New York’s Lit Crawl was conceived by alumni organizers of San Francisco’s prestigious literary festival LitQuake. This east-coast, sister festival involves literary publishers, authors and artists in a performative bar-crawl through various neighborhoods in New York City. Now in its fifth year, Lit Crawl is no longer contained in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and East Village, but has expanded to include the borough of Brooklyn.
This year’s Brooklyn Lit Crawl will take place this Saturday, May 18th from 5:00 – 8:00 pm beginning at A Public Space on Dean Street, and ending at an after party hosted by Bergen Street’s 61 Local. Each location on the Lit Crawl offers a unique event, focused on literary practices.
Our gallery will be hosting Queens Transfer, a series of readings by the MFA candidates at Queens College, during the third phase of the Lit Crawl (7:15 – 8pm). Queens Transfer will include a selection of short-stories, poetry and translation works, which Lit Crawl describes as both a”literary and geographic expanse…from New York to the Czech Republic, from Charles Darwin to the folktales of Mozambique.” The readers of Queens Transfer are Mike Baugh, Faye Sakellaridis, Olivia Mammone, Gabriel Cabrera and Eric Becker.
The Brooklyn Lit Crawl provides opportunity for curators and literary publications such as BOMB Magazine, the Paris Review, Words Without Borders and promotes emerging authors through sponsorships and outreach.
Last Friday, we welcomed artists Markus Bradley, Delano Dunn, Nancy Hubbard, Kiya Kim, Anne Mourier, Bethany Robertson, Ian Trask, and window installation by Jessie Henson for the opening of BIG FUTURE, curated by Risa Shoup and Maximilian Bode. Check out pictures from the opening, and stop by to see the art in person through May 24.
Images courtesy of Christian Fuller
When we were showing at this year’s Affordable Art Fair in New York City, we came across a particularly interesting booth showcasing the work of three young artists from Mexico City, Manu Printster, Maness and Santiago Pani. While each artist has developed distinct approaches to creating artwork, their shared preference for creating energetic, and imaginative prints, paintings and works on paper led us to forming a relationship with these artists, and asking them to contribute to the efforts of Recession Art.
Manu, Santiago Pani and Maness are currently showing a selection of their works at the Recession Art store in Brooklyn. Maness, or Andrés Mora Balzaretti, has loaned us several of his transfer prints. Given the delicate nature of transferring inkjet prints using various paint thinners and solvents, all of the Maness works available at Recession Art are one of a kind, prints on paper. Considered “monotypes,” these prints can be created only once.
By slightly shifting portions of photographs, Maness creates family-portrait style images that are both grotesque and humorous. Maness signs all of his prints with a symbolic avatar of a triangle, similar to the relief, hand embossment which Manu uses to sign his etchings.
Along with printmaking, Maness has exhibited a mastery of painting and is pursuing a career as a musician in his band Crystal Elephant. Although Maness currently resides in Mexico City, I was lucky enough to correspond with the artist, and ask him some questions about his work, and his background as an artist/musician. I am pleased to introduce to you Andrés Mora Balzaretti, aka Maness.
MN: How are you?
AT: Great. how are you? Wait, I thought I was supposed to ask the questions…in the bio on your website you say “born in mexico blah blah blah, 1988 blah blah blah” can you tell me a bit more about your upbringing in mexico? Did you grow up in mexico city?
MN: Sure, I was born and raised in mexico city, Im the youngest of my family, my mom and dad are both in the film industry, my dad is a film director and my mom is a producer, so while I was growing up I was always very involved with film (my mom used to go to the set while she was pregnant with me hahaha). I’m half Swiss, half Mexican, so my upbringing wasn’t typical Mexican, I was very influenced by European culture.
AT: Did your parents encourage you to partake in things like acting, theatre, or movie making as a kid?
MN: Actually no, they were always frightening that I would end up doing something related to film, because film making in Mexico can be pretty tough. But most of the jobs I’ve done to earn money were related to film, well not film exactly, tv commercials. I used to work in the art department, set dressing. Horrible, horrible job!
AT: Did seeing your parents work in creative fields make you want to also explore a future in the arts? What were some of your early influences, if not your parents?
MN: Well my parents thought me how to see and understand picture and film, we used to discuss light, camera field of view and film temperature all the time, but I have to say that one of my first influences would have to be MTV, I used to spend hours watching music videos.
AT: The MTV that you watched in the early 90s was the same programming that aired in the United States correct? Or was there a MTV Mexico?
MN: Yeah in the beginning it was the same. I used to love the weird MTV commercials.
AT: Yeah, that ruled.
