Category Archives: art admins

Young Curatorial Assistant: Alli Peller

Her name may not appear on the press release, but Allison Peller has been critical to the organization of the New.New York exhibit (curated by Artist / Photographer / Curator / Educator, John Silvis) at the Essel Museum in Vienna. With the exhibit (open NOW, since November 23rd) quickly approaching, I wanted to get a few words from Allison on the experience of assisting with this exhibition, and her path as a worker in the cultural field.

 

Allison Peller was born in Washington on military base Fort Lewis and has lived in Missouri, and Maryland. Ms. Peller, her siblings, the Dr., and Mrs. Peller eventually returned to Washington State, for a time. The family now resides in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The first time Ms. Peller came to New York was as a 5-year-old child with her family. During this visit they attended an exhibition of Monet’s bridges at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The work left an impression on her young mind, noting, even then, the aesthetic difference that it made, “As Monet started going blind.” They visited the Museum again when she was in Middle school, on another family trip, and she knew then that she truly loved New York, and the art that was accessible there.

A story her father likes to tell, which follows their first trip to New York, is of an incident where he pointed to an art print, proclaiming, “Look! It’s a Monet!” Allison calmly corrected him, “No Dad, that’s not a Monet, it’s a Manet.” This is the moment it became clear to her family that her interest went beyond the children’s books, but stretched into a real curiosity of the field. Her confidence in this direction came later as she matured and explored her options for further study.

She attended Bethel University’s undergraduate program for Art History, and Studio Art in Minnesota. She choose the program specifically for the advantage of spending a semester in New York at their Center for Art and Media Studies (NYCAMS). She thought that the semester would quench her love of the big city, seeing her self as more of a “country mouse,” but instead she fell in deeper love, and returned to New York upon graduation for a post-baccalaureate fellowship for curatorial studies under the mentorship of NYCAMS director, John Silvis.

While still in her undergraduate studies, she was trying to be “practical,” by exploring interior design and other applied versions of her creative bent. But it was futile. When she finally faced that fine art history was indeed her passion, and she should be pursuing curatorial work “for real”  – she obtained an internship under the museum director at her university, and later went on to an internship at the Pace Gallery in New York, where she also was employed until recently when she began working as a freelance curatorial assistant.

Her Post-Baccalaureate fellowship began in the Fall of 2009 under the mentorship of John Silvis. She started as an assistant for the exhibit “Incarnational Aesthetics,” and culminated with her own curatorial project “Regeneration: Root Beer Float Social,” in the Spring of 2010. During this period she became the point-person for events such as a fashion show, curated exhibits, and student shows; also facilitating the transport of work and the website updates for each project. Although she had co-curated an exhibit during her internship with the Bethel University Museum, drawing from their collection, “Regeneration” was the first time she had the freedom to make curatorial decisions on her own, building an exhibit that she could truly take ownership of. In her words, “I felt like it looked really good once it was up. It felt really good.”

In the instance of the current Essel Museum exhibition, New.New York, Ms. Peller again came on board as an assistant to John Silvis, but on a scale that she had not yet worked. There are 19 artists in the exhibition (two of which work together as a collaborative team,) all working in New York, with several installation works being installed on-site, in Vienna, opening this Thanksgiving week. Silvis brought Ms. Peller on-board early-on to aid in preparation such as studio visits, (taking measurements, photo documentation,) managing images and videos for their Tumblr page, and keeping details organized for the shipment of work. Peller also assisted Silvis in the portrait sessions for each artist, which would be included in the catalog for the exhibition.

The Essel Museum is hosting the exhibition as a part of their emerging artist series as an example of the work currently coming out of New York City. What ties this group together is not necessarily their “young” or “emerging” status, rather their aesthetic ties to a New York heritage while contemporarily “re-imagining how they use their medium. For example, the Ladd Brothers use beading, textiles, and ribbon,” which, “came out of a [garment/fashion-related practice,] and used those influences to make these really beautiful stacking sculptures.” Another example she gives is of Robin Kang’s brick installations that are essentially built of photographs of bricks printed on acetate and used to construct new structures. Overall the exhibit focuses on this act of “changing the formal paremeters” or giving a new twist to familiar material; Keeping the definition of the New York art scene open to the entire city, not just one borough, furthermore, not one industrial zone.

