Category archives: Visual Arts

  • 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[...]
  • This spring AFP Arts Education Programs are celebrating the completion of our eighth school year serving NYC Public Schools with exciting, confidence building visual art and music classes and after school programs. AFP Arts Education Programs at the James Baldwin School, Humanities Preparatory Academy, and Hudson High School all expanded this year, and we continue to provide after school music programs at Quest 2 Learn, and at Hudson High School for Learning Technologies. Students at the James Baldwin School asked for an after school program where they could learn music production and beat-making, so AFP implemented a program that brings aspiring producers, rappers and singers together to learn the skills necessary to create professional quality recordings. Humanities Prep's Music Program had unprecedented success this year, introducing a number of talented students to their first instruments, and fostering the continued development of returning students through after school opportunities. In general, AFP has helped to cultivate the creative culture that is now a primary component of the school. Many students and faculty performed in a talent showcase to end the school year on June 6th. Sophomore Abril Tiburcio brought the house down with her interpretation of Lana Del Rey's "Ride", while 2014 valedictorian and class president Michelle Bello sang The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army." They were backed by Tiana Bush on bass, and Genesis Castillo pounding out the infect[...]
  • MISSION Art For Progress' Arts Education Community provides under-served youth with dynamic artistic programming that promotes reflection and self-expression. By connecting youth with working artists, their communities and each other, we hope to transform the way they see themselves and the world around them. PHILOSOPHY While public schools in New York City have been working hard to meet federal and state mandates for student test scores, arts education programs have become scarce. At Art for Progress, it is our mission to reverse this trend by delivering quality Arts Education programs to the students of New York City’s public schools. Our programs are designed and implemented by professional educators and teaching artists who have a wealth of experience in arts education in public schools and community-based after school programs. In addition, Art for Progress works closely with teachers and administrators at client schools to design programs for students that deepen their understanding of core subject areas. Through arts education, students make connections between material covered in class and their community; they will explore other cultures and examine human experience from a variety of perspectives and artistic forms. Art For Progress Music Program In 2008 the our Arts Initiative became official when teaching artists began residencies in New York City public schools. The first beneficiaries of this innovative program were Landmark High School in Manhattan [...]