Artful Green Dot

BETA Spaces 2009

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on November 12, 2009

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I’m not much of a Bushwick expert, but  I felt pleasantly welcomed by the neighborhood’s energy as I trampled through BETA Spaces ’09 on Sunday.

After last year’s festival, we saw some fine writing that delivered an overview of the event, but for BETA Spaces ’09, I’d like to work on posts devoted to a few of the individual shows that made up this now annual event. Until then, here are some photos from the weekend.

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Bushwick’s BETA Spaces

Posted in Exhibits, Spaces & Environments by Audrey Tran on October 30, 2009

Remember the date– Sunday, NOV. 8TH–if you plan to catch Bushwick’s 3rd annual festival of art in unorthodox spaces. For months, the directors of Arts in Bushwick have been organizing artists, curators, and people with access to spaces to create this day of group shows.

A few of the themed collaborations caught my Artful Green eye:

Allyson Parker’s The Kotel, “(aka “The Western Wall”) will be reconstructed in Bushwick out of recycled fabrics. Paper and pens will be available for the public to write down their wishes and insert them into the “wall”. At the end of the show all wishes will be gathered and faxed to the Israeli Telephone Company a fax service directed to Jerusalem’s Western Wall.”

The Bird’s Eye-View, organized by Laura-Marie Marciano and supported by 350: “The Bird’s Eye View is a network of recycled art installations, constructed on rooftops, in collaboration and support of 350, an international grass-roots organization for the reduction of carbon emissions. Images of the installations will be taken to be spread by use of the media to the general public, raising awareness about global warming. The images send a message of green peace, global solidarity, and a broadened human perspective. ”

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Because of a very wonderful older sister, I now have a lovely digital camera to employ while covering this event.  Look out for more photos of the Bushwick arts scene in future posts.

Happy art-hopping, everyone!

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The Aura of 2012+

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on October 15, 2009

Despite the cold rain two weekends ago, I managed to get to the opening of this new show in Chelsea.  The Drop Gallery is currently showing works from about thirty international artists who have been asked to explore urban environments.

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Some artists approached the subject by documenting peculiar intimacies of urban life (one multi-part sound piece exposes different noises found around famous NYC sites) Others such as Adrian Kondratowicz and Saya Woolfalk created art pieces that draw attention to our already existing world.  On a quick Tweet, I noted that Kondratowicz’s hot pink and black spotted trash bags make garbage look like a party. His installation looked more like life-sized plastic bags for party favors rather than containers of garbage.  Likewise, Woolfalk installed a video of No Place among one of her sculptures created from recycled materials–imagine glue bottles, milk jugs, and soup cans now paper mached and regally covered in gold paint. In No Place, bits of our world seem to emerge subtly, but are always present.

Of the many ways the 2012+ artists handled the subject, I was drawn most to the works that revolved around collaboration–either among the viewers present, or from pre-arranged participants. For example, Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree invites passersby to scribble a wish on note tags, which can then be tied to a potted tree resting in the gallery. Since I caught the show during the first hour of the opening,  only a few notes had been tagged to the tree, but I can imagine how filled it must be by now–and this is quite an image. How blithe and spiritual, it seems, to unload wishes upon a tree. Ono has been showing such pieces since the 1990’s and has previously said “All [her] works are a form of wishing.

Although his international collaboration is set for viewing in December, Hiroshi Sunairi’s Tree Project also made a debut at 2012+ with a sampling of the beautiful trees from his NY participants.

Sunairi’s project is an open call to anyone who wishes to participate in “the pleasure of growing plants,” specifically Hibaku plants, which are seeds that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

TONIGHT, The Drop will host a closing party for the show and will feature a variety of professionals speaking on their reflections of the word “environment” using no more than “20 slides for 20 seconds” a piece.

2012+ is on view at the Drop Pop Up Gallery on West 25th Street (between 10th and 11th ave) in Chelsea.  See it before October 17th!

