Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Unattached: The Body’s Memory
A Night of Performance Art
Curated by Courtney Malick
(in collaboration with Margaret Lee)

Please join us as we celebrate the end of July, the closeness of performance art and wine and refreshments...

Friday, July 31, 2009, from 6 – 9pm
179 Canal St. at Mott St.

“Unattached” is the closing event for “Phantom Limb”, an exhibition curated by Margaret Lee, which explores sensations of parts of the body or psyche that are not there. “Unattached” demonstrates this phenomenon through performance art, expanding the concept to focus around various methods through which absences that are present in our lives, minds and bodies may be mended or fulfilled with alternative materials or sources. These performances express to audiences a reconstruction or reconfiguration of a physical or emotional gap, and how this new connective ‘piece’ may remain as much a part of the natural body as it may be understood as its own entity.
The body informs the mind’s memory by way of direct and initial contact with the skin --- everything that one does and everything that is done to them, occurs through the outer container of the body that is the skin. Therefore, not only does the mind remember events, feelings and encounters, but so does the body itself. At times, the memory of an absence, or a physical alternative that the absence or void is filled with, becomes an integral aspect of the body, and therefore the psyche’s identity both externally as well as internally.

Leigha Mason and Matt Whitley will perform a piece entitled, “Surgery Against Real Limbs”, that draws references from the advent of pedicles, a network of living flesh tubes, used for early medical reconstructive surgery during World War II, as well as the educational model of public, audience attended operations. Leigha Mason is currently a BFA student at Parsons School of Design. Originally from California, she is living and working in New York. Matt Whitley is an artist, poet and false medical worker living in New York City. His character in “Surgery…” and in other projects, ‘Doctor Dust’, has been expanding the architecture of the body for centuries. Within his operating theater he continues to mutilate Adonis, and elevate the mutable form.

Joseph Keckler will be telling a story, in the form of a song. The story itself is a memory of a tale that was read to him as a child. Joseph Keckler is a singer, monologist, and interdisciplinary artist. He has appeared in various traditional and experimental operas and plays, holds a BFA in painting from the University of Michigan, and trained operatically under George Shirley. His work has been presented at such venues as the Guggenheim Museum, San Francisco MoMA, La MaMa, Wiemar New York and HERE Arts Center among many others. He has received rave reviews in The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian, Time Out New York, Next Magazine, Gay City News, Irish Theater Magazine and SPIN Magazine.

Whitney Vangrin and Shawn Jeffers will collaborate on a mimed performance entitled, “Gun Play”. Their stage fight refers to the visible and
non-visible elements of social combat. Whitney Vangrin is currently a BFA student at Parsons School of Design, utilizing video and performance to explore concepts of ritual, nostalgia and memory. She has participated in various group shows, most recently at Death By Audio and at Parsons, and is currently an attendant in Roman Ondak’s, “Measuring the Universe” performance installation at MoMA. Shawn Jeffers is currently a BFA student at Hunter College, working primarily in painting.

Many thanks to Margaret Lee and Mari Spirito for making this event possible, and all of the performers, whose work I truly admire.

For further information please contact Courtney Malick, at cimalick23@yahoo.com.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


These snapshots are pretty self explanatory. They are just more good examples of ways that people are using their artistic talents to create fun, interactive environments for viewers and participants.

This was a few weekends ago on Governor's Island. Creative Time has been doing a series of works with various artists, utilizing the unusual expansive fields, rolling hills, and old architecture of the island's topographical charm to encourage an outdoorsy, summery, free-to- be-you-and-me kind of approach towards art. This is just one part, where people have built clever and tricky miniature golf structures that you can actually play, and at least for me were pretty challenging! Exhibiting works of art on Governor's Island is an impressively unconventional method for getting people to journey away from the busy city, on to a ferry, across a body of water, (although the ride is only a few minutes), and into a lush, green enclave of New York City where one feels a rare sense of open air and space within which to make all kinds of surprising discoveries...

Monday, June 29, 2009

"NO SOUL FOR SALE" at X Initiative

I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy myself so much when I attended the opening reception of "No Soul for Sale", the most recent group exhibition at X Initiative. My hesitation came not with the standard of the space's previous shows, but rather from the simple fact that when orchestrating a group exhibition that includes so many galleries or colletives, (38 altogether), the likelihood of finding the right balance between the content, form and placement of all that work is bleak, ( most recent case in point, "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus" at New Museum). Adding to the potential chaos, there is also the unpredictable element of globalism that is heavily integrated into the mission behind the exhibition. The fact that only 5 U.S. cities, (New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Marfa, TX, Philadelphia, PA and Washington D.C.), were presented in "No Soul", as opposed to the 14 international cities included, is rather impressive. To my delight, the whirlwind of installations packed adjacent to one another, designated only by rectangular 'spaces' in red tape on the floor, and three floors full of sweaty, excited friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc. all fanning themselves rapidly, did make for some vibrant chaos, but without the relationships between the work itself ever losing its coherence.
The overlying idea prevalent in almost every cities 'space', was that of interaction. This is something that has been lacking in many smaller exhibitions within individual galleries for some time now, and it was refreshing to see people able to step into, lay upon, touch, play with, listen to and ultimately be a physical part of the work that is so often meant only to be looked at.

