You wouldn’t necessarily associate Moishe’s Moving with art and architecture, but you would be wrong not to. Moishe Mana, founder of the moving company, and his right-hand man Eugene Lemay have converted 150,000 square feet of the 1.5 million industrial space they own in Jersey City into the impressive Mana Contemporary, a center that houses over 250 artists’ studios, numerous art galleries, Richard Meier’s Model Museum, Gary Lichtenstein’s Editions printing studio and shop, in addition to dance studios, an art book shop, a bistro, designer studios, a recently completed spectacular column-free 50,000-square-foot separate glass gallery, and who knows what else? I visited last spring during an open studios event and was blown away by the facilities as well as the quality of the art (there are some impressive names on the doors such as Michal Rovner and others.) The Richard Meier Model Museum is a must-see, and there are special exhibits in many of the art galleries. The trip from NYC is relatively quick on the Path train but, as was the case when I visited in May, this Sunday, September 14th there will be free shuttle buses running from the Meatpacking District every half hour, making the excursion irresistible.
I’m not sure if it’s because it’s Fashion Week here in NYC, or because the fall season has begun bringing with it a new crop of looks, or maybe I just hadn’t strolled down Madison Avenue in a while but, when I did yesterday afternoon I was really struck by all the store windows, both in their content and their display design. Barney’s had a series of rotating photos by Bruce Weber titled L.A. Stories; another store whose name escapes me was setting up neon signage along with what seemed to be an outdoor runway, but the windows that stopped me in my tracks were those of Hermès. The mannequin heads were these spectacular sculptures which at first glance looked like blocks of painted wood, but as I got closer I realized that they were actually books. Books! Rolled, fanned, stacked, bent, not only were the mannequin heads stunning (possibly the most fabulous part of the general fabulosity), but the backdrops as well were intricate tableaus created using the edges of books, painted in colors and stripes, in some cases just as multicolor striped motif backdrop while in others 2-dimensional mythical gods. I went in to ask who the artist was and should have recognized the name right away, having posted NYC-born and based artist Nick Georgiou’s work before. Seeing them in person, however, is even more impressive. Kudos to whoever thought to give the job to Georgiou, and of course kudos to the artist himself for making an impressive splash on Upper Mad, specifically at the corner of 62nd Street.
Photos collabcubed and Nick Georgiou
I stopped by the opening of Outlaw Arts’ graffiti and street art show 21st Precinct last Saturday evening. The 1863 NYPD building will be demolished in the coming months and a condominium will take its place, so, as has become recently popular in NYC and abroad, the four-story space was handed over to street artists who covered every wall, door, floor, ceiling, bathroom, and other nooks and crannies throughout with their art. The irony of graffiti in a police station was not lost on many of the artists who themed their work accordingly: there were excerpts from the Miranda Rights sprayed in beautiful type graffiti; there was a bathroom that looked like a murder scene with a blood-filled sink; a machine gun vending machine; Pacino’s Scarface above writing in white powder simulating cocaine on the floor, and much more. Each artist was apparently given a room or hallway or stairway to go to town on, and go to town they did. Some of my personal favorites included Rae-BK, Alice Mizrachi, Yok and Sheryo, Mr. Toll, and of course others who I was not able to identify, such as the bottom photo. (Update: it’s Erasmo.)
It’s interesting to see how street art is increasingly making its way indoors and with that so is the sense of a downtown gallery scene. There were even iPads displaying additional works in some of the rooms and business cards abound. And why not? Just as with any art, there are some truly exceptional artists among many of the more mundane, and I, for one, would be thrilled to have any one of a number of these artists’ works on my walls.
Many of the featured artists were wandering around the opening, blending in with everyone else, except for the rare case of red spandex pants that far from blended, but that seemed to be the point. If you missed the event last weekend, don’t despair, the 21st Precinct at 327 East 22nd St. will be open to the public again this coming weekend 8/23 and 8/24 from 1 to 6pm. If you can’t make it live, you can see many more (and better) photos here and here.
