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  • Opened in 2009, by the former director of the Deitch Projects, Kathy Grayson, the Hole NYC has produced a number of cutting edge shows over the past five years. The gallery’s most recent undertaking, a group show entitled “Early Man” tackles the theme of art making through the ages. Looking as far back as the Upper Paleolithic period and then tracing this forward, the artists in this exhibition “use various strategies to create meaning, from the barely rudimentary to the highly sophisticated.”

    The artists featured in the show include: Aurel Schmidt, Austin Lee, Barry McGee, Bjarne Melgaard, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Christian Rosa, David Pappaceno, David Shrigley, Dennis Hoekstra, Devin Troy Strother, Eric Yahnker, Francine Spiegel, Giovanni Garcia-Fenech, Jim Drain, JIM JOE, Katherine Bernhardt, Misaki Kawai, Paul DeMuro, Takeshi Murata, Theo Rosenblum and special guests. It is through these diverse artists’ interpretation of the process of creating meaning which has resulted in a variety of pieces that address this topic. The work within “Early Man” ranges from drawing, sculpture and installation and offers a wide look at the show’s theme.

    While the “Early Man” show is taking on a very complex topic, it also helps to encapsulate many of the issues facing working artists of the 21st century today. Many of the pieces within the show seem to be directly engaging with primitivism but in a new context. It is through many of the work’s refusal to be categorized and their direct engagement with art historical movements that is helping to create a new context for meaning.

    The works are at times aggressive, raw, comical and energetic. Painter and graffiti artist Barry McGee for example, takes his work a step further within “Early Man.” McGee’s two carved wood figurines are shown side by side on matching white pedestals with tiny spray can bottles in their hands as they attempt to paint the gallery wall black.
    McGee’s work is featured among other paintings and sculptures which showcase the human form in various settings, positions and mediums.
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    Giovanni Garcia-Fenech’s canvases are lush with peach and black hues that depict a lone male figure. Garcia-Fenech’s paintings are filled with a bulbous, overflowing, body that seems to stretch beyond the frame of the canvas.

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    In Dennis Hoekstra’s flooded, dark, Cave Installation. the viewer feels as if they have entered another world given the amount of art you are presented with. The installation is multidimensional and features a video piece by artist Takeshi Murata in addition to fifteen sculptures created by David Pappaceno. Pappaceno’s sculptures fill the cave like space and are accompanied by other paintings and drawings throughout. Murata’s video piece features an angry yeti set against the background a of pixelated, hallucinogenic series of images with music. The video is projected over the pond that has been created within the cave adding yet another element to the already overwhelming installation.

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    The pieces within “Early Man” not only challenging the status quo of the art making process but also the way in which art is viewed. The show is complex, funny and makes the viewer feel that you are in on the joke rather than being on the receiving end of it. The show points to not only the transitions that have been made within art over last several thousands years, but also what this means on a more basic level. This is one of the best group exhibitions I have seen by far this year and is not to be missed!

    “Early Man” runs through December 28th at the The Hole Gallery which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-7 PM and is located at 312 Bowery.

    –Anni Irish

  • Recently, a publicist at CLD PR in Los Angeles sent me information about Nicoli, an upmarket accessories label based in United Arab Emirates that is expanding their international reach from Singapore to Hollywood red carpets.  I liked the beautiful, intricate designs and wanted to introduce you, dear reader, to one of their creations, The Snake Clutch.
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    As the company describes: The world of Nicoli is not just exclusive, it is elegant, unique with a touch whimsical. Created as the perfect accessory to life’s most beautiful, luxurious and memorable moments, Hollywood glamour and Italian styling is behind, and can be seen in everything we do; from our exquisite handcrafted evening handbags, purses and clutches to our glamorous diamanté embellished shoes.
    The Nicoli brand was founded in 2004 by Khurram Rafique and is proud to be an integral part of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for the U.A.E. to lead the world in the global luxury goods market.
    Discover more about Nicoli Shoes and find out more about the creation of The Snake Clutch after the jump.
    Jacqueline Colette Prosper, @yummicoco

    Read More

  • If you’re like us, you’re dreading New Year’s Eve – the night when you are practically forced into trying to have a good time. But experiencing a fun night can be difficult when you are concentrating on getting out of the way of drunken-bro packs or avoiding puke puddles. We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to stay home and cuddle up with a bottle of champers, watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in your jammies and bunny slippers. However, if you really want to hit the town—and if dancing all night in the clubs is your thing—here are a few options that might be a bit more bearable than say, heading to Madison Square Garden for a fist-pump session with Skrillex and Diplo, the idea of which haunts our nightmares.

    Resolute and Blkmarket Present New Year’s Eve at Output
    Output. 74 Wythe Ave at North 12st St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 10pm; $80–$100. Advance tickets available through outputclub.com.

