Pix from Latest Shows at Index/Kedar
I attended the "Seed Bomb" show at Index Art Center ("IAC"), and the "Monsters, Saints, and Cool Summer Dresses" show at the adjoining Kedar Studio of Art. "Seed Bomb" is a group show of twelve Master of Fine Arts candidates at Montclair State. "Monsters..." is a group of tiny, glowing works by New York street and subway artist Amy Young. In addition, there were a number of paintings by Scott Lewis in the Reception Room at the back of IAC. Unless I have missed descriptions somewhere on the IAC website, the Reception Room shows seem inadequately described and promoted by IAC.
In the first two fotos today, there is an area on the floor of the main gallery covered with seeds of various kinds, that people were both allowed and expected to disturb rather than step around, as one would ordinarily do with art on a floor.
Later, you could see that the seed-covered area was indeed disturbed, perhaps deliberately rather than accidentally.
I got to the show unfashionably late (it always being a problem for me to get away from all the demands at home), and had less than half an hour before the announced close at 10pm. Fortunately, Index isn't rigid about closing time. Indeed, the only venue that seems to be thus rigid is City Without Walls, which will flash lites off and on to push you out to permit the gallery to close on time.
The lower group of seedpod-like brown objects on the floor in the foto above contained one central pod that rocked back and forth. It reminded me of a Mexican jumping bean, which I have once seen.
This next group of objects reminded me of Newark artist Robert Lach's wonderful stick nests suspended by wire from the ceiling of the second floor of Gallery Aferro in October 2008. I don't know who the artist is, here. A lot of galleries nowadays show only sequential numbers by artworks rather than labels in words and numbers explaining who the artist is, what the title and medium are, and when the work was made. I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to track down such info. If a gallery or artist wants me to offer that information here, they can send that info to me, specifying the foto in this blog, in numberical order (yes, I meant that; why does "number" take "numerical"?), and I will add the info as I find time.
Here's another group of fabric(?) seedpod artworks on a wall toward the back of the main gallery, with one of the globular artworks from the immediately previous foto showing on the left.
This stand holds a stack of a printed page comprising a diagram and description, in an old-fashioned typewriter font, about a health machine that does absolutely nothing but was promoted by some writer decades ago. The schematic diagram shows how to assemble a 'machine' that has no moving parts and that could not, in scientific terms, accomplish a thing. The artist even said that you didn't actually have to build that machine in order for it to work (or not-work). But the artist nonetheless urged people to take a copy and follow the instructions to bring him(?) good health and long life. That should not help, but couldn't hurt, I suppose.
Shortly before the exhibition's announced closing time, I saw that the seed-scatter mid-floor had been pushed in various directions. Unfortunately, unless some of the seeds stuck to people's clothing and were taken out of the gallery to somewhere they could encounter soil and moisture, the disturbance to the initial display will not have resulted in growth of new plants. I find it very hard to eat foods like strawberries, blackberries, or rice, that have or are seeds that could be planted and give rise to new life. When I do eat one of the extraordinarily (freakishly?) large strawberries we have nowadays, I'm inclined to peel the seeds off, dry them out, and plant them. I in fact do have both one strawberry plant and one blackberry plant growing in my backyard, but from starter plants from the Springfield Avenue Home Depot in Newark. The soil where I planted them, however, needs very great enrichment if I'm to get any fruit. And the squirrels, raccoons, possums, and possibly outdoor rats in semi-suburban/semi-wild Vailsburg get to my strawberries before they ripen.
The back part of the small Index space is called the "Reception Room", and ordinarily serves not as an overflow space for the exhibit in the main gallery but as a separate exhibition space for a different artist. This time, it's Scott Lewis.
Lewis's paintings are very colorful, and thus, tho grotesque, nonetheless decorative. I don't know that I'd want to be around them for an extended period, tho.
DC Smith, one of the principals of IAC, asked what I thought of the show. In that we were both in the Reception Room at the time, I took his query to mean the Scott Lewis part of the show, and answered, of that artist, something like, he seems "Strange, but probably not dangerous."
I asked Lowell Craig, another IAC principal, if Scott Lewis was present, because I wanted to get a foto of the artist by his favorite work. (I was, frankly, intrigued to know what the guy who created this ebullient but grotesque work looked like.) He had already left. Lowell may have said that Lewis might have gone to a music festival at Kilkenny's Ale House a couple of blocks away. (I dislike names like "Scott Lewis" because either name could be a given name or surname, so you always struggle to make clear whom you mean, respectfully, without being either too familiar or too distant.)
