Monthly Archives: March 2009

Nina Chanel Abney at Kravets Wehby

I’ve been wanting to write about Nina’s show at Kravets Wehby for weeks now, but you know the drill; I’m overwhelmed and backed up in blog posting. But finally without further ado, I present to you the beautifully jarring paintings of Nina Abney.

who-what-when_web1Who? What? When?, 2009, Acrylic on canvas, 72.5 x 77.5 in, images courtest K&W

The figure is a prominent form in Nina’s paintings, engaged in acts that are unfamiliar and purely twisted in relation to the norms of our lived society. Cultural, religious and historical references are collaged in snippets through each character via costume, resemblance, and gesture. Perspectival distribution is unbalanced and discombobulated with patches of uneven color fields framing and almost pushing out the figures flat onto the foreground.

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Thieves Guild of Oblivion, 2009, acrylic on canvas, 55.5 x 67 in

The two dimensionality is potent with each awkward bent of limb and twitch of facial expression as if they were deadened paper dolls, flaunting theatrics encased in a nightmarish netherworld. Each scene is nonsensical and chaotic, more violent and disturbing than passive reflection and beckons the viewer to join in the masquerade of cultic taboo rituals.

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Null and Void, 2009, Acrylic on canvas, 77.5 x 45 in

I love the way color and shape interact, clash and interchange with each other in each painting; these elements are used to either create form or dissect and confuse a given outline. Minimal swooping blocks of abstraction cut through the imagery and mark an undefinable territory or situation. Graffiti and old school religious painting is evoked by combining acid rich colors with gestures, flattened perspective of the figure and the ubiquitous mummified face expressions. Their dullness and monotonous gleam is creepy, possessed and straight out lunatic. If they actually existed in our world rather than this disturbed utopia, they’d be walking straight into an asylum for the pure and reserved.

I’m actually in one of these paintings, can you guess which one?

The show is up till the 4th, so go on and check it out, let me know what you think.

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Dinner Project I

Over the weekend I launched my long awaited Dinner Project. This is the first one and I look forward to planning them every few weeks. The whole premises is based on the idea of building a community that is intimate where self-consciousness, awkwardness and deprecating humor is left at the door and all gather around a table of food and network in a more uninhibited and unpretentious level. Such social nurturing is especially lacking in the art world and I was directly affected by this realizing I hadn’t made any meaningful or sustainable relationships and more often than not feeling super shy and uncomfortable. The hootiness and competitive air was enough to make me retract and stay solo.

The Dinner Project has a few “rules”. Basically, I invite 3 guests who then invited 1 friend each; I also invite a friend so there are 8 total, which is a perfect portion of people to cook and bake for. We enjoy ourselves eating, chatting, drinking, gossiping, what have you, then once the tables are cleared there is paper and materials for the guests to create an artwork. Pencils, pens, watercolor, food, ribbons, stamps and mags are provided for all to tinker with and once complete they are to be bound into a book with the menu and images of the food and guests. It is in essence a memory book of the happening that can be extended and shared with others. Eventually I’ll have a stack of these bound books and can thus be displayed somewhere. Also at the end of the night as guests leave there will be a box with an insert hole and a sign asking “How much was it worth?” Guests contribute however much they see fit in support of the project. Simple enough no?

Dinner Project I was perfect in everyway. I spent the previous day planning my menu and grocery shopping (which led to a ripped muscle of some sort on my shoulder from carrying all that food) and come Saturday I spent the day in the kitchen baking and cooking up a storm. Guests trickled in, wine bottles in hand, and filled the room with chatter. Eventually all sat at the table, enjoyed the food and talked mostly about art and food, a most pleasant combination.

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Once the tables were cleared, paper was distributed and everyone got to work. I was amazed at how gungho each guest was, with their heads inches away from the table, the room silent with creative energy floating all around. I was even more impressed and grateful at how beautiful each artwork turned out, many of which documented the experience of the moment. Once done guests started to trickle out and left their contributions, which upon counting matched how much I spent on groceries to the dollar. It was true perfection in every way. Now for details.

