Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Museum

If you haven’t had a chance to go to the Brooklyn Museum to see the “Keith Haring: 1978–1982” exhibit I strongly suggest that you drop all your plans this weekend and go!

This exhibit is the first large-scale exhibit that explore Haring’s early career.  Starting from his arrival in NYC, his experimentation with videos as a student at SVA, his notebooks and journals that show his fascination with Semiotics, the opening of his studio and the life altering relationships he made with other iconic artists, to his work as a Street Artist wheat pasting his photocopied collages and famous subway chalk drawings.  The exhibition includes a number of very early works never before seen in public: seven video pieces including Painting Myself into a Corner (his first video piece) and Tribute to Gloria Vanderbilt; collages created from cut-up fragments of his own writing, sketchbooks, journals, exhibition flyers, posters, subway drawings and documentary photographs. A total of 155 works on paper and over150 archival objects.

I have to say, despite seeing Haring’s works first-hand in the streets of NYC as a kid in the late 80’s, this exhibit was really eye opening.  What I found particularly fascinating were Haring’s journals.  Seeing a glimpse of his creative process, word play and his deep understanding of Positive/Negative Space was a real treat.  His word puzzles are nothing short of fascinating.  You can literally spend hours trying to decipher and analyze them.

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However, a word of caution to parents.  The exhibit does have some drawings that some adults may not find suitable for children.  If you’re not too familiar with Keith Haring’s work and plan on going to the exhibit with children in tow, my suggestion is that you first look at some of Haring’s work online before making that decision.  I wouldn’t want you to run into the same issue we had with my friends little dimpled monkey who asked, “Um, Why is that guys thingy on that dogs butt?! That’s gross!”  So…Yeah!

The “Keith Haring:1978–1982” exhibit will be at the Brooklyn Museum through July 8, 2012


Part II of March Art Fair Madness

Although there are 10 mainstream Art Fairs that are highly regarded by the art community in NYC there are countless other art fairs that take place during the month of March. These smaller scale fairs take advantage of the momentum that these larger scale fairs create. One such fair is the Hive Festival.

The Hive Festival was conceived by COLLECT as an “alternative” option for art fans and collectors who would be in the city seeking the freshest and most exciting new voices in art in America during Armory Week. The HIVE works were not housed in any specific venue, instead select artists staged their projects in multiple locations throughout the week to gain the widest public reach. All participating artists were featured on the COLLECT blog and gallery website in the COLLECT HIVE Virtual Group Show. Also, stickers with QR Codes were placed around the city leading art fans and collectors to the COLLECT HIVE Virtual Group Show. I had the privilege of participating in this Virtual Group Show which also gave me the opportunity to interview two of its participants.

The first person I would like to introduce you to is Prudence Groube. Prudence is not only the amazing creator and artist of the world of Mimachan but she is also the Founder of COLLECT NYC and the creator of the COLLECT HIVE Group Show. Prudence’s featured artwork was the following piece:

"Outsider" Oil on Canvas 36x48

“Outsider” Oil on Canvas 36×48

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside an artist’s mind? Or how they feel about the art world? Well here you go. Below are a few questions I asked Prudence regarding what inspires her and how she feels about her own art which is pretty insightful…

Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

I find my shapes and colours everyday as I walk through the city – I “save these up” for when I encounter the moment or interaction that gives me the strong FEELING that will move my pen. I obsessively look for “spaces” in the city – areas, alcoves, abandonment – in which I could “fit” art – these spaces often lead to some of my more experimental projects…I guess spaces invite questions of “what belongs here and who does it belong to?”

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

There’s a LOT! But if I had to pick one…my Graphgear1000 Pental 0.5

When do you feel you come up with your most brilliant ideas?

When I am walking

Have you ever taken to one of your works so much that you have been inclined to keep it all to yourself?

There was one….it took me three years to paint. Funny – I sold it the other day, after it had been at the back of a stack of paintings in storage and I hadn’t seen it in a long time. I realized that I would rather it (or any of my works) be seen than hoarded– especially the ones I feel that I am connected to because they are the ones that express the most completely who I am and my experience of the world.

What’s your favorite place to see art?

In the hands of people

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a museum or gallery?

