Sunday Funday: Ann Hamilton’s “the art of a thread” at Park Ave Armory

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I visited New York City’s Park Avenue Armory just after the holidays and finally checked out what I had seen all over the internet and heard about for weeks since Ann Hamilton‘s “the art of a thread” show opened there on December 5.  It was nearly 7pm on the night my colleague David and I entered the enormous gymnasium and began interacting with the large scale installation.

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Suspended from the ceiling by an intricate system of pulleys and rope, numerous swings were interspersed throughout the room. The movement of these swings, and those who were perched upon them, controlled the ebb and flow of a giant white curtain which also hung from the ceiling. David and I finally stuck around long enough to acquire an empty swing and hopped on together. Swinging to and fro, I admired that collectively, with our neighboring swingers, we were all creating this ever changing space. As a graduate of Communication Studies, one of my favorite theories is Relational Dialectics (Baxter & Montgomery, 1997): a concept that tries to explain patterns of contradictory tensions and conceptual assumptions. For example, “opposites attract” but “birds of a feather flock together”. I was reminded of this theory as David and I continued to explore the space, the elements of Hamilton’s installation, and the opposing scenarios therein.

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

On one end of the gymnasium, a man and woman simultaneously recited different text into old school ’50s style microphones while on the other end, a woman silently wrote letters to be sent out to post. The end of the night seemed to be approaching as the lights dimmed and the artist herself released caged pigeons from the center of the room. The pigeons were summoned by ringing bells to a large cage near the ceiling.  On the opposite end of the gym, an opera singer walked out onto a balcony and sang a beautifully powerful aria. David and I learned that new arias were recorded each evening, and replayed when the exhibit reopened the next morning, like daily bookends for the project. There was so much going on at the same time, and in continuum, so after more than an hour at the Armory, I left creatively satisfied and eager to write this post.

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

 From Ann Hamilton about the art of a thread:

Suspended in the liquidity of words, reading also sets us in motion. We fall between a book’s open covers, into the texture of the paper and the regularity of the line. The rhythm and breath of someone reading out loud take us to a world far away. As a child, I could spend hours pressed against the warmth of my grandmother’s body listening to her read, the rustling of her hand turning the page, watching the birds and the weather outside, transported by the intimacy of a shared side by side.

     No two voices are alike. No event is ever the same. Each interaction in this project is both made and found. All making is an act of attention and attention is an act of recognition and recognition is the something happening that is thought itself. As a bird whose outreached wings momentarily catch the light and change thought’s course, we attend the presence of the tactile and perhaps more importantly – we attend to each other. If on a swing, we are alone, we are together in a field. This condition of the social is the art of a thread. Our crossings with its motions, sounds, and textures is its weaving; is a social act.

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Fresh Friday Finds: Andi Green

Welcome to the first Fresh Friday Finds post on .stART here. where I’ll be featuring some fresh artists on the rise. Happy weekend!

I am continuing with a Green theme and stoked to introduce Andi Green. Her sister, Allison Green, was in this week’s Hump Day Hot Seat.

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Nola, 24″x36″ light box. Photo courtesy of Andi Green.

In 2001, Andi Green worked in advertising and had an art show in New York City called The Monsters in My Head.  She created 24″x36″ light boxes featuring characters that embodied emotions. All five pieces displayed a character, or what she called monsters, along with a Xerox-transferred story (see image above). After such an enormous response to The Monsters, Green decided to expand her idea. Six years later, she began the development of The WorryWoo Monsters series consisting of children’s storybooks and plush dolls under her newly formed Monsters in My Head independent company.

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Nola, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

Another six years later, with six books and seven plus dolls, The WorryWoo Monsters is now an award-winning series created, written, illustrated, and produced by Andi Green, a tried and true tour de force. Her dedication to technique and tradition does not go unnoticed as she hand draws and watercolors the layouts for the storybooks herself – a waning technique lost in the digital age. Green’s characters celebrate emotions both big and small, and help create a dialogue about our inner selves. Whether it is the feeling of loneliness (Nola), insecurity (Rue), confusion (Fuddle), innocence (Squeek), worry (Wince), or frustration (Twitch), both children and adults alike can relate to these stories and learn to embrace their emotions. Check out WorryWoos.com for more information and to meet Andi and her WorryWoo Monsters – Nola, Rue, Fuddle, Squeek, Wince, and Twitch.

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Rue, sketches. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

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WorryBug and Wince, sketches. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

 

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Wince, watercolor. Image courtesy of Andi Green.

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Allison Green

Allison Green‘s “Entwined” was the first Sunday Funday feature right here on .stARThere. Now, Green is in the Hump Day Hot Seat where you can learn more about the artist as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada.

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Photo courtesy of Allison Green

1. Who are you?

Jersey City based artist Allison Green

2. What do you do?

 I create large scale, colorful oil paintings. Nature is most often my muse, and anthropomorphic trees and plant life have been my most recent subjects. I work full-time in my Jersey City studio.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I studied art at the University of Maryland, where painting was my concentration, and I also studied in Florence, Italy at Studio Art Centers International (SACI). After college, I moved to the New York City area where I have worked ever since. For eight years, I taught art at a Jersey City Public School, which was both a rewarding and eye opening experience. As my work became more recognized, I decided to take the plunge and work as a full-time artist. Soon after, Susan Eley featured my first solo show at her gallery, Susan Eley Fine Art, in 2011. She now represents my work.

4. How long have you been at it?

I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would always carry around a sketchbook. I started painting with Mr. Falcone, my 9th grade art teacher in my small hometown of Media, Pennsylvania. I remember that our first art class assignment was a home painting of something we were inspired by after a class trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum. I stayed up all night painting on this giant wooden board with house paints from the hardware store. I arrived to school the next day with a 4’X4′ painting! From then on, I was obsessed!

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I never give up.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

So many – Anselm Kiefer, Kiki Smith, William Kentridge, Inka Essenhigh. In November, I saw a great show at Leila Heller Gallery by two painters who work together under the moniker Kate Eric.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I love the arts – film, dance, & theater. I always have music on when I am painting. Sometimes, I am dancing when I paint. I love it all as other art forms truly inspire me.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My sister says that I am a great “animal photographer.” I am also really good at sleeping late and sleeping for very long periods of time.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Red wine – could there be anything else? 🙂

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

1. Persistence. 2. I take breaks. I know that sounds contradictory, but they work together. Sometimes, after I finish a painting or a series that I am really happy about, it’s hard for me to move on. I feel lost, but I force myself to pick up a brush or pencil even if I am not feeling creative. I will make myself start a new study or sketch, anything to keep it moving. At the same time, I also think it is crucial to take breaks. Whether it is taking a break from painting and spending the afternoon just sitting in the studio and thinking instead or stepping out of the studio for the day to visit galleries or go to the Met, it is important to allow yourself a moment to take a breath. Sometimes, taking a day off to step away from art entirely – like a trip to the beach or a day of shopping – can do wonders for a creative spirit!

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I love food! I am a vegetarian, and I love trying all of the great, veg-friendly restaurants NYC has to offer. I also love to cook. Right now, my two favorite dishes to make are a pasta with kale and veggie sausage in a lemon olive oil garlic sauce, and a fresh salad with sautéed tempeh bacon, avocado, and tomato – yum!

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

In terms of art, both. I always try to remain true to myself in my work while always daring myself to try the things that I am afraid I can’t do, to move forward, and try harder.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My husband. 🙂

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Hump Day Hot Seat: Dan Puleo

Ladies & gentlemen, welcome to the first Hump Day Hot Seat post on .stART here. where you’ll get to know some cool artists a little bit better.  I will be asking questions provided by Finch & Ada.  Enjoy!

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1. Who are you?

Dan Puleo, sometimes Daniel Jack. It depends on the weather.

2. What do you do?

Right now, I am working for a mid-century modern art/furniture gallery in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is really helping me research and develop some exciting new ventures I have planned, furniture design and simple framed works on paper. Unlike New York City and New Jersey, the market down here is less cluttered. I think it could be a fresh new market for me… if they’re even read for it. I also create mixed media paintings. I was using found objects on canvas, but I am refining and using gallery wrap canvas and works on paper. I think it’s time for marketability.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I was raised in New Jersey so I guess you can say I got my start there. I think my 4th grade teacher told me I was talented when I won a poster contest for fire prevention. When I moved to New York City is when I started garnering some attention from other artists and collectors. I lived Uptown so I took the train a lot. I would notice the difference in the maintenance of each train station I stopped at. I really liked the way advertisements were peeled off and tagged. I remember seeing faint images of fashion models underneath gyro posters underneath Newport ads underneath a flyer for a local show underneath…you get the idea, lots of layers. My dad is somewhat responsible for my love of street art. He drove a truck that was pretty accessible to great graffiti artists in Paterson, New Jersey. He liked to show my brother and me new pieces whenever someone tagged the truck. But, my dad didn’t like it too much when I got in trouble for vandalism in high school. My brother, Bobby, also exposed me to the latest skate videos and punk rock pretty young so that was a plus. Skateboarding culture played a huge role in my life and has influenced my art greatly.

4. How long have you been at it?

I was to say too long, but I guess it hasn’t been long enough.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I’m usually my biggest critic when it comes to my art. It still surprises me when someone really loves a piece that I thought was just whatever. I like to disconnect from the piece when I feel it’s done, kind of put it away from me and then go back later and see how I feel. I don’t like to become attached to pieces of art, most of them started as garbage and most of them will end up as garbage.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I admire anyone who can make a living following their passion when it come to art. I also admire people who starve just to hold on to their passion for art. That being said, I admire most artists. Robert Rauschenberg is one of my favorite artists. He recently died, and I think he may be buried here in West Palm.

7. What other types of art are you into?
Anything lowbrow, street art, pop art, signage, and furniture design.
8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?
My skull collection is growing. I just found a goat skull and a pig skull in the same garden. Voodoo?
9. What’s your favorite vice?
Miami
10. How do you make it over the creative hump?
Right now, I am at the top of the hump about to roll back down the other side. Changing location and lifestyle over the past year has been interesting. I am kind of surveying the scene down here and waiting for the right moment to release some real art. There is definitely some money to be made in South Florida, hopefully this old money wants some new art.
11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?
I do like food. I eat out a lot. I did just recently get a blender for Christmas. I want to drink most of my food from now on.
12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.
Truth. I’ve admitted most things already so it shouldn’t be too hard.
13. What is your most prized posession?
I already mentioned my skull collection so I would have to say my vintage camera collection.
Check out Dan’s online portfolio for more information. Photo courtesy of Dan Puleo.