Events October 21, 2010 By Nika Knight

Click image for more details

Click image for more details

saladdays title Salad Days
Salad Days, a group show comprising 49 emerging and established contemporary artists, opens tonight at The Journal Gallery in Williamsburg. Featured artists include Tim Barber of, Agathe Snow, Lizzi Bougatsos, Jack Pierson, Kathy Lo, Carlos Valencia, and many more. Details of the show are sparse, but the laundry list of participating en vogue downtown artists seems to indicate a show worth seeing. The opening, from 6-9pm tonight, should shed some light on the mystery — be sure to check it out.

The Journal Gallery: 168 North 1st Street, Brooklyn. The gallery is open from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday.

Art October 18, 2010 By Nika Knight

filler29 Antonio Ballester Moreno

Installation View. Photography courtesy of Peres Projects.

Installation View. Photography courtesy of Peres Projects.

filler29 Antonio Ballester Morenoanti title2 Antonio Ballester Moreno
While the writings of William Morris, a key figure in the 19th-century Arts & Crafts Movement, provided the jumping-off point for Spanish artist Antonio Ballester Moreno’s current show, ANTI, at Peres Projects in Berlin, Moreno’s works are anything but retrogressive. Moreno’s colorful, folk-art-inspired paintings focus on the keenly contemporary idea of a sustainable life, in response to the obvious damage and limitations of the industrialized world we live in. Nature, anti-capitalism, and “the innate potential of human beings” run throughout this show, counterbalanced by Moreno’s clear questioning of the Utopianism inherent in those ideas.
     Moreno has also long focused on the truths and naivete of childhood, filtering his ideas through basic, impulsive strokes of paint as well as the bright colors we associate with children. But the simplicity of his figures belies a complex commentary on art history, our consumption of art and the place of art in our contemporary existence, in which the relationship between man and nature is harrowingly tenuous, if not entirely broken. As the gallery tells us: “His faux naïve style imparts a false sense of bucolicism, tempered by his particular brand of humor.” The second exhibition of Moreno’s at Peres Projects, ANTI presents itself to us as a beautiful double-narrative that grapples with the ways in which we think about our place in nature.

ANTI will be on display until October 30 at Peres Projects, Berlin.

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Features October 13, 2010 By Nika Knight

filler172 Liu Xiaobo

Photography via The Los Angeles Times

Photography via The Los Angeles Times

filler172 Liu Xiaoboliu title Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this month by the Nobel Committee in Oslo “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”. The third winner to be awarded the Peace Prize while imprisoned, Xiaobo is also the first person from China to win the prize. Arrested in June 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power”, Xiaobo was sentenced to eleven years in prison on December 25, 2009 for his concerted efforts urging Chinese leaders toward democratic reform. The prize is seen by many to be a rebuke to China’s human rights record.
     Xiaobo has long lead impassioned efforts to criticize and critique his nation’s approach to human rights. When he found himself in the United States during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, he returned to China and joined the students. His eventual persuasion of many students to leave the square is credited with saving an untold number of lives. He has since been blacklisted and barred from publishing in his own country.
     When his wife, Liu Xia, visited him to give him the news of the Nobel Peace Prize, she was detained by Beijing police. She remains under house arrest at this time, communicating to the outside world via Twitter. She writes: “Yesterday, Norwegian diplomats came to offer support for me and were barred outside the main gates.”


Events September 23, 2010 By Nika Knight


Photography by Hisham Bharoocha courtesy of Mountain Fold

life title Life
A group show featuring photographs by Ari Marcopoulos, Hisham Bharoocha, and Ports Bishop, among others, opens tonight at Mountain Fold.
     In an era in which anyone with a cell phone can snap a photograph of his or her daily life and then instantly publish it for the world to see, it’s easy to grow numb to the bombardment of images, personal or otherwise. In Life, contemporary artists engage, rather then distance themselves from, our contemporary impulse to document all aspects of our daily routines. Through capturing such banal (and beautiful) subjects as a knife slicing through a stream of tap water, a still-life of a plastic bust, plastic flowers, burned CDs, and flowers, these photographers explore what lies behind the impulse to document one’s life, and the ways in which photographs create a reality separate from the one they capture.

