The 22 Magazine: So first the basics, where are you from, how did you end up in NY?
Jason Bryant: Well, I was born in Wilson, North Carolina. I was introduced to painting and drawing roughly when I was five and my love for art was immediate and without question. I was lucky enough to have people around me support this passion, to give me hope that the dream to be an artist can be a reality. Art was always a bright light that helped me get through a turbulent childhood. After getting my Masters from The Maryland Institute College of Art, my girlfriend at the time got a job in NY. Very reluctant and intimidated to move so quickly, the path was set for me to end up in NY.
The 22: Your bio says you are “heavily influenced by classic film,” tell me a little about that. Where did this love arise from? Who’s are some of your favorites?
JB: Film, to me, has always been an escape. Like painting, it sends us on a journey where we take what we bring into it, but always come out of the viewing process a little more informed and with a different perspective. There is something so elegant and clean about how black and white film translates to the viewer. It is very baseline and straight forward in its approach. Brando, Newman, and Grant are all some of my favorite actors. They were an actor’s actor, not afraid to take chances and capable of delivering powerful performances with effortless delivery.
The 22: Your upcoming show “Smoke and Mirrors,” from what I gathered, is meant to convey the trick of making something seem better than it is while simultaneously conveying its vulnerability? Why did you chose this topic? What relevance does it have for you or the “stars” you portray?
JB: That’s exactly it. For “Smoke and Mirrors” I simply wanted to create a show with a double meaning. Every work in the exhibition is a painting based off a film still where the actor is either smoking or viewing their reflection in the mirror. I wanted to create a show where the paintings are beautiful and lavish, but once you read the title or look to see what is happening on the surface of these polished works, you start to see where there are “cracks in the faux finish.” I did not want to be overly dramatic in trying to convey the concept. I did not want to have paintings where the subjects were like pulling back their skin revealing all of their inner demons–nothing that dramatic and in your face. I wanted the concept to come forward subtly while keeping with the conceptual “sleekness” of my paintings.
The 22: How does skateboarding culture fit into your artistic practice?
JB: I started skateboarding when I was 11. Skateboarding, like art, will be a lifelong love affair. It gave me an identity at a young age and it opened up my world to new ways of artistic expression. Most of all, it gave me lifelong friends who will always be like family. Since I can’t physically skate at the high level I once did, it’s fulfilling for me to bring skate graphics into my work and even paint directly on to skateboards like I’ve been doing the last couple of years. That is where the “Merging Icons” series was born. I wanted to merge iconic skate graphics with iconic film stills, basically combining the two most influential elements in my development as a person and as an artist. I love the effects and changes that my hand brings to the works, like I’m the instrument of combining two great passions. I’m actually working on a piece right now that will bring a third passion into the mix and I’m using a new medium. That’s all I can say at the moment!
The 22: Do you still skateboard?
JB: I still roll around, but at the age of 36, let’s just say I’m not going to go do a Tre-flip down eight stairs. Nowadays landing a kick-flip brings a smile to my face, but that is the point, it’s a joy that never goes away.
The 22: What is important to you about breaking the “frame” of a piece, painting directly on the wall?
JB: With the success of the “Merging Icons” I wanted to push the series forward to where the skate graphics would be breaking outside of the “frame” of the canvas and onto the wall. I got the opportunity to try it out at the Pulse Art Fair here in New York in May and this method will be a big part of “Smoke and Mirrors.” The graphics will be traveling all around the walls of the gallery creating a space in which the paintings and the graphics become the metaphorical “walls” of the environment in which the viewer has entered, bringing the viewer into the world of the paintings where each piece is connected to another through the graphics. The gallery agreed to shut down for a bit so I could do this, which is really great of them.
The 22: You talk about graffiti really brightening up the city in the winter. Are there are specific graffiti artists you admire? What about other painter’s?
JB: My approach is in some ways influenced by graffiti and how street art is used to engage the viewer with the mundane everyday structures we live around. I look at some street artists such as insa and r.o.a. Artists that influence my work are Damien Loeb, McDermott and McGough, Jeremy Fish, Kehinde Wiley, Marylyn Minter, Banks Violette. I do of course have my painting heroes such as Chuck Close and Barbara Kruger.
