Dzine: Born, Carlos Rolon, 1970 at Paul Kasmin Gallery

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After Dzine – aka Carlos Rolon – dedicated his last immensely successful show NAILED to his mother (the Imperial Nail Salon was an exact reproduction of his childhood living room), his latest work Born, Carlos Rolon, 1970, is a love letter to his father. He depicts how boxing is a crucial part of the domestic culture in Latin America, especially in Puerto Rican and Cuban communities. The artist takes us back into his living room from his childhood, complete with lazy-boy, beer cans, and boxing memorabilia. A lot of the artworks have a reflective surface of a kind, reminiscent of mirrors, which are often used in 1st generation American apartments, to make them appear larger. Dzine mixes all these influences to a new whole – yet keeps the results highly personal and definable. On view through March 1 2014 at Paul Kasmin Gallery (293 10th Avenue, New York.)

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Hassan Jajjaj’s ‘Kesh Angels at Taymour Grahne Gallery

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When looking at Moroccan-born, UK-raised Hassan Hajjaj latest work, one can’t help but have an almost eerie sense of familiarity, even though his subjects, young women who are a part of the Marrakesh biker culture, are anything but to the Western viewer. Hajjaj toys with familiar visual languages, derived from advertising and fashion, mixes them with the vibrant colors of Northern Africa, and adds branded products around the image, that stand in no context to the image except for the color scheme. The singular elements, each used in unexpected ways, creates this mesmerizing tension that leads you to take in every single detail of the photograph.

Hajjaj’s women are confident, modern, with smiles and plenty of attitude, very different from the stereotype existent in the West. It’s a lot of fun to see them so playful, celebrating independence and youth – and ironically showing off their LV slippers and Nike veils. Also included in the exhibit is an installation of Hajjaj’s furniture, made from recycled utilitarian objects from North Africa, and branded with logos from Western labels. On view at Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York through March 7 2014 (157 Hudson Street).

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Love Maroc

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Henna Crew

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Kesh Angels

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Nisrin

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Romancia

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Kick Start

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M.

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Blue Eyes

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Studio Visit – Andrea Bianconi

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Andrea Bianconi has the remarkable quality to be extroverted and introverted at the same time. Staying at a friend’s apartment in Williamsburg, the space has the typical feel of an apartment cleaned up for someone else to live in: Personal items are mostly put away, there is a cleanliness and order that create a sense of anonymity. The view is gorgeous – the East River, Mid-Town skyline. “The view drives me crazy, I can’t stand it for too long. It’s strange isn’t it? How this beautiful view can turn into something terrible,” says Andrea. Yes, it does seem a bit strange, but not surprising for a man that seems to have such a wide-spread personality.

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Andrea’s oevre is just as diverse, ranging from pen drawings (enticing arrow drawings forming that seem to move off the paper for his upcoming show in Texas) to performance art (the last one his much talked-about performance at the Moscow Biennale this past autumn), and a book project that depicts the stream of consciousness in a visual page-to-page format. The red threat his is uncompromising assemblage of fantasy and reality, through which he is able to sharply depict aspects of our human condition in this day and age.

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CM: Where are you from?
AB: I’m from Italy

CM: Where do you currently live?
AB: Everywhere… Today in Brooklyn

CM: How did you decide to become an artist?
AB: LOVING and HATING my obsession

CM: What is your creative process?
AB: An endless chain of associations, void, surplus, lapsus

CM: Define art.
AB: What is this ?

CM: Favorite artists?
AB: Now… Louise Bourgeois, Mike Kelley, Vincent Van Gogh

CM: Best exhibit you’ve seen recently and why you liked it.
AB: Mike Kelley at MoMA PS1. I lost the meaning of time.

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Studio Visit – Lan Tuazon

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First I think I have the wrong address. The heavy door seems to be leading into nothingness, until I discover a rough stairway around the corner. A couple of staircases later I’m beeing greeted by Lan Tuazon into her, yes, homey industrial loft. Who would have thought that concrete could be warm and welcoming in that way? A lot of this atmosphere is created by Lan’s personality though. Her openness and no-nonsense friendliness is relaxing, and we immediately start chatting about all kinds of things – none of them art related.

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Lan was selected as part of the Brooklyn Museum’s Raw/Cooked series, featuring upcoming Brooklyn based artists. In her work she challenges the forms and traditions that are around us and form us – be it the way US cities today are constructed to suppress mobilization and demonstrations, how the distribution of capital and property reveal underlying power structures, or the traditional presentation of art in museums grouped according to artist or time period, rather than subject matter.

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Lan Tuazon: Sympathy: The False Arms for Rhampsinitus

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Excerpt from the Brooklyn Museum Raw/Cooked exhibit, where Tuazon displays sculptures she created alongside Egyptian artifacts, interpreting their conceptual content.

