Thursday, January 29, 2015

Vernissages | NYC: "SELF: Portrait of Artists in Their Absence" at The National Academy Museum

Allen Ginsberg
In the years of the selfies, where many have become obsessed with self portraits, an exhibition -of importance not only in art but also in philosophy and social science- opens at the National Academy.
The title "SELF: Portrait of Artists in Their Absence"announces how the representation of ourselves is a replacement of our not being present. And this concept is explored in a multimedia of meanings, media, material and scale throughout the outstanding exhibition curated by the Academy director Maurizio Pellegrin, in collaboration with Diana Thompson, curator of the Collection and Filippo Fossati, curator at large.
The artists self-representations range from tradition XIX century paintings and drawing to contemporary media including photography, installation, video and mixed-media three-dimensional work.
The intent of the exhibition, which includes work of over one hundred (academician and not) artists is defined in the Academy statement that "Artists have created self-portraits for centuries, in part to ensure presence in their absence. Self explores the relationship artists have with their own image and how self-representation has evolved over the past 200 years. In our age of compulsive self-celebration, it is an especially compelling moment to examine this enduring artistic genre."

More traditional self portraits
Ai Weiwei "Illuminations"
Bruce Nauman

Van Gogh's quote about oneself, surely he knew...
Piero Manzoni "Merda D'Artista" (1961) -was the (then) iconoclast piece medium real?
David Dixon
Ana Mendieta
Gilbert & George "Clean Me"
Hanna Wilke video "Gestures"
And finally the architecture outside the "Self": Richard Haas paintings from the Curatorial Lab

Monday, January 26, 2015

camminando | Waiting for Winter Storm Juno

 New York is expecting perhaps the most powerful snow blizzard on record, named Juno. All the public transportation, including the subway system will be suspended starting 11pm tonight; 6000 flights have been cancelled.
Below a few memories of probably my last walk in Central Park for at least one-two days. The snow is still white and soft. I enjoy my solitary walk in a deserted park.

Monday, January 19, 2015

camminando | Let It Be...

Probably almost almost all of us have experienced a few moments of connections between ourselves and the outside world, where there may be outside signs relating to our inner life. I began the week with such a perception, generating a calming and reassuring experience, while taking healing walks through Central Park. While I was exiting the park on the way back to the Upper West Side, I noticed a street performer playing "Let It Be" in Strawberry Field, right by the "Imagine" mosaic paving circle. Hearing a Beatles song played in the famous memorial to John Lennon was nothing unusual, yet I  interpreted it almost as sign from the universe, a comment/suggestion to my currently troubled (by others) existence: "let it be..."

My healing walks in the park in a cold January Monday morning

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Yoga | How Group Practice Matters

It is frigid Saturday morning in New York, single digit temperatures with the wind chill factor. Yet, I drag myself out of my apartment to attend the 9am yoga class at the Upper West Side Lululemon store —offering every Saturday morning a free yoga class. I practice yoga and other movement routines daily, in four  segments of 10-15 minutes each; but attending a group practice becomes a time challenge —specially on a painfully cold Saturday morning, with many tasks in the "to do list" after another difficult week. But today I was rewarded: during the class at lululemon there was a Eureka moment: my main insight was that the importance of becoming part of a yoga practices led by somebody else —even the affinities with own's practice are not that relevant. The learned lessons more specific to hatha yoga were also important for my own individual practice and teaching:

  • Development of twists into spiraling movements starting from bālāsana (child pose)
  • Transition from virabhadrāsana 3 (warrior pose 3) to seated position twisting the lifted leg
  • Spiraling movements in head stand
  • focus on different types of alignment in bhakti virabhadrasana (devotional warrior)
  • Ending a class with a restorative pose, which is not necessarily savasana
  • Working on development of yoga mat design 
Moving together with many other yoga practitioners helps, bringing the individual energy into a collective synergy: "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". But another important insight was that every group practice can teach a lesson, beyond the scripted instructions of the script: the lesson I learned today was about to be open to others' suggestions, not only in yoga but in life.

vernissages | NYC, First Week of 2015

The 2015 art season just opened this week in many of the over 500 Manhattan private galleries  in different neighborhoods, from Chelsea to Midtown and Lower East Side. And of course Brooklyn: Williamsburg, Dumbo and Bushwick...
Unfortunately I could not make it to Brooklyn, but in Manhattan I could not find many sensorially exciting or thought-provoking art shows, at least compared to the 2014 fall season. 
Below are a few snapshots in chronological order.

Susan Philipsz "Part File Score" Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Anya Gallaccio at Lehmann Maupin: minimalist sculptures reminiscent of Sol LeWitt
Devin Troy Strother "Space Jam" at Marlborough Gallery

"Dérive(s)"  at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
Relief portraits and wallpaper murals from John Miller's "Here in the Real World", Metro Pictures
Keith Harings in the back gallery at Martos gallery

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Art Events | Sun Xun "Time Vivarium" and Gesamtkunstwerk?

What we need is not the Gesamtkunstwerk, alongside and separated from which life flows by, but a synthesis of all the vital impulses spontaneously forming itself into the all-embracing Gesamtwerk (life) which abolishes all isolation, in which all individual accomplishments proceed from a biological necessity and culminate in a universal necessity.  
Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 

The Bauhaus notion of Gesamtwerk is become pervasive in the current art production which is often, in some instances, interwoven with everyday life -my own practice is an example.

A glorified commercial -yet beautiful- example is Sun Xun's oeuvre, currently on view at Sean Kelly spanning film, installations, artist books, prints. 

Even literal trash byproduct of art production becomes a commercially viable merchandise :-)