For the recipes I scrouged through my magazines and bookmarks and contemplated between red snapper, flank steak and chicken breast as the meat course. I knew I wanted to focus on either couscous or quinoa for the rice dish and mixed vegetables for the sides. I was working with a few limitations, there was a vegan as well as some allergic to nuts and some fruits, and those who just didn’t favor raisins, mushrooms, and others. After a few more hours I came up with a menu.

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For the appetizer I chose the whipped chickpea hummus recipe that incorporated spinach into the spread, picked up from 101cookbooks. It also included instructions for crostini rubbed in garlic that came out stronger than I expected. The spread was a bit dry and slightly textured but otherwise smooth. I like the incorporation of spinach into the mix although next time I’d like to make classic hummus without it. It was nutty, rich, garlicky, subtly salty and a bit tangy. Success. Recipe is here.

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For the meat dish I chose Pan-seared steak pizzaiola which involved pan frying the meat. I wanted to avoid that because I only have 1 measly pan and didn’t want the meat to come out uneven. So I consulted the friendly hip butcher at Marlow & Daughters and he recommended pan searing then roasting a chunk of sirloin steak. I seared each side for a few minutes and at 350 degrees roasted it for 45 minutes. It was unoverwhelmingly pink on the inside and was a perfect medium for all. The sauce was super simple, a tomato based sauce with italian spices and fennel seeds. It was yummy trickled over the couscous as well. The meat was chewy but not an unbearable multi-chew chunk, juicy and hearty. Recipe is here.

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For the rice dish I chose couscous with fennel and pine nuts and instead of mixing the nuts directly I put it in a bowl for guests to sprinkle. I’m obsessed with toasted pine nuts, it is so smooth and sexily nutty. So good. Fennel is also a new favorite, so bold and astringent but provocative when incorporated into soup and rice. Couscous is delightfully easy and quick, just boil broth and stir in couscous and remove from heat. As simple as that. I substituted veggie broth for the chicken broth which made it more bland which I fixed with plenty of sea salt. This is a new favorite and will use as a staple for many times to come. Recipe here.

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I chose spring vegetables mix for the side dish, boiled carrots and turnips with peas rubbed in butter and herbs. It was simple and fresh, the pop of the peas coinciding the soft chew of the others, the buttery flavor was loud and the herbs a quiet supporter. Recipe here.

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Now for my favorite part, dessert. I’ve never had traditional banana foster over ice cream before and found this recipe awhile ago just instinctively knowing it would be good. I’ve never really had bread pudding before either so it was a match made in heaven that was pure orgasm and bewilderment.

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This was the first thing I made, knowing it would take longer than the rest of the menu, and good thing I did because there was a lot of wait time and totalled 3 hours in the making. I enjoyed every minute of it though, heating the super rich milky whipping cream and watching the challah bread soak up the pudding and dipping my fingers into a perfect caramel recipe. I was able to find ripe bananas at the store and their extra sweet softness blended very nicely sandwiched between pudding and bread. I don’t know what the waterbath does but I’m guessing it keeps the dish mushy rather than crisp.

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The end result was a super indulgent, sweet, caramelized candy treat that would definitely get you sick if you had too much. It was pure comfort food that was satisfying for the taste buds and the heart of fools. Recipe is here.

Now I’d like to show you all the ingenious artwork everyone made.

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An online art journal editor uses chocolate as her medium,

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makes a geometric abstraction study,

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and records bits and pieces of the conversation throughout the evening. Still life, abstraction, surrealist choppy text, what can this lady not do?

katherine

A photographer who documents the graffiti art scene records a black bean soup recipe, can’t wait to try it!

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She also stamps her thumb to see if that cut shows through the ink. Kind of worked.

elaine

An all around art assistant extraordinaire uses Klimt as inspiration for this stream of imagery and text.

