Vanessa German – SAD RAPPER at Paul Kasmin

VG 15.jpg
Partial installation view of Sad Rapper

So much has happened in six years. It was six years ago that I last wrote about the work of Vanessa German for Hyperallergic. Donald Trump had just been elected, and the country was bracing itself for a trip down a new and dangerous path. Vanessa German, a poet, activist and visual artist, had mounted a powerful show at Pavel Zoubek Gallery entitled I am armed. I am an army. German filled the gallery with a fighting corps of women, armed with weaponry, poetry, history and power. It was a fierce exhibition, and one that both mourned and celebrated the power of women.

Continue reading “Vanessa German – SAD RAPPER at Paul Kasmin”

Motel in the Catskills

:Hurlin 7.jpg

The rural Catskill mountain village of Fleischmanns an unlikely a place to find a world-class contemporary art installation.

In the nineteenth century, the village was a flourishing, prosperous Catskill vacation spot for the New York well-to-do, resplendent with Victorian mansions and lodging houses, attracting both Jewish and non-Jewish summer residents. By the mid-twentieth century, the town had languished, and many properties had fallen into disrepair. Over time, Fleischmanns became a summer retreat for a large ultra-Orthodox Jewish community who juxtapose oddly with deer hunters, RV owners, motorcycle enthusiasts, and other locals. “Eclectic” is an understatement. If Fleischmanns were on a deli menu it would be an Everything Bagel.

Continue reading “Motel in the Catskills”

My Upstate Art Weekend Adventure

Macintosh HD:Users:melissa:Desktop:ETTY:1. Vanessa German.jpg
Vanessa German,  Black on Black, 2021, Handmade folk art cloth Black woman pin cushion, glory, wood, love, astroturf, Black seed beads, confusion, Black rhinestone trim, Black bead trim, (they traded your grandmother for a handful of beads), vintage hand purse, rage, old doll parts, ptsd, the fallout from white supremacist delusion, cork, Black pigment, sorrow, vintage mirror, self loathing, cotton, a miracle, twine, tears, yarn, heartbreak, love. 26 x 18 x 9 1/2 in

Last weekend was the third annual Upstate Art Weekend, a wildly ambitious and fun three-day art fair that winds its way from Westchester to Catskill NY. Founded by impresario Helen Toomer in 2020, Upstate Art Weekend celebrates and promotes visual arts throughout the Hudson Valley. One hundred and forty venues participated this year, and there was everything from art in a big-box truck in Kerhonkson to the gallery/studio campus of Foreland in Catskill.  The intense heat of last week made this year’s event a challenge, but totally worth the sweat. Here is a brief travelogue of my schlep around the Hudson Valley: 

Continue reading “My Upstate Art Weekend Adventure”

Hew Locke: The Procession at the Tate Britain

A picture containing several

Description automatically generated

Each year The Tate Britain commissions a large-scale art installation for the iconic Duveen Galleries at the museum. This is a vast space, an art-filled hall, more than a typical gallery that winds its way down the center of the museum on the first floor. This year they tapped the Guyanese-British artist Hew Locke whose visual musings on migration, history, national identity and ritual are well known in the British art world. Locke has long worked these themes, but never on such a scale. It is a wildly ambitious vision that embraces his interests and presents a fully developed Universe.

Continue reading “Hew Locke: The Procession at the Tate Britain”

KATHY BUTTERLY AT JAMES COHAN GALLERY – COLOR IN FORMING

A picture containing wall, floor, indoor, table

Description automatically generated

Installation view

Staring at Kathy Butterly’s ceramic sculptures, I am overwhelmed by an urge to reach out and touch them. The marriage of color and form is perfectly wrought, shapes and colors inextricable yet sharply distinct. I want to trace my finger along that delicate whisper thin band of orange in Between Things, and feel the little bumps along the rim of Luminious Flow. I want to feel the change between matte and gloss surfaces and the weight of the sculpture in my hand. 

