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NEWSLETTER June 20, 2012

NEWSLETTER #18 Contents

4 20

14 10 From Ludlow To The Ludlow..............................................4 The Erotic Fascinations Of Marilyn Minter......................10 Aragon: A Short Travel To A Utopian Past......................14 Walter Urbach & Femininity’s Redress............................20 Pascale Lafay, winner in Cannes of the “Angel Orensanz Award viff 2012”..................................24


In the mid to late 1990s, the increasing popularity

in 1994 and incorporated in 1995. Originally based

amongst hipsters of the area surrounding Ludlow street

on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side, in 2004 it

in lower Manhattan, driven out of the East Village, led

relocated to Tribeca until July of 2008.

to an upturn in activity along this street. Several old establishments such as its corner delis were forced to

Collective Unconscious evolved from two cultural

close shop and make way for bars, music venues, and

entities. One was Collective Unconscious proper

alternative theatres such as Piano’s Theater, Todo Con

that started operating as an experimental theater

Nada and Collective Unconscious Theater. The last

on Avenue B. It was an extremely dynamic theatre

one is a non-profit corporation founded in New York

group that joined forces with The Synagogue Project.


This was a brave group of artists with a performing

entertainment for a decade. It was recognized by its

adscription who initially colonized at the small empty

financial support of the Lower Manhattan Cultural

synagogue on Houston Street, across from Ludlow.

Council, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs,

The Synagogue Project grew close to the Angel

and a partial support from the 2001 Absolut Angel grant

Orensanz Foundation. They admired our ambitious

for Art and Technology. It also obtained a permanent

project that was taking place at Norfolk Street. Some

position in the Fales Downtown Collection at the New

of its major productions were of Tyne Daly Mystery

York University’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library.

School, Mamaloshen by Mandy Patinkin, and Band in Berlin was yet another production that Susan Feldman

Collective Unconscious produced hundreds of

first staged in Philadelphia and then brought to our

performances throughout the 1990s to 2000s at

building on Norfolk Street. She is currently the director

its facility as well as other locations. Members also

of the old theater of St. Ann’s in Dumbo.

supported performance sub-groups such as Network 23, IFAM, and Tribeca Lab Theater. These groups

She took me to Philadelphia to see her production

have mounted works at Collective’s home facilities,

of “Band in Berlin.” The people of Collective

the Knitting Factory, the BWAC festival at Red Hook,

Unconscious worked at the Shul on Houston Street.

P.S. 122, Exit Art, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center,

They admired the precision of art in the tiny synagogue

Theater for the New City, La Plaza Cultural and the

with a full view of Ludlow. They began operating

Sixth Street/Avenue B Garden, as well as touring

under the generic concept of The Synagogue Project;

internationally with the play Charlie Victor Romeo.

they curated pocket exhibitions, concerts and round tables. Collective Unconscious was a notable force

Collective Unconscious also founded its own

on New York City’s downtown culture society and

unofficial parade, the annual July 4th “Monster


Parade.” In conjunction with sub-group IFAM, they

that you tended to feel drawn into the narrative of the

won several Coney Island Mermaid Parade contests

actor that was engaging you. You became instantly

in the “Sea Monster” category.

a fellow actor through the gaze and the unrestricted provocation of the speaker only a few chairs away.

Collective Unconscious artists have participated

Once there you could not escape or disengage from

in several festivals on and off site, including the New

the delivery of the actor who was addressing and

York International Fringe Festival, Underground Zero

engaging the entire audience.

Festival, and the Downtown Arts Festival. It was rewarding and so refreshing to sit down comfortably

It was so anti theatrical and anti conventional. I

while being mesmerized by diction and oral delivery

always got the feeling of participating in an assembly

of an actor talking seemingly to you, just to you, from

of our Community Board, or of some local engaging

just a few feet away. The diction, the gestures, the

crusaders or neighbors association. Most of the time

articulation of the words was so direct and so fresh

the actors were acquaintances outside of theatre and


would meet you for breakfast at the next-door diner.

