I’m always curious about what drives artists and the galleries that represent their work?
This article published about Kara Walker’s latest exhibition now on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. emblazoned on the front cover of probably one of the last printed editions of the VILLAGE VOICE reminds me of another cover published in the mid 1980’s.
The cover illustration was a painting by the late Jean Michel Basquiat depicting a human skull,done in his signature oil stick & acrylic paint.
I don’t remember the complete essay written by Greg Tate but I sure remember the title: “The Flyboy in Buttermilk”
Which totally implied the fact that the art business had singled out a particular African American artist who like Kara Walker addresses the lack of inclusion and expresses an urgency to the racial injustice not only in politics but simple dollars & cents money making.
Because of a pre exhibition Press release statement published by Kara Walker which prepared the audience for an experience I had to follow suit and see this exhibition for myself.
My take on the whole show was that it was well planned out in terms of the feeling you got when you walked into the gallery space. I arrived during the last forty five minutes and it was mobbed with all kinds of people from all walks of ethnicity and economic backgrounds.
The heat you felt from the full capacity crowd in my opinion was not only from body heat but a strategic plan to turn the heat on and serve no refreshments so you felt the real South and oppressive conditions the artwork demanded. (It worked for me.)
I loved what I saw in terms of attendance which is really interesting if you consider what was being viewed and what would this show actually does to the consciousness of all the people who interact with the paintings.
My hope is that the success of the show will open doors for other artists and really bridge some gaps in the business of commodifying cultural expression from all walks of life.
Needless to say I haven’t made a blog post in quite some time and that’s for two reasons. One you can’t live and write at the same time and second,I’ve accomplished so much over the summer that it’s hard to truncate everything into one amazing story!
In my last post I mentioned that I was taking it back to New York and I literally have done just that by spending as much time physically in the City as possible.
I traveled a lot of miles on foot just to meet some people I wanted to meet for the for last thirty years for the first time. And,I am proud to say that I have met almost all of them with only a few exceptions.
When it comes to locations that I wanted to visit I still have a long way to go but I’m in no rush and the places are not going anywhere any time soon. But I do find it funny that although I have found the Whitney Museum and have been all around it,all I have really done is use the bathroom in the restaurant several times.
Just recently I have been able to move about more freely due to the nice hot summer weather. I’ve had a few things on my mind to check out while I had the chance and I accomplished what I could within reason.
One was to walk the Highline elevated park in Manhattan as far as I could,then find the new Whitney museum.
The second goal was to once again travel to New York City and get on the Staten Island Ferry and ride it across the bay to Staten Island and back to Manhattan.
So far I have accomplished one which is to find the Whitney Museum via the Highline and enjoy the sights & people in and around the area. It’s one of my favorite locations now in Manhattan now that I have explored it.
I even had to return to it sooner than I expected because on the day I was there I lost my iPod and miraculously someone sent me an email letting me know that they had found it.
I have always been sort of lucky in Manhattan so this to me is an indication that I should try and make a go at it again to see how far my artwork can take me? I LOVE NEW YORK!
After experiencing some very negative feedback from some folks I thought I knew; it has driven me back to where I once started building a career, New York City.
Although I have great difficulty getting around it’s much better to struggle there than any place I can think of at the moment.
I enjoy visiting familiar territory around the west village & SoHo especially Washington Square Park where people still gather to soak up some sun and local entertainment.
But their is plenty more to descover just north west of 14th Street like the new elevated park called the Highline which runs through the new art gallery scene in Chelsea and begins with the new location of the Whitney Museum which I am dying to visit or even become a member.
My second to last visit I did a little gallery hopping and met SHAG aka Josh Angle who was just as groovy as his paintings suggest and I immediately detected his southern California swag.
I can’t wait until my next adventure.
When I say the fun outweighs the effort;I’m not kidding around at all! Last Thursday I mustered up the energy to travel to New York City for an opening I discovered published in Clutter Magazine’s online publication about this exhibition “Pop Surrealism” that featured the most prominent figures of the genre that I know of especially a few in particular namely Colin Christian & wife Sas along with Ray Caesar,Ron English,Camilla D’Errico,Lori Earley,Scott Musgrove and many more.The gallery is located in SoHo on Spring Street so I was very familiar with the area because its where I use to do most of my shopping back in the early 80’s and just simply hang out when most of the galleries were located there before moving to Chelsea about twelve years ago now or longer.
As a routine stop I had to check out an artist [Ron Jones] who has been on the corner of Broadway & Prince Street for just as long as I can remember and he has become part of the landscape as far as I am concerned so I stopped a chatted with him as I usually do and I’m glad I did because he gave me a gift just for making the effort understanding my condition.
After that it was what I thought was going to be a quick in and out visit to Kidrobot down the block to get my fix of their exclusive custom toy/sculptures & apparel before going to the opening at Opera gallery.
Well, the visit turned out to be a beautiful time well spent with the staff who showed my crazy respect and informed me of some of the rereleases that are scheduled to drop sometime soon.
Now on to the gallery after spending more time than I thought I would with the folks at KR and I turn the corner and walk one block only to run into Dylan who I met years ago standing online @ Kidrobot for Dunny creator Tristan Eaton’s then new release in 2008 so I have known him for quite some time and he recognized me right away.
We both entered the gallery together but I headed for the refreshment table right away so I could take the edge off with a glass of red wine. After that I broke out the iPod to start capturing the moment for my archeives and become a part of my work in progress film ” Chealsea Nights” which is really about my adventures visiting art galleries & special events. I only walked around part of the exhibition and found a seat at a table located in the rear of the gallery so I could relax and I was joined by this Haitian American artist named Prushion who vibed up with me emediatly and we began to connect and exchanged information so we could stay in touch. I have a short film clip I made of him to add to my documentation.
I don’t know how I got this invitation because it has been too long of a time for me to remember,but, what I do remember about this time in New York City was that there were some
interesting new people on the scene that had lofts in the west village and below Canal St.Who I could only guess benefitted from the keen eye on the real art of the 1980’s,”mine not included,but thats not what I’m reflecting on here.What I want put in this entry is the fact that there is a history that I have collected and I wanted to see if anyone was interested in checking it out.
While I was at this event I did run into Ouattara Watts along with his wife and some people who I have seen around Soho at other gallery openings.
This was a time shortly before the Chelsea Movement happened and I kind of always miss the quaintness of the tight concentration of bistro/boutique/gallery scene Soho represented.I do find the warehouse party scene kind of nice because you can become part of the show if you wear the right clothes.They have plenty of space for you to move around until you find your spot.
After that, you can watch them,watch you,while you are really watching it! RedSaid