Held at the McCarren Park Pool, the first Brooklyn Art Book Fair, co-produced by Bruce High Quality Foundation University and Endless Editions, kept to the DIY roots of its featured zine-makers and independent publishing companies. Fair attendees moved past gym-goers and community center regulars into the shallow shoebox of a gymnasium lined with colorful booths. The squeaky-floored gym, hand-written name tags, and visibly excited participants evoked pleasant memories of the annual grade school Scholastic Book Fair. The rejection of a typical or “expected” venue resulted in a refreshing focus on the artists and publishers rather than the event itself.
Sitting on the wooden gallery floor with co-curators Julia Freeman and Satpreet Kahlon, Freeman explains about the first time the US tried to probe another celestial body, “They projected these radio waves, and so they went past the ionosphere and bounced off the moon, Diana, and then they came back”. Freeman is the founder of the art space Project Diana in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. We are occasionally interrupted by the sound of planes departing Boeing field as she explains that her intention was to create a space that reflected the same unknowing and unexpected return when artists push the boundaries of their normal practice.
Last week Open House did a 2-for-one double studio visit, with two artists who live and work in the same space, and also happen to be best friends. Ara Cho and Shavana Smiley invited us into their living room studio space, where we were greeted with large oil paintings that felt wispy and bright, yet at times charged and violent. These were the works of Ara Cho, featuring gestural flowers and airy figures inside domestic spaces. Loose hands sprung out of body parts and stood like trees in forests. We caught glimpses of Shavana Smiley’s galactic works during the studio visit (stay tuned for Part II).
Art Is Not Exceptional was contributed by Christian Lawrence St. Denis in the month of March for our Northwest special feature. Dakota Gallery is located in Bellingham, WA. Having originally started as a DIY Gallery in the Pacific Northwest, Open House continues to be excited by the artwork coming out of the region. It is our intention to create dialogue between the ambitious emerging art scene in the Northwest and New York City. Stay tuned for future special features in April!
By Christian Lawrence St. Denis
Dakota Gallery, Bellingham: three white walls, a glass and black metal facade, a white pillar, black floors. The installation is called I Am Sorry Please Forgive Me. The artist is Hannah Zoe.
Debbi Kenote interviews artists at the “A Day Without A Women” march and strike in Washington Square this Wednesday. Q & A featured inquiries into sign material, reasons for participating and most importantly, what role do artists play today?
As the 2017 Armory Week art fairs in NYC come to an end, I reflect on the hundreds and hundreds of pieces of work on view. It was a lot to digest, booth after booth, gallery after gallery, work that was polished, new, old, fresh, tired, bright, flashy, sculptural, political, humorous. You name it and it was at one of the many fairs. Overall the displays were impressive. Here’s my run down of some unforgettable work.
A dark room, a cavern upholstered with black plastic garbage bags is home to a ten minute video created by artist Taja Lindley, at the 2017 SPRING/BREAK Art Show. “The Bag Lady” a goddess like figure dressed in a garbage bag dress, a mix of costume and homemade high fashion, ritualistically dances, shouts, and conjures up the trash bags and black balloons surrounding her. “DON’T SHOOT!”, rings out at the height of the performance. This Ain’t A Eulogy: A Ritual For Re-Membering, is Lindley’s reaction to the, “non-indictments of the police officers responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.” An emotionally driven and provoking piece, Lindley talks with Open House about her process of performing, the conversion of the work from performance into film, and the garbage bag as a symbol.