Rhino Horn Artist Updates!

There’s quite a lot of exciting news involving past-Rhino Horn artists. Co-Founder Benny Andrews currently has work in a group show titled Hereat the Arts and Sciences Center for Southeast Arkansas. The show, which runs through October 15, 2016, presents a selection of art by African-American artists from the museum’s permanent collection.

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June Leaf, Twin Volcanoes, 1951, Ink on paper, 8.5″ x 9″ Courtesy of Ed Thorp Gallery, New York.

June Leaf has two important upcoming retrospectives in New York City.  The first is Leaf’s major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which opens tomorrow, April 27th. The exhibition will focus mainly on her incredible large scale drawings. The second exhibition, organized by Edward Thorp Gallery will showcase works in a variety of mediums during her career from 1949 to most recently and will open on Thursday, April 28th. The exhibition will run concurrently with the Whitney show. June Leaf has been represented by Edward Thorp Gallery located in New York City since 1985.

Jennifer Samet recently spoke with June at her New York City studio and has published the inspiring conversation on Hyperallergic in a segment called “Beer with a Painter.

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Jay Milder, # 13, 2016, Oil Stick on Rag Paper, 20″ X 26″, Courtesy of the artist and Quogue Gallery.

Rhino Horn Co-Founder, Jay Milder’s latest work will be on view at Quogue Gallery beginning May 12 and running through June 15, 2016. The exhibition titled Noah’s Ark: Many Views focuses on Milder’s recurring Kabbalistic interpretations of the covenant between G-d and humankind, envisioned through vivid works on paper and canvas that recall spray-can graffiti and embody a brilliant spectrum.

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Engaging Artists at the Queens Museum of Art

I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with artist and founder of the Artist Volunteer Center and More Art‘s Special Programs Coordinator Jason Maas on multiple occasions. Our more recent work together began while I was at More Art working on a public art project that involved homelessness in New York City. More Art’s goal was to produce a program that would provide outreach to homeless and at risk individuals, while providing a bridge between emerging artists and the community. Jason Maas was the perfect person to develop such a program, and More Art brought him on to create the Engaging Artists Residency Program.

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Hidemi Takagi, Hello it’s me, 2015, Photo Installation; Digital C-Prints, wall paper. Courtesy of the artist and More Art

It has been two years since the initial session of Engaging Artists, which featured partnerships with the Artist Volunteer Center, Judson Memorial Church, Common Ground, The Bowery Mission, The Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation. The incredible fourteen selected artists volunteered and made lasting connections with the homeless community. Each artist worked hard to transform their studio practice within practical situations and gave their time and creativity to connect with homeless families and individuals. Additionally, More Art granted a proposal by three of the Resident artists called REMAP. REMAP is “a collaborative project involving meditation, recipe sharing, map-making and map distribution with homeless and formerly homeless community groups.” 

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Christie Neptune, Memories from Yonder, 2015, multimedia installation; video, Digital C-Print. Courtesy of the artist and More Art.

The second session of Engaging Artists centered on issues about identity and immigration. The program was open to any foreign born artist living in New York. The artists volunteered with immigrant senior citizens from across the five boroughs. The culmination of each artist’s work will be on view at the Queens Museum of Art from Feb. 7-27.

(Above video: Sara Meghdari, Silent Self, 2015 Video Performance. Courtesy of the artist and More Art)

The work from the artists featured in the Queens Museum of Art exhibition reflects on critical issues such as healthcare, aging, alienation, and housing. The Engaging Artists residents are: Annie Kurz, Aurélien Grèzes, Christie Neptune, Hidemi Takagi, Michelle Melo, Sara Meghdari, Soi Park, and Uday K. Dhar.

Below is a Q + A with Jason about the Engaging Artists program and what is to come in the third year of this essential program.

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Two Upcoming Socially Engaged Happenings

“I Can’t Breathe”

On October 7th, The 8th Floor Gallery, Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation’s NYC art space will invite the public to participate in a poignant workshop, performance, and self defense class led by artist Shaun Leonardo.

Shaun Leonardo first performed “I Can’t Breathe” during non-profit Smack Mellon’s Respond exhibition as a public-participatory workshop and performance, taking the form of a self-defense class.

The title of the performance reflects the final words Eric Garner, an unarmed black man from Staten Island, screamed out as he was taken down and killed by an illegal chokehold from an NYPD officer. Garner was being questioned for selling loose cigarettes, hardly a violent offense. His tragedy was just one of many recent incidents involving unarmed black citizens being killed by police officers.

