March 15, 2012

The Master of the Avenue B School of Art‏

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What a thrill it was tonight:  Not only to be in a room arrayed with an abundance of amazing collages by one of my idols, John Evans, but to actually meet him!  And to tell him that he has been a great influence and inspiration for my own collage practice.  He was holding court at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery in Chelsea, at a reception celebrating the publication of a book of his works from the year 1984.

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For decades, Evans made daily collages in bound books on heavy paper, applying collected gems of ephemera from his East Village neighborhood and life to grounds of watercolor wash, bound by hand-drawn borders—each page date-stamped.  Ducks were his Ninas, and they were all lined up at the gallery this evening, as a continuous motif along the bottoms of his works.  Intimate in size, each piece is about 8” x 5”; each page has been carefully extracted by X-acto knife and metal ruler from Evans’ notebooks.

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People love his work for different reasons:  Some are attracted to the dates—Valentine’s day, today, the Ides of March, their birthdays. Others love to interrogate the jewel-like content—stamps, ornate fabric swatches, candy foils, ads, cookie fortunes, found notes, packaging labels. Then there is his signature formalism, the way he incorporates pasted objects with paint, ink,color and wit that magically coalesce into totemic sculpture, akin to the way Leger made 2-D look 3-D. 

I also learned John Evans is a father of twins!

March 07, 2012

A solo show of my collages at Darren Winston Bookseller, Sharon, CT

imageA bibliopole who runs a mid-century-modern-décor salon adorned with mouthwatering books, ephemera and objets, Darren Winston is also a gallerist who is giving me a solo show.  “On the Street Where You Live,” opening on March 20, features 30 or so of my original collages.  The works, created in notebooks over the past few years, are based on my peregrinations through various places—Hudson NY, Manhattan neighborhoods, North Adams, Great Barrington, Dutchess County, and somewhere between Portland and Portsmouth.  A pickup artist, I am always scouring the ground, looking for choice shards to use, curating them as treasures to eventually paste down in careful compositions. 

The collages explore my fascination with post-consumer behavior, puns and colorful lingo in the deluge of marketing messages, and their connections to real locations and times.

Now, I can honestly call myself the Rosen of Sharon.

Directions to Darren Winston Booksellers

December 20, 2011

Berkshire Creative Challenge: Rennie & Rose and Rosen

At 2AM one late October night, I received an email invitation to participate in this year’s Berkshire Creative Challenge. The Challenge is an annual opportunity for Berkshire-based businesses to partner with the creative community.  I wrote an essay, answered some questions, pointed to the work on my website and sent it off.

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This year, Rennie & Rose, a family-owned home furnishings manufacturer in Adams, MA was the hosting business for the Challenge. In mid-November, I was notified that I made the first cut—one of several candidates to be asked to visit Rennie & Rose, learn more about their products and operations, and do a design assignment:  interpret a piece of art for the home furnishings market; show how it would work on a pillow, placemat and runner.

After presenting a series of design ideas to Rennie & Rose last month, I learned that I won the Berkshire Creative Challenge.  I am excited to be able to collaborate with Rennie & Rose on future design projects. Thank you Rennie & Rose. Thank you Berkshire Creative.

December 08, 2011

My Collage Prints for Sale at Treasure & Bond, Soho

imageMy collage prints are available for sale at Treasure & Bond, a cool new emporium at 350 West Broadway.  The sale of my work will support such causes as The Children’s Health Fund and Coalition for the Homeless.
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This series of poster-sized prints, each 22’ x 29”—the results of many walks through New York City—is on display starting today.  Treasure & Bond, a foray into Manhattan retailing by parent Nordstrom, is an enticing place where all the merchandise is chosen with great care and taste, and all the profits go to programs to benefit people in need.  The store showcases an eclectic mix of jewelry, accessories, clothing and home décor items.

imageMy prints are displayed on the first floor, amidst leopard skin wedge boots, candles from Venice, jewelry inspired by Mexican antiquities, giant hand-crocheted pouffes, and mojito muddler kits.  The prints are offered both framed and unframed.

Please stop by. 

Shout-out in New York Magazine’s Best of 2012

 

 

 

September 04, 2011

Modulor, Art Material Mecca‏

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Meandering and getting lost (again) in Berlin, something led me to walk into this substantial concrete building at Moritzplatz.  Did not leave for 3 hours! Modulor is art supply nirvana—one could land a plane in the aisles, and perform surgery on the floors.

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Orderly and beautifully displayed, Modulor has everything—from damask foil papers to dayglo orange plastic mesh, clamps of every size, laser cutting and printing services, exquisite notebooks, cardboard in every color, architectural model supplies, fuzzy board, mosaic tile, styrofoam orbs, furniture, postcards and art books. 

