Tag Archives: IAM

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

“Ex”hibit wraps up in NYC

The exhibit “Ex: Collaborative Creation” had a great opening event at IAM‘s 38|39 gallery earlier this month! I had the privilege of curating the New York iteration of the exhibit, and it will now travel to Carrousel Space in Chicago, and Wunderkammer following later this Summer. Upwards of 60 people attended the opening, among them were students, artists, writers, and IAM’s own founding director, Mako Fujimura.

Coinciding with the exhibit, IAM partnered with Wunderkammer and me to create a fun flip book catalogue.

Dan H. Swartz (Wunderkammer) gave a presentation illuminating the history of visual art and Surrealism and it’s contemporary employment and implications.*

Following events included a discussion with Dr. Lucy Collins and Tove Hermanson on the impact of Surrealism in Fashion* (primarily within the designs of Schiaparelli) and a film screening of Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast.

Coincidentally Cocteau and Schiaparelli were also collaborators, which suited the conversation quite well.

I am excited to see what Robin Kang and Dan H. Swartz will do with this body of work in Chicago and Fort Wayne.

*Videos of the presentations will be available online soon.

For Immediate Release

 

Dates: March 8 – 30, 2012
Opening Reception: Thursday March 8, 6-9p
Curated by: Bonnie K Mancini
Artists Include: Abdi Farah, Ali Aschman, Avneet Pannu, Christina Long, Dan Callis, Dan Morgan, David Carpenter, Emily Weiss, Jake Saunders, Jennifer Mills, Jess Poplawski, John McCormick, John Silvis, Josh Dihle, Joshua Cave, Joyce Lee, Kate Mangold, Kathryn Drury, Kristina Paabus, Lacey Richter, Liza Cucco, Nicholas Steindorf, Reid Strelow, Robin Kang, Sommer Starks, Stephanie Carpenter, and Zach Klein.
Hours: Tues & Wed from 4:30-6, or by Appointment
Location: IAM Gallery 38 W. 39th, 3rd Floor, NYC

 

EX: Creative Collaboration honors and breaks surrealist conventions, bringing a diverse
collection of artists together, conversing through corpses.

 

New York, New York, February 1, 2012 — Wunderkammer Company is proud to announce
“EX: Collaborative Creation”, an exhibit curated by Bonnie K Mancini. Ex will open March 8th at International Artist Movement (IAM)’s gallery space, and will continue through March 30, 2012.

As part of their mission to revitalize communities through contemporary art, Wunderkammer Company is interested in the innovation inherent to the collaborative process. To facilitate this, EX takes the Surrealist tradition of the Exquisite Corpse and creates an indirect collaboration between artist, curator, and administrator. Inspired by The Exquisite Corpse parlor game, which was originally intended to provoke further creativity by removing sole authorship and pre-conceptions of form, EX will produce a vivid experience for its viewers, and facilitate new connections between the artists in disparate communities.

For the duration of its stay at IAM there will be several corresponding events in celebration of Surrealist ideas and collaborative processes: A lecture by Daniel Swartz of Wunderkammer Company, a viewing of Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, and a colloquium with Lucy Collins and Tove Hermanson on the influence of Surrealism on Fashion. “EX: Creative Collaboration” will also travel to Chicago, IL, and Fort Wayne, IN throughout 2012.

Bonnie K Mancini would like to offer a special thanks to IAM for the use of their space, and specifically to Meaghan Ritchey for her overwhelming support.

 

Contact: Daniel Swartz, cell: 260-417-8846,  d.h.swartz@gmail.com
or  Bonnie K Mancini, bonniekate@gmail.com