly: it is not.(READ MORE.)
May 18 at 6:00pm FREE
Curated and hosted by Kate Brehm, this on-going series features impromptu, informal and intimate conversations with NYC’s puppet artists. This month’s special guests: Christopher Williams and Patti Bradshaw and we will discuss the End of the World! Followed by a performance of Alissa Hunnicutt’s The Kid Inside. (READ MORE.)
Date: Thursday, 19 May 2011, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary
Please join Jimbo Blachly and Lytle Shaw, editors of the Chadwick Family Papers, for the land launch of the Nelson Manobar. The Chadwicks’ recently restored occupiable model of Admiral Nelson’s HMS Victory has never before been exhibited publicly in the United States.
The event features:
Drinks from the hull of the Manobar
Rare recordings of Chadwick Dalton’s legendary sea chanty collection
Reception May 20; 7-9pm
May 19, 2011 through June 19, 2011
NY Studio Gallery is pleased to present Al Wadzinski’s third solo show in New York. Wadzinski’s False Idols refer to the predominantly Judeo-Christian concept of idolatry, the worship of a physical object as a god. Here these carefully assembled icons are comprised of humanity’s abandoned cast-offs, the remnants of our bloated consumer culture now repurposed as inert fetish objects. The centerpiece of the exhibition revolves around a massive golden calf, referencing the Old Testament story, but this god-proxy’s body is a shopping cart filled with gold-painted bones, its undeniably bovine head an amalgam of odd parts ranging from boots to a Christmas tree stand. (READ MORE.)
Thursday, May 19, 6:30-8pm
If we think back to our High School years…probably nothing. But to the scientific mind, the concept of the “elegant proof” is deep and satisfying thing. In a survey some years back, physicists identified the 10 experiments that they felt were not just important…but really cool, elegant…and beautiful. They span millennia, from Ancient Egypt to Modern Europe.
Each experiment will be related, along with the how and why of its execution (some may be tried at home – depending on your research budget). How to measure the size, mass and rotation of the Earth. What light is made up of. The atom and electron. Wave mechanics. And a smidgen of Quantum Mechanics. At the end, you will walk out with a broad, expansive survey of Physics and its history. Led by Daniel. (READ MORE.)
Romantic Agony @ HORTON GALLERY.
May 19 – Jun 18, 2011
Jacques Louis Vidal
Blip Festival will take place May 19-21, 2011
Marshall McLuhan writes, “Obsolescence never meant the end of anything, it’s just the beginning.” Taking Blip Festival’s spirit of ‘obsolescence as the beginning’ into the realm of visual art, a nightly screening is presented by artists who are bringing new life to the technology and aesthetics of our recent past.
From animated GIFs to video collage, from memes to digital abstraction, the artists included in Blip Festival Gallery employ the wealth of creative technologies of networked culture. Includes work and premieres by: Sterling Crispin, Alexandra Gorczynski and Nicolas Sassoon.
Curated by Lindsay Howard