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The New-York Historical Society presents Art for Change: The Artist & Homeless Collaborative

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The New-York Historical Society presents Art for Change: The Artist & Homeless Collaborative, an exhibition that examines the history of modern homelessness in New York City through the lens of the Artist & Homeless Collaborative (A&HC), a public art project founded in 1990 by multidisciplinary artist Hope Sandrow. The program, which connected women from the Park Avenue Armory Shelter for Homeless Women with artists, curators, and activists, provided a vehicle for the women to tell their stories, work creatively, and build relationships. On view December 3, 2021 – April 3, 2022 in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, the exhibition looks at the transformative potential of art in public and private life through a selection of art projects led by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, Ida Applebroog, the Guerrilla Girls, Hope Sandrow, Judith Shea, Kiki Smith, among others. 

“Homelessness is a more urgent crisis than ever before, as New Yorkers look to stabilize their communities and support those in need through efforts large and small,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “Artists and art groups continue to bring art into shelters, using it as an empowering tool for people to tell their stories. We hope visitors will come away with a better understanding of those facing housing insecurity, how people have taken action in the past, and perhaps be inspired to help solve today’s problems using their own unique skills.”

Art and activism came together in the 1980s and 1990s to shine a light on homelessness while helping women in the shelter system creatively process their experience, gain confidence and skills, and speak directly to the public. Tucked behind a grand facade, the Park Avenue Armory Shelter for Homeless Women, the city-run shelter operated on the Armory’s upper floors, served 120 women ages 40 and older—including many women of color—who often faced issues of domestic violence, mental health, disability, HIV/AIDS, discrimination, and social isolation, among others. Through the joint work of creating art, the Artist & Homeless Collaborative’s women participants and professional artists forged relationships, engaged in self-reflection, and personalized the shelter space with installations of their artwork. Together with volunteers from the art world and activist groups including the Guerrilla Girls, Women’s Action Coalition, and Visual AIDS, the residents called attention to their experiences through exhibitions, published work, and activist poster projects.

During this period, the East Village was the battleground for heated debates around homelessness and gentrification. In addition, the AIDS crisis devastated New York City and its artistic community, and artists used art to document their experiences, memorialize those lost to AIDS, and bring attention to the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. In the late 1980s, some artists turned toward practices—now known as socially engaged or social practice art—that emphasized collaboration with individuals and communities, and often fused art with activism. Three photographs by Sandrow in the exhibition—Self-Control, Back on the Streets (made in 1984 with Peter Hujar), Portrait of Nicolas Moufarrege, Men on the Streets (1982), and Portrait of Keith Haring, Men on the Streets (1982)—portray friends she lost to AIDS-related causes. The sense of loss compelled her to volunteer in shelters.

Art for Change includes John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres’s Ernestine and Three Friends (1992)—a group of painted plaster life-cast busts of four shelter residents held in New-York Historical’s collections. Examples of work created by participants and artists on view include self-portraits, photography, mixed media, pin-back buttons, writings, and other artistic expressions. In 1994 the Artist & Homeless Collaborative began volunteering at the Lexington Avenue Armory shelter, which served women ages 20-45. Hope Sandrow and the writer Michael Boodro envisioned a project that could combine photography with writing to help the women grapple with their often traumatic pasts and think creatively about their futures. Examples from this project, What I Need/What I Want, are on view in the exhibition.

In addition to the work created through the Artist & Homeless Collaborative, the exhibition features the work of advocates and artists that were a direct response to the homelessness crisis as it emerged in New York City in the late 1970s and 1980s. The exhibition coincides with the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Callahan consent decree that established the legal right to shelter in New York City and includes the report Private Lives/Public Spaces (1981) by Ellen Baxter and Kim Hopper, who for nearly two years interviewed unhoused New Yorkers and then published their findings, bringing wide public attention to the crisis for the first time. Baxter and Hopper would go on to cofound the Coalition for the Homeless in 1981 with Robert Hayes, the young lawyer who two years earlier had brought the landmark Callahan v. Carey case against the city and state on behalf of homeless adult men, culminating in the signing of the Callahan consent decree in 1981. The report is displayed alongside ephemera, photographs, and video to contextualize the times.

