ANGEL ORENSANZ FOUNDATION
NEWSLETTER February 2013 1
NEWSLETTER #24 Contents
18 Director Al Orensanz Graphic Design Yuliya Novosad Articles Al Orensanz Annie Dizon
While the Snow Falls on Manhattan................................ 6 The Installation Impact To An Art Novice.......................10 The Event: Venue, Design and Architecture of the Imagination.....................................18 The Armory Show 2013.....................................................24 3
Museum. Events. Art Gallery. 172 Norfolk Street, New York NY 10002 Tel. (212) 529-7194 www.orensanz.org 4
While the snow falls on Manhattan
The weather forecast was clear and assertive for the last few days. A blizzard is going to fall over Manhattan this weekend. This Saturday morning Angel Orensanz came to the doors of his Foundation building and started moving out and around with his adjuncts a big, transparent sphere around the park across from the Foundation. Everything happened like a ballet properly staged and paced. Color was added, plants and stems were added by the helpers. The still camera and the video started rolling on Norfolk St. 6
1986 to the Present: The Orensanz Years On one evening in February 1986, Angel Orensanz, having recently arrived from Atlanta, Georgia, took a stroll around the Lower East Side looking for a building where he could establish his studio. He walked from Delancey street, past the corner of Rivington and Norfolk streets, and up to Houston, finally stumbling upon the former Anshe Slonim synagogue on Norfolk Street. Grim, silent and abused, the building seemed to look grounded and frightened. Thomas McEvilley, an accomplished art critic and scholar, imagined the building sitting “like an ancient spirit with folded wings.” Orensanz moved up the steps and peeped through a crack in the cinderblocks covering the entrances. The sun was setting, casting a ray of light over the ark and the eastern wall of the temple. Support beams from the balconies were leaning into the main space, and the entire area was strewn with debris, broken glass, and decaying books. Orensanz still saw something wonderful in the space, and later set about locating the owner, a developer with numerous holdings in the neighborhood, who eventually sold him the building. Angel Orensanz had arrived in New York after doing sculpture projects in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Los Angeles, and other parts of the country. However, it wasn’t until after his return to Europe that he discovered the Lower East Side and was charmed by its European colors and flavor. Soon after purchasing the property on Norfolk street, he unsealed its doors and windows. He then had proper doors and windows installed to protect the space from pigeons and the wind and snow. Next he secured the floors and brought in electric light for the first time in years.
Coming Soon! 9
“Silk Constructs” (colorful disks) in Central Park, New York
The Installation Impact To An Art Novice By Anne Dizon
Impact. What is likely the strongest aspiration of any type of artist – many times more than the financial success of their work and showcasing opportunities – comes down to the natural impact their work can manifest. Since interpretation of artwork varies down to the individual, it is hardly a mystery why artists conceive inspiration partly on the audience’s personal reactions. The question that comes to mind: is the different experience of an art beginner witnessing installation artistry against a connoisseur’s skilled understanding of the work the more ideal disposition? Answers to the hypothesis would indeed be a divisive one, since it relies on the artist’s discretion. At times, certain works can be ambiguously complex and target a demographic more erudite in the industry. Otherwise, artists also appreciate a fresh perspective from anyone, even people who have limited art knowledge. The techniques used in mediums for instance: photography, paintings, and sculptures can range greatly; although, a common theme that binds them is how artwork comes down to the details. Precision is the opposite direction an artist initially attempts when coming across inspiration, since ideas for their next work can present itself at any given time or shape. As their idea becomes less indefinite, the more crucial certain aspects of their work must be done delicately. It is no different from when an artist decides to do entire art installation, which is an art genre that embraces the work’s ability of changing the perception of the space. Installations, which often require participation – the very least, a level of experience above mere observation - from the artist, the audience, or both, the artwork is brought to life exhibited in such a way that it transforms into mobile poetry between the creators/creation versus the viewer.
When the artist is piecing together certain ideas towards a blank canvas, the process acts as a parallel mirror for what the outside viewers visualize right before mentally dissecting the art to gain an understanding of its meaning. What makes in-person installations’ tendency to personally affect in such a way comes down to the art enthusiasts and onlookers. Looking through exhibits automatically make them a part of the installations themselves. Their curiosity alone transcends with what the artist hopes to be thought-provoking work. The use of interventions - by definition, to be the taking the art out to the people - is “a special way to push the boundaries to what is conventionally called as ‘art’.” As expressed by Angel Orensanz: “Art belongs to everybody.” Despite the meaning of art itself to be a constantly evolving mode of self-expression, the way it is understood opens the possibility of a completely different analysis by a tyro, with the likelihood of their understanding to be nothing like the artist’s initial thought process. A sample work, in particular, expressing the ostentatious yet innovatively simple was Angel Orensanz’s public display of the Silk Constructs (colorful disks) all over Central Park, New York, locations in Russia such as St. Petersburg, and even through the famous canals of Venice, Italy - a city that is constantly adorned by art. Onlookers are initially confused by the interventions infused with Orensanz’s eclectic and irreverent artistry style; however, as they quench their interest by examining and playing with the static pieces, they inadvertently mesh and become one with the installation through their instinctual actions: both adults and children alike. Thus, the results transform into a part of his vision: the art’s ability to be resurrected on its own and for the
â€œThe Titanic that never arrived to New Yorkâ€?
