*This is the first of three writings exploring how New York City’s art scene is layered between structures of curatorial courage and interpersonal relationships. Opportunity coexists for the connected and the artists that endure. The ceiling breaks from above while cracks highlight brilliance from below.
A recent trip to New York City provided a cold blast of artistic reality. California arrived wrapped in a long winter jacket ready for a critical thinking journey. My artworks were featured in two exhibitions: Crossings at El Sótano Art Space in Brooklyn and TRANSFORMATION at Gallery MC (RE:ARTISTE) in New York City. Winter mixed with art warms my heart.
Time was of the essence. Arriving tardy in Newark, it was a rush through challenging traffic to El Sótano Art Space in Brooklyn. Participating artists in the Crossings exhibit included: Maria Askew & Ben Osborn, Sadie Coughlin-Prego, Gian Luigi Braggio, Jessica Renzelman, Michael Ensminger, Luisa Valderrama, Eva Lia Pedriglieri, Heather Layton, and myself.
Crossings was meticulously curated with thoughtful writings. The evening included a moving performance from artist Eva Lia Pedriglieri. From the gallery’s website: “This ‘baile con mi madre’ (dance with my mother) is an exploration of dancing as a form of language/knowledge passed down through generations, as Eva attempt to have a conversation with her mother, Luisa Pedriglieri, using dance moves and music she’s learned to appreciate from her. Their long distance relationship is based on phone calls and FaceTime conversations–her mother lives in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, while she currently lives in the Bronx. This work bridges this divide through the technology we are accustomed to interacting with, but with the goal of sharing an intimate moment doing something that they typically do in person. The mix features music/genres from the Dominican Republic, her mother’s home country, as well as their all-time favorite American disco song to reflect on their family’s migration from the DR to the US.”
From the manifesto of El Sótano Art Space: “It is a space where art is the catalyst to spark conversations about topics that are current and need to be addressed.” Remember these names: Victoria Luzuriaga Bastidas, Julio Alejandro Rodriguez Pozos, and Nicholas Wai Keung Fung. A new generation is paving the path for critical thinking and engagement in the arts.
Next stop was MC Gallery in New York City for the TRANSFORMATION exhibit. The opening reception was packed with genuine excitement and curiosity. Participating artists were Dong Kyu Kim, Ashley Garner, Dieneke Tiekstra, Hisayasu Takashio, Antanas Adomaitis, Yang Mai, Yong Chen, Cheryl Maeder, Sena Kwon, Parisa Ghaderi, Francis Milloy, Maki Fujita, Anna Park, Kristen Palana, Ruth Jeyaveeran, Norbert Garcia, Jingmei Han, Layla Love, Leslie Fry, Michele Antenorcruz, Diana Biscaioli, Fiwart, Loren Abbate, Maryamsadat Amirvaghefi, Nicolas Vionnet, Elody Gyekis, Mark McDermott, HakChul Kim, Catherine Adams, Hildegunn Solbø, Mark Harrington, Samantha Passaniti, Allen Terrell, Guli Silberstein, Elham Ataeiazar, Izumi Yokoyama, Despina Zografos, Kiley Ames, Miguel del Rey Vergara, Alain Licari, Ben Pell, Roshan Houshmand, and myself. Artworks explored how society and environment transforms humanity.
The following day was a networking event for artists. Curators Natalie Burlutskaya, Hadieh Afshani, and T. Lawrence Wheatman shared the jurying process while facilitating an open dialogue. One by one, artists discussed inspirations and practices. It was shockingly generous and forever grateful.
According to MC Gallery: “RE:ARTISTE is an international art organization helping emerging and established artists get discovered by the audience of curators, collectors, and art enthusiasts. Therefore, promoting artists to the world is our peacemaking mission which connects people of different cultures, origins, and legacies.”
Flying back to California, I left feeling recharged and inspired. Meaningful art opportunities occur when hard work and dedication collide. El Sótano Art Space and Gallery MC (RE:ARTISTE) deliver that support and more. Thankful.
Crossings. El Sótano Art Space. Brooklyn, New York. December 7-15, 2018.
TRANSFORMATION. RE:ARTISTE. Gallery MC. New York, New York. December 7-21, 2018.