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Artist Shahzia Sikander Brings Art To Madison Square Park and To The Supreme Court of the State of New York

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Shahzia Sikander, Witness (left) at Madison Square Park and NOW (right) at Courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, for Havah…to breathe, air, life, 2023. Photos: Yasunori Matsui

Artist Shahzia Sikander has created a major new project on the theme of women and justice for a multimedia exhibition, Havah…to breathe, air, life, in Madison Square Park and the nearby Courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. The exhibition marks the first collaboration between the Conservancy and courthouse.

Sikander is renowned for creating work that transforms and updates the tradition of Indo-Persian miniature painting. This commission, her first major outdoor work, expands her practice into civic space. “Havah” means “air” or “atmosphere” in Urdu, and “Eve” in Arabic, Hebrew, and other languages. A towering skirted female figure, titled Witness (2023), is part of the commissioned work. The sculpture, a video animation, and an augmented reality (AR) experience are on view at Madison Square Park; a second sculpture, NOW (2023), also an allegorical figure, is installed on the courthouse rooftop on Madison Avenue and 25th Street and can be viewed from street level.

Across the two sites, Sikander unites female figures and motifs from nature and confronts symbols of power and justice to examine long-standing practices and attitudes impeding the advancement of women. Over centuries, throughout cultures, in literature, paintings, sculptures, and monuments, Justice has been rendered in the form of a woman, often holding scales, to symbolize the balance of power. Paradoxically, she is often blindfolded to indicate impartiality, her concealed eyes preventing clear-sightedness, eclipsing the lawgiver’s vision. In Sikander’s sculptures, the allegorical figures have their eyes wide open. Both wear a decorative jabot at the neckline, referring to the lace collar popularized by the United States Supreme Court associate justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the feminization of the black judicial robes traditionally worn by male justices of the court.

In Witness, a steel hoop skirt with mosaic detail adorns a golden female. The skirt form is inspired by the historic courtroom’s stained-glass ceiling dome with its leaded lines that resemble the longitudinal and latitudinal lines on a globe, a proclamation of the figure’s authority in the world. Her appendages suggest tree roots, something the artist has likened to the “self-rootedness of the female form.” Sikander states that “it can carry its roots wherever it goes.” The figure’s hair is braided to resemble two ram’s horns, identified in many traditions as symbols of strength. The mosaic is calligraphic, mapping the surface with the word “havah” in Arabic.

By opening the Snapchat app on their device, visitors scan a Snapcode to unlock Apparition (2023), an augmented reality (AR) experience that features a display of colorful particles and ghostlike images of the courthouse figure. Nearby on an adjacent lawn, Sikander’s video animation, Reckoning (2020), includes figures at once in accord and in conflict within a flowering, nurturing landscape.

On the courthouse roof, NOW rises from the base of a lotus plant, a symbol of wisdom. Sikander’s sculpture is the first female figure to be installed here among a group of nine male lawgivers including Confucius, Justinian, and Moses. Through her work, the artist addresses systems of justice and injustice by situating women in positions of power. Sikander has stated: “If we use art, media, and culture to reverse stereotypes about gender, race, immigrants, and the unfamiliar, the beliefs we pass on to future generations reflect the complex and dynamic world we live in.”

“Through luminous allegorical female figures, Shahzia’s project asks who is historically represented and who wields power in the justice system, both symbolically and actually,” said Brooke Kamin Rapaport, Artistic Director and Martin Friedman Chief Curator of Madison Square Park Conservancy. “Shahzia continues to innovate artistic forms, and Havah, meaning ‘air’ or ‘atmosphere’ in Urdu and ‘Eve’ in Arabic and Hebrew, is a transformative project. The work conceptually and physically unites the park and the courthouse through dialogue amongst monumental sculptures, video animation, and AR.”

Havah…to breathe, air, life is co-commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy and Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS)

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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Times Square Chronicles Presents Artist and Innovator Roger Sichel

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Photographer, artist and festival producer, Roger Sichel’s prolific creative experience spans generations and genres. From creating one of New York’s first erotic film festivals with judges Andy Warhol, Gore Vidal and Milos Forman to producing rock concerts with the Doors, Four Seasons and Isaac Hayes nationwide, Roger identifies most as a cultural observer and photographic journalist. His work is at this years Coachella and on the Moon.

T2C had a chance to talk to this prolific artist.

Sichel has now entered the next phase of his artistic career and is choosing to explore neo-pop mixed media, inspired by his own life, as well as current events, while simultaneously preserving the legacy of his work in photojournalism.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

 

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Bonnie Comley, ART TO WARE and ChaShaMa Present Nothing to Wear

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Until April 30th Bonnie Comley, ART TO WARE and ChaShaMa Present Nothing to Wear in Port Authority’s 41st Street building.

