Portrait of a Soul 04 Re-Telling 08 Possible Exhibitions 12 Systemic Risk 16 Argo 20 The Life Instinct 24 Juxtacombo 28 Videorover (Seasons III and IV) 32 ...Is This Free? 36 Lawn School 40 Special Projects 44
Just Like Turning 15 (Again) This 2011-12 exhibition season started on Grand Street, in our old gallery space, just two subway stops away from our current home. At this point it feels like a long, long time ago. After our move to this new gallery and office at 56 Bogart Street, NURTUREart was caught in (and contributed to) a vortex of events, collaborations, new projects, and ideas—a wave of change and exchange that has solidified Bushwick’s position on the international arts, culture, and style maps. This catalog documents the activity of the NURTUREart gallery between September 2011 and September 2012. During this period, we hosted a total of ten gallery exhibitions, over a dozen talks and lectures, several off-site exhibitions and screenings, and an increasing number of education workshops. Four gallery exhibitions, Videorover (our biannual video art program), and offsite exhibitions were selected from public open calls to artists and curators; two exhibitions featured artists or curators recommended by the Director; and one show was curated by the precocious public school students taking part in our Project Curate education program. Finally, our summer was reserved for an ambitious in-house project comprised of a three-part exhibition, curated bookshelf, and free educational programming, crowned by the publication of a book, …Is This Free?, that includes texts from prominent curators, artists, writers, and cultural operators. At 15 years of age, NURTUREart has never strayed from its mission to create opportunities for emerging artists, curators, and public school students. Our gallery, educational, and public programs help over a hundred emerging and under-represented art professionals every year, giving them a chance to learn, connect, and make their voices heard in a professional and supportive context. Tools like our online Registry for Artists and Curators and our Calendar of Opportunities are stronger and more popular than ever and our social media presence and relevance is increasing at a skyrocketing rate. Through all this growth, our constituency’s expectations are constantly set to new, higher standards, keeping us aware of how important it is to refine and expand our programs and publications. We plan to always maintain the level of quality, accessibility, and transparency that have become our trademarks. Thanks to you, NURTUREart has received unprecedented recognition, positive feedback, and attention in its 15th year. Our wish for increased public visibility was dramatically facilitated by moving to this easily accessible, creativity–rich location where we are now among our peers, in constant intellectual exchange and collaboration. It feels great. It’s just like turning 15 again: an age at which the past matters only relatively because the excitement of present-tense discoveries and the uplifting incognita of the future are so overwhelmingly exciting. Marco Antonini
Zoe Nelson/ Julian Osti/ Rachel Reese/ Milton Resnick
Portrait of a Soul Curated by Jay Pluck Sept. 23 / Oct. 24, 2011 This is a religious exhibition. There is a god in art-making that exists outside of the artist. In the best case, there is an open transmission between the two: they are engaged in the same act, making the same work. With hope, the artist is the work – then, by the grace of god, so is god. When looking at visual artworks, the criteria that helps me most is the degree to which the three – god, artist, artwork – line-up. We will not know any of the three in a whole sense by looking at a visual artwork in which they are less balanced but when the three portions are equal the most lucid understanding is possible. Personally, I first had an inkling of that understanding when I saw Hans Memling’s Portrait of a Man, a painting that explicitly transmits spiritual energy. Portrait of a Soul will present visual artworks concerned with the transmission of spiritual energy by arranging
a handful of works so as to form a “portrait” or description of that transmission. Memling’s portraits will be an ideal touchstone in discerning how artworks exceed realism and acquire spiritual weight. This exhibition asserts that the transparent and generous natures of contemporary art can more solidly and articulately lay bare the lyrical moment where god and artist are engaged in the same creative act. Because the contemporary artist is able to leave explicit evidence of the history of the work – from mark-making to the origin of found objects – the criteria inspired by Memling can be isolated. A selection of artists working with inferred gaze, gestural arrangement, and unique surfaces will demonstrate the acquisition of such criteria in a contemporary context. There are no traditional portraits in this group show; instead, the show itself is a portrait – in it, a vivid, trenchant spiritual resonance is rendered through subtle or dramatic means. Julian Osti’s Memorial exemplifies light, deft placement. The objects utilized are only the most essential – a single plastic flower would not be a bouquet and the paper is standard-size. The objective correlative is very generously at work. Osti is wondering openly about how to best assert his sense of justice – highly aware of consequences both expected and mysterious – and in doing so is accessing a high level of compassion. Rachel Reese works with graininess, graphite, and tone. Her works rise from deep unconscious memories and shared experience – she is interested in uniting the floating pasts of disparate viewers into a single non-exclusive image. Reese’s work is insistent in making concrete images from dim dreams; it is made more subtle by Reese’s folds, which are of a prescribed dimension but contain the active, living presence of the artist. In this work, the original images are obtained by photographing a carefully arranged diorama; the viewer’s
gaze is then chosen for them and honed through flattening. Milton Resnick was on a dogged spiritual quest. His work seems to be a constant attempt to further open a valve through which his work could be inhabited by both god and humanity. The elimination of content succeeds in the most enlightened way: the viewer is the creator but also the void. Untitled figure paintings in oil and sketches in gouache boil down archetypal poses into astral forms, figures and trees relating to each other only in the most essential senses of space and time. Resnick’s continued, daily attempts at the same subject matter show the driven energy of a craftsman aided by a higher power. Zoe Nelson is also a painter but boils those essential relationships of space and time down in a manner opposite to Resnick’s. She cuts away to eliminate / enrich and turns inward to make works about herself with a humility that prevents her from speaking for humanity. Because Nelson’s mark-making is explicit and her purpose inward, her works are portraits of herself as a painter; stretcher bars are visible and cut-out pieces often return to the composition. Gone Fishing is an active work, a testimony rendered by a specific gaze, a singular surface, and the twist – Memling-like – of head and shoulders.
