Mind Leaves Body at Westbeth

A large room with art on display

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Gallery partial view, main entrance

When Elisabeth Condon noticed an Open Call for a show at Westbeth, she immediately thought of artists Alyse Rosner and Susan Luss, whose process-oriented approach perfectly matched her vision for a collaborative project. They all agreed to come together, planning to let the installation unfold over four days, allowing their work to merge and shape the exhibition dynamics. Their setup process—discussing, reshaping, and improvising in the gallery—revealed more profound interconnections. The trio’s improvisational method produced an exciting viewing experience analogous to a live jazz ensemble with distinct leitmotifs.

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Rapper’s Deluxe

Book Review

Even Greater Days: Rapper’s Deluxe: How Hip Hop Made the World

In the latter third of Dr. Todd Boyd’s highly anticipated new tome Rapper’s Deluxe is a “A Great Day in Hip Hop,” a subsection of a chapter called “It Was All a Dream: The 1990s,” which covers a broad range of shifts and trends in and around hip hop culture over the course of a decade that many longtime fans of rap music consider, for various reasons, the genre’s golden era.

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Some Great Books

Book Review
Some Great Books by Paul D'Agostino

I didn’t have a mandate to compile anything along the lines of a ‘Best Books of the Year’ list, so I didn’t. There are plenty of those out there already anyway. Some even feature hundreds of titles. Hundreds! The restraint is impressive.

Nevertheless, I’d be remiss if I didn’t spread the word a bit about some books I really did relish reading this year, so what follows is a short list of standout titles and a few words about each. Limiting my picks to 12 – plus a couple brief extras I couldn’t resist folding into the mix – seemed logical enough, and they appear here in no particular order. My selections run a gamut and include fiction, nonfiction, essays, critical theory, humor, architecture, art, material history, and a charmingly assembled byproduct of social media. Additionally, several of the titles are books in translation, and ‘excellent syllabus material’ for various types of courses, especially interdisciplinary ones, would be a viable subcategory for nearly everything included here.

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Questionable Roots: Mag Gabbert’s Sex Depression Animals

book review

With Sex Depression Animals, Mag Gabbert gives form to figment, credence to the mythic, substance to shadow, visibility to the unseeable, sacrality to the profane, and fertile grounding to the errant roots of language the poet jostles loose in various ways, transplanting them into revivified metaphors and ranging contexts.

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Collage and Then Some: Vitamin C+

Book Review
Vitamin C+ Collage in Contemporary Art. Introductory essay by Yuval Etgar. Phaidon (back cover)

Recently released by Phaidon, Vitamin C+ is another noteworthy addition to the publisher’s boundlessly malleable series of anthological volumes gathering scores of artist profiles into luxuriantly illustrated, conceptually cohesive tomes. Medium, era, genre, or movement tend to be the organizational binders for these books, as might be expected, and they’re generally wonderful and inspiring as such. But they’re sometimes wonderful and inspiring in less obvious ways as well, furnishing readers with much more to delve into, reflect on, and revisit time and again.

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Denise Sfraga: Strange Brew at The Garage Art Center

Featured Artist
Denise Sfraga, installation detail

The work included in Strange Brew, Denise Sfraga’s solo show at the Garage Art Center, explores the life cycle of plants. This fascination with plants has always been at the root of the artist’s creative inspiration. Sfraga, who is based in New York City, says that working in her own garden and experiencing its constant state of flux, gives her the opportunity to witness first hand actual seed germination, leaf and flower growth, the dispersion of the next generation of seeds and the final stages of decay, “an ever evolving landscape of life forms that change color, shape and appearance daily.”

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Birds, Maps, Migrations

A Conversation Between Christine Sullivan and Marianne Gagnier

Christine Sullivan, The Place Between, 44 x 32” oil/linen

This conversational exchange between artists Christine Sullivan and Marianne Gagnier was catalyzed by artist and writer Paul D’Agostino. He encouraged them to engage in dialogue with one another upon noting that they had both produced new bodies of work, right around the same time, featuring bird imagery. Taking this as impetus for a fertile discussion, Marianne and Christine decided to interview one another regarding themes of journeys and migration, and they discovered a number of surprising points of connection in their lives.  

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [ix]

TSA & Transmitter, The New York Studio School

TSA & Transmitter

It is often the case that the immediate juxtaposition of aesthetically kindred galleries TSA and Transmitter allows, maybe accidentally encourages visitors to make observations about concurrent exhibitions with relation to one another. I’m not sure the curators at the respective spaces are always keen on hearing such thoughts – especially from me, since over the years they’ve likely tired of knowing that I’ll always be looking for something – but there are times when the formal or conceptual fluidities or contrasts between shows are so striking that commentary of the sort proves simply irresistible. Continue reading “Nota Bene with @postuccio [ix]”

Nota Bene with @postuccio [viii]

Microscope, Underdonk

Microscope

“Scrapbook Performances” is an admirably extensive, broadly politically engaged series of evenings of performance art programmed by Microscope Gallery in relation to their current group show of video art, “Scrapbook (or, Why Can’t We Live Together).”
Performances have been scheduled for basically every Monday and Friday for several weeks already, and there are still several more weeks of gatherings to come.

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [v]


The Painting Center, Present Company, Talking Pictures, NURTUREart, Slag, SOHO20, M. David & Co., Fresh Window, Studio 10

The Painting Center

I’ve been looking at and occasionally commenting on the virtues and various points of particular interest in Alannah Farrell’s lusciously pictorial, sometimes lushly lusty paintings for a number of years now, and one thing I’ve enjoyed noting is that there seems often to be something stealthily, furtively, sometimes perhaps a bit serpentinely surreptitious about many of her works. 

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