The father of video art and Fluxus co-founder, Wolf Vostell disrupts typical art historical assumptions of the founding of video art. Creating Sun in your head in 1963, Vostell is the creator of video art even though he did not see himself exclusively as a video artist. Finishing a two part retrospective of Vostell’s video art, Rooster Gallery inserts Vostell back into the New York scene with the show Wolf Vostell: A Possible Survey on Video (1983-1993). On view from January 22 until February 22, the show is dedicated to the last decade of video works before his death in Berlin on April 3, 1998. Continue reading
Sweet Sugar Hill, is the epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance and was immortalized in songs by greats such as Duke Ellington and later by The Sugar Hill Gang. This cultural hotbed has not stopped inspiring artists since the 1920s, but how many times have you gone to visit? No Longer Empty’s 12th take over of an iconic space shows specially commissioned work by 25 artists responding to Sugar Hill’s past, present, and future. Located within the soon-to-be-opened Sugar Hill apartment complex, designed by David Adjaye, “If You Build It” brings in the energy of the community to a building in progress.
Culling from the historical past of the neighborhood, works shown focus on themes of ancestry, home, placement, and identity. The instrumental impact of the neighborhood is visually expressed by Radcliffe Bailey’s Windward Coast (2007-2014) consisting of a plaster bust bobbing in a torrent of piano keys, referencing the impact of Jazz and the oppressive middle passage of millions across the Atlantic Ocean.
He Zhen Snap Button Company began as a tiny store across from the Christopher Henry Gallery in 1986, the same year Amy Li was born. That was when Chinatown/LES was very quiet and comprised of primarily Chinese immigrants and Italians. Today, Amy Li has appropriated her parent’s storefront to show art. Stephanie Schroeder delves into the history of 166 Mott Street and talked to Li about her recent exhibition series.
Amy Li spent time at the button store when she wasn’t in school, taking music, art, or writing lessons. She majored in art history and studio art at Hunter College. Amy Li returned to graduate school in 2012 because she knew she wanted a career in art but felt unprepared.
On May 8th, Berlin based artist Jenny Brockmann’s exhibition Air opened at the German Consulate in New York. The site-responsive projects deals with daily phenomena and cycles that are invisible yet in flux. Many of the works, even though created and installed in New York, allude to Berlin. Guest writer Eric Booker met up with Jenny who is also currently an Artist-in-Residence at ISCP in New York.
Eric Booker: So, I know that we already talked a bit about the project in person, but maybe (for Station to Station’s sake) you could start by telling me how the exhibition at the German Consulate came to be? Was it a site that you already knew you wanted to work with? I find the liminality of such a place to be fascinating…
A couple of weeks ago, on a freezing evening the debut opening of du weißt, ich liebe das Leben (You Know, I Love Life) by Superuschi from Berlin took place in NYC. Even though people were turning to ice in the unheated space, nobody wanted to leave. It must have been because of the the warmth that Jonny Star, artist and curator who organized the event exudes. Jonny, who lives and works in Berlin, comes from the urban subculture of the 80s in Berlin (West) via a study of psychology at TU Berlin, extended stays abroad, operating a cult bar, fashion and farming to finally arrive in the Fine Arts. S2S immediately felt that we had met a kindred spirit. We asked Jonny about her past and plans for the future.
S2S: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Jonny Star?
Jonny Star: I made art under my given name Gabriele-Maria Schedafor for 20 years. For 4 years now, I’ve been working under my artist name, Jonny Star. Four years ago the timing worked out well – I was participating with my art project “sweet home – private art space” at the art fair SCOPE Miami. I added “Star” as an amused finger pointing at the art market, as they often seek stars and “enfant terrible” instead of good art or interesting concepts. And of course the name is a critique of the patriarchal structures of the art market and the discrimination of female artists that results from it.