Exhibition views. Photo courtesy Conrad Kofron.
Elia Alba/ Becca Albee/ LaToya Ruby Frazier/ Aaron Gilbert
Re-telling Curated by Melissa Levin Nov. 11 / Dec. 16, 2011 It might be that re-telling is implicit in art-making. There are some cases, however, in which it is revelatory. The four artists included in this exhibition conflate telling and re-telling – of histories, figures, cities, and relationships – visually destabilizing notions that we are led to believe are concrete. In many cases re-telling is a discreet revision of a history, a landscape, a narrative, a body; often a response to the initial telling being a gross glorification and romanticization. Most importantly re-telling can expose truths and lies, leaving fiction in its wake. Ultimately, these re-tellings lead to a questioning and a deeper understanding of the thing they set out to describe or investigate, closing-shut or tearing open the issue, or the story, at hand.
In an ongoing project that takes 1920sera movie actress Joan Lowell as its subject, Becca Albee employs photography, sculpture, video, and performance to piece together and pull apart the story of a life steeped in mystery and scandal. For instance, using images of vintage copies of Lowell’s popular autobiography, which was exposed as a complete fabrication by writer Lincoln Colcord, and his subsequently published parody, Albee’s works, The Cradle of the Deep, Joan Lowell, 1929, 1st edition and Salt Water Taffy, Cory Ford, 1929 point to and question the very ideas of autobiography, fiction, and parody. Albee has also created Skype performance: Parker Albee, Joan Lowell, and Lincoln Colcord, a performance with her father, a historian and specialist on Lincoln Colcord.
He tells Lowell and Colcord’s story over Skype, flipping through the pages of an original scrapbook kept by Colcord. By adding to the palimpsest of this fraught narrative, Albee continues to complicate the Lowell story and blur the line between fact and fabrication. In her work, Elia Alba revises what might be the most loaded image in art history, the figure. For her series Bodies, from which she presents studies here, Alba has turned to her own body. Small, naked and exposed, this figure somehow portrays strength in admitting vulnerability. Alba photographs herself, front and back, stitches the two-dimensional images together visibly with string, and ultimately creates distorted and deflated portraits. The idea of the portraits is classical, but the realization is completely altered. Her body folds in half, sagging into itself. Her treatment of the figure is both a nod to, and subversion of, tradition. Particularly in a world where bodies and faces are seen through a lens of perfection, Alba shows us our fragility and gives us back our humanity. LaToya Ruby Frazier addresses issues of social, economic, and environmental injustice in her work, focusing on her hometown of Braddock, PA, a historic town, home to Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill. Braddock saw a prosperous time, but the subsequent decline of the steel industry led to the demise of the town, environment, and community. In her series, Campaign for Braddock Hospital (Save Our Community Hospital), Frazier presents a series of photolithographs in response to a recent ad-campaign by Levi’s that uses, and romanticizes, Braddock’s anemic landscape as a backdrop and exclaims “Go Forth.” Frazier questions, “How can we Go Forth, How can we go forth when our borough’s buses and ambulances have been cut?” Further, how can we reconcile the Levi’s corporation’s ap-
propriation of the industrial landscape paired with a message of possibility, when the inhabitants of this exact place suffer from the loss of industry, losing not only access to opportunity, but also access to basic services at every turn. With a sensitive eye for teasing out and breaking down assumptions, Frazier confronts these incongruities. Aaron Gilbert reveals something new and uncanny about relationships in his paintings. He depicts relationships, between the figures represented in the works, as well as between him and his subjects. His treatment of the human figure is platonic and minimal. With stark features and muted tones, there is nothing representational and everything evocative about these figures. Their expressions are intense, their actions focused. Their situations can be violent as in Patricide or loving and intimate as in Love Scene. But in many ways this intensity is implied through subtle gestures and not aggressively thrust upon the viewer. Aaron has a way of trusting the medium and his depictions, including only what is essential in communicating the universality or impossibility of a particular relationship – between lovers, mother and child, father and son.
