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28

Jul

The Still House Group

The bold primary colors of Ikea’s world-famous logo are visible from the corridor leading to the door marked “Still House” with simple lettering. After a few taps we were ushered in and met co-founder Isaac Brest, happily sitting at his desk in front of a magnet work by fellow Still House artist, Nick Darmstaedter.

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Isaac Brest sits at his desk in front of a piece by Nick Darmstaedter

Divided into unsegregated studio spaces, the Still House boys are open to critique and casual walk-ins by other members of their gang. Each artist’s area branches off a main walkway, making formal invitations into one another’s studios unnecessary and doors a waste of space. Augustus Thompson however - the current artist is residence - has erected floor to ceiling curtains in response to this very open artistic process. Not used to working with so many other creatives, Thompson has modified his workspace to make a more private area to produce his next series: a group of sculptural wooden beams pieced together, that are smoothly taking him from 2D to 3D work. Walking into his spot we immediately feel the need to amend the screen and contain his homemade privacy.

Artists wander down the main hallway, which is scattered with pieces by current and past group members. Some members are checking in on the artists’ progress, others relax in slouchy couches near a window that looks across the murky water, directly towards the Statue of Liberty. Jack Greer’s cacti rest by the large window; each plant has been scarred with lovers’ initials, dates of birth and other small, nostalgic markings. Greer likes that the owner really has to be involved in the final piece; when sold or given to a friend, the piece needs to be watered and cared for in order for it to survive. When well looked after, the cactus might grow new spikes or a new arm – Greer’s enthusiasm, animated hand gestures and facial expressions leave you begging for a your own giant, green succulent. 

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Co-founder, Alex Perweiler stands in front of Protein

Further along our tour we find Dylan Lynch, and our last stop is Alex Perweiler (who founded the group with Brest in 2007). Lynch and Perweiler are both incredibly well spoken and talk about their artwork in a stimulatingly intellectual yet accessible manner. There is a constant dialogue between material and balance in Lynch’s work and as he took us around his space, he kept returning to the awkward, distorted legs of a new sculpture, which is a replica of a mass-produced Ikea table that has been crushed into an impossible new form. In Lynch’s studio we see older works as well as pieces he is still working on. An experiment using surfboard parts juts out of one of the walls, alongside his more recent imploded barrels that play on how our conceptions of strength are related to certain industrial materials. Each artist’s studio employs this same mentality: older works are placed among current projects. We take an interest in Perweiler’s diptych entitled Protein, which consists of two identical advertisements that depict a pristine knife and fork gently nestling into a rare steak. Perweiler shows us a photograph of the aluminum panels as they were installed in a recent show in Athens. The two paintings are hung on concrete columns either side of a large window looking onto the city and the artist uses this image to explain the significance of setting and installation. 

They’re a community but they’re not a collective. Brest tells us that they like to show as a group abroad, but when exhibiting in the US, prefer not to be considered a team of artists. What an American gallery can do for them, they can do for themselves. They have an amazing space, a heap of young art enthusiasts interested in what they’re doing and impatiently anticipating their next move. 

We leave the studio and are again faced with Ikea’s vibrant yellow and blue, the iconic symbol reminding us of the use of found, industrial objects that recurs throughout much of the artists’ work. 

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View from the studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn

APF Intern Clara

21

Jul

More Material at Salon 94

Walking down the wide steps of Salon 94 into the double height exhibition space, you are transported into a kaleidoscopic candy store. A set of ornate capes hangs on the gallery’s back wall, creating a tapestry of colors and textures. These capes, designed and handcrafted by Duro Olowu, the London-based clothing designer who curated the show, are a refreshing first glance into this summer exhibition, More Material.

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One of a kind pieces of furniture sit lined up against a wallpapered partition crowded with fashion photographs, screen prints and black and white drawings. Italian ceramic vases are displayed atop Spartan Rick Owens tables and African jewelry lies on a blue and white Plexiglas table. Walking through the space, you get the sense that you are flipping through someone else’s diary. Clothing, tribal masks, photographs and decorative pieces come together to produce a luxurious feast for the eyes. Both the show and the pop-up shop on the ground floor leave behind any need for conformity and rationality and offer instead an extravagant dive into Olowu’s personal stash of memories and inspirations.   

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The female form is dominant throughout. Zoomed in glossy lips and coiffed hair showcase what the artist likes to think of as female rebellion presented in an elegant, sophisticated manner. More Material is an insight into the womanly themes and images that stimulate Olowu’s work. The artist invites us to walk through his personal scrapbook and it would be impossible for anyone not to find inspiration here. A mixture of materials and textures, colors and patterns makes the exhibition a dream world of endless ideas and desires that you shouldn’t miss this summer.