individuals to establish connections with not only his art, but also the inspiration that surrounds his work. Different types of installments stem from concepts that extend from well-known themes all the way to contents of the plainly obscure, such as the first introduction of “ugly-beautiful” undertones in art, architecture, marketing advertisements and even fashion. Some explanations on why the early beginnings of the trend were incredibly lauded are purely because it went against the contemporary perceptions of beauty; therefore, encouraging consumers and the everyman to question what they know. The work of Angel Orensanz himself has been previously described and noted as dabbling on the
eccentric side of art, seen through the lens of a different angle; in turn then compelling the audience to give the art second – and even third – glances. His installments with the colorful disks have worked well both outdoors and indoors, with the latter accompanied by video incorporations as well. Two examples of Angel Orensanz’s art installations containing universally recognizable characteristics was 2009’s “The Titanic that never arrived to New York” (floral installation that was developed over the floor of the interior of the Angel Orensanz Foundation building) and 2010’s “Floating Sistine Chapel” (an exhibition that used the building’s Notre Dame-like qualities to create
“Floating Sistine Chapel” 13
an homage through fabric constructs). The former comprised an area of six thousand square feet and was available for public viewing for ten days. The showcase was merely a comparatively small display adjacent to the series Orensanz did as a whole. The story that accompanies the haunting exhibit touches on the bones of nostalgia as well as the bittersweet emotions within any viewer that can connect to the project’s tragic theme - with or without an art background. The latter installation is homage to the Renaissance era in New York City and is considered to be one of the more eminent installations by Angel Orensanz, with fans including music superstar Lady GaGa. Artwork done with dimmer territory arrives with both positive and negative attributes, depending on what type of work the artist is known for and whether or not the forms and direction are fluidly accordant to their previous projects. The latest and up-and-coming artists to the industry are fortunate in the sense that their professional reputation starts from a clean slate and preliminary efforts could potentially determine where they fit into the art world. Fresh artists that gain attention and cater to a very specific kind of audience right off the bat can face three probable providences. The first being a positive road, where the artist is praised as an innovator; the second being a cult figure and as an icon of his or her
particular brand; or the third being (in a negative light) labeled as having the ability to only produce an exclusive type of art, without reaching success with other genres. A huge majority of art usually falls in between the known and the unknown; rather, its purpose focuses more on a metaphoric statement while stilly carrying a universal message. One of the most remarkable narrative installments by Angel Orensanz was “Burning Universe”. The project introduces ideas of microseism within each concrete section, exemplifying the constant destruction and reconstruction of the planets. The use of light against the craftily placed chairs to resemble barricades encloses even deeper meanings, hoping to bring out raw emotions from the audience. New exhibits and gallery openings provide the artist opportunity to witness the organic responses from an audience that consists of eager-minded neophytes and everyday men along with worldly seasoned veterans of the art business. When all is said and done, the impact contained in the minutes it takes to witness a complex visual installment is stronger than the thousand words it takes an industry expert to describe a piece. Even through the eyes of a new apprentice in the art world, the messages strategically placed within the masterpieces can still whisper to one’s soul.
