Revel In New York friends Mara Ravitz (Smarten Up) and MONDOCANE will be hosting a children's event with artist Will Cotton on Saturday July 28th at the MONDOCANE shop in Tribeca. Cotton is known for his landscape work inspired by sweets, which should make this an interesting event if you have kids ages 6-12. You can find out more about the event here and see more of Will Cotton's work below.
If you happen to be in San Francisco on February 3rd, stop by the Artists' Television Access Space for an evening of short films curated by the NYC based artist & curator, Billy Miller. Revel In New York will be featured along with a number of interesting filmmakers and features like:
“Film For January 1, 2012” (2012) by artist-filmmaker Scott Treleaven. An intuitive assembly of super 8 films collected in the months leading up to the New Year, and created on the last day of 2011. Soundtrack: “Clouds Without Water” by Psychic TV.
“Heri Meets Artists Gilbert and George (Again)” (2011) Filmmaker Heri Mkocha meets the iconic Modern British artists in East London by complete luck. They talk to Heri, and it all gets a bit fanboy.
“SOUL” (1988) Infamous New York City underground star Marsha P. Johnson reciting poetry at Jimmy Camicia’s Hot Peaches production “The Heat” at Theater for the New City, NYC.
For more information click here.
A big thank you to Billy Miller for including us in the show!
Our friends at Mondo Cane, the modernist design gallery in Tribeca, are always pushing the boundaries between art, design and furniture. Their latest exhibition features the brilliant and sometimes "Judd-esque" industrial designer, Jonathan Nesci. It opens this Tue, Nov 8 from 6-9p.
More on Jonathan Nesci here
Chris Trela (producer of the documenatry Guest of Cindy Sherman) teamed up with photographer Gretchen Berg and counterculture icon, John Wilcock (one of the founders of Interview Magazine & The Village Voice) to reissue the 1971 classic, The Autobiography and Sex Life of Andy Warhol. They've updated the content with some interesting stories and new photos and kept the entertaining interviews: Taylor Mead, Nico, Viva, Marisol and the rest of the usual suspects in tact. The editors will be discussing the book and signing copies at the Gagosian Shop (988 Madison Ave) on June 24th. From 6-8 pm.
This is a rare exception to the usually unimpressive mix of new Warhol media products that have over saturated the market. The industrious producer/publisher Chris Trela releases this substantive work that is both interesting and entertaining.
In 1968 Marc H. Miller moved to New York from California and spent the next two decades perched above the Bowery on the top floor of an artist occupied loft building. As a conceptual artist and columnist for the seminal underground newspaper, The East Village Eye, Marc immersed himself in the vie de boheme of the flourishing downtown art and music scene.
A little over a year ago, Marc set up the web project 98 Bowery, a work in progress that shares a unique perspective of a lifestyle, that for over 20 years, drove a spike straight through the heart of New York’s counterculture. The stories on the site are told through a curated selection of archival photographs, ephemera, audio recordings and original artwork that enthusiastically capture the rebellious and playful spirit of one of the most respected and influential creative periods in New York’s history.
Recently, Marc added an online version of ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery, a 200-page book that “provides a contemporaneous, grass-roots account of artists, groups, and ideas at the onset of the art boom of the 1980s.”
The book, originally published in 1985, focuses on the first 5 years of the LES gallery and interactive community-based space, as well as the broader collective art scene that were pioneered by groups like COLAB and Fashion/Moda.