Artists who participated in Collective Unconscious included the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, Christopher X. Brodeur, Patty Chang, Jessica Delfino, Faceboy, Karen






Janeane Garofalo, Joey Gay, Andrew J. Lederer, Jonny McGovern, Rev. Jen Miller, Michael Portnoy, the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, Pinchbottom Burlesque and Nick Zedd.

A key person in the history and trajectory of Collective Unconscious was Nick Zedd. He used to share with us a lot about the early stages of their theatrical trajectory. My last encounter with Zedd was at a wedding reception in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Today the space of Collective Unconscious has reverted to the skirmishes of real estate at the Lower East Side. The mesmerizing spoken word has worn away. Now we flock to North Ludlow for sophisticated dining and drinking flanked by the drags of Katz’s and the residents of The Ludlow

Lou Reed, & John Cale

and other high rises. Residents work on weekdays in Hong Kong and Fleet Street, London, and come

56 Ludlow. In 1965 Lou Reed, John Cale and Sterling

back on weekends to absorb the bohemian surrounding

Morrison of The Velvet Underground lived and recorded


at that address. The earliest known recorded version of All Tomorrow’s Parties was recorded there. Tony

Todo Con Nada; The Collective Unconscious;

Conrad has produced two CDs from the Jack Smith

The New York Fringe Theatre Festival; The House of

archives, subtitled 56 Ludlow Street. It was there that it

Candles; Barramundi, El Sombrero…The lights were

was recorded at 56 Ludlow Street between 1962 and

on every night on Ludlow Street.


As far back as 1962, Tony Conrad, who was a

In the mid 1970s Gary Weis made some short films

Theatre of Eternal Music member, lived and worked at

of Taylor Mead talking to his cat in the kitchen of his


Ludlow Street apartment called Taylor Mead’s Cat.

Today, Ludlow Street is a trendy destination that

From 1980 to the mid-80s actor/video-maker Craig

is not just for theatre fans but a place for foodies,

Colman lived in the building adjoining Taylor Mead’s.

fashionistas and hipsters. It is a place that once thrived

The Beastie Boys used a photo of the southwest

of stars, eternal celebrities and published novelists.

corner of Ludlow and Rivington Street as the cover for their album Paul’s Boutique.[6]


SCULPTOR ANGEL ORENSANZ BRINGS A SMASH OF COLORS AND SCULPTORIAL FORMS TO THE HEART OF BARCELONA AT THE CITY UNIVERSITY’S INDOOR AND OUTDOOR SPACES. During the current months of June to September of this year the University of Barcelona will carry a large installation of the work of Angel Orensanz titled “Time, Space and Innovation”. This exhibition is the pinnacle of a long term interaction between sculptor Angel Orensanz and the City of Barcelona that has been expanding for forty years. The exhibition covers the period from his years of education at the University’s School of Fine Arts to his permanent installations at the Barcelona International Airport, as well as covering the urban expansions of Barcelona during the last three decades. The current exhibition covers two University spaces simultaneously: the vestibule of the University of Barcelona’s main historical building, as well as Angel’s “environmental intervention” in the gardens of the campus where large textiles are constructed. The productions of Angel Orensanz can be seen in various cities across the world from Moscow to Paris, Venice, Berlin, Tokyo, and New York. His pieces are present in numerous public spaces in Barcelona, such as the grand ceramic relief at subway station Ciutat Universitaria or the sculpture pieces Speed and Craft Start at the entrance to the Barcelona International Airport. Orensanz’s work has also been incorporated into many signature buildings and landscapes of Barcelona, and in Catalonia in general. He has produced his pieces with many diverse materials. In 1992 he established the Foundation that carries his name in New York City. It has become an emblematic place of encounters and presentations for the visual and performing arts in the cultural capital of the US. In general terms, the totality of Orensanz’s work defies the conventional categories according to standard interpretive view points, centering itself most often on the “event” as a means to express his personal discourse. Conceptually, the main body of his work revolves thematically around the permanence of dichotomies: construction/deconstruction, order/chaos, and narrative/fantasy.

