Friday, April 27, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chris Berens' "Amsterdam"

Once again, the extraordinary Chris Berens has created a window into the world of his luminous visions, this time focusing his inner eye on the city he calls home. He will unveil his latest revelations on Saturday, April 28th at Jaski Gallery in Amsterdam.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nick Cave's Shamanic Soundsuits

If I had an extra $60,000 or so sitting around right now, I think I might invest it in a Nick Cave Soundsuit.

Now, this is not the lovelorn southern gothic bluesman, but a remarkable African-American artist who trained as a dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater while simultaneously studying art and fashion at the Kansas City Art Institute. One day in the early '90s, he was sitting in a Chicago park, depressed by the aftermath of the Rodney King beating and how it low made him feel as a black man.

Staring down at some twigs on the ground, he thought, those sticks look devalued and disregarded — just like I'm feeling right now. He gathered them up, took them home, cut them into three-inch lengths, and wired them to a garment.

At first, he thought of the result more as a sculpture than a costume, but then he realized he could wear it. When he began to move and jump around in it, he was amazed by the "fabulous rustling sound" it made, and also by the way its weight made him want to stand unusually erect, which reminded him of dance.

Since then, he has made hundreds of wearable mixed-media sculptures fashioned out of loose bits and pieces of sticks, toys, trash, buttons, crochet, sequins, beading, and most strikingly, dyed human hair, a conjunction of art and dance, craft and fashion that brings to mind African tribal dress, Roman Catholic clergy vestments, science fiction characters, the drag revolution of the '70s and the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans.

The Soundsuits rustle and rattle and click as the wearer moves, each with its own voice. Those who wear them sometimes report that they feel transformed, free of self — as though a portal has opened within them, and in some way they have become a sort of shamanic messenger from beyond. Cave says, "I believe that the familiar must move towards the fantastic. I want to evoke feelings that are unnamed, that aren't realized except in dreams."

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild"

"Wild at Heart" is the sequel to 2010's "A Cry for Help" show, a massive group exhibition co-curated by Andrew Hosner and myself to benefit the endangered species of the world. Besides including over 100 artists the likes of Aron Wiesenfeld, Wayne White, Fuco Ueda, Andrew Hem, Souther Salazar and Martin Wittfooth, the show will feature a limited edition screenprinted poster by Aaron Horkey created especially for this event.

Thinkspace presents:

"Wild At Heart - Keep Wildlife In The Wild"

Curated by Andrew Hosner and Amanda Erlanson.

20% of all sales will go to benefit Born Free USA and the world's endangered species.

Reception with the artists:
Sat, May 26th 5-9PM

On view May 26th – June 9th, 2012

Thinkspace is proud to present "Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild," an exhibition to raise awareness about the precarious predicament of wild creatures around the world, and to benefit efforts to protect them in their natural habitat. Featuring a stellar cast of more than 100 artists from all corners of the art world, this exhibition brings together some of the most profound and innovative voices making art today. In recognition of the imperiled state of much of the world's wildlife, each artist will apply their own unique perspective to our relationship with the fascinating creatures with whom we share our planet.

As the natural world becomes increasingly impacted by shifting climate, human greed and diminishing resources, protecting those creatures that still roam free becomes ever more vital to the soul of humanity. For even if we could continue to exist without wildlife, the spirit-crushing sadness that our species would take upon itself would surely rob all joy from life. Those majestic, miraculous, elemental beings which we admire from afar are at the root of who we are as people — from the woodland protagonists of our childhood storybooks, to the metaphors we use to describe ourselves as adults, to the animal spirits that visit us in our dreams. As we take steps to protect them from those who would rob them of their freedom, we also improve our own species' chances to persist far into the future, both by preserving the natural world we all share, and by cherishing the sacred genesis of our imagination and symbology.

In appreciation of the magnificent creatures with whom we share the planet, Thinkspace will donate 20% of the sale price of each piece of art to Born Free USA and the Animal Protection Institute, which operate jointly as a non-profit organization that advocates worldwide for the ethical treatment and protection of wild animals, and also maintains a large sanctuary for rescued primates. To honor the animals closest to our hearts, the gallery will be accepting donations of old blankets to donate to area shelters so dogs don't have to sleep on cold hard concrete, as well as other used and new pet supplies. The opening will feature the release of a gorgeous limited edition screenprinted poster especially created for the exhibition by the incomparable Aaron Horkey. We hope you will join us on May 26th to celebrate and defend the wild things that fill our lives with wonder and mystery.

