“Coming To Brooklyn,” an exhibition of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists’ Coalition
Reviewed by Susan Scutti
Still photography more than any other art form is all about time. When we “take” a photograph, we essentially snatch a single moment, a single image from the infinite number of moments and images that eternally pass us by. In this way we redeem what is random and pronounce it worthy. Art, though, is an interpretation of the world and not simply a capturing of cascading reality. The artifice inherent in all great photographs, then, is the discovery of what is timeless in what is momentary. And so an exceptional photographer — and Eugene Hyon is exactly that — teaches us what is immutable about our world and ourselves.
Hyon’s range of subjects is vast and he seamlessly moves back and forth between digital and film photography, yet no matter what subject he chooses or which method he selects, he creates with a painter’s eye for composition. Each of his photos evidence the patience required to get things just right and his attention to craft and detail is what holds a viewer’s attention. And although it takes mere seconds to lift a camera and press the shutter, Hyon’s many years of making art and his wide-ranging knowledge of art history inform each momentary image. This timelessness is not only seen but more importantly felt by a viewer. Absolutely nothing he does is throwaway.
His work is currently exhibited in the show, “Coming to Brooklyn,” at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists’ Coalition, as well as on the website Artslant.com. A digital photograph ”Baked Goods and Books” (July 2011) shows a storefront bakery within a yellow brick building which also boasts a sign advertising a Polish bookstore and “Garage Gallery.” A 718 area code in the sign locates this building in Brooklyn and so one infers the neighborhood is Greenpoint, with primarily Polish residents. A huge hat painted beside the sign onto an area of whitewashed wall spills alphabetical letters, words, punctuation marks and phrases from its gaping brim. Significantly, the building stands behind a delicate wrought iron fence delicately painted white. What Hyon conveys in this elegant composition is diaspora as opposed to desperation; looking at this image a viewer senses the success and not just the struggle of American immigration.
In “Welcome to Greenpoint,” July 2011, a painted mural occupies the left half of his photograph while three adults and a baby stroller walk out of the frame in the lower right hand corner. The mural, which is painted in green, blue, white, gray, black and red on a concrete block wall, appears to be a government commission; the banality of its message — “Welcome to Greenpoint BK” — suggests this most of all. Scrawled on top is the indecipherable tag of some local graffiti artist — an embellishment of perfect disrespect. Painted within the mural’s block lettering is a separate image of a smiling, heroic-seeming man as well as a crowd of workers and the proportions of these figures are reminiscent of Eastern European propaganda during the years of the Cold War: the heroic, smiling man is twice the size of “the people.” He neatly echoes and subverts this idea within his photograph; the cluster of real, live people are also half the size of the heroic man, no different from the painted people except for the fact that they are walking away from their supposed leader. Thus, he subtly conveys a feeling of individuals who ignore and disobey what dwarfs them and so escape their historic past of oppression.
It seems appropriate that Hyon would choose digital photography for his urban fringe, but when documenting the natural world, he turns to film and achieves a more classical countenance. “Revival” (2010) and “Dancing at Night” (2005) are both black and white film photographs. The former is a lengthwise (11X14) close-up of leaves at the farthest edge of a branch weighted by snow; despite the starkness of this winter image, with its gray tones and icy whiteness, he impossibly conveys the promise of a Spring bloom. The second photo is an upper story view of city trees; dressed in white lights, they appear to be moving, essentially tangoing against a background of buildings, sidewalk, and street. Because the names of the stores are blurred in the photograph and cannot be read, he suggests that what is most significant and most soulful in the city is the natural world.
Stillness and elegance can be found within each of his images. The subjects and images which another, lesser artist might glibly sensationalize, he calmly observes until he finds a kernel of hope. More importantly, a viewer of his photographs never senses overweening intention or manipulated intervention; what is uplifting occurs simply and as a result of patient witness. And so the rigorous, spiritual beauty infused in each of his images prevents his photographs from becoming lost in the noise of the temporary and trivial.