Check it out Wednesday, October 7, 2015 6:00 to 8:00pm at 17 W 17th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues. RSVP: media@sdrubin.org

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Allen M. Hart

Self Portrait at Age 87

Self Portrait at Age 87

“Art to me is an adventure in which I attempt to unearth the darker realm of consciousness with irony and the absurd.” – Allen M. Hart (1925-2014)

Allen M. Hart explored the physical and metaphysical world for nearly nine decades and has an incredible art historical account to show for it. Born in 1925 in New York City, Hart studied at the prestigious Art Students League from 1940 to 1948 studying with influential and renowned artist-teachers Frank Vincent DuMond, Anne Goldthwaite, and Jean Liberte. In 1944, Hart was included in a group show at Gallery Neuf on East 79th street and met Peggy Guggenheim, who became interested in his paintings. In 1948 Hart made his first sojourn to Mexico where he connected with the artists Ignacio Aguerre, Pablo O’Higgins, Frida Kahlo, Mendez, and Siqueros; became member of the Talle Graphicos in Mexico City; and had a solo show in 1950 at the Museum of Michoacan in Morelia. Reflecting on his experiences submersed in Mexican Modernist culture, Allen said he felt at home there and had a deep respect and admiration for indigenous people. Additionally, the politically left leaning artistic community of Mexico City had a long lasting influence on Hart’s work, which is in part, fueled by socially engaged themes and poignant Humanist metaphors.

After meeting his wife Mildred in 1952 at his solo show at the Roosevelt House on East 65th Street, the couple traveled extensively. They settled in Spain and traveled throughout Europe and North Africa. When they moved back to New York, Hart became the director of the Visual Arts Center (Greenwich Village), where he administered the Children’s Aid Society program for 30 years (1969 to 1999).

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Interview with Curator Katherine Gressel

I recently had a discussion with curator Katherine Gressel on her upcoming show In Search of One City: Sensing (In)equality  (August 13-October 10, 2015). The exhibition examines unique elements employed by contemporary artists, which scrutinize income inequality in NYC and throughout the country. The artists that will be featured are: Artist Volunteer Center & With Food in Mind, Daniel Bejar, Mildred Beltre & Oasa DuVerney,Jennifer Dalton, Laura Hadden & Tennessee Watson, Brian Fernandes-Halloran, Sue Jeong Ka, Kenneth Pietrobono, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Dread Scott, Jody Wood 

I look forward to seeing this show at The Old Stone House in Brooklyn (5th avenue between 3rd and 4th street, Park Slope) and writing a critical analysis of the works. In anticipation of this show and its series of outreach programing, read the interview with Katherine below:

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Suggested Viewing: Shows to see before Summer Vacation

Summer time is quiet time in the art world. Everyone has had their fill from what seemed like a never ending barrage of fairs. With galleries mounting their summer shows and keeping summer hours, here is a concise list of the shows that I highly recommend during your summertime stroll.

Elmer Bischoff: Figurative Paintings
George Adams Gallery
525-531 West 26th Street
First Floor
New York, NY 10001
June – August, 2015

After getting treated to Joan Brown’s large scale figurative paintings, George Adams Gallery has hung an impressive survey Elmer Bischoff, another Bay Area Figurative Expressionist. Bischoff was a native and lifelong resident of the Bay Area and is probably the best known of the 1950’s Bay Area group along with David Park and Richard Diebenkorn. The poet and critic Bill Berkson wrote that if “David Park was the classicist of the founding triad of the Bay Area Figurative painters, and Richard Diebenkorn the modernist, Bischoff was the romantic.” Also on view in the smaller Drawing Gallery is a show of a few whimsical works by Red Grooms.

Anthems for Mother Earth Goddess
Andrew Edlin Gallery
134 10th Ave
New York, NY 10011
June 25 – August 15, 2015

For the gallery’s final show in their Chelsea location, they invited a strong roster of artists to create new works directly on the walls of the gallery. The theme of the exhibition is the environment, and each artist takes on the theme in a uniquely profound way, be it spiritually, politically, or emotionally. Just as the cycle of nature is ephemeral, so too are the works in this show. They will be demolished along with the building sometime in the near future. I recently reviewed this exhibition here.