Featuring new works from:
Aaron Horkey
Adam Caldwell
Ako Castuera
Allison Sommers
Amy Dover
Amy Sol
Ana Bagayan
Andrea Offermann
Andrew Hem
Anthony Clarkson
Aron Wiesenfeld
Ben Strawn
Benjamin A. Vierling
Brad Woodfin
Brooke Grucella
Caitlin Hackett
Catherine Brooks
Chet Zar
Christina Mrozik
Craig "Skibs" Barker
Dan Lydersen
Dan-ah Kim
Darla Jackson
David Jien
David MacDowell
Derek Gores
Douglas Miller
Drew Young
Edwin Ushiro
Esao Andrews
Frank Gonzales
Fuco Ueda
Fumi Nakamura
Guy McKinley
Henrik A. Uldalen
Jacub Gagnon
Jason Thielke
Jasper Wong
Jennifer Davis
Jeremy Hush
Jessamyn Patterson
Jesse Hotchkiss
Jessica Joslin
Jillian Ludwig
Joao Ruas
John Malloy
Jolene Lai
Josie Morway
Julie West
Katherine Brannock
Kelly Allen
Kelly Vivanco
Kikyz 1313
Know Hope
Laura Bifano
Leontine Greenberg
Lindsey Carr
Linnea Strid
Lucrezia Bieler
Luke Chueh
Mari Inukai
Martin Wittfooth
Mary Iverson
Matt Doust
Matthew Grabelsky
Megan Wolfe
Mia Brownell
Michael Ramstead
Mike Alvarez
Mike Brown
Naoto Hattori
Nathan DeYoung
Nimit Malavia
Pakayla Biehn
Paul Barnes
Pedro Matos
Phil Hale
Philippe Baudelocque
Regan Rosburg
Reinier Gamboa
Rob Sato
Robert Proch
Rodrigo Cifuentes
Rodrigo Luff
Rose Sanderson
Sarah Muirhead
Scott Belcastro
Seamus Conley
Sean Chao
Sean Mahan
Shark Toof
Simon Prades
Souther Salazar
Stella Im Hultberg
Tasha Kusama
Tessar Lo
The Yok
Timothy Karpinski
Tom Haubrick
Wayne White
White Cocoa
Yosuke Ueno

PLUS a silent auction of donated rare prints from Mark Ryden, Marion Peck and Audrey Kawasaki, with all proceeds going to support Born Free USA.

About Born Free USA:
Born Free USA is a national animal advocacy nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, contributions to which are tax-deductible. Our mission is to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife — including highly endangered species — in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. Every year, millions of animals suffer in fur farms and circus cages. In our campaigns against such cruelties, we use powerful tools including legislation, public education, litigation, and grassroots networking. We also work actively with media to spread the word about challenges facing animals.

Our primary campaign areas currently include animals used in entertainment, captive exotic animals, trapping & fur, and the international wildlife trade.

*Opening overview courtesy of Amanda Erlanson. 

You can follow the progress of the "Wild at Heart" pieces as they develop at the show's Sneak Peek on Flickr.

Linnea Strid's work in progress

Jolene Lai in her studio with her orange tabby

DALeast and his inspiring view

Some elements of Regan Rosburg's piece in progress

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ako Castuera's "They Are Us"

I highly urge you to drop by Giant Robot 2 this month and check out Ako Castuera's debut solo exhibition. I went by this evening for the opening and was completely enchanted by her earthenware sculptures (many of which were cast from "wild clay" she dug from the foothills of the Sierra Madre herself), felt garlands, wearable art and whimsical watercolors.

You can see more photos of the opening night and the work being installed in the gallery at the GR2 blog.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Erratic Photography: Hellen van Meene

Hellen van Meene is a Dutch photographer whose images of adolescent girls capture the awkward, radiant vulnerability of youth, when we are still flexible and full of possibilities.

However, she does not intend to capture a specific quality of an individual in her photographs, but rather uses her models to embody some aspect of herself and her own world. She says, "The photographs are not meant to be portraits, which is why they have no titles. It is not my intention to give expression to their personality or state of mind. Nor do I want to sketch a sociological image of contemporary youth or girls at the moment of puberty. I look for a certain mood in the pictures, in which the girls almost figure as actors... Often it is something I happen to see, which I then translate into my own image and which I transform into my own world. While photographing, chance plays an important role, because all kind of things happen that cannot be foreseen."