Bonnie Comley and Anita Durst

Bonnie is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer. She has, also, won an Olivier Award and two Drama Desk Awards for her stage productions. She is on the Board President of The Drama League as well as a full member of The Broadway League and the Audience Engagement and Education Committee.

Nothing to Wear

Comley has produced over 40 films, winning five Telly Awards and one W3 Award. She is the founder and CEO of BroadwayHD, the world’s premier online streaming platform delivering over 300 premium live productions to theatre fans globally. Now she is an artist presenting her work at ART TO WARE (A2W) a wearable Art Gallery that curates up-cycled, hand-made, one-of-a-kind statement pieces to be seen, loved and taken home!

Bonnie Comley and Lelie Ware

Founded in 2021 by Lesley Ware, this Black-owned and women-run small business carries small-batch, socially conscious, up-cycled, and locally-made wearables and gifts. A2W curates an environment of creativity, acceptance, and collaboration within a dynamic retail setting that showcases the work of artists, designers, and creative visionaries.

Making this all happen is ChaShaMa and Anita Durst who helps create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate. Currently, they present 150 events a year, have workspace for 120 artists, and have developed 80 workshops in under served communities. They award 11 million worth of real estate to artists, subsidizes 300 artist work spaces, provide over 215 free art classes, gives 200 artists free space to present and upport over 75 businesses with free space.

Nothing to Wear is a provocative look at our relationship with our clothing choices as it pertains to our self image, fast fashion and textile waste. It challenges the fashion industry to create an alternative to current business models and the global appetite for consumption and asks viewers to question dress codes like the current policing of women in political office.

Jose Febrillet from Port Authority

 

 

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16 Year Old Artist Henri Reed’s Debut Exhibition at Lux Contemporary

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Lux Contemporary, the newest Chelsea gallery adjacent to Rolls Royce New York, will launch “Henri’s World,” a new solo exhibition by 16-year-old LA-based emerging artist, Henri Reed, on view from Friday, April 19th –  Sunday, May 19th at 270 11th Avenue in New York.

The gallery’s owner and renowned celebrity art dealer, Emanuel Friedman, will host an Invite-only artist reception on Thursday, April 18th from 5pm – 8pm. Expected attendees will include a selection of celebrities and pro athletes, who are collectors of Henri’s works.

Henri, who has already created buzz across the country with collectors in L.A., N.Y., Chicago and Miami, including Babyface, will also make his New York City debut as the featured artist at the New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center, where he has created “Year of the Draggin.” More than a painting, the work serves as a tribute to the thrill of drag racing and the spirited culture surrounding it, set in the Year of the Dragon.

Named to honor the enduring appeal of drag racing, this piece captures the essence of a timeless passion. While it fits into a show centered around cars, its significance goes beyond any specific moment in time. Instead, it invites viewers to experience the exhilaration of speed and competition, regardless of when they encounter it. As one admires “Year of the Draggin,” they’re not just looking at a painting—they’re feeling the pulse of a culture that spans generations. And while its creation may be rooted in a particular year, its impact promises to resonate far into the future, leaving viewers to wonder which era of drag racing it truly represents. The work will be spotlighted at the Manhattan Motor Cars booth, spotlighting all the biggest exotic brands like Rimac, Koenigsegg, Bugatti, Bentley, Porsche, Lamborghini and more.

The “Henri’s World” exhibit will take over Lux Contemporary’s gallery space, highlighting over a dozen impactful, large-scale canvases and wood works. The young artist’s highlighted works will include Completa, a work made of two weathered planks of wood that were lying around for weeks in Henri’s studio. He knew he wanted to use them and brought them together, aligning them side by side. With pencil in hand, he began to sketch, treating them not as separate entities but as a unified whole. This piece quickly became the artist’s favorite in the collection. Its significance extends beyond mere materiality, reflecting a profound truth about human connections. When we view others as individuals, we may see only their vulnerabilities. But when we come together, our collective strengths shine forth, overshadowing our weaknesses. “Completa” embodies this essence—the beauty of unity, the power of togetherness.

High on Heels, a depiction of the timeless bond between a loyal canine and its skeletal walker, going beyond life and death. The dog’s love and loyalty shine through, while the walker’s bones remind us of life’s fleeting nature. Yet, together, they show us that love can endure forever. One Million Dollar, a recreation of the dollar bill with a Henri spin pays homage to his brother with his favorite color being green and his birthday spotlighted within the piece. On April 17th, Henri will also be appearing as the featured artist at the New York Stock Exchange’s private gallery collection. He is the youngest artist to be shown in the gallery. The collection is curated by world-famous trader and extensive collector, the “Einstein of Wall Street”, Peter Tuchman. The NYSE’s gallery is seen by world leaders, business titans and foreign dignitaries.

“I paint with shadows and whispers, leaving clues for those who dare to decipher the riddles hidden in plain sight,” said Henri.

Henri’s artistic career began at the age of 14 when he found an old wooden crate in his family’s garage and asked his father if he could use it. Before his parents returned from their dinner that evening, Henri had dismantled the crate and finished an original piece using materials from around the house.  A local collector saw a photo of the piece on Henri’s Instagram and immediately commissioned Henri for a new piece for his own home.  Within the next week, Henri began selling artwork to collectors, including Hollywood celebrities, music stars, and business leaders.

In February 2024, Henri was signed by New York City’s Lux Contemporary Gallery, which has featured works by Banksy, KAWS, Daniel Arsham, Brendan Murphy, Mr. Brainwash, Enrique Cabrera, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jonty Hurwitz, Robert Indiana, Jeff Koons, Robert Longo, Takashi Murakami, King Saladeen and Hunt Slonem. Henri is the first emerging artist that the gallery has represented.

Henri’s World will be on view from Friday, April 19th – Sunday, May 19th at Lux Contemporary at 270 11th Avenue in NY, adjacent to Rolls Royce New York.

Exhibition hours are Mondays -Saturday: 10 AM – 7 PM; Sunday: Closed and by appointment.

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Playwright Mario Fratti’s Art for Sale

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Paintings and illustrations from the art collection of the Broadway show “Nine’s” playwright and critic Mario Fratti is for sale at Jadite Gallery on 10th Avenue.

Fratti was not just a playwright, educator and theater critic with the OCC and Drama Desk, but an art collector.

Fratti was born in L’Aquila, Italy on July 5, 1927. In 1962, he presented his one-act play Suicido at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto and Lee Strasberg, a guest of the festival, was impressed by his work and invited him to stage it at the Actors Studio. He moved to New York in Hell’s Kitchen in 1963 and worked as a professor at Columbia University and Hunter College, where he was named Professor Emeritus of Italian Literature. Fratti is best known for writing the adaptation of Federico Fellini’s and further developing the musical NINE with Maury Yeston, that opened in 1982 and went on to win five Tony Awards.  Mario died last year at the age of 95.

The exhibit and sales at Jadite Gallery, follows the auction of some of Fratti’s collection. The most expensive piece is on diplay in the gallery’s window, Homage to Mario Fratti by Italian artist David Grazioso  $750. “Prices range from $75—the average is around $200. The sale of these pieces will fund the transposition and translation of newly discovered manuscripts.

Artwork from the Collection of Mario Fratti is on show at Jadite Gallery at 660 10th Avenue (between W46/47th St) until April 13. Opening hours are noon-6pm Tuesday to Saturday.

The art has been entrusted to trusted friend Roland Sainz and Jadite Gallery by renowned theater director and his daughter Valentina.

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Midnight Moment Presents Life Forms

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Each midnight this April, Times Square’s screens become a portal into New York-based artist Tricia McLaughlin’s Life Forms, a humorous fantasy world filled with hard working mutant creatures who toil around the clock constructing an endless city. As these glassy-eyed creatures called “Phantasmachina” mount buildings and scale sidewalks, a threatening figure starts to approach. Undeterred, the organisms continue their Sisyphean task.

Crafted through painting and  3D animations, these life forms are inspired by biotechnology, prosthetics and the exploration of mutation. Striving to anthropomorphize geometry, McLaughlin imbues her community with not only emotions but also a sense of social responsibility.

A recorded musical score by David B. Smith and Omar Zubair will accompany McLaughlin’s Midnight Moment presentation on April 5, 2024 on Duffy Square.

Life Forms is presented in conjunction with McLaughlin’s exhibition phantasmachina, showcasing drawings, paintings and animations sponsored by En Foco at WallWorks Gallery in the Bronx, NY, from April 6–30, 2024. In addition, TFLR Contemporary will present an online exhibition of McLaughlin’s work, Out of the Abyss, from April 1–30, 2024.

Tricia McLaughlin is a physical and digital media artist exploring the transformative effects of technology on nature with unexpected consequences. Mutant creations where function follows form stem from McLaughlin’s intuitive repurposing of robotics, biotechnology, and aeronautics. As McLaughlin explains her process, “each painting and drawing begins as a collection of random marks on a page, allowing my subconscious mind to guide the initial creation. As the artwork develops, I start to see patterns and shapes arranging the chaos. Then I refine and define these elements, gradually transforming the initial marks into living, mechanical beings and/or structures.” Paintings are inserted into animation, 3D-designed constructions inspire paintings.

TFLR CONTEMPORARY is a gallery dedicated to exhibiting emerging and mid-career artists, both in the US and abroad. Exhibitions and curatorial projects are planned throughout the year in various venues and online platforms.

En Foco, Inc. presents U.S.-based photographers and digital imaging artists, focusing on women and people of African, Asian, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander heritage. Through exhibitions, workshops, events, and publications, it provides professional recognition, honoraria, and assistance as they grow into different stages of their careers.

The phantasmachina exhibition is co-presented by En Foco, Inc. and WallWorks Gallery, South Bronx, NYC.

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