New Dominion
Mixed Greens
521 West 26th Street
1st floor
New York, NY 10001
June 11 – July 17, 2015

This show is centered around artwork made in Richmond, Virginia. Featured in this exhibition curated by Lauren Ross of the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, are eight contemporary artists who have created a diverse range of work including themes of heritage, race, identity, memory, urban life, art history, and the environment. I had recently written about Sonya Clark’s performative piece Unraveling, where the artist unraveled a Confederate flag during the opening night.

Profiled: Surveillance of a Sharing Society
Apex Art
291 Church Street
New York, NY 10013
June 4 – July 25, 2015

When our daily lives are shared amongst vast social networks, is there a place within the digital age that remains autonomous? This exhibition focuses on artists who are operating within the global framework of surveillance. Notable works include the Instagram account of James Bridle, who uses aerial photography from Google Earth to show the subtle geography of the places where drone attacks have been reported. Sans drone, these images seem banal, however it is the volatile free for all in the form of unfiltered comments by Instagram users that is striking.

The Last Party
WhiteBox
329 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002
June 17 – August 23, 2015

The Last Party is arguably the most fun show of the summer. The exhibition surveys the underground nightlife, which was the pulse of New York City during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s before fizzling out into the corporate playground for the rich we know today. The show features artists who were integral in the club scene and the underground culture of that period. There is even a reincarnation of the legendary Mars Bar!

-Hank Willis Thomas: The Truth I See You
MetroTech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn, NY
August 4, 2015 – June, 2016

One of today’s most dynamic visual artists, Hank Willis Thomas, will be displaying three large scale and intimate works for the public in Brooklyn beginning August 4th. The work includes Willis’ Truth Booth (2011), a 16 foot high by 23 foot wide video booth in the form of a speech bubble projecting the word “TRUTH.” The site will entice visitors to record their thoughts on the word’s meaning with a two minute video response. Other brand new works also incorporate speech bubbles, such as the installation of 22 bubbles hung on light posts in the Myrtle Promenade, which feature a poem written with artist Ryan Alexiev. The exhibition is presented by The Public Art Fund and Forest City Ratner.

Suggested Reading: Socially Engaged

– No Longer Empty has been bringing significant exhibitions to abandoned or neglected public space throughout the city. The themes of the exhibitions are usually socially engaged and take on issues of poverty, inequality, and gentrification. Their latest exhibition, “When You Cut into the Present, the Future Leaks Out,” will be on display in the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse at 878 Brook Ave. from April 23 until July 19. The large scale exhibition in the South Bronx is bringing the debate on gentrification to the forefront. via DNAinfo

– A Blade of Grass has announced their 2015 Fellows for Socially Engaged Art. The artists include: Sol Aramendi, Adaku Utah, Kerry Richardson and Steven Ciampaglia, Nigel Poor, Laura Chipley, Mary Mattingly, Suzanne Lacy, and Dread Scott. via A Blade of Grass

– Strikes are continuing at The National Gallery in London because the museum is planning to outsource jobs, which would affect over 400 current employees. via The Art Newspaper

– One artist is taking to the streets to protest Google’s access to information in the digital age. via artnet

– Corinna Kirsch reviews the 2015 Open Engagement conference. via Art F City

– There is a petition going on for all gender bathrooms to be put into place at major NYC museums. via Change.org

– Take the quiz by Carolina A. Miranda “Coachella or Art Basel?” via LA Times

Suggested Reading: Engaging Artists

– The Engaging Artists group show got a nice review from Jillian Steinhauer. The recent exhibition at Hot Woods Arts Center (Red Hook, Brooklyn) featured the work of 14 emerging and mid-career artists who devoted six weeks or more volunteering at local homeless shelters with a diverse population of homeless youth, families, and seniors. The program was produced by More Art and led by Jason Maas, the Executive Director and Founder of the Artist Volunteer Center (see: Q + A with Jason A Maas). The work in the show does not seek out solutions to the crisis of homelessness, rather it was informed by the artist’s personal experiences working with the homeless community. Some of the work is the concept for much larger scale socially engaged works. More Art has selected two proposals from the resident artists to produce a large scale public art project. These works will be implemented in collaboration with homeless individuals and groups, and hopefully can have an amazing impact on the lives of many vulnerable and in need residents of New York. via Hyperallergic