Modulor Katalog 2009/2010 (Einleitung, Kapitel A-G)
In an industrial-sized building that resembles the Whitney, Modulor has at least three floors, but may be infinite.  (Even their catalogue has the girth of the Manhattan white pages.)  People who work there are helpful and know the merchandise.  There’s even a cafe.  My only wish?  That they would accept Amex, and have a secret branch in NYC.
August 17, 2011

Museum der Dinge‏ (Museum of the Thing)

After walking around Berlin and getting lost or detoured for hours, once we found this mecca for objets, there was much loud mooing and cooing in the otherwise staid aisles.

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Displaying things simply and not didactically, the Museum der Dinge‏ features collections of everything from the mundane to the sublime: Braun home appliances from the Sputnik era, portrait busts in wood, plastic and metal, Mona Lisas in doll and puzzle format, portable fans of all eras, items that happen to be only black and yellow, illustrated biscuit tins, the Olivetti Valentine.

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Walking the vast loft gallery in boustrophedon to see every last dinge, they ask you to ask yourself, “Ist das kitsch or ist das schoen?”

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August 16, 2011

Berlin Palimpsests

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The city is encrusted with layers of memory, walls, history, schlag, foam, streusel, graffiti, and these found collages:

imageKreuzberg, Oranienstraße


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imageBernauer Straße, near Mauerpark


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imageRosenthaler Straße, Mitte


August 15, 2011

Die Schpunkies

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There must be a name in German for a phenomenon I observed in Berlin earlier this month.  About 50% of the parked cars on the streets contained cute little stuffed animals—I called them “die schpunkies” (since The German word for Smurfs I learned is Die Schlümpfe)—hanging above windshields or lying on dashboards. Perhaps die schpunkies are merely the German version of fuzzy dice, little trees or those poor plushies bound to the grilles of trucks, but they stood out in the otherwise austere clean cars.

July 31, 2011

Last Night at the Ferrin Gallery

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Senses primed from an expedition to Dia:Beacon earlier this week, it was easy for me to make some visual connections at the Ferrin Gallery’s latest show, Beauty in Decay. Gordon Chandler’s scrap metal trophy heads of antlered beasts were reminiscent—in their impasto amalgamation of colorful enameled and rusted metals—of John Chamberlain’s expressionist sculpture installations.

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Michael Eastman’s lush, large, saturated portraits of places ravaged by time, the elements and neglect, could have been the love children of the Bechers and William Eggleston. They are ironically and beautifully presented: flecks of paint, peeling plaster ceilings, graffitied blinds, abandoned townscapes are displayed behind the pleasing gloss of Plexiglas, or printed on shiny paper.

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Like movie stars with obvious “work” done to their bodies and faces, the pieces in Beauty in Decay allow viewers to feel the tension in their artifice. The rosy glow of the sky in Gregory Crewdson’s The Madison sweetens an otherwise ominous tableau of a small town street.  This piece, from the Production Still series, could be a document of a block seconds prior to tectonic shift, or before a sudden sinkhole.  Smudgy letters in the clouds spell “Is.” Klieg lights threaten, even though they are eerily superfluous at this time of day.  The Madison, an aqua cinder block box, is the lone commercial building on an otherwise sleeping residential street.

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Postscript:  And speaking about smiling cakes, what about cakes that provoke smiles?  Leaving the Ferrin Gallery next to the door, there is a small dessert buffet made up of glazed confections of memory and material:  Susan Taylor Glasgow’s exquisitely adorned, cross-stitched translucent slices of cake are made of glass!

July 26, 2011

Smiling Cake

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Waiting on line Sunday morning at the popular breakfast pastry counter at Haven, a Lenox, Massachusetts bakery café, I couldn’t believe my eyes—and ran to the car to get my camera. There, on the cake stand, under a glass dome was a coffee cake, striated with cinnamon streusel.  Looking at me on the golden buttery outer wedge, was a man with a smile.  Primitive and minimalist in detail à la Picasso. Yet bold in expression. He looked like the kind of guy who really wanted to be liked.

Like Lawrence Weschler, who collects and categorizes visual convergences, I always see turtles in clouds, silhouettes on the mottled bathroom ceiling, George Washington as a wicker chair, the Shroud of Turin and Alfred Hitchcock’s profile in our twin childrens’ ultrasounds, but now, a smiling man in a wedge of cinnamon coffee cake?

It was enough for me to just behold the special phenomenon (or omen?)—photograph it, but not buy it.  Such a friendly, approachable, almost wistful smile, with a head of tight cinnamon curls.  Who would dare eat him?

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