The Work of Transparent Matter by artist Angel Orensanz will be available at the Foundation starting March 8 with a delicious brunch and a talk on the â€œArts in the lower East Sideâ€?. The brunch will be held at the Museum level of the Angel Orensanz Foundation
The Event: Venue, Design and Architecture of the Imagination By Al Orensanz
The event is a social construct that was created and is being developed mostly in New York during the last 30 years. In it everything is being weighted, scaled and proportioned to prop the message of the night. The event serves inexorably and is created precisely to enhance and ultimately sell a product, a service or a cause. There are event planners, event designers, event locations, event florists, event entertainers, event publicists, event waiters and waitresses, event bands and event promoters. Well, let us say that there is an event industry, and that the event is becoming the social format par excellence in New York social culture and the culture of the night. Most of the time, it is a commercial and consumerist construct but serves equally humane, community, political, and cultural goals. There are several elements and dimensions that play a significant role in any given event; such as the space or locale, the music, the DJ performance, the drinks, the finger foods, the bars, the company, the chance encounters, the unexpected company, the speeches and presentations, the posters, the messages on the plasma TV sets, the attire of the participants, and the gifts or mementos that guests are given at the end when leaving the premises. The music is the architecture that envelops
everything, from beginning to end. The music gives the event full color, a specific level of the conversations, the stimulation of the senses, of the movements, of the tone of voice, of the theatricality of the gestures, and of the dress code. The event itself comes preceded and followed by many hours of preparation and dismantling. It basically takes one whole day of preparation and staging to be completed and ready; not to mention the many weeks or months of planning, decision making and post-production. The event brought to New York the relevance of the venue, or the location of the event. The space has to be outstanding and surprising, no matter how known it is and it has to offer a stage in which the message and the medium are one and the same. Conversation and the gestures are not lineal and private but eventful, dramatic, and communal. Some of them are legendary, such as Studio 54 and Limelight, The Boathouse in Central Park, Roseland, Blue Water Grill, Billâ€™s at Rockefeller; Cipriani Uptown, Cipriani Midtown, Cipriani Downtown and so many others. No other venue ever surpassed Studio 54 or The Limelight in New York City or all over the world for that matterâ€Ś
Studio 54 was always a popular and world-renowned nightclub after 1977. It was soon sold by founders and creators Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. It was called the most famous nightclub of all time and was a sophisticated, groundbreaking multi-media visual extravaganza. It continued to operate as a nightclub until 1991 by other owners. Located at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan, the space was originally the Gallo Opera House, opening in 1927, after which it changed names several times, eventually becoming CBS radio and television Studio 52. Since November 1998, it has been a venue for the Roundabout Theatre Company and is still called Studio 54, but is no longer a nightclub. In 1981, Rubell and Schrager sold Studio 54, but then opted to keep a lease. Later that year, the building was sold to Mark Fleischman with Rubell and Schrager staying on as consultants for 6 months afterward. Studio 54 reopened on September 12, 1981 with a guest list of Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Cary Grant, Lauren Hutton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Mark Gastineau, Gina Lollobrigida, and Brooke Shields. Emerging artists at the time, Madonna, Wham!, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Menudo, and RunDMC would perform at the club. Sculptor Angel Orensanz installed there in 1984 a large assemblage of his works
that played with the lights of the cabaret and its elevators as part of a movie shoot produced by the sculptor from Norfolk St. for Spanish Television; and distributed by many other European TV systems. As operator of Limelight, Tunnel, Palladium, and Club USA, native Canadian Peter Gatien was the undisputed king of the 1990s New York City club scene. The eyepatchsporting Ontario native built and oversaw a Manhattan empire that counted thousands of patrons per night in its peak years, acting as a conduit for a culture that, for many, defined the image of an era in New York. Then years of legal battles and police pressure-spearheaded by Mayor Giulianiâ€™s determined a strong crackdown on nightlife in the mid-90s, and led to Gatienâ€™s eventual deportation to Canada and to the shuttering of his glitzy kingdom. The Limelight was located in the Chelsea section of New York City. It was owned by Peter Gatien and opened in November 1983. It was housed in the former Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, a Gothic Revival brownstone building built in 1844-1845 and designed by architect Richard Upjohn. In the early 1970s, when the parish merged with two others, the church was deconsecrated and sold to Odyssey House,
The Limelight was located in the Chelsea section of New York City. 20
a drug rehabilitation program. Amidst financial hardship, Odyssey House sold it to Peter Gatien, a Canadian producer, in 1982. Located on Avenue of the Americas, at West 20th Street, Limelight originally started as a disco and rock club. In the 1990s, it became a prominent place to hear techno, goth, and industrial music, and to obtain recreational drugs. It earned the media’s attention in 1996, when Club Kid and party promoter Michael Alig were arrested and later convicted for the killing and dismemberment of Angel Melendez, a drug dealer at the club, whose body appeared floating in the East River of Manhattan. The Limelight was closed by the police, and subsequently reopened several times during the 1990’s. In September 2003, it reopened under the name “Avalon”; however, it closed its doors for good in 2007. Since May of 2010, the building has been in use as the Limelight Marketplace. The 2003 film Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green, was based on this event. It was shot entirely at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, in Lower Manhattan during the course of a seven-day shoot. The movie was about Angel who always flew to the Limelight with his wings open; the space was replicated at the Angel Orensanz Foundation very faithfully. Angel used to move throughout the Lower East Side dressed with wings. The Angel Orensanz building still incorporated its fabric into some interior furnishings and the space that operated as Peter Gatien’s office. Also, quintessential event planner Robert Isabell – who was behind lavish and innovative events including weddings and funerals of the richest and most famous - happened to be a strong event planning presence of the Angel Orensanz Foundation. He was brought and introduced to the venue by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Robert Isabell brought to the Angel Orensanz building his supreme decorative taste that has been later replicated by dozens of other events planners. Bruce Robert Isabell (June 2, 1952 – July 8, 2009) moved to New York City from the Midwest in the 1970s and was hired by Ian Schrager at Studio 54, after Schrager had seen the creative designs Isabell had developed while he was working for event planner Renny Reynolds who had done work at the club and was the leading planner in his day.
