WEEKLYREPORT APRI L28-MAY122011
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Hot from the Archive Alexander McQueen Tribute
Alexander McQueen From the Orensanz Foundation to the Metropolitan Museum. A rebel ascends to the Olympus.
Crispin, a young British lad had met Angel Orensanz in Holland Park back in 1984. He brought Alexander McQueen to our space for his Dante’s Inferno which he brought to our venue in March of 1998. The first day he came he jumped from the main floor to the stage. Embraced Angel Orensanz and said: “It is going to be frightening, unforgettable. You will see a sea of horns, skeletons and moving antelopes”. It was March of 1996. The last time I saw Crispin was a windy day of March 85, at the crossing of Broadway and Houston. In hushed words he told me that he had to leave the country under some immigration constrictions. Crispin helped organize the space under the personal supervision of McQueen himself. He put bleachers at both sides of the main space under the soaring vaults of the Foundation’s blue 64’ ceiling.
spoke British English. Unstoppable sneaking processions of models were moving between the main space and the downstairs. It was as if an underworld from some ancient’s caverns in Scotland, Ireland and Norway had broken open in a Walpurgis night.
On opening day the space filled fast; and hundreds of people occupied the whole stretch of Norfolk Street from Stanton to Houston. How did everyone in the crowd know about Alexander McQueen? Traffic stopped dead in the block. I came out. The correspondents of Giornale della Sera, Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeiting, France Soir and CNN had made it late and were perched on the fence of the school across.
Like in the Hegelian imprecation of the early 19th century, we could say. Rest in peace, Alexander, after your poetic dark, revolting paranoia that marks your embrace with New York now you ascend the granite ionic steps of the New York Parthenon of New York. The exhibition will be May 2 through 30.
I retreated in panic and emotion. I tried to exit through the service door in the lower level. Anne Spindler from the New York Times grabbed my arm and told me: “Al, I am Anne Spindler from The NYT. Take me inside”. I did. I grabbed her arm to protect her and we walked upstairs to the balcony level avoiding the security retinue, and the mob of models, make- up artists and poseurs who have invaded every corner of our space. Once Anne was seated I came downstairs. Most people in the balcony levels
Alexander McQueen back to the Angel Orensanz Foundation. It was June 2002 when McQueen and Steven Klein came back to the Angel Orensanz Foundation. A series of dark angels were floating above the stage of our building for W Magazine, and to celebrate the opening of his store on West 14th Street. Nine years later, the dark angels of Alexander Mc Queen flew from their tormented suspension at the Angel Orensanz Foundation and to an airy apartment in Holland Park where he suspended himself.
Daphne Guinnes has just put on the air an homage to Alexander McQueen, entirely shot at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, and made part of this Weekly report, in which Indrani and GK Reid tape and photograph the British super value of fashion and performance making her recreate through the Gothic, the soul, spirit and mind Alexander McQueen through the very atmospheric spaces that he inhabited fifteen years ago. Click here for the video. Al Orensanz
Alexander McQueen New York debut in 1996 at Angel Orensanz Foundation Photo by ÂŠ Catherine McGann
In the other page: W magazine photoshot for Alexander McQueen in 2002
At Angel Orensanz Foundation “Antes que anochezca”
An exhibition by Aisar Jalil dedicated to the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas Trained as a sculptor at the Repin Academy of Fine Arts in Leningrad, Jalil Aisar unveils the relationship between volume and space. For him, the canvas is more than a surface; it is a deepness, a void where depth and volume take form as a load of meanings that dominate one’s daily life, one’s way of seeing the world, and one’s desire to enter the human dimension. His propensity to focus on a hazy Renaissance perspective could make us think of a traditional landscape. However, the cumulative density of his beings, - their comings and goings, ups and downs-, creates confusion between time, matter and spatiality. We can see mutant beings present everywhere, experiencing thousands of situations for better or for worse. It is no coincidence that they appear at dusk just “before night”, when it seems serene and the thickness of the ensuing day becomes calm. So, this revolution is a state of uncertainty, a state of “not being.” Earlier paintings reveal exalted bodies in a feverish erotic dance; however, the drama of this cloud of amorphic, zoomorphic and androgynous beings, contrasts with the delicacy, harmony, peace and joy of the “landscapes” in the background. This symphony of winged creatures instantly displays the climax of a scene, thought or action. We are all there, victims and offenders, whom eventually turn on each other, liable because of our imperfections and threatened by our awareness of being prisoners of evil. The struggle hurts and even disturbs us. The romantic and contrasting light stands for hope and a way to go. Such a dramatic moment reveals, in every one of us, a desire, a
necessity to get somewhere. We may speak of a symphony of the disturbance, alteration, nonstillness, as in the climax of a play. Everybody wants to rise, transcend, or even soar from the condition of strange creatures, cockroaches Kafkaesque, pigs with wings, incomplete bodies, men with pointy ears, kinked worms, single-celled beasts. This is more than a destination, a status transition from vertigo and impossibility. We do not know if these winged beings have moved forward or backwards. Where once the figures stood out on nothing, on neutral space, on colors, now they are outlined as antagonistic and complementary in two distinct scenes, one figure failing to penetrate or to be attracted by the other. This seems to say that there is a perfect state, a balance of nature, a power that comes from contemplation, which few have been able to reach, explaining this pathetic impulse. Only one painting preserves peace; its characters are posing naked, beaconing you. Nobody knows whether they came before or after the time of change, but they are serene and show us a new way. Dannys Montes de Oca Moreda. Havana, April 2011.