MN: It was the best, it was my first exposure to american culture.
AT: Did you play music before you started making visual art?
MN: No, I started painting when I was in high school. Actually I used to have a teacher that told me I should do something different because I wasn’t good at art hahahaha.
AT: You eventually went on to study art in college in New York right?
MN: So basically this is what happened; I applied for music school here in Mexico and was rejected twice hahaha, and then decided to apply for art school at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, La Esmeralda. Some of the founders were Frida Khalo and Diego Rivera. I studied there for two years and then went to Canada for six months with my last band The Oats, came back to Mexico City, recorded an album in Monterey and then went to New York for another six months with the band.
AT: Now you are in the Crystal Elephant?
MN: Yes well, actually I’m the only one in the Crystal Elephant.
AT: Back to your artwork. Specifically your prints, how did you develop your style?
MN: While I was in New York, I used to be a delivery guy at a falafel place in Brooklyn, and one of my duties was to clean up the restaurant. So one day someone left a “run against cancer pamphlet” at a table, with the picture of a model with a bunch of medals on her neck, and I liked the picture so I folded it and took it home, and then when I opened it I realized how much her face changed because of the folding. It was like looking to completely different person, and I like that interpretation of how one person can be many different people, just because of perception.
AT: Do you think that you perceive people in the goofy way that you depict them in your portraits?
MN: I would love to, but no. People tend to hide that side you know? They prefer to show a more controlled and “perfected” image of themselves. And my intention is to show them that side. It is like that painting at the MET, The Innocent Eye Test, by Mark Tansey. It’s of a cow looking at a portrait of a cow hahaha. Perception of a fellow human being may change by something as simple as bad breath, a stain on a shirt, the color of the clothes they wear, the excessive use of the word ‘like’, taste in music, the sound of someone’s laughter, length of fingernails, scars and pimples.
AT: You were showing at the Affordable Art Fair with Manu, and Santiago Pani when we met you. Where did you meet these guys and to what extent do you show together?
MN: We met at school, and this is the first time the four of us had a show together with the help of Pi Gallery, which is run by some friends.
AT: Where did the name Maness come from?
MN: My parents and my friends call me Maness, it’s a diminutive of Andrés, kinda.
During a studio visit Max told Risa about an idea for a show of artists’ proposals for fantastic, nearly impossible exhibitions. Risa was quite taken by the idea, and some months later, when the opportunity to curate this exhibition arose, she thought it might be the right time to manifest Max’s idea. But then! she ran into a friend, a film critic, who is currently obsessed with some short films made by Godard in lieu of written proposals to potential funders. He was having trouble getting films financed in the late 70s and 80s, and instead of filling out applications for funding, he made these shorts that were meant to encapsulate the theory and content of the longer films he wanted to make. These shorts now stand as works in-and–of themselves.
BIG FUTURE will showcase finished works that have never been shown before and represent the idea of an as-yet unrealized piece or collection of pieces.
This exhibition showcases the work of seven artists: Markus Bradley, Delano Dunn, Nancy Hubbard, Kiya Kim, Anne Mourier, Bethany Robertson, and Ian Trask. We would like to introduce you to the members of our exhibition. View selections from our exhibition in our image gallery at the bottom of the page.
Brooklyn-based Markus Bradley is an alumni of F.I.T. and Parsons School of Design. Bradley is an accomplished installation artist who uses color and light to create geometric images, which reference abstract symbols. In BIG FUTURE, we will be exhibiting sculptural, painted work which Bradley created to act as models for later installations. He has exhibited at Jackson Hall Gallery, Create NYC collective art residency, Bertrand Delacroix Gallery, Webster Hall and “Light up Brooklyn” presented by Google. His artwork is featured in the upcoming documentary “Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie,” a Magnolia Pictures release.
Los Angeles born Delano Dunn received his BFA from Pratt Institute in 2001. While attending school in New York, Dunn worked to refine his craft of illustrating, resulting in his induction into the Society of Illustrators. Dunn went on to work as an illustrator and graphic designer for six years before he decided to focus entirely on his fine art work. Dunn has shown in a number of solo exhibitions at places such as the University of California at Los Angeles, the Olean Public Library, and Brooklyn Brewery. He has participated in group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Galapagos in Brooklyn, New York University Gallery, and Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati. Dunn currently lives and works in New York City.
BIG FUTURE will feature collage work by Delano Dunn. These collages involve deconstructing and reassembling advertising from the 1970s and 1980s. All of these ads were originally intended to appeal to an African-American audience, and Dunn’s collages attempt to unearth the unspoken message that he recognizes in them. To Delano Dunn, this simple rearrangement of visual information, more directly and humorously “(tells) the black community how they could truly be more black, how they could obtain real, true blackness.”
