NEWSLETTER #22 Contents
12 Director Al Orensanz Graphic Design Isaac Dlugacz Articles Cathleen Oberholtzer Sana Qazi Derek Bentley
16 A Portrait of America Show Report..................................4 Transparent Matter: Matter/Light Relaunch...................8 Warhol at the Met............................................................12 The Fluidity of Structure....................................................16
A PORTRAIT OF AMERICA:
Premiere at the Angel Orensanz Foundation
On November 26th 2012, the Angel Orensanz Gallery proudly hosted the opening of A Portrait of America in collaboration with the Joy Wai Gallery. Inspired by by Obama’s re-election and gaining American citizenship, Joy Wai’s latest exhibit revolves around the theme of America and it’s society today; the good and the bad. Curated by Ramses Granados, the exhibit features 45 works by 19 different artists. The exhibit’s exclusive opening night at the Angel Orensanz Gallery welcomed over 100 guests including both artists and art lovers alike.
the occupy Wall Street Movement that had recently started. In addition to the works being contemporary and relative to time, they carried very powerful and raw messages. Guiliano Bekor’s Yes We Can is a photograph that portrays a man’s genitals that are dressed as Uncle Sam. The artist does not withhold his views, which are clearly seen in the work that is quite forward and blunt, to say the least. The upfront nature of the piece clearly displays the lack of filters or constraints in the art, the artist, and his views, a theme common to all the pieces presented in the exhibition.
As guests enjoyed orderves and wine, they beheld a unique view of America through a lens of fine contemporary art.
Each artist freely captured and displayed the way they see America and its people. From pictures of protests, fireworks, or a grand depiction of a dollar bill, they let viewers peer into what America is from a variety of different angles. By doing so the exhibition is a collective display of serious works, great visuals, and deeper connotations. The works display everything; the good, the bad, the vulgar, the wild, the tame, the quiet, and just America as is.
The art was not only contemporary in it’s artistic genre, it was contemporary in reference to time as well. Wall Street by the Phantom Street Artist depicts the words “$treet Wall” , with the “A” in “wall” being circled with a slash and just underneath the words lies an outline of the upper body of a man with his fists against the wall. The work is a screen capture of what looks like graffiti and aerosol can styled work that has drip marks throughout. The piece has a contemporary street art style with the edge of an economic reference to Wall Street. Though the work is dated from 2008, it still manages to remain completely up to date with
A Portrait of America is now open through December 31st, at the Joy Wai Gallery.
page 4 In the Red Christian Hooker Digital Print, 2011
top left Worm (f) Giuliano Bekor Photography, 2012
top right Worm (m) Giuliano Bekor Photography, 2012
above Freedom Ainâ€™t Cheap Daniel Ash Mixed Media, 2012
The Joy Wai Gallery Presents
A PORTRAIT OF AMERICA
Commemorating Visions of Hope, Loss, and Celebration: 2008-2012 Continuing at the Joy Wai Gallery (122 W 18th street NY, NY 10011) until December 31st, 2012. For appointments call 646.688.3155 | www.joywaigallery.com
Visionary Theoretical Notes on the Upcoming Exhibit
For the last 50 years, American engineers and scientists have transformed the way we see and conceive the urban landscape. As in so many other areas of American culture, the story involves a strong intermingling of European and American research and experimentation. Seminal and provocative concepts from the Bauhaus and other German artistic movements as well as from Hungary, France, Holland, England, and Italy were joined to those of early American dissenters, in the process changing our entire visual vocabulary and grammar. A key figure in this process is certainly Gyorgy Kepes (19062001), possibly the most seminal thinker in contemporary art and architecture, who is to be joined by Colin Rowe (1920-1999), Robert Slutzky (1929-2005), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) and Mies van der Rohe 1886-1969), among the towering figures to develop new conceptualizations. Angel Orensanz’s exhibition “Matter/Light” presents a major segment of this new style of work, consisting of 8 boxes lined up on the Museum level of the grand hall of the Foundation. These boxes burst into the surrounding darkness like windows into outer space, or eighteen individual vantage points into a world of visual poetics. In each box, viewers experience double or triple layers of imagery. The phenomenal transparency provides a conceptual tool that allows one to peel off layers of imagery and narratives. As Gyorgy Kepes might have remarked, the figures in the acetate are superimposed on images of the waterfalls of Wales, and the layer of distant sunsets, in a succession of refractions, and pile up one on top of the other without any “visual destruction” of any of the layers. This exhibition Matter/Light is being presented at the Angel Orensanz Foundation in New York City’s Lower East Side from December 28th until February 28th.
