With their meticulous brushwork and keen observation, Julia’s paintings explore the uneasy marriage of longing and anxiety radiating from the imagery that surrounds us — from advertisements for furniture and food to glossy fashion magazines. Julia’s treatment of these images, often in extreme close up, distills the qualities that draw us in - the shine of perfect hair, the warm glow of a glass of scotch - and yet turn out to be ephemeral, exposing the manner by which images draw us in and manipulate us. The tongue-in-cheek way she uses words in her paintings, or in the titles, highlights her own anxieties while also casting a laser-sharp critical eye on the cynical mechanisms at work in advertising.
You could say we’re living in an Age of Algorithm Anxiety. I can’t recall exactly when it began, but after two decades of the commercial internet and a decade of Facebook, many of us who live our lives online are at least aware, if not deeply suspicious, of how much algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning dictate what we encounter and experience everyday. The ads that show up in our search results and social feeds and pages we visit. The recommendations we get from Amazon or Spotify. The Twitter bots programmed to spread actual fake news. Against the drumbeat about robots stealing our jobs, it can feel like we’re on a fast train to Terminatorland.
Everyone knows about the 3 R’s — even the most willfully anti-environmentalist trash tosser knows the Holy Trinity of reduce, reuse, recycle. But artist Sina Basila is making a creative case for adding a fourth R, for refashion.
Pinned into place, like rare specimens of delicate fabric, framed under glass, and mounted on the wall were 25 squares of TP that Karen has collected from around the world. Entitled "Works on (Toilet) Paper," the collection exemplifies what I love about Karen's work: the combination of exquisite beauty and sly humor that seduces you into reconsidering the conventions of femininity — and misogyny — in the ordinary objects, accessories, and images that surround us.
A couple of weeks ago, we opened our fall season with an installation by artist Daniel Carlson. Dan works in photography, video, film and is also a musician. We first met when he came to an earlier SfDM as one of the musicians who had collaborated with Andrew Zarou on Force Multiplier, which we exhibited last fall. For the past 20 years, Dan has also hosted a monthly gathering called Record Club, an evening where people eat, drink and share their favorite music. Noting the similarities in our gatherings, we exchanged information and a conversation was started.
This summer, the Society for Domestic Museology has been exhibiting the work of Jessica Langleyand we celebrated with an opening in July. I first met Jessica through a mutual friend, Andrew Zarou, who told me that she also ran a small exhibition space out of her apartment. Excited to find another home gallerist, I made an appointment to view the Stephen & George Laundry Line where they feature site-specific outdoor installations on the laundry line that connects their apartment with the one across the back yard.
This spring, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting an evening with Christina Clare. As our 10th artist at the Society for Domestic Museology, Christina conceived a multifaceted program that included an exhibition of drawings and an original tunic on a dress form that provided the backdrop for a performance that encompassed opera, jazz, original songs, and audience participation. I had some trepidation about hosting a concert in our small living room, but the truth is, Christina could perform almost anywhere and it would be magical. And that's exactly what it was.
After a longer than expected hiatus, we had the good fortune to open 2016 at the Society for Domestic Museology with a special guest: artist Kristine Bolhuis, whose work I have long admired. I first met Kristine when we were undergraduates at the University of Michigan and lived in the same co-op. In the intervening years, we lost touch, but thanks to the magic of social media, we reconnected some years ago and I have kept up with her career from afar. Working out of her home studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kristine creates intricately constructed metal jewelry based on geometric patterns.
he term synaesthesia refers to the neuropsychological trait in which the stimulation of one sense causes the automatic experience of another sense. It also is used to describe the deliberate connections between the various senses through artistic experimentation, most often linking the aural and the visual. Kandinsky might be modern art history’s most well known practitioner of such Visual Music, a term coined by Roger Fry in 1912 to describe his paintings, connecting the formal elements of the visual arts — color, line, shape — with the formal elements of music — tone, harmony, rhythm.
Before meeting artist Spencer Merolla, I knew nothing of hairwork. The art of weaving human hair (ideally that of a loved one, living or deceased) into intricate adornment, to be worn or displayed in the home, originated in the late 18th century. It reached its apotheosis in the Victorian era, when sentimentality reigned and death and mourning were not subjects to be avoided. Pins, wreaths, and buttons, among other decorative objects made with hair, were seen as proper expressions of emotion, particularly grief. For a widower to keep his watch on a chain made of his wife's hair was a customary way to signal that he was in mourning, to make visible the anguish of his interior life.