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he work of contemporary

nightclub scene invaded every



block and street corner. Her

Minter, created by a collision of

thoughts drifted into abstraction









fascinations, and high fashion,

street lamps that illuminated the

has always had a history of

night sky just enough to block



the stars. Minter, however, was

have ranged from deeming the art

not looking up. She was fixated

utterly inappropriate to praising

on the high heels abusing the

her over its transcendental nature.

sidewalk pavement with their


profoundly confident strides. Born in 1948 in Louisiana,

The artist, Marilyn Minter

Minter moved to New York in

Perhaps her fascination with the

the 1980’s, and has worked here

fast paced midnight dwellers was

ever since. It was in the dingy

inspired by her childhood. While

city streets where she found the

working toward her bachelor

excessively under the influence

inspiration that would later take

degree in fine art from the

she continued to pamper herself

the city by storm. She became

University of Florida in 1970 she

with hair rollers and makeup

fascinated with the pervasion of

created a series of photographic

while lounging in her collection

pop culture that overwhelmed

studies that framed glimpses

of long silk nightgowns that she

the atmosphere. She quickly

into her personal life. Black and

almost never took off. Marilyn’s

observed how the air seemed





photorealist study of her mother

to have a better supply of





in her day-to-day setting was

oxygen when the sun fell and the

agoraphobic mother at home,

quickly declared to be disturbing

usually with the cigarette in hand. Although





borrowed imagery from the porn industry, which led to the work that is considered to be the peak of her career in controversial artwork. Her creations are often times viewed from a feminist perspective. They tap into an anxiety about our own imperfect bodies and what triggers our desires. Much of her work portrays by her professors, as well as

Evolving from these influences,

elaborate close up images of



some of her photographic studies

lips or eyes, and all of her work

same images were later praised

now depict erotic images, in

seems to attempt to either attract,

retrospectively as daring and

order to challenge the reverence

repulse, or seduce her audience,

insightful when she came into the

toward the human figures, as

sometimes all at once. “The

spotlight for her later work, which

well as human being’s idealism

most debased imagery around is

combined these early influences

and our tainted objects of desire.

pornography and fashion”, said

with her experiences in New York.

She also began to incorporate

Ms. Minter. “The problem was, in




Early portraits of Minter’s mother in her silk dresses and rollers

the beginning I was touching on

To summarize the complexity

Today Minter has worked with

things that were way too loaded

of Marilyn’s work and how she

clients from jewelers Erickson

and it almost killed my career.”

goes about creating it, she begins

Beamon to Versace. Collectors

Beyond sexuality Ms. Minters’

the process of her magnificent

stand in line for her pictures,

work can also closely be tied with

creations by staging photo shoots

which sometimes sell for upwards

high fashion, remaking glamour

with celluloid film. She then

of $400,000. She has a studio in

into something dirty. In 2006

manipulates the film negative

Los Angeles as well as in New

Minter was featured in the Whitney

to digitally make a whole new

York City.

Biennial and in partnership with

image. After the alterations she

Creative time was given four 20

turns the photo into a painting by

Marilyn Minter has been an

ft high billboards to display her

layering the translucent enamel

inspiration to fashion designers,

photographs. One such billboard,

paint onto aluminum to produce


towering above a roadway in

an incandescent finish. Finally




she applies the finishing touches

and a stunning example of a mind


with her own fingertips to create

without limitations.


Chelsea a


in soiled high heels splashing


changer art




the finishing details.

around in dirty water.

I have always been interested in finding that place where it is not narrative anymore. Narrative tells you what to think. I’m trying to create an image of my truth that other people will look at and say, ‘Oh, that looks real. I know that.’ I just maybe take it a little further.