Sadly…nothing….I WISH these spaces invited more liberal interactions with art and art lovers

Do you collect anything?

I used to – these days I find “stuff” is mind clutter.

What kind of child were you?

Aloof and adream

What was the worst thing a curator or critic ever told you?

Nothing. No response is the WORST!

What’s your art-world pet peeve?


Do you think artists should give an explanation of their artwork or should it be left to interpretation? If a piece of art needs to be explained it means it’s not finished…in my opinion.

Also featured in the Virtual Gallery was one of my pieces which you can see below:

"Love Letters" Copyright © 2011 Miss Lilly Bee

“Love Letters” Copyright © 2011 Miss Lilly Bee

Another one of the amazing participants of the HIVE Festival was Joseph Quintela. Joseph Quintela is a Poet, Writer, Author and a man after my own heart. I being a creator and fan of anything that is a mashup, he thoroughly captivated me at the HIVE Festival reception with the reading of his poem “There are attic houses in the toes. There, attics house the toes” which is written entirely with words from Ludacris’ “Fantasy” and John Ashbery’s “It must be sophisticated”.

As I stated before, as part of the HIVE festival, select artists staged their projects in multiple locations throughout the city and one such project was the placing of excerpts of poetry on random trains, spoken word on train platforms and observing passengers reactions. Joseph Quintela was the artist who performed this curiously interesting project.

Below is my interview with Joseph and his reflective and sometimes hilarious responses followed by his awesome poem:

Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

Though what I create is typically experimental, the ideas for my work have almost always come from two main sources: everyday experiences and everyday objects. I believe that it is the job of art and literature to provide us with means of reopening our closed ideas about otherwise ordinary things. In other words, a poem or a painting can and should be a template for creating new understanding of that which you thought you already understood. So in my last few projects, I’ve used the “Terms of Use” agreement for Facebook, the material properties of a book (its paper and its spine), and a song playing on Pandora as starting points to create my work. From there, I’ve tried to open up new ways of seeing and doing these otherwise mundane objects and experiences. In the case of Facebook, this was through erasing parts of the text to create a poem from it. In the case of books, this was by cutting them up and transforming them into mounted sculptures. In the case of the song “Fantasy” (Ludacris), this was by refracting it through a favorite poem and creating a new work that is a composite of the two (see below).

What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

My senses. They are the tool that I know best (and least) and carry with me everywhere. It surprises me how little some people think about their senses and the many possibilities for what they can do with them. So I guess that’s another part of what I believe to be the job of the poet or artist: teaching us how to use our senses in new and empowering ways; to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the world both differently and better.

When do you feel you come up with your most brilliant ideas?

It’s always in the shower. Probably because that’s one of the few times I’m completely alone for an extended period of time and I’m also not DOING anything. Our frenetic lives can be bad for good ideas.

Have you ever taken to one of your works so much that you have been inclined to keep it all to yourself?

Then it wouldn’t be art. I truly believe that anything that isn’t work worth sharing isn’t really work worth much anything at all.

What’s your favorite place to see art?

In the park. Give me art or a good book in the park and I’m a happy critic. That criteria is harder on art, of course.

Do you think artists should give an explanation of their artwork or should it be left to interpretation?

As a fairly strict formalist, I almost always create poetry and art from a carefully thought out framework of ideas. I believe that formal work is most successful when it conveys these ideas without the need for any kind of intervention on my part (explanation or otherwise) . Further, the insight of the reader or viewer can teach me things that I don’t even know about my own work. Because the work itself is created by doing (not by the thinking), sometimes the doing encodes information into the work that was not necessarily conceived in the thinking. In other words, my art knows more than I know, or at least, knows what I know before I know that I know it. As such, art and poetry are always open to interpretation, and in many ways an artist or poet’s explanation is a particularly biased one that is always suspect. However, given all this, other parts of my work are written or created in a highly performative mode which demands my participation as part of the delivery. Here, I believe my own interpretation to be no less suspect, but it is raised to the foreground of the work and becomes an ever-shifting, often conversant, part of it. This is true of the poetry I create to be performed rather than read. The movements and inflections that I give in the performance are a necessary (and, in fact, highly formal) element in the composition which serve to explain the words.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen happen in a museum or gallery?