Possible Exhibitions x Jan. 13 / Feb. 10, 2012 Interstitial Realities by Marco Antonini Such inter-generationally famous videogames as Donkey Kong, Pac Man and Dig Dug are among many golden age arcades to share a fascinating characteristic: an unavoidable dead end that comes in the form of a “kill screen.” Kill screens are regular game levels in which the obsolete code (and hardware) of the game simply could not technically deal with the required incremental datachecks, bringing the images on screen to crash or behave nonsensically. Located at impossibly high levels, the fabled kill screen is an autonomous zone, a technical glitch originating a momentary interruption to logic and order. It is also a moment to be remembered forever. We are often brought to think that computers and other such high-end
toys are perfect machines. I remember a colleague in the design firm where I landed my first internship; PCs were his best friends because “If anything goes wrong, at least I know for a fact it’s my fault.” Reality is fortunately more interesting and surprising than that. A multitude of reasons can bring all sorts of technology (new and old) to develop nonsensical behavior and break the rules set for them by the engineers who projected them, the tools used to fabricate them and the behavior and choices of their final users. Considering how relevant and invasive a role technology plays in our daily lives, glitches, malfunctions and system crashes have been addressed by several artists who at different points and via different approaches, have tested the artistic potential of such interstitial events. One of Svetlana Mircheva’s early works, first presented in 2004 at
ZKM in Karlsruhe, documents randomly generated screen-crashes. Triggered by faulty graphic files on her old computer, the screen-grabs presented in Mistakes are totally out of the artist’s control and yet resemble beautifully woven 8-bit tapestries suggestive of both modernist and vernacular art. The etymology of the word “vernacular” comes from the name given to slaves that were born in their masters’ home; as an adjective, the word bears in its own roots an idea of dependence and submission. Computers are for Mircheva living beings, bent into submission and therefore incline to unexpected forms of rebellion. Every screen grab in Mistakes is a window open into the subconscious of a supposedly passive instrument. These fascinatingly fragmented images suggest the presence a creative potential, a glimpse offered by a supposed “malfunction” that the artist sees as a positive, creative moment. Mircheva’s interest in the grey zones between reality and imagination resurfaces in her recent project Saved Images, a collection of GIF files saved on an encrypted folder that she found to have been mysteriously copied on her hard disk. Printed large and small on various materials and displayed in different positions, the collection resembles a quirky, well-curated contemporary art exhibition. Their extreme visual diversity is unified by pixelation, a subtle hint to their provenance. Once again, unexpected events become repositories of treasured moments of total uncertainty and indetermination. The GIFs in Saved Images are projections of an invisible intelligence, liberated by the artist and ready to become part of the viewer’s own imagination. In a similar work titled Riverside, the artist collected discarded documents and photographs around Sofia. Presenting a carefully arranged selection of that material, Mircheva gently tests the viewer’s imagination, teasing it
just enough to encourage participation in a creative process that is by definition incomplete and fragmentary. Imaginary narratives play an important role throughout Mircheva’s work. A combination of the artist’s and the viewer’s imaginations is required to connect the dots in her otherwise patchy repertoire of glitches, found objects, imperfections and twilight zones. More than any other work, the Possible Exhibitions series offers insight in the artist’s personal world and a gateway to interstitial realities hidden in the folds of her imagination. This series of diminutive, some quite simple, other slightly inscrutable dioramas form an ongoing collection of imaginary gallerysize installations. Possible Exhibitions showcases Mircheva’s signature sleek, highly professionalized daydreaming at its most powerful. With their quiet and unassuming presence, the models lead both artist and viewer to imagine an infinity of possible scenarios, suspended between past, present and future. Did these exhibitions ever take place? Are we looking at documents, or rather maquettes for future shows? Are they just an exercise in formalism, or a form of soft-spoken institutional critique? The list of questions (and answers) could go on and on.
Exhibition views. Photo courtesy Kalin Ivanov.
