Category archives: Visual Arts

  • I am delighted to be blogging (every 8th and 25th of the month) about film for Art for Progress. The organization/site’s dual mission – supporting emerging artists and arts education – is an admirable one, especially given the stratospheric real estate prices in New York and other cities that have traditionally incubated arts scenes, and the deep cuts in pubic school arts education. The ever-escalating mainstream media coverage of celebrity-driven — as opposed to talent-driven — arts and entertainment doesn't help the current climate. Fortunately, blogs such as this exist! In the past 20-or-so years of writing about movies for a variety of print and digital outlets, I’ve covered everything from major Hollywood releases to little-heralded films, interviewed (i.e., was allotted 15 phone minutes with) major movie stars and had long, insightful conversations with extremely independent filmmakers. It’s all been good, but I especially relish writing about lesser-known films and their creators; it’s always satisfying to encounter a fresh cinematic voice and easy to get caught up in the excitement of the filmmakers themselves. That's mainly the stuff I plan to cover here. The Heart Machine, which received a lot of positive attention at this year’s SXSW Festival, is the first feature from writer/director Zachary Wigon, who used Kickstarter to help fund it. A 2008 graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Wigon has a background in film journalism. While at school he started[...]
  • Alan Lupiani has been a involved in the New York art scene since 1996.  In this time, he has built an impressive resume of exhibitions that he has participated in and curated himself. Lupiani, a graduate of Binghamton University, earning a BA Studio Art 1988, would go onto receive his MBA in Arts Administration from the same institution in 1991. While Lupiani is a trained painter, his most recent work questions the conceptual bonds between painting and performance based work. In 2007, he launched his own LIVE Internet show entitled, “Dear Immaculately Groomed Italian Guy.” The show was successful in that it attracted as many as 10,000 viewers per episode. Lupiani produced approximately fifteen live episodes. Each episode utilized a similar format: cooking dinner for a guest in his apartment, while taking Skype calls from a global audience base. He also presented previously recorded clips with his guest at various locations around New York City. Lupiani recruited the individuals he hosted through the “Gigs” section of Craig's List. These meetings via Craig's List created the vibe of chance intimacy which resulted in provocative, comedic interactions. Currently Lupiani “utilizes painting as a metaphor to deconstruct various “situations” which he discovers through the internet, pop culture, and his personal biography. This approach to painting involves picking words and images that Lupiani responds to on a daily basis. He then manipulates the images in Photoshop, prints [...]
  • Art for Progress (AFP) is pleased to announce a group exhibition of new works by artists from New York City, Los Angeles, Spain and Israel. The show entitled “Déjà vu” will run from October 30th to November 12th, 2014 at NOoSPHERE Arts in New York City, and the opening reception will take place on October 30th from 6 to 10 PM. The exhibition will include a variety of mediums, from painting to sculpture, which tackle the theme of déjà vu. The term can be described as “a feeling of having already experienced the present situation” or “a tedious familiarity.”It first appeared in a 1928 text entitled a Text for Psychology. Since then, the topic of déjà vu has been addressed from the big screen to Sci-Fi novels. It is a concept and sensation that has captivated audiences for generations and in this exhibit AFP hopes to push the boundaries of this. For this show, the concept of déjà vu has been explored from several vantage points, from ideas of storytelling to an affective feeling. This exhibition is seeking to both comment on this topic and try to rethink the way in which it has been socioculturally situated. Déjà vu has come to occupy a very specific place within popular culture and this exhibition aims to build on that while also carving out new meaning for it. Fourteen artists will be featured in the show: Rocco Alberico, Ted Barr, Bill Claps, Lance Dehne, Tony DiBella, Essam, gilf!, Diane LaRaja, Lichiban, Sona Mirzaei, Carol Nussbaum, Juan Manuel Pajares, Jeanne Wilkinson[...]