MM: I moved to New York in 1968 to get a graduate degree in art history at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts. The Institute was located in the Doris Duke mansion” at 78th St and Fifth Avenue and most of the students who went there lived uptown. It was a formal, old fashion place dominated by aged German professors and quaint rituals like Friday afternoon teas. I was a “hippie” from California; definitely more “downtown” by inclination and finances. My first apartment was in a run-down tenement building on Thompson Street in the Village that cost $64 a month. It was a tiny, cramped studio where visitors from California who were accustomed to much more spacious interiors, were always knocking things over. When my girl-friend from California, Carla Dee Ellis, moved to New York, we definitely had to find larger quarters. Fate was kind. An artist friend had just leased the top floor loft at 98 Bowery, but when delays in legalizing the space kept preventing him from moving in, he lost patience and returned to the west coast. The Bowery was New York’s skid row dominated by alcoholics and homeless men sleeping on the street. It was an intimidating place and because of that the rent was cheap: 2000 sq. ft for $175. Carla was a painter and the space was the attraction. But we soon discovered that the loft would also be our entry into a community of artists and bohemians who lived almost invisibly on the upper floors of the Bowery’s commercial buildings. Carla returned to California in a few years but I stayed at 98 Bowery for the next twenty. My life as an artist, curator and writer would be intertwined with people from the building and the neighborhood.
MM: When I first came to New York in 1968, the art scene as it had developed in the 1960s was peaking and ready to go through a major transition. The baby boomers and the counter-culture were knocking at the door, breaking down distinctions between high and low art, and demanding their time in the spotlight. Downtown was a big party with artists, musicians, writers, dancers, performers and scenesters all intermixed. 98 Bowery was mostly young visual artists who had just come to New York. Next door at 96 Bowery there were jazz musicians and a young actress who performed in “Hair’ and “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I knew art historians and critics through the Institute. When Carla began modeling, our circle expanded to include fashion photographers. There was little distinction between business networking and social networking. Galleries had just started relocating to Soho. Openings took place on Saturdays. You could always learn the location of downtown parties at the bar on the corner of Broome and West Broadway.
The looming giant of the scene was Andy Warhol. But there was also the Fluxus group that staged large outdoor avant-garde festivals each year and initiated a constant stream of extreme art, music and performance events. The art world was small and seemed accessible but in truth it was very tight and closed. Only a few galleries like OK Harris were truly open to young artists. What I witnessed over the years was the development of an alternative art scene: young artists banding together doing their own thing and establishing their own venues and outlets. Many of these artists were part of the artist group “Colab.” By the 1990s this new generation had taken over.
MM: Life moves on. In 1989 I got married, left the Bowery for Park Slope and had two kids. Then a couple of years ago, I was in the process of moving again and confronted all the boxes from the 20 years I lived on the Bowery. The website literally came to me all at once. I knew exactly what I wanted to put on it and how it should be structured. The next day I registered the domain name 98bowery.com. It got going a few months later when I met a young web designer, Haoyan of America.
MM: The impulse for the site is partly rooted in my competitive spirit and desire to tell the story of these years from my perspective. Mostly though, I’m motivated by a love for the things on the site. I really enjoy revisiting the images and stories. I had a pretty good run from 1969 to 1989. As an artist and curator I was close to the scene and knew some very talented people. There’s a lot on the site. It resurrects forgotten talents like Mike Malloy whose ant killing machine got me started as an artist. I get to share memories about well-known people like poet laureate Billy Collins, who often visited 98 Bowery in the early 1970s. It also allows me to put my own art back out there. I’ve found that conceptual art often works better online then as wall pieces. There’s a large audience on the web for the projective drawing pieces where people drew genitalia, pictures of Jesus, and “Unforgettable Moments” (a collaboration with Bettie Ringma).
MM: I still get a big kick from the “paparazzi self-portraits” that I did with Bettie Ringma and Curt Hoppe. What started as a game of getting snapshots with celebrities developed into elaborate multi-media productions with Curt making large photo-realist paintings after the photos and Paul Tschinkel videotaping the celebrities autographing the paintings. I laugh every time I see the tape “Bettie meets Congresswoman Bella Abzug.” Bella was an outspoken, no bullshit, New York politician. She was flattered by our attention but saw right away that there was humor there. The tape is very tight. Bettie got her women celebrity; and Curt got to act out a bit. Paul caught all the action, keeping the camera going and zooming in on details just like he did taping rock concerts.