Allison Peller had prior experience working with a few of the artists who were on the exhibition roster, and plans to build on those relationships. (This includes Reid Streilow, who was also among the artists in her Regeneration exhibit.) She also hopes to continue to put herself in the way of Silvis, as he has played a critical role as a mentor to Peller. She has only begun investigating graduate programs for Art history, but will continue to be actively involved with emerging artists, making studio visits, and building her own curatorial values and style as she emerges onto the New York art scene herself.

New. New York, Curated by John Silvis

Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria
November 23, 2012 – March 31, 2013
Opening Reception: November 22, 2012 from 6-8pm
Gartenbaukino film screenings November 23, 2012 9pm

[photo courtesy of the Essel Facebook page]

Artists:
Jude BroughanVince ContarinoBrent Everett DickinsonRob FischerRyan FordEgan FrantzRico GatsonRobin KangSteven and William LaddSarah LeeChristopher McDonaldAnn PibalLisa SigalShelly SilverReid StrelowSiebren VersteegLetha WilsonTamara Zahaykevich.

“New York, often described as the world capital of contemporary art, is the focus of exhibition activity in the Essl Museum this autumn. NEW. NEW YORK offers an insight into the work of 19 young artists from New York. A vibrant young art scene has developed in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in recent years, with numerous ateliers, culture initiatives and alternative art spaces. It is here that the American artist and curator John Silvis made his selection of artists for the coming exhibition in the Essl Museum.

All 19 artists are at different stages of their careers; what they share is that they use familiar materials and media in their work in an often surprising form, and in doing so produce “something new” in order to distinguish themselves from the traditional art canon and to develop their own forms of artistic expression. They all work with familiar media such as painting, photography, sculpture etc., but they change the formal parameters, combining, for example, materials such as concrete and photography in a refreshing way. The fascination with presence and the object seems to be an apt investigation in our media saturated landscape accentuating the absence of the human hand.  The work in New.New York does this by deconstructing existing art genres, slowing down time, re-purposing material and resurrecting old technologies, without attempting to issue its own manifesto, instead the viewer is presented with diverse artistic visions and forges anticipation for the unexpected by infusing art objects with the potential of transformation.”

Related Links:
http://www.essl.museum/english/exhibitions/newnewyork.html
http://newnyc.tumblr.com

SftPwr project/not alone!


Yesterday I told my little brother in an all-too-rare phone call of sisterly wisdom how I’ve seen that there are just so many different ways to live life in this world. That there are so many different ways to employ one’s self. I noted also that if you can imagine something – there has probably been someone who has also imagined it, and more! …Maybe in a different way than you imaged, but there are kindred spirits out there, you just have to find them.

 

Today, I saw an article about some women who call themselves the East London Fawcett (ELF) Group, or Art Audit.

The mission of the Great East London Art Audit is to provide a platform for celebrating women in the arts. The projects and events we conceive, and are involved in, encourage a wider examination of the position of women within today’s art world, and address contemporary issues surrounding gender inequality within London.”

Something tells me that we are on to something if women in different countries are investigating these issues. (Yay – I found some more of my “people”!)

Incase you had not heard, I am working on a new website that is less of a personal blog (like bonniekate.com) and more of a resource and digest for women in the arts (globally). I’ve started by launching a facebook page and twitter account for the namesake project “SftPwr” and the primary web site is under development now.

SftPwr will include a bunch of things:
We hope to inspire younger women with original content (such as professional interviews), educate ourselves about the past with information on historical role models, and highlight contemporary cultural issues and events (primarily in New York City where we are based, but we are expanding this).

I hope that YOU can continue to be involved in this new phase as a reader, and hopefully on a level of interactivity where your voice can be heard, and your projects can get seen, and maybe we will even get some people jobs, grants, and the honor they deserve!