Judith Tummino- “View of Rivers”-$75 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 7 ¾ x 9 5/8 x 3/8
Frank R. McDonough-”Rose”-$200 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 12 x 12 x 1 1/8
Vernita N. Cognita- “Payday Blues”-$150 – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 13 ¾ x 8
Robert A. Petrick-”30 pieces”-acrylic-$300 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D),14 x 9 7/8 x 3/4
Rifka Milder-“Pool”-photograph-$60 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 9 x 11 3/8 x 3/4
Cari Rosmarin-Solar Print-$150 – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 11 1/8 x 13
Sumayyah Samada-untitled-$150 – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 10 ¼ x 7
Yukako Okudara-untitled-(Water Color)-$150 – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 6 x 11
David R. Thomas-”Fish Pond” -Acrylic on Board- $150 pair – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 5 x 7 each
Sally Camp-Etching-$250 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 11 ¼ x 9 3/8
Stephan Eins-”One”-$50 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 4 ¾ x 5 5/8
Patricia O Rourke-”Hole to Brooklyn“-$300 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 12 ½ x 11 5/8 x 6
John Milisenda-Photo Studio-$75 – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 8 ½ x 11
Jackie Lipton- Yellow Acrylic-$175 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 5 x 5 x 7/8
Jill London- viscosity Print$100 L.E.S. (How should this be listed) – Dimensions in inches(L x W), 10 7/8 x 7 1/2
Kenneth Sean Golden-”George Washington, 2 Frenchmen, Bears and Pigs”-Archival Inkjet-$300 – Dimensions in inches(L x W x D), 12 x 9 3/8 x 3/4
“….how government deals with culture
as a distraction from its own pornography.” – Richard Serra
Here we are well into fall and there’s so much catching
up to do so let’s begin where I last left off with a brief list of
gigs I witnessed, before getting to the heart of this article.
There was the Zorn – Lou Reed duo which culminated with guest
appearances by Mike Patton, Zeena Parkins and Ikue Mori, followed 2 nights
later by Zorn, Reed, Ribot and Milford Graves who played impeccably and
tastefully throughout the night and who during set two when Reed
joined in, actually seemed to enjoy being “the drummer in the
band”.This was originally supposed to be a trio of Zorn, Milford and
Bill Laswell but Laswell fell ill and couldn’t make it. These events
took place at a new venue with a very eclectic menu on Bleeker
Street called Le Poisson Rouge which was the bottom part of the old
Village Gate, a club where I had enjoyed many great shows and where I
now intend to enjoy many more. Another recent “Rouge” event I loved
was blues and jug band greats Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin .
Other moments were the warm hug by Kim and Thurston
during the Sonic Youth gig that closed McCaren Pool’s concert series
(the pool will again become a pool and I can’t wait to take a
Finally got to hear Wolf Eyes on this program and am still
Heard the master Lee Konitz interviewed and in duo at Joe’s Pub.
The ICP Orchestra as part of Tonic’s series at the Abrons
Art Center and a fantastic panel discussion at the Bowery Poetry
Club on punk rock by former members of Television, Suicide, the
Heartbreakers, the Slits, etc. This is music I know nothing about
but I learned alot about the political, social and dress code
urgencies of the times and some major differences between
British and American punk. And wow, that Slits chick really slammed
Richard Lloyd. But that’s a whole article by itself.
Now on to what I really wanted to discuss: The Living Theater vs. HAIR.
Improbable comparisons? Not really. First I want to say that the benefit for
the Living Theater at Joe’s Pub,“Revolutionary Acts”, was a sold out affair.
All the performers were basically cabaret and musical folk and though some carried
anarchistic messages in their somewhat funny and theatrical performances their styles
as with the style of HAIR were completely antithetical to what the Living Theater stands for,
though it ended with Judith Malina reading some of her poetry. But it’s the similarities
between Hair and the Living Theater that I want to deal with, the spirit of counter culture
rebellion and the messages that both HAIR and the Living Theater have to offer us.
Though the one (L.T.) is intellectual, high art and the other (HAIR) almost an anti-intellectual,
popular musical ( fundamental difference being the use of song as vehicle),
they both gives us ensemble players that offer up an anarchistic, pro sex, pro drug,
anti-war palette with other parallels such as nudity, group sex and the pitfalls of so called
democratic (actually oligarchic),“organized” if somewhat fascistic government.
The authors of HAIR, like the principals of the Living Theater, come from the
experimental roots of theatre. In HAIR one can see/feel parallel moments to such
Living Theater productions as Mysteries and Paradise Now. Also throughout
HAIR, as with most Living Theater productions the audience is constantly being engaged.
Though both are concerned with the way folks react to the material presented
and how that material relates back to the audience and are both willfully,
as with most good art that is not made for its own sake, interested in the activity
as well as its result there is one major difference, aside from the festive catchy pop/rock
atmosphere of HAIR. In the production of HAIR at Shakespeare in the Park the
character who gets drafted and sent to Vietnam (the draft being one of the
only differences between war then and now) dies and is laid out on an American flag
toward the back of the stage. The cast immediately gathers starts singing “Let the Sun Shine In”
and encourages the audience to sing and dance along. The “victim” is completely upstaged, in fact
almost blotted out, forgotten. If this were a Living Theater production, say, as with the end of
Mysteries, we would be left with that dead body to think about and not good
hearted optimistic merriment. Yet, though many of their processes differ many of their
approaches are the same and it’s very interesting to watch them unfold and calculate where, at
certain points “structure and content” of both ideas become “identical.”
I prefer the Living Theater’s approach, though a good song and dance never hurt anyone.
