THE WEEKEND: SEPT 23-25.

KRONOS QUARTET: Awakening: A Musical Meditation on the Anniversary of 9/11

Part of the 2011 Next Wave Festival
Sep 21—24, 2011 at 7:30pm 

Pioneering contemporary music ensemble Kronos Quartet (More Than Four, 2007 Next Wave) returns to BAM with a heartfelt program comprising 12 compositions—including works by Michael Gordon, Terry Riley, Osvaldo Golijov and Gustavo Santaolalla, and John Oswald—plus gripping arrangements of traditional songs from around the globe. This stirring collection of works reflects upon those instances where traditional language fails us, and music steps in to restore what violinist David Harrington refers to as “equilibrium in the midst of imbalance.”

Read the full program here.

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THE WEEK: SEPT 6-9.

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.

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THE WEEK: August 1-5th.

Mostly Other People Do The Killing @Cornelia.
Monday, August 1, 10:00 PM

Peter Evans, trumpet; Jon Irabagon, saxophone; Moppa Elliot, bass; Kevin Shea, drums.

Students from So Percussion’s Summer Institute (SOSI) play the music of Dan Deacon other surprises@LPR.
Jamie xx (DJ Set) w/ Brenmar (10pm)
special guests Dan Deacon

The art made by Baltimore artist Dan Deacon is about community and how to organize and inspire it. From founding a now well-known art collective (Wham City), to organizing and running an annually sold-out DIY music festival (Whartscape), to conceiving, planning and curating a massive 60 person/30 band tour (Baltimore Round Robin Tour), it’s clear to see that community and bringing people together is the major theme of his work. Bromst is the embodiment of that way of thinking. (READ MORE.)

Group Exhibition @Joshua Liner Gallery

Summer Group Exhibition 2011
August 4 to August 27, 2011

Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present the 2011 Summer Group Exhibition showcasing 17 artists, including established gallery regulars and several newcomers to the gallery. The exhibition will feature painting, collage, and drawing, with works by the following artists:

Cameron Gray, Chloe Early, Damon Soule, Dave Kinsey, David Ellis, Evan Hecox, Evelyn Rydz, Greg Lamarche, Herbert Baglione, Oliver Vernon, Pema Rinzin, Ryan McLennan, Shawn Barber, Stephen Powers, Tiffany Bozic, Tomokazu Matsuyama and Tony Curanaj.

xperi-MENTAL Festival 3
August-5, 6, 7

Three days or avant garde and experimental music madness!

Curated by Robert L. Pepper (PAS) and Valerie Kuhne (Prehistoric Horse)

Goodbye Blue Monday
J Train to Kosciusko St

Round Robin Collective in Residence at A.I.R Gallery
August 5th through August 27th A.I.R Gallery will host Round Robin Collective in Residence at A.I.R Gallery.

Opening Reception: Thursday, August 4th, 6-9pm.
Gallery Hours during this exhibition: Thursday 5:30 – 8:30pm, and Fri – Sun, 11 to 6pm.

Le Squeezebox Cabaret @ Public Assembly: 

A Monthly Night of Accordion-Driven Variety
The first Monday of every month, David F. Slone, Esq. invites you to join him in a celebration of the beauty of the bellows with Brooklyn’s hottest underground accordionists, dancers, strippers, singers, comedians and magicians!

HOSPITAL: EPISODE 3 @ AXIS
Axis Company’s episodic play Hospital, about the interior life of a person in a terminal coma, is something of a signature for the company, which has produced a new installment of the drama nearly every year since 1997. Conceived, written and directed by Randy Sharp (Edgar Oliver’s East 10th Street: Self Portrait with Empty House), the show is a summer downtown phenomenon beloved for its balance of horror, humor, and weirdness. The company will present the 11th production in the series July 8 – August 20.
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I slept with a man for a roll of quarters By Aimee Nicole.