The 22: There’s one piece in your work that is really interesting, which looks like James Dean being arrested and has the tagline “What’s the matter guys…didn’t you make your quota for the month?” How does this piece fit into your work? Is it a reflection on recent New York events?
JB: I had been developing three different bodies of work for the past four years that were shown in 2010 in a solo exhibition titled “Trilogy.” One piece which was the highlight of the show was a painting titled Paperwork and Quotas. It is a scene from The Wild One starring Marlon Brando. I simply recreated the film still, drawing and painting it in my normal style but then I added my own subtitles as a part of my “Text” series. I added subtitles that illustrated the film still but has a very contemporary meaning. The painting itself is the foundation trying to communicate struggles within any political system, not just law enforcement and how there is a “bottom line” in any profession that is at times unfair and unjust.
The 22: Another compelling piece is the “rainbows don’t mean shit” piece. What’s going on there?
JB: That piece is titled Happiness. The subject is a very elegant image of a woman staring off in sort of a daydream type of gaze. Her eyes are covered by a fun graphic of a rainbow bursting into the black and white picture plane. It seems to be a very fun and happy piece until you read the text “rainbows don’t mean shit” beneath the rainbow graphic. I simply wanted to have fun in sort of the sarcastic jaded way we view the world today. At the same time though it is commentating on one’s struggles in dealing with the “politics of a profession.” Maybe it is saying that a strong work ethic, talent, and integrity to how you approach your profession is not enough to fulfill a dream, especially not today. Maybe we have lost sight of those values.
The 22: Since so much of your work is based on counter-culture elements tell me how Porter Contemporary (as a Chelsea gallery) became the home for your work and what they offer to an artist like you.
JB: Although my work is based on counter-culture subjects balanced with elegant black and white cinematic imagery, at the core of my work is a foundation built upon a love for the history of painting. The works are highly technical and refined using a traditional approach to painting. This caught the eye of Porter Contemporary in 2006. They were a young gallery, having just opened, and I had lived in New York for just under a year. We have had a great working relationship because the gallery and my work have been able to grow together. The Gallery owner, Jessica Porter, has an incredible work ethic and integrity that is the backbone of the vision for her gallery. It is very inspirational to be around and it has been very exciting to watch the gallery grow along with my work. It is rare that a gallery and artist get to experience growing together with the same basic principles and a certain amount of integrity intact.
Join us Saturday, July 21st as we do a test run with the first print copies of The 22 Magazine at Pete’s Mini Zine Fest!
Joining us will be Volume One contributors, John Jennison, Max Evry (selling work for Pranas J. Naujokaitis) and editor Cat Gilbert selling some of her own work along with the magazine. First person to buy a copy of The 22 gets a FREE mini-painting from Cat Gilbert’s “Flowers and Monsters” series. Show starts at 2pm! Come for the books! Stay for the drinks!
PETE’S CANDY STORE
709 Lorimer St
L Train to Bedford or Lorimer
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.)
LZ Project Space is pleased to present Convergent Evolution, a solo sculpture exhibition by Deborah Simon. Inspired by viewers miscatagorization of Simon’s animal sculptures, she began to group together her pieces along those lines – also known as convergent evolution. This exhibit contains both king penguins and northern fur seals, both animals that have arrived at seemingly alike solutions for locomotion despite coming from different and unrelated ancestries. Simon’s animals float between taxidermy, toy, and art object; their life-sized bodies represent hours of meticulous multi- processed work in the form of sewing, molding, and painting of their almost ethereal clay faces. (READ MORE.)
