April 18, 2018

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: MILES ALDRIDGE

THE FASHION OF EXISTENTIALISM

For photographer Miles Aldridge, the fashion world is deep in his DNA. After quickly rising to success in fashion photography, he, like his predecessors Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon, veered his work in a different direction and sought to capture peculiar and stirring cinematic vignettes. While living amongst the glamour of the fashion world, Aldridge was fascinated about what real life might be like behind the glitzy facade, and this prompted him to create images reflecting hyper-stylized and glamorous scenarios of dazzling banality and existentialism.

Using Hollywood lighting and production techniques, he captures a decisive moment of ordinary domestic life and juxtaposes it with a hyper-glamorous expressionless model to create a surreal and cinematic narrative. The central character in his work could be a bored housewife or an over-protected daughter, but each protagonist appears caught in an existential moment, a moment of realization, anxiety or boredom, which prompts the viewer to wonder what brought them to this point.

The first thing someone notices about Aldridge’s work is the electric color palette of the hyper-stylized world, but upon closer inspection, a darkness reveals itself from the beautiful deadpan model-esque character, drawing you in to feel some empathy or compassion for her both bleak and beautiful situation.

For Aldridge’s most recent body of work, (after), he collaborated with the artists Maurizio Cattelan, Gilbert & George, and Harland Miller, placing their artworks or the artists at the center of his work. In each series, he seeks to expand the medium of photography through subject matter and technique. He creates otherworldly and surreal encounters by a female nude with Cattelan’s art, has Gilbert & George awkwardly interacting in their would-be home with an androgynous male model, and places Harland Miller’s large-scale paintings of book covers into actual book covers held by 50’s pin-ups.

Aldridge’s work can be found in many important collections and adorns the walls of various boutique hotels. His photographs fit perfectly into ‘fabulous’ places. Most recently, his work was placed in the lobby of Cachet Boutique, a luxury 105-room hotel in Midtown West, Manhattan.

For inquiries about Aldridge’s work please contact info@mercercontemporary.com

– Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant | info@mercercontemporary.com

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February 22, 2018

FINANCIAL TIMES

Career Changers: How To Make A Fresh Start In The Arts

Excerpt: Nicole Bray made the switch from working in advertising as an account director to art curation and consultancy via Sotheby’s Institute of Art in her mid-30s. When she entered the job market, she was determined not to compromise and turned down a marketing role at an auction house. “You have to be very honest with yourself. It wasn’t where my heart was.” In the end, she decided to set up her own company, Mercer Contemporary.

She found the key to a smooth transition was creating a network of mentors. “[In] deciding which [art] school to go to, I became queen of the coffee chat. People love talking about themselves and love being admired.” She would ask for 15 minutes of someone’s time and buy the coffee. “You have to make it easy for them,” she advises.

Money — or worry about a lack of it — can prevent professionals from making a switch, particularly to the creative industries.

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February 7, 2018

FOUR ARTISTS TO WATCH, ACCORDING TO NICOLE BRAY

Nicole Bray is the founder of Mercer Contemporary. From the bedroom to the boardroom she curates artwork to reflect the vision of private, corporate and non-profit clients and steers them through the exciting process of procuring, deaccessioning, managing, and displaying artwork. Having graduated from the Contemporary Art MA program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York, she has developed a keen eye for both established and emerging artists, and why their work is worthy of consideration or collecting. Here are four contemporary artists to keep an eye on, according to Nicole.

Vaughn Spann: A Rising Star of Materiality and Abstraction

When confronted with Vaughn Spann’s work there is an immediate intrigue into the compositional delicacies between the figurative and abstraction. Rich with textures, color and subject matter, he seeks to contribute to the dialogue of the black experience which was once written out of the Art History books. Historically, cultures have been valued on the perceived importance of their art, and there was once a time when no one believed in the value of work made by black artists. Contributing to this critical social and art historical narrative is a central intent and theme running through Spann’s work.

Physicality and materiality sit at the heart of his abstract works. Experimenting with twine, fabric, spray paint, oil paint, resin, plastilina, and paper, to name only a few, he creates luscious reliefs that combine painting as sculpture. Roused by the radical spirit of David Hammons and Shanique Smith, Spann takes objects of the everyday, readily found in hardware stores or at home, and transforms their meaning through context and the introduction of other materials.

From High Finance to High Art: Sarah Meyohas

What if an artist traded stocks online in a gallery and visualized the moves in the market on a canvas? What if an artist created a digital currency called Bitchcoin that was backed by photography assets at a fixed exchange rate of 1 Bitchcoin to 25 square inches of photographic print? What if the artist took over the desolate Bell Labs Holmdel Complex and hired temps to pick tens of thousands rose petals to be captured as digital data? This is a mere sampling of the artwork created by the phenomenal Sarah Meyohas.