Where are you from?
I was born in the Philippines and was very lucky to have my childhood there. I moved to US at 10 in Jersey City and lived in New York since I was 18.
Where do you currently live?
Bushwick, Brooklyn, but I’m trying to live in every borough of New York. One borough left and I’m done.
How did you decide to become an artist?
In the 5th grade when I was in the US, I was asked to draw a sneaker for an art contest. I grew up poor and I didn’t have my own pair so I went to the shoe store and drew it on the spot. I won the contest and took the money to buy my first pair of sneaks. I kept winning art contests and at 18, I got a full tuition scholarship at the Cooper Union. I thought art was a way of making money… At least that’s the joke I tell, but it had more to do with the fact that when I was 7 in the Philippines I quit school for 2 years. Imagine being a kid in an island with a chance to experience time. I made art and there’s no amount of socialization that would have made me accept a life any other way.

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What is your creative process?
I talk and I teach. I try to figure out what the significance of the topics that are brought up and how that relates to the present. I try to theorize this and do a lot of research. Then I write and plan projects in years.  I’m on autopilot when I begin and I get to watch and listen to as much movies and books on tape while my hands are busy.  There’s the void again when I finish a long term project. So I talk and I teach…
Define art:
Art is becoming human.
Favorite artists:
Hieronymus Bosch and James Turrell.
Best exhibit you’ve seen recently and why you liked it:
Jason Middlebrook exhibited a solo at Dodge Gallery. I love it because I think at this point, raw materials like wood are artworks.

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Another excerpt of the Brooklyn Museum’s Raw/Cooked show.

Studio Visit – David Molesky

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David Molesky‘s work/live space in the West Village is surprisingly modern and tidy – quite the opposite of your chaotic, industrial artist loft. It’s a great spot to retreat from the hectic New York life and work in quiet, and, as David is currently working on a new show, it’s perfectly understandable that he spends most of his time within those walls (together with a most charming, freshly acquired young dog, that definitely provides the necessary entertainment).

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David’s gentle and warm demeanor matches his surroundings, and it was a pleasure watching the artist as he worked and transformed the paint with his fingers on his current piece. It was also fascinating to see the diversity of his work – from abstract, experimental to figurative, each painting is a world in it’s own right, making one curious about what David’s next endeavor will look like.

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Where are you from?  Washington DC

Where do you currently live? In the West Village

How did you decide to become an artist? Its like being gay, I didn’t decide.

What is your creative process? Paint, blend, sand, repeat…

 

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Define art: Art is a term that I try not to use, because it is a term that originated from a situation where craft needed to be infused with a faux intellectualism.  For example, when someone asked what I do, I never say I am an artist, I say I am a painter.  You can have the art of anything, the art of picking your nose, picking your friends nose, etc…

Favorite artists:  Joe Sorren, Odd Nerdrum, Christian Rex Van Minnen, Maria Kreyn, David Ligare

 

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Best exhibit you’ve seen recently and why you liked it: I was in an exhibition this year called Risqué at the Long Beach Art Museum. The museum invited 30 painters to create new works in an 8×10 format. I knew many of the artists in the show, so it was interesting to see how these new paintings related to their usual work and how it diverged away. It was also great that many artists were present at the opening to chat with. Shows like that are fun and are great for building community.

 

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Part I The prize is the money…

The Future Generations Art Prize (2nd edition), Victor Pinchuk Foundation, PinchukArtCentre, all works produced by Pinchuk Art Center

Going into the Future Generations exhibition located in the old world, stiffly´decorated Palazzo Contorini Polignac during this 55th biennale was like entering a world of global transitions within an atypical context. The driving force behind the show’s diverse installations, and occasionally ambitious projects, turning some spaces more than others into portals of´socio political tour de force, was a selection committee from the Ukraine based foundation and a high tiered international jury to select the winner of the prize. An overall interesting selection was presented, though quite uneven and thus ruptured.

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Cohesively located on the ground floor, two Ukrainian artists dominated the exhibition’s gathering. 2011 prize winner Mykyta Kadan and the 2012 shortlisted R.E.P. Group initiated two projects criticizing the political stance of their nations’ politics locally and in Europe. The former dealt with the dilemma of economics and the latter with the integration (or lack of) into the European Community. R.E.P suggested a “renovated europe” with “Eurorenovation: Ways to Improve” consisting of two parallel empty wall frames supporting a post Soviet Union, deco induced curvolinear multi faceted ceiling design, verging on kitsch – a superficial construction as superficial as the Eurozone? Is this sufficient enough to maintain the country’s europication seemed to be the question posed by R.E.P.