MAY 20–AUGUST 28, 2011
After the United States detonated an atomic bomb at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the U.S. government restricted the circulation of images of the bomb’s deadly effect. President Truman dispatched some 1,150 military personnel and civilians, including photographers, to record the destruction as part of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey. The goal of the Survey’s Physical Damage Division was to photograph and analyze methodically the impact of the atomic bomb on various building materials surrounding the blast site, the first “Ground Zero.” The haunting, once-classified images of absence and annihilation formed the basis for civil defense architecture in the United States. This exhibition includes approximately 60 contact prints drawn from a unique archive of more than 700 photographs in the collection of the International Center of Photography. The exhibition is organized Erin Barnett, Assistant Curator of Collections. (READ MORE.)
8 – Duck That! w/Steve Norton/Angela Sawyer/Josh Jefferson.
Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or divers, grebes, gallinules, and coots. The word duck (from Anglo-Saxon duce), meaning the bird, came from the verb “to duck” (from Anglo-Saxon supposed *ducan) meaning “to bend down low as if to get under something” or “to dive”, because of the way many species in the dabbling duck group feed by upending (compare Dutch duiken, German tauchen = “to dive”). Duck That were once seen in the same room as Paul Whiteman, although they’d deny it if asked. Angela Sawyer, electronics and game calls, etc… Josh Jefferson, reeds and game calls, etc… Steve Norton, reeds and game calls, etc…
Then Starting at 9, The Super Coda welcomes Yva Lass Vegass, Tooth and Wail, and The Molasses Gospel! They are all touring together. Come Support!
For over a century, Carnegie Hall rented affordable studios to residents like Marlon Brando, Paddy Chayefsky and Isadora Duncan. As a privileged tenant himself, director Astor began to record his neighbors, witnesses to decades of artistic history. But when the landlord served everyone with eviction notices for a conversion to offices, his project became a chronicle of the battle to save the apartments and their rich heritage. (READ MORE.)
The Witch’s Dungeon
Cortlandt Hull with figure of his great uncle, Henry Hull, “The Werewolf Of London”
An illustrated lecture and show and tell with collector, artist, and proprietor of “The Witch’s Dungeon” Cortlandt Hull
Date: Friday, May 20th
Time: 8:00 PM
Part of Out of the Cabinet: Tales of Strange Objects and the People Who Love Them,presented by Morbid Anatomy and Evan Michelson
Friday, May 20th may be a dark and stormy night. Brave souls normally catch the coach at midnight from the Borgo Pass to access the lawless and far off lands of Bristol, CT, spoken about in hushed tones as the home of the Witch’s Dungeon. But on this rare occasion the stars have aligned and like the Baba Yaga’s chicken-footed cabin, the Witch’s Dungeon is coming to Observatory! (READ MORE.)
The Believer Presents QNA: The Art of the Interview
Celeste Bartos Forum, Saturday May 21, 1:00-3:00 pm. Free.
QNA: A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW
As part of the New York Public Library’s centenary celebration weekend, the Believermagazine will host “QNA: A Roundtable Discussion on the Art of the Interview,” featuring:
- DICK CAVETT, legendary host of The Dick Cavett Show, which aired on ABC from 1968 to 1975 and on public television from 1977 to 1982, and author, most recently, of Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets.
- CLAUDIA DREIFUS, interviewer for the “Conversation with…” column in the Tuesday science section of the New York Times, former Playboy interviewer, and author of two books of interviews. She’s known for her unusual Q-and-A’s with heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, and quirky engineers. She was called by Dan Rather “one of the world’s great interviewers.” Her latest publication, with Andrew Hacker, is Higher Education?
- KENNETH GOLDSMITH, editor of I’ll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, and author of the underground classic Soliloquy, an unedited, 487-page transcript of every word, um, and yeah that came from his mouth during one week of his life.
- LORIN STEIN, new editor of The Paris Review, the beloved source for some of the most in-depth interviews with writers published in the English language since the 1950s, collected in editions such as Writers At Work and The Paris Review Interviews series, he’s also the translator of Gregoire Bouillier’s The Mystery Guest.
There will be a short reading of a self-interview by the author and Saturday Night Live writer SIMON RICH, to be performed by actor PAULO COSTANZO, (of Royal Pains) followed by a presentation of playwright Darren O’Donnell’s relational theater piece, Q+A, in which the audience becomes both the interviewer and interviewee.