MM: The first publication that I put online was the catalogue for the Punk Art Show at the Washington Project for the Arts in DC that Bettie and I organized for Alice Denney in 1978. That show and a related one-night, multi-media, performance event at the School of Visual Arts in New York that took place a few months later had real impact at the time. They were the first shows that brought together the many visual artists who were part of the scene at CBGB during the period when the club was at its creative height. The catalogue contains interviews and preserves a moment that affected much that happened in art over the following decade. Almost all these artists still have an art world presence: some in galleries and museums; some in commercial art fields. I think a thousand catalogues were originally printed. Now nearly that many people are viewing the online version every week.
MM: Alan Moore use to live at 98 Bowery and was one of the founders of Collaborative Projects Inc, an innovation group of artist known as “Colab.” Alan was one of the contributors to the Colab publication X Magazine which was part of the Punk Art show in Washington DC. He was also one of the leaders of the “Real Estate Show,” an aggressive, political exhibition that took place in an abandoned, city-owned building that artists broke into on New Year’s Eve 1980. ABC No Rio was the unplanned progeny of the Real Estate show. In order to quell the demonstrations that erupted after the police shut down the show, the city offered the artists temporary use of a nearby building and that building became ABC No Rio. The book tells the story of the early years of the gallery as well as the broader story of the socially-committed art scene that it was a part of in the 1980s. There are sections on Colab, the South Bronx gallery Fashion-Moda, Group Material and the Time Square Show. Kiki Smith, Tom Otterness, and Tim Rollins are some of the featured artists.
Nobody thought that No Rio would survive, but amazingly it is still going today 30 years later without ever compromising its radical agenda. The gallery is located at 156 Rivington Street and is about to begin the construction of a new facility having recently received $1.6 million in city funds and a totally unexplained anonymous donation of $1 million! It’s sort of an ironic fairy tale: the little art space that could.
RINY: What music do you listen to?
MM: I always have music on and I listen to everything. I get excited about new things and then bored. My taste is constantly changing. Recently a friend has been taking me to a lot of New Music concerts at places like Le Poisson Rouge. To be honest much of it is hard to take but every once in a while something is interesting. A few months back I saw Charles Spearin’s “Happiness Project.” He tape-recorded people talking about happiness and then composed music that imitated the cadence and pitch. It’s a bit like will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” after Obama’s speech, but more extreme.
MM: When I first arrived in New York in the late 1960s, I got to see Jimi Hendrix at the Fillmore East, Sun Ra at Slugs, and the Stooges and MC5 at a theater in Staten Island. In the early 1970s I spent a lot of time in Washington DC and was into Al Green and Barry White. In the late 1970s I was at CBGB three or four times a week. I bought singles by the Ramones, Richard Hell and Talking Heads at Bleecker Bob’s Record Store; and was a big fan of the groups connected to the art scene like Suicide and the Contortions. In the 1980’s I taught at St. John’s University and had a desk next to a music professor who taught a course in movie soundtracks. Suddenly that was all I was listening to. I especially liked Italian soundtrack composers like Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota. In the 90s I was frequently down south and listened to Country radio. I love songs with good stories like LeAnn Womack’s “20 Years and Two Husbands Ago” and Toby Keith’s “Not as Good as I Once Was.” Four Cd’s that I’m currently thinking about since I recently lost them when I left them in a rental car during a trip to Arizona are “The Best of Fela Kuti,” “Reggeaton Hits 1985,” “Yo Yo Ma Brazil,” and the soundtrack “Run Lola Run.” I play a lot of African music like the soundtrack for “Tsotsi” and the compilation “Kwaito: South African Hip Hop.” Recently I started using Hypem.com which gives you access to all sorts of music for free. Anyone can check out exactly what I’ve been listening to here.
MM: I like art that not only reflects reality but can actually grab hold of it and mold it. I love the way Andy Warhol started out as a star-struck kid and ultimately was able to bring all the stars to the Factory through his art, films and his magazine Interview. Hugh Hefner did the same thing starting out as a cartoonist and then fulfilling his fantasies by creatively expressing them in Playboy. I’m not necessarily a big fan of Shepard Fairey but I do admire the way his Obama portrait got interjected into the campaign.
