Duality is an illusion; everything contains its opposite. Silence, too, is an illusion, as is wholeness.
But to speak of opposites at all is, again, an illusion; there is no real polarity. Rather, there is only mixing, conflict, and confusion – there is only the border. Sarah Lucas knows this; hence, she created NUD NOB.
Lucas’ sculptures challenge duality, security, and “common” knowledge. Indeed, Florian and Kevin are both vegetables and phalluses; they are both mundane and shocking; they jog our binaristic thinking.
What is gender? What is a body? For Lucas, identity is itself amorphous; art, too, is a fever dream, and bodies are experiments, formulas, mixtures. The body is really anything we want it to be – that is, if we dare.
Sarah Lucas’ NUD NOB. Picture from www.gladstonegallery.com.
Luca’s smaller sculptures are also fascinating; here, we encounter indeterminate figures in passionate poses. Are they fighting? Caressing? Who is in charge? Is anyone in charge? We’re not sure, and yet, we’re drawn in; we feel in those glistening half-limbs a sense of freedom, fragility, and destruction.
Lucas’ exhibition is one of extremes – of small sculptures and vast forms, of image and blankness, of shock and rest. Definitely go visit – Lucas is a master not only of sculpture, but of space, silence, and mind.
What: Come and see PS1′s latest exhibitions, which feature Christoph Schlingensief, Maria Lassnig and Korakrit Arunanondchai! Lassnig is a master painter; Schlingensief is a fearless crosser of boundaries; and Arunanondchai is a riveting installation artist (among other things). I will definitely be there!
I really, really enjoyed my last trip to Manhattan; I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I’m doing it again!
This weekend, I’ll be covering Silence Unbound, an exhibition and talk on silence, writing, and book art at The Center for Book Arts.
But what, you ask, is book art? Basically, it is any sort of art which takes on a book format, or which incorporates books. For example, you might create a book object consisting of both painting and poetry, or you might incorporate a book into a larger, mixed media installation (a sculpture with books, perhaps, or a mound of torn papers).
Book art is incredibly versatile; indeed, it can take on any format, and incorporate any muse. Take, for example, Jen Bervin’s work:
Detail. Jen Bervin, The Composite Marks of Fascicle 28. Sewn cotton batting backed with muslin. Taken from www.jenbervin.com.
Indeed – through cotton, thread, needle, and mutilated book, Bervin explores Emily Dickinson’s fractured, passionate world. To see more of this fascinating project, click here.
I am really, really excited about this trip; I’ve always wanted to create book art. Who knows – maybe I’ll get inspired!
The exhibition will be up through March 29, 2014. Definitely go check it out! And remember: Manhattan is only a 7 train ride away!
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To learn more about The Center for Book Arts, click here.
Comments? Recommendations? Ideas for a trip? Let me know!
I know, from my training, that drawing is a play of light and dark, of shadow – drawing, ultimately, is the flicker of light on planes. Hence, when I draw, I am sensitive to tonalities, to shades of pale, of dark; ultimately, I follow light, and I create a play of differences, of gradations.
Every figure, and every body, is different; every pose is a different play. This, indeed, is what Christian Johnson captures in his work; this is his tonal game.
From The Red Room’s Facebook page.
At Double Vision, works are arranged, fittingly, as plays, as variating flickers; as the eye moves, trembles, and stops, the shapes collide; slowly, the mind wanders, and the fingers grasp, if but for a moment, the rough arc of the charcoal stub.
I am intrigued by Johnson’s knowledge of bodies, and by his warping of planes. The works are elegant, yet disturbing; the forms are voluptuous, yet spare.
Christian Johnson, Untitled, 2014. Charcoal and Graphite on Paper. 25 x 19 inches. From The Red Room’s Facebook page.
How, indeed, does one create a contradiction? How does one match differences, variations, and textures? How does one capture bodies? If Johnson’s work is any indication, the key is abandon – total, playful artistic abandon.
I felt abandon, too, in that crowd, in that tiny space – that is, I felt the joy of eyes, the reel of minds, the tick of dreams. This, I feel, is the why of art shows; this is why we gather.
I strongly, strongly encourage you to visit Double Vision; it is an absolute treasure. I, for one, will absolutely visit again.
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Check out The Red Room here and here. Johnson’s works will be on view through March 22, 2014.
Comments? Questions? Want to suggest an event? Let me know!
While I do love Queens (and, of course, art in Queens), I think that I am in desperate, desperate need of change. And by change, I mean… a trip to Manhattan!
This weekend, I will be covering Double Vision, an exhibition featuring drawings by the very talented Christian Johnson. And, even better, it’s curated by one of my former art teachers, the wonderful, glorious, and ingenious Bonnie DeWitt!
I really can’t wait; Johnson’s work is brilliant. And, in a way, Manhattan energizes me – I look in to its bright steel-eyes and I am pushed forward, ever forward.
So, if you can, definitely come to Double Vision – it’ll surely be fantastic. Remember: it’s just a 7 train ride away!