The opening reception for Life is tonight from 7-9pm at Mountain Fold, 55 Fifth Avenue, 18th Floor, New York.

Art September 9, 2010 By Nika Knight
Hemp Fields, Richard Fields. 1995. Photography courtesy of Puka Puka. (Click images to enlarge)

Hemp Fields, Richard Fields. 1995. Photography courtesy of Puka Puka. (Click images to enlarge)


“The Hawaiian spirit…was the ambient culture that we walked into and sucked up,” says artist and activist Joana Varawa of Hawaii in the 1960s. The bohemians, hippies, artists, beatniks, explorers of consciousness — there are too many words for them, and none come quite close enough to the truth — came to the island for various reasons: art, nature, the surf, to escape an outstanding warrant for one’s arrest. And the pilgrims found what was at that time a veritable paradise, relatively unspoiled by the touch of Western civilization. Ratified as a state in the latter half of 1959, Hawaii in the 1960s reflected the counterculture’s utopian ideals: a place to explore one’s inner and outer worlds amidst the otherworldly sensation of “hot lava under foot, volcanoes over head”.
     FAR ART, the unprecedented exhibition at Puka Puka boutique and gallery in Maui, opened this summer on the 40th anniversary of “Rainbow Bridge”, Jimi Hendrix’s penultimate concert. The exhibition includes works by still-renegade artists such as William Ballantine III (aka TABULATOR), who smoked a joint with Hendrix himself and is currently conducting experiments in “cosmic consciousness”. Also John Schofill (creator of the original, iconic sign for Rainbow Bridge), early animal welfare activist Joana Varawa, and John Severson, the founder of Surfer Magazine.
     After the jump, find our interview with Nathan and Alizé, the gallery founders and exhibition curators, about the “super-cosmic” way in which the show came together, the appeal of Hawaii, and what, exactly, the term “rainbow bridge” means.

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Fashion September 7, 2010 By Nika Knight

Photography by Estelle Hanania

Photography by Estelle Hanania

marionh title Marion Hanania
The French fashion line Dévastée habitually provides a welcome interruption each Fashion Week in Paris with beautiful allusions to death, suicide and a Gothic obsession with the link between love and mortality. Co-founders Ophelie Klere and Francois Alary started the line in 2004 with, according to them, “various little depressing things. The darker the better.” The unique label has carved a growing niche for itself among the mammoths of Parisian fashion houses; Klere and Alary declaring themselves initially “not that interested in fashion” while demonstrating the clarity of their own vision.
     The pair are not averse to collaboration, as Dévastée’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection demonstrates. French independent shoe designer Marion Hanania introduced her own line of shoes eight years ago at the young age of 22, and became acquainted with Klere and Alary when she was selected for the Fashion Festival in Hyeres in 2005. Five years later, Hanania designed shoes for Dévastée’s 2010 S/S collection.
     Hanania tells us, “I wanted the shoes to stand alone, as a real collection, and not only be an accessory to a clothes line. Still, I wanted them to be obviously recognizable as Dévastée shoes.” Inspired by the line’s black-and-white look as well as its emphasis on cut-outs and heavy prints, Hanania created a line of shoes that incorporated her own aesthetic — “tightly linked to drawings”, as she puts it — to create a singular collection of shoes that beautifully displays both Hanania’s careful attention to detail and Dévastée’s sharp, dark designs.

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Architecture September 2, 2010 By Nika Knight

Photography courtesy of Terrain:Loenhart&Mayr (Click images to enlarge)