Y SHOW 2013
Piers 92 & 94 March 7 - 10, 2013 New York City 11
WARHOL AT THE MET By Cathleen Oberholtzer
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a not so secret gem of New York City, a must stop for art enthusiasts. Whether they are residents of the bustling Big Apple or tourists, the MET is a place that has something for everyone. It is home to some of the greatest pieces of art in the world, ruins of Egyptian temples, and rooms full of the work of famous artists such as Van Gough. But perhaps even more exciting would be the hundreds of different events and programs that the MET offers – both for the older guests and younger. It is through these different events that the MET presents visitors with special exhibitions. One such special exhibition would be the recent event Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, which opened on September 18th at the MET. It primarily showcases the work of the ground breaking pop artist Andy Warhol. Not only that however, the event shares the work of numerous other artists that have been inspired or have done work to pay homage to Warhol as well. Warhol first began to draw at age 8, when he was bedridden with Chorea. It was his Mother who first taught him about art, and from that day he continued drawing and expressing
himself through his art. After graduating from Carnegie Institute for Technology he moved to New York City, where he began a career in advertisement. It was through his success in that field that he began to develop his style that would later make him famous. It was in the 60’s that he began to create more and more of his “pop art” pieces. Through his critique on consumerism and his depiction of celebrities Warhol created a style that still enjoys fame and popularity even to the present day. Now, fifty years since the debut of the iconic Campbell’s soup cans, the MET celebrates him. The exhibit has been broken up into five sections in order to properly display Warhol and other contemporary works from such artists as Ai WeiWei, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Takashi Murakami and others. “Daily News: From Banality to Disaster” focuses on the consumerism of American culture, including advertisements, tabloids and magazines. It is in this section that his Campbell’s soup cans can be found, along with his silkscreened paintings of Coca-Cola bottles. The next section, aptly titled “Portraiture: Celebrity and Power” display his most notable
portraits of numerous celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy. “Queer Studies: Shifting Identities”, the third section, focuses on the important role Warhol played as an artist who pushed the boundaries and broke new ground in the representation of sexuality and gender. With a television set up in the room guests are given the chance to watch one of Warhol’s films, Lonesome Cowboys. The fourth section “Consuming Images: Appropriation, Abstraction, and Seriality” explores Warhol’s groundbreaking techniques of using pre-existing photographs that he would repeat in grids, from CocaCola bottles to Marilyn Monroe’s lips. The final section, “No Boundaries: Business, Collaboration, and Spectacle” gives an insight on Warhol’s partnerships with others through his filmmaking, publishing, music and design. This section also shows how Warhol enjoyed creating an environment that would immerse his audience. It is fitting then that the exhibition ends with a room full of silver balloons that float lazily through the air. The interactive end to the exhibit was a delightful addition to an already enjoyable exhibition. Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years is showing at the MET through December 31st.
G IN M CO
N O SO
THE FLUIDITY OF STRUCTURE By Derek Bentley
Buildings are always sailing in a stream of constant motion. In other words, we never enter or exit the same building twice. Things are what they are, but they are also constantly in transition, or in a flexible state of being. This concept can be explored through one of the most emblematic buildings of world architecture – the Temple of Solomon. Over the past 3000 years it evolved from its conception and materialization, according to the plans of King Solomon as depicted in the Book of Kings, to its successive erosions and destructions, partial recoveries, political idealizations and utopian conceptualizations. All of those states represent different stages of reality, irrespective of the actual bodily existence of the temple itself. It is important to note that the Temple of Solomon existed intact for 350 years, long enough to affirm itself as a major factor and generator of ancient history. Chapter 6 of the First Book of Kings gives the precise dimensions of the temple (90 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet high), its construction methods, materials, architectural and contractual procedures and the purposes and goals of its master design. In 586 BC, the Babylonians destroyed the temple beyond repair. The Second Temple was built when the Persians took over from the Babylonians, and King Cyrus allowed the Hebrews to return to Jerusalem and build a second temple on the site of the first. Finally, King Herod the Great, whose rule began in 37 BC, restored the second temple, only to have it be completely destroyed by the