Meyohas was born and raised in New York, and she’s not your typical artist. At 24 years old, she has a finance degree from Wharton and started out by taking the precedential path of interning with Distressed Private Equity and Hedge Fund firms while in college. However, after completing a photographing class, her love for the arts was sparked and snowballed into her applying to Yale to complete her MFA.

Meyohas’s practice examines how we conceive value, understand value, and how it’s represented, traversing the world of finance and art. Her project Stock Performance 2016, comprised of her trading stocks online chosen subjectively based on their name or industry, with the goal of moving the stock price to see a visual change. Meyohas effortlessly combines the grit of finance, value and exchange with the feminine softness of flowers, the body and mythology to generate an undeniable presence of soft power.

Finding Vitality and Stillness with Russell Tyler

Walking into Russell Tyler’s studio is an absolute treat for the eyes as you’re greeted with an array of colorful and luscious canvases. A master of color and movement, Tyler draws upon our art historical forefathers of Abstract Expressionism, the Sublime, and Minimalism. Tyler works in three different styles, yet they all look and feel unquestionably connected: minimalist forms with expressive gestures, expressive abstraction of instinct and chance, and abstract forms derived from nature.

Tyler’s minimalist paintings draw from Joseph Albers and Mark Rothko in their repetitive rectilinear forms. Where Albers was seeking perfection in the line and experimenting with color combinations, Tyler purposefully hand paints the lines so the imperfection, or wonkiness, is visible and experiments with varying shades of the same color. The subtly in the color and the repetitive forms might remind the viewer of a Rothko canvas and its meditative pull. However, the gestural brushstroke, the evidence of fingers being dragged through the paint, or a drip of contrasting color, breaks the viewers interaction and draws them in to examine the intricate evidence of the artist’s hand at play.

Off the Wall with Lisa Fromartz

Lisa Fromartz, lives and works surrounded by her dynamic and intricate sculptural installations, and her colorful and gestural paintings. Her allegiance to highly visual art with strong composition has remained constant throughout her career. Her desire to embrace her surroundings and absorb the cultural landscape in elegant abstraction is a signature note of her style. She takes the vocabulary of everyday objects and the mass media to create vibrant, exciting, and sensual works.

Pitching from sculpture, to collage, to photography, and painting, her work draws on the detailed messiness of life, but her skillful abstraction of the elements erases their previous meaning to produce a work that is open to interpretation each time it is encountered. This openness gives the work longevity and rewards the viewer with each encounter. Her sculptural works are incredibly playful and sophisticated in composition, as she explores and incorporates unexpected forms and materials like foam, crutches, window blinds, hair rollers, plastic, mesh and metal scraps. However, it’s not until you look closely at the sculpture that the familiarity of these objects reveal themselves from the abstract. These sculptural installations and mobiles were a springboard for Fromartz to create prints, collages, and photographs, drawing on the colors, forms, fragments, and representations of the objects she had gathered from the streets.

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January 18, 2018

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: VAUGHN SPANN

A RISING STAR OF MATERIALITY AND ABSTRACTION

When confronted with Vaughn Spann’s work there is an immediate intrigue into the compositional delicacies between the figurative and abstraction. Rich with textures, color and subject matter, he seeks to contribute to the dialogue of the black experience which was once written out of the Art History books. Historically, cultures have been valued on the perceived importance of their art, and there was once a time when no one believed in the value of work made by black artists. Contributing to this critical social and art historical narrative is a central intent and theme running through Spann’s work.

Physicality and materiality sit at the heart of his abstract works. Experimenting with twine, fabric, spray paint, oil paint, resin, plastilina, and paper, to name only a few, he creates luscious reliefs that combine painting as sculpture. Roused by the radical spirit of David Hammons and Shanique Smith, Spann takes objects of the everyday, readily found in hardware stores or at home, and transforms their meaning through context and the introduction of other materials.

Influenced by his grandfather growing up, Spann spent his childhood learning the craft of working with his hands and becoming a maker. Always drawing and building things, this led him to pursue a Bachelors of Fine Arts at Rutgers (Newark), which eventually landed him in the prestigious Yale, Masters in Fine Art program. His surroundings have played a significant influence on his practice, growing up in Orange, New Jersey, living in Newark during college, and more recently in Harlem, has informed how he approaches the canvas. Using materials from the local environment, Spann seeks to expand the possibilities of composition, formalism, and the surface through the process of layering and building up.

The technique of layering and building up of the surface, expanding or contracting the composition, appears across both Spann’s abstractions and figurative work. In his figurative and landscape work, the rich and vibrant colors draw on the African diaspora, while his abstracts are composed of found materials, reliefs, and dimensionality. Spann often works on paper as well, sometimes considered a secondary material, but one of both delicacy and strength. Expanding the surface and experimenting with the possibilities of paper in a multitude of ways.