Daniel Bejar/ Sujin Lee/ Laura Napier/ Risa Puno
Systemic Risk xCurated by Jonathan Durham Feb. 17 / Mar. 16, 2012 In financial terms, systemic risk refers to a domino effect of cascading failures, leading to the total, irreversible collapse of an entire system or market. This is a popular framework for viewing the current financial crisis (2008 – 2012 and counting…) as it points to collapse on a global scale. The artists in this exhibition work to reorganize specific parameters of a given system in order to point to phenomenological behavior, inequality, misperception, and in some cases complete lack of understanding. Their projects point toward a scientific definition of systemic risk wherein a transition to a much less optimal equilibrium is characterized by multiple self-reinforcing, often irreversible feedback mechanisms. This transition to a less optimal equilibrium is key to the
context of these works, which highlight skewed results, competing agendas, and unfortunate compromises. These artists employ games, social behavior, language, and cultural recognition, revealing that, in the words of one well-publicized OWS protester, “shit is fucked up and bullshit!” That is, not only are our familiar and trusted systems in a process of breaking down, but these systems are universally perceived as discredited machines with suspect origins and multiple points of vulnerability. The work of Laura Napier tests organized and unified behaviors in public space by introducing direct behavioral experimentations and subtle interventions. Napier makes slight alterations to accepted modes of public interaction – for example how we might
move in a crowd or take a picture on a busy sidewalk. In the performance and subsequent video project for a street corner (Yankees) a group of 15 teenage students cross an extra-wide intersection near Yankee Stadium just before a game. Like a migrating red-rover line, the group moves in unison, forming a physical filter for the approaching ticket holders. Unannounced but unified, this action causes sports fans crossing from the opposite direction to weave through the approaching horizontal line like hairs through a comb. This simple gesture is a direct testament to the organizing power of group action. Often staged near highly populated city centers, Napier’s work also explores the deliberate ways in which public space is designed to funnel consumers. Risa Puno’s Good Faith & Fair Dealing is an interactive sculpture based on the classic wooden game, Labyrinth. In the original game, the player tilts the game board in order to guide a marble through the maze without letting it fall into any of the holes in the playing surface. Puno’s version is larger in scale and is complicated by the addition of another player. The game surface is divided in half, with an identical maze and ball dedicated to each player. The players are situated at opposite ends of the board with equal control of the same tilting surface, so they must decide whether to work together to guide both balls to their respective goals, or to play individually as opponents with possibly competing agendas. The notion of a “level playing field” in this game is literally tilted on its axis, revealing the narrow margin for success within a system rife with opportunities to screw your opponent. Sujin Lee’s videos explore the effects of different cultural and linguistic systems on the performative act of language. The video This is a story for small children. a true-life love story (2012) re-
veals a series of slippages in meaning that unfold amidst three main elements: written text in English subtitles, spoken text in Korean voice-over, and a series of still images driven by the loosely connected narratives of the former texts. Confusion between the “original” text in relation to the images prompts the question: how much faith can we put in the construct of language to convey the meaning of experience? A similar uncertainty underscores Lee’s hand drawn animation Turtles are Voiceless (2010) - a pulsating dance of monochromatic patterns emerging from a single turtle shell shared by two feminine “turtle heads.” Interlocking arms, heads and elongated necks form a smoothly choreographed physical exchange. Though pleasingly fluid, the figures abruptly shift from black to white, struggling, and failing to form words. This work explores the overcompensations and loss of agency inherent in the decision to learn and communicate in a new language. Daniel Bejar’s Daniel Bejar/ Destroyer (The Googlegänger) is a web-based search engine intervention in which Bejar the visual artist re-stages and re-uploads images of Dan Bejar, frontman for indie rock’s Destroyer. Sharing not only his name, but a striking physical resemblance to his subject, Bejar culls from Google Image Search, where his recreations commingle with originals. Engaging the highly contested nature of virtual space, the artist’s nearly indiscernible recreated images rank with his doppelganger’s among the top search results for their shared search words. The conflation of identity between the two Bejars reveals that even background and personal identity can be optimized, revised, copied and projected globally, questioning any notion of fixed, institutional authority in a culture of the instantaneous and continually adaptable digital archive. 17
Exhibition views. Next page (top): picture taken during one of Laura Napierâ€™s Unannounced Performances, on opening night, when a line of performers temporarily formed in front of the gallery entrance.
Argo x Mar. 23 / Apr. 20, 2012 The word Argo, the name of the mythical boat that transported Jason and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece, means “fast.” In the Greek myth, the boat possesses the gift of language. References to the boat appear in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. In her eponymous solo project, Arianna Carossa examines Argo as an instrument of heroic enterprise, an object that has a life of its own, a boat that floats, talks and (probably) thinks. The life of this object is precisely what the artist found interesting. Argo’s ability to relate to others makes it similar to a work of art. But can objects ever be alive? Or do they simply survive us? Argo becomes the link between the human being and Carossa’s pondering of such important questions: it is the medium that allows that research, a symbol of creativity. Arianna Carossa’s Argo is an exhibition in which the formal and con-
ceptual ghost of the Argonaut’s mythical boat (together with that of other historical vessels) lingers everywhere. The mythical/nautical topic is deconstructed and expanded to include a series of tools, sculptures and images. The task they perform is the symbolic, collective materialization of a work of art. Working with flexibility and adapting her project to the available space, Carossa builds fragments of boats or arks, metaphoric of other contemporary works of art, allowing them to converse with objects and images that allude to some of the historical references that inspired their creation. The objects are alive and somewhat sentient, in a double role-game in which the artworks created by the artist are also bestowed with the power of making her visible to the rest of the world. In this way, the artworks can be read as both self-sufficient objects, interpreted by the independent mind of the viewer, and active instruments of Carossa’s own “making” as an emerging contemporary artist.