I can say however that despite its happier moments HAIR might just be the one of most anti-war,
counter-culture plays to come along and one that finds itself wrapped up nicely
in a perfect pop culture package and tied off neatly with a yellow ribbon.
This fall look for HAIR on Broadway and the new Living Theater production of Eureka,
the late Hanon Resnikoff’s adaptation of Poe’s epic poem.
And while you’re looking remember that LIFE,like modernism,
though it ends at times, is anti-durational so listen with all your senses.
The Secret of XS at Tribes – part 3 of 3
The Secret of XS at Tribes – part 2 of 3
The Secret of XS at Tribes – part 1 of 3
A Gathering of the Tribes
Amiri Baraka at Tribes Gallery (Part 2 of 2)
Amiri Baraka at Tribes Gallery (Part 1 of 2)
HOWL Festival Of East Village Arts 2003
EXOTIC VANESSA DEL RIO FEATURED IN MAMBO X MAN
Anne Van der Linden comes from a wealthy middle-class French family
who allowed her at an early age to launch into an artistic adventure
which he has never returned from afterwards. She was born in England, in 1959, but she was raised in France. She started drawing in the
stream of conscioussness manner age seventeen, only to trasfer
her interest to other genres while studying at the French Academy of
Beaux-Arts. Perhaps it was this negative experience of the art school
that prompted her to work all alone in her studio. She understood that
the joy of contemplation and a challenging emotion could also serve the language of figuration and that these could be equally expressed
through an expressionist drawing. Her drawings thus became at the
same time serious and reminiscent of those ancient echtings of Dürer
and Bosch and also critically charged and merciless somewhat like
those caricatures of Otto Dix and Max Beckmann.The artist’s drawings challenge those ‘dangerous’ or socially (un)acceptable topics– she often asks a question whether all our relationships, including the family, sexual and the ones at work – are just a simple exercise of power ? The artist always answers this question in a brave and humorous manner as she reaches for the heritage of her great predecessors, notably authors such as de Sade, Bataille and Frida Kahlo who, in their turn, refused any given socal norms that stood in their way of being creative. The drawings of Van der Linden’s are more than provocative- they are often ladden with the ‘erotic’ symbols as exemplified by the beautiful females resembling the top models placed on the torture table of the Great Inquisitor who, in splashing their sex with boiling oil represents, perhaps, common reason and consciousness. There are also in there the fallen angels who descend from Bosch’s inferno and who devour penises in the red houses of Amsterdam and Antwerp.The constant themes of the artist’s obsession are the following: the terror of racism, neocolonisation, consumerism and an overall industrialization of the society staggering both under the social regulations and family norms as well as under an influx of the pseudo-scientific and technological consciousness. And in an ancient expressionist manner her drawings also criticize the sanctum of motherhood, as they are critical of the Virgin and the Saint and of our new Holy father who hides a knife, an animal and a telephone in his pants instead of the penis. We could surely say that the girl who makes love to a phone receiver evokes more a naif symbolism of the neo-technocrat world than that she leads us to the erotic connotation of Van der Linden’s image.
The artist complains that despite the fact that “all that she has always wanted to do is to be a painter” she gets sollicited by the publishers only as an illustrator. This is mainly due to her painfully precise analyses of the contemporary society, that is her drawings which often decorate the texts that are serious textual analyses of such. She treasures that painterly approach to color and the painter’s material which often does not reveal itself to draughtsmen. Van der Linden had been visiting for some time psychiatric wards- an experience which left an impact on her; after such an experience she conceived the painting “Total peeling” on which a patient tries to peel off her own skin and flesh. In a certain way, the whole oeuvre of Van der Linden’s enters the category of “peeling off” of the conscious as the paintings evoke the reality peeled off and penetrated to the bone. Her palette is very heavy and sombre resemling a bit Diego Rivera’s, although her overall sensibility belongs to the European art history.
The artist has also got involved in theater (through 1990s), performance and film, earlier with her legendary partner Costes. Her short films such as the “Ironing” and the “Well”, 1999,treat cruel subjects: the problem of an alcoholic mother and life of a cleaning lady who gets literaly ironed by her boss. And although these films are both committed and heavy just like the artist’s very painting they are also capable of keeping our attention on them- the phenomenon which surpasses many a contemporary artist and his work these days. If we were to ask about the number of Van der Linden’s group or solo shows in the world we would learn that such number is big; and if we wanted to inquire about the importance or a scope of the places where she showed her work we would also learn that it has been very present in many prestigious places in the world. However, when we start thinking of the artist’s work, this particular thing is not something that we begin to think of. The important thing is that her art approves of thinking, so to speak, and at the moment when she flashes her art like a gun or a glove , to the face of the spectator, he takes a good look at it- and starts thinking about it.