This past November, Spann participated in, San Francisco veteran, Karen Jenkins-Johnson’s project space in Brooklyn. who is deftly committed to promoting emerging African American artists and curators. More recently, Spann curated and is featured in the show Kaleidoscope at Kravets Wehby Gallery in Chelsea, on view until February 17th.

For inquiries about Vaughn’s work please contact info@mercercontemporary.com

– Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant | info@mercercontemporary.com

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September 28, 2017

MUST-SEE ART EXHIBITIONS - SEPTEMBER

Monthly correspondent for art|REAL

Open season commences on the Thursday after Labor Day in the art world. The galleries of New
York open their doors after a quiet Summer and present their gangbuster shows to a frenzied
crowd of collectors, advisors and fans, eager to get back in the mix. Here are my favorite shows
that recently opened:

Sanford Biggers
Selah
Open until October 21
Marianne Boesky
507 West 24 th Street, New York, NY 10001

In his first solo exhibition with the gallery, Sanford Biggers shines a light on the often overlooked political and cultural narratives in American history through symbolic gestures and imagery. By embracing painting, sculpture, textiles, video, film and multi-component installations, Biggers collaborates with the past by adding his voice and perspective to antique quilts, African sculptures, and cultural imagery and references. The show’s central figure, also entitled Selah, stands over ten feet tall with its arms raised. Its shape originates from an African wooden sculpture of a figure preparing to bend in worship or prayer. The posture bears a striking resemblance to one of “hands up.” Covered with antique quilts, and lined with sequins, Selah also shares direct connections with the artist’s well-known textile works in which the body is a critical component.


Polly Apfelbaum
The Potential of Women
Open until October 21
Alexander Gray Associates
510 West 26 Street, New York NY 10001

Drawing inspiration from graphic designer Rudolph deHarek’s 1963 cover design for The Potential of Woman , which features a flattened, stylized view of a female figure’s head. Polly Apfelbaum presents a series of new work, including gouache drawings, hand-woven rugs, and wall-mounted ceramics. Her appropriation of deHarek’s image, chosen as an icon, is consistent with her ongoing interest in applied design and popular culture. The book and its related symposium imagined a future in which women might be useful contributors; Apfelbaum instead reflects the desire for a broader appreciation and empowerment of legions of capable women in the present. In the exhibition’s title, Apfelbaum changes the word ‘woman’ to ‘women’ to reinforce an inclusive communal narrative around feminism.


Amanda Ross-Ho
My Pen is Huge
Open until October 14
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
534 West 26th Street, New York, NY, 10001

For the month of August, Amanda Ross-Ho used the gallery as her studio to produce work on-site for her show. Renown for her oversized objects, found pieces, and her examination of the ecology of the studio, Ross-Ho expanded her practice to include a series of paintings based on works on paper created over the past year. Last Summer Ross-Ho found a collection of vintage paper clock face dials on eBay, being liquidated from a clock maker. Removed from the mechanism and components that comprise their intact timepieces, the blank clock faces suggested a poetic potential and a vacant stage for activity. She bought them all, and to mitigate her studio transition while also maintaining a heavy exhibition and travel schedule, Ross-Ho began directly using the paper clock faces as work surfaces, which evolved over the course of a year as she spent time in airplanes, hotel rooms, Air BnB apartments, as well as her kitchen table. Over the course of many months, doodles, calculations, diagrams, lists, notes to self and other anxious scribblings—combined with the residue of her consumption of food and drink—aggregated on the surfaces of the clock faces. The resulting layered surfaces, dense with the recording of her daily activities of life and art, supplant the movement of a timepiece’s usual mechanisms and present a physical recording of the passage of time within the circuitry of a frenetic mind. Ross-Ho treated these works on paper as studies or rehearsals for a performative production to take place onsite at the gallery, translating twelve of the clock works on paper into large-scale paintings produced in real time. The result is a hybrid installation consisting of the authentic residue of work, and the theatrical amplification of many of these same artifacts.

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August 17, 2017

SUMMER ART EXCURSIONS | 2017

Monthly correspondent for art|REAL

It’s August, and while the galleries are closed, or at least metaphorically closed, you can always take a day trip out of the city to see some exhibits that would seem too unbearable during the winter months. See below for some of our favorite destinations.

Dia:Beacon
3 Beekman Street, Beacon, New York
Thursday – Monday, 11am – 6pm

Dia Art Foundation was originally founded in New York City in 1974 as a program committed to helping artists achieve visionary projects. A constellation of sites started popping up all over the city, New Mexico, Germany and eventually, Beacon. In May 2003, Dia:Beacon opened on the banks of the Hudson River in Beacon, New York, in a former Nabisco box printing factory. The museum presents Dia’s collection of art from the 1960s to the present as well as special exhibitions and public programs. Since its opening, Dia:Beacon has helped transform the city of Beacon into a vibrant arts destination for visitors from the region, New York City, and beyond.

