Review: NUD NOB

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.

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.

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Comments? Suggestions? Let me know!

Art for Friday, Saturday, *and* Sunday!

Hey all!

My trip to The Center for Book Arts was fantastic; I’ll be posting about that on Saturday. Until then, here are some great upcoming art events; in fact, I’ve listed one for every day of the weekend!

Enjoy, and keep creating!

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Small Works Show

Where: Greenpoint Gallery.

When: Friday, March 7, 2014; doors open at 8:00 PM.

What: An whimsical exhibition of “micro” works. Check it out!

Sarah Lucas: NUD NOB

Where: Gladstone Gallery.

When: See site for daily hours.

What: Lucas works with found objects and readily available materials to create provocative, genre-blurring works. This one can’t be missed!

SPRING PREVIEW

Where: PS1 MOMA.

When: Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 12:00 – 6:00 PM.

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!

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Questions? Comments? Let me know!

Another trip! (And art news!)

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.

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!

Stay Tuned… (A trip!)

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!

Hello again!

Hello all! Welcome back!

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!

Literary Legacies: Terrance Hayes and Lynn Emanuel

What: Hayes and Emanuel will read from their extraordinary poetic repertoire. Don’t miss this!

When: February 5, 2014. The event will begin at 6:30.

Where: Godwin-Ternbach Museum.

Queens College Art Faculty Exhibition

What: A showcase of art by members of the Queens College Art Department. Come out and support your professor!

When: The exhibition opens February 13.

Where: Godwin-Ternbach Museum.

Vikings | In Perpetuum III

What: An exhibition that explores the Vikings through the lens of contemporary trade.

When: The exhibition opens February 3.

Where: Queens College Art Center (6th floor of the Rosenthal Library).

Ballet Hispanico

What: A performance of classical, Latin, and contemporary dance. You know I’ll be there!

When: Saturday, February 8, 2014 through Sunday, February 9, 2014, 8:00 pm.

Where: Goldstein Theatre at Kupferberg Center for the Arts

Note: This is a ticketed event.

E.L. Doctorow with Leonard Lopate

What: The pre-eminent writer E.L. Doctorow will read from his work, and will be interviewed.

When: Tuesday, February 25, at 7pm.

Where: LeFrak Concert Hall.

5 Pointz Is Gone – Is Queens Next?

5 Pointz is gone.

5 Pointz, today. Image from nypost.com.

5 Pointz, today. Image from nypost.com.

White paint, dead art. Gentrification at its finest.

5 Pointz was desecrated as we slept; the words, the colors, and the faces, defiant, were wiped away as we curled into our dreams. We are left with a dry, bleached shell of a museum; we are left with a sanitized emptiness.

The destruction. Image from stupiddope.com.

The destruction. Image from stupiddope.com.

But soon, even this will be taken from us; eventually, the shell will be torn down, and a luxury condominium will take its place. A bruise on top of a bruise.

I’ve lived in Queens my whole life; I’ve watched it grow, change, and ripen.

Now, I am witnessing a sort of disintegration – that is, a wiping away, a banishing of art, of unruliness, and, most importantly, of working class neighborhoods, institutions, and landmarks.

To whom does this borough belong?

I am no longer certain.

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For more information about 5 Pointz, click here.

For more information about the demolition, click here.

Stay tuned: I will be following this story closely over the coming weeks.

Angry? Sad? Unaffected? Have any ideas for action? Let me know!

Exhibition: The Librarians at the Queens College Art Center

Friday is my library day. I wake up; I come over, I look for a quiet, comfortable spot; I settle down, and I read for hours. Plots unfold, and characters grow; before I know it, I’ve reached the final pages, and it’s already dark outside. Time flies when you’re at the library.

What is a library? For me, it is a place of imagination – a place of books, of discovery, and of endless time. Of course, everyone has their own definition; everyone has their own library experience.

Few, however, have much experience with librarians; they, indeed, are a mystery to many. What does a librarian do? What is it like to work in that bustling point of imagination?

The Librarians does not try to answer my questions; rather, it complicates them, destabilizes them. Indeed – this dizzying conglomerate of objects, paintings, and assorted installation pieces challenges our understanding of libraries, and of their keepers.

I was struck, for example, by a number of rough, colorful paintings of faces; they are bruise-like, deep scars on an otherwise smooth surface. Are they smiling? Sneering? Are they librarians? Or are they patrons? Students? I am unsure; I begin to question my own place within the library. Am I merely a patron? Or am I also part of the library? Am I, by virtue of my gaze, my reading, a librarian? Are we all librarians?

I was also intrigued by an installation of thin, multi-colored papers, all of which bore names and titles; as they progressed, slowly, from left to right, their colors began to fade, to run, as though the printer had run out of ink.

Is knowledge, then, fading? Are books a relic? Are they, and libraries, doomed to obsolescence, to blankness? Or will that printer be restocked? Will the vibrant pages return? Again, I am unsure.

Sprinkled throughout the exhibition are the tools, the trappings of the librarian; diagrams litter the glass windows, and an entire apparatus – a desk, computer, stack of books – sits, idly, by the exit. I wonder why they are here; I wonder if they are an anchor, a point of reference, or if they destabilize my experience further.