MM: More generally I admire illustrators who have a distinctive style and are able to channel their own life and passions through commercial assignments. One of the best is David Stone Martin, who is best known as a pioneer of record cover design in the 1940s. What really intrigues me about him is how his full career reads like a personal diary and a record of American culture from the 1930s to the 1970. His art covers the Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal, World War II, leftist politics, bohemian New York, the McCarthy era, and suburban culture. I’ve always been fascinated by his affair with the jazz great Mary Lou Williams whom he met at the nightclub Cafe Society in the 1940s. She was the one who got him started designing record albums. Their affair was short-lived but they stayed close their entire lives. He did some amazing covers for her in the 1960s when she was zealously promoting jazz as a spiritual force.
(NOTE: You can get images at ephemerapress.com
MM: New York already has everything. You just have to know what you want. Having witnessed some things over the years I can relay some words of wisdom. I remember interviewing photographer Marcia Resnick for the Punk Art catalogue and she talked about two seemingly contradictory impulses that were then in play: the anarchistic and the fascistic. Creativity needs both these impulses. Anarchism breaks things down and shuffles up the way we think. Fascism prioritizes things and imposes order. You need rules in order to break them and create new things.
For more on Marc and his projects visit 98Bowery.com
"It’s about New York as it was when I was younger. I wanted it to feel like being a teenager in the city when I was growing up – a little gritty, a little dangerous, and very free." Other artists include David Armstrong, Cass Bird, Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Marcelo Gomes and Robert Longo.FDR, Cass Bird Summer in the City, Virginia Parrott
Heart-shaped bruise, Nan Goldin
Younger Than I’ll Be
April 7 – May 23, 2010
Natman Room, BAM Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn NY
Years ago I was walking through Williamsburg when I noticed a mob of people hudled around a doorway waiting in the cold rain to gain access into a storefront. As I walked closer I noticed this storefront was an art gallery and the people waiting outside included some of the best graffiti writers in the city.
As I entered the space, I saw that the walls were covered with small drawings of monsters, kung fu characters and mountains with faces. Scattered around the gallery were small television screens broadcasting video loops of houses being pounded by rain. Somewhere near the back of the gallery, there was a large Marshall stack, and perched on top was a masked Matt Reilly, from the punk group Japanther, who was strumming lullabies on his guitar. This somewhat Lynchian experience was an art opening for the work of Peter Staley.
It's been three years since that opening and though I haven't seen much of Peter's work since, I know he's been busy running the family business, Sweet William. An impeccably curated children's shop that he opened in Williamsburg with his wife, Bronagh.
As a native New York-based artist who possess a phenomenal collection of obscure records and books, I thought Peter would make an excellent addition to the interviews we've been publishing lately.
RINY: Before we start what song are you listening to at the moment and what do you like about it?
Peter: Buffy Sainte-Marie's Qu'appelle Valley Saskatchewan. I'm very inspired by nature and by mountainous landscapes in particular. I also have a very romantic view of native American culture. When I listen to this song I feel as if I'm transported to a vast landscape where man and nature are at one with the great spirit.
RINY: You work in illustration and video art, which seem opposite ends of spectrum. What attracts you to these mediums and what does one offer you as an artist that the other doesn’t?
Peter: The means of expression that comes the most naturally to me, is drawing. I'm very comfortable drawing, especially with a number 2 pencil. Sometimes when I draw I feel as if I am able to step aside and just let images come out of my hand without thinking at all. This is when I'm my most creative. For me, drawing is like a spring, and all my other creative endeavors flow from it. As an art viewer I'm the most transported by art when I feel as if I were immersed in it. What does this for the me the most is probably the combination of moving images with sound. In most cases making moving images is much more involved than drawing. Although the end result may be more powerful, the process can be laborious and less spontaneous. Most videos I've made in the past stemmed from footage I took with a video camera and then manipulated in the computer. Now I'm working on bridging the gap between my drawings and videos by drawing and painting my source material and animating my illustrations.
RINY: Are there other mediums that you use or would like to explore? If so, what are they?