-Artist Marilyn Minter 13

Aragon: A short travel to a utopian past

There are three different ways of dealing with the past according to philosopher and anthropologist Andres Ortiz Oses, a Deusto University professor and contemporary Aragonese author of some sixty books. We idealize it, stick to it trying to revive it; we maintain and preserve it; and we fly to it selectively, reading it according to sequences of our current interests. These are very different ways of dealing with history: (a) we use it to fight the present, finding possible alternative models of production and consumption of communal, precapitalist nature, i.e. we dive into ideology, (b) we extol systems of accumulation and production of a distant past to reject the present conditions without any plan or desire to implement them, i.e. mythology, or (c) we stress moments and characters of the past that best suit the interpretation of our own present while ignoring its rough edges and catastrophic contours, thus importing the return of those unvalidated dreams, i.e. utopia. I just had a chance to travel throughout parts of the oldest territories of Aragon, one of the uppermost regions of Spain close to the border of France between the Basque country and Catalonia. I had a crash chance of revisiting its architecture, landscape, and language. I talked to many people and trekked


through valleys, villages, and riverbanks. Everywhere I saw a rural architecture suspiciously correct, with the latest buildings sheepishly homogenized to a vernacular construction vocabulary. To my frequent surprise and delight I found myself talking left and right to individuals and whole families from Bulgarian, Romanian, Slovenian, and Croatian descent; this is what you would call the new Aragonese. We never sit in front of such a complex phenomena like a country for a period of several centuries. Mostly all of that happens in the distant past. We always tend to lean unobjectively on our preferences, expectations, or strategies. If we give up and turn to our present day strategies then we lean on ideology, seeing the past as a confirmation of our current plan; if we approach the past selectively as an escape from the present and as solution to the confusion and noise that the present carries with itself then we operate on mythology; and if we use it as a projection for our strategies or plans of intervention then we operate on a vision, a reading, an anticipation: a pre-vision of what will happen or has to happen, i.e. we operate on utopian register. We rarely approach a phenomenon as complex as the original era of a country from an objective, unbiased point of departure.

Museo Angel Orensanz y Artes de Serrablo

Parador de Alca単iz, Aragon


Very recently I had the opportunity to visit parts of the country in the Pyrenees (Northern Spain) where my ancestors were born and where I was born as well, and from where I have been completely absent for the last several decades. I was able to see, to some extent, the physical reconstruction of its architecture. In doing so I wondered if the reconstruction of a “local style” based on high chimneys, white chalked windows, and visible crests on windows and chimneys crowned with circled stone endings, was itself not forced upon the people and their architecture. The most refreshing discovery of cultural reconstruction could very well be in the field of music. First was the edition of ancient manuscripts of choral, liturgical, theatrical, and popular dramatic music such as The Sybil that cut across cultures and centuries in awesome, exuberant, and mysterious ways. The most successful reconstruction, I learned, has taken place in the reconstruction of the local language of the valleys of Echo, Anso, and the rest of Pyrenees… This generated an ample bibliography of which I was able to collect many samples. The closest in Spain to Scansen, the romantic rural village in the outskirts of Stockholm, is a square in Puente de Sabinanigo, which is flanked by the Museo Angel Orensanz y Artes de Serrablo (opened in 1979), a Stone church, the vegetable gardens around the square, the granaries, and the high stapled houses all around. Julio Gavin, the visionary who brought the churches and hermit chapels along the banks of the River Gallego (French) back from oblivion, and

Antonio Gudiol, the man who discovered The Sybil at the archives of the Cathedral of Huesca. Both helped Angel Orensanz with the consolidation of this museum and cultural project. Now, the objective of this report is not to produce a traveler’s notebook but to raise some thoughts on the use of history in our daily systems of communications. First of all, I noticed that the research establishments (University of Zaragoza, the Museum of the Cathedral of Jaca, the Departamento de Educacion, Cultura y Deporte del Gobierno de Aragon and other organizations) along with the local groups are joining efforts to redraw the age, role, and geography of the old Middle Ages of Spain and Europe. Aragon, located in the central Pyrenees mountains close to France, reappears as a stronghold of culture and the arts through fresh scholarship. More and more monographs are published on architecture, transPyrenaic architecture, the music trade, and the arts. For a taste of this, see the recordings of very early music associated with the Aragonese monasteries of Siresa, San Juan de la Pena and Loarre, and the Cathedrals of Jaca and Huesca. All this outpouring was not widely available ten and even five years ago. A new map is drawn of Aragon, a national designation much older than Catalonia, Navarre, and Spain itself, as a source of European and medieval culture that was accepted a decade ago. Once again, the periphery takes center stage. Evidently, this return to the past is loaded with large doses of ideology.