Angel Orensanz Foundation proudly hosts Aisar Jalil’s exhibition “Antes que Anochezca” Opening reception May 4 6-8 pm On view at Angel Orensanz Foundation from May 4 until May 16. 10 am - 17 pm. Please click here for the online catalogue
At Angel Orensanz Foundation Festival of Ideas for the Future city The Reconfiguration of the Lower East Side Round table at Angel Orensanz Foundation, May 8. 2011 Guests: Al Orensanz, Frank Gerard Godlewski, Diane Lewis, Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, Aida Miron 6-8PM: Round table (30-45 min for Q&A) in the main space of the foundation – refreshments. ~ How maintaining and giving new life to landmark buildings re configured the Lower East Side, increased real estate values, created new and desirable public venues and encouraged investments in good developments? ~ What is the impact of removing a historical landmark? 1) Frank Gerard Godlewski’s statement in brief Before some of the Lower East Side’s original buildings evolved into expensive co ops and public venues, many were neglected and in great disrepair. Now these buildings represent some of the most expensive and desirable real estate in the world. For the most part, these buildings were single owner operated. With the event of rent control, landlords could scarcely afford to maintain these buildings and their mechanical systems in sound operation. Prevailing unsafe conditions and fatalities leads to the institution of the NY Local Law 10 of 1980 and now known as Local Law 11 of 1998. This law enforces the inspection and maintenance of buildings of six stories or more, in cycles of every six years. A structural conditions report must be filed with the NYC Building Department disclosing all of the unsafe conditions and the building owner has one year to repair the deterioration in order not to loose the Certificate of Occupancy. This procedure is extremely costly but constant maintenance and repairs of these buildings have caused a notable increase in real estate values.
Because of all of these maintenance issues, regulations and costs, today’s building technology has shifted to those “twisting glass spikes” that we see going up all over Manhattan. The glass skin will require practically no maintenance or expensive repairs. But despite the constant maintenance and expensive repairs, landmark buildings are valuable real estate that are certainly worth maintaining because they make all of our real estate and neighborhoods more valuable. Old buildings are far superior to the newer constructions for their grand spaces, human scale and great locations craftsmanship and fine materials. New York’s façade inspection law started off as a hindrance to preserving our past (somehow it seemed less complicated to just remove a vintage façade) but it just became a means to promote the welfare of our past. But the constant maintenance and repairs of these buildings have caused a notable increase in real estate values. Frank Gerard Godlewski will also address the five significant technical historic preservation criteria allowing a building to be granted as a Landmark: -The building is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history. - The building is associated with the lives of persons significant in our past. - The building embodies distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction that represent the work of a master, that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction. - The building yields or may be likely to yield information important to prehistory or history. - The building is otherwise of particular historic significance to its location by reflecting or exemplifying the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state, region or community.