Peter: I use quite a few different mediums but right now I'm most excited about exploring animation. I'm trying to make narrative stories, as opposed to the non narrative spacey videos I have been making. Right now I am working on developing an animated science fiction story.
RINY: Is there a message or particular idea behind your work? If so, what is it?
Peter: Ideally art comes from someplace outside your conscious mind. The essence of art should be an expression of things outside the realm of explanation. I like to think of my art as devotional art for agnostics. I try to make art that is spiritual and mystical, but I don't really hold any religious beliefs to draw my subject matter from. My work is a celebration of the spirit and energy of creation. I try to keep my mind open, let what comes out come out and hope other people are able to take meaning from it.
RINY: You and your wife own a children’s store in Williamsburg, some of your work seems really inspired by children’s books. I see some Tomi Ungerer in your characters and some really fantasy driven landscapes. Are you influenced by art made for children?
Peter: Not only am I influenced by art for children, but I am very interested in making art for children as well. For the past year I have been working on an illustrated children's book that I hope to get published. I don't always see a separation between art for children and art for adults. As a parent the reality is that a large percent of the art I experience is made for children. I really appreciate it when what I'm watching or reading with my son, is entertaining to me as well. I think it is possible to make art that can hold as much meaning for a child as for an adult. Fantastic landscapes have been one of the main themes in my art since I first started to draw as child. I think it is a very natural human experience to visualize yourself in an idealized landscape.
RINY: How do you think your work fits in to the larger art scene?
Peter: I don't really feel like I'm a part of a scene. I show very sporadically and for the most part I make my work alone in the middle of the night. Very few people see it at all.
RINY: What do you think the New York art scene is missing?
Peter: There are so many different things happening in this city that you could refer to as an art scene. It is such a big and diverse city that any one person could only ever know a fraction of what is going on. So if you feel there is something missing, you may just not know how to find it.
RINY: What do you think is particularly interesting about art today?
Peter: What is interesting to me as a maker of art, is the rapid progression of technology, making it easier and easier to express yourself using a computer. As we become more comfortable with computers, and the programs advance and become more intuitive, it feels more and more natural to make art with computers. This is really opening up a lot of possibilities for artists. This is particularly exciting for me because some things I have always wanted to do all of a sudden seem possible.
RINY: What galleries do you feel are showing interesting work and what about the work is interesting?
Peter: I am afraid I am a little out of touch with the gallery scene these days. One thing that makes New York so interesting is that there are so many places and different kinds of venues for art, that you never really know where you will come across something that strikes you as profound. Often it is not in a gallery at all.
RINY: What are any three works of art that you wish you created? Why do you wish you created them?
Style Wars, top to bottom whole car by Noc 167. Growing up on the Upper West Side in the 70s and 80s, the explosion of the graffiti movement made a huge impact on me. It really bothers me that I was slightly too young to be a part of the golden era of subway graffiti. I think Noc 167 is one of the best there ever was and this car is an icon of the era. The piece is vibrating with energy. To me it looks like the train was forged out of star dust and it is about to disperse and return to outer space..
Machu Piccu. I would have liked to have built Machu Piccu.
Avatar. I am pretty envious of the resources someone like James Cameron has to create such a well realized fantasy land.
RINY: What three artists have influenced you and why?
The most influential piece of artwork for me recently, has been this image that I saw in a book . I was flipping through a book in a bookstore and I saw a picture of a painting. There were many paintings in the book but afterwards something about this image had stayed in my mind, even though I did not retain what it was or where it was from. I went back to the store to see it again but couldn't find the book. I only had a faint memory of it but something about it was still resonating with me, so I decided to make pictures mimicking its composition and theme, as best as I could recall it. I remembered seeing radiating bands of landscape conveying a progression through both space and time, leading to another dimension. A trip to infinity as seen from the stratosphere. I eventually came across it again and bought the book. The painting is called Journeying through Unknown Lands, Its origins are unknown but it is believed to be from central India in the mid 1700s. Inscribed on the back in Hindi, it says "Thus mounting the celestial chariot, they set off in the westerly direction". I continue to make pictures based on this format.