– This is an incredible story, almost to amazing to be true. Surrealist, Claude Cahun and her lover Marcel Moore were two lesbian Jewish women in Nazi occupied England whose rebellious artwork subverted gender politics and Nazi oppression. In fact, Andre Breton called the pair “one of the most curious spirits of our time.” Cahun’s artwork is currently featured in two concurrent exhibitions. The first is at Jersey’s Museum and Art Gallery called Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore: A Life Defiant, and the second is at London’s Nunnery Gallery. This article written by Liza Foreman is a must read. via The Daily Beast

– Democrats in Congress are lobbying for two bills that would greatly improve the rights of the artist. The first proposal seeks a resale royalty for artists. The second would allow artists to deduct donations of their work to museums based on the works’ fair market value on their tax returns.  Unfortunately, this all seems unlikely to gain momentum with a Republic majority. I hope to be surprised. via The Art Newspaper

– The Venice Biennalle is set to open on May 9th.  Does Vic Muniz’ Giant Paper Boat for the Biennale make a profound humanitarian statement or does it trivialize the issue of Europe’s migrant crisis? via artnet

– I recently posted a short review of Leon Golub’s show at Serpentine Galleries in London. You should also check out John Ros’ review “Leon Golub’s Never-ending Fight Against the War Machine.” via Hyperallergic

Suggested Reading: Stay Tuned for More Art

While I’m plugging away and working hard on some exciting long form content for this blog, I’m going to be posting more quick suggested readings from around the art world. Stay tuned!

– If The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art isn’t on your cultural radar, then you need to make that amendment ASAP! The SoHo based museum features an incredible collection and exhibition program around LGBTQ art. Starting on April 3rd, the museum will host Critical Dialogues Around LGBTQ Art. via Hyperallergic

– “It wasn’t until the opening of the Triennial that I realized how important the sculpture would be for the rest of the trans community. More than one person remarked that this was the first time they had seen a sculptural depiction of a body that they could relate to in a major museum.” This quote is from artist Frank Benson on his sculpture of trans artist Juliana Huxtable which is on view in the New Museum’s Triennial exhibition. Antwaun Sargent write about “Juliana Huxtable’s Fight for Acceptance.” via VICE

– “The reason Saul stands alone is because he does something unique in the annals of postwar art: he elevates his rage to the point that it undermines its own didactic impulses.” John Yau wrote a great article on Peter Saul who was a good friend of the Rhino Horn Group during their incarnation. via Hyperallergic

– Want to journey into the mind of a great artist? The personal journals of Jean-Michel Basquiat are on view at the Brooklyn Museum. via artnet

– I’m happy to see that the hard work of contemporary Figurative Expressionist painter Joyce Pensato is paying off. I’ve always felt that the essence of Lester Johnson’s brush is evoked in her work. via New York Times

– Non-profit New York City based arts organization, More Art has a call for immigrant and first generation American born artists to participate in a socially engaged residency program. The deadline for submissions is April 19th. via Wooloo

–  Ever wonder who’s bright idea it was to commission that work of public art you love/hate so much?! On WNYC Radio, Brian Lehrer spoke with New York City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer on the role that the public should have on choosing their city’s public art. via WNYC

Suggested Reading: Spring Has Sprung Edition

– Artist/activist Dread Scott, musician and writer Johanna Fateman (Le Tigre), and multi-disciplinary artist Carlos Motta will be giving a talk this coming Thursday (March 26th) at The City College of New York exploring “Art, Social Change, and the Urban Sphere” via Hyperallergic

– The Engaging Artists Group show opens on March 28th at Hot Wood Arts, in Red Hook. The show features 13 amazing socially engaged artists whose work has been realized through volunteer work with the homeless communities of New York City. There is also a call for the next session of More Art‘s Engaging Artist Residency for socially engaged art practices. via More Art

– “Saul puts vicious private fantasies on public display, enacting what someone, somewhere is no doubt thinking. Or so we suspect. He rubs racism, sexism, and xenophobia in your face. I love his paintings, and think they rank as one of the signal achievements of American postwar art, an improbable blending of surrealism, Pop, and comic styles.” Andrew Russeth on the Peter Saul show at Venus Over Manhattan. Saul was a good friend of the Rhino Horn artists and even briefly formed a group with Peter Dean called the Torque group. His paintings share a similar gusto to the works of the Rhino Horn artists. via ArtNews

– Google’s Cultural Institute has ambitiously taken the initiative to document street art. Via Google Cultural Institute

– Anton van Dalen, a long term East Village artist visualizes four decades of the neighborhood’s gentrification within his paintings. via Hyperallergic