The arts-based activism of the late 1980s and early ’90s transformed over time. Some grassroots groups disbanded, others became larger organizations, and still others remained committed to their original vision. The Artist & Homeless Collaborative ended in 1995 with the closure of the Park Avenue Armory shelter. Artists and art groups continue to bring art into shelters, using it as an opportunity to build relationships and as a way for people to tell their stories.

The number of people in the New York City municipal shelter system has more than doubled since the mid-1990s. In February 2020, 61,798 New Yorkers were sleeping in shelters each night, including 18,099 children. The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a serious health threat to people in congregate shelters, limited the ability of many nonprofits to provide in-person services, and put pressure on city residents who face housing insecurity due to loss of income. On display in the exhibition are collaborative portraits by artist Francis Palazzolo and individuals at the BronxWorks Living Room Drop-in Center and Safe Haven. BronxWorks is a group dedicated to helping Bronxites improve their economic and social wellbeing with diverse programs that feed, shelter, teach, and support over 60,000 community members. Palazzolo, the BronxWorks Artist-in-Residence and Recreation Coordinator who facilitates arts groups at four BronxWorks facilities, continued to work in person through the pandemic

Also on display is a collaborative quilt made by young people to mark the 30th anniversary of Art Start, an arts nonprofit cofounded by Scott Rosenberg—an Artist & Homeless Collaborative volunteer from its early days. The organization works with youth from historically marginalized communities (including youth and families in transitional housing) providing creative opportunities for them to share their visions as well as reimagine and grow through present circumstances, developing life skills beyond the arts.

Multimedia artist and activist Betty Yu collaborated with Youth Leaders at the Door to create a special takeaway poster reflecting on youth homelessness today. The Door has provided comprehensive youth development services since 1972. Project participants interviewed young people receiving services through the Door’s Runaway and Homeless Youth program, which serves 1,600 young people a year, about their experiences to develop the augmented reality-enhanced design.

Art for Change is curated by Rebecca Klassen, associate curator of material culture, and Laura Mogulescu, curator of women’s history collections, with Tracey Johnson, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Center for Women’s History, and curatorial intern Lisa Diaz Louis. Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, the Evelyn & Seymour Neuman Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. WNET is the media sponsor.

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

Art

Midnight Moment For October Presents Circadian Nocturne

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In October from 11:57pm – 12am, artist Anna Ridler introduces a new kind of countdown clock in Times Square. Using complex algorithms to explore non-human ways of keeping time, Ridler’s Circadian Nocturnefeatures AI-generated animations of night-blooming and night scented flora – queen of the night cactuses, the moonflower, night-blooming jasmine, night phlox, and evening stock. Painterly petals slowly blossom into a dreamlike garden — chronobiological clocks set against the mechanical and digital structures that set the pace of our contemporary lives.

Created with artificial intelligence and a high-tech machine that can keep time at an atomic level, Circadian Nocturne also pairs modern, highly precise computerized timekeeping methods with the often unpredictable and imprecise imagery created by autonomous digital software and is part of an ongoing project exploring time and technology. Welcoming this tension, Ridler visually obscures tech-based accuracy with something more organic and in sync with the natural landscape.

Launching in the fall, an artist-designed mobile app featuring a smaller, single screen version of the project and an original musical score by composer William Marsey will accompany the Times Square presentation of Circadian Nocturne, allowing for more intimate experience of the work from anywhere in the world.

Based in London, Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with systems of knowledge and how technologies are created in order to better understand the world. She is particularly interested in ideas around measurement and quantification and how this relates to the natural world. Her process often involves working with collections of information or data, particularly datasets, to create new and unusual narratives.

Ridler holds an MA in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art and a BA in English Literature and Language from Oxford University along with fellowships at the Creative Computing Institute at University of the Arts London. Her work has been exhibited at cultural institutions worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Barbican Centre, Centre Pompidou, HeK Basel, the ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, Sheffield Documentary Festival and the Leverhulme Centre for Future Intelligence. She was a European Union EMAP fellow and the winner of the 2018-2019 DARE Art Prize. Ridler has received commissions by Salford University, the Photographers Gallery, Opera North, and Impakt Festival. She was listed as one of the nine “pioneering artists” exploring AI’s creative potential by Artnet and received an honorary mention in the 2019 Ars Electronica Golden Nica award for the category AI & Life Art. She was nominated for a “Beazley Designs of the Year” award in 2019 by the Design Museum for her work on datasets and categorization.

Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.