The event will be hosted by Believer interviews editors Sheila Heti and Ross Simonini.
This event is free but reservations are recommended. To reserve your spot via ShowClix, visit http://www.showclix.com/event/33344 or call 1.888.71.TICKETS.
More info: http://tinyurl.com/blvr-nypl-qna
May 18 – June 19 2011
Part two is more oriented toward cyclical issues of consumption and spectacle. It can be seen as the crescendo of the exhibition. Here, destruction assumes the more aggressive and dramatic character one might normally associate with it.
Among the works that more directly engage the question of consumption can be found Johannes Vogl’s absurd, homemade contraption Untitled (Machine To Produce Jam Breads, 2007) which produces pieces of bread with jam on them and thus addresses questions of overproduction and consequently waste. (READ MORE.)
Morgan Lehman Gallery is pleased to present, UNREST, a solo exhibition of new works by Andrew Schoultz. This is the artist’s third show with Morgan Lehman Gallery.
Andrew Schoultz’s UNREST stems from the artist’s continuing interest in issues of global turmoil and societal angst. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Japanese Earthquakes and the BP oil spill all fuel this new body of work. Rather than depict literal narratives of these events, Schoultz captures their essence using an ever-expanding arsenal of pictorial symbols. Billowing clouds of smoke create an “all-over” surface reminiscent of abstract expressionism and Op-art. These stylized clouds both unify the composition and veil the reality of the horrors depicted in the background. The obscuring impact that these clouds has on the images they hide may indicate the frustration Schoultz has with the partisan and misleading journalism the press has in disseminating information to the public. Other oft-repeated symbols include crumbling and exploding brick structures and monuments, the rearing horse, the all-seeing Masonic eye, and a lit candle set against green, yellow and red camouflaged backgrounds. The lit candle – a universal sign of hope and optimism-suggests that even in uncertain times the human spirit is nothing if not optimistic. These recurring symbols function as visual cues for a loose narrative the artist has constructed through previous bodies of work. Out of this narrative, Schoultz forms an historical construct that melds contemporary calamitous events with the broad sweep of Western civilization. (READ MORE.)
May 19 – June 25
I am essentially driven by libidinal and anti-normative desires, coupled with sensitive and concerted attention to materials and to the mechanisms of visual perception. The objects I create both resonate with heroic and cynical strains of object making and seek to undermine these very strains with humility and sincerity.
Each work or series of works is created as a compulsive reaction to the burn of being alive and the spilling over of emotions that accompany the dogged difficulty of managing life. I intend to create visual signs or experiences that approximate the shocks and waves of living.
David Levinthal: Black Again
May 19th to July 2nd
John McWhinnie at Glenn Horowitz Bookseller is pleased to announce our next exhibition, David Levinthal: Black Again. The show opens with a reception on May 19th, from 6-8pm, and runs through July 2nd, 2011. The exhibition is drawn from David Levinthal’s project Blackface, dating from 1995-1998, featuring blackface Polaroids and the original memorabilia, drawn from the artist’s personal collection, that are the Polaroid’s subject matter.
Levinthal’s collecting of black memorabilia evolved into Blackface, a stimulating and controversial body of work. The title, according to Levinthal, “makes reference to the many facades, poise and physicality of these figures.” The title is also taken from the name of a journal of a black film-making company and is a term referring to both blacks and whites. Traditionally associated with minstrelsy, these images were used to perpetuate negative stereotypes. Levinthal’s work was originally intended to be exhibited at Philadelphia’s ICA in 1997. However, the show was cancelled when it became a cause célèbre as a result of its controversial subject-matter. Subsequently, images from the series were exhibited at the International Center of Photography and at Janet Borden, Inc. in New York. This is the first time that the artist has exhibited this body of work with the original figurines and advertising that inspired the portraits. (READ MORE.)
