| On Exhibition | August 22 – October 24 F.I.V.E. by Magmart September 6 – October 15 F.E.A.R.S. by Carol Cole | Residency Presentation + Performance | September 6 “By the Steeple Bell Rope” by Scott Zieher and Mike Womack “U. S. Cities Contemporary Art Rankings: A New Hierarchical Approach (Nashville edition)” by Andy Sturdevant
SEED SOCIAL + SEED PERFORMS Art and Place: Defining Arts Community “By The Steeple Bell Rope” Scott Zieher and Mike Womack “U. S. Cities Contemporary Art Rankings: A New Hierarchical Approach (Nashville edition)” Andy Sturdevant
Caption from “By the Steeple Bell Rope”
For our Seed Social and Seed Performs exhibition programs, selected artists examine arts community and place, raising questions of civic status and identity in a time of rapid growth in Nashville. Scott Zieher and Mike Womack’s month-long social practice residency, titled “By the Steeple Bell Rope,” highlights in particular the plight of the creative class in the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood, and in general regional situations of gentrification and civic shift. Zieher and Womack’s work issues a call to arms while also lamenting the past. The project gets its name from the Tom Waits song, “In the Neighborhood,” by which Zieher and Womack use the imagery of a hangman’s noose to allude to the inevitable death of a time and place. The residency began with two pop up exhibitions of work by Nashvillians and recent transplants. The artists kept a photo journal of the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood for the duration, and presented a talk and slideshow at Seed Space as the culmination of their findings. The slideshow showed neighborhood scenes and captions to poetically capture the changing spirit of the area. There are references to historic Nashville sites (“Parthenon Swans”) and Nashville/Southern comfort foods (“Mostly Mayonnaise”). The photographs explore the gamut of urban development: run-down, industrial landscapes; neighborhoods in the midst of construction; and evidence of gentrification, such as advertisements from newly built condominiums. Womack and Zieher are familiar with the growing pains of developing neighborhoods from their experiences living and working as artists in New York City. In looking to the future of Nashville’s neighborhoods, it’s interesting to consider the parallels of gentrification and what that may foreshadow. There’s no doubt that Nashville’s art scene, along with the city at large, is growing. But where would we be ranked on the national scale? How would others rate us? What would the criteria be? These were all questions that were discussed during Andy Sturdevant’s one night performance, “U. S. Cities Contemporary Art Rankings: A New Hierarchical Approach (Nashville edition).” For the performance, Sturdevant led an interactive seminar on placing U.S. cities in a tiered ranking system according to their relation to the contemporary art world. Visitors were asked to give their input, which provided results that were heavily influenced by individual experiences and personal prejudices. Determining a city’s ranking incorporated the criteria of the number of working artists and galleries in the city, funding for the arts, art education, affordable studio space, and even the abstract concept of a city’s myth. When the question of Nashville came up there was much discussion: are we a top tiered art city, or at least on our way? The group concluded we were “Fourth Tier,” or “Secondary Regional Art Center,” defined as being above “Notable Local Regional Art Center” and below “Major Regional Art Center.” Although the project clearly demonstrates the limitations of reducing complex and sociological factors into maps and charts, it uses quanitifiable data to generate discussion about our city’s changing regional identity.
SEED SPACE ART + TECH LAB
Transparency on Pedestal, Carol Cole
Detail of embroideries, Carol Cole
F.I.V.E. Feelings International Videoart Experience Magmart International Videoart Festival F.E.A.R.S. (Finally Everything as Remembered Simultaneously) Carol Cole For our Seed Space Art + Tech Lab, the two projects, videoart project F.I.V.E. and mixed media work F.E.A.R.S., examine how artists sensually interpret their surroundings. For F.I.V.E., the newest project created by Italian videoart festival Magmart, a jury selected 25 videos: five videos for each of the senses in each of the different continents. Senses are the medium between us and the world, and they are channel through which all the information comes from the universe. F.I.V.E. allows the viewer to experience this information through the gaze of videoartists from different countries and backgrounds. In F.E.A.R.S. (Finally Everything as Remembered Simultaneously), Carol Cole copes with emotions caused by the senses through art making. For Cole, the artistic process is therapeutic; by doodling negative spaces and allowing positive images to emerge, she is able to claim her identity and cope with fears. Her large styrofoam piece “Vessel,” for example, contains imagery of an abstract female form floating on top of water. “Vessel” addresses her fear of physical vulnerability from water and drowning, which she overcame after learning to swim as an adult. In her studio above her original F.E.A.R.S. drawing is her statement, “Thanks to art I’m not afraid of who I am.” Rachel Bubis is an independent arts writer and the curator of Seed Space.