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Living Portraits By Alexa Meade On Display 529 Fifth Avenue

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The Fifth Avenue Portrait Collection, a massive public art exhibit by artist Alexa Meade, spanning 180 feet long, is now on display in the heart of New York City on Fifth Avenue and 44thStreet.

All 22 works of art in The Fifth Avenue Portrait Collection are by Alexa Meade, who paints directly on the faces and clothes of live models, creating the illusion that real humans are two-dimensional paintings on canvas. The colorful living portraits are larger that life, with many of them over 12’ tall.

The art is being exhibited on the outside of the building of the former Wonderland Dreams immersive exhibition. Every inch of the 26,000 square foot space was painted from floor to ceiling, using Alexa Meade’s signature style of art which lets you step inside of a painting. It took over 1,000 gallons of paint to transform the space, which was a former Best Buy. Over 100,000 people came to see the Wonderland Dreams exhibition during its year-long run.

Alexa Meade said, “Walking into an art gallery is intimidating for a lot of people, so I am bringing my art outside for people to be able to appreciate while walking down the street. Art is for everyone, and not just those who feel comfortable in galleries and museums.”

The photography in the collection was primarily captured by either Ruby June or Mike Monaghan.

The live models Alexa Meade painted include such high-profile New Yorkers as Tony Award-winning actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, Grammy Award-winning singer Walter Russell III, and Emmy Award-winning journalist Paul Wontorek. Additional Broadway actors painted in the collection include Nadia Brown, Julia Lester, Gus Birney, Jonalyn Saxer, and Matthew Sims Jr.

Alexa Meade painted numerous creative powerhouses for the series, including magician Zach King, writer Amber Ruffin, costume designer Emilio Sosa, producer Eva Price, dancer Melissa Becraft, and composer Helen Park. The models also include Ruby June, Richie Ridge, Keith Hurd, Adrian Richardson, and Shelli Lether.

The Fifth Avenue Portrait Collection is located at 529 5th Avenue steps away from Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Alexa Meade, paints on the human body and three-dimensional spaces, creating the illusion that our reality is a two-dimensional painting. As The New York Times describes Meade’s artwork, “Think of it as a Van Gogh — that is, if one of his paintings were brought to life as a performative protest.”

Meade’s art has been exhibited around the world at the Grand Palais in Paris, the Saatchi Gallery in London, the United Nations in New York, Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, and Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Her artwork has also been exhibited in space, orbiting the Earth on the history-making SpaceX Inspiration4 mission.

She has created interactive installations at Coachella, Cannes Lions, and Art Basel. Meade is widely known for painting on the body of Ariana Grande for her iconic “God is a Woman” music video, which has nearly 400 million views. Her solo show on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills was attended by forty-thousand people. With profound pop cultural relevance, Alexa’s art has been upvoted to the #1 position on the Front Page of Reddit. She has been commissioned by Apple, BMW, and Sony. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Alexa teamed up with LEGO as a Master Builder for their “Rebuild the World” campaign.

Collaborating with spacetime researchers, Alexa was the first ever Artist-in-Residence at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. She has also been Artist-in-Residence at Google, where she worked alongside the engineers advancing Light Field imaging technology.

Meade and her groundbreaking work have been honored with the “Disruptive Innovation Award” from the Tribeca Film Festival. Respected for her thought leadership and non-traditional career path, she has lectured at TED, Stanford, and Princeton. Meade accepted an invitation to the White House under President Obama. Google Arts & Culture selected Alexa as the face of their “Faces of Frida” campaign, celebrating the legacy of Frida Kahlo and the female artists who are carrying it forward today. InStyle has named Alexa among their “Badass Women.”

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Fashion Week at The Hudson Yards Where Art Was Skytop

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From the fabulous photographer and artist Roger Sichel.

Guests enjoyed spectacular birds-eye panoramic views from every perspective, high above the bustle of Manhattan at 15 Hudson Yards 90th floor.

The guest list was exclusive, as drinks and art were highlighted. Models, art, fashion, champagne and cavier abound.

The party was curated by Eddy Bogaert and hosted by Rakesh Gupta.

There was art by Liam Duffy.

Photography from the wonderful Nancy Levier.

Fabulous work by John Mazlish and John-Herbert Wright called Decompression.

I really loved Sandy Cohen’s work.

This was a night of art to celebrate.