We at S2S don’t care so much about some of the hyper commercial art fairs in town this weekend, but we couldn’t ignore the strong presence of Berlin galleries at The Independent this year. In it’s fifth year, The Independent 2014, drew a total of nine galleries from Berlin, some like Société attending the fair for the first time, while others like Galerie Neu have already been a part of it for several years in a row. Participation in the fair is by invitation only. Located in the light filled former exhibition space of the Dia Art Foundation, this year’s fair was conceived by founders Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook, developed in conjunction with creative advisor Matthew Higgs of White Columns and Director Laura Mitterrand.
S2S had the chance to talk to Alexander Schroeder of Galerie Neu, Monty from Société, and Nikolaus Oberhuber, co-owner of KOW.
Astor Hair, New York & Vokuhila, Berlin:
Hairstyling & Social Marketplace
The exhibition which is presently on display at New York University’s Deutsches Haus, aptly explores two salons as transnational: spaces that cut through the hard-edged barriers of dissimilarity—spaces that allow for a convergence of social, cultural, economic, gender and other forms of difference.
My fascination with barbershops and salons began at a very young age. My earliest visits to the barbershop were frightening. I can recall being placed in the barber’s chair and covered with a satin-like apron which was meant to keep my coarse, dark-brown hair from decorating my neck and clothes. While I was afraid that a stylist might make a mistake while cutting my hair (and one barber did when he mistook my instructions to slightly shorten the length of my hair to mean disappearing it altogether), I was equally fearful of being exposed as different within a space wherein myriad individualities traversed.
Concurrent with her latest exhibitions in Berlin and Antwerp, Belgium, the Berlin based artist Andrea Pichl spent the last few months in residency at ISCP, in Brooklyn, NYC. S2S spoke to Andrea Pichl about her recent work and her time in delirious New York.
S2S: The title of your exhibition in Berlin is ‘delirious Dinge’ – a reference to Rem Koolhaas’ Delirious New York?
Andrea Pichl: It’s just a question of semantics. Granted the title was inspired by Rem Koolhaas. But in the case of my exhibition it means something completely different and has no relation to Koolhaas’ excellent book. To be ’delirious’ – “auser sich sein“ in German isn’t really a good equivalent.
The word luxury comes from the Latin word lux, meaning “light” or “brightness” – in other words BLING, right?! Not so fast. Sure most of us think right away of expensive cars and jewelry, but the term ‘luxury’ is actually not easy to define. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. What does luxury really mean in today’s global society? An upcoming exhibition of Berlin artists at the German Consulate General in New York City is exactly exploring this question. Station to Station discussed the subject with our very own, Frieda Bellmann, the curator of Luxus: A Study of Luxury from Berlin Artists.
From November 20 to December 6, MoMA will host The Berlin School: Films from the Berliner Schule. These films were created in the aftermath of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, during the unification process of East and West Germany. Beyond presenting a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of independent filmmaking by Berlin based auteur filmmakers, the films of the Berliner Schule give an insight into contemporary German cultural identity.
The Berliner Schule or Berlin School is probably easier to define by what the filmmakers and their films do not have in common versus what they do. None of the directors of the Berliner Schule are from Berlin but hail from much smaller West German towns.
Last week, acclaimed director Thomas Ostermeier and the Berliner Schaubühne returned to BAM | Brooklyn Academy of Music with a contemporary adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play An Enemy of the People. S2S went to see what contemporary German theater is all about these days.
I highly anticipated Thomas Ostermeier‘s Berliner Schaubühne adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, since my first love of all the arts was the theater. Sitting in the dark, all by myself in immediate vicinity to the stage, without the protective arms of my parents, I got hooked at an early age when the company my father worked for would send kids to see The Wizard of Oz and other age appropriate plays during the Christmas holidays.
The evocative and provocative artistry of The Bread and Puppet Theater is more than radical political statement or partisan dogma. Rather Bread and Puppet is and always has been a collaborative commentary involving local volunteers, a core theater company along with the active participation of the audience. The viewers’ gaze animates every performance and infuses it with meaning.