I slept with a man for a roll of quarters.
I told him I gladly accepted bills,
but all he had was laundry money.
So, I pocketed the quarters and thought
it was surely convenient that I no longer had to venture to the local bank
to change my last hard earned ten,
just to submerge my lights and darks in frigid water.
For weeks, I will wear clean clothes
and worry about my appearance as it comes a dire need.

About Aimee: While not reading, painting, and with her family, Aimee is finishing up a YA manuscript. Aimee graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in Creative Writing this past May and has been published by Red Booth Review, Mouth of the Bay and two of her poems will appear in the upcoming fall publication of Psychic Meatloaf. In August she will also be featured on The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts’ blog for a statement of compression.

The Week: June 13-17.

MONDAY:

Laetitia Sadier (of Stereolab) @ LE POISSON ROUGE.
Arturo en el Barco
w/ Erika Spring (of Au Revoir Simone)

presented by Substrata
June 13
7:00pm doors | 8:00pm show
$15 in advance | $17 day of show
All Ages
This is a first-come, partially seated event.



Taylor Mead @The Bowery Poetry Club
June 13, 6:30pm


MIKKO INNANEN TRIO WITH JOE FONDA and LOU GRASSI @ UNIVERSITY OF THE STREETS

Mikko Innanen – alto sax, Joe Fonda – bass, Lou Grassi – drums.
06/13/2011  8:00 pm  $10.


Monday, June 13 – Performance EVOLVING MUSIC Series @ Clemente Coto Velez Cultural Center
Presenting  Joelle Leandre solo & Joelle Leandre / Steve Dalachinsky Duo!
7:30 – Joelle Leandre Solo Contrabass
8:30 – Steve Dalachinsky & Joelle Leandre Duo
Admission is $16 per set or $21 for the evening
At Clemente Coto Velez Cultural Center
(Suffolk St and Rivington St) F or J  to Delancey/Essex


TUESDAY AND WENESDAY:


LANDON KNOBLOCK/OSCAR NORIEGA/JEFF DAVIS @UNIVERSITY OF THE STREETS
Landon Knoblock – keyboard,
Oscar Noriega – alto saxophone,
Jeff Davis – drums.
06/14/2011  10:00 pm  $10.


Lecture, Screening, and Discussion: “Aesthetic Justice,” with Carlos Motta and Niels Van Tomme
Date: Tuesday, 14 June 2011, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Please join us for a lecture and screening by artist Carlos Motta, followed by a discussion with curator Niels Van Tomme.

In his lecture “Amnesia and Repression: A Series of Attempts to Establish a Memory Project of Political Conflict from an Aesthetic Practice,” Motta will discuss his recent video and performance projects Six Acts: An Experiment in Narrative Justice (2010) and Resistance and Repression (2010). In these works, Motta attempts to offer a space for the articulation of memory of political conflicts from an aesthetic perspective. He does so by using the concept of “narrative justice,” a notion of justice detached from the judicial field and focused on narrative and communication as pillars of possible reconciliation. The lecture reflects on unresolved instances of political violence in Colombia and Honduras—instances that unveil a lack of a culture of memory and of social justice.

This event is organized within the framework of Provisions Learning Project’s “Aesthetic Justice” exhibition on view at the Lambent Foundation in New York until 22 June 2011. The exhibition features the works of Alyse Emdur, Rajkamal Kahlon, Carlos Motta, and Larissa Sansour, and can be viewed by appointment, Tuesday to Thursday, 11 am to 4 pm. Email exhibitions@lambentfoundation.org to schedule an appointment.


Sounds GoodJohn Aslanidis@LOCATION1

OPENING RECEPTION:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 6-8 PM

Featuring visual responses to a collaborative sound piece by artists John Aslanidis, Katy Dove, Phoebe Hui, Sophie Hunter, Miler Lagos, John O’Connell, Gonzalo Puch, and Zane Saunders.



Rob Carter: Artist Talk, Video Screening And Q&A @KIDD YELLIN.