The Life Instinct Apr. 27 / May 29, 2012
“Whatever it wins, it does not keep. It must constantly manipulate events in order to turn them into ‘opportunities’... victories of the ‘weak’ over the ‘strong’... clever tricks, knowing how to get away with things, ‘hunter’s cunning’, maneuvres, polymorphic situations, joyful discoveries, poetic as well as warlike.” Michel de Certeau The Practice Of Everyday Life
This body of work celebrates makeshift solutions, survival instincts, and reuse of discarded material. The Life Instinct is a Freudian term describing the impulse to create and sustain life, favoring productivity and construction. Mierle LadermanUkeles used the term in her Maintenance Art Manifesto: “The Life Instinct: unification; the eternal return; the perpetuation and MAINTENANCE of the species; survival systems and operations; equilibrium.” The scrappy yet intricate hut in the center of the gallery is constructed from materials Percoco either found or already owned, including chairs, a ladder, the shell of an old TV, cardboard, roof shingles, plastic bags, woven reeds, and tree branches. Her process exemplifies the playful improvisation of a child’s couch fort, the immediacy of building an emergency shelter, as well as the accretion of a third world squatter city. Visitors can enter the hut and view a slideshow of miniature huts assembled from debris found in a vacant lot and photographed in situ. There is undeniably beauty and grace in makeshift shelters. They are often site-specific and employ a wide variety of materials and textures; They are infinitely customizable to the needs of its inhabitants; They are always in progress, being added onto and repaired. The contrast
of natural and synthetic materials draws attention to varying rates and processes of entropy and merges the products of high and low technologies, handcraft and mass-production. The reuse of objects in ways they were not originally intended to be used suggests an inhabitant operating with a new set of priorities. These sorts of maneuvers are truly “poetic as well as warlike”. The ‘zine Make Shift: A Catalog Of Repairs pays homage to small acts of resourcefulness in everyday life. Adapted from Percoco’s blog, RepairedThings. com, it showcases documentation of inventive repairs by herself and others. The ‘zine concludes with a transcript of an interview by Tsubasa Berg with two of the contributors. Finally, Percoco is organizing a series of skill-sharing workshops open to the public. Eric Clausen of Drawing America By Bike will give bike repair consultations and talk about his experiences cycling around the country. Kristyna and Marek Milde will lead a workshop in which participants create a social sculpture out of broken furniture. Fixers Collective will host an open session in which anyone can bring in a broken object and get help fixing it. Lastly, Sewing Rebellion NYC will lead a mending circle dedicated to making and using patches.
Exhibition views. Previous page: some of our neighbors using one of Kristyna and Marek Milde’s “social sculptures” as substitute for a missing bus stop bench.
Tom Bogaert/ Kate Donnelly/ Cary Horton/ Bridget Parris/ Elisa Pritzker/ Steve Rossi/ Cindy Stelmackowich/ Anna T.
Juxtacombo Curated by Project Curate! and Christina Vassallo Jun. 9 / Jun. 29, 2012 Contemporary society is simultaneously liberating and suffocating. As curators approaching adulthood in the early twenty-first century, the Project: Curate! team has learned to cope with the chaotic surroundings of the digital age and find inspiration within it. They are deeply concerned with what makes every day experiences stand out from the constant exposure to advertising, music, movies, art, and other forms of popular culture â€“ especially in an overstimulating environment like New York City. Of particular interest to these
young curators are the effects of unexx pected combinations and how they become extraordinary or entertaining. Juxtacombo explores the humor, horror and abstractions that result from unusual pairings, as well as the potential for unintended interpretations. The meaning of many of the selected works change depending on the viewerâ€™s cultural context. The eight artists included in the exhibition challenge perceptions and examine the assumptions that are an intrinsic part of our consciousness.
Piso Mojado is a series of six photographs that document an ongoing performance in which Tom Bogaert mounts a yellow multi-lingual safety cone onto a mooring buoy. The buoys have been installed around the world, including in the Dead Sea, off the coast of Miami, and in New York’s East River; each location and audience generates a new reading of the performance. Kate Donnelly’s video Also There is based on a three-week long performance in which a bizarrely costumed figure interrupts the attention of a commuting audience. During this daily state of transition the figure provided a fleeting distraction from the viewers’ routines, and also experienced a gradual metamorphosis itself as the costume slowly disintegrated. Cary Horton’s heavily manipulated photograph illustrates the collision of the organic and the urban environment. As humans continue to leave their indelible mark on the natural world, what is “natural” seems to be almost absurd and out of context, like the ghostly bull confined to an industrial area in Horton’s Longhorn. Bridget Parris uses historical references as a starting point, and injects humor and drama into her narrative scenes. The Marie Antoinette figure in This is Not a Seam Ripper is having her garment altered by someone who is clearly not a seasoned tailor, while the figures in Glass Houses illustrate the increasing reliance on one another for our well-being as private space becomes more public every day. Alluding to Surrealist tendencies, Elisa Pritzker’s photograph White Panty presents a playful scene in which the natural and the artificial interact to produce bizarre results. Steve Rossi’s sculptures of traditional Islamic mosaic patterns rendered in Fruit Loops recontextualize highly recognizable symbols of two vast-
ly different cultures. This visual mashup questions our assumptions about identity, cultural influence, and handmade and mass-produced forms of expression. In Cindy Stelmackowich’s Eye Wreath, hand-painted glass eyes sprout like seedlings from a human hair wreath. The artist re-contextualizes these charged elements of the body by combining them in a grotesque nature morte that alludes to the popular Victorian practices of taxidermy and using human hair for sentimental and romantic purposes. Anna T.’s ephemeral installation Balloons exposes the vocabulary used to celebrate the gender of newborns. This work examines the importance and inherent flaws of assigning a sexual identity to someone who is not yet capable of making conscious decisions. Over time, the balloons deflate to symbolize the replacement of these conventional values by other, perhaps more contemporary values.