A highly imaginative and preternaturally creative spirit is present in the troupe’s every breath and every movement. From the second the large, old space at the West Park Presbyterian Church goes dark and Bread and Puppet’s chilling performance begins, the audience is transported, all to their own cold, dark places. Whatever agonies each person has experienced–or fears–is projected onto the performance piece as well as reflected back onto each individual.
Last week Eva Koethen‘s show The Creation of New Spaces of Perception opened at the German Consulate General in New York. The photographs in this new exhibition, installed on the floor of the lobby, are not only to be viewed but also to be walked on – in a corporal as well as metaphorical sense. S2S talked to Eva Koethen about the concept behind her current work, her home town Berlin, her frequent visits to New York and the changes she has witnessed throughout the years in both cities.
S2S: You are known for your Tritt-Bilder (Step-on pictures). You have stated that in your work “the field of potentiality at the feet of the beholder is no longer limited to visual observation but the images have to be walked on and across.“
“We make garments that inspire and activate the wearer to go beyond the daily grind.”
Fashion week is still upon us in NYC, but the hyper-commercialized branding fest nowadays referred to as “Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week” at Lincoln Center is none of our concern. Instead S2S ventured out to see artist’s Aliya Bonar‘s art performance and pop-up store PowerSuits Boutique. We’re not talking about those tacky 1980s shoulder pads here but hand-made garments and even objects.
“I am a huge champion of Brooklyn. It’s my hometown. Though I have been fortunate enough to travel the world, I have always had one foot firmly planted in Kings County. I am Brooklyn through and through…. strange, but true.”
Contemporary art curator and entrepreneur, Dexter Wimberly, was born and raised in Brooklyn. Curatorially, Wimberly focuses on contemporary urban history: “I love art that reflects our times, and I am excited to be in the position to work with artists who are shaping contemporary culture and bringing the beauty of under-exposed aspects of modern life to a greater public. I feel that this is my calling within the arts.” A passionate collector and supporter of the arts, Wimberly has personally exhibited the work of nearly 100 individual artists. S2S talked to Wimberly about the hood that defines him, his recent exhibitions and what tips he has for emerging artists and curators.
You have probably never heard of Maspeth, Queens. It’s an industrial area that borders on Bushwick, not too far from the Jefferson L Stop. And we really shouldn’t tell you about this, but we can’t help wanting to turn people on to this amazing place called the Knockdown Center. If you have been to Berlin in the past, you are familiar with old, decrepit buildings that have been turned into art centers (think Tacheles) or clubs (the original Tresor), but the situation here in NYC is way different. Real estate in this town has always been traded like gold. Having a vast space like the 50,000 square feet former glass and door factory at your disposal to indulge your creative spirits is a curator’s surreal wet dream coming true. A while back, S2S interviewed the curatorial team, Michael Merck, Kate Watson and Tyler Myers about the beginning and future of the KDC. The most recent events that took place at the Knockdown Center were Memory Place, a sound art show curated by Kate Watson, Red Bull Music Academy’s Drone Activity in Progress and Tiki Disco.
“Fashion is an expression of a life-style – your clothes and what you wear should reflect your everyday activities and interests – for us it’s painting – that’s what we love to do – if you are a chef maybe you should have food stains…”
If you have been to an art opening in Soho lately, chances are you have encountered Marcus and Sidi, the creative forces behind the new fashion label CLR THERAPY. Very charismatic guys who not only get a lot of attention for their good looks but the fact that their clothes are covered head to toe in paint like walking canvases. The two ‘Blipsters’ have an aura that evokes an era before the ‘SoHo Effect’ took place, where South of Houston was still a gritty playground for young artists who could actually afford to live in huge lofts with natural light, thanks to low rents. Those times are long gone, but Marcus and Sidi, strike one more as contemporaries of Basquiat than Jay-Z.! Somehow they appear to have time traveled unscathed to the galaxy of gentrified now. S2S talked to Marcus and Sidi about the history and future of CLR THERAPY.
An exercise in faith!