Recess @ Kidd Yellin
133 Imlay Street
Red Hook, Brooklyn

Tuesday, June 14th- Photographer and video artist, Rob Carter, will give an audio visual presentation of his work at the Red Hook outpost of Recess Activities, in collaboration with Kidd Yellin. He will discuss the evolution of his work and screen several animations, including some new unseen projects. (READ MORE.)

 


DIXON PLACE:

The Pinks -AND-Handshake Uppercut

Tuesday, June 14 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $15 / $12 (stu/sen)

Puppet BloK!: Leakey’s Ladies
Wednesday, June 15 at 7:30pm
Drama of Works Tickets: $10 advance; $12 at the door

Award-winning puppet company Drama Of Works premieres their new historically-based full-length puppet theater piece in progress, Leakey’s Ladies. A collaboration with playwrights Crystal Skillman, Rachel Hoeffel and Erin Courtney, Leakey’s Ladies explores the work of female primatology pioneers; Birutė Galdikas, Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey.


Wed., June 15, 2011 / 7:30 PM
Nels Cline is one of the most versatile, imaginative and original guitarists active today. Combining breathtaking technique with an informed musical intelligence, the self-taught Cline displays a mastery of guitar expression that encompasses delicate lyricism, sonic abstractions, and skull-crunching flights of fancy, inspiring Jazz Times to call him “The World’s Most Dangerous Guitarist.” Cline has performed on over 100 albums spanning numerous genres. In addition to his latest trio The Nels Cline Singers, formed with drummer Scott Amendola and bassist Devin Hoff, Cline is also the lead guitarist for the critically acclaimed rock band Wilco, which he joined in 2004.Click here to listen to “The Nomad’s Home”
Marc Ribot, who the New York Times describes as “a deceptively articulate artist who uses inarticulateness as an expressive device,” has released 19 albums under his own name over a 25-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez. His latest solo release, Silent Movies(Pi Recording 2010) has been described as a “down-in-mouth-near master piece” by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board.Rolling Stone points out that “Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985’s Rain Dogs, and since then he’s become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp.” Additional recording credits include Elton John/Leon Russell’s latest The Union, Solomon Burke, John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, Marianne Faithful, Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Medeski Martin & Wood, Caetono Veloso, Susana Baca, Allen Ginsburg, Madeline Peyroux, Nora Jones, Jolie Holland, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, and many others. Marc works regularly with Grammy® award winning producer T Bone Burnett and NY composer John Zorn. He has also performed on numerous film scores such as “Walk The Line” (Mangold), “The Kids Are All Right,” and “The Departed” (Scorcese).“…he can sit down with just his guitar and simultaneously confound you with technique, beauty, and surprise.” – John Garratt and Will Layman, PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 2010 for the album “Silent Movies”

LUMEN BENIFIT @Spattered Columns
JUNE 15th

6-9pm
491 Broadway, fifth floor, Manhattan
Come down to Spattered Columns for one heck of a party. Check out a performance by Quinn Dukes McDivitt, and videos by Matthew Sleeth and Sander Houtkruijer. Music by DJ Mountains. Our sponsor BOMB Lager will be there handing out free merchandise ALL NIGHT LONG.
All proceeds from the party go to the participating LUMEN artists and curators. Tickets are pretty cheap, $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Where else does $10 get you food, drinks, art, and cool people??
Get your tix: http://statenislandarts.org/lumen.html


THURSDAY:


CATCH THE MOON IN THE WATER: EMERGING CHINESE ARTISTS @ JAMES COHEN.
June 16 – July 29, 2011

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, June 16 from 6-8PM

James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition, Catch the Moon in the Water: Emerging Chinese Artists, running from June 16 through July 29, 2011. Over the past decade, while the West consumed new art from China, a young generation of Chinese artists imagined America as the center of contemporary art discourse. This exhibition showcases a group of young Chinese artists and their thoughts and responses to America as an exotic and remote source of inspiration. (READ MORE.)


Literary Mingle
NYFA offices
20 Jay Street, Suite 740
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Thursday, June 16, 2011
6:30-8:30 p.m.