As part of NURTUREart’s Education Program, Project: Curate! provides advanced high school students from Juan Morel Campos Secondary School an opportunity to experience contemporary curatorial practices by working closely with a professional curator throughout the year, culminating in an exhibition at NURTUREart Gallery. 29
Lee Arnold/ Nicolas Carrier/ Yoni Goldstein + Meredith Zielke/ Rachael Haines/ Ryan Whittier Hale/ Una Hamilton Helle/ Zerek Kempf/ Miles Umney/ Jenny Vogel/ Nicolas Carrier/ Andrea Chung/ Tamar Hirschl/ Roy Menachem Markovich/ Ruaidhri Ryan/ Daniel Spangler/ Daniel Terna + Michael Kugler Karen Chan/ Wojciech Gilewicz/ Janne HĂśltermann/ Michael Iauch/ Alban Muja/ Patrik Qvist/ Saki Sato/ Susanne Slavick + Andrew Johnson/ Marco Strappato
Videorover (seasons III and IV) x Curated by Rachel Steinberg Videorover, NURTUREartâ€™s semi-annual video series, is an ever-expanding forum for new and emerging video artists. While producing and sharing video is becoming increasingly easier, we believe that truly exceptional video works still deserve to be presented and appreciated in the best possible way. To this purpose, Videorover aims to present a wide range of videos from local and international artists who are willing to question and extend the perceptual limitations of this medium. Started in 2010 by Assistant Gallery Direc-
tor Rachel Steinberg, each season of Videorover is presented in a variety of ways: as an installation in NURTUREart Gallery, as an itinerant screening series, or most often on rotation in the Videorover project space, just outside of NURTUREart Gallery. The program is run through an open call, where there have been up to 950 videos submitted in one season. In the past four seasons, NURTUREart has presented the work of fourty-eight emerging video artists, and will present fifteen new artists in the upcoming season.
Previous page and this page: exhibition views, VR season III. Next page (top) exhibition views, VR season IV; (bottom) crowds take a seat at the special VR season III, Program #2 screening at Indiescreen, Brooklyn.
Lotte Van Den Audenaeren/ Becca Albee/ Bureau d’Etudes/ Shinsuke Aso/ Daniel Bejar/ Cody Castro/ Carrie Dashow/ Detext/ Eric Doeringer/ Don Edler/ Emcee CM/ Harrell Fletcher/ Symrin Gill/ Felix Gonzales-Torres/ Jenny Holzer/ the KLF/ Vikenti Komitsi/ Keith Haring/ Jenny Holzer/ Enzo Mari/ Bruce Nauman/ Steve Lambert/ YesMen/ Cesare Pietroiusti/ Yoko Ono/ Daniel Seiple/ Elizabeth Smolarz/ Solarring.org/ Superflex/ Radek Szlaga and Honza Zamojski/ Elaine Tin Nyo/ Julie Torres/ Brad Troemel/ Jirí Thýn/ Patrick Tuttofuoco/ Lawrence Weiner and others
...Is This Free? xCurated by Marco Antonini Jul .6 / Sept. 22, 2012 Within certain limits gift wealth may be rationalized and market wealth may be eroticized (...) the problem is not “can gift and commodity coexist?”, but “to what degree may one draw from the other without destroying it?” Lewis Hyde, The Gift. Can Art really be Free? The answer to this question, the opening line in a document shared with all those who generously contributed to this exhibition and to the accompanying book that NURTUREart published, was often a positive “Yes”; nonetheless, the diversity of trajectories followed by each reply (and the wealth of opinions, ideas and conversations they spanned) were revealing of the many ways in which gifts and all things “Free,” are conceived and perceived. In English, the word “Free” is per-se double-sided, suggesting availability and gratuity while also evoking freedom, the state of being free, whether on an existential level or as in something or someone liberated from restric-
tive bonds. As Ted Purves has remarked, the study of gift economies (pioneered by Marcel Mauss’ 1923 Essai Sur le Don and expanded by Lewis Hyde’s The Gift:
Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, in 1983) teaches us that gifts are neither free, nor the product of generosity. Whoever has received something and then, consciously or subconsciously felt obliged to reciprocate knows that gifts are in fact offers, they produce bonds; in Purves’ words, they are “a token through which social relationships are forged, managed and preserved.” Taking cues from Mauss, Hyde, Purves
and others, we can easily move beyond anthropological research, extending a reflection on gifts and gift economies to address examples culled from the visual, performance and relational arts. Contemporary artists are in a privileged position to reflect on the many different meanings that alternative exchange, liberated goods and gift can assume. In art, such meanings tend to respond to the specific contexts they coexist with. There are modes of giving characterized by “dispersion” acts where goods, services, money are donated (or symbolically repurposed, and even destroyed) in conformity with the values of emotionally neutral financial transactions. This sense of neutrality also lingers in artworks and publications that use the “Free” format simply as an effective tool of dissemination and, ultimately, self-promotion, leaving little room for consideration on its deeper meanings. On a whole different plane, works of art involving gifts and/or alternative forms of exchange can engender progressive, if not utopian, ideals, and be used as examples, aimed at increasing our awareness of the relevance of our everyday actions. Around the beginning of last autumn I started reading Olaf Velthius’ amazing little book Imaginary Economics, and I found myself intrigued by the dynamics of both conventional and unconventional economies, noting how many new art projects around us adopted generosity either in direct (free art, free information, free products) or symbolic ways. Velthius’ take on the relationship between art and the economic world is informed by his formal education in economics but never lacks empathy for art’s more intangible, auratic assets. Introducing a chapter dedicated to the importance of play and fiction in human economics Velthius muses: “Does the economy really need the support of artists? Society is already so highly de-