On View at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on June 10, 2009

Among the 30 artists in Ronald Feldman Fine Arts’ latest show, BLACK&WHITEWORKS, I came across several artists whose bodies of work draw attention to the environment. Currently, the gallery holds a large photograph documenting Mierle Laderman Ukelese’s performance, Touch Sanitation. trucks-01 In this piece, the artist explores our view of sanitation workers by greeting 8,500 NY workers face-to-face and shaking their hands.  She would also say, “Thank you for keeping New York City alive,” while greeting the workers.  Critic, Robert C. Morgan called this, “art as gesture, art as circumstance within an appointed system or any designated structure,” in 1982. Morgan explains in his article that Ukelese  was trying to change the stereotypical perception of the people who clean New York City.  beuys Also on view is Joseph Beuys’ woodcut titled Large Glacier Thaw, which carries a completely different tone.  This piece was especially interesting to me because of my recent writing on David Kennedy-Cutler’s Antarctica sculptures.  This simple monochromatic print also created an ominous mood as I began thinking of the numerous studies released on global warming and rising sea levels this year.  Curiously, Beuys made this print in 1952, long before our society’s awareness of such problems.  It’s also interesting to note that before Beuys became an artist, he studied science with a deep inclination towards animals and plants, which would make their way into his later performance based works.   Regretfully, I missed Roxy Paine’s “post-apocalyptic naturescape” at the Met this year, but I was very happy to see one of his Dendroid drawings also included in this show.

For those of you who enjoy earth-minded art, but hate going to art exhibits that focus entirely on the environment, this show is definitely worth seeing, as it places green works into a larger conversation.       

 

BLACK&WHITEWORKS is at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, 31 Mercer Street in New York.  The group exhibition will be on view from June 6 to July 31, 2009.  

 


A New Edible Estate in Manhattan

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on May 31, 2009

Fritz Haeg, the artist who started turning front lawns into luscious food gardens in 2005  plans to bring another “Edible Estate” to the Big Apple City this summer. Here’s a video about one of the first Estates. Brian Sullivan from Descanso Garden (CA) outlines some of the key  questions Haeg tries to raise through these food landscapes.

The opening for the new installation is set for September 14th.  I’m pumped and thinking about creating a map of all the great ecologically minded sites opening in NY this summer.  Any suggestions?  So far, I’m sure I’ll add Haeg’s new addition, Holten’s Tree Museum, and older sites like Alan Sonfist’s Time Landscape.

If any other must-see sites/sculptures/installations/or spaces come to mind, please let me know. I’ll update on the status of the map as it comes along.


Plants and Mammals

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on April 18, 2009

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Here’s a new show for those who enjoy subtle poetics.  

Recently, Carol Bove and Janine Lariviere have been working together on artwork involving our perception of the plant world, and just last Wednesday night,they opened an elegant show at the New York Horticulture Society.  

For these artists, flowers tell us more than we typically expect.  In her artist statement, Bove says “Flowers are shaped by many forces.  They reflect commerce, taste, intellectual labor, fashion, customs, human emotional life…the living expression of social forces and social experience.”  

 Lariviere sees the daffodil as one particular plant that embodies those “many forces” Bove  is speaking about.  These yellow flowers from Lariviere’s garden have an unnatural existence as they are cultivated by humans as commonly as “poodles and pugs” are bred according to consumer preferences.  

plants_mamalsTo those who make it to this show, pay special attention to the delicate net hanging among the first four of Bove’s sculptures.  Its simplicity might make this piece an easy one to pass as I did the first time, but after a closer look at the material, I found it to be one of my favorites of the night.

Like past works by Bove, her pieces in this show have a way of suggesting a human presence.  I’m amazed at how this happens because there’s nothing particularly human about peacock feathers, concrete, driftwood, or netting, but the feeling does resinate in between the sculptures, making the show more than a contemplation about plants.  

 

 

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A Museum Without Walls

Posted in Exhibits by Audrey Tran on March 30, 2009

For over a year, artist Katie Holten has been heading the creation of a museum free of drywall, floors, and ceilings.

Her collaborative 4.5  mile public art piece will take place this summer  along the Grand Concourse in honor of the street’s centennial anniversary .

Holten’s Tree Museum will include environmentally conscious art and writing created by New York artists, writers, and activists (E.J. McAdams, who I interviewed in January, will also be apart of the exhibit). Students from P.S. 386, Dreamyard Preparatory, and the Bronx Writing Academy will also create work for this project.

Works will be housed in sidewalk display cases along the entire stretch of the Grand Concourse, while visitors may access audio tours through their cell phones.

Holten came up with the collaborative project after spending hours on the Concourse and observing its natural environment.  The purpose of the Museum is to  direct viewers to the ecosystem of the street.

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While the media typically gives us a negative portrayal of the Bronx, the Tree Museum will help counter that impression.

The museum, which is set to keep “the same visiting hours as trees,” will open on June 21st and goes till October 11th.

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