Jon Bonito Saturday at BOS
In typical fashion, my invasion of BOS – Bushwick’s Open Studios Event was an exercise in faith; a man with a plan without an agenda. I stumbled into this one studio on Wyckoff Ave and entered into this building full of graffiti, tags, and random phrases. Following the sign to the fourth floor we were greeted by a young man who simply introduced himself as Strauss and were directed to follow him through a maze of a studio into a back room where an area was sectioned off in a black tarp. Inviting us to step in, an assault of dub-step began playing and a wide-screen illuminated.
“Whole New York cramped in one basement.”
Nicolaus Schmidt is a German artist, photographer and historian. He studied at the Hamburg Art Academy (HfBK) in the 1970s. In 1975, he founded ROSA, one of Germany’s first gay-themed magazines. During the 1980s, he was a volunteer with the German branch of the children’s rights organization Terre des Hommes, serving for a time as its chairman. Since 1991, he has been living and making art in the Berlin neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg. Station to Station talked to Schmidt about his latest project Astor Place | Broadway | New York – a photographic portrait of New York City’s most iconic hair salon.
S2S: Nicolaus, you are a photographer who lives mostly in Berlin but frequently visits New York City. When was your first visit to NYC and what made you want to come back here on a regular basis? How much time do you spend here every year?
Engineer’s Office Gallery is probably the most clandestine art space in all of New York City: 24 inches wide, 72 inches high and 24.5 inches deep. Truly underground, the gallery is hidden in the basement beneath Rockefeller Plaza – not easy to locate but certainly worth a visit. Eric Booker spoke with Zefrey Throwell, one of the co-directors of the covert space.
S2S: Can you begin by talking a little bit about yourself and your co-curators? How did you come up with the idea of creating a space like Engineer’s Office?
Zefrey Throwell/Engineer’s Office: Engineer’s Office was the collaborative creation of three artists who were working at Haunch of Venison Gallery while it was located in Rockefeller Center in 2009. In order to have artwork photographed it was necessary to walk it down a long hallway in the basement of 20 Rock, beneath Christie’s Auction house. There is a small 6 foot high and 2 foot wide niche in the concrete and after passing this alcove day in and day out, we struck upon claiming it for the powers of good. The underground hallway / segue which connected Christie’s and Haunch of Venison was also additionally interesting in that it seemed to be a sort of gray area or neutral territory which was not specific to either entity and was also accessible to the public via the 47-50th street subway station. It just seemed to be begging for an intervention or re-purposing of sorts.
The King of Now!
We agree that the competitive nature of the event was frivolous. However, GO Brooklyn made it possible to meet some incredible artists in their studios. One of them is Eto Otitigbe, a polymedia artist who combines sculpture, video, installation, and performance to create illusions, sensitive spaces, and dynamic actions. We talked to Eto about the time he spent in Berlin last summer.
S2S: Eto, you just returned from Berlin where you finished your MFA from the Transart Institute. Can you explain what this program is and talk about your experience in the program in general and in Berlin specifically (i.e. who was your advisor, what was it like to live in Berlin as a New Yorker, etc.)?
Eto Otitigbe: Transart is an international low residency MFA program. The faculty and students come from all around the world with a majority from North America and Europe. TI is unique because it brings together a diverse group of art practitioners to one space that doesn’t have a rigid departmental structure.
“Just please look past the uniform!”
Mostly silent and stone-faced, blending into their environment security guards are often disregarded by visitors. Yet, historically they are in good company: Jackson Pollock, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, and Mel Bochner, to name just a few, were security guards in museums before their names were added to the canon of art history. Be aware, the person in uniform advising you not to get too close to the art work might someday be an art star. Not surprisingly, Linda Smith—an artist who is a security guard herself—curated “Guardists,” an exhibition of works by her co-workers at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Since security guards generally only speak when spoken to, S2S interviewed Senior B. and Camisha B. to hear first hand about the trials and tribulations of a SG or “rent-a-cop.”