Wednesday, December 18, 2013

a few thoughts on coming together

Foreground Right: James Siena, Red and Black Spirals, Connected; Midground: Anton Lamazares, Untitled; Corbin Walker, Danny Boy 

at Industry City
curated by Phong Bui

It's always something. 

This Sunday was the last day of the über-exhibition Come Together: Surviving SandyPhong Bui's tribute to the survival of the New York art community one year after super storm Sandy. I'm happy to say I was able to spend much of the day there. The show was a commemoration of the hard hit artists and galleries that have worked through the year to get back on their feet. More than 200 artists filled over 100,000 sq ft of warehouse space -- inside and out -- with installations of painting, sculpture, video, photography, drawing and all the rest. I'm not sure I agree it was the best show of 2013, but on the whole it was immensely satisfying.

2nd Floor stairway exploding through floor: F: John Newman; B: Mel Kendrick, Allan Graham AKA Toadhouse, Loren Munk

The show sprawled out over four massive floors of the gargantuan (and now infamous) warehouse complex in Sunset Park known as Industry City. A lot of big names, a lot of small names; everyone commingling in a salute the come-back kids that make the art world go 'round.

What I didn't realize on Sunday is that the space Surviving Sandy briefly occupied used to house hundreds of working artists, now displaced by the new landlords who bought the building(s) and promptly raised rents by 50%. Ughh.

Better informed people than me have written about this, (see links below) so I won't belabor the details. But this makes for one helluva messy aesthetic experience. Celebrating survival in a warehouse that has evicted 90% of its artist tenants is a brutality that is almost too much to bear.

Brooklyn's Industry City, Buildings 1-10; photo by Dean Kaufman
For more information click on these links:

Lise Soskolne's Who Owns a Vacant Lot on Shifter
and William Powhida's Surviving Rent on ArtFCity

looks like studio space to me -- the empty square footage of Industry City; photo Lise Soskolne

Anyway, I really was just planning to post some pictures of the show. There's so much to it I've just added some of my favorite things. And, as for all the rest, well...what could be better than the idea of coming together? 

So, for all my friends who couldn't make it to Surviving Sandy, enjoy the ride.

On the ground floor, two inflatable rats heave over Pizzatopia, courtesy Bruce High Quality Foundation, like psalms to the diminishing reality of affordable artist housing...

Bruce High Quality Foundation; F: Pizzatopia, 2011; B: Stay With Me, Baby, 2011 (two inflatable rats inhaling/exhaling)

James Hyde, Climate

Bui recounted to me the visit Stephen Antonakos made earlier in the year to site his installation, a stunning neon work on the 2nd floor. He died just two weeks later. A wonderful artist; a lovely man. He felt very present here.

Stephen AntonakosBlue Incomplete Circle on Blue and Red Wall, 1978

Benjamin KeatingPortrait of her by a sculptor 7:30pm, 2013

amalgams of wall, floor, corner, video, installation and neon works on every floor

A triumph of color, Joyce Robins shares the gallery with Thomas Nozkowski, among others.

Joyce Robins, Untitled, 1993

Gandalf Gavan, Breach, 2013
Fantastic Juan Gomez:

Juan Gomez, Mawinzhe, 2013
Beautiful gallery:

L: Sheila Pepe, Corner piece redux #2, 2012; R: Carrie Moyer, Jolly Roger, 2013

Amazing installation from the Vivre Series -- artist made backdrops line the length of the gallery. Works were offered at auction earlier this year to support the rebuilding of Red Hook. Various artists.

L-R: Donald Moffett, Corbin Walker, Anton Lamazares

Alexander Ross

Beth Campbell, Crashing Tables (Moments Crashing...I underestimated the consequences), 2005

John Walker
Katherine Bradford ships -- adore these:

Katherine Bradford, Ship with Five Moons, 2013

This awesome Deborah Kass is a long time favorite -- so happy to see it here:

Deborah KassAfter Louise Bourgeois, 2010

Michael Joo, Megafawn (Extincted), 2010

Francis Cape, Waterline, 2006

Lois Dodd, 1978 - 2010

Linda Benglis

Michelle Segre, The Collector, 2012

Diana Cooper, Safety Last

F: Ursula von Rydingsvard, Ocean Voices, 2011-2012; B: works from the Vivere Series
I know...I have a lot of favorites. It's that I'm not discriminating -- it's just a very cool selection of works. Bravo to Phong.

Nari Ward, Blue Rung

Lucy Cottrell, How to Look Up To Ten Years Younger

G.T. Pellezzi, The Red and the Black, 2013

Nari Ward, We the People

Here's to survival.

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