Look up New York! The Water Tank Project has started to roll out…or maybe “wrap around” would be more accurate. I first learned of Word Above the Street’s project roughly one year ago, but was happy to hear yesterday, via an interview on wnyc, that this is actually taking place right now. Filmmaker Mary Jordan, the creative and driving force behind the project, was working on a documentary in Ethiopia in 2007 when she fell gravely ill due to contaminated water. It was the women in the village she was in who nursed her back to health. In return, they asked that she let people know of the global water crisis when she returned to the U.S. Jordan founded Word Above the Street and set out to fulfill her promise through a citywide exhibit on the very icons that proudly contain our own fortunate and excellent water supply. Over 100 water tanks will be wrapped with art by acclaimed artists (such as John Baldessari, Jeff Koons, Maya Lin, Andy Goldsworthy), street artists (including Icy & Sot, Barry McGee, and Fab 5 Freddy), emerging artists, and even NYC public school students. The first one, by Laurie Simmons (top photo), went up two weeks ago on 29th Street near the High Line, and another one (I couldn’t find the artist, but third photo down) on West 25th Street.
Tanks in all five boroughs will be included and, in addition to the art above, action will be taken on the ground through educational programs, tours, and a symposium dedicated to global water issues. So, keep your head up and eyes peeled for the next 3 months if in NYC. Or, if not, you can always follow them on twitter or instagram for the latest updates. Water above all!
Photos & images courtesy of The Water Tank Project
I noticed a few of these in Nolita the other day and then again yesterday right around Astor Place. I wondered what they were about and have since learned that it’s a public art project titled Signs by artist/designer Ryan McGinness fabricated and installed by NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). Apparently there are fifty in all of these vinyl on aluminum signs and, so far, they seem to mostly be downtown. McGinness has sketches of all fifty on his website accompanied by brief, somewhat whimsical/enigmatic descriptions. I couldn’t find more information, such as how the DOT went along with this, but I’m a fan of anything that makes you stop on the busy streets of NYC and ponder. If you’re in the city, keep your eyes open for more of these. They’re scheduled to be up through August.
Top photo: Ryan McGinness; 2nd photo down: Animal; following three photos: DustyRebel.
When it comes to street art, it doesn’t get much cuter than Stik. The British graffiti artist based in London paints mouthless and noseless stick figure characters on walls, doors, water towers, and more, that despite their minimalistic quality exude warmth and charm. Sometimes in groups holding hands (see the two water towers we’re acquainted with in the East Village and Bushwick), and other times alone, these not-so-little guys are usually painted in black and white against solid bright colored backgrounds. In addition to his unauthorized work, the somewhat private Stik, who has been homeless at times, works with many charitable and human rights organizations. See? That good heartedness shines through in his art. Stik’s work can be seen in Europe, NYC, and even the Middle East and Japan. We are fortunate to have two of his works right in our neighborhood.
You can see more of his work here and an interview below:
All images courtesy of Stik except bottom left: Geof Hargadon via Brooklyn Street Art, and bottom right: Paul Whitehouse via Huffington Post London.
Identical twins Trevor and Ryan Oakes engage in probing studies of visual perception and light through material investigations, discovering new methods in the representation of visual reality through their optical obsession. The duo have constructed a concave easel that avoids the distortions that occur when an image is traced onto a flat canvas. Their low-tech method, as I understand it, involves crossing their eyes until an object doubles next to the paper’s edge, floating over the subject matter transparently, which allows them to “trace” it much in the way some painters used camera obscuras with mirrors and pinhole projections during the Renaissance to trace their subjects. But the Oakes’ variation includes the curvature which is consistent with their findings that human vision is spherical. This optical doubling only has an expanse of 2.5″, so they slice their paper in pieces of that width, which are then joined together when finished to present the final drawing/painting. The plaster helmet attached to the easel is movable, but helps keep the head in one spot for extended periods of time.
Presently, the Oakes Twins have an exhibit of their work titled Compounding Visions at MoMath in NYC which runs through July 21, 2014. In the meantime, you might spot them in the vicinity with their easel, tracing the Flatiron Building. In the video below, the twins explain their technique directly, which, if you have 5 minutes, is probably the best way to understand it.