Getting there: Dia:Beacon is located adjacent to the Beacon train station, which is served by Metro-North Railroad trains from Grand Central Terminal and Poughkeepsie. Trains run hourly in either direction during museum operating hours.


Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY 12553
Summer hours (May 26–September 2): Open until 8pm Friday & Saturday

Widely celebrated as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks, Storm King Art Center has welcomed visitors from across the globe for over fifty years. Located only one hour north of New York City, in the lower Hudson Valley, its 500 acres of rolling hills, woodlands, and fields of native grasses and wildflowers provide the setting for a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time. Currently exhibiting works by David Smith, The White Sculptures, and Heather Hart, Outlooks, to complement its permanent installation of sculpture. These may comprise large-scale sculptures sited in outdoor galleries defined by sky and landscape, or smaller works and supporting materials shown in the Museum Building. Exhibitions include both works from Storm King’s permanent collection and loans from artists, private collectors, galleries, and museums.

Getting there: From Grand Central Terminal visitors can buy a ticket to the Beacon Station that includes Storm King Admission. From Beacon, they can get a taxi or Zipcar (located at 1 Municipal Plaza, Beacon, NY, about a half mile walk from the train station) to get to Storm King.
New Jersey Transit/Metro-North also provides service from Penn Station to the Salisbury Mills train station, three miles from Storm King by taxi.


MOMA PS1: Summer Warm Up
Every Saturday through September 2
22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY

MoMA PS1’s pioneering outdoor music series Warm Up celebrates its 20th season in 2017, with ten Saturdays presenting the best in live and electronic music—both local and global—across a range of genres. Warm Up takes place every weekend from July 1 to September 2, featuring a lineup of emerging and established artists. Highlights include Jackmaster, ASAP Ferg, ACTRESS, Moor Mother, Laurel Halo, Mike Q, John Maus, Cardi B, Sophie, Jacques Greene, RP Boo, and collaborations between Total Freedom and Ryan Trecartin. An integral part of MoMA PS1’s contemporary program, Warm Up provides an opportunity to engage with today’s most experimental and innovative artists across mediums. Audiences are encouraged to visit the exhibition galleries and experience MoMA PS1’s diverse exhibitions of emerging artists, new genres, and adventurous work by recognized artists. Warm Up 2017 will take place within a site-specific installation by Young Architects Program winner Jenny Sabin Studio made of photoluminescent textiles that transform over the course of a day.

Getting there: From Grand Central Station take the 7 train to Court Square, Long Island City. MoMA PS1 is a 700ft walk from the station.

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August 12, 2017

MUST-SEE ART EXHIBITIONS - AUGUST

Monthly correspondent for art|REAL

Adrian Villar Rojas
The Theater of Disappearance
Through October 29, 2017, weather permitting
The Metropolitan Museum, Roof Garden
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028New York

Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has transformed the Cantor Roof with an intricate site-specific installation that uses the Museum itself as its raw material. Featuring detailed replicas of nearly 100 objects from The Met collection, The Theater of Disappearance encompasses thousands of years of artistic production over several continents and cultures, and fuses them with facsimiles of contemporary human figures as well as furniture, animals, cutlery, and food. Each object—whether a 1,000-year-old decorative plate or a human hand—is rendered in the same black or white material and coated in a thin layer of dust. The artist has reconfigured the environment of the Cantor Roof by adding a new pergola, a grand tiled floor, a bar, public benches and augmented planting throughout the space. The Met’s own alphabet has even been incorporated into the graphic identity of the project. To realize this extensive work, the artist immersed himself in the Museum and its staff for many months, holding conversations with the curators, conservators, managers, and technicians across every department who contributed to the realization of this installation.


Carol Rama
Carol Rama: Antibodies
April 26, 2017 – September 10, 2017
New Museum
235 Bowery, New York

Carol Rama: Antibodies is the first New York museum survey of the work of Italian artist Carol Rama (b. 1918, Turin, Italy–d. 2015, Turin, Italy) and the largest presentation of her work in the US to date. While Rama has been widely overlooked in contemporary art, her work has proven perceptive and influential for many artists working today, attaining cult status and attracting renewed interest in recent years. Rama’s exhibition at the New Museum brings together over one hundred of her paintings, objects, and works on paper, highlighting her consistent fascination with the representation of the body. Seen together, these works present a rare opportunity to examine the ways in which Rama’s fantastical anatomies opposed the political ideology of her time and continue to speak to ideas of desire, sacrifice, repression, and liberation. The show is a celebration of the independence and eccentricity of this legendary artist, whose work spanned half a century of contemporary art history and anticipated debates on sexuality, gender, and representation.