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An artist incorporates scribbly text with beam of red specked lines,

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and exquisitely folds some sort of polygramal hexagon tripoid?

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A painter depicts the food gorging that was going on,

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and reveals planar abstraction.

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An art blogger hysterically recalls his experience prior to attending the dinner.

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And lastly, your humble host doodles out of shame.

Can’t wait for Dinner Project II.

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The Brooklyn Standard

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The Brooklyn Standard is an organic bodega opening up a few blocks away from my house. I met with Cody (handsomely pictured above), owner of Brooklyn Label and Papacitos in Greenpoint to discuss what the shop will provide (in house bakery, breakfast, lunch and dinner, quality coffee) and the philosophy behind the shop. Read all about it and look at some sweet sandwich pictures here.

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Reader: Mar 30, 2009

Practical Home Cooking teaches you to optimize your kitchen and stop spending so much damn money. (via TONY)

– The Fempire. “It’s rare to fine women who hav that balance between work and life, who are really psyched for another woman’s success.” (via NYT)

– Department of Eagles music video by Marcel Dzama

– You might be able to find an apt for cheaper now. (via NYT)

– Girls in Brazil are raped and impregnated left and right flaring debate between abortion doctors and the catholic crazies. (via NYT)

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Popel Coumou. (via i heart photograph)

– Koreans are pack rats. (via NYT)

– Wiki is like a thriving urban city. (via NYT)

– Find your farmer. (via NYT)

– Japanese farmers are old and worried. (via NYT)

– Facebook’s many faces. (via NYT)

– A rising food revolution. (via NYT)

Gustave Caillebotte at Brooklyn Museum. (via NYT)

bild-30– Oddly enough, that’s my butt, in a Lawrence Weiner art porn film about structure and language. You can watch it here if you dare. (via vvork)

– Best small toilets. (via apartment therapy)

– New and last 7 by 7 series by why + wherefore. (via why + wherefore)

– Sock into dog sweater. (via Hyla)

– art 21 looking for writers to discuss art and the economy. (via art 21)

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Ginger Anyhow text messages. (via fffound)

– Oly interviews Terence Koh. “all art is monumental. just as all art is spectacular and gigantic. the economy is just like waves in the ocean but it doesn’t really affect the sea cause its still the sea…javier still continues to support me because we are still in love. he will always support me in my basic functions, roof over my head, food, and i hate to admit, my botox. cause once you are on botox you have to keep at it or your face just falls…i just want to do stuff, all kinds of stuff besides art. so its not like art star, but just a star. the heavens would not be as beautiful if it did not have so many stars twinkling amongst all that darkness so that we also get a twinkle in our heart looking at them.” (via artcat)

– Top 10 questions for museum guards. funny. (via modern art notes)

– Jonathan Lethem tweets for Brooklyn Museum. (via c-monster)

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– Hot girls on bikes. (via the world’s best ever)

– On Cory Arcangel. (via eye level)

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– I need me an all in one card stamp. (via swiss miss)

Hungry Hyena on Paul Klee and my fave Ali Banisadr. (via hungry hyena)

– William Powhida group show at Hunter. (via William Powhida)

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– How peeps are made. (via notcot)

– Matthew Langley’s new 20x200ish project. (via matthew langley)

– The loneliness of the project by Boris Groys. (via NY Mag of Contemporary Art and Theory)

– Living cheap in Brooklyn. (via brooklyn based)

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Reader: March 28, 2009

Reading through Reader is taking forever…

A movie by Paul H-O of Gallery Beat (90’s video fanfare of the art world, some available on youtube) who dated Cindy Sherman. This is a narrative documentry of the art scene and a close look at the elusive Sherman at that time. I’m betting it’ll be funny and nostalgic and self-reflective. Funny interview with Paul H-O by C-monster (via artinfo)

– Picasso’s show at Gagosian Chelsea organized by biographer John Richardson. (via NYT)

– I’m always impressed with the shows Zwirner puts up and I can’t wait to see Dicorcia’s show. (via art observed)

– How NOT to approach a gallery. (via Joanne Mattera)

– Internet surf clubs. (via art fag city)

– AFC interviews Jenny Holzer. (via art fag city)

– Photographer visits homes of people posting personals and takes their portrait. The anonymous revealed. (via artblog comments)

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– Dull Ikea clock, refashioned. (via design*sponge)

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India Street Mural Project: Calling Artists!