Because we’ve gotta have each other’s backs…


Related Links:
Huff Post article
See the results of their report

Young Project Profile: UNTITLEDdialogue

UNTITLED:dialogue is a one-year project organized by Jessie Yang and He Yu.

This duo met at New York Univeristy’s Steinhardt Graduate school for Visual Arts Management. Both originally from China, (Shanghai and Sichuan, respectively,) they had the idea to create a monthly forum for further dialogue that centered around Contemporary Asian Art being created locally, in New York. They have garnered a list of over 250 in their network, and growing. Their events have had between 70-80 people show up, which has increased from about 20 at the first event.

“We hope to create a space where artists and the public could meet and interact in an informal setting, with more possibilites for dialogue.”

He Yu (also known as Echo) says that attendees have loved the atmosphere for these events. The artists like the attention as well. Some of their artists are in temporary residencies in New York and are looking for opportunities to talk about their ideas outside of the immediate circle of the program they are participating in, and to broaden their network. The second artist in their series, Na Yingyu, is a video artist and connected with a documentary film maker at one event and has made plans to collaborate.

UNTITLEDdialogue, a series of cultural talks with Asian related artists, curators, writers, independent film makers, designers, architects and musicians in New York.”

When they came to New York, Jessie and Echo didn’t find a lot of events specific to Asian Art outside of the larger and more traditional institutions such as the Asia Society. Even less so when it came to contemporary art, including among commercial galleries.

By providing an informal setting, they have created a free platform around contemporary Asian work where they invite all kinds of international cultural dialogue to occur. For example, John Ransom Phillips was another one of the artists Ud has worked with, he is American and creates images that contain allusions to Chinese sub-text.

With one exception, so far, Ran Tea House has been hosting the Ud program. The tea house also has programming of their own, which is how Echo originally found them. After a screening of the recently released documentary on the work of artist Ai Weiwei she approached the owner, and because their ideas were so similar, it was a natural fit. They set up a schedule for the events, and it has been a smooth collaborative relationship ever since. The only negative aspect that Echo observed is that she would like to find a way to bring in more revenue for the Tea House, and artists.

Jessie has been contributing customized desserts for each event, including a Japanese theme for the event highlighting one Musician from Kagawa.

“I really enjoy making dessert for UNTITLEDdialogue. And I try to relate the dessert to the theme of the dialogue as much as I can. It just makes everyone happy. I would never have thought that studying visual arts would take me to such a new and unexpected path.”

Jessie has applied to a Pastry Arts program at the French Culinary Institute next March. “Though it seems that I found my true calling in cooking and baking, I still love art. And who says food is not art? It is absolutely a work of art.”

Jessie hopes to continue to find ways of blending visual and culinary art experiences after Ud concludes.

In the future, Echo is interested in organizing gallery tours and in-studio visits rather than a program located in a singular venue. One of their events already has taken place at an artist studio (as opposed to the Ran space). Although the different setting can pose logistical challenges, it has the benefit of combining the artist’s network more easily with the network they have been building.

Echo cited a female Taiwanese author, Chen Mao Ping, as a rare female artist icon whom she admired. The author’s published work can be found under the nickname “Sanmao”, and became popular in Taiwan and mainland China in the late 1970’s. She also became infamous for her alleged suicide in 1991.

When asked to share any words of counsel for practicing artists Echo urged that artists must take the time to look into themselves. Everyone is very creative in the art world and trying to assert themselves. You can be influenced by others so easily that it becomes very important to take the time to be introspective and know your own creative goals, and artistic character.

“On October 21st, we’ll present our sixth event with gifted jazz singer and composer Le Zhang. The event will commence with a Jazz performance, highlighting recomposed Shanghai pop music from 1930s and 1940s. The performance will be followed by a talk about the story of “Shanghai Jazz”, the historical and current Jazz scene in Shanghai, and progressive fusion of Western Jazz culture and Chinese pop music in 1930s.” Read More….

