Will Ellis’ Haunting Photographs Of Broken, Muddied, And Forgotten NYC Treasures

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For Lost and Found, the photographer Will Ellis photographs objects collected from the deserted buildings, parks, and bays of New York City. Dating back to the first half of the 20th century, each recovered object is shot with the utmost care, regardless of condition or value. The artist’s long journeys in search of his discarded relics— traversing less frequented city spots with haunting names like Dead Horse Bay and North Brother Island— give historical and totemic meanings to each possession. Once relevant only to a forgotten child, a plastic toy shoe from the 1920s is studied under lights, archived by a seemingly objective lens, and repurposed as evidence of some imagined urban ancestry.

Ellis’s choice to incorporate animal bones into a few of the images strengthens the work’s genealogical impulse; a set of hospital keys, ripped from their locks and rusted beyond recognition, stands alongside a raccoon bone separated from its socket in time. Similarly, a horse bone from the city’s industrial age is visually equated with a pair of plastic doll arms; shot from the same angle, the eroded bone and muddied plastic occupy similar portions of the frame, each lit with expert precision.

As if part of a museum catalog, the series of 30 photographs provides a cohesive, if subjective, vision of history. Through the eyes of Lost and Found, the city’s children narrate its evolution, telling a visual story that begins with doll, touches on music book, and culminates in senior portrait. Ellis’s choice of a stark white backdrop and harsh lighting brilliantly avoids potential sentimentality; as the artist invites us into a distinctly nostalgic space, we are instructed to view the work with the utmost seriousness. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

Surprising Reactions To George Ferrandi Falling Asleep On Strangers In Subway

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Personal space, something that’s cherished in the United States, is put to the test in Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi’s series, I Felt Like I Knew You. This site-specific performance features Ferrandi on the crowded New York City subway. In her words, she transforms the space between two people from being stiff and guarded to something that resembles a space friends would share. Essentially, she sits in a packed subway car, rests her head on a stranger’s shoulders, and documents what happens through iPhone videos shot by Angela Gilland.

Not surprisingly, not everyone is receptive to Ferrandi’s invasion of their “personal bubble.” Some people wake her up or passive aggressively move their shoulder. Some, however, just let her rest. In an interview with Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post, Ferrandi was asked if she learned anything from the project. Her response:

For me, this piece taps into the mystery and fragility of how we relate and communicate to each other as human animals, full of signs secret even to ourselves. It’s given me a deeper understanding of the way New Yorkers evolve to maintain their privacy in public spaces. We carry our energy so closely. We’re often pressed up against each other on the train with a kind of “I wish I wasn’t touching you” energy that is invisible but respected. This is part of why so many people are touched by a photo of one man resting his head on the shoulder of another; it challenges a preconception about tenderness between strangers, especially in New York. And it offers a tiny counterpoint to the Culture of Fear being cultivated in America.

All images are stills from iPhone videos. They make you ponder how you would act if Ferrandi put her head on your shoulder. Would you engage her or move your shoulder? (Via Huffington Post)

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Famed Art Critic Jerry Saltz’s Doesn’t Think Much Of Banksy

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Street artist Banksy has famously made his way to NYC. For the past few weeks he’s sprinkled his work throughout the city. Everyday, he posts photos on his Instagram feed of new pieces and where people can find them. The response, so far, has been staggering. His reputation and widespread media coverage has people turning out in droves to view his art.

Not everyone is impressed, though. Jerry Saltz, famed art critic for New York Magazine, calls him “Mr. Meh,” and is generally underwhelmed by the message of Banksy’s work. Saltz writes in a recent post on Vulture,  “His black silhouette figures, surreptitiously painted on walls around the city, strike me as formulaic tweaked political cartooning, and anarchy-lite.” He goes on to say that Banksy is a repetitive thinker; If you’ve seen one, then you’ve seen them all. Additionally, Saltz notes that artists like Kara Walker have been creating silhouette works for nearly 20 years and Banksy’s work, “…doesn’t pack anywhere near the formal or psychological incendiary wallop” as Walker’s does.