The content of Nancy Hubbard’s artwork “examines the mysterious pull of time and memory,” which can also be said about the very combinations of media that she chooses to work with. Her preference for traditional techniques such as photogravure, and process based illustration is described by the artist as being an “escape” from 21st century life. While her works are tranquil and bare, they are empowered with an uneasy awareness of the past, and an almost uncomfortable sense of nostalgia. Hubbard is a graduate of both Rutgers University and SUNY, and is a current resident artist at the Invisible Dog. Nancy is also a current member of galleryELL, a transient gallery based in Brooklyn. BIG FUTURE showcases photogravure prints made by Hubbard, using imagery from her personal past.
Kiya Kim was born in South Korea where she attended Dong-eui University, receiving a BFA in Fine Arts. In 2010 Kim began her studies at SVA in New York, studying art business. She has since shown extensively in New York City and resides as a curator and artist at the Invisible Dog Arts Center. Kim claims that she is focused on “life patterns” in her artwork. By collaging reshaped images from mass media, Kim highlights patterns and the mimetic nature of the human thought process. Her work depicts a cerebral allegory, which draws influence from the book “Spark of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People.” BIG FUTURE includes collages by Kiya Kim, which combine flat collage element with select found objects.
Accomplished interior designer Anne Mourier discovered her affinity for photography and mixed media about a decade ago. Ever since, her work has drawn influence from her experience contemplating household items, and arrangements, which affect and alter living spaces. Anne Mourier currently resides in Brooklyn NY, where she moved to from France twenty years ago. She currently is represented by the Muriel Guepin Gallery in NYC and is scheduled for a solo exhibition at the Invisible Dog in september of 2013.
BIG FUTURE features a maquette created by Mourier, which play with the idea of household cleaning as being both an act of “leaving things bare” as well as a means by which to “hide things.” The images that Mourier has carefully selected for the pillows on her bedspread, represent members of her own family who share sentiments with the artist regarding obsessive cleanliness and tidiness. This model is a yet unrealized version of a larger installation that Mourier hopes to create which would “conceivably be able to support 35 bodies.”
Printmaker, bookmaker, and art educator Bethany Robertson is an MFA candidate at the Mason Gross School of Art. Robertson claims that she “enjoys Fig Newtons, unicorns, being on boats, and 90s pop and hip hop. Her favorite food is pizza and her favorite color is chartreuse.” As part of her MFA thesis exhibition, Robertson has been creating sculptural arrangements of paper in an ongoing project called Slash. Robertson hopes to reconcile her focuses on sculpture and printmaking by combining materials which are commonly used in both fields. Her experience as a catalogue librarian at her undergraduate university, also seems to influence her sculptural arrangements.
Pieces made by Robertson in her Slash will be on display in BIG FUTURE. These sculptures highlight subtle shifts in color shades, and form “printerly” optical effects through a simple and elegant exploration of reinterpreting the common 8.5″ x 11″ page.
Ian Trask is a scientist-turned-artist. His sculptures transform materials of waste and commercial byproducts into refined aesthetic objects through an alchemistic procedure of reinterpreting a material’s value and usefulness. In many of Trask’s sculptures, the viewer will find a mischievous invitation. Texture and tangibility are essential to the experience of these objects, and by provoking the impulse to explore, each piece rouses in the beholder the same spirit of curiosity, experimentation and play that occasioned their creation.
BIG FUTURE will include new works by Ian Trask, which contains overlain, anonymous photographic slides from the mid-20th century. Displayed as stand-alone slide viewers, these image combinations are created entirely by physically manipulating these slides.
All images are copyright and courtesy of the artist and Recession Art. Slideshow photo courtesy of Delano Dunn.
We are pleased to introduce you to Alex McKenzie; A 2013 Wassaic Fellowship recipient, University of North Carolina at Greensboro alumni (BFA painting), and featured Recession Art artist. Alex McKenzie’s work focuses heavily on process, social forms and the construction of systematic methods of creating artworks. In the past he has created mailing lists, where members receive hand drawn works confined to the size of a standard envelope, he has transformed public spaces into educational resources, such as in his Gatewood Satellite Library project, and generally, Alex McKenzie has approached the materiality of his artwork as incident to the artistic process.