An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017
Opens August 18, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York

Through the lens of the Whitney’s collection, An Incomplete History of Protest looks at how artists from the 1940s to the present have confronted the political and social issues of their day. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction, or inspiration, the featured artists see their work as essential to challenging established thinking and creating a more equitable culture. Many have sought immediate change, such as ending the war in Vietnam or combating the AIDS crisis. Others have engaged with protest more indirectly, with the long term in mind, hoping to create new ways of imagining society and citizenship. Since its founding in the early twentieth century, the Whitney has served as a forum for the most urgent art and ideas of the day, at times attracting protest itself.

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JULY 15, 2017

interview: Homes and estates magazine

Strokes of Genius: The Fine Art of Art Staging in Luxury Real Estate

July 12, 2017

MUST-SEE ART EXHIBITIONS - JULY

Monthly correspondent for art|REAL

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Through September 17, 2017
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York

Arguably one of the most prominent New York artists of the Twentieth Century, Robert Rauschenberg was the consummate contrarian to the popular trends of the art world in the 1950’s through to the 1990’s — and arguably one of the most beloved and generous artists within the New York community. Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends is the follow up to the Tate exhibition that opened in late 2016 and features masterpiece, after masterpiece, such as Monogram and Mud Muse (rarely seen) on loan from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. This show not only presents a survey of his work but is demonstrative of Rauschenberg’s deep connections to the New York artist community and the collaborations that he undertook. So often connected with Jasper Johns in the history books, some of Rauschenberg’s most famous collaborations also included John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer and Susan Weil. His invariable ability to disrupt what is considered ‘art’ is blindingly clear from the show, removing art from the vertical wall and placing it on the floor, turning painting into sculpture, and experimenting with incorporating cutting-edge technology (for the time) into his work. As a New Yorker, this show should not be missed.


Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher
May 3, 2017 – September 3, 2017
New Museum
235 Bowery, New York

British artist and 2013 Turner Prize finalist, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is one of the most renowned painters of her generation. Her lush oil paintings conflate the conventions of historical European portraiture with imagined characters, almost always black, that draw upon political and autobiographical traits from her own West African heritage. Through bold brushwork and monochrome settings, these elegant characters are brought to life, re-positioning the black figure within the previously absent narrative of European painting. At the New Museum, we see 17 new paintings installed on a deep maroon wall. This color, which corresponds and dialogues with the paintings, triggers a sort of atmosphere and creates a connective tissue making them appear as a unified body of work.


Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium
July 14, 2017 – October 1, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York

“How to Understand Hélio Oiticica’s Journey From Art Visionary to Coke Dealer and Back Again,” is the title of Artnet’s review of Helio Oiticica’s first retrospective in New York and, honestly, this sums him up accurately. Oiticica was always focused on making ‘un-art,’ working outside of the constraints of the Canon and finding new ways for the viewer, or ‘participator,’ to interact with art. In this show, there is an apparent duality in his work, seemingly related to location. While working in his home country of Brazil, he drew on traditional production techniques and incorporated iconic elements from the Favelas, Samba Schools, nature, and wildlife. During the seven years he spent in New York, the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and scenes from a wild, drug-fueled downtown New York in the Seventies, comprise Oiticica’s films, complete with hammocks and mattresses to lounge on, drug-den-style. The interactive nature of many of the works in this show, and his bold irreverence to the traditional art scene, make for a wild exhibition and simply put, it’s FUN.

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July 11, 2017

NEW YORK PUBLIC ART GUIDE | SUMMER 2017

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

If you happen to find yourself in the city one weekend with an afternoon on your hands, try to catch one of the many public art installations from global artists located from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Queens. Here is your cheat sheet to get you on your way:

 

Anish Kapoor
Descension (2014)
May 3, 2017 – September 10, 2017
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1
Hours 9 am – 9 pm

Curated by the Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator, Nicholas Baume, Descensionexplores the behavior of water, with a continuous swirling motion, this 26-foot-diameter liquid mass converges in a central vortex as if rushing water is being sucked into the earth’s depths.


Henry Taylor
the floaters (2017)
March 17, 2017 – March, 2018
High Line Park, at West 22nd Street

Taylor presents a new version of a self-portrait adapted specifically for its setting on the side of a building at West 22nd Street. The work depicts the artist and a friend “blissed out,” relaxing in a swimming pool at a friend’s house in Palm Springs. Reminiscent of David Hockney’s paintings of Los Angeles swimming pools from the 1960s, the floaters, a title which references the eponymous Detroit R&B group, portrays the artist in a moment of pure, leisurely happiness.


Sheila Hicks
Hop, Skip, Jump, and Fly: Escape From Gravity
June 2017 – March, 2018
High Line Park, at Western Rail Yards

For her High Line Commission, Hicks draws inspiration from the many kinetic elements that dance around the High Line: the ballet of construction vehicles at the Rail Yards; the multitudinous interwoven layers of construction mesh that cover buildings, scaffolding, and streetscapes; unfinished architectural lattices; and lace of hanging crane cables. Her vibrant installation comprised of twisting tubes of various types of colored fiber will crawl along the rails at the Western Rail Yards, surprising and delighting passerby.


