REVIEW: Zhang Huan’s Stunning, Ambitious “Semele” at BAM

Photo Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Frontrowphotos

Photo Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Frontrowphotos

See this review published on Flavorpill

Baroque opera meets Buddhism in the Canadian Opera Company’s U.S. premier of “Semele” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In the hands of director Zhang Huan—a Chinese performance artist based in Shanghai—George Handel’s 18th century oratorio takes a turn away from tradition as Chinese and Japanese cultures intervene with the Greek tragedy.

“Semele” is Huan’s directorial debut and first foray into theatrical set design. In his notes on “Semele” Huan stated, “My goal is to allow the opera singers to reenact this classical Western opera on an Eastern stage latent with the tragic emotions of Semele—while at the same time allowing the audience to experience the dramatic beauty and pain common to all human beings.”

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Play is a Play is a Play: Last Week to See Gertrude Stein Lab at Bushwick Starr


See this published on Bushwick Daily 

This past month the Bushwick Starr hosted a special series with the Target Margin Theater (TMT)inspired by the literary prowess of Gertrude Stein. Curated by TMT Artistic Producer John Del Gaudio, over 75 artists contributed to seven original pieces and three special events. In discussing why Gertrude Stein was chosen to be the matron saint of this year’s Lab series, Del Gaudio stated, “There is much room for play, but at the end of the day you are left with this language, this poetic and, yes, sometimes repetitive language, and these rigorous structures that make her work exciting for some of us and frustrating for others. It challenges and provides different points of access. It pushes boundaries and can be polarizing.”

Getrude Stein (1874-1946) was a leading poet, playwright and patron of the arts during the Avant-Garde era. Although born in the U.S., Stein moved to Paris in 1903 where she lived for the remainder of her life. As a patron of Modern Art, Stein ran in an elite circle that included the creme de la creme of Modern Art including Pablo Picasso and Matisse.

Her “stream of consciousness” literary style is both rhythmic and repetitive, inspired by the life she lived in Paris. Stein happened to live during two tumultuous moments in history, witnessing first hand WWI and WWII at ground zero. She also lived on the fringe of society as an openly gay woman during a time homosexuality was very much a taboo. Her idiosyncrasies in life played out in her novels, plays, stories and poems.

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Lady Liberty Deconstructed: Danh Vo “We The People” in NYC

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See this review published on Metro New York June 18, 2014

A lunchtime stroll this week through either City Hall or Brooklyn Bridge Park will be less about smelling the roses and more about viewing the first large-scale public exhibition in NYC by Vietnamese artist Danh Vo. Sponsored by Public Art Fund, “We The People” is an interactive installation of oversized copper sculptures sharing the quiet terrain of a downtown Manhattan park.

In varying sizes and shapes, spanning the length of the two parks, the pieces slowly emerge from disparate abstractions into a conceptual puzzle. As viewers playfully put the pieces together, “We The People” becomes more than an “Alice in Wonderland” world of gargantuan lawn ornaments. It’s a 1:1 replica of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty.

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Tuning into artist Paul Weston’s TV testimonial “Conduit” at GCA Gallery

An ordinary day: You wake up to missed text messages, at breakfast you answer emails, at lunchtime you catch up on Twitter, before you go to bed you update your Facebook status while watching Scandal, you fall asleep to your favorite podcast, and you wake up to a continuing tech-cycle that is your life. Phones, computers, televisions—these are the 21st century limbs we cannot live without. Paul Weston‘s exhibition Conduit at GCA Gallery explores the omnipresence of technology in our lives.

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Bushwick #Art: Transitions V.2 @ Associated

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A cozy room houses eight artists of multiple mediums but of similar concerns. Despite its intimate stature Transitions V.2 at Associated Gallery speaks volumes. In The Active Space building on a quiet block of busy Johnson Ave, this artist-run gallery held an open call and from this invitation, a community of artists unbeknownst to themselves found a single voice and in tandem protest our age of ecological concerns (Grobstein, Shu, and Oates), free-market capitalism (Henry), simulacrum technology (Zapata and Moore), and profit-centric art economics (Niemeier and Johnson).

Read the full review on Bushwick Daily

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Jocelyn Shu, “Chapter One,” 2012-13, 84″ x 16″ x 16″ (All GIFs and Photos courtesy of Danielle Kalamaras)

Snail Mail Mania: Art at Orgy Park

Installation View of "December's Letters" at Bushwick Gallery Orgy Park

Installation View of “December’s Letters” at Bushwick Gallery Orgy Park

See this review published on Bushwick Daily December 27, 2013

Brooklyn Neighborhood Bushwick goes Old School in Orgy Park’s recent exhibit “December’s Letters”

Orgy Park brings it back to an analog era where salutations were hand written rather than emailed.