Continue reading “KATHY BUTTERLY AT JAMES COHAN GALLERY – COLOR IN FORMING”

Artists on Coping: Merritt Johnson

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

Merritt Johnson was born in West Baltimore and spent her childhood navigating between trees, tarps and concrete. She earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art. Her work navigates the spaces between bodies and the body politic, land and cultures by making images and objects that connect, reflect and refract vision and experience. The multiplicity of materials and processes Johnson employs embody her multiplicity, exploring layering, allegiance and agency in the face of continued threats to land, water and bodies. Johnson’s works are containers for story, feeling and thought: images of what cannot be seen, exercises for existence, and political bodies. She lives and works with her family on Tlingit land in Sitka Alaska.

Continue reading “Artists on Coping: Merritt Johnson”

Artists on Coping: John Moran

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.


John Moran with Endless Night in his studio in Ghent, Belgium. Photo: Evert Van Laere

John Moran is a politically and socially engaged hot glass sculptor, mixed media artist, and all around nice guy. Originally from Philadelphia, Moran currently resides in Ghent, Belgium and is also the director of Gent Glas, a community glass studio he co-founded in 2014. He received his BFA from Tyler School of Art, MFA from Illinois State University, and is currently pursuing his PhD at Eugeniusz Geppert Academy in Wroclaw, Poland. His work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums across the United States and Europe, including Habatat Galleries, SiC! Gallery, Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, and Delaware Contemporary. His work is dedicated to his interests in politics, pop culture, social awareness, and contemporary art.

Continue reading “Artists on Coping: John Moran”

Artists on Coping: Daniel Wiener

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

:ETTY:01in-the-studio-with-ollie.jpg

In the studio with my dog, Ollie. May 11, 2020

Daniel Wiener, who received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012, grew up near Los Angeles but has lived in NYC for thirty-nine years. A professional artist since 1977, Daniel’s first show was at the Stephen Wirtz gallery in San Francisco, held shortly after his graduation from UC at Berkeley. In 1982 Daniel was awarded a fellowship for an unusually long stay at Yaddo, which inspired his exodus to the East Coast. Daniel was affiliated with Lesley Heller Gallery, until it closed due to the Covid 19 pandemic, where he had a one-person exhibition titled Wide-eyed & Open-mouthed in September, 2019. In response to this show, Bomb Magazine published an interview with Daniel and Fawn Krieger called The Space of Intimacy: Daniel Wiener. He is currently working on a series of painting-like bas-reliefs made from self-hardening clay based on a technique he developed at Dieu Donne. Daniel lives and works in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

Continue reading “Artists on Coping: Daniel Wiener”

Artists on Coping: ShinYeon Moon

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

Macintosh HD:Users:ShinYeon:Desktop:ShinYeon Moon - If I were a house - 110dpi.jpg

“If I were a House…” 8.5 x 11 inches. Digital. 2020

ShinYeon Moon (Shin) is a freelance illustrator based in New York. Moon received her B.F.A. in Fine Arts at the New York University and holds an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in Illustration as Visual Essay. She has been in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Austria, and Japan. She taught Design Foundations at Queens College and has received accolades from different illustration publications including 3×3 Magazine, Creative Quarterly, and Latin American Illustration.

Continue reading “Artists on Coping: ShinYeon Moon”

Artists on Coping: Alison Lowry

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Art Spiel is reaching out to artists to learn how they are coping.

Alison Lowry

Alison Lowry, with handmade glass awards at the Business to Arts awards ceremony in Belfast

Alison Lowry is a glass artist living and working from her studio, ‘Schoolhouse Glass’ in Saintfield, Co. Down in Northern Ireland. In 2009 she graduated from Ulster University with an Honors degree in Art and Design. Since then she has won numerous awards including first place in the category, ‘Glass Art’ at the Royal Dublin Society in 2015 and 2009, the Silver Medal at the Royal Ulster Arts Club’s Annual Exhibition in 2010, the Warm Glass Prize in 2010 and 2011 and more recently the Bronze Award at Bullseye Glass’ exhibition for emerging artists, ‘Emerge’. Alison exhibits nationally and internationally, and her work is held in several public collections. Her current exhibition, ‘(A)Dressing our hidden truths’ is currently on display at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin

Continue reading “Artists on Coping: Alison Lowry”