When in New York by Aleksandra Art

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3 nights  

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. 

5th Avenue

5th Avenue

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.

Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Skate) at the Coleman/LES Skate Park under the Manhattan Bridge

Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Skate) at the Coleman/LES Skate Park under the Manhattan Bridge

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

Eye Shadows by Sylvie Fleury

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:

NY - Lehmann Maupin 536 W 22nd Street & 201 Chrystie Street - open till 22nd December 

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. 

Kiev, Ukraine by Aleksandra Art


Just Visiting

Where does nostalgia come from again?

Visiting Kiev in Ukraine always brings a set of mixed feelings. Finishing international school in Prague left me with most of my friends being scattered across the globe...and Kiev unfortunately not being part of it. So primarily I go to see my family, since parents moved from Prague after I headed off to London 8 years ago. The few days of my rare visits would pretty much consist of overdosing on home food, mandatory family and doctor visits (every eastern european kid goes home for that) and occasional explorations. My trip last month didn't lack any of those ingredients, moreover, given I stayed for a whole week (as opposed to the usual 2-3 day hello goodbye) I had a chance to give into wandering a little more. 

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This post is not about me though and what I really wanted to highlight is the market we went to. Reluctantly I'm citing @LonelyPlanet's entry, referring to it as a "vast array of junk" and "Kyiv's main receptacle of DVDs, CDs and software of questionable legitimacy.". Not far from the truth and just couple hundred yards from the specified location of Petrivka lies another maket, a relic of its own. Here the stalls are made of anything and jumping across railways is part of the casual walk of any explorer. It takes place on Saturday mornings and preferably you arrive as early as possible "not to miss on the good stuff".

Opening shot of Kiev underground station 'Arsenalna' followed by a slideshow from the street market

So what is the good stuff? Apart from large barbie doll parts and old electronics I couldn't figure out what is it that I should come early for. But then, just as any other market it clicked and I started to realise the micro level of profiteering the local dealers engage in. They don't need no Sotheby's degree to do the math, they go and get that army jacket some old man sneaked out from his local supplier and resell later on Andriivskyj market to tourists triple the price. Yet this all was still pretty bizarre. A man walking around with an ad hanging on him to buy some hair, the stylish gramps wearing rainbow outfit, the skinhead couple with their perfectly shaved poodle... so many shots that got away due to me simply freezing in awe. But there are some that I did manage to capture and I upload the slideshow below. Maybe it's not the beautiful aesthetic you're after but this one is to shed some light on the other side of things, the beautiful decay part.