“December’s Letters” began as an invitation to “air dirty socks.” Founder and curator Steve Mykietyn asked friends, acquaintances and colleagues worldwide to mail letters to the gallery, which were then put on view for visitors to read. Some hand written and others typed, Mykietyn wanted to “celebrate our vices, depression and other dirty laundry” on the darkest day of the year (December 21, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice).

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#Banksy and his NYC Residency takes an inevitable turn towards Commodification with his Greenpoint #Graffiti

October 8, Greenpoint. The door is now reported to have been removed.

October 8, Greenpoint. The door is now reported to have been removed.

Greenpointers are really missing the mark.

October 2, Banksy tagged a Chelsea garage door located on 25th and 10th underneath the High Line and across the street from Pace Gallery. Since the tags inception, his graffiti took on many styles and transformations. I enjoyed walking past it the few times I did that day to see a new perspective on his original art because of its tagged acquisitions. However, Banksy’s ephemeral nature did not please all that witnessed the transformations during what he defines as “Restoration” Phases (Please see my previous Blog Post to see Restoration Phases of Banksy’s Graffiti). I overheard a group of girls sulking over how someone would destroy such an important piece of art. Destruction? I would not go as far as to say Banksy’s mark is devalued; his mark is only taking an inevitable course that he either dictated, approved, or simply did not care to stop.

October 8, a Banksy popped up in Greenpoint. However, it did not undergo restorations like his previous tags. Instead the owner of the door covered the graffiti up to “protect it.” The Hyperallergic article written by Hrag Vartanian stated, “A person named Robert Dunning from Park Slope, Brooklyn, offered the man who was directing the crew $1,000 and a new door for the piece. The man, who refused to be identified, asked, “$200,000?” The man was obviously not tempted by the $1,000 and a door.” It is now being reported that the door has been completely removed.

People are missing the point. Banksy is an elusive street artist that works in the public realm. His graffiti art is not meant to be bought or sold, but is meant to change with time, grow with its surrounding space, and eventually be forgotten after new tags continually appear. My friend did bring up an interesting counterargument affirming the actions of the gentlemen trying to buy the door as only natural. Allow me to paraphrase my colleague: “Banksy should probably be smarter than to tag on a potentially removable object, he’s a commodity.” Banksy should know better as to his status of Contemporary Art Star and should act accordingly to the only natural actions of misinformed viewers.

On a side note, it seems Banksy is inclined to tag moveable and/or removable objects. His tag in Chelsea on 25th and 10th is on a garage door, and he created two on-the-move exhibitions using utility trucks: one with a complete waterfall oasis touring the East Village, another with stuffed animal farm animals peering our of a truck moving around the Meatpacking Distract. Maybe this is a quip on society’s obsession with possessions, or that art commodification is inevitable. I like to think Banksy intends transience to permeate graffiti’s total ethos; art that changes with time, moves through time as well.

If you have seen “Exit through the Gift Shop” you will understand Banksy’s satire in his title. When perusing a museum show, we exit through a gift shop where we can purchase posters, mugs, books, and other merchandise plastered with the exhibiting artist’s artworks. Banksy is right; even when we are unable to own or purchase a piece of art, we can own or possess its image.

Society today has a problem with temporal art. We want to take its photos to remember its existence. We care just as much about the Image as we care about the Art. We want to buy graffitied doors so we can own a “Banksy”. When it comes to art in the public sphere, and especially Graffiti, it is not meant to last, or live on forever: it is meant to change with the times, metamorphose through the seasons, and eventually fade away. Give up the Image, and you can have some fun with the Art.

Dumbo Arts Festival 2013 : A Photography Experience

SAWCC "Micro Fiction Game"

SAWCC “Micro Fiction Game”

SAWCC "Micro Fiction Game"

SAWCC “Micro Fiction Game”

Kyle Goen "Transparency Red"

Kyle Goen “Transparency Red”

Graffiti Walkway in Dumbo

Graffiti Walkway in Dumbo

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov "Ship of Tolerance" docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park #art #daf13

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov “Ship of Tolerance” docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park



carousel rides at Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park

carousel rides at Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge at Brooklyn Bridge Park