Check out More Material at Salon 94 before August 1st!

APF Intern Clara

We the People

Brooklyn Bridge Park is an amazing space to enjoy some quality outdoor activities—there are spaces for sports, picnics, and of course, great public art spaces.

Right on Pier 3 there is a platform on which Danh Vo’s exhibition We the People is placed. The park is quite big, and not knowing where to look for the sculptures initially, we spent quite some time walking around in the park trying to locate “the big sculptures.” But we finally managed to find it and it was really a wonderful public art exhibition.

As introduced on Brooklyn Bridge Park’s official website, the project is a major new dual-site exhibition inspired by the Statue of Liberty.” The artist created “a copper replica of the statue in 250 parts fabricated over the course of four years using the original techniques and materials. “

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The concept and the scale of the exhibition is really incredible for me—I was used to seeing the Statue from afar and of course not in parts. One of the surprising factors for me about this project was definitely the scale of the parts. Another interesting thing about the Brooklyn Bridge Park part of this exhibition was the parts selected for the Brooklyn site—the artist choose the drapery around the underarm of the original statue. The drapery in itself is detail oriented and realistically portrayed, and it took me a while to acknowledge the fact that I’m looking at the armpits of the Statue of Liberty, which adds some humor to the exhibition.

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I find it very interesting that the artist took this approach in deconstructing a very iconic symbol of New York and the US at large. Of course the concept behind this exhibition is up for everyone’s interpretation, and I would definitely recommend this exhibition, and Brooklyn Bridge park in general! It’s a great space and the view is amazing!

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The exhibition is made possible by Public Art Fund, and it goes through December 6th, 2014. Go to Pier 3 Greenway Terrace at Brooklyn Bridge Park and check it out!

APF Intern Christine 

09

Jul

The Summer of Jeff Koons in New York

Jeff Koons is one of the most prominent artists of our time. He is known for his bold paintings that include saturated colors, as well as sculptures that involve smooth and glossy surfaces.

The Artist is surfacing all over New York City this summer, and not just in the art world. Discover Koon’s in the fashion industry, home décor, the Whitney museum, and outdoor public art.

Jeff Koon’s created his Split-Rocker statue in 2000. The statue recently made its New York City debut at Rockefeller Center, to correspond with the opening of his retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art on June 27th. Weighing 150 tons and towering over 37 feet high, “Split-Rocker” is made of two halves: one based on a toy pony, the other based on a toy dinosaur forming the head of a giant child’s rocker toy. An inner hidden irrigation system waters over 70,000 flowers that surface all over project. Split-Rocker was funded by Gagosian Gallery and organized by Public Art Fund in collaboration with Tishman Speyer. It will be on view in Rockefeller Plaza through September 12, 2014. It is free and open to the public

A retrospective of Koon’s work is presently at the Whitney Museum, showing over 100 pieces by Jeff Koons dating from 1978 to present-day. This has been the first time the Whitney is showing no more than a single artist’s work throughout it’s museum. The amazing exhibition is the last show at the Whitney before it moves to its new location in the Meatpacking District.

To commemorate its 150th anniversary, porcelain dinnerware manufacturer Bernardaud of Limoges, France, asked twelve artists to design their own series of table settings. Of course, Jeff Koons was one of the chosen artists. Inspired by his controversial sculpture series “Banality,” which was shown in 1988, Jeff Koons created the Banality Series plate settings for Bernardaud. Now available for purchasing, Koon’s porcelain series features everything from Michael Jackson, to a naked woman bathing.

Lastly, On July 17th, H&M, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Jeff Koons teamed up to will celebrate the new H&M museum-inspired flagship NYC location. The artist will have his iconic Balloon Dog printed onto to two different limited edition leather handbags in collaboration with the retailer. Don’t miss out on the unforgettable action!

Koons has and will continue to create incredible art while remaining connected to many different industries. Keep your eyes open and stay tuned to see what his next move will be.

APF intern Sarah Betesh

07

Jul

Living the High Life

Meandering the High Line, elevated above the city streets, you begin to form a new relationship with New York.  Surrounded by fragile, blooming flowers as well as Chelsea’s industrial buildings, the High Line has been carefully incorporated into the cityscape to produce a space that is integrated yet removed from the metropolis.