Erica Ciccarone talks with Tony Youngblood about two recent Seed Space exhibitions. EC: Scott Zieher and Mike Womack presented “By the Steeple Bell Rope,” a photo essay about the rapidly changing Wedgewood Houston neighborhood. I liked the stately Victorian mansion followed by the rusted out trailer. As a Northerner, I understood their perspective, but I also found myself sympathetic to the South. Southerners like grandiosity but have trouble with the upkeep. There’s a story in that. TY: Or maybe our pride is in something other than a fresh coat of house paint. I almost wonder if I’m too familiar with the area to connect with the piece. Perhaps it’s intrinsically more appealing to outsiders. What’s novel to a New Yorker may be a local’s everyday backdrop. EC: Now that Wedgewood Houston is getting more attention, the artists who have been here for years are worried about getting pushed out. TY: We’ve been an arts neighborhood for a long time but off the radar. Artists have had studios in Chestnut Square for 25 years. I wonder if the gentrification began not with the developers, but with the artistic pioneers who were just looking for cheap studio space. Before a neighborhood gets popular it has to develop a mythology of being cool, and those very artists were the cool generators. So who starts gentrification? The developers? The first wave of artists? The second? EC: Fort Houston looked like Williamsburg Saturday night. Is that a good thing? That was part of what Andy Sturdevant’s “U.S. Cities Contemporary Art Rankings” was about. He gave out booklets of the 125 most populated U.S. cities and had the audience rank them in five tiers, according to the quality of their art scenes. TY: For example, New York City might be a first tier city. San Diego might be a fifth. Off the bat, it was clear that this was a satire of listmaking art critics because there’s no way to be objective. The fun part was in the conversations, for example, people arguing whether Louisville is a better art city than Nashville. EC: It’s a neat way to look at how we conceive of regions in the country and what we think is central to what’s happening in the art world. An artist friend from Brooklyn told me that she doesn’t think New York is a great contemporary art city – that it’s primarily about entertainment, not insight. As a city gets more buzz and more funding, does it become less accessible to new artists fighting to be heard over the clamor? TY: My favorite insight was that these lists are totally arbitrary, but what people think is not arbitrary. The perception of cities has real world impact in terms of where people move or where the rich buyers go when they want to purchase art. Erica Ciccarone is an independent writer. Tony Youngblood is an independent writer and curator. They both live in the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood.
Photograph from “By the S
Andy Sturdevant presenting “U.S. Rankings”
The Senses and the Sensual
he Steeple Bell Rope” by Scott Zieher and Mike Womack
“Mirage” by Carol Cole
Video Still from F.I.V.E.
I asked Carol Cole for a few words via email about her art on view at Seed Space (titled F.E.A.R.S, which stands for Finally Everything as Remembered Simultaneously) and received, in short order, nearly 2000 words in reply. Everything did seem to be remembered by her at once and she was eager to share. Just as memories fairly well cascaded from her fingers, so too did references, inspirations and teacher-mentors. Names as far ranging and various as Tom Robbins, Margaret Atwood, Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, Tony Kushner, Judy Chicago, Phillip Pearlstein, Lynda Benglis, Leon Golub, May Stevens, Marsha Tucker, Bill Arning, and, of course, Louise Bourgeois pepper her prose. And with only the slightest, most cursory glance at her exhibition, a dozen disparate associations arise, from Robert Smithson’s earth works in the carved Styrofoam of “Mirage,” to the brushwork of the late Milton Avery mixed with the bright suggestion of scarlet orifices of Francesco Clemente’s work of the 1980s. The soul of the works on view does look emphatically backwards to the early 1990s and 2000s (Ms. Cole being 71 years old); this small, concise show acts as a survey of Ms. Cole’s most reliable tropes. It also acts as a survey of her many practical and process-based approaches to the studio. Unafraid of influence or media, she works in embroidery, various modes of paint, craft supplies, marble, porcelain and acrylic resin. Cole appears delighted always at both the materials to hand and the associations they might provide both herself and her viewer. The act of making enchants her and her forebears in any, and all of her most passionate pursuits fire her imagination. From this, we as viewers are given the gift of true adoration. With the elemental psycho-sexual imagery comes an object lesson in femininity, feminism, heritage and hope. Would that any artist under the age of 30 years old might be as inspired and ambitious as Ms. Cole, whose vibrancy is as admirable as her objects. In a second gallery is the complicated assemblage of videos from Magmart, entitled F.I.V.E. Feelings International Videoart Experience, which attempts to take an ambitious global approach to one of the more complicated notions in the arts, that of feeling by way of the senses. A very tall order, further compounded by the visual basis of the endeavor, the project manifests as a warm blanket of inviting visual imagery hearkening the other senses simply by the suggestion of a nose, a finger or a tongue, all of which titillates primarily the eye, with suggestions that validate the olfactory power of a photograph of a nose. In the end, it is the eye we care most about. Scott Zieher is a New York based artist and gallerist.