    DJ Koze

    DJ Koze

    With its warehouse feel and strict no-photos policy—not to mention its emphasis on the serious side of deep house and techno—Williamsburg’s Output is loosely based on Berlin clubs like the famed Berghain. So it makes sense that this party has scored one of Germany’s best, DJ Koze, to headline the affair with one of his oft-surreal sets of house, techno and various sonic oddities. And there’s about a billion other DJs spinning in the club’s two rooms as well—but the party stretches into the following Friday, so there’s plenty of time to squeeze ’em all in.

     

    All That Glitters New Year’s Eve: Lee Burridge + Andhim + Matthew Dekay + Bedouin + Mike Khoury
    Verboten. 54 North 11th St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 8pm; $70–$150. Advance tickets available through verbotennewyork.com.
    How cool is it that, after years of suffering through a shortage of good-sized venues that focus on non-mainstream sounds, there now are two such clubs within stumbling distance of each other in North Williamsburg? (If you’re a non-clubber actually living in North Williamsburg, perhaps not so cool, but whatever.) Anyway, right around the corner from Output lies Verboten, a spot that generally draws from the same house-and-techno pool as Output, but presents its DJs in a slightly less Teutonic environment. Tonight’s lineup is four-to-the-floor quality from top to bottom, led by the U.K. club lifer Lee Burridge and his box (or, more likely, his hard drive) loaded with ethereal electronic beauties.

    The Cityfox Experience: Studio AV 2015
    Location TBA. 10pm; $80–$90. Advance tickets available through residentadvisor.net.
    If you must go big, this might be the way to do it. The Zurich-based Cityfox label has been teaming up with the Listed party-tossers to throw festival-sized fiestas here in NYC for a while (get a taste of what their wingdings are like here), and tonight’s party looks to be another mega-extravaganza, with a lineup to match. Leading the way: Âme, a duo which even the most casual clubbers will know from their supergroovy deep-house club hit “Rej” from a few years back. But don’t miss their Innervisions labelmate Mano Le Tough or the world-conquering Apollonia trio—or, for that matter, the rest of the rather stupendous lineup.

    The Bunker LTD NYE with Prosumer + Mike Servito + Bryan Kasenic
    Trans Pecos. 915 Wyckoff Ave between Hancock and Weirfield Sts, Ridgewood, Queens. 10pm, $30. Advance tickets available through the bunkerny.com.

    Prosumer

    Prosumer

    Way down the “size” scale—but right up there in the “fun” and “hot tunes” scale—we have the Bunker LTD, the intimate little brother of the Bunker bunch’s full-scale soirees at Output. (Admission at the Bunker LTD is limited to about 150 revelers.) Leading the way is Prosumer, a resident at Berlin’s Panorama Bar who makes and plays absolutely fabulous of warm house and techno. In its review of his recent Fabric 79 mix-CD, the Resident Advisor website said that the mix “feels put together with the loving touch of a man used to caressing each individual slab of wax, rather than just clicking through icons on a screen.” Which basically just means he plays records instead of some digital format—but trust us, he plays really good records. Add DJ’s DJ Mike Servito and Bunker founder Bryan Kasenic to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a party. And yes, it’s in Queens—but only steps from the L trains, so stop your bitching.

    No Ordinary Monkey with Peaking Lights + Joubert Singers
    Good Room. 98 Meserole Ave between Lorimer St and Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn. $50–$65; advance tickets available through residentadvisor.net.
    Good Room opened in late October, and the joint still has that new-club smell, an aroma we’ll never get tired of. It’s also got a very cool lineup in store for its year-ending fling, with the No Ordinary Monkey guys spinning a wide-ranging slate of dance-music leftfieldisms, and the synthy psyche-pop duo Peaking Lights duo doing its rather wondrous thing in a live set. But the party’s capper is another live set, this one from Phyliss McKoy Joubert and her Joubert Singers, famed for the joyous, gospel-tinged classic “Stand On The Word.” Expect much in the way of torso-swaying, hands-waving-in-air happiness.

    718 Sessions New Year’s Day Party
    Santos Party House. 96 Lafayette St between Walker & White Sts (santospartyhouse.com). 6pm–midnight; $20, between 7pm and midnight $12, first 100 people before 7pm $5.
    You know what? Maybe we should all stay in on the big night and save our energy for the annual New Year’s Day edition of veteran DJ Danny Krivit’s long-running tea dance, dedicated to the soulful end of the house-and-classics spectrum. This affair has become something of a year-starting classic—it’s one of the most unpretentious and joyous parties around, harkening back to the NYC clubbing days of yore. Reality can wait till tomorrow.

  • Courtesy of Paladin

    Courtesy of Paladin

    “Beauty is intimately engaged with darkness, with chaos, with destruction. From the depths of darkness, beauty transforms and transcends.”

    Thus Lily Yeh explains the philosophy of her art, through which she has engaged denizens of traumatized communities and impoverished areas all over the world for nearly three decades. The Chinese-born, Philadelphia-based artist runs the nonprofit Barefoot Artists (“recognizing that creativity and beauty are powerful agents for healing and change”) and is the subject of new film The Barefoot Artist, co-directed by documentarian Glenn Holsten and her son, Daniel Traub, a photographer and cinematographer. (The two previously collaborated on OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, among other projects.)