Archeo, the newest group exhibition on the old railway track, contemplates the High Line’s relationship to the city and encourages the reflection of one’s own connection to the bustling streets.  For the project, 7 young, international artists articulate their sentiments about technology and human relationships with machinery.

Upright railway parts of Vitale’s “Common Crossings”

Josh Kline’s “Skittles”

Marianne Vitale’s Common Crossings transforms old railway parts into a repetition of vertical sculptures. By repurposing these steel rods that were once used to switch the train’s course, Vitale gives each singular, metal structure its own relevance. Josh Kline’s installation is a reused refrigerator containing a rainbow of plastic bottles, each of which holds a New York City concoction. Grainy sediment sits at the bottom of a translucent orange bottle whose label boasts: Williamsburg, credit card, American apparel, kale chips, kombucha, microbrew, quinoa and agave.

 

Detail of the colored panes of Finch’s installation

Spencer Finch’s The River That Flows Both Ways is another High Line must-see. Finch uses the windows of one of the High Line’s few shady underpasses to map a palette of Hudson River hues. On June 12, 2008, the artist took hundreds of photographs of the water; the color of each windowpane is derived from a single pixel extracted from one of those images. The New York light shines through each small rectangle and creates a spectrum of blues, pinks, oranges, reds and yellows. 

Take a stroll on the High Line this summer to see Archeo and other fantastic art installations!

APF Intern Clara

03

Jul

Tara Donovan at Pace

The first thought running through my head as I walked into the Tara Donovan exhibition was ‘What is that?!’ Tara Donovan’s manipulation of everyday objects tricks the eye and creates unbelievable formations which seem naturally made though the use of repetition, accumulation and layering. The first piece, Untitled (index cards), constitutes millions of 3x5” white index cards stacked on top of one another to create an incredible sculpture almost resembling an iceberg or other organic form.

The second piece is another sculpture made of thousands of clear acrylic rods of different lengths all joined together, once again tricking the mind of the actual materials used as well as creating imagination in the viewer. Walking through the exhibition and not touching anything was very difficult as the sculptures instill curiosity as well as an inviting feeling.

Movement also plays a big role in the visual effect of the sculptures. Different perspectives and the shift in colors and light add a lot to the originality and complexity of the works as well as the mystery of what the freestanding sculptures even are.

 

This exhibition is one of a kind and highly recommended!

You can see these sculptures at the Pace Gallery at 534 West 25th Street up until August 10, 2014.

APF Intern Ariadne 

02

Jul

Don’t Look Now

Strolling through Chelsea area and popping into the galleries is probably one of my favorite things to do in New York so far. Not only is the area quiet and nice, it is always an enjoyment to see what’s happening in the art world.

As a guest to this city, one thing that interests me the most is of course how American culture is represented in art—undoubtedly it is the most influential culture in the world as of now, and it’s so dynamic of a culture that it is difficult to represent it visually. However, I think the show “Don’t Look Now” at Zach Feuer Gallery is curated to try to explore the American identity.

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The exhibition features a group of 19 artists who works primarily in New York City and their works aim to bring back the classical themes in paintings—namely the portrait, the landscape, and the still life.  “This Exhibition combines works from artists who have historically dealt with representation, with those from some of the contemporary champions of its reemergence. Simply put, this one is for the picture makers.” (Zach Feuer’s press release for the exhibition)

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Indeed the works in the show are very figurative and perhaps, easier to understand. But during my visit I think I saw a subtler theme among the works. From the small British-like landscape paintings near the entrance, the set up of the works almost gradually introduces the audience the evolution of American art—there is the pop art element, the comic element, bright colors and the advertisement style. There are of course more to American art than pop art and bright colors, but undeniably it is a big part of modern American art scene and it definitely changed the contemporary art scene.  

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I really enjoyed this exhibition, and definitely recommend going to the show—the exhibition runs through July 26, 2014 at Zach Feuer Gallery 1.

APF Intern Christine  

18

Jun

'adderall valium ativan focalin (cantilevering me)'

Assume vivid astro focus was founded by Eli Sudbrack in New York City in 2002. The art collaborative consists of the artists Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide-Pierson. Christophe lives and works in Paris. Eli currently resides and works between São Paulo & New York. The group has appeared and continues to appear in major exhibitions around the world.