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R.E.P., Eurorenovation. Ways to Improve, 2010-2013. Installation

Mykyta Kadan’s “Baboushka (ensuring mausoleum)” , a monumental factory like glass and cement structure holds 1,600 loaves of bread, rotting and disintegrating through the racks in the humid heat of a courtyard the Venetian summer. Such deterioration metaphorically reveals the extremity of governmental expenditures on building up the state, its infrastructure and value on construction versus a concentration on provisions at the minimum for its poorer citizens. A bold, and subtle, hidden notion. Another superficiality in the system. Such can easily apply to any government in the world. The bread is thus martyred in a way symbolically catching the ruling entities wasteful mindedness.

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Mykyta Kadan, Babooshka (Ensuring mausoleum), 2013. Concrete, glass, bread (two views), above photo by Sergey Illin

Aurélien Froment’s ‘portrait painting-come-scientific documentary’ of a fantastical undulating jellyfish in the deep blue depths of a tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium was as beautiful as it was informative. The video’s existential and factual discourse was taken from researched and pre-existing material (advertising, zoological guides, mythologies and interviews conducted with the aquarists) and montaged into a a nearly personalized recounting of this extraordinary creature’s existence in the tank focusing on its singularity reaching towards multiplicity of general life on earth: A metaphor.

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Aurelien Froment, Pulmo Marina, 2010. HD video with sound, transfer to Blu-Ray, duration 5 min 10 sec, Courtesy PinchukArtCentre, Ukraine, Photo by Sergey Illin and Motive Gallery, Brussels

In a another multichannel video installation, “Portrait of a young samurai,” an actor repeats the emotions and dialog of a young pilot telling his family how he is leaving and will die for his country to serve with honor. Such raises questions of the history of Kamikazes during World War II, and in the context of this century, quite a powerful display of a real heartfelt. Or the touching story of a kamikaze’s dishonor due to his chance to survive the attack and how his life was earned in the disgrace of his comrades who perished at the perils of wartime.

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Meiro Koizumi, Portrait of a Young Samurai, 2009. Multi-channel video installation, duration 9 minutes

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Meiro Koizumi, Double Projection, 2013. 2-channel Video Installation with a framed photo, duration 15 minutes 40 seconds

Another very strong project to note at this Palazzo was Italian born Meris Angioletti’s somewhat cumbersome dialog of a made up language in a somber sitting room. Listen and decipher “unlanguage”, a lost in translation context where one tries to understand, thinking for a minute it is italian, the next minute realizing it is nothing more than gibberish. Thrown into this abstract mix of dialog, one gets the sense one is immersed into some encoded series of sounds and after 5 minutes of listening, the feeling move toward frustration.

Les Captives – Choitromanial, 2013. Sound Installation 2CH, imaginary language loop. Produced by PinchuckArtCentre.

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Daniel Zeller: Based on a True Story at Pierogi Gallery

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Daniel Zeller‘s starting point for his work is always reality. Taking satellite images, electron micrographs, anatomical drawings, or topographical maps among others, he combines these elements in new ways (f.e. a river-like form that leads to the mosque structure al Haram is combined with the map of the Vatican), resulting in a completely new form. On the resulting shape he continues to draw, merging fact and fiction even more, guided and limited solely by self-imposed rules, the main one being not to cross lines that are in existence already. Zeller is thus demonstrating that “Fiction, like most things, encompasses a scale ranging from wildly outrageous, to that which can seem indistinguishable from fact.” (Pierogi Gallery, through June 30).

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Studiovisit: Miya Ando

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It is paradoxical that Miya Ando‘s work has an intrinsic sense of tranquility and harmony, since her influences couldn’t be more conflicting and diverse. Of Japanese and American descent, she grew up among Buddhist priests and sword smiths in a temple in Okayama in Japan. Leaving Japan, she got her bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley and then attended Yale. She learned from the master metal smith Hattori Studio in Japan and combines these methods with modern industrial technology to create her art. The resulting abstract gradations seem fragile and ethereal – the heavy physical work that goes into their creation is another contradictory element in Ando’s oevre.

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It was intriguing to see that this ambiguity also found its way into Miya’s studio. Sprinkled on top of, in between, and under heavy machinery were a variety of playful elements – necklaces, wooden creatures, a skateboard, plastic flowers. A charming disarray with her meditative pieces as a gentle contrast, that subtly reflected the light and gave a sense of piece to the scenery.

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Miay herself embodies these opposite sides of the spectrum as well, a soft voice and gentle manner, paired with strong hands and an obvious determination and vision for her work. Her latest series, Mujo (Impermanence), is exhibited at Sundaram Tagore in Chelsea from June 20 – July 20 (www.sundaramtagore.com, 547 W 27th Street. Opening reception is on June 20 from 6-8pm).