Bruce Robert Isabell
“a full-service event-production house” in the city’s West Village where he would oversee the creation of events around the world, in which the entire setting included flowers, lighting, sound and table decorations. Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine described him as “the king of the event world” who was “a magician” and the first person that top hostesses would approach to create spectacular events. Isabell created roughly 30 events for writer and editor Tina Brown. A resident of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, Isabell was found dead on July 8, 2009, aged 57, in his townhouse at Minetta Lane, where he had suffered a fatal heart attack.
He started on his own operating a floral shop within Bergdorf Goodman in Midtown Manhattan. Heestablished
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The Armory ShoW cenTenniAl ediTion PierS 92 & 94 nyc mArch 7â€“10 2013 CeLeBrAtinG the 100th AnniverSAry oF the 1913 ArMory Show The Armory Show Focus Group (2012), Liz Magic Laser, an Armory Show Commission produced in association with David Guinan of Polemic Media. Featuring focus group moderator Ben Allen of Labrador Agency.
The Armory Show 2013
Since its conception The Armory Show has been one of the most important art events in New York City, as well as one of the leading contemporary and modern art fairs internationally. For fifteen years now the show has graced Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River each March. It has gathered together artists and galleries from all over the globe, giving them a place to display their work and make connections that could very well be impossible without the fairs existence. From its debut in the Gramercy Park Hotel in 1994 the fair has grown immensely, evolving with each passing year. Due to its increasing size it was temporarily relocated to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, to which it now owes its current name. It has continued to expand, moving from the Armory to the piers on the Hudson, which is has called home ever since. With its massive reach it is no surprise that last year alone the Armory Show hosted 228 exhibitors – made up of local and international artists and galleries. It is with this global reach that the Armory Show holds a unique footing in the world of art fairs. The vast array of artists and galleries provides a comprehensive look at what is occurring in other countries in regards to the arts. It also allows people who might have never met a chance to connect. Galleries are able to network with artists from different countries, buying beautiful pieces of art to display. Meanwhile artists, both well known and up-andcoming, are able to interact with one another and make themselves known to the galleries. The Armory Show offers all who come hundreds of different sights. However, with its ever-evolving structure the Armory has taken a step further in making its fair more accessible. This past show the fair teamed up with Paddle8 to create an online, virtual tour of the exhibits. This tour has now opened the doors for people all over the world, and not just those fortunate enough to be able to visit New York City. Now anyone can see the art on display, the performances, and the other various events with just a click of the mouse. Not only that but it allows galleries that had not been able to attend the chance to see what artwork is available, giving artists even more of a chance to connect with art enthusiasts all over the world.
Broken up into countless of different sessions, the Armory Show has something for everyone. The main two exhibitions will be The Armory Show – Contemporary and The Armory Show – Modern. Together they showcase what many would consider the most important art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Modern show – located on Pier 92 – will have been a staple of the Armory Show for six years as of 2013. This section showcases world-renowned galleries who specialize in collecting Modern art. Each gallery featured in the Modern section contains artwork that holds a historical significance in the realm of modern art. Unlike the Contemporary section the Modern section takes up the entirety of Pier 92. It is not broken up into different sections. The Contemporary – located on Pier 94 – is of course full of contemporary art from all over the globe. The exhibition is world renowned, becoming the perfect place for artists to premier new pieces. Perhaps more important though is that the Contemporary is the place to showcase international galleries, as well as the place to find the up-and-coming artist, and as of last year the brand new section – Solo Projects can also be found there. The Contemporary is also the home to the Armory Focus show. Unlike the rest of the Contemporary and the Modern, the Armory Focus is an invitation-only section of the fair. For three years – as of 2012 – this portion of the show has focused on thriving art communities that are not well recognized. Last year the Armory Focus featured work from the Nordic Countries, recognizing the regions importance in the art scene. The show featured 19 galleries from the Nordics, each piece of art displayed or performance scheduled highlight the engaging and dynamic work of Nordic artists. The Armory Show is an innovative experience, raising the bar for art fairs around the world. The best of the best is gathered, regardless of notoriety, and given the opportunity to shine. Between Pier 92 and 94 there is something new and exciting for everyone. In 2013, the unique work of Angel Orensanz will also be on display, so don’t miss it!
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