  • The Soho Grand Hotel was the place to be for art enthusiasts on Wednesday September 10th as New York's fashion week kicked off. Known as a feminist artist and yarn bomber, Olek's latest show, "Reality What a Concept" opened to rave reviews. The show, curated by the uncompromising Natalie Kates, included performance pieces in addition to the crocheted playground created by Olek. Olek's work will be featured at the hotel through the end of the year. The show is part of a year long curatorial series by Natalie Kates which includes an upcoming exhibition by artist Ron English. - Frank Jackson
  • I recently saw “Ernest Cole Photographer” which is on display through December 6 at the Gray Art Gallery at New York University. This is the first solo exhibition of Cole's work in the US which was organized by the Gothenburg’s Hasselblad Foundation. The exhibition features 120 photograph which stem from his time working as a photojournalist in South Africa in the late 1950 and 60s. Cole was born in 1940 in the township of Eersterust, Pretoria. Several years later his family was forced to relocate to Mamelodi as a result of the Group Areas Act of 1950. Growing up in a very politically charged time in South Africa greatly affected how Cole would come to view the world. Cole began taking photographs at a young age which would turn into a life long passion for him. In 1958, Cole began working as a dark room assistant at DRUM Magazine, a publication geared towards black lifestyle located in Johannesburg. Working under the supervision of fellow photographer and artist Jürgen Schadeberg, Cole started to become politically active. During this time he met various artists, musicians and political leaders who were also fighting in the anti-apartheid movement. With Schandeberg's help, Cole enrolled in a correspondence course with the New York Institute of Photography. Cole would go onto to document the political situation in South Africa while working as a photojournalist for various newspapers. These photographs would become the basis of his 1967 book House of Bondage which w[...]
  • Beth Fiedorek has been creating psychological narrative paintings and performance based work since 2007. Fiedorek who is a graduate of Yale, tackles issues surrounding everyday experiences while also commenting on "the improvement oriented culture" we live in within her art. Beth's introspective and insightful approach to the art making process adds a level of complexity to the work she is generating. Fiedorek who has lived in Brooklyn since 2012, has taken part in the Gowanus Open Studios as well as performing in festivals such as FIGMENT, which occurred this past June. I recently spoke with Fiedorek about her art making process, what some of the challenges she has faced as a working artist have been and her take on the Brooklyn arts scene. Something Invisible to Others, Oil on MDO board, 48" x 48". Image courtesy of Beth Fiedorek. Anni Irish: How did you get interested in art? Beth Fiedorek: I always liked making things, ever since I was really young. I have found that materials tend to speak to me, sometimes more so than people which can prove to be awkward. As I’ve gotten older, making art has become more about communicating and processing experiences. Figuration and materials carry symbolic energy that I try to use thoughtfully, highlighting strange moments I find intriguing. In painting, there are psychological narratives that emerge over time and it is not always something you can control. For me, the process and re-evaluation of materials are deeply [...]
  • As we gear up for another school year, we've been hard at work applying for two new grants (Lily Auchincloss, Investors Bank Foundation), developing our new artist blog site, and planning events for the fall. In June, the Sansom Foundation awarded AFP another generous grant for the fourth consecutive year. The funds will help support an expanded effort to market AFP's Arts Education Programs to new schools and partner organizations. We developed a great new brochure and we have been reaching out to many new schools across NYC over the summer. If you're a teacher or school looking for dynamic artistic programming, let us know! We're equally excited about our new artist blog site which was launched in June. We have several great bloggers writing across various art genres. Hooking us up with fresh news, interviews and reviews in visual art, performance and such is Anni Irish. Anni's a Brooklyn based writer & editor and a graduate of NYU. You can check out her new posts in the middle of the month and the end of the month. Heading up our nightlife, parties, clubs blog is none other than former TONY's nightlife editor and all around great guy, Bruce Tantum. Bruce has DJ'ed at many AFP events through the years and when this opportunity came up I couldn't think of someone we would rather have on board. Bruce's blog titled, "We Learn Dances" posts on the first of each month. AFP's super duper, all around volunteer and fashion guru Allyson Jacobs heads up the fashion blog. A[...]
  • When Saturday evening rolled around the lines started to form outside an old police precinct in Gramercy Park, but this wasn't your ordinary art opening. Our friend Robert Aloia and his crew were at it again as they took over the building and invited many great street artists to do their thing. The sprawling 5 floor show features many great artists with an impressive range of work which included several installation pieces. The show runs through next weekend. Here's a list of participating artists. Adam Dare, Al Diaz, Amanda Marie, ASVP, Bad Pedestrian, Ben Angotti,BEAU, Bill Claps, Bishop203, bunny M, Cash4, Chris RWK, Chris Soria, Coby Kennedy, Curb Your Ego, Curtis Kulig, D. Gaja, Danielle Mastrion, Damon Johnson, Dasic, Dizmology, Duel, ELLE, Erasmo, Esteban del Valle, Faust, Ghost, GIZ, Hellbent, Hue, Icy & Sot, Iena Cruz, Jesper Haynes, Joseph Meloy, Justin Carty, Ket, Lexi Bella, Li Hill, Lorenzo Masnah, Matt Siren, Mr. Toll, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Net, Never, Nick Tengri, Noxer, Pesu, Phil, Pixote, Queen Andrea, RAE, Rambo, Ricardo Cabret, SAE, Savior Elmundo, Sheryo & The Yok, Shiro, Smells, Tone Tank, URNY (Ski & 2esae), Vexta,VFR, X-O, Zoens Hosted by: Albert Diaz & Frankie Cedeño
  • On August 4th people in Times Square were exposed to a unique art experience--digital billboards were changed from their usual advertisements to iconic American art pieces. This art intervention in a public space won't stop there and will also include a print campaign that will be seen on public transportation and throughout the city and in other locations. This is being done through the efforts of Art Everywhere US a collaboration between five major art museums and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. According to an article in the LA Times, the campaign will run from August 4-31 and will feature fifty eight images which will be displayed in close to 50,000 commercial locations in all fifty states. All the images were voted on by the public and the museums involved include The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Dallas Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. The event was first conceived of by Richard Reed who produced a similar campaign in the United Kingdom in 2013. This included a similar collaboration between the Tate Modern, Art Fund and the UK out of Ihome advertising industry. Artists in the US nation wide campaign include: Andy Warhol, Winslow Homer, Cindy Sherman and John Singer Sargent among others. Art Everywhere U.S. Times Square installation, featuring Winslow Homer’s “The Water Fan” (1898-99, The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Dorothy A., John A. Jr.[...]