    The film combines two threads: first, it’s the story of Yeh’s development as an artist and her work with various communities. There’s footage of the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia, which Yeh created out of an abandoned lot; her transformation of a garbage/hospital dump in Korogocho, Kenya, into a vibrant environment of communally-produced murals and sculptures; and, most poignant, scenes of a genocide survivors camp in Rugerero, Rwanda. There we witness deadened souls who have suffered unbearable loss come alive by telling their stories through drawing and painting, under Lily’s tutelage.

    The film’s second thread is Yeh’s exploration of her family, including a hidden side. Her desire to heal wounds drives the search for her beloved father’s “first family,” the wife and children he left behind to marry her well-born mother. The result is a beautifully shot portrait of a remarkable artist and human being.

    LongwoodI recently spoke with Holsten and Traub about Lily and the making of The Barefoot Artist.

    Glenn, you began documenting Lily in the 1980s, when you made a short film for public television about the Village of Arts and Humanities.

    After I did the Village video, I became sort of an adjunct staff member of the Village. I taught young kids video production, and poetry — which is kind of a laugh because I’m not a poet; we started making video poems together. I stayed connected with Lily, had many adventures with her, went to Kenya with her because she was doing the work in Korogocho. We became good friends.

    When did you start working with Daniel?

    Actually Daniel interned with me at WHYY, the PBS station in Philadelphia, when I was on staff there, but we also did a documentary short in Soviet Georgia about Lily’s project there in an orphanage; it was a terrific way to work together.

    What was the genesis of The Barefoot Artist?

    Glenn: Lily was going on this family journey back to China and I asked if I could join her. Daniel was living in China and he’s a terrific director of photography, so I asked him if he was willing to film his family journey; that was the start of the one strand in the film. Then Daniel came back to America after documenting his mother’s work in other places. We decided to team up and create this movie about the two sides of her life.

    Daniel: Originally we were both thinking separate films. I was just documenting my mother’s projects around the world, but then realized it could be a larger film. At the time Glenn was doing post-production on the family story; we both sort of realized that we should probably pool our resources and make one definitive film.

    Glenn: I remember I was editing the trailer to raise money for the film about the family journey, and I thought, I have to figure out how to tell people about this woman’s amazing artwork. Daniel had just returned from Rwanda and he showed some clips and I thought, “That’s how I’m going to show it.” Because it was really beautiful.

    Courtesy of Paladin

    Courtesy of Paladin

     

    Daniel, at age 12 you took a series of photographic portraits of your grandfather. Was that when you started to seriously pursue photography?

    I had been photographing in the streets of Philadelphia, taking architectural pictures; my father is an architect, he got me started in a sense. The series with my grandfather was really the first personal project that I did. It gave me a sense of what photography could do.

    Any second thoughts about the personal aspects of this film? Obviously it delves into your grandfather’s life, but also touches on your relationship with your mother.

    D: It was an issue. I had never really intended to make a film about my mother, but when I was documenting her work, I became more and more drawn in, it seemed an important film to make. I guess I was a bit resistant; I didn’t want to make it too much about me. I think it helps the film, it gives enough context information. Her story is the central strand; my connection to her and my grandfather are two elements of the story.

    G: Daniel’s participation was the biggest issue we wrestled with, and pushed and pulled and played with until we got to a point where everybody thought it was working.

    The footage of the survivors village in Rwanda is especially moving; the emotion was so palpable. Was that difficult to shoot?

    D: Yeah, it was very moving. I went to Rwanda three times; I developed a relationship with a lot of the people. It was quite overwhelming. I don’t think I did much filming the first time; I was getting a sense of the place and learning about what had happened. I think with filming, you’re sort of hiding behind the camera a little bit, it’s a way to stay disengaged; it’s a kind of a shield, for better and worse. I think that helps me to keep working there.

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    Having done a sort of art therapy in Philadelphia and other places, Lily was confident it would help the Rwandan survivors even though it’s very traumatic for them at first.

    D: I don’t know that she would call it art therapy. It’s more of a methodology that she developed out of her own practice; developed out of working with people. I don’t think she was ever connected with the whole art therapy movement, though there is some crossover.

    G: She comes up with ways of connecting with people. Daniel, Lily and I went back to Rwanda to show people in the film the almost-final cut to get their blessing and approval before we shared it with the world, and they were all so happy that their hardships had been documented because they felt that their lives progressed so much since that time in history, they all think that this film could help other people who are going through trauma.

    Future film projects?

    G: I’ve been working on a film about a mental health community in Philadelphia that has a beauty parlor, Hollywood Beauty Salon; it’s about the men and women in this community on their different paths to recovery, doing these hair and fashion shows. I’m really lucky because Daniel is such a terrific DP; he’s been filming and it’s almost done. It should be finished in the spring (hollywoodbeautysalonmovie.com).

    The Barefoot Artist is currently playing at the IFC Center in Manhattan; Daniel Traub’s new book of photography, North Philadelphia (Kehrer Verlag), was published last month.

    Marina Zogbi