Please join us on Thursday, June 16 for NYFA’s literary mingle, a gathering of NYFA Fellows in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, NYFA Fiscally Sponsored Writers, as well as editors, agents, and the rest of New York’s literary community.

Wine and cheese will be served

$5 suggested donation to support NYFA Current, NYFA’s online arts magazine


24/7 @LYONS WEIR.
A group show divided between our 24th Street and 7th Avenue locations.

June 16th – July 16th, 2011
Artists’ Reception: Thursday, June 16th, 6-8pm


Best Coast w/ Those Darlins
A Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund Benefit

June 16th, Doors open at 6pm
Bethany Cosentino is a Los Angeles native with a brief stay in Brooklyn, and Best Coast’s influences reflects that: Beach Boys vibe with East Coast 60s girl group such as the Ronnettes and Shangri-Las. Best Coast is brought to life with the help of her long-time friend/guitarist/producer Bobb Bruno and guest drummer Ali Koehler (Vivian Girls). The pair have received heaps of critical praise from editorial publications including Pitchfork, who named their “When I’m With You” single “Best New Music”, New York Times, Spin, Paste, Nylon, Rolling Stone and The Guardian.http://bestycoasty.blogspot.com/

Those Darlins

A Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund Benefit
Middle Tennessee’s infamous country punk outfit known for their hooky, saucy songwriting and blistering live performances. They have mouths on them, yes they do. But their mouths are connected to their hearts and minds, and amped by loud guitars.


UGLY ART ROOM PRESENTS:


The Man, The Myth, The Moustache, a solo exhibition of Scott Chasse’s

paintings of Burt Reynold’s at Brouwerij Lane
(78 Greenpoint Ave) a
Beer Store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. June 11-July 18, 2011
Opening reception: Thursday, June 16, 8-10pm.

Noise Jam, an exhibit at The Gutter Brooklyn (200 No. 14th St), in
which musicians participating in the Northside Music Festival will
submit cell phone photos to explore the accessibility of experiences.
Opening reception: June 16, 2011, 10pm-12am.


The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players @ BOWERY ELECTRIC.

Bowery Electric
27 Bowery, at 2nd Street, Manhattan
8p-1a; $8
theboweryelectric.com


BLOOMSDAY @ ULYSSES FOLK HOUSE.
Thursday, June 16 starting at 11:30am

BLOOMSDAY At Brooklyn Lyceum Cafe
Thursday June 16th  8pm

It’s Bloomsday, the 16th of June, in the Brooklyn Lyceum Cafe.  You are very welcome to join our resident Joycean scholar, Emmet Mc Gowan, in a casual celebration of this great day.

Bloomsday, named after the protagonist of James Joyce’s Ulysses, is an annual commemoration of Joyce’s life, and is a beloved Dublin tradition. The day typically involves food, drink, and readings and reenactments of excerpts from Joyce’s 265,000 word epic novel.
Our humble nod to Bloomsday will be a spontaneous evening of recitation and quaffing. We dedicate this evening to The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who in 1920 objected to the book’s content and took action to keep the book out of the USA.

Ulysses was banned until 1933.

Bring along a copy if you have one.z

Tickets: This event is FREE.


SUPERCODA Thursday, 6/16. 8-11 A musical sandwich, with a classical septet in the middle @ CAFE ORWELL

1. A new trio by Sean Ali/Carlo Costa/Frantz Loriot
http://www.carlocostamusic.com/
http://www.frantzloriot.com/

2. Achordial Brio – performing new compositions instrumented for oboe, english horn, bassoon, piano, bass clarinet, cello, violin
www.achordialbrio.com

3. Allison Tartalia. Partner in crime of Achordial Brio.
http://www.allisontartalia.com/


PHILIPPE PETIT COMES DOWN TO EARTH FOR THREE NIGHTS @ ABRONS ARTS CENTER.