 

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Al Hirschfeld Foundation Launches New Partnership With City Winery

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The Al Hirschfeld Foundation launches a new partnership with City Winery (25 11th Ave, NYC) on September 18 with a special live event and exhibition, both titled “Hirschfeld’s Music.”

September 18 at 7:30PM, David Leopold, Creative Director of The Al Hirschfeld Foundation, launches the celebration of “Hirschfeld’s Music” with a live, world premiere multimedia presentation. Leopold will take attendees on a virtual tour through decades of musical history as seen by the artist. Learn how Hirschfeld helped Duke Ellington deal with racism on his first national tours, or when he got Satchmo’s trumpet. See what happens when he hangs out with Aerosmith in the recording studio and who he meets at a Benny Goodman rehearsal in 1932. For this first time, Hirschfeld’s nine decades is on display in a presentation featuring rarely seen images as well and old favorites. Whether that music was onstage at the Apollo, on a Broadway stage, a recording studio, or an after-hour jam session, Hirschfeld caught the essence of the players and the scene in a line as supple and rhythmic as any one he heard. Hirschfeld’s drawings and prints give viewers, then and now, a real sense of the performance and personality of the music and the musicians. To purchase tickets for the September 18 presentation, visit www.citywinery.com/newyork.

The live event marks the start of a new, free exhibit on display at City Winery Gallery, New York. Hirschfeld’s nine decades of music art will be on display, depicting some of the most iconic musicians of the 20th Century. From Louis Armstrong to Neil Young; from Gershwin to the Grateful Dead; and from Quincy Jones to the Rolling Stones, Hirschfeld caught the essence of the artists and the scene in a line as supple and rhythmic as any one he heard.

The complete of artwork on display includes.

Mick Jagger (1999), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Etching

Broadway Trio: Zero Mostel, Liza Minnelli, And Carol Channing (1976), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Etching

Louis Satchmo Armstrong (1996), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

The Grateful Dead (1995), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Duke Ellington (1992), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Carnegie Hall: 100th Anniversary (1991), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Aerosmith (2001), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Dizzy Gillespie (1996), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Neil Young (2000), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Benny Goodman (1996), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Bob Dylan (1997), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Billy Joel & George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin (1996), Billy Joel Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Gicleé

Bruce Springsteen (1995), Springsteen Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Gicleé

Reba Mcentire In Annie Get Your Gun (2001), Reba McEntire Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Gicleé

Linda Ronstadt In Cansiones De Mi Padre (1988), Linda Ronstadt Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Gicleé

Diana Ross (1995), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Rodgers and Hammerstein surrounded by their greatest shows (1993), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Elvis (1968), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Etching

John Lennon (1997) , Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Etching

Paul Mccartney (2001), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

George Harrison (2001), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Ringo Starr (1968), Hand-signed Limited-Edition Etching

American Popular Song: Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, and Fred Astaire (1983), Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Solid Sender from Harlem As Seen By Hirschfeld (1941), Plate signed limited edition lithograph

Jam Session from Harlem As Seen By Hirschfeld (1941), Plate signed limited edition lithograph

Lindy Hop from Harlem As Seen By Hirschfeld (1941), Plate signed limited edition lithograph

Scufflin’ In from Harlem As Seen By Hirschfeld (1941), Plate signed limited edition lithograph

Celine Dion (1998). Hand-Signed, Limited-Edition Lithograph

Artwork on display in the exhibition will available for purchase from www.CityWinery.com/NewYork/Online/article/al-hirschfeld-art. Proceeds support the Hirschfeld Arts Curriculum program.

The City Winery Gallery is part of the new City Winery flagship location at Pier 57 in Hudson River Park. The exhibition space is dedicated to artwork created by or inspired by musicians demonstrating their prolific additional talents. Previous exhibits have included Aimee Mann, Joseph Arthur, Will Livingston and most recently a photo exhibit by Graham Nash.

The celebration of “Hirschfeld’s Music” extends with the debut of 12 collectable wine bottles labeled with Hirschfeld portraits of legendary musicians, and available exclusively from at City Winery starting in September. Artists featured include Mick Jagger, The Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, John Lennon, Prince, Crosby Stills & Nash, and Alicia Keys.