2) Al Orensanz’s statement in brief The benefits of landmark First of all, landmarks both old and contemporary preserve the identity of a neighborhood. What separates one urban area from another is precisely the character of their buildings, parks, bridges, and service conglomerates… Landmarks serve as orienting markers for the residents and visitors as well. People give first the addresses of a building of an area by numbers but almost inexorably add a “marker”: that address is next to Grand Central, across from the UN, right on Times Square…. Finally, landmarks set the record of the character of the city throughout the different periods of its history, its immigrations, successive uses, etc. Not so many individual landmarks but the networks of them: temples, synagogues, industrial enclaves, educational organizations, service outlets … are all endowed with character and attractiveness. Thousands of visitors “need” to see specific neighborhoods or specific buildings for different purposes. They drive tens of thousands or visitors and constitute a most significant source of revenue for the city and state budgets. The problem of loosing landmarks Landmarks are not just aesthetic and historical references. They preserve a most vivid and accurate record of the various periods of the life of the city. By losing them, the city loses its identity. It loses its attractiveness. Landmarks are the only “marks” of eventful situations or facts that changed the direction of the history of the country or the city. The loss of its landmarks deletes the city and its areas of its attractiveness, its aura and the accumulation of historical memory. The basic approach to maintain landmarks building in strong, productive, contributing value to the neighborhood and the city is to making them “useful” again; to return them to occupied, active, creative, contributing to the community. That can be achieved through a change of use like a museum, an educational, cultural or public service use. Buildings have to be productive and active entities in the life of the city; not just “curiosity spots” for gregarious tourists. Landmarks should sustain themselves with their own means, once they have repaired, and returned to productive life. 3) Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa’s statement in brief The heterogeneous city and its relationship to The Sustainable City
Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa will address the City and its structure. We will develop ideas in regards to the city structure, its regulations, the pressure of zoning envelopes that regulate and control the form of the city aiming for stability, and in contrast, the continuous flux of information that continuously produces pressure and induces instability and displacement to these structures. Examples of these questions will address Landmark Preservation and conceptual questions in regards to the evolution of the city; and for instance, trace possible relationships between Landmark Preservation and Environmental preservation. 5) Aida Miron’s statement in brief I would like to focus on the notion of memory and place, in the instance of preserving a landmark building, while addressing the possibility of a change of internal program. The issues of a reconstruction of place always address specificities of history as confrontations with contemporary urban contexts, and possible erasures. How does real estate enter the dialogue of preservation, and how does this become a double bind in certain situations? Before crossing the difficult path of remembrance and reconstruction, one must cross fields of politics, translations, memories and erasures. I would like to compare the possibility rehabilitation in a place such as the Angel Orensanz Foundation of the Arts with the transformation of the former central synagogue in Kuldiga into a library in a small town in Kuldiga, Latvia. How do we address the urgency of preservation as well as the urgency of remembrance in places, which face the possibility of complete erasures? The reconstruction of the Kuldiga synagogue is not an issue measurable in square meters, how does this come face to face with a real estate and developer who thinks only in these terms? What are the dangers of reconstructions? Is it possible to preserve the shell of a building without listening to the ethical pleas emanating from certain places? One has to see that this is not only on a local scale. I would like to compare the transformation of the former Ansche Chesed synagogue and the Kuldiga synagogue and the difference in their programs; emphasize the differences, and the possible lessons from one’s success to the others unknown future. Following the thoughts of Paul Celan’s: “Whichever stone you lift you lay bare those who need the protection of stones… whichever word you speak you owe to destruction.”
Please click here for the festival website
On TV Arts from the Orensanz Art events recorded at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, New York City (2003-2011) A weekly TV program on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Every Tuesday at 7:30 PM Time Warner Channel 67
Arts from the Orensanz” is a program of contemporary art and cultural events carried live on Norfolk Street. The program also features newly edited videos based on the foundation’s rich archival collection of work created by Angel Orensanz.
PROGRAM May 3, 2011, 7:30 pm “About Human Rights” by Al Orensanz Ph.D. The interviews Al Orensanz recorded in the fall of 2008 were dedicated to Human Rights discussions in reflection to the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights in Paris, 1948.He talked with French politician Jack Lang, who currently serves in the National Assembly, and with Dr. Noel Brown, President of Friends of the United Nations. Previously, he served as the Director of the United Nations Environment Program, North American Regional office. May 10, 2011, 7:30 pm Public Art Installations of Angel Orensanz (2011) This short film presents public art installations of Angel Orensanz and includes a panel discussion with Jonathan Goodman, Lilly Wei, Robert C. Morgan, Ruth Perez-Chavez and Ann Landi. The five art writers and curators discuss, analyze and theorize around the exhibit and book “Earth: DeathBirth” by Angel Orensanz that was part recently part of a major retrospective of Angel Orensanz at the Museum of the Russian Academy in St. Petersburg.
Producer: Al Orensanz / Assistant Producer: Maria Neri / Program Director: Klara Palotai
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Published on Apr 29, 2011