June 16-18 | 8 pm | $20

Subject of the Academy Award-winning Man On Wire, Philippe Petit comes down to earth for three special evenings to share stories from his life as a creator and performer. WIRELESS! is a 90-minute, one man tour de force that is touching, funny, clever, and extemporaneous. Philippe reveals and demonstrates how he taught himself magic, juggling and the high wire.


Henry Chung, June 16 – July 31, 2011 @RHV FINE ART.

Henry Chung continues his exploration of obsolete technologies as metaphor for the changes and complexities of contemporary life in a series of portraits of computer enhanced images culled from flea markets and garage sales, rendered in computer punch tape. (READ MORE.)


MORE:

ABC Artists’ Books Collective Opens at Printed Matter

The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media @POWERHOUSE ARENA.

The Chadwicks @Winkleman Gallery.

FRIDAY:

Cooper-Moore & William Parker@ THE STONE.
Cooper-Moore (multiple instruments) William Parker (multiple instruments)


The Books @CELEBRATE BROOKLYN
Friday, June 17 / 7:00pm / gates 6:00pm

With their dizzying folktronica—a mix of innovative instrumentation and songwriting with obscure found sound and speech samples—and perfectly calibrated, hallucinatory quick-cut video collages, THE BOOKS “remain more or less a genre of one… the flotsam and jetsam of American culture aren’t a cheap joke to the Books, but a source of endless discovery and joy.” (Pitchfork) JUNIP, the band that predates Swedish-Argentine singer José González’s solo stardom, conjures an expansive and mesmerizing take on his songs in which “González’s classical guitar and weightless tenor float over soul jazz, Afrobeat, Ethiopian funk and krautrock.” (Rolling Stone) With the “haunting, ethereal, and beautifully melodic” (Paper Magazine) bedroom pop of in-demand pianist and composer Thomas Bartlett’s DOVEMAN. Sponsored locally by Aguayo Realty Group.


An Opening Party for The Corrigan Family Oddments@ OBSERVATORY
An exhibition curated by G. F. Newland
Exhibition Opening Party: Friday, June 17, 7-10pm

Greetings Art fans! In celebration of Father’s Day, the Observatory Things-That-Move Dept. invites you all to take a peek at procreation! In nature, talents can be predisposed, and passed on from generation to generation. Families like the Gentileschis, the Peales, the Bachs, the Wyethes, and most recently, the Kominsky-Crumbs have all made a strong case for this heredity thing; the Bush presidencies, not so much, but hey, it’s a crap shoot! Anyway, our latest show is about a wee dynasty of painters named Corrigan, and through their family oddments, we will examine art, eccentricity, and the vagaries of genetic code.


NORTHSIDE OPEN STUDIOS PARTY @ FOWLER ARTS COLLECTIVE

Fowler Arts Collectiveis pleased to be participating in this summer’s Northside Open Studios event which will be taking place in the Williamsburg/ Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn from Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19. NOS coincides with the L Magazine’s Northside Festival of music, art, film, and ideas.

Please join us for a reception celebrating the launch of Northside Open Studios on Friday, June 17 from 7-11pm. We will also be open during the day Sat. + Sun., June 18 + 19 from 12-6pm for Northside Open Studios.

Fowler Arts Collective, 67 West Street, #216, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Fowler has a nice lounge area to rest your tired feet during the weekend, and we will have maps and information about the participating NOS studios and corresponding events.

Fowler’s 18 artist studios will be open for visitors the entire weekend, and our exhibition, Paint It Now, continues to rock the Fowler gallery.

Fowler studio artists include: Elana Alder, Melissa Dyanne Bartlett, Catherine Behan, Cameron Bishop, C.M. Butzer, Scott Chasse, Jennifer Galatioto, Daniel St. George, Andrew Gordon, Paul Hoppe, Heidi Howard, Aya Kakeda, Deanna Lee, Michael Aaron Lee, Chris Mottalini, Kate Nielsen, Cecelia Post, Krista Quick, Tory Sica, Kim Sielbeck, Hannah Lamar Simmons, Ramon Urenia, James Vanderberg, Jing Wei, and Fletcher Williams.

