POP GOES THE WEASEL- An exhibition that asks the question “why not”?
The group show “Pop Goes The Weasel” at The Williamsburg Art and Historical Society brings together a group of nineteen artists from Japan and the US, fifteen women and four men who are working in seemingly disparate ways. Curator and artist William Norton presents his premise as “Why not”? Why not bring together artists who simply share their pathos, political intent, psychological depth ,a love of materials, and above all, their joy in creating art?
There is something refreshing about Norton’s straight forward premise. He assembles his best artist friends together through an exhibition platform where they can connect, get more collectors, and viewers – “I put all these artists together because I believe in their work,” he says. For instance, he met the Japanese artists at the Kameyama Triennial in Japan, a unique art event that is taking place outside of traditional art spaces throughout the mostly historic sections of Kameyama. Norton wanted to show these artists’ work in New York ever since. The Williamsburg Art & Historical Center provided him the venue he was looking for.
The diverse work links in an associative way. For instance, in one corner of the vast space Melissa Stern’s sculptural relief “You’re Soaking in it,” depicts cartoon -like white hands dipping in two metal buckets filled with some greenish substance. It is reminiscent of a nail salon indulgence, with all its social implications, but also of an artist who is digging into the grit of art making. It is funny, concise and by no means a one liner. In her jewel like “Girl With a Pearl (Johannes Vermeer),” the Japanese artist Yuki Okamoto depicts Vermeer’s iconic image on a tiny acrylic nail . Throughout the show you can see some other of Okamoto’s elaborate appropriations on minuscule acrylic nails, ranging from Picasso’s Guernica to Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans and Hokusai’s Great Wave.
Toshiko Mori, who is the organizer and head curator for the Kameyama Triennial exhibits in this group show documentary images of a covered house installation she presented during the last Triennial – she covered the old house with a plastic sheet painted with landscape of the area. The photos depict this site specific installation from different angles.
“Panorama of Celestial Peculiarities,” Marcela Silva’s imaginative installation consists of tiny to medium size colorful pieces made of different material, spread on a large wall. It resembles a cosmological map or a vibrant colony of micro-organisms.
Xiaowei Chen’s “Feather 1,” Milicent Young’s “Cantos of the Anthropocene:31,” Sonomi Kobayashi’s “Chaos,” and the whole room installation of Henry Klimowicz’s cardboard sculptures relate to nature – running the gamut from Young’s use of horse hair, Chen’s use of feather imagery and what appears to be hay, Kobayashi’s floral wall installation, and Klimowicz’s more abstracted forms which echo geological layers or tree stems.
“Pop Goes The Weasel” has a grassroots feel. In a way it is like an orchestra in which the conductor is also a player – the skillful players know their notes well and organically create an engaging tune altogether.
Participating visual artists-
Marcela Silva, Arlene Rush, Chris Ketchie, Norton, Henry Klimowicz, Melissa Stern, Yukari Edamitsu. Noriko Nakano, Sonomi Kobayashi, Miwael, Ellen Hackl Fagan, Xiaowei Chen, Yuki Okamoto, Koto Takei, Natsuko Hattori, Millicent Young, Gina Magid, Toshiko Mori, Cake Hara,
as well as performance by Dirty Churches and Mariko Endo
Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, 135 Broadway (corner of Bedford Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11211
Director: Yuko Nii
Show Dates through Sun, May 6, 2018
This exhibition is supported through a generous donation from the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center and is funded in large part through a generous contribution from Jonah Engler