I found that the more of Scott Lewis's works you can include in a view at a given time (as above), the richer and better they looked. It's like a crazyquilt, in which a single patch might be unappealing, but a whole array of patches proves very pleasing.
The Lewis artworks on display bore, nearby, descriptive texts I didn't have the patience (or good vision; I need to get distance glasses, because my near-vision specs are for work at a computer, 24" or less from my face, and in good lite) to read thru extensive descriptions. I like to look at art and get a sense of it just from looking. I would read for more info except that I have to do so much reading, and writing, in the course of my life generally, that I'm not keen on reading anything I don't absolutely have to — esp. if it is in the insane spelling "system" we suffer in English. It infuriates me that there are well over 300 ways to show the 42 sounds of American English or 43 of British English. I can deal with the madness, but deeply resent having to.
Kedar Studio of Art, which shares the second floor of 585 Broad Street with IAC, displayed a bunch of (physically) minuscule artworks by a New York City artist that are ideal for the small exhibition space available at Kedar. (I think that's pronounced ke.dór, where the OR is as in "borrow".) That exhibition reminded me of the wonderful Lilliput show (August 2-23rd, 2007) at Index's predecessor in the same space, with most of the same principals, Red Saw Gallery. My post about that striking show, on August 3, 2007, does not presently contain the fotos, which were erased from the Internet when AOL closed all subscribers' online-storage areas. I have all those fotos on my hard drive, but don't have the time to restore them to the Internet by uploading them to Picasa, captioning them there, and lifting the new location into every blogpost from which they were deleted. That process, for all the posts affected, would take something like 100 hours, 200 hours,, or even more.
I asked Kevin Darmanie, principal of Kedar Studio, if the artist of his show was still there, and he said yes, then offered to introduce us. On being introduced, I told her (Amy Young) about my blog and that I sometimes use short videos in it, then observed that the LED lites in her artworks at Kedar lent themselves to video, so asked if she'd be willing to speak to my visitors, which she consented to do. Here's that video (2:00 in length). Kevin accommodated my request for a little less lite, to show off the fact that many of her artworks were internally lited. Alas, the background noise from Index, immediately outside Kedar's space, made hearing Amy difficult. Kevin thought to close the door, which I hadn't thought to ask him to do. But somebody opened the door, then spoke to the artist during the video. "The best-laid plans of mice and men...". Thanks anyway, Kevin. (Does anyone ever call Kevin Darmanie "Kev"? For that matter, does anyone ever call the other prominent Kevin of Newark arts, Kevin Blythe Sampson, "Kev"? I never have.) The screenprint below should be clickable. Or you can go directly to the video's place on Blip.tv, http://blip.tv/el-craigo/amy-young-at-kedar-studio-of-art-newark-5583703.
Afterward, Amy (if I dare call her by her first name, this being the United States, where we instantly first-name everyone we are introduced to, absent reproach about doing so) asked if I'd like to have one of the artworks in her show, because she gives them away. I said I dare not have anything that flashes, because it would not long survive my cats. She said I could put it up high, but I pointed out that something flashing out of reach is likely to drive a cat to desperate measures to get to it, so I had to pass. I appreciated the offer, tho.
Amy Young's show closes this Saturday, the 24th. (Kedar's gallery hours are Saturday, 1-4 pm, and by appointment.) If you miss this show but ride the NYC subways with any regularity, you might in time run into some of her work in your travels.
As I was getting ready to leave ("miles to go before I sleep" and all that) Lowell looked into the main gallery and saw it was still, well after 10pm, "packed". Cued by that observation, I took this foto of people happy to stay on.
As I headed down the two steep flites of stairs from Index, I was keenly aware of people behind me, but they were very patient with me. One, a black gent who lit up a cigar on emerging from indoors onto the sidewalk, said his mother had had knee surgery (which he assumed, correctly, I had also had), and we talked about what medical science can and cannot presently do. The other guy, who was either Oriental or lite-skinned Hispanic, seemed also engaged in this discussion of what knee surgery can and cannot accomplish, or in where it led, to a discussion of the music festival at Kilkenny's that I was thinking of heading to. (The people of the Americas are believed to have originated in East Asia — the Orient — and traveled over a land bridge produced by the lowering of the ocean during the last Ice Age; so it's not always easy to know if someone is Oriental or aboriginal-American.)
These two gents said that Index was handing out a free-drink coupon for the Kilkenny's event, but I hadn't known that and didn't get one. It turned out not to matter, however, because it wasn't a free event, and I have almost no interest in music so wanted to stop in only to take pictures.
The Index show runs through October 7th. Gallery hours are Thursday, 6-9 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 1-4 pm. Viewing appointments are also welcome.