Ultimately, I am left puzzled – and wanting to speak to a librarian. Indeed, I want to know more – I want to know how that apparatus works, and, more broadly, what a librarian actually does.

This exhibit is a treasure; it has drawn me in to a world I had always overlooked. Definitely go see it – and go talk to a librarian!

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To learn more about this exhibit, click here.

The Queens College Art Center is located on the 6th floor of Rosenthal Library. Go visit!

Stay Tuned…

Hello all! This coming week, I will be covering two events: the Carl Phillips reading at Campbell Dome, and the opening of The Librarians, a new exhibition at the Queens College Art Center.

Carl Phillips is a brilliant poet; I strongly encourage all of you to go see him! The reading will begin at 6:30 PM. Click here for more information. 

The Librarians will be opening tomorrow as well. Remember: the Queens College Art Center is right in our library, on the 6th floor. Go check it out during a study break!

This week is going to be amazing – I can’t wait to share it with you!

“Lights, Camera, Astoria!” and “Single Stream” at the Museum of the Moving Image

I love books. I live on books. I relish the smell of paper, and I love the dry, soft feel of the spine of an old book. Tablets are, for me, a sacrilege, and, until recently, I rarely, if ever, watched movies.

Now, however, I am absolutely obsessed with film; I want to know everything about it. How are actors chosen? How are scenes filmed? How is everything sewn together?

What, you ask, triggered this new fascination? Simple: I visited the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Here, I learned the how, and, more importantly, the why of filmmaking; indeed, I was readily, and happily, converted.

What did I enjoy most? I was absolutely enthralled by the collection of old film-equipment; I marveled at the bulky antique televisions; excitedly, I made my own stop-action films, and clowned around in front of an actual movie-grade apparatus. The exhibit on film in Queens – aptly titled Lights, Camera, Astoria! –  was particularly informative; I really had no idea that Astoria was a cinematic and artistic hub. I was fascinated, indeed, to learn that independent filmmaking has always flourished here; Astoria was, and is, a place of experimentation, rebellion, and vision.

I admit, however, that I was most enthralled by what I first saw – namely, the film which plays on the front wall of the museum’s lobby, right in front of the concierge. I must’ve spent at least half an hour staring at this film; I was in a total trance.

The slow, dry groan of metal; the wail of gears; the pale, sharp crush of glass and plastic and paper. I realize that I am looking at a garbage dump; I really should not be this interested. And yet, I am fascinated; I, with eager eyes, watch the tubes, the pipes, and the devastating elegance of the yellow-streaked forklift.

What makes a work of art beautiful? Compelling? I am not sure. I do know, however, know that this installation – Single Stream – has broken my eyes wide open; it has sparked in me a world, a gray, shifting landscape of thought and imagination and retrospection. What does it mean for a society to produce so much garbage? What is beauty? What is excess? What does it mean to be thrown away?

This museum is an absolute treasure; I strongly encourage everyone to visit. I, for one, will return – that is, once I’ve finished watching my pile of newly acquired movies!

For more information about the museum, click here. Hint: admissions for students is only $9!

Source Material

Art is not a leisure activity. Art is something we do – something we struggle with, something we form out of the raw materials of our lives. Art, simply put, is a process.

Source Material is ostensibly an exhibition of still life works, but it is so much more – indeed, it is a celebration of that artistic process, of that struggle. Here, artists show us how they respond to their worlds; they show us how art emerges from everyday materials, from the building blocks of myriad lives.

Xico Greenwald’s “Source Material Dioramas” are fascinating insights into the artistic process; here, indeed, the artist brings us in to his own worlds, his own responses, his own ways of living and seeing. In the first “Diorama,” we encounter a bottle of Goya peppers, a couple of shells, and a worn brush; we see here a universe, a place of collision, an artistic process in and through which raw materials – source materials, perhaps – collide and are changed, thereby producing art, a reimagining of worlds.

The second “Diorama” is also a process. Here, indeed, we encounter sketches of plants and flowers juxtaposed with actual plants, and actual flowers. We see, then, how source materials interact with each other, and we see how the artist has drawn from his world the materials with which he will experiment, with which he will struggle. He responds to those source materials; he changes them, molds them; he pours his own mind into their winding leaves. Ultimately, he makes art of them, and they of him.

The “Dioramas” are, fascinatingly, stationed outside of the exhibit room; inside, we encounter paintings in various stages of completion. I am drawn, especially, to Despina Konstantinides’ “Thanking Z,” which is a whirl of color, texture, and process. The artist has poured her paint, her arms, and her body onto the canvas; raw materials collide, and art is formed, unformed, and challenged.

And just nearby, Kim Sloane’s “Pale Flower” is engaged in a different, yet related, process. This, I believe, is a breaking-down, a vivisection of source material, of natural properties. Sloane’s flower is distilled, is torn down to its constituent elements; the artist has shown us how she, with cutting eyes, sees and responds to the objects, the world with which she is confronted, and in which she creates.

Source Material is indeed beguiling – it is a rare and exciting look into the lives, the vision, and the processes of artists. As I leave, I feel my own eyes changing; I feel that I, too, am engaged in a process, a world-building exercise, an artistic endeavor.

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Source Material is located right in our Library, on the 6th floor, at the Queens College Art Center. Go check it out!