Her work is to be seen most recently at Les Singuliers Gallery in Paris.
remember your earliest stages of interest?
Anne Van der Linden: As a child I had access to art books and art pieces as my mother managed a small art gallery in Paris – she sold contemporary prints.
My first drawing experiments happened in the 70′s. At that time
everybody smoked pot and I did the same for a while, so in that sort of context I started drawing the improvisations, free association figures, objects and shapes, all of which were very distant from the academic type of artwork, meaning that they appeared very spontaneous. Then I went to art school and lost that manner, but in a way I kept the “free association” mood until now.
2. Question: I called you a sort of “female Durer”…What draws you towards drawing
and etching as medium, and do you prefer that medium to oil painting ?
Anne Van der Linden: In the beginning drawings and etchings were the skeleton on which I had built my painting skill (isn’t that a classic one?!), that was the place where the idea materialized, nothing
more or less than that. Then a friend suggested that I just show my drawings
as he thought them very good, and I followed his advice.
However, the truth is that I still prefer painting (mix of oil and acrylic) to any other tehnique. Painting is really the cult object for me…maybe because the painting material makes the object look like a corpse, as it smells, shines, and appearing sometimes repulsive and at some other times
attractive, it is more ambiguous, and interchanging according to lightning etc…
3. Question: What are its advantages and what are the limitations of that medium?
Anne Van der Linden: Drawing is easy to be reproduced, you hardly get bad surprises, also you can draw everywhere, you don’t need much room.
Drawing is the place of research, and by using the line you try to bring out
ideas, and you can throw away the sheet if you are not satisfied with the result, thing that you cannot do so easly with painting, because it is so sticky and wet it
becomes quickly fused and saturated with color. Plus, you don’t want to run through the canvas too quickly because of the high price of the material!
But drawing -the way I conceive it – is a very austere technique, I sit at my table
for hours and sometimes I get hand cramps. Also it can take me quite a long
time to fill the blank space and « kill » the paper sheet, unlike the medium of painting where you use a few brush strokes and that’s it, the space of the canvas is conquered in no time- it becomes my space!
4. Question: How do you chose your subject , your themes in painting? Do you search for them or do they come to you?
Anne Van der Linden: It comes from varied sources, some images come from what I saw and that particular experince then influenced and inspired me to paint it, or also, there are ideas which I am not fully aware of and which come to me from the ‘back room’ of my mind…
Most of the time things appear to my mind as set choreographies, and then the
action becomes more precise from one study to another. The idea
develops simultaneously with the shape, and after a few aborted attempts at legitimate existence it reaches the state of harmony, I mean I experience it as such when the image starts “talking” to me.
Sometimes I take over the subject from one image to another, developing the so called ‘small variations’ of the original version.
5. Question: Given the fact that your subject is often political (social commentary etc), Would you call yourself an « engage »? A committed artist of a sort? How do you see your work in a larger context?
Anne Van der Linden: My art talks about mankind and doesn’t avoid any aspect of humanity, I use obscenity, violence, sexuality and all our orifices as means of
expression, and automatically that makes a committed artist out of me, as I have to account for the choices I make.
A Feminist? It is a questionable tag for me to get- sometimes I can adopt a feminine point of view and explore some subjects that have been unexplored because they belong specifically to women’s domain of work. Sometimes these are themes which women have not dealt with much until now,
so it is interesting to use certain paths to explore them.
But in general my position as an artist is the one of “transgender”, meaning being beyond sexual determination, just like an animal is,so that I could feel more free in such an operating space.
Also I happened to be rejected by so-called feminists, who thought
that I was presenting a degrading image of women. I thought that their opinion was so unfair and boring! Such a mental sclerosis!
6. Question: What’s the situation like in French contemporary scene? Closed or
open? Likable, or rather dislikable?
Anne Van der Linden: Well, viewing things from my personal experience, the French scene is quite shy, at the same time full of the inferiority complex and conservative, always looking up to foreign countries art scene and deciding what is good in art or not, and the result of such a process is disastrous as we all know. Also the institutions have been adamant for decades that their rôle con sisted in promoting the old conceptual art, and all of us painters sculptors etc…could just go and die elsewhere.
However, on the other hand, here in France I can make and broadcast pieces of
art that could easily put me in trouble if I ‘d shown them in other parts of the
world. That lack of censorship here IS good!
7. Question: What’s your experience with film, video? Do you like working with
Anne Van der Linden: I have made 3 short films some years ago (2000-2001), and I used to develop and extend the themes of my paintings into film, in order to make them move into action, and this sort of experience was interesting. What I mean is that these films were close to performances, with a more material, everyday life aspect to them than my painterly images had before.
But the filming of these images hasn’t been an easy process- Ii had conflicts with the technicians I was working with and this problem has been blocking me and my filming process eversince.