Romans under Titus Flavius Vespasianus in 70 AD. Since then it has exercised the same power - if not more - over the ancient, classical and contemporary mind that it did when it was standing tall. In many ways, with the passage of time, the Temple of Solomon has predominantly become a mental or ideal construct. In October 2000, contemporary philosophers Jacques Derrida, Ronell Avital and Gayatri Chakavrorty Spivak, held a conference at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, under the auspices of the NYU School of Arts and Art Professions, entitled “The depth of text and the pleasure of the word. A philosophical discussion on deconstruction.” Several aspects of the presentations evoked the role of the ruin as a source of inspiration for the creative mind. Derrida, who had been in Los Angeles during the riots that burnt portions of the city, reminded us that many cities in the world had been targeted, wounded, bombed and invaded, transformed into heaps of burning cinders, ashes and ruins, and yet continued to foster volcanoes of energy for rebuilding and renewing themselves. (This was among Derrida’s last presentations in the US, as he died in Paris in 2004, at the age of 74.) One of his lasting statements from that night was that any construction requires a fundamental departure from a prior ruin, that pre-existing conditions of debris, confusing origins and alienation precede the appearance of any new cultural emblem. He was speaking from one such construction, Ansche Chesed, presently the Angel Orensanz Foundation. 17
Ansche Chesed, located on Norfolk Street in Lower Manhattan, was built in 1849 and opened in 1850. It marked a major departure in synagogue design, construction and use. The bimah or pulpit was placed in front of the Ark facing the congregation, looking west. There was a big organ accompanied by an orchestra in the choir loft, and a chorus of men and women, Jews and Christians. The service was done mostly in German, and there were generous ornamental references to the Cathedral of Cologne in the exterior of the temple. Buildings create life-changing experiences for both the builder and the user. When Spanish born sculptor Angel Orensanz arrived in New York in the early 1980s, he found the building at 172-176 Norfolk Street in a state of total, absolute chaos – sad, silent and derelict to the point of facing the wrecking ball and its conversion into something else amid the economic and demographic collapse of its surrounding neighborhood. The City of New York had posted a UBN (Unsafe Building Notice) sign on its façade, justifying its imminent demolition. The surroundings of Norfolk Street were no more encouraging – the entire area was in decay. Orensanz purchased the building from the hands of avid developers, and stressed its use, tradition and meaning over its economics. In a video from 1987, Angel Orensanz says: “This place is like a cloud, a forest, or cave. Without it, life in New York for me would be impossible, unbearable.” However, dealing with a huge skeleton of a building was a most challenging task of conservation, maintenance and transformation from ruin into studio space. Soon after the arrival of Orensanz to Norfolk Street, the German Consulate established contact with the artist for exhibitions and musical productions. The similarities with the Cathedral of Cologne were established and confirmed. The German Consulate in New York and the German community gathered at Norfolk St. to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and German Unity Day in 1990. Then, in 1994, the director of the Museumdienste from Berlin, the director of the Bethanien Kunstlerhaus in Kreuzberg, Elmar Zorn, an art curator from Munich, and several other German art directors visited the Orensanz building and remarked that the blue ceiling and remnants of the faded gold stars pointed to Karl Friedrich Schinkel, the quintessential architect of Berlin, who used blue ceilings and gold stars profusely throughout his buildings.
This discovery led to conversations with the American Association of Friends of Schinkel under the direction of Professor Susan M. Peik, who discovered that the building was not derived directly from the Cathedral of Cologne, but rather was based on the floor plans, elevations and general design of the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche in Berlin, built by Schinkel in 1831. To the minds and hearts of 19th century Germans, the Sistine Chapel represented the epitome of the Renaissance and true classical art. Winckelman, Goethe, Schinkel, and the vast German colony in Rome, had a deep attraction to the Sistine Chapel. So it is perhaps not surprising, that the Norfolk Street synagogue bears striking similarities to Rome’s Sistine Chapel in its dimensions and distribution of interior space – notably with two windows on the Eastern wall (which are now covered in the Sistine Chapel, but were open until Michelangelo’s arrival); six windows at the top of the North and South walls; blue ceilings and gold stars in the barreled ceilings. (The stars and blue ceilings in Norfolk Street were visible up until the 1920s, when it became an Orthodox synagogue, was renamed “Ansche Slonin” after the Bielorussian city of Slonin, and the deep blue and gold stars were replaced by a uniform light blue, and folksy motifs were applied to the ark and surrounding walls.) However, the story does not end there. The Sistine Chapel itself was built between 1475 and 1483, in the time of Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere, who insisted that the measurements and as many features as possible replicate those of the Temple of Solomon. It is rectangular in shape and measures 40.93 meters long by 13.41 meters wide, the exact dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, as given in the Old Testament. It is 20.7 meters high and is roofed by a flattened barrel vault, with little side vaults over the centered windows. Thus, from Jerusalem, to Rome, to neoclassical Berlin, to the banks of the East River in Manhattan, one cannot help but think that history is dialectical, not linear, and that its development passes through reversals and denials, but always continues in disguised and covert ways until it recovers its course – the manifestation of freedom. previous spread: The Angel Orensanz Foundation interior far left: Artist’s depiction of the Temple of Solomon left: The Sistine Chapel interior right: Sketch of the Friedwichwerdesche Kirche in Berlin
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Published on Dec 21, 2012