In my opinion one of the worlds greatest living artists is Jaone. More of an inspiration than an influence, the sheer amount of energy he has invested in his art over the past 25 years is unfathomable. This is apparent in that every mark he makes radiates with its own energy. No one can deny that the streets of this city are infused with a unique energy. Few people realize how much influence a person like JA can have on the nature of that energy.
I am also very inspired by the film maker Hayao Miyazak. The fantasy worlds he creates are so dazzling and original. I think the forest spirit/night walker in Princess Mononoke is one of the most unique and beautiful visualizations of a god I have seen. Miyazak is one of the few film makers whose movies I watch over and over.
RINY: What three films have influenced you and why?
I saw Akira at the film forum in its first US release in 1988. As a teenager this movie really blew me away and has had a lasting influence on me. It is so visually enticing and the use of sound creates these dimensional shifts that jar you in to it's alternative reality. I really enjoy science fiction stories with mystical themes.
The animated fairytale Azur et Asma by Michel Ocelot is a really great film. I don't know if it has influenced me or not, because I just saw it recently, but I wouldn't mind if it did. It is the most stylish use of computer animation I have seen.
The BBC's Planet Earth series has definitely been an influence. The genre of nature films is constantly out doing itself and I find it all extremely inspiring. This recent BBC series really has some of the most beautiful images of nature I have seen. I am always trying to recreate the helicopter and satellite perspectives that they use, in my own work.
RINY: What three books should everyone read and why?
Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, The impact this book has had on the aesthetic trends of the last 30 years is immeasurable. It is the bible of style
I'm sure most of your readers have read it, but, I think Where The Wild Things Are by Mourice Sendak is one of the best illustrated children's book there is. Everything about it from the illustration style to the story still strikes me as profound. The sequence in which Max's room turns into a forest is one of the best visual depictions a transformative experience I know of. I recently saw the movie made of this book and was really surprised they left that out.
I am a little embarrassed by how juvenile my taste can be so I am going to leave it at two before I dig my hole any deeper.
RINY: What are three albums that everyone should own and why?
I wouldn't say for sure that any of my favorite records are records everyone should own. For the most part I find my taste seems to be a little off from most people's.
One of my favorite records is The Dub Factor by Black Uhuru featuring Sly and Robbie from 1983. This is another example of something that really blew my mind when I was younger and has stuck with me. It is a very heavy dub album but with an upbeat digi pop vibe. At the same time it is one of the most psychedelic records I have ever heard. When you listen to it, outer space is in the room with you. I find it to be very motivating music.
As far as an album everyone should own, I would maybe say a collection of songs by Antônio Carlos Jobim. Although I do listen to music that is dissonant and dark, I am more drawn to the positive and uplifting. There is something so positive and warm about it, that if there is a music everyone should own, I would recommend Jobim. I have listened to the song Águas de Marco (Waters of March) over and over in a row for days at a time.
Bob Dylan's Theme time radio hour is something I have been listening to a lot recently. This is not exactly an album but it is something really worth checking out. It is a series of hour long radio programs that Bob Dylan DJs. Each show is made up of songs based on a different theme, such as the weather or eyes or woman's names etc. He plays great music from a wide range of musical genres, with witty and educational commentary in between. The shows are very entertaining with a lot of music I wouldn't normally listen to. You kind of feel like I you are hanging out with Bob Dylan when you listen to it.
I believe all 100 episodes are available to download for free here.
RINY: What are some images that inspire you?
This is the image I have on my computer's desk top. I took this photograph of my wife in Nepal in the mid nineties. The mountain to the left shrouded in clouds is Mount Everest.
This is a picture I took a few weeks later, with the same mountains in the background, after walking the distance from the first picture.
Living in a mega metropolis like New York, it is easy to lose touch with the fact that places like this even exist at all. This picture is a daily reminder that it exists and I have been there and have seen it with my own eyes. Not just in HD.
A friend of mine recently took this picture of my sons eyeball. To me it looks like an infinite galactic vortex.