Pyrenees Mountains


the Aragon region

We entered the region coming from Zaragoza and traveled through the Puerto de Arguis into the comarca del Serrablo (Sabinanigo). We first entered to see the Puente de Sabinanigo, whose centerpiece is the Museo Angel Orensanz y Artes de Serrablo. First we encountered the Museo compound, which was made of a master house from around 1800 with all the integrity of a baronial house and the rural production of a self-sustained Pyrenees entity at the end of the 18th century. This house served as the centerpiece for a series of buildings that recreates an 18th century village around the square and the church. In many ways it reminds me of the Skandia, the Swedish village recreated in the outskirts of Stockholm. While I write these pages I am listening to the chant of The Sybil in my office on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This is a piece that mesmerized the entire Western world throughout the entire Middle Ages, mostly in the territories of the Crown of Aragon, from Jaca to Sicily to Athens. Once archived in the Cathedral of Huesca for hundreds of years, it is now well known throughout the entire territories of the Crown of Aragon. It seems that utopia, mythology and ideology are all summarized well again in the


territories of the old Crown of Aragon. When the fast train I was riding on whizzed through the plains of Central Aragon, I left the ash and mauve colored plains mesmerized & in a certain way very confused. I the train in Zaragoza whizzed by the deserted, grey lands of central Aragon to Madrid. The tourists moved bewildered from desk to desk having their tickets to distant destinations checked. The workers seemed depressed and unresponsive. They operate those gigantic elevators, halls, and screen dominated counters inside the big, half empty glass buildings. They had planned for a utopian future that now seems more distant than the evening news bulletins. The urban state planners of yesterday dreamt endlessly of millions of happy workers moving from the wet North to the sunny South. The leisure society of the European Community sociologists and urban planners now sell newspapers and sandwiches in the airport dining areas for the returning working class masses. Ideology has given way to mythology. Manhattan is just eight hours away. And the 1849 Angel Orensanz Foundation has opened its doors of the Sistine Chapel by the East River already. We would be in Manhattan by the early evening.

Walter Urbach

Presents two exhibitions at the Angel Orensanz Foundation from 2003:


We recently discovered these two archival videos in our collection, as we move ahead to process our video holdings from analog to digital. This episode of our program presents the exhibited artworks and includes extensive interviews with curators and artists.

During the opening Professor Dieter Ronte, director of the Kunstmuseum Bonn gave an introduction to Urbach’s work and curator Dr. Elmar Zorn gave an interpretation of the significance of the work in the context of contemporary European art.

Walter Urbach’s exhibit opened on January 5, 2003. It was a presentation of the Angel Orensanz Foundation in collaboration with the Kunstmuseum Bonn and sponsored by the Goethe Institute in New York.

Walter Urbach, an accomplished professional lithographer and graphic designer for almost 50 years, is a latecomer to the art scene. He has quickly caught up with his generation of artists and subsequently brought on a brilliant oeuvre.

The exhibition presented an installation titled “Papaver” consisting of eleven pictorial rolls, flying vertically 18 feet high and occupying the center of the main hall of the Foundation.

In his work the memory of colors transcends the original model, whether he paints a poppy or a volcano. His ambitous paintings, which encompass a huge area of his screens, are representa-



tive of geographically related memories. They convey a great sense of independence with the tone and colors that helps to focus the viewers eye while simultaneously leaving the rest of the canvas as a harmonious void in which the viewer can become lost.

