Monday, October 5, 2015

Artist Lab 1.0 Travelers Log #5

The Artist Lab1.0 trip to NYC on September 17th through September 21st 2015, in my opinion, was a very enriching experience for all the artists involved. We stayed at an AirBnB located on the northeastern corner of Central Park.

This placed us a few blocks away from Spanish Harlem where we made our first stop immediately after unpacking and settling in. We had lunch at La Fonda Boricua —in "El Corazon del Barrio, a bastion of Puerto Rican culture in New York City"
Then we met up with Diogenes Ballester, who graciously hosted our group and discussed with us his latest work in his Harlem studio. Diogenes "is a visual artist, educator, and writer. Mr. Ballester works in different artistic media including painting, printmaking, drawing, new media, and installation art and is recognized as a master of encaustic painting and printmaking.

He has received numerous honors for his artistic work and has exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean."   

He spoke to us about the process he follows when creating his work including the sacred spiritual nature of a studio. How important it is for an artist to nurture that attitude in their studio thereby allowing an artist to be in touch with ideas and visuals that transcend. He addressed the value of pacing when creating bodies of work. 

We finish up the evening by going to an art opening featuring his work at the Carter Burden Gallery in Chelsea.

The next day we went visited the Whitney Museum in its new building. The Whitney lies between the end of the High Line and the Husdon River.

According to the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation "The High Line is an elevated freight line that has been transformed into to a park in Manhatten's West Side." It is a 230,000 sq. ft green roof and measures 1.45 miles long. It was truly a pleasure to take a stroll on.

The Whitney's new building has increased it's exhibit area by 71,000 sq. ft. The terraced cantilevered design was created by the Italian architect Renzo Piano.

The first thing we did was work our way to the top to catch the city...the view from the top was motivating-on one side the Empire State Building and on the other side the view of the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty. 

On the rooftop of the Whitney museum

We showed up at the right time to the Whitney Museum since we got to see the last few days of the exhibit America is Hard to See which came down on the 27th of September. "This exhibit inaugurated the Whitney's new building by reexamining the history of twentieth century art in the United States through its collection."

I was touched by the arrangement based on the major wars United States has been involved in on the twentieth century and they have influenced the artists in the collection.

The Vietnam portion was especially difficult and poignant to view. All of those soldiers were so young, mostly teens that had been drafted and were not wealthy or congressman's sons.
The Vietnam era arrangement really set the stage for the works selected in response to the Iraq & Afghanistan conflicts which the United States is still dealing with.
I feel that there is nothing that can replace the experience of seeing historic artwork in person rather than in the book from the photo. Visiting the major museums in any large metropolitan area is one of the most valuable practices that any artist can undertake during travel.
Bruno next to a Man Ray
Bruno admiring Chuck Close

the Artist Lab1.0 crew:Valderas, Bishop, Geary, Andrade, Martinez, Riojas
Fridays are free from 4pm to 8pm at the MoMA so after exploring and visiting a few galleries and a captivating exhibit featuring Cuban artists titled Nuevos Colores at the Robert Miller Gallery in the Lower East Side we worked our way to the museum. 
We first started with the special show on the top floor titled Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980. It presented a breathtaking arrangement of parallel works by artist during the eras of student protests.  
We were also  lucky enough to view the largest number of Picasso's 3-dimensional works brought together under one roof. To see how this master played with any and all 3-D media was a delight.
I feel that the visit to the Whitney Museum and the MoMA on the same day left us all with a renewed sense of awe for the great masters and practitioners before us. The subway ride back to out pad gave me time to contemplate the hundreds of images and ideas swimming in my head. I could tell that the rest of the Art Lab1.0 crew was feeling it too.

The next day found us working our way to the MoMA PS1 to go see the biggest art book fair in the country. Coffee in Time Square was like being at a giant pulga in the middle of the city. 

The art book fair was spectacularly big occupying the entire footprint inside and outside of the MoMA PS1. Art Book publishers from all over the country and abroad were present with artist books, artist posters, photo books, and hand printed art of all varieties. 
This was a perfect opportunity to touch base with publishers and artists selling and networking on a national scope. This was also very encouraging as we got to meet up with two artists that we know from NYC—Lucy Helton and Ben Snead. 
Lucy Helton who showed at 3rd Space Art Gallery in September of 2014. Her artist photo book Transmissions was shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation Photo Book Awards in Paris 2015. Lucy has a studio in Brooklyn.
Ben Snead has his studio in Flatbush and came to meet up with the group at the book fair-is was nice catching up with him. We hosted Ben 2013 and had an exhibit in the Lone Star Art District.
The next day was another round of visits to amazing places. Our first stop was the Frick Collection. The Frick is just off of the 5th Ave. and is the art collection of the late industrialist Henry Clay Frick-chairman of Carnegie Steele. He amassed a collection of European masters and sculptures.

After visiting the Frick Collection the next stop was A.I.R. Gallery in the Dumbo District of Brooklyn (Down Under the Manhatten Bridge Overpass). It was mainly an industrial area but then became abandoned and homesteaded. Now it has gentrified and is prospering.

A.I.R. Gallery was our next stop in DUMBO. A.I R. was founded in 1972 and was the first all female cooperative gallery in the United States. The impetus was the lack of opportunities to exhibit for women artists in NYC.

It was originally located in SoHo but moved to the DUMBO District until 2015 but in May of 2015 it moved to is present location. The show space is just what would be expected in an industrial area and is a wonderful show space. Kim and Nicole took advantage of the visit by introducing themselves to the staff, leaving their information and finding out about upcoming calls for exhibition.

Our next stop was the Brooklyn Museum with is fabulous collection. The have a life size Rodin's 'Burghers of Calais' at the entrance.
After the Brooklyn Museum this left the rest of the evening for us to explore and look for a good Vietnamese food restaurant. We found it past Prospect Park. A great close to our last night in NYC.

Our Final visit was with the folks at the SURDNA Foundation where we all presented our work and discussed with them the benefits that we had taken advantage of by being selected for the Artist Lab Pilot Program.  All in all this program has been a tremendous experience for all that have been involved. 
The amount of artistic growth that we have all experienced is priceless and we have all gelled as a group of artists that have learned and grown together in the San Antonio Arts Community. Now the end of the pilot program is at hand. Our Final exhibit opens December 11th 2015 and I send an open invite to all. 
The call for the next round of participants is about to be released. I would highly recommend to all SATX artists to submit an application for consideration.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

the sky is brown-the documentation slides

This is the documentation for my Artist-Lab1 exhibit that I installed at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center titled The Sky is Brown. The final exhibit for this pilot group is coming up on December 11th 2015 at the GCAC so save the date. The Artist Lab program has been a great experience for me as an artist. It has allowed me to invest in my career as an artist and introduced me to a group of artists that I would not have worked & grown with had I not been selected as a participant in the pilot program. 

The call for the next round of participants is about to be released. I strongly recommend for artists to apply-it is an opportunity to grow and further develop your work. Presenting before the advisor group was a very enlightening experience that set the pace for my new works. This exhibit or versions of it are available for programing-just drop me an email.