Sunday, May 22, 2011
12:00 PM to 4:00 PMVideo screening in the first-floor Main Gallery and 3pm book signingwith Cary Loren.In conjunction with the new publication, Destroy All Monsters Magazine 1976-1979, published by Primary Information, MoMA PS1 and D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers present a day-long screening of Shake a Lizard Tail, or Rust Belt Rump, a film created by the band for their 1996 Japanese tour. The film is a collage of horror exploitation videos, Detroit “Dance City” techno dancers, and late night WGPR television commercials of the 1980s. The commercials feature local Detroit landmarks such as Miley and Miley’s Shrimp Shack, the Club Watts Mozambique ladies club, and various funeral homes.
In 1973, the Detroit band Destroy All Monsters was a wild and reckless synthesis of psychedelia, proto-punk, heavy metal, noise and performance art. The collective hailed from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and consisted of Cary Loren, Mike Kelley, Niagara and Jim Shaw (with later members including Ron Asheton of the Stooges, Michael Davis of the MC5 and the Miller brothers of Mission of Burma). (READ MORE.)
Sun., May 22, 2011 / 7:00 PM
Gamelan Dharma Swara is dedicated to the study, performance and creation of traditional and new works for Balinese gamelan. Through performance and education, we bring Balinese gamelan to the widest audience and participant base possible, and we endeavor to perform with spirit, dedication and gratitude. We are a coalition of master Balinese artists and leading American composers, musicians and dancers. In residence at the Indonesian Consulate in New York, Dharma Swara regularly performs for a wide and multicultural audience in the greater New York City area. We have collaborated with Indonesiaʼs leading artists and have performed in the areaʼs top venues including: Lincoln Center, Asia Society, Japan Society, New York Philharmonic, the Met, Brooklyn Museum, Symphony Space, LaMama, and Columbia, Princeton, NYU and Yale universities. In 2010 the ensemble was invited to perform as the first non-Balinese group in the annual gong kebyar competitions at the Bali Arts Festival. (READ MORE.)
Click here to see an article on Gamelan Dharma Swara from the NYTimes
A green art workshop with artist and Hollow Earth Society co-founder Ethan Gould
Date: Sunday, May 22
Time: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Presented by the Hollow Earth Society
Part one of a four-part series
Post-apocalyptic arts & crafts survival skills workshops, you say!? That’s right: Creative-making for the improvisational, post-industrial future (and present). When the apocalypse comes, these definitely won’t be the first things you’ll need to know… but they’ll be on the list! In this workshop series, learn how to make beautiful objects you’ll actually use out of materials that would otherwise go to waste. (READ MORE.)
3rd Ward’s Annual Birthday BBQ!
SUCKLING PIGS and OLD FASHIONEDS W/EGG AND DART CLUB
with two suckling pigs and assorted accoutrements by Sam Sherman and John Dawson (applewood, Blue Smoke) and variations on the Old Fashioned cocktail paired by Justin Lane Briggs (applewood, barbes, James, Marie Belle) plus a bit of live music from Quince Marcum and local beers for cheap! from 4pm – 10pm just $10 a head. (15 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn)
SPECIAL FUNDRAISER FOR CRITICAL RESISTANCE AND THE BRECHT FORUM
Some 40 years after uprisings at Attica and her own arrest, Angela Davis comes to Riverside Church in Harlem to build bridges around issues of austerity, prisons and global resistance. She will be joined in conversation by leading intellectual activists Ruthie Gilmore and Vijay Prashad. (READ MORE.)
A Conference of Works: MODE, METHOD, MEDIUM @ UNIVERSITY OF THE STREETS
GIGANTIC MAGAZINE INDOORS LAUNCH PARTY AT 285 KENT
Rally to Save Our Seaport
The ships, collection and galleries of the Seaport Museum New York are a valuable and irreplaceable part of our proud maritime heritage as well as a unique educational opportunity for New York City’s youth. They are at now serious risk of being lost, dispersed or destroyed. The museum galleries have been closed since March. The 2011 seasons of the museum’s working vessels have been cancelled. We need your help to ensure these historic resources are protected and continue to be available to the public in New York City. (READ MORE.)