Vector Gallery returns to NYC, its new home on East 3rd Street (Photo courtesy of JJ Brine)
As is JJ Brine’s way, he’s hesitant to speak about the past. Even the very recent past, when Brine– Satanic gallerist, practitioner of “Post-human” art, founder of the Vectorian and its “Crown Prince of Hell”– took off for Los Angeles to start fresh. “I don’t even know if it’s relevant to recall what happened in Los Angeles,” he said. “This is now, that was then. I’m doing what I’m doing now.”
Now that Brine has captured the attention of the art world, conservative conspiracy theorists, gossip columnists, even Dow Jones reporters, it’s much easier to track the artist’s more recent trajectory, even if he’s reluctant to go into too many details about the non-present.
Closeup of “Baby Mobile,” 2016, wire hangers, fishing line, copper, 3d-printed plastic. (photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)
You’ve heard the saying: “Don’t let people walk all over you.” If you’re a woman, this has probably been said to you especially often. But how often is it meant literally? At Kristin Smallwood’s debut solo exhibition IUD, now on view at American Medium in Bed-Stuy, the only way to access the art is by walking over scores of women (including photos of the artist herself), adhered endlessly and stickily to the gallery floor. The female figures are grinning lipstick-painted grins while your boot presses into their torso and your sweat drips onto their breasts.
Governors Island is more than just another out-of-the-way-ish New York City nook. After years of abandonment, the island’s only recently embarked on a steady climb towards reclamation and it remains largely stuck in the past, having missed out on years of the progress seen by the rest of the city while interned as an exclusive home for military officers, then a coast guard haven, before it was abandoned altogether in 1996, left to hang in an off-limits sort of limbo, with nature serving as its only developer.
Fresh off the ferry, you might be only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, but as you make your way inland, the Manhattan skyline starts to disappear, obscured by the super old Fort Jay, untrimmed trees, shrubs, and rolling grassy hills. The sirens fade into the background too, and time itself seems to slow down.
“Untitled Self Portrait with Banana Cream Pie” (Courtesy of Joe Nanashe)
Do you like art that grapples with how artificial our culture has become? Even better– would you like to see the art crowd in Bushwick confronted with a portrayal of American hipster contradiction? If so, you’re in luck. Because this September, Joe Nanashe, a conceptual artist who sorta fits that bill himself as an Ohio-born transplant now based in New York, is debuting his solo show American Vanitas at Bushwick’s Victori + Mo gallery this September.
Ideal Glass mural “Every Mother’s Son” by Sophia Dawson, featuring portraits of mothers who have lost children by way of police brutality. (Image courtesy of Ideal Glass)
Whatever medium you work in, it’s hard to be an artist. Barely anyone pays attention to anything you do, so keeping self-motivated can be tricky when you’re consistently weary from day jobs, keeping track of your 1099s and W9s, and closing down that bar you performed at to ensure you grip that sparse handful of wrinkly cash you so rightfully deserve. In the midst of all this noise, it’s easy for all those half-baked ideas to slip into some dark, far-away box at the back of your mind, and potentially never see the light of day.
Luckily, there are some folks out there who are willing to nudge you in the direction of productivity. Here are two upcoming opportunities to inspire artists, both visual and performance types, to get out there and do their thing.
Alt Citizen, the Brooklyn-based music and arts blog-cum-zine, found permanence last year with the opening of their storefront and gallery Alt Space, a “very well-curated concept store,” as editor-in-chief and founder Nasa Hadizadeh told us last year, with sundry items such as zines, clothing, vinyl, tapes, art prints, and posters available for gawking and purchasing.
But when Nasa realized that a month’s worth rent at the brick-and-mortar could buy her a baby blue short bus and a road trip across the country, the Alt crew took off for greener, less wintery pastures. Now it seems Nasa’s got the travel itch again. The Alt kids are back on the move with “Sweet Like Honey,” a mini music and gallery tour which kicks off at IDIO Gallery in New York before moving on to LA.
Walking into an art gallery opening, you aren’t normally greeted with the smell of sweat and ketchup while men in flannel stare at still-life paintings, holding a Big Mac in one hand and a Coors Light in the other. The burger was snatched from a towering shrinelike art piece and the ketchup was dripping steadily from a fountain. But this isn’t an ordinary show, and the folks behind it aren’t an ordinary gallery.
The Pin and Patch Show Tuesday, August 2 at Chinatown Soup, 16 Orchard Street, Chinatown. Opening reception 6-9pm, show on view through August 9. More info here.
Gallery and art space Chinatown Soup will host this event that’s part art show, part pop-up shop showcasing the work of 10 local companies who make pins and patches. Don’t expect vintage band logos or anything of that sort, as this is a show of new, original work by artists. The first 50 who come to the opening will receive a free pin or patch from Strike Gently Co., and free PBR will be a-flowing. Get there feeling eager, and leave full of beer with a slew of cool new accessories for your denim vest, tote bag, or whatever you’d like.
Meriem Bennani’s “FLY” at PS1 (Photo: Nicole Disser)
It was an unusually quiet day on a recent visit to PS1– so deserted that, weirdly, I felt like I could get better acquainted with the 19th-century elementary school portion of the building than ever before. Call me cray, but the artwork at MoMA’s edgier little sister began to feel straight-up rebellious against the throwback schoolish confines which, in turn, started to feel even more institutional. Now that I was alone, and making actual contact with doors and hallways instead of awkwardly rubbing all over my fellow museum-goers, I realized everything was just slightly undersized. And that obligatory museum hush was starting to feel so intense that I felt compelled to swallow my gum and adjust my bad posture (everyone knows a well-trained ear can actually hear you resting on your laurels).
As we’ve mentioned recently, DIY art and game space Babycastles has been working hard to offer alternatives to the often exclusionary world of video games, showcasing work by indie game designers and artists who reveal that yes, there can be more to video games than mindless shooting and the Mountain Dew-guzzling men who often play them.
The previous exhibit on view was Toronto-based Kara Stone’s The Mystical Digital, offering a witchy and introspective take on games, with selections like Techno Tarot, where a robot gives you a detailed tarot reading, and Cyclothymia, a narrative exploring connections between emotions and astrology.
Another Canada-based game designer and programmer, Mx. Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifier, has similar wishes to disrupt the tired norms in video games and video game culture. Rather than appealing to one’s inner mystic or the Bushwick dwellers who frequent places like Catland, Squinky’s games are more familiar to those who might stay in on a Friday night, presenting playable stories of awkward social interactions and small Claymation creatures of indistinct gender.
The Montreal-based artist’s second solo exhibition, Squinky Hates Video Games, is a compilation of work from the past three years in the form of ten different games, some of which were created during a stint at UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA program. Squinky completed the program in 2015, and was recognized by Forbes that year as one of 30 Under 30 in Games.