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The Open Space Alliance and North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition have merged on a project to create a mural on India Street between West Street and the East River. They are looking for artists to participate which includes a $700 stipend! What are you waiting for!!

Project Description
India Street Mural Project is a series of murals celebrating the arts in our community that will take place at India Street between West Street and the East River in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The concrete wall dimensions are approximately 400’ long x 30’ tall. Murals will be on display through Fall 2009, after which time the building is slated for demolition. Five artists will be chosen to each create their own mural. Each mural will be approximately 20’ high x 25’ wide. Group submissions are welcome. Council Member David Yassky’s office will convene a panel to select the artists. Groundswell Community Mural Project will provide administrative and technical consult on the project. Selected artists will be provided with a budgeted amount of materials as well as a stipend of $700.

UPDATE:
The direct link to the Request for Proposal contains all the information, timeline and submission requirements. Deadline is April 24th, so you’ve still got time. Click on the link HERE.

Also, the next NBPAC coalition meeting takes place Thursday April 2nd, 6:30 pm at The Gibson (108 Bedford Ave). It will guaranteed be a successful awesome turnout so attend the meeting and flesh out your ideas and thoughts, questions and concerns. Feel free to contact NBPAC with any questions and join their facebook page to receive updates.

This is a superb opportunity for artists living and working in our hood as it not only beautifies our immediate surroundings but provides a networking system that doesn’t really seem to exist in Greenpoint. I’ve got some ideas cooking up in my brain bringing greenpoint artists together and showing work in a local vacant space as well as organizing an open studios in the weekend, hopefully in the fall of this year. So all you artists cooped up in your studio come out and introduce yourself and share those great ideas.

Contact:
northbrooklynpublicart@gmail.com

718875520014

View facebook event page here.

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Reader: March 25, 2009

Warning: Some of these links may be a week or two outdated, but still up because it’s my first time reading it and I like it.

– New 7 by 7 series at why + wherefore: Ribbon. (via why + wherefore)

Nude pictures in underground NY environment. And she’s korean. She sounds like she memorized her talk. (via Nancy)

Dance, for spring is a’comin. (via Nancy)

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– Mike Monteiro for 20×200. (via Jen Bekman)

– I like the events at Museum 52. (via Hyla)

– “About one-fourth of the variation in life experiences — from strictness of parents to difficulties with friends — can be traced to genetic origins.” They also say neurotic people are not extraverted which is totally untrue! (via NYT)

MTA will raise fares and cut services. Fares will go from $2 to $2.50, monthly from $81 to $103. W and Z lines are going down completely and weekend and holiday schedules will be limited, effective May 31st. This wil surely create an uprising. (via NYT)

– I want cookbooks from this healthy list. (via 101 cookbooks)

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– Artists speak about the failing economy, covered in online FLYP book format with videos and sound effects. (via newsgrist)

Rob Brezsny tells me not to be greedy. (via free will astrology)

– Have cookies delivered to you at 2 am or catered for your boardroom meeting for $2.50 per person. (via tasting table)

– How to grow perfect tomatoes. (via Sunset)

– Some good shows coming up, none of which I can attend. Boo. (via Brooklyn Based)

– Renegade Craft Fair app deadline is approaching. (via renegade craft fair)

– How to develop film using coffee and vitamin C. (via photojojo)

– You too, can have a garden on your fire escape and windowsill. Fortunately I have a backyard that I look forward to sprucing up with veggies. (via brooklyn based)

– Can’t wait to check out The Smile. (via Racked)

To be continued…

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