Rachel Bubis is an independent arts writer, curator of Seed Space and gallery manager at E. T. Burk. Her writing has appeared in Nashville Arts Magazine, Nashville Scene, Native Magazine, Art Now Nashville, Art Art Zine, Nashville Wire and Examiner. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Rollins College. Erica Ciccarone writes about art and culture in Nashville. Follow her on her blog, NYCnash, a New Yorker’s Guide to Nashville at www.nycnash.com. Carol Cole’s artistic career spans over forty years. Her surreal drawings from the 70s and her later mixed media breast sculptures are charged with a feminist critique derived from her life experiences. Cole was born in 1943 in Philadelphia, MS, and is now working in Greensboro, NC. Her solo exhibitions include ADA gallery, Richmond, VA; Salem College Fine Arts Gallery, Winston-Salem, NC; Camera Oscura, San Casciano dei Bagni, Italy; and Green Hill Center, Greensboro, NC. Her work has been included in many group exhibitions in NYC galleries, just recently in Raving Disco Dolly on a Rock n’ Roll Trolley at envoy enterprises. Other NYC venues include The Visible Vagina at Francis M. Naumann Fine Arts, Paper A-Z at Sue Scott Gallery, The Crooked Mirror at envoy gallery, and Body Language at George Adams Gallery. Cole holds a BA from the University of Mississippi and attended the Art Institute of Santa Fe in the 1990s, studying with Lynda Benglis and Elizabeth Murray. F.I.V.E. is coordinated by Magmart, an international video art festival based in Naples, Italy. The festival is a project of an Italian studio (design) in partnership with the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM). The first festival was held in January 2006 with about 190 entrants from various countries around the world. For F.I.V.E., a jury selected 25 videos: five videos for each of the senses in each of the different continents. Andy Sturdevant is an artist, writer and arts administrator living in South Minneapolis. He has written about art, history and culture for a variety of Twin Cities based publications and websites, including mnartists.org, Rain Taxi, Art Review and Preview!, Mpls. St. Paul and heavytable.com. His essays have also appeared in publications of the Walker Art Center and the Jerome Foundation. Andy writes a weekly column on arts and visual culture in Minneapolis-St. Paul for MinnPost. His first book, Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow, was published by Coffee House Press in 2013. He also makes art and creates
Artists + Curator + Writers public projects. Some of this work has been exhibited at The Soap Factory, Art Of This Gallery, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as well as in galleries and spaces in Chicago, Philadelphia, Austin, Milwaukee, North Carolina and Kentucky. Mike Womack was a recipient of a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Represented by ZieherSmith gallery, Womack’s exhibitions have received notice from The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Art Papers and The Brooklyn Rail. Recent group shows include Archer Gallery at Clark College in Vancouver, WA; Froelick Gallery in Portland; the 5th Outdoor Sculpture Biennial; Evergreen Museum, Baltimore; Tension/Release at Caren Golden Fine Art, New York; and Hasta La Basura Se Separa, Antigua Aduana Cultural Space, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. With a BFA from the University of Georgia, Athens, and an MFA from Pratt Institute, Womack is currently Assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and divides his time between studios in Brooklyn and Boulder. Tony Youngblood is the founder of the Circuit Benders’ Ball, a biennial celebration of free culture, art, music and the creative spirit. He created the open-source, multi-artist, scalable “art tunnel” concept called M.A.P.s (Modular Art Pods) and runs the experimental improv music blog and podcast Theatre Intangible. He occasionally writes for Nashville publications like Nashville Arts Magazine and the Nashville Scene. Scott Zieher is co-owner of the contemporary art gallery ZieherSmith, established in 2003. Since 2004 he has published three book-length poems, Virga, Impatience and Gentry (Emergency Press). In February 2010, powerHouse Books published Band of Bikers, his collection of found photographs from 1972. In 2012 the Jaded Ibis Press collaboration with novelist Christopher Grimes, The Pornographers featured Zieher’s collages (the bulk of which were created in Nashville). He has had two New York solo exhibitions in 2013, Concrete Poet at Judith Charles Gallery on the Lower East Side and Three Drafts of a Poem at Engineer’s Office Gallery in Rockefeller Center. A third solo show is slated for May 2014 at Ampersand Gallery in Portland, including publication of a collection of poems called See Also Americana. Zieher was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and received his MFA in poetry from Columbia University in 1996.
Seed Space is a lab for site-specific installation, sculpture and performance-based art in Nashville. We support our program in three specific ways. We bring in nationally recognized art critics to write our exhibition essays. We host regularly scheduled public talks. We facilitate meetings among artists, critics and curators. Through these means we aim to foster an exchange between a growing network of local and national artistic communities, which we believe is one of the best ways to support the careers of emerging artists. Located in the Track One building in the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood of Nashville, Seed Space is supported by the Nashville Cultural Arts Project (NCAP), and is made possible with grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metro Nashville Arts Commission. Upcoming Exhibitions Oct – Dec Athens of the South by John Warren, residency Oct – Dec The Cloud Story Project by Jana Harper, residency Nov 1 – Dec 31 The Place You Will Wait for the Rest of Your Life by Greg Pond
Director Adrienne Outlaw | Curator Rachel Bubis | Programs Manager Andri Alexandrou email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com www.seedspace.org
With essays by Rachel Bubis, Erica Ciccarone, Tony Youngblood and Scott Zieher.