Spencer Finch
Lost Man Creek
October 1, 2016 – March 11, 2018
MetroTech Commons, Brooklyn

Lost Man Creek is a miniature forest. But rather than growing naturally and of its own accord, this undulating landscape populated by some 4,000 Dawn Redwoods is a recreation. Artist Spencer Finch partnered with the Save the Redwoods League to identify a 790-acre section of the protected Redwood National Park in California. Significantly scaling down the topography and tree canopy heights, he reimagined this corner of the California forest for MetroTech at a 1:100 scale. While the original trees range from 98 to 380 feet – taller than the buildings that surround the plaza – the trees in the installation are just one to four feet in height.


Nari Ward
Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again
April 29, 2017 – September 4, 2017
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Queens NY

Featuring a series of six newly commissioned outdoor artworks, including a flamboyant herd of concrete goats that seemly strut their stuff across Socrates Sculpture Park on the waterfront in Long Island City, Queens. G.O.A.T. is an acronym for Greatest of All Time, a phrase commonly used in American sports, made famous by Muhammad Ali, and in hip-hop, most notably, as the title of Queens native LL Cool J’s best-selling album. The title alludes to the African-American experience and political theater – common themes in Ward’s work.

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June 6, 2017

MUST SEE EXHIBITIONS IN NEW YORK - JUNE

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

Carsten Höller
Reason
June 20, 2017 – August 11, 2017
Gagosian Gallery
555 West 24th Street, New York

Towering mushroom collages, a maze of mirrored panels, abstract paintings, hyperreal little fishes, an environment for children in the form of a huge dice: Höller unites art, play, and phenomenology to transform the gallery into a laboratory of reason and the incomprehensible. With a professional background in the natural sciences, Höller has long been fascinated by the unique attributes and behaviors of people, fungi, and animals. The Giant Triple Mushroom (2015) sculptures combine enlarged cross-sections of three different species, fungal hybrids that seem at once empirical and surreal. Fly agaric mushrooms make up at least half of these sculptures; like many of Höller’s topics, they are both formally and conceptually captivating, incarnations of “irrationality with a method.” When ingested, these mushrooms can induce hallucinogenic effects—as seen in Muscimol (1996), an early video of the artist under the influence. Flying Mushrooms (2015) is a giant stabile with moving parts, which turns when its lowest arm is pushed, causing a crop of seven fly agaric replicas to orbit slowly through the air, living up to their name. An incredible show to take in over the summer.


Sophie Calle, Sam Durant, Hans Haacke, Charles Gaines, Wayne Gonzales, Peter Moore, Andres Serrano, Carey Young
Group Exhibition
June 2, 2017 – June 30, 2017
Paula Cooper Gallery
521 West 21st Street, New York

The eight artists in this exhibition explore themes of political discourse, employing a variety of strategies from indirect critique to straightforward dissent. Hans Haacke and Charles Gaines examine Nationalism as a constructed, exclusionary and potentially harmful narrative. Other works by Sophie Calle and Carey Young examine the boundaries of repression versus freedom, and censorship versus civil liberties. Both Andres Serrano and Wayne Gonzales blur the divisions of artistic medium to deconstruct iconographic imagery and their associations with political power. As a direct representation of political dissidence, the work of Sam Durant privileges language appropriated from historical events of protest and revolt. In these politically turbulent times, this exhibition brings to the surface the deep historical construct of Nationalism, Patriotism and Freedom.


Raymond Pettibone
TH’ EXPLOSIYV SHOYRT T
April 29, 2017 – June 24, 2017
David Zwirner Gallery
519 West 19th Street, New York

Following his 2017 retrospective at The New Museum, comes Pettibone’s 10th solo show at David Zwirner which includes his renown drawings but also collages which are relatively new to his oeuvre. Pettibon’s aesthetic embraces a wide spectrum of American high and low culture, from the deviations of marginal youth to art history, sports, religion, politics, sexuality, and literature. Taking their point of departure in the Southern California punk-rock scene of the late 1970s and 1980s. The title (rewritten using the artist’s personalized spelling) refers to a 1963 book by American football coach Homer Rice, which details his variation on the so-called T-formation, the precursor to most modern offensive formations in the sport. The potent and aggressive associations of the phrase are echoed throughout the works on view, which shrewdly address facets of contemporary American life. In his usual style Pettibone pairs image and text, with each informing the other in a circular fashion. Ranging from a few words to a number of paragraphs, with the often rhythmic prose reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in poetry and philosophy.