In the above video, Saltz takes to the streets. He found a crowd of people surrounding Banksy’s work on the side of a DSW. Interestingly, the piece was vandalized. Another street artist screwed a large sheet of Plexiglas over Banksy’s work and painted “Let the Streets Decide” over top. Once it’s removed, Saltz talks with the crowd about what they think of Banksy and the particular piece:

From the conversation, Saltz has a realization. He writes, “I suddenly got what the reaction to Banksy is about: It’s being part of the reaction to a Banksy. It’s a multiplying communal occasion, friendly, a way to talk to strangers and share a piece of New York. It’s anti-Establishment, anti-capitalist, and anti-art-world enough to add a frisson of libertarian rebellion and take-it-to-the-street cred.

Where do you stand with Saltz and the people on the street? Do you think Banksy is interesting?

Ara Dymond and Jesse Willenbring Show

 

Ara Dymond and Jesse Willenbring have a great show of their paintings and sculptures up at the Laurel Gitlen gallery in NYC. Check it out if you’re in the area!

“In this overcrowded, if appealing, two-person show, the eye ricochets between Dymond’s jocular sculptures made of synthetic materials and Willenbring’s screen-printed doodles on wood. Several of Dymond’s lime-green and pink plinths display images of absurdly cute dogs printed on aluminum cutouts; others sport digitally carved designs reportedly inspired by Lucio Fontana. One catchy drawing, sketched by Willenbring straight onto the wall, repeats a motif of overlapping light bulbs—an A.D.H.D. bright idea. Through Oct. 14.” - The New Yorker

William Steinman

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New York based artist William Steinman creates sexy and raw pieces that carry a strong undertone of their source of inspiration: street culture and Pop art. Growing up, he kept himself busy by exploring downtown Phoenix on his skateboard. In doing so, he was introduced to the graffiti art that populated his surroundings, and fell in love with it. Though William was initially inspired, he started to notice how increasingly redundant graffiti was turning out. He decided to focus his artistic endeavors elsewhere, and started to study painting. But first love is always the strongest, and William found himself charmed by the bold lines and appropriated imagery of Pop art.

Observing William Steinman’s paintings and sculptures is the equivalent of trying to stay perfectly still inside a hurricane of motion. He constantly plays with adaptation and reconstruction within an environment of deconstruction. Using found materials, store bought objects, comic books, and finishing them off with industrial glue, the end result is what he likes to accurately describe as “the dark side of Pop.”

William is currently an MFA student over at Queens College in New York City. In a few weeks he will be presenting his bold, raw, and sexy portfolio of work at his MFA Thesis show. Unfortunately, I live much too far and will not be able to attend. However, anyone out there who will be in the area should definitely indulge themselves! Go!

Jennie C. Jones

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Artist Jennie C. Jones practices a great deal of control & constraint in her work currently exhibited under the contrasting title Electric. Through abstraction and minimalism, Jones presents  a multi-media, multi-layered installation series that is specifically tailored to the space in which its exhibited. Her show opened on July 8th at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in New York and runs until August 13; if you can’t get there in person, I’d suggest you delve into the complete press release to get a thorough idea of what her show is all about- well worth it!

Nikolay Saveliev

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New York based graphic designer/artist Nikolay Saveliev channels a host of perspectives within his work; sometimes funky, occasionally quirky and consistently sophisticated. Nikolay has a way with conceptual translations – transforming & developing the simplest of ideas across a broad spectrum of mediums – imbuing any viewer with an increased curiosity and a desire to see more, more, more, of work!

Olivia Locher

OliviaLocher1Olivia Locher is 19 year old photographer living in New York City.  Her work is full of dreamy and youthful fantasies.  Check out her website and after the jump for more.