For more information on our current exhibition, Paint It Now, go here: http://www.fowlerartsbrooklyn.org/paintitnow2011.html


Avant-Garde-Arama: Wrecking Ball @PS122

Performance Space 122’s longest running series kicks it up a few notches for this demolition derby of theatre, dance, music, and video installation as part of the 30th Anniversary RetroFutureSpective Festival.

Join us for hard core performance during what “always ends up exploding into an all-out party.” – Flavorpill

FRIDAY 6/17:
Hosted by Murray Hill
Performances by Salley May, Alien Comic, Tigger!, Janet Clancy, John Kelly, Andrew Schneider, The Factress aka Luc Sexton, The Dazzle Dancers, Julie Atlas Muz, Urban Bushwomen, Joe E Jeffreys, Miss Joan Moosey, Gina Vetro, Jonathan Berger Music by Hank & Cupcakes, Rockman



PearlDamour + Shawn Hall: How to Build a Forest @THE KITCHEN

Friday-Sunday, June 17-19 and 24-26, 2-10pm
Known for transforming narrative into something richer, stranger, and ineluctably feminine, OBIE Award-winning PearlDamour (Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour) join forces with New Orleans-based visual artist Shawn Hall for a hybrid project: part visual art installation, part theater performance that unfolds over an extended eight-hour interval. Beginning with an empty stage, PearlDamour, Hall, and a team of performer-workers transforms The Kitchen’s theater from floor to ceiling, constructing and then dismantling an elaborate evolving environment evocative of an old growth forest at one moment and a spectacular deep-sea landscape the next. (READ MORE.)


“GIMME SOME TRUTH : A Return to Form”  ((JUNE 17-JUNE 26)) @InRIVERS.

A collection of new works from emerging voices in contemporary drawing.

Featuring works by:

_LORENE TAUREREWA

_MARCIN SZPRENGIEL

_MAYUKO FUJINO

_DEMETRIO BELENKY

_AILENE de SOUZA HOWELL

_ROBERT PIERSANTI


MORE:

Skink Ink’s Open Exhibition as part of Northside Open Studios

Kaviar Disco Club

Short Cuts(Papercutting Class) w/Beatrice Conron @ CENTER FOR BOOK ARTS.

Friday Night Fireworks @Coney Island.

Hyperallergic: Mail Art Show

SUPERCODA @ CAFE ORWELL: Rhymes with Opera and the West End String Quartet. They will be taking over Cafe Orwell for the Evening. They are an organization that is committed to presenting opera in unexpected spaces. Excellent.

LAST CALL:

JUNE 18th: Out of Sight, Ellen Kooi

JUNE 18th: THE COOPER UNION END OF YEAR SHOW

JUNE 18th: ISABELLA KIRKLAND @FEATURE INC.


An Interview with Deborah Simon.

Deborah in the studio with her sculptures. ©2011 The 22 Magazine

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.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW

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.

Deborah working in her studio. photo ©2011 Ted Szczepanski

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.

Coyote Pursues, 2010. photo courtesy of St. Ann's Warehouse

 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.

Memento mori: Ocelot and ocelot skeleton, oil on wood, 68” w x 36” h, 2001

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.

Help support Billy Club Man.

A psychological exploration inspired by the Billy Club Plays of Lorca. Beautiful piece. Check out the video below and if your still not convinced watch the bio pic on Lorca below that.

For centuries, the puppet Don Cristóbal has charmed audiences with his drunken, lusty, billy-club wielding antics. But does he secretly struggle with his role as the Billy-Club Man and long for love and escape? Through experimental puppetry, clowning and live music, Don Cristóbal, Billy-Club Man explores the violent appetites of Cristóbal’s on-stage persona and follows him off-stage to reveal his poetic possibilities. Inspired by the puppet plays of Federico García Lorca, the piece features shadow, hand and large figurative puppetry by Erin Orr and evocative original music by Rima Fand.

WATCH THE VIDEO AND DONATE HERE!