Among my favorites:

Top Choice has got to be the K48, New York, cyber, blow up black plastic bubble, that after removing you heels, (what a drag!) and crouching down to fit into a small slit of an entrance, transports you into a strobe lit space void, with a eery beats and chimes booming through your ears. It also helps that K48 is generally the coolest, and the members of the collective could be seen standing in front of it during the opening looking uber cool, sexy and ready to rave! Below, download the soundtrack to the installation by Fatima Al Qadiri (EXCLUSIVE!):
"Grey Magic" by Fatima Al Qadiri

Next up has got to be, Ballroom, from Marfa, TX, whose contribution is what I refer to as the 'soundbed', though in truth it is so much more. Now, it is a bit of a cop out, because who doesn't love a giant bed with three bright yellow pillows on a hot day in the middle of an extremely crowded art opening? But nonetheless, it was one of the most all senses encompassing, relaxing and sensual experiences I have had at an art show. This bed, is set within a pale, wooden box, with three steps up the front. Again, you do have to take your shoes off, but I mean, it is a bed after all... From standing outside the bed, one notices the speakers along the inside, but hears nothing. But, once you climb in the low frequency tones begin to seep out, first humming then growing louder and more abstract. Meanwhile, in time with the intensity of the sounds, varying places on the mattress begin to vibrate, first only slightly, and then eventually enough that were you to try to talk your voice would warble. I stayed in that bed for as long as I could without feeling guilty and selfish for not letting others have a go, and I felt somehow more important than everyone else while my friends and I sat in it while others looked on, not understanding what was so great about it.

The next thing I saw that really pleased me was the inclusion of the collaboration between White Columns, New York and an institute called Creative Growth in Oakland, CA. whose work is entirely made by mentally challenged artists. I also saw a large collection of work by artists from Creative Growth at a new gallery called Partners & Spade, (which is a really interesting space, by the way), and, being the older sister of an unbelievably brilliant and creative brother with Down Syndrome, it is really amazing to see that people, like X and White Columns are taking them seriously, but more importantly, that they have actually made some very cool paintings and sculptures, and that their value actually has nothing to do with the fact that they are technically 'Outsider'artists.

Lastly, I have to discuss this very innovative, video....? that was included in the Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA. room. It isnt' actually a video, but it has incorporated digital video elements within the sculpture, so it is some sort of a hybrid now. The image itself is not all that intriguing, but the structure and the method behind it, which I admit not to really understand, is fascinating. Here, from the front view, you see a digital projection of a girl rowing a boat atop a bed of water made of shredded, blue paper, but when you travel to the side and the back of the structure, you see that the paper, and even the little wooden boat is actually real, and only the girl and her ore are missing. It is not literally interactive with the audience, but it is certainly an interactive and interdisciplinary project for the artist, and the element of surprise that you get when you approach the piece from various angles gives it a multi-dimensionality that only few pieces in the show pulled off successfully.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New Sculptor

Recently I sent in a curatorial proposal for a relatively new, non-profit arts organization called Affirmation Arts. The criteria for the proposal was that the artists included must reside in New York and not currently be represented by a gallery. I was lucky enough to find out about an amazing new artist named Ryan Brewer. Ryan is currently finishing his BFA at Parsons, and his work was brought to my attention by a mutual friend of ours who also attends the program. Though he works in a variety of mediums, his sculptures made predominantly of light and steel, some of which move and change form, and some of which he physically interacts with in sculptural performance art, are perhaps the most intriguing, from what I have seen thus far. Not only is the work visually compelling, but on his website he has also very articulately described the methodology involved in the process of creating such enigmatic works, as well as referencing some of his conceptual, spiritual and visceral inspirations. Of course I included him as one of the artists in my proposal, but in the event that I am not the person chosen to exhibit at Affirmation Arts, I certainly hope that I or someone else is able to show his work in a gallery or alternate arts space so that more people may have the good fortune of getting to see them up close in all of their intimidating, overbearing glory.

To see images and videos of Ryan Brewer's light sculptures and the entirety of his fascinating body of work, go to: www.ryanbrewerworks.com