When I went to the Glenn Ligon retrospective at the Whitney, my friend and I read all the Richard Foreman jokes out loud and laughed like crazy people because even if Ligon is using them as high criticism, they ARE funny, I mean they’re jokes about huge penises for God’s sake. That freaked out a few of the more conservative patrons of the exhibit. I suppose that I tend to be on the spectacle side of a spectacle. I bring the weird.

Do you collect anything?

Really cute long-hair Chihuahuas.

What kind of child were you?

A hell-raising, tireless, hyper-inquisitive nightmare-demon spawn. I threw tantrums like they were going out of style. In fact, I still do. I’m sure that my own children will be my parents revenge. Which is why I may keep to the Chihuahuas.

“There are attic houses in the toes. There, attics house the toes”

I wanna move from doubt to the flo’

of blindness. I wanna leave

our fantasy. A chain gotta know what’s linkable but

I wanna get you elsewhere. So,

dirty bird, shall we shrug off

our line of work? If you like the

DJ Booth, the house influence, the

shapely witnesses with cherries and strawberries on top,

don’t stop, keep talking, knock

the robots out of harm’s way. We gotta

wake up. The black sand on the beach

like Pac Man. It’s hard

to remember when table time wasn’t a laptop. Maybe

the land plays tricks on the park.

Maybe that Ludacris was never a person in public,

Maybe it’s all a classroom. Stand up when

ever you want, lover, walk

past ’em blind and forget.

Flash ’em. Out last ’em. You’re good

and if you ain’t good,

you might as well be free. At the bottom

of a fantasy you’re the Sahara.

Up on the roof your life was

time from head to toe.

I wanna keep the present.

I wanna honor the past. I wanna

scatter the bridesmaids.

I wanna get lunch. Maybe

with a candle and a cup of tea.

At the end of the Ludacris concert you see the stage.

I cried out. You keep ticking.

A red carpet dick is a mystery

I’ll find if it takes all night. Go ahead

and sleuth it too, we can solve it and then

hire a go-between. My tour is a train

and if a book

can’t be too loud, the rafters

can’t have a bargain. You make a brother beg

for you. I give your absence clemency.

We can bag the restless,

vagrant lights but the black air makes

the promise of champagne

a sauna. What’s my name? What’s my part? What’s

the movie? In the back row they haven’t really

said. The chair and the table rule me,

pull me, confine me, that’s all I know. I was

truthful. I walked on silk

feet, eating the street fruit, the people

were talking toes. I wanna run.

I wanna be somewhere else.

I wanna leave the confusion. I wanna return home.

The fantasy pesters us daily,

I was born in windows, the experiment

clogged up, the way you fuck like fighting over a

shirt. People listening doesn’t harm

the garden. At the same time everyone suspects the dirt.

Turn the page. Roll around.

Jerk the legs. Don’t be afraid,

it’s too fast to stop. The shade

of time on top of

the transparent trade

of factories or guns or foliage.

What about the attention span? The candy store is gone forever but it’s

whips and chains that

play a clever game. I’ll

get my reigns. I’ll produce a school

of bedclothes. I wanna mop.

I wanna flo’ from the bed while you scale the wall.

I wanna leave. I wanna think that the next new thing

is far from fantasy. I know

the city of fifty

holy illusions. The whole dirty bird

mindset took you like a

toy in the DJ Booth.

The weather of whipped cream with cherries

I can hardly lick.

In this tiny republic the show gotta stop.

Perhaps it’s enough to question the beach with black sand.

Now that I’m safe at the edge of my performance, you call me Pac Man,

give me a lap dance and

forget to point to the

bathroom. That glancing man can share your power. The public’s in

a classroom because

the president you want gonna tap that ass.

Get past ’em. Cast the class to

last and be summarily obscure.

Hand ’em over.

What matters is free. Let no one say

you have to live to tell the

difference. You came too mad.

I wanna darken the theater.

I wanna coax you down into the bed.

I wanna leave. I wannna watch you pass on

the wind. I gotta know

it doesn’t get you. Because even if

you give up, they punish you.

On the concert stage the experience is sealed.

What you know, I read.

They roll out the red carpet and use them all.

You and I can write my name on a leaf.