We are currently showing a selection of Alex McKenzie’s work at our store. Our collection of McKenzie’s smaller works, are part of his Rubber Band Series. He begins the process of creating these drawing/collages by stretching rubberbands across an 8′ x 8′ board, and attaching these rubberbands to a matrix of nails. By using this rubber band “pegboard” as a surface for creating sketches or prototypes, McKenzie translates these forms into miniature drawings, and in doing so, gives these forms a new, playful personality.
Alex McKenzie’s Rubber Band Series is an ongoing project, and will not be completed until one-thousand drawings are created. The project highlights the strength of simplicity through the use of basic forms and colors, and also at times, plays with the ways in which a viewer may interpret or relate such imagery to common symbols. Ultimately these images are abstract, clean and direct. This project is an exemplary artwork in regards to exploring the endless possibilities inherent in an artist confining him/herself within a strict system.
To learn more about Alex McKenzie and his artwork, check out a recent interview between me and the artist.
“Anthony Tino: Can you explain the process behind creating the drawings in the Rubber Band Series?
Alex McKenzie: In 2012 I decided to construct an 8’x8’ geoboard; a tool commonly used to explain mathematical concepts in elementary school classrooms. A typical geoboard consists of about 25 to 100 pegs gridded out on a 1’x1’ plane. Rubber bands are stretched across these points to visualize shapes, angles, and equations. I found it to be slightly humorous to create an excessively large version of this object, especially since it had no real reason to exist on that scale.
Side note: I even jokingly submitted my rubber band board to Guinness World Records (for “the world’s largest”)… they were not impressed.
I was attracted to the geoboard because I saw its potential for limitation. I could create drawings on the board by suspending rubber bands between the pegs, but given the finite number of points on the grid my results were restrained. The process also became physical, as the surface was more architectural than the scale I was accustomed to.
After the geoboard’s construction, I decided that I wanted to create a large series of drawings on paper that used the board as a tool. For every drawing on paper I would first create a drawing on the geoboard that would serve as a point of origin. The process developed out of an interest in translation and structure. I was really focused on what it meant to make a drawing of a drawing. It was an interesting problem because I felt that it put those resulting images halfway between representation and non-representation.
As the project evolved I became more interested with the idea of stimulus than direct translation. I now see the process being more like a reflection of a purely visual Rorschach test. An image results from an image rather than conjuring a verbal association.
AT: How many drawings have you made out of one-thousand and when do you expect to complete this project?
AM: So far I have only completed 512 drawings out of the series. The project is on somewhat of a hiatus because I longer have a studio space large enough to accommodate the board. I am hoping to pick it back up in a month or so.
AT: You use a collage element, drier lint, in some of these drawings and somehow managed to make this material seem elegant and beautiful. How did you begin working with this material and what do you feel is its conceptual role in this project?
AM: At the time I began the project, a lot of my work was invested in the connection between drawing and sculpture. How could the two disciplines inform each other and how could they merge into one? In a sense the geoboard itself is an object that lies in between those worlds (being both a surface for linear exploration and a three dimensional form). I wanted to reflect that intermediary space in the drawings on paper as well, and collage seemed like an appropriate space to start.
My use of the technique began slowly and hesitantly. However, after about 100 or so pieces the collaged portions really started taking a unique character, no longer lying flat against the surface, but advancing outward like odd little appendages. The drawings started to feel like sculptures… sculptures suspended and bisected by white planes.
As I became more and more reliant on the technique, scraps of paper began to accumulate on my studio floor. I felt it was a waste to discard them, so I resolved to recycle the remnants into handmade paper. With this type of paper you have a great deal of control over thickness, composition and texture, therefore increasing the variation in the already sculptural drawings. Over time I began to make paper that was almost entirely composed of dryer lint. The material seemed to give the handmade paper a personal and naïve touch that reflected the playful exploration that the drawings exemplify.
AT: You’ve said that your work considers “intention, endurance, function and finality.” Aside from these themes, what do you think is the main thematic or conceptual element at work in your Rubber Band Series?
AM: I think you could argue that all four of those ideas are present on some level in this project. However if I were to highlight any other important thematic elements or purposes within this series I would say it’s important to think of this process as somewhat of a vocabulary generator. Not everything I do as an artist is concerned with the visual/formal but for those things that are, this project serves as a sort of foundation.
Because this is a series of 1000 drawings nothing is really precious, experiments occur and the results vary. I utilize these images throughout my other drawings, prints, and especially paintings; which relate to time and the accumulation/negation of the forms within this rubber band series. “
Although Alex McKenzie currently lives and works in Charlotte, North Carolina, works from his Rubber Band Series are currently available at our store located at 47 Bergen, Brooklyn NY. Be sure to also visit Alex Mckenzie’s website.
All images are copyright of Alex McKenzie.