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The group is currently exhibiting their first major solo exhibition in New York since 2008 ‘adderall valium ativan focalin (cantilevering me)’ at the Suzanne Geiss Company on 76 Grand Street, until June 21, 2014. My “co-Intern” Christine and I were asked last week to go on a quick outing and visit this awesome exhibit. As we approached the doors of the Suzanne Geiss Company (which is down the block from our APF office) we were not prepared for the grand and striking experience that was encountered inside. Speaking for the both of us, we were pleasantly surprised to see such an enormous room filled with large and vibrant paintings that were hung on top of an original mural by the artists. It was a wonderful show filled with “feel good” pieces, and I advise all of the art lovers in New York to check it out before it ends! 

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APF Summer intern, Sarah Betesh (me) as I examine the beautiful painting in awe.

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APF Summer intern, Christine Hristova enjoying the exhibit.

09

Jun

Finding Warhol in New York

 My first week in New York was full of adventures and discoveries. I have also found myself looking for traces of famous New York artists around the city.  Andy Warhol is undoubtedly one of the most famous artists in contemporary art scene who worked mostly in the great city of New York for a period of time. Not only was he rapped about in Jay Z’s song—“ I got Warhol’s on my hall’s walls/I got Basquiat’s in the lobby of my spot.” (Ain’t I, 2009)—Warhol also revolutionized the contemporary art world and created a new way of art making/art looking.

There’s an exhibition that just opened in Queens Museum that shows Warhol’s 13 Most Wanted Men, which he made for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. The pieces were commissioned for New York State Pavilion’s exterior, and Warhol, being the usual him, chose to enlarge 13 mug shots of the most wanted criminals in 1962. The series was, of course, painted over by the official soon after. The pieces in this exhibition were made later by Warhol with the same screens he used for the World’s Fair.

 

I have yet to visit the exhibition, but I’m very excited to go—much like his other pieces, these 13 prints definitely reflect and embody Warhol’s artistic career. Warhol was always able to produce works that seem meaningless but at the same time very political. His involvement in the “underground” culture—protests, the gay life…etc.—in New York during the 60s is very visible in his works. His book “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)” is one of my favorite books: the book is a collection of Warhol’s opinions and reflections on several topics such as love, sex, food, beauty, television, fame…etc., well, basically a collection of his thoughts on his life. It’s an amazing scope into Warhol’s life (and a very valuable one comparing to his interviews.)

I came to New York thinking I can find traces of Warhol (and yes, I did find Campbell’s Soup cans in the supermarkets, and got really excited,) but I think it is the sense of New York city that felt like Warhol—it is the feeling of being limitless and sometimes a little anti-establishment and awkward, yet there’s always a place in the city where you will be accepted and admired.

I thought I could fully explain Warhol (and my love for him) to you all in a single blog post, but I just realized I have never been so wrong. For those of you interested in getting to know him more—I highly recommend “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol”—don’t worry, it’s an easy read, and very interesting! And of course, the newly opened exhibition at Queens Museum (goes through September 7th, 2014.) 

(Photo Credits to Queens Museum Website)

APF Intern Christine 

02

Jun

Hello World!

Today is the very first day of my internship at APF, and today is also my first full day in the wonderful city of New York. After years of dreaming and a seventeen hour plane ride, I am finally in New York!

As I was roaming in the streets this morning trying to orient myself (and remind myself to walk faster because I’ve heard that’s what New Yorkers do,) I realized the following two months will be a great opportunity for me to explore this wonderful city through my internship with APF and through the art in the city. So I’m inviting you all to tag along on the ride with me in my journey!

The last city I lived in was Florence, Italy, so I figured I’d bring something from the beloved Italia for you today.

To be honest, the contemporary art scenes in Florence is not as popular or active as any other European city. It is as if the city is living under the shadow casted by the Renaissance maters since 15th century. But there are still some young artists that are working to promote contemporary art in Florence, and Clet is one of them. 

Clet Abraham is a French artists based in Florence. His works can be seen all over the city—he “decorates” the street signs. To be clearer, he makes parodies of the street signs, print them out as stickers and then covers the original street signs.

 

Yes, he has been arrested by the police several times, and he was asked to pay excessive amount of fine for the works he did all over the city, but in a seminar about contemporary Florentine art which I attended, Clet said with his French-Italian accent: “I don’t think what I’m doing is wrong and I will keep doing it for as long as I can.” 

 

As one of the pioneers in contemporary art in Florence, Clet’s effort is really admirable. His works were my motivation in walking through the whole city—it was so much fun trying to figure out what the sign would be on the next block. 

Well, that’s it for today and the European story. We are now on a different continent and I shall come back with my exploration and stories of New York!

Ciao for now, and I’ll see you soon!

APF Intern Christine