In The City That Never Sleeps
Since I visited New York for the first time 7 years ago I've been returning on regular basis several times a year. Whether going for work or leisure, the city has always offered a new incredible experience, reminding every time why I love it so much.
When talking about cities, especially metropolitan ones as London or New York I can't help but reference concepts from a 1974 book by Jonathan Raban titled 'Soft City'. Just as he discusses the connection of an individual to a big city I think us readers could have our own experience with his book, connecting authors key argument to our unique journeys. Essentially, he believes the accumulation of personal experiences we encounter and paths we take is what constructs a city for us, our own city made up from the associations and memories our mind connects together. In 21st Century these encounters for me in New York included artsy (artsy as 'artistic' not as the company) video shoot locations, random all-nighters, favourite brunch spots, artist workshop visits, late night VR rooms, tons of unions, house parties, or occasional run-ins into a celebrity somewhere around Lower East Side. So inevitably I constructed my own version of New York, and although I don't think I can ever take off its 'Hard City' label, somewhere in my mind the city also softened up in allowing me to mould a version of my own.
I could write about countless favourite spots to visit and dwell how I'd love to take a sip of Jack's Wife Freda melon juice right now. However, I figured to keep it simple I'll just share a visual diary of the exhibitions I got a chance to catch during my stay this time and other snaps from my brief journey.
Barba Kruger @LES Skate Park
This short-lived piece has been commissioned for Performa 17, 7th edition of the biennial that runs across both public areas and private venues in New York.
Barbara Kruger has a signature white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed font slogans in some cases applied on black and white photography. You may remember her Selfridges collaboration, heard "I SHOP THEREFORE I AM" or if this doesn't ring a bell then think Supreme logo... and I love how The New Yorker describes Supreme being inspired by Kruger and "teasing the boundary between homage, parody, and theft" borrowing her style to create their iconic logo.
Eye Shadows by Sylvie Fleury @Salon 94
On the consumerist note I include the visit to Salon 94 solo 'make-up' show by Geneva-based pop artist Sylvie Fleury. Her works "larger-than-life symbols of contemporary vanity hang like black mirrors on the wall" @Salon 94. Fashionistas out there can probably already recognise their favourite shades of Chanel. Show open till 22nd December.
Gilbert & George: THE BEARD PICTURES @Lehmann Maupin
This year marks 50th anniversary for the British artistic duo Gilbert & George. On this occasion 170 works have been presented as part of the Beard Pictures series. My friend once rented a place next door to them at Spitafields and before knowing who it was has had serious concerns over their electricity. Apparently their basement was seen through a crack and lights were constantly on and off. This was all concerning until they finally met and it turned out to be their workshop and instead of lights it was simply the flash that made the lighting on and off. #knowyourartists
In New York I had a chance to see part of the anniversary series at Lehmann Maupin Lower Manhattan gallery that represents them. But then last week after coming back to London I also made it for White Cube opening of the other part of Beard Pictures and got to see the Gilbert & George IRL too. So for my friends both London & New York here you go:
London - White Cube Bermondsey 144 – 152 Bermondsey Street - open till 28th January 2018
Kenny Scharf: Inner and Outer Space @Jeffrey Deitch
Probably the coolest gallery website (GO GO Click on it already)
“I like to connect with every movement in 20th-century art,” says Kenny Scharf describing his art. The show is mostly 2017 work fresh out of the artists studio. Scharf's melting cartoon faces and drip paintings surround the gallery space, many acting as a nostalgic reminder of the 80's culture. I enjoyed discovering the playful pieces at this solo show as well the incredible gallery space I have not been to previously. Or maybe in London I'm just not used to white cube space being anywhere much outside of... White Cube.
Not to overwhelm in one go I'll follow up with the second part perhaps next week and If I ever finish - then video entry as well... stay tuned and thanks for reading (or browsing pics and getting this far) xxx.