 

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MAY 24TH, 2017

Higher Ground

May 31st – July 31st, 2017

17 East 12th Street, Penthouse 1

Featured Artists: Yanyan Huang, Justine Hill, Emily Noelle Lambert, Vaughn Spann, Ilana Savdie, Kristina Lee, Hyon Gyon

Higher Ground presents artworks by seven emerging New York artists within the elegant penthouse space of 17 E. 12th Street. Drawing on the hustle, drive and grace of this select group, and their unending ambition to push their work into new subject matter, spaces, and materials, draws parallels with the constant quest in luxury real estate for more space, height and luxury in New York City – the higher ground or the holy grail. The effortless confluence of art and high-end real estate come together to present a unique group of artworks exhibiting high femme abstraction with a sophisticated blend of techniques, materials, and color but with the definitive raw edge of downtown New York. Yanyan Huang’s elegant, calligraphic paintings draw from the raw beauty nature and they sit alongside the vibrant, urban colors with dynamic gestural movements of Emily Joelle Lambert. The primitive markings in neon colors by Justine Hill are placed within several non-rectilinear canvases to form one unconventional and endlessly intriguing jigsaw-like piece. The rough, luxury fabric and thread, thickly coated with gestures of resin, oil and plastilina seen in Vaugh Spann’s work create painting as sculpture and evoke a sense of weathered sensuality.

APRIL 17, 2017

THE ART OF ACQUISITIONS AND THE VALUE OF THE CONTEMPORARY CURATOR

By Catherine J. Wagner

When you consider an art curator, you tend to think beyond decorative skills or a flair for design. A curator must know and understand a vision, tap in to a deep well of knowledge, find the right piece to add to a collection, and ultimately, bring the savvy, sound, and sensible dealings of a financier to close the sale. Art, after all, is something we live with, and since a collection will define a collector’s spirit and style long after the collector is no longer, the practice of acquisition in and of itself becomes increasingly important as the truly excellent finds become ever more evasive. Today, the value of a gifted curator cannot be underestimated.

Enter Nicole Bray: the definitive contemporary art curator.

Carrying the accolades of a Masters of Contemporary Art (with honors) from Sotheby’s, recognized by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation with an Emerging Curator Fellowship in 2015, and recently awarded a Curator-In-Residence Fellowship with the Curatorial Program for Research in Mexico City, Nicole Bray comes to the industry with a wealth of knowledge and the quick wits and intelligence to know how to use it. Rejoicing in the constantly evolving landscape of today’s art industry and with a considerable knack for finding the gems, Bray maintains her curatorial practice at Mercer Contemporary while contributing regularly to several publications, including this one. Her unique voice is quickly becoming a source of the latest definition of the living, breathing concept of “art” while day-to-day you’ll find her building the collections of a distinguished private family of collectors. I would advise to try and keep up, but you won’t have to. Nicole Bray is the “It” girl in the industry who could explain exactly what “It” is (but won’t for obvious reasons), not that it matters because she is gracious enough to bring the rest of us to the party.

Recently, in my search to define the true value of a curator, I had the privilege of sitting down with Nicole and was able to garner some insight in to her curatorial process:

CATHERINE WAGNER: How do you discover the collector’s objective? Or how do you help the collector discover their own direction in collecting?

NICOLE BRAY: Collecting is an extension of your own personal history and creative expression. Building a collection should give a glimpse into your personality, demonstrate what intellectually stimulates you, and express your definition of beauty. The first question I like to ask is, “what artwork has stayed with you long after seeing it? Why?”. This taps into the power of visuals and the emotions or intellectual stimuli that it can conjure up. My role is to then contextualize each piece in the specific artists’ body of work and in the canon of art history, “why is this artist or piece important?”, then we connect this artist to other artists both historically and present. Finally, where the fun begins, we give the collector access to those works in an (intentionally) difficult art market.

CATHERINE WAGNER: What advice would you give a collector just starting out?

NICOLE BRAY: There is a difference between buying art and collecting art. Collecting art is a long-term commitment grounded in a vision and custodianship of the artwork. Good collectors acknowledge that they like certain types of art regardless of what or who seems to be the current trend. I’ve always stated that buying young artists work at a hyper-inflated price is like betting on Justin Bieber, you have no idea where their career is going to go. All great collectors share follow their own path and this makes their collections stand out. Exceptional collectors educate themselves on the artists and artworks and follow their personal tastes, ignoring the status quo. When a collector follows the masses, the art you see from collection to collection becomes boring and repetitive. Collectors who aren’t afraid to truly express themselves yield exactly the opposite results. I would also advise, regardless of how much you know about what you collect already, always remember the educational process is ongoing. Be an informed buyer. Take every opportunity to discuss the fine points of a piece with as many different experts, curators, artists, collectors, gallery personnel and other informed industry people as possible. Not only does this improve your abilities to separate the great art from the good, and the not so good, you also learn how to protect yourself against being taken advantage of in the marketplace.

CATHERINE WAGNER: What is your personal objective in collecting?

NICOLE BRAY: My personal art collection centers around the idea of Warrior Women, strong female artists who are redefining sexuality, identity, and personal narratives. Some of the artists included are Mira Dancy, Keltie Ferris, Sojourner Truth Parsons, and Katherine Bradford. Currently, I have my eye on Tshabalala Self for my next acquisition. It is true, always buy what you love, but more importantly you must believe in the artist and their practice. The artwork is an expression of the artist and without understanding who they truly are, the artwork cannot be truly understood.

CATHERINE WAGNER: Which artist do you feel is the most overlooked or undervalued in the world today and why?

NICOLE BRAY: In terms of collectors and the market, I believe John Cage is the most overlooked and undervalued. Any art professional will expound how important John Cage’s writings and works were to the New York art and music scene in the mid-twentieth century. He was the high-priest of the art community, expanding the theories and definitions of what can be considered art and nurturing the careers of important artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Allan Kapprow and George Brecht. His work is complex and grounded in performance and chance, namely the Fluxus and Conceptual Art movements. There are few tangible pieces and they are not always seen as “commercial”, but when one does come onto the market the art nerd in me gets very excited.

To contact Nicole Bray please go to: www.mercercontemporary.com

– Catherine Wagner

MARCH 20TH, 2017

THE MASTRY OF NATURE AND TECHNOLOGY: ARANDA\LASCH

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

The holy grail of architecture and design apparently lives in the Lower East Side. The offices of Aranda\Lasch are a playground of experimentation and what if’s. Architects by trade, Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch, have found a sweet spot in their signature forms that draw upon natural matter to create stunning furniture and works of art. Their projects extend from homes and public spaces to furniture, lighting, and sculpture; their work rides a remarkable binary of perfect imperfection. Obsessed with nature, science, and complex matter structures, they emulate these forms to create livable furniture that feels organic and at times, otherworldly. You can see in their work how they take one shape and manipulate it multiple times to create a chair or table. In other cases, such as their Railing Series, they use the constraints of a pre-determined structural field to create elegant and opulent chairs that can only be described as noodle-like. Similarly, they create geological forms that emulate geodes to create stunning light formations with a programmable multi-color function.


Play and experimentation are central to their work. As architects, they start by looking for structural motifs and ways in which the forms naturally grow. We see new language and qualities emerge out of the multitude of forms twisting and turning to create the structure. The Primitives Series, first seen at the Venice Architectural Biennial in 2010, draw on the facade of ruined landscapes; with rocks piling up and falling apart to create a series of unique yet similar chairs and tables. From a distance, the furniture looks like a cluster of rocks, but close up you see the signature hand of Aranda\Lasch as the modular fractals expand and move to emulate nature.

Modern Primitives, Venice Biennale, 2010
Credit: Aranda\Lasch with Island Planning Corporation Supported by Fendi. Co-produced with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. Arizona State University – School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture. The Johnson Trading Gallery.

Two years prior, commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza, Aranda\Lasch collaborated with sculptor Matthew Richie and Daniel Bosia of Arup’s AGU created The Morning Line, conceived as an exploration of the interplay between music, art, architecture and cosmology. Imagined as a ruin from the future, each line flows and connects with others to create a dense network of figures and narratives with no beginning or end, expanding effortlessly in multiple directions. The Morning Line has traveled from Seville to Istanbul to Vienna and is currently installed, as part of the permanent collection, at ZKM in Karlsruhe Germany.

The Morning Line
Credit: Aranda\Lasch. By Matthew Ritchie with Aranda\Lasch and Arup AGU. Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. Seville, Spain, 2008.

While giving a fresh perspective to architecture and design with their confluence of nature and technology, Aranda\Lasch ground their thinking in the confines of art and architectural history to ensure they are always working towards expanding the canon. We can see the minimalist design elements of Donald Judd, Mies van der Rohe and Brancusi combined effortlessly with the cubist abstraction of forms in the work of Picasso and Picabia, mixed with the rugged embrace of nature and land interventions from the Land Artists of the 1960’s: Robert Smithson and Walter De Maria.

So, next time you are in Miami, treat yourself by popping into the Tom Ford store in the Design District and checking out one of Aranda\Lasch’s architectural masterpieces.

For inquiries about Aranda\Lasch’s work please contact info@mercercontemporary.com

– Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant | info@mercercontemporary.com

MARCH 20TH, 2017

MUST SEE EXHIBITIONS IN NEW YORK - MARCH

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

Raymond Pettibon
A Pen of All Work
February 8, 2017 – April 9, 2017
New Museum
235 Bowery, New York

Jesus, Charles Manson, Joan Crawford, a Surfer, the Apocalypse, and Gumby, are just a handful of