These artists raise questions concerning gender without confining themselves by seeking nods of approval from formal emancipation; they consider female themes in the context of a more advanced discourse on femininity, and correspondingly represent it in their art.

The Femininity’s Redress show opened on January 20, 2003. Curated by Dr. Nina Zaretskaya, founding director of Art Media Center “TV Gallery” in Moscow this complex group exhibit presented works by women artists from both the Ex-Soviet Union and the United States, all of them born and raised in the former U.S.S.R.

The video includes interviews with the participating artists. The exhibit was a collaboration of the Angel Orensanz Foundation and the Art Media Center “TV Gallery” with the support of The Network Women’s Program of the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation, Moscow).

The exhibition exposed the viewpoint of these artists, all of whom are connected to the Russian women’s movement. This movement, while it has absorbed international experience in a constructive way, is still in the process of trying to find its voice. Their work can still show us just how the movement differs from its Western counterparts.


Pascale Lafay, winner in Cannes of the

“Angel Orensanz Award viff 2012”

Cannes, France, May 22, 2012. The jury that awards

(Marsella), Provence; Serge Necker, director of the

the Angel Orensanz Award Aviff 2012 of the Cannes

Castle de Buzine (Cote d’Azur”; Bernard Pesce

Film Festival has just granted Pascale Lafay for her

(photographer), and finally Fabrice Berg, sound

film “Ouvre les yeux” (Open your eyes).

designer, art director and music programmer.

The work of Pascale Lafay competed for this award

The Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York,

with another 24 films from Europe, Latin America,

through its digital communications system, web

Africa, Israel and the USA.

All the selected and

pages and streaming will include ample information

awarded films will presented in Prague and South

about the award and its participants during the

Africa as an extension of the movie award during the

upcoming months.

upcoming weeks. Angel Orensanz is known internationally, mostly, The large group of directors and producers that

for his sculptorical work, his drawings, engraving,

participates in this Festival comes from regions

performances and installations. His film work has

as diverse as Iran, The Check Republic, Lithuania,

been recognized in festivals and museums from

Mexico and South Africa. The jury of this festival was

all over the world such as Sundance Film Festival,

made of Dominique Juan, Director of Coste Magazine

Moscow, MOMA, Whitney, New Delhi and Tokyo.



ANGEL ORENSANZ IN ART BASEL 2012 PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Art Basel Switzerland. June 18, 2012. Yesterday, during the closing hours of the Art Basel 12, sculptor Angel Orensanz convened a large audience in the press area of the Fair precincts to explain the role and sense of the art printed press in a time of digital communications. First of all, sculptor Angel Orensanz expanded on the sense, reach and goals of his Foundation in New York. He explained that he managed to salvage one of the oldest buildings in the US and made it into a vibrant arts center; with no state help, but with the support and response of the arts community that includes Alexander McQueen, Philip Glass, Jerry Adams, Spike Lee, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Maya Angelou, Elie Wiesel, Spielberg and Mark Zukerberg among many others. He was asked as well for the magazine Artscape. Angel Orensanz explained that the magazine has been published for the last ten years covering the arts in all fields. It gets contributions from several countries but mostly from the US. A dedicated team of writers,

designers and internet workers is constantly involved in the magazine’s printed and on line designs. We reach tens of thousands of readers through our printed edition but mostly through our digital, on line edition. Several members of the audience asked Mr. Orensanz for his future plans for the magazine and for his own personal sculpture projects. He said that the magazine production office in New York was planning to expand its reach to a worldwide access through social media outlets; to reach some 800 thousand to two million readers monthly. Some people were very eager to know about Angel Orensanz recent opening of a major exhibition in Barcelona. Angel Orensanz spoke at length about his exhibition in Barcelona that encompasses a huge garden with his fabrics plus an indoors gallery where large mural reliefs in various materials represent his various epochs in the city. Angel Orensanz grew up in Barcelona and was educated at its university and has built no less than 15 major sculptures for the city.

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Newsletter #18