We have had the good fortune of living with a pair of three-dimensional woven wall hangings by the artist Lenore Kantor Tetkowski for the Spring season. The pieces -- Boxes with a Twist (28 X 8 in, 2010) and Four Turning Strips (25 X 24 in, 2009), both double weave pick-up, perle cotton -- are powerful examples of Lenore’s lifetime devotion to the art and craft of weaving. And April's opening was a welcome chance to talk with Lee about technique, the tactile pleasure in fibers, the deliberative process of warping the loom and mapping out an artistic journey, and the metaphorical -- even metaphysical -- richness of this ancient art form.
Sienna, who spent 14 years living in Rome, began following the Amanda Knox case when it broke in 2007. What struck her from the beginning was the hyperbole used to describe Ms. Knox in both the Italian and English-language press, all propagated by the Perugian police and the prosecution team through an irresponsible news media. As the list of aspersions grew longer, Sienna began to record them, studying their etymology and reflecting on their historical use. This 8-year inquiry into the destructive power of words and the history of character assassination is reflected in an immense amount of work that far exceeds the capacity of our home.
In early February, I had the great pleasure of attending an opening at yet another new chapter of the Society for Domestic Museology. Our friends Joe and Sundus invited Saks Afridi and Quinza Najm, who comprise the artistic duo BOLO (Urdu for "speak up"), to show some of their collaborative work. Featuring four large paintings from a series called Frontiers and a hauntingly powerful sculpture, the show -- and the dramatically transformed apartment setting -- made for the most gallery-like Domestic Museology opening yet.
On Sunday, December 14th, artist Rebecca Allan gave a talk about her work and a demonstration of her technique at the Society for Domestic Museology. The idea was that she would discuss her approach to painting while completing a small piece that she would then proceed to hang on our wall. It was our first time showcasing a painter and a unique opportunity to observe an artist at work, a concept that Rebecca herself suggested.
Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to attend a Domestic Museology event that wasn't held in my living room. Last summer, my friend, Alessia, attended one of our openings and she was so inspired that she decided to open her own chapter in Harlem, which is exactly what I had hoped would happen with this idea. She lives in a jewel box of an apartment and had the perfect corner wall to use as her gallery.
One a Saturday night in early December, we gathered to view the work of Marco Gallotta, an Italian mixed-media artist who works primarily in cut paper. The inspiration behind his work ranges from the natural world to the world of highly manipulated images. Trained at FIT in Fashion Illustration, Marco often uses images from advertising a starting point for his work, cutting and layering them until they become something else entirely. The piece that he showed at SfDM uptown consisted of several layers of cut paper, all interacting around a portrait of a woman taken by a fashion photographer with whom he collaborates. The original image is one of standard beauty, having been manipulated by the camera and by photoshop in ways that are often invisible to the viewer. By cutting into the photo and layering it on top of a landscape, the image transforms into something that from a distance resembles a religious icon, but up close reveals a complex interplay between layers all playing on themes around the perception of beauty and what is real. I found Marco's work to be captivating and wanted to know more about the process - which is clearly labor intensive, although seems also very meditative. This short video is a gorgeous depiction of how he works and you can find more images of his artwork, ranging from watercolor drawings to linocuts to cut-paper collage, by clicking here.
Alessia did a fantastic job of hosting and gave Marco a lovely introduction. The food was delicious (as expected) and it was great to meet new people and to hear their perspective on what was hanging on the wall. As we near the end of the first year of the Society for Domestic Museology, I'm so glad that it is already expanding!
Southernscapes, Joshua's installation for the SfDM, consists of two series, one black and white, one color, both taken during a road trip through the American South in 2011. The trip was inspired by James Allen's 2001 book, Without Sanctuary, documenting the disturbing visual legacy of postcards and photographic souvenirs taken at public lynchings in the United States between 1882 and 1950. Deeply moved by this tragic history, Joshua set out to find some of the sites where lynchings had occurred in order to memorialize these now-anonymous places that have faded back into the landscape, a willfully forgotten chapter in our nation's past.
A few weeks ago, we had our second opening of the Society of Domestic Museology, featuring the artist, Neil Tetkowski. Neil and his wife, Olga, are good friends and I have long admired his work, which often consists of installations on a grand scale, like Common Ground, a ceramic installation originally created for the United Nations. So I was pleased when he agreed to participate in the SfDM. When I contacted Neil to ask him about what he was going to install, he replied with a one-line email, "It's called Flip Phone". Interesting.
Tuesday evening marked the first opening of the Society for Domestic Museology featuring the work of Ian Sullivan. Ian is the creative genius behind the exhibition design at the Bard Graduate Center and is also an artist in his own right who works across a wide variety of media. Mindful of the "domestic" context of our gallery, Ian chose to show a series of work completed over a number of years that plays with ideas of space and home.