The Immigrant Artist Biennial – In Dialogue

Images and Art: In and Out of Politics with Carlos Franco and Keren Anavy

Keren Anavy. Archipelago, 2023. Ink and colored pencils on mylar, plexiglass, shells, concrete bricks, and plywood. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and The Immigrant Artist Biennial.

As part of The Immigrant Artist Biennial 2023, artists Carlos Franco (b. Puerto Rico) and Keren Anavy (b. Israel) both showed their work in the group exhibition Enmeshed: Dreams of Water at NARS Foundation. Franco’s work often deploys appropriated images and linguistic symbols. He seems to be exploring the contextual complexities behind how signification takes shape and how signification continues to evolve as a context-dependent subject. Anavy’s site-specific work has been connected to the multifaceted paradigm of “ecological order,” according to the book Transnational Belonging and Female Agency in the Arts. Her fabricated environments consider the “liminal geographic spaces between political art and escapism.”

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I Wish I had a River, The Underground Lobby Garden: Keren Anavy at ZAZ10TS

Art Spiel Photo Story

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The artist in front of the billboards featuring her work, I Wish I Had a River, The Underground Lobby Garden.Photo credit:ZAZ10TS

Keren Anavy’s site-specific multi-media installation I Wish I Had a River creates a sense of a painted garden made of paintings, drawings, laser cutouts, sculptures, and video within the confines of the lobby of 10 Times Square. The artist draws on the history, architecture, and ecology associated with her installation site–the center of the bustling garment district; and Art Deco architecture of the building. Moreover, merely 40 years before its completion, New York’s biggest reservoir and supplier of all of Manhattan’s drinking water in the 19th century was decommissioned and torn down one avenue to the East. This relationship between nature, particularly water, functioning as a cultural agent and an important element of consumerism is of particular importance for Anavy, who grew up in a desert region of conflict, where the water resource was scarce. The show is curated by Lauren Powell and runs at ZAZ10TS through August 31, 2021.

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Artists on Coping: Keren Anavy

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

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Keren Anavy by Written in Water (detail), site-specific installation at SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2018, NY, jacket design by Ori Anavy. Courtesy of the artist, photo: Nomi H Rave.

Keren Anavy is a multimedia artist working in drawing, painting, installation and performance. Her process and research-based practice scrutinize the relationship between nature, culture and site. Seeing landscape as a metaphor for political and personal narratives, her interest is how nature can function as a cultural agent in different societies. Anavy has written art reviews in Basis magazine (Hebrew), the New York artistic Director at Radio28, located in Mexico City, and currently a mentor at New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), IAP. She is working on a site-specific installation planned for display at the Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro, Mexico, and was selected Artist in Residence at Guild Hall of East Hampton, New York, and at Marble House Project, Vermont. During the Coronavirus pandemic Anavy was invited by ZAZ10TS to share personal messages on the ZAZ Corner Times Square billboards at 41St & 7Av, every night starting May 8 and for the next two weeks from 7PM-8PM. 

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