I’ll probably post my review on Sunday. Until then, keep creating!
As you know, Latin music has always been a huge part of my life; it’s my standby, my comfort, and my internal rhythm.
Now, dance is an integral part of Latin music and, of course, Latin culture. In fact, I can’t even imagine Latin music without dance; it’d be like imagining summer without sun, or winter without cold, dry air.
Indeed, I grew up with mambo, salsa, and the silky guaguanco; I still remember my grandmother’s regal dancing. Hence, Ballet Hispanico was, for me, a revisiting of my past; it was my grandmother, my family, every taste, smell, and beat of my childhood. And yet, it was more – it was a re-imagining, a new, exciting way of entering that vivid and tumultuous world.
Ballet Hispanico is, in short, a riveting fusion performance of Latin dance forms; it is daring, innovative, and endlessly charming. Here, I’ll review two selections from their fascinating repertory.
First up is Club Havana, a beguiling Cuban-inspired dance. As the men lept, women craned, and deep lights flashed, I felt myself transported back to Cuba la bella, or la Habana vieja, or, in short, my grandmother’s beloved country. Ultimately, I was carried into a dream – and yet it was not simply a dream of the forlorn past, but of the sparkling, imagined, and fought-for future. Indeed, Club Havana is a work of memory, place, and boundless hope.
Second, we have Destino Incierto (translation: Uncertain Future), a fiery tour de force of strength and rhythm. Again and again, I was stunned by the vast flexibility of the body; I was taken aback by how deftly, how powerfully arms and legs can convey a search for passion, for harmony and happiness.
In closing, I urge you – yes, urge! – to check out Ballet Hispanico; they will be returning to New York City in April. I will surely be seeing them again (and again; this was actually my third time). Yes – they’re that good. Click here for more details.
Do you love dance? Have any recommendations? Let me know!
Oh, and by the way – stay safe out there in the snow!
My break was fantastic – I wrote poems, visited family, and held a blue sea urchin – but I am nevertheless ecstatic, truly ecsatic, to be here.
As always, there is plenty of art on campus; below, you’ll find a tidy list of great events.
I know – we’re all terribly, terribly busy, not to mention tired. I, for one, just lugged a mountain of new books across campus. (Ouch.) However, I really urge you to drop in on a few of these events – art, as we all know, is refreshing, inspiring, and life-giving. And who knows – maybe you’ll get an idea for that paper!
Cheers, and see you around! Also, feel free to recommend an event!
I love hip-hop; I like pop, alt, and rock; I appreciate classical, and I can, in fact, tolerate country. Ultimately, I’m pretty open-minded, and I’ll listen to just about anything once – anything, that is, except for Justin Bieber.
However, my favorite genre is, and always will be, salsa. La Lupe, Marc Anthony, Celia Cruz, La India, Tito Puente, Hector Lavoe – these are my idols, my teachers.
Salsa, for me, is soul-music – it strengthens me, inspires me, and challenges me. Salsa is my childhood, my grandmother, my summers and my winters; salsa is rose-tone, a trumpet, a fire, and drums, drums, drums. Ultimately, salsa permeates every aspect of my work – it is my cadence, my flesh-rhythm.
Lately, I’ve been exploring other types of Latin music; I want to broaden my horizons. Thus, I’ve dipped my toes into bachata, and I am now absolutely obsessed with cumbia. However, I am woefully ignorant of Brazilian music – or, better put, I was woefully ignorant of Brazilian music until the night of November 20.
Indeed – that night, I attended the Ernesto Nazareth 150th Birthday Tribute, a Queens College Year of Brazil Event. Here, I got a taste of Brazilian music – and what a taste it was!
Ernesto Nazareth. Image from wikipedia.com.
Ernesto Nazareth (1863 -1934) was a Brazilian composer and pianist; he is best known for his choro compositions. His influences were many – he drew from African, European, and American traditions.
He served, during his lifetime, at the boundary between classical and popular worlds; now, his repertoire is a critical part of any Brazilian’s musical training. The Tribute, then, was an eclectic mix of Nazareth’s compositions – a primer of sorts on choro, Nazareth, and on the vibrant foundations of Brazilian music.
The New School Brazilian Choro Ensemble was simply fantastic; they played with sensitivity, with silvery quickness and heat. The music is itself fascinating – florid, yet languid, and absolutely ripe with improvisational wit. It is a music of mixing, of webs and crossings and meeting places; it is Brazil as rhythm, as the furtive plucking of strings.
The Ensemble. From qc.cuny.edu.
On my way home, I wondered: how would I incorporate this beguiling new rhythm into my work? How would it mix with my internal salsa? I am not sure; nevertheless, I am inspired, energized, and excited. Also, I am incredibly excited about the Year of Brazil – there is much, much more to come. To learn more about the Year of Brazil at Queens College, click here; to see a calendar of events, click here.
Choro, like Brazil, and like Queens, is a mixture, a rhythm, and a movement; I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s in store.
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For more information about Ernesto Nazareth, click here.