termined by the pursuit of usefulness, efficiency and economic growth that it may be better to preserve a realm in which the useless and the selfless prevail.” Whether or not coexisting, both uselessness and selflessness are core values for many of the works presented in this exhibition, which span from the late sixties to present day. Many visions of free art coexist here, in a panoramic display of attitudes, strategies, questions and answers that will be presented as a progressive accumulation of materials, in three distinct openings during the course of this summer. Although involved with the same subject matter, the artworks in (and sometimes created for) ...Is This Free? manage to represent a full spectrum of attitudes: from poetic, “Free” minded flanerie to politically committed statements, to light-handed, optimistic gestures all the way up (or down, if you prefer) to questionable instances of appropriation and semi-illegal boutades that we ourselves, in our role of hosting institution, have encouraged or even initiated, in an effort to explore the full potential and social life of free objects and ideas. A 62page, pocket-size book was published in the event of the first opening of the ...Is This Free? series collecting a series of interviews and email exchanges prompted by a questionnaire sent to artists, writers, curators and various cultural operators. Contributors included Carrie Dashow, Pablo Helguera, Steve Lambert, Cesare Pietroiusti, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Megan Snowe, Rachel Steinberg, Elaine Tin Nyo, Brad Troemel, Amy Whitaker and Caroline Woolard. The proposed questions and conversation starters strived to be as open minded as possible and in fact succeeded at provoking all sorts of replies. The wealth of ideas that we were exposed to and to which the whole exhibition project is indebted is now available to you as well. 37
Marie Lorenz/ Howard Steinberg/ Anna Harsanyi/ Lee Tusman/ Dede Young/ Matej Vakula/ Keith Schweitzer/ Parker Snowe/ Whitni Roche/ Lee Dares (and the Kite Collective)/ Amy Whitaker/ Ed Woodham/ Chisthian Diaz + Fran Gallardo/ Daniel Palmer/ Todd Shalom/ Jessica Kaire/ Priscilla Stadler + Gary Richmond
Lawn School / Can I take This?
x Curated by Megan Snowe and Rachel Steinberg For NURTUREart’s “...Is This Free?” summer 2012 program, and in the spirit of alternative education, Megan Snowe and Rachel Steinberg have organized Lawn School - a weekly series of free classes, lectures, discussions and workshops that occur in public parks and spaces throughout New York City, and ...Can I Take This?, a rotating library of free publications. We want to take this opportunity to talk about the word FREE in the framework of what we experience as education. The idea of free education is not new, it is something that anyone can start and continue. To us, the sharing of skills and ideas represents one of the most basic ways to interact with our own communities and the world around us. Examples of replicable, open source education
models offer direct proof of the importance of these ideas, from recent endeavors such as: Trade School, Public School, Occupy University, Free School, School of Walls and Space, and the notso-recent Teach -ins of the mid-1960s, the writings of Colin Ward, Hakim Bey, and The Diggers. Within the realm of education, the distinctions that we want to talk about exist between public and private, cost versus expense-less, and the idea of reclaiming as ours what we already experience. As organizers of the alternative education programs, Lawn School and ...Can I Take This? this presents difficult questions about how we operate and learn together - what we share, where we share and how we share it. We have thus broken it down into three sub-meanings: space, cost and liberation (from assumed value
and structure). These elements cannot be fully separated, only isolated in order to discuss the myriad of ways in which the concept of “free” influences our perceptions and therefore our decisions. FREE = VACANT
“The TAZ [Temporary Autonomous Zone] is “utopian” in the sense that it envisions an intensification of everyday life, or as the Surrealists might have said, life’s penetration by the Marvelous. But it cannot be utopian in the actual meaning of the word, nowhere, or NoPlace Place. The TAZ is somewhere.” * By this point we feel it is well understood that public spaces (even in a jam packed city like NYC), are under-utilized, and their potential way exceeds their current state. Coupled with the ever shrinking public sphere in NYC there is simultaneously a problem of exclusivity within education systems. How can we, as educators and a learning public, fuse theoretical “learning spaces” with our pragmatic, everyday environments? To create an opportunity to learn comprehensively while actively aware of the social spaces outside of a classroom, we need to talk about these things in public, and identify potentialities nested in these vacant spaces. “Vacant” in this case is empty and ready to be filled.