  • Recently I saw the Kara Walker installation “A Subtlety: The Marvelous Sugar Baby" which was on display at the former Domino Sugar Factory through July 6th. The event was organized by Creative Time, an arts based nonprofit that has commissioned various large scale public art projects with many artists within New York and internationally since 1974. The full title of the piece, “A Subtlety Or The Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant” has poetic undertones and underscores many of the complex issues that Walker is driving at within the installation. On a recent weekend, I made the trek to Williamsburg to see Walker's installation. When I arrived at the Kent Street waterfront where the Domino Sugar factory is located, I was astounded by the amount of people in line. It extend down the street for almost an entire block. I took my place in the back of line with only my sunglasses to shield me from the hot summer sun and waited. As the line continued to grow, several volunteers for Creative Time emerged to help answer questions and to hand out releases to sign to enter the factory. The line progressed and soon I was in the factory. When I entered the space, I was overcome by a smell—a pungent, sticky and sweet aroma that seemed to fill the factory. The overwhelming odor was present partly becau[...]
  • Within recent years, Brooklyn has become a place that many artists have flocked to. One such artist is Dianna Carlin, who has been active within the Brooklyn arts scene since 2000. Carlin who is better known as Lola Star, has become a local celebrity through her popular Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco. Dreamland Roller Disco first opened in 2010 and combined Carlin's love of rollerskating and the glamor of Coney Island for a wide audience to enjoy. However, the skating rink sadly closed in 2010. After four years of searching for new location, Dreamland recently reopened in Prospect Park's Lakeside Rink. Each Friday Lola Star will host themed skating parties in the new location. This week's party will be based on the 1980 film "Xanadu” staring Olivia Newton-John, Gene Kelly and Michael Beck. With more dance parties on the horizon, Carlin is “excited” to have Dreamland up and running again. The skate parties are scheduled to go through the end of August but Carlin hopes to offer more parties in fall and winter months. I recently spoke with Carlin about how she got the name Lola Star, how she has adapted to the changing face of Brooklyn and what role community activism has played within her work. Carlin got the nickname because, “I use to skate around my parent's basement listening to Barry Manilow's 'Copacabana' on repeat and dreamed of being a rollerskating star. My parents would yell downstairs 'What are you doing down there Lola?'” This was in reference to the [...]
  • As a relatively new member and contributor to Art For Progress I wanted to take this opportunity to explain what drew me to the organization and what it has meant to me over the past year and a half. I also, wanted to congratulate all of those who have helped the organization to serve the local community for 10 years. That is truly an amazing feat! As we look ahead to the second half of the summer, I thought it might also be a good idea to give a little preview of what to expect for the rest of the summer from our local music scene in NYC. Firstly, any great organization is made up of great people and I realized early on that AFP was no exception. The dedication of the teachers and volunteers was evident from the first event I attended and has not waned since.  This first event was a workshop at the gallery of an AFP artist called NOoSPHERE ARTS. The workshop was aimed at introducing young children from the LES to music, art and photography. At one point in the day two young kids started making music, one on the cowbell and one on the keyboard. It was at this moment that I truly understood the impact of what AFP was doing and the passion of the teachers who dedicate their time to this organization. AFP is a true grassroots effort and that was one of the things that attracted me to it. This past fall and winter we organized a monthly live music event called “Homegrown,” that featured local acts from the NYC area, ten in total. The quality of the music was a testament[...]