We can read it in the pouring rain. It’s time for you to choose.

By Joseph Quintela

I would like to thank Prudence and Joseph for being kind enough to spend some time with me and sharing their thoughts.

March Art Fair Madness

March is one of the busiest months in the New York art scene.  Most art museums debut big name exhibits this month and 10 of the most anticipated Art Fairs take place here.  There’s the Art Show, The Armory Show, Volta NY, Scope NY, The Independent and Fountain Fairs to name only a few.

Art fairs are a great way to see new up and coming artists and some of your old favorites.  You also get to see the art up close in a way that some museums do not allow due to crowding or security.  I personally took advantage of a few of the fairs since I really want to check out some of the newer artists that I’ve only seen in blogs or websites. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to go any of the fairs I thought I’d share some pictures of some art from The Armory Show that I found fun or intriguing.  Hope you enjoy them!

The City of Samba

Carnival, or Mardi Gras as we know it, is the traditionally Catholic festival that occurs before Lent each year. It is celebrated around the world, but Rio de Janeiro holds the record for the largest, and most famous, Carnival party. Traditionally it was celebrated as a way to use up and get rid of all of the fatty foods, meats, sweets, and alcohol that were given up during Lent. This was done by throwing a huge party as a last hurrah for the next 40 days. The Rio de Janeiro carnival has become a huge tourist event accounting for the majority of the nations annual tourism.

Jarbas Agnelli and Keith Loutit captured the tourism, the parade, the party, and the overall Samba feel of the Carnival in their tilt-shift style video created from 167,978 photos (five days worth) of stills. Watching the video, you forget that they are still shots and the effect of the tilt-shift makes everything look like claymation. A genius way to change the regular perspective of a larger than life festival.

The City of Samba

Via Visual News

Human Etch-A-Sketch

Kseniya Simonova is a Sand Artist.  A Sand Artist?  What in the world is a Sand Artist? You may ask. Well, with handfuls of volcanic sand, a ligthbox, a projector and music Simonova tells stories.  She gently glides her hands, tossing and wiping the sand, drawing illustrations all in sync with accompanying music which vividly bring her stories to life.

When she was growing up in the Ukraine, her mother, a painter and teacher of fine arts, was instrumental in her highly creative upbringing. Realizing her passion for art, she attended a college for art and poetry, earning a degree in both. In 2002, she had a change of plans and became interested in psychology and eventually graduated with a degree in Psychophysiology, an area between psychology and anatomy. Her final project was about her artistic perception of reality which led to the beginnings of her unique, sand art performances.

After getting married and having a child, she and her husband were struggling to make ends meet. Her husband, knowing of her hobby, encouraged her to enter “Ukraine’s Got Talent”.  After an 8 minute long, moving performance about a couple being separated during a WWII Nazi invasion, she was ushered into the following rounds and eventually won the 100,000 Euro prize.  25 million Youtube views later, she is now traveling and performing her sand art shows all around the world.  You can see her performance here below:


Cyborg Botany

Frantic Gallery of Tokyo, recently displayed Macoto Murayama’s unique “Botech Art” (combination of Botanical Art and TECHnical Art)  style of art with their recent exhibit “Inorganic Flora”.  Murayama used sketches, traditional botany disection drawings, pictures of several types of flowers, and by altering them digitally with software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator created these extraordinary pictures depicting the gentle, inorganic, architectural and even sexual nature of the flowers.

Via Frantic Gallery

You’ve never seen Origami like this!

Brian Chan has been an Orgami enthusiats ever since he was child.  However, it wasnt until he was exposed to the mathematical Design Secrets to Origami at MIT that he took his craft seriously. As he says in his own words, “As an artist, I am particularly drawn to Origami because it adds the extra challenge of folding from a square (and I like challenges, sometimes) and incorporates a lot of geometry, which was my more favored sector of mathematics.”  Which you can tell by the intricate plans that are drawn out for each Origami piece.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s an instructor at MIT either!

Chan’s pieces are more sculpture than simple Origami.  Some of these pieces can be mistaken for real insects.  Nevertheless, you can’t help but to be amazed at the intricacy in details. And to think that they’re made with one single piece of paper.  Amazing!

Via BrianChan