ent a viable alternative to the massive structure currently in place, but they do offer a symbolic alternative. Symbols as tools should not be underestimated. We want to open up the idea that we can break dependence on large institutions and the education industrial complex, and still facilitate active learning. Learning should equal time, not money spent. FREE = LIBERATED
“Psychological liberation. That is, we must realize (make real) the moments and spaces in which freedom is not only possible but actual.” * Education, like art, is an exchange, not to be confused with monetary transaction. When this happens it is usually through a conversation, discourse or discussion between peers on a neutral level. Public space has the potential to provide a horizontal place where all involved are temporarily released from the assumed hierarchy of an institution. The point is not to overhaul or solve these complex problems, rather explore the opportunity for a public to gather, challenge these issues together in public space with curiosity and skills. Education is and should be an experiment and should respond to needs directly connected to whatever environment learners are working in.
FREE = COST-LESS
“Money is a lie --this adventure must be feasible without it-- booty & pillage should be spent before it turns back into dust.” * Speaking specifically from the perspective of the United States, our system of higher education needs to be re-valuated. As it stands now, higher education is directly tied to socio-economic security. We realize that small scale open source education projects like Lawn School and Can I Take This? do not necessarily pres-
In reality, we present this ideal as an exercise and it is unreasonable to assume that everyone will take an active role in breaking down assumed bonds. The hope is that we will all take small steps toward increasing access to shared resources and education, toward a more “liberated” and free society. *All quotations: Hakim Bey, T. A. Z. The
Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism, AntiCopyright, 1985. 41
This and next page (top): pictures from various Lawn School sessions views. Next page (bottom): the ...Can I take This? bookshelf as installed during ...Is This Free? Act 3.
Special Projects x
This page: NURTUREart’s booth at VOLTA art fair, featuring a solo show by David Schoerner. Next Page: NURTUREart’s booth at Bushwick Basel art fair, featuring a solo show by Daniel Bejar.
Credits Book design and Illustrations: Marco Antonini. Text editing: Marco Antonini, Rachel Steinberg, all artists and curators involved. Photography and photo editing/retouch: NURTUREart staff except where noted. The image on page 44 is courtesy of VOLTA’s PR office.
Thanks Thanks to all the volunteers, artists and curators who have contributed to making our 2011/12 season an exceptional one. We are much indebted to our Boards, and to all our Sponsors and Supporters, small and big, for contributing to another year of making things happen. The biggest thank you, anyway, is reserved for you: our Visitors. Since our move to 56 Bogart our foot traffic, event attendance and social media relevance have literally skyrocketed. Thanks!
Staff Marco Antonini (Director), Louise Barry (Development Director), Molly O’Brien (Education Director), Rachel Steinberg (Assistant Director). 2010/2011 Volunteers: Stephanie Agron, Sean Alday, Conner Calhoun, Jackie Cantwell, Alma Egger, Chioma Ebinama, Naomi Edmondson, Doris Guo, Robin Harbour, Adriana Rabinovitch, Nikki Refghi, Emily Reese, Joana Ricou, Megan Snowe.
Board of Trustees Sayaka Araki, Heather Bhandari, Deborah Brown, Jules DeBalincourt, Asya Geisberg, David Harper, Elliot Lable, Karen Marston, Renwick Paige, Carol Salmanson, Benjamin Tischer.
Advisory Board Catherine Hannah Behrend, Mariestella Colón-Astacio, Christine Dobush Richard, Julie McKim, Sarah Monteleone, Fraser Mooney, Lee Pacchia , Alexander Rahul, Sara Reisman, Richard Stewart .
Our Name Is Our Mission NURTUREart Non-Profit Inc. is dedicated to nurturing contemporary art by providing exhibition opportunities and resources for emerging artists, curators, and local public school students. The unique synergy between NURTUREartâ€™s programs generates a collaborative environment for artistic experimentation. This framework, along with other far-reaching programming, cultivates a supportive artistic network and enriches the local and larger cultural communities. NURTUREart Non-Profit Inc. is a 501(c)(3) New York State licensed, federally tax-exempt charitable art organization founded in 1998 by George J. Robinson. NURTUREart is funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, City Council Member Diana Reyna, City Council Member Stephen Levin, the Greenwall Foundation, the Harold and Colene Brown Foundation, the Leibovitz Foundation, the Greenwich Collection, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation, the New York City Department of Education and generous individuals. It receives legal support from Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
Contact Us NURTUREart Non Profit Inc. 56 Bogart St., Brooklyn, NY 11206 Tel. 718.782.7755 Fax. 718.569.2086 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nurtureart.org
Directions By Subway: Take the L train to the Morgan Avenue stop. Exit the station via Bogart Street. Look for the NURTUREart entrance on Bogart Street, close to the intersection with Harrison Place. By Car: Driving From Manhattan: Take the Williamsburg Bridge, stay in the outside lane, and take the Broadway / S. 5 St. exit. Turn left at light onto Havemeyer St. Turn right next light onto Borinquen Place, continue straight, street will change name to Grand Street. Turn right onto Bushwich Ave, left onto Johnson Ave, then right onto Bogart Street and Harrison Place.