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Where are you from? I’m from Santa Cruz and Okayama
Where do you currently live? Manhattan
How did you decide to become an artist? I followed my path.
What is your creative process? I attend to the present, try to get to a place of stillness and then execute my visions.
Define art: Everything is art.
Favorite artists: James Turrell, Lee Ufan, Sara Sze, Teresita Fernandez, Malevich, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, Mariko Mori, Vija Celmins, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor
Best exhibit you’ve seen recently and why you liked it:  Tokyo Avant Garde at MOMA, it reminded me of my mom.

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Close-Up: Duron Jackson

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Duron Jackson is a painter, sculptor, video, installation, and performance artist. The intense richness of his creative energy is superbly counterbalanced by his refined and sophisticated mind, and is immediately felt when he is present. Exploring the African American experience through American history, the intellectual framework Jackson provides for his pieces makes for an intriguing interplay of  emotion and intellect, giving depth and substance to his work that lingers long after viewing.

Jackson works in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The lightflooded, elegant yet raw space with beautiful views again is host to intriguing opposites, as the artist has created an authentic chaos within the structured, clean lines of the studio.

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Rikers Island, 2010, graphite on blackboard

Where are you from?
Harlem, USA

Where do you currently live?
Brooklyn, New York – very soon to be Salvador da Bahia, Brazil for a year to do a Fulbright Research Fellowship

How did you decide to become an artist?
I’ve been an artist my whole life, I was highly encouraged as a child mostly by both grandmothers.

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What is your creative process?  
Some ideas I hold on to for years, then an opportunity comes, or an idea refuses to remain dormant and suddenly manifests.  There’s usually a long gestation period, sometimes months of thinking of a thing, then research and execution. In the end, nothing remains as I originally imagined.

Define art:

Tangible magic: evidence of things unseen.

Favorite artists:
I have many, but here’s some – Egon Schiele, Giacometti, Romare Bearden, Yves Klein, Kerry James Marshall, Robert Smithson, Richard Serra, Doris Salcedo, Cildo Meireles, Emanoel Araujo, Harun Farocki, David Hammonds, Glenn Ligon, Rachel Whiteread, Sanford Biggers, Simon Starling,

Best exhibit you’ve seen recently and why you liked it:

Mickalene Thomas at Brooklyn Museum and Lehmann Maupin Gallery – Both shows were very personal, she gave the viewer so much. The scale of the paintings, variety of mediums, deeply personal content, kept just enough for herself, left you wanting more, and then delivered again and again. A complete game changer.

DODGE_Gallery_970195_550Bones Crusade, 2012, dominos and white birch

Close-Up: Kristof Wickman

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The charm of Kristof Wickman‘s studio in Bushwick lies in the details. On first view being your somewhat typical Bushwick studio used by emerging New York artists – somewhat spacious, somewhat light, industrial area, creepy stairway, – on closer inspection the space features stuffed animals (tucked away in canvas bags) and curious cut outs of photos and such, which are existing besides and among his tools and works in progress. The subtle sense of humor characteristic for his sculptures and installations are not only felt in Wickman the person, but extended into his work environment.

Kristof is a part of the Brooklyn Museum’s series Raw/Cooked, which focuses on emerging Brooklyn based artists and gives them their first museum show.

Currently he is exhibiting at the group show DYNASTY at the Hotel Particulier in Manhattan.

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Where are you from?
Verona, Wisconsin

Where do you currently live?
Ridgewood, Queens

How did you decide to become an artist?
It wasn’t a decision as much as it is a default mode that I’m continually coming to terms with, like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. Growing up, my father was designing and building furniture and my mother had a painting conservation business. My childhood surroundings were aesthetically diverse, but I don’t think I really paid attention to form until my Air Jordan obsession in 2nd grade. I think that’s when I fell in love with things and had a desire to make things.

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What is your creative process?
I’m attracted to elegant and awkward forms that are affected by weight and compression– things that have a physical and emotional content, more so than intellectual. For me ‘sculpting’ involves exploiting and nurturing these things.

Define art:
For me it’s a slippery word. The more I think about its definition the more it eludes me. At it’s best it alters consciousness and messes with your perception of the world. An art experience can be a perceptual palate cleansing. It can also grant you permission to feel and act in different ways. It can enable you to change your life. At its worst it’s pure redundancy. I’ll re-read this sometime in the future and probably wonder what I was thinking.  I can never pin it down but I can try.

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Favorite artists:
Right now, HC Westerman, Ulysses Davis, Auguste Rodin, Charles Ray…

Best exhibit you’ve seen recently and why you liked it:
African innovations at the Brooklyn museum. Beautiful ritual textiles and carvings that make the European Modernists feel like dumbed down imitators of an advanced visual vocabulary. See the ceremonial Elvis Mask for the Nayu Society, ca. 1977.

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