Photography courtesy of Terrain:Loenhart&Mayr (Click images to enlarge)

towerontheriver title Tower on the River Mur
Marking the border between Austria and Slovenia — once “a public-excluded security zone along the former Iron Curtain” — rises a new observation tower along the winding path of the river Mur. Murtum, by the Munich-based architectural firm terrain:loenhart&mayr, is sequestered amidst what is today a quiet, lush nature preserve. Supported by Naturschutzbund Styria (Styrian Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union), the tower was originally intended as a simple marker for the European Green Belt (a conservation project run by the World Conservation Union). Ultimately, however, this tower is an architectural achievement and testament to the potential for modern design to engage in elegant, equal dialogue with the wild forms of nature.
     The tower’s design mimics a tree: the lower part is thick and sturdy like a trunk, and the thinner steel tubes that support the pinnacle represent a tree’s delicate uppermost branches. A structural challenge for its engineers, the massive form sways softly as people climb to the top. Clad with aluminum, the shiny structure reflects both the changing colors of the sky above and the gray riverbed that flows beneath it. Altogether, despite (or perhaps because of) its sharp, metallic form and material, the subtle geometry and reflective quality of Murtum proves that manmade structures can, in fact, enhance our experience of the natural world.

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Art August 27, 2010 By Nika Knight

estelle title Estelle Hanania
Estelle Hanania’s images explore otherworldly spaces, the sharp realness of her photographs a startling contrast to the ethereality of their subjects — burning hands, glittery crystals, spookily-real human scarecrows, and men dressed as eery, totem-like birds. Exploring the allure of ritual, costumes, and folk traditions, Hanania’s photography is a beautiful reminder of a certain eccentricity inherent to all cultural beliefs and behaviors.
     Hanania tells us, “I don’t take pictures on a daily basis, and everyday life is more visually boring to me than inspiring, most of the time. Visually, I like when strange things collide and provoke questions.” Of her photographs of costumed men at carnivals (which she’s been taking since 2006) she ways, “I’m attracted by a feeling of disorientation and excitement that you can find in these gatherings and costumed traditions…. I loved this kind of situation where everything gets confused and uncertain, but you still can define the most familiar shape which is the human figure, vanishing.”

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Design August 26, 2010 By Nika Knight


Photography courtesy of MSB estudi-taller d’arquitectura i disseny (Click images to enlarge)

essence title ESSENCE
Associations with “steel” might be “cold”, “hard”, and even the bitter mortal sound of the word “slab” — but Spanish architecture and design studio MSB brings us something entirely different. MSB estudi-taller d’arquitectura i disseny (”MSB architecture and design workshop-office”) was established by architect Miquel Subiras in 2008. MSB’s 2010 ESSENCE collection of furniture is “made entirely in carbon steel, strictly selected for each piece, finished with varnish, preserving its unique materiality and personality”. The sleek, spare design shows the soul of steel to be that of a living, expressive, and even warm material.
     MSB created ESSENCE with the goal of exploring the essence of steel — the finish of the varnish coating each piece is selected to display the grain particular to it, as well as to allow the differentiation in shade and color that naturally occurs in steel over time to show through. The collection also takes advantage of steel’s extraordinary strength, as many of the designs form shelves and seating that have the potential to carry weights much heavier than their sleek, minimalist lines would suggest.
     Of the collection, Subiras writes, “When you feel [steel's] density, you realize it is an earth’s son. When you see its expressive skin, you think about the influence time has had. When you know its possibilities, you discover a raw material with a richness of endless nuances, and surely you would have never thought its presence could provide so much warmth.”

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Events August 26, 2010 By Nika Knight

boyevent cover BOYboyevent title BOY
Tonight sees the opening of BOY, an exhibit by Cody Critcheloe and his band SSION (think “percu-ssion”) at The Hole — the gallery run by former Deitch Projects directors Kathy Grayson and Meghan Coleman. SSION, a self-described “queer punk performance art band” comprised of artists and musicians from Kansas City, has just released BOY — a feature-length film documenting Critcheloe’s “life as a small-town punk kid addicted to junk food, dreaming of stardom, who becomes a glamorous pop star with the help and hindrance of a gaggle of crazy dames”.
     And if that hasn’t piqued your interest, perhaps the “shitty green screen and handmade cardboard props” will, or the added bonus of “outrageous spandex conconctions” by fashion designer Peggy Noland. Noland will have a fashion boutique installed, and Critcheloe’s contribution to the show will be “like a sweet hangout zone”, plus video lounge. Be sure to come back for Nolan’s runway show on September 10 — maybe even stay for SSION’s one-night-only performance on September 11.

CODY CRITCHELOE & SSION – BOY opens tonight, 6-9pm, at The Hole, 104 Greene St., New York.