“We are delighted to be working with City Winery to share Al Hirschfeld’s love of music, says David Leopold, Creative Director of the Al Hirschfeld Foundation. “Hirschfeld was a serious hot jazz fan in his youth, and he never lost his passion for music throughout his whole life. One of his first jobs was as a song plugger on the night boat to Albany. He drew so many album covers over the years that some used record shops simply have Hirschfeld cover sections. You don’t get many people who can say that they help Django Reinhardt get his first recording date and also find themselves in the studio with Aerosmith. Hirschfeld’s strong connection to music has never been explored…until now.”

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NYC-Based Sculptor Agnieszka Pestka Transforms Manhattan Showroom for Latest Art Exhibition, “Between Jasmine Flowers”

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In the vibrant realm of contemporary sculpturing, New York City-based artist Agnieszka Pestka shines as a remarkable luminary. Hailing from a creative background that has led her everywhere from Asia to Manhattan, Pestka has forged a uniquely captivating path within the art world, weaving various steel and zinc-based creations to form a tapestry of beautiful and thought-provoking pieces, with an immersive Chelsea-based showroom to boot. Utilizing her diverse portfolio spanning a wide variety of different media, Pestka has diligently worked to reshape the future of sculpture—both physically and artistically—for the benefit of the visual artists of tomorrow.

At the heart of Agnieszka Pestka’s art is a near-poetic melding of creativity and surrealist innovation. A quick browse through the visual artist’s portfolio showcases the captivating universe Pestka has painstakingly curated in her collections. Drawing inspiration from natural elements, emotions, and the feminine form, Pestka has worked to craft a collection of beautifully etched zinc plates and delicate hammered steel sculptures, as evidenced in pieces like “Winter Night” and “Tojkad.”

Trained at the New York School of Visual Arts, Pestka, whose work has already been lauded at legendary venues such as Warsaw’s ToTuArt Gallery, has been on an upward climb since her uproarious 2017 New York debut. Now, the artist stands at the threshold of yet another significant milestone: opening her own showroom in the city’s long-held artistic hub of Chelsea.

The artist’s most recent endeavor—the hotly anticipated soft opening of her latest exhibition, “Between Jasmine Flowers”— is now available for private viewing by appointment from August 31st to September 28th, with a grand opening to the public scheduled for late November. Transforming the formerly rugged space into a showroom befitting of her intricate works, Pestka plans to utilize the rawness of the space to advance the narrative of her works, further communicating the artistic intersection of natural beauty and rough-hewn sophistication.

For the past five years, Pestka has invited audiences to embrace the unexplored and engage with the undiscovered, challenging the traditional boundaries of the storied art-artist relationship, and generating an impressive inventory of works, all of which are tied together with a singular theme of questioning the elusive qualities of human existence, and disentangling the often complex constellation of human thought processes.

Drawing inspiration from both historical and personal accounts, Pestka’s works offer a glimpse into the delicate interplay between collective memory and individual experiences, crafting narratives that evoke universally resonant sentiments throughout. In her series of detailed metalwork and etching, like “Water” and “Let me love things in you that don’t exist,” Pestka elicits the gentle robustness of the female form, guiding her audiences on a mesmerizing artistic retelling of the innate beauty of feminine strength, as seen in “Between Jasmine Flowers.”

By artfully weaving together disparate elements of water and steel, Pestka has constructed a unified narrative that connects different dimensions of existence. Her art has become a conduit for cross-temporal dialogues, resonating with audiences across all ages. Alongside her many devotees, Pestka has cultivated an entirely singular community of thinkers who appreciate the intricacies and complexities of modern visual commentary.

One thing remains certain: Pestka’s impact on the art world is undeniable. Recognized for pushing beyond conventional boundaries of artistic freedom, her work challenges norms, ignites conversations, and encourages viewers to reconsider their preconceived notions of humanity.

From the provocative ‘I left to look for you‘ to the enigmatic mysterious ‘Jasmine,’ Agnieszka Pestka stands as pioneers in an era where art facilitates introspection and dialogue, urging viewers to venture beyond the familiar and dive deep into the recesses of collective consciousness. As Pestka’s artistic narrative continues to evolve, the world eagerly awaits the next chapter of her soaring journey.

Agnieszka Pestka’s latest exhibition, “Between Jasmine Flowers,” is now open by appointment only, located at 307 W 20th St, Manhattan, New York City. To learn more about upcoming installations, or to schedule a viewing of her showroom, visit Agnieszka Pestka’s official website.

apestka.com

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