​​Time: Sunday October 21st from 16:00 – 18:00
Location: Ran Space, 269 KENT AVE.
(BTW S1 STR. and S2 STR.), BROOKLYN, NY, 11211

Related Links:
Ud on Facebook

Young Art Admin: Daonne Huff, Podcast on Mentorship

Happy Monday! And a happy back-to-school to many of you.
Speaking of academics – I’d like you to meet my fellow student, Ms. Daonne Huff…

[powerpress]

A graduate of Vassar College and now a Masters Candidate at NYU for Visual Art Administration, Ms. Huff is in the process of redefining (for herself) the boundaries of contemporary art – more inclusive of new media, social practice, and alternative space exhibitions. Isolde Brielmaier played a key role in forming Ms. Huff’s path – by illustrating the contemporary application of an art historical education, and embodying all that a dynamic curator and administrator could be. This relationship grew from what began as student-teacher dynamic into the chance for Daonne to assist on many projects including the Elizabeth Catlett exhibition at the Bronx Museum of Art.

Daonne has a passion to bring out beauty from the fringes – learning from the work of artists who come from and/or work with the sociologically disenfranchised. During our time together we touch on the importance of mentorship, the sharing of knowledge and experience in order to inspire future generations, as well as acknowledging our own (very real) need for mentors within the trajectory of our careers. As the competition for work in the arts is as thick as ever, so is the need for training and vetting of strong female leaders.

Pictured above is Isolde Brielmaier, Daonne’s Mentor w/ a photograph by Lalla Essaydi.

Related Links:
Richard Meier Building
Theaster Gates
The Heidelberg Project
Laundromat Project
Theatre of the Oppressed
Brooklyn Museum
Keith Herring at the Brooklyn Museum
Bronx Museum
Detroit Institute of Art
Studio Museum of Harlem

Young Admin Profiles: Meaghan Ritchey

Meaghan at her home in the Bronx, NY

This spotlight begins with a little back story.

Last year I spent some time studying the programming of an organization called the Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) through a Development course at NYU. We used their work as a case study for capital improvement, grant-writing, and integrated educational programming within the arts. Along the way I also became familiar with a bit of New York that is often overlooked.

Some may associate the Bronx with tales of gang violence, or recall news reports of arson, but these days it seems a bit more low-key, a bit slower. It has taken on a personality that is more demure, possibly suspicious of too much change too fast, and with good reason! Though the damage done by Robert Moses to this outer borough is irrevocable*, a story full of displacement and disenfranchisement, out of this a slow and steady development toward reframing their community has emerged. The Bronx’s current story is being painstakingly re-written, not by development moguls, but by environmental renewal and the reclaiming of space.

Ms. Meaghan Richey, originally from El Paso, Texas, attended a small Christian College and went on to study Political Philosophy at Kings College in New York. She quietly and thoughtfully experiences the city while keenly observing her surroundings. She is currently employed as the Program Coordinator of the International Arts Movement (IAM) and is also the Managing Editor of their online magazine, The Curator. Their headquarters are in Midtown Manhattan, which strings her daily life between the most extremely contrasting spaces that the city has to offer.

Ms. Ritchey is now living in Mott Haven, a historical district of the Bronx, near the 87 Expressway and 3rd Avenue bridge. She has directly observed the backlash I had only read about.  She walked with me around the block, past the Projects, and scoped out the two restaurants that would be open on a Saturday afternoon. Both spaces functioned as multi-use, with local artist’s work on the walls and evidence of hosting other community events. She acknowledged challenges that the area still faces, such as abandoned buildings falling victim to the aforementioned arson and the failure rate of small business. By and large it seemed a slow and quiet locale, not daring to exert itself beyond what it might sustain.

 

With her background in ideas rather than images, Meaghan entered into her role with IAM, a visual art organization, by attending lectures, and was drawn in by the thoughtfulness of a few interactions with artists as they discussed their practice. Her taste has its root in classical literature (Tolstoy,) classical music (Bach,) and the Abstract Expressionists. With her background in philosophy and economics she is still searching for the permission to enter into visual art practice, but rather – she is more comfortable with seeing, knowing, hearing, reading and digging into the ideas of the work, which gives her more insight than she may accept credit for.

Her role at IAM has not been one of a curator, so she has not been in the position to choose work that resonates with her the most. It has been more singularly about serving the community to meet their mission as a greater organization, with her role being more akin to a gate-keeper of their space. Her work focuses on personal relationships and propelling forward the ideas presented to her. That being said, more than with any previous project, she is very excited to present the current exhibition of work by Lindsay Kolk. Ms. Kolk’s work is up now in their Midtown gallery space, and embodies both the ideas and an aesthetic that excites Meaghan.

When I asked her if there was some wisdom she could share with the readers of this blog, she stated that she observed “no lack of opportunity or resources for artists, (although the trickle-down is messed up). There is, however, a shortage of good, consistent work.” She encourages the mind-set of making an art practice into a life’s work with a long-term view, ongoing and dedicated. “Foster good habits, structures and discipline,” she urges. “Allow space in your life for the work to flourish. Keep carving out the space to make good work consistently.”

Along these lines Ritchey compares the discipline of a pious individual’s faith and encourages that kind of devotion to meld with one’s creativity, citing an article by Carey Wallace. As an example of a prolific life’s work by a creative person, she mentioned Joan Didion. Didion penned memoir, essay, and simply wrote a lot. This is the kind of work Meaghan thinks will last.

While Ms Ritchey gave me a tour around the neighborhood of Mott Haven she assured me that change to this area was slow, but, that there was more than meets the eye. This was reinforced by a chance run-in with her neighbor who quickly invited us up to his home for a look around his study – a modestly restored walk-up where, we were told, Theodore Roosevelt once came to dinner on a campaign for re-election.

I am not on board for naming the South Bronx (SoBro) the New SoHo. But I do think the long-term investment toward restoration of space and renewal of any natural beauty will reinvigorate this borough. Similar to what Meaghan suggests for the individual artist, here also, the long-term pay-off is sure to come to those with commitment to their work.

 

*Though Robert Moses battered and rammed right through the heart of the Bronx, displacing thousands for his expressway, he is also responsible for a great many beautiful things in New York – revamping Central Park, re-imagining the west side highway, and conjuring the Worlds Fair site in Queens out of a former ashen dump site. A true visionary – he spun out of control and simply went too far with unchecked power – beyond that of any other New Yorker (or of any New York entity for that matter) with the strength of the great “Authority”backing him.

Related Links
http://bronxarts.org/
http://www.theclockbar.com/
Meaghan’s own words on the Bronx

Young Admin Profiles: Dani Scoville

This is not the first time that I have interviewed Ms. Scoville, but I thought it would be interesting to follow-up with her since one of the topics we discussed in the previous Sedentarialist interview has birthed a new path for this young San Franciscan.

At the time she had just begun volunteering for ReImagine, which she has described as “a center for the integration of the self (mind, body, and spirit) with the teachings of Jesus Christ in daily living”. The idea is to strip away the subcultural (American Church-going Christian) context that can be conducive to rote answers, and lead groups through questions of a more interior nature. With this specific approach, their workshops attempt to nurture a truthful dialogue around the implications of faith in relation to the human experience. They accomplish this goal by sharing first-person accounts and learning from one another’s successes as well as failures rather than formal ideologies. As a group they hold to 7 “vows”: love, obedience, prayer, simplicity, creativity, service, and community.

One key point of engagement for Dani has been their storytelling workshops. Although Scoville’s role with ReImagine has become more administrative, these workshops tie in her creative medium of narrative. Scoville has a degree in Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz and prior experience working for a Bay Area publishing house (where she also worked administratively). For these events ReImagine invites folks from within and outside of formal church networks.  Attendees are asked to tell their stories and listen to the stories of others, strictly without interruption. Scoville has observed surprising honesty and gender diversity to be among the trends as they discuss the complexity of topics ranging from sexuality to the management of personal finances. They have also held workshops for the purpose of Art Therapy (with clay and other media) and forums on social justice and abolition.

While they promote their program tactics to members of churches across the U.S., what drew Dani (and many others) to the program was that, while rooted in a faith in God, it did not require her to enter a traditional church landscape. For many Americans the formal structures of  church buildings and the whole sociology that goes with them are often a hurdle to spiritual investigation, having little to do with the teachings at their core.

Partly grown out of her experience volunteering for this organization, Dani is now joining the staff of ReImagine as the Program Director “Responsible for developing, organizing and promoting local/Regional ReImagine Learning Labs, Conversations and other events.” While circumstantially this position parallells her personal interests and professional qualifications, the real impetus for accepting the position was rooted a severe bike accident just months before.

The accident left her injured in the places it hurt her most –  the hand she writes with, and her jaw, broken in multiple places. Without the ability to speak or to journal her thoughts in the ways to which she was accustomed, she was left alone in an internal landscape, in which she was only able to wait. During this time she relied on the generosity of others, often other members of the ReImagine “Tribe”. This experience affirmed her appreciation for the empowering process of giving voice to the unspoken interior experiences we struggle through. With the accident, a new phase presented itself – an opportunity to take a “timely risk” by working in a dedicated ministry-type position. As it turns out, this trajectory not only blends her spiritual pursuits but also her interest in creative treatise to non-fiction writing.

As a woman on her own journey toward self awareness and realizing community, I asked her if she had anything specific to share with my readership. She mentioned the following poem and suggests we risk making beauty with our whole lives.

She who reconciles the ill-matched threads of her life,
and weaves them gratefully into a single cloth-
it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
and clears it for a different celebration
where the one guest is you.
In the softness of the evening
it’s you she receives.
You are the partner of her loneliness,
the unspeaking center of her monologues.
With each disclosure you encompass more
and she stretches beyond what limits her,
to hold you.

– Rilke 1, 17 (From The Book of Hours)


You can find Dani’s own reflections posted regularly on her blog, Through the Roof Beams
…And more information about ReImagine on their Facebook page, here.

Lisa Spellman, 303 Gallery

“303 Gallery was first established by owner and director Lisa Spellman in 1984 at 303 Park Avenue South. In addition to its address, the gallery name also references Alfred Stieglitz’s “Intimate Gallery” artists-collaborative located in Room 303 of the Anderson Galleries building. Spellman’s 303 Gallery moved to the East Village in 1986 where she invited such artists as Christopher Wool and Robert Gober to curate special artist projects and collaboratives. 1989 marked 303 Gallery’s move to 89 Greene Street in Soho where Vito Acconci, Andreas Gursky, and Rirkrit Tiravanija had solo exhibitions. It was on Greene Street that Spellman initially exhibited with Doug Aitken, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Rodney Graham, Karen Kilimnik, and Collier Schorr. In 1996 303 Gallery was among the first galleries to move to Chelsea, opening at 525 West 22nd Street. In 2008, Spellman purchased a new building at 547 West 21st Street, the gallery’s current home.” — 303gallery.com

“Although she says she is wary of characterizing 303 as a “chick gallery” (“The ratio has fluctuated throughout the years,” she says, noting that right now it’s twelve men to thirteen women), she has been peerless in her support of strong, boundary-pushing female artists, like Sue Williams, the Wilson sisters, and Collier Schorr.”

“Lisa’s following in the footsteps of women like Ileana Sonnabend, Paula Cooper, and Marian Goodman. She’s their legacy.” — nymag.com

“She also happens to be the grandniece of Cardinal Francis Spellman, the powerful midcentury Catholic prelate of New York; the pew in her front hall is a reminder of that strand of her past.” — nytimes.com

NY & CHI – Done. Fort Wayne – Here we come!

Thanks Robin for being so awesome and hosting the second installment of EX: Collaborative Creation in your ROCKING Chicago apartment a.k.a. “Carousel Space”.

Robin Kang is an incredible artist who has true dedication and vision. Check out her own artwork here. Weather she is building a brick house (or a digital textile) this girl is mighty-mighty. So, check her out!

Robin recently completed her Masters of Fine Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, was a co-fellow of mine in Air Projects‘ pilot in Beijing, and has been running Carousel Space out of her home since January 2011.

EX is now headed to Fort Wayne, IN and will be the virginal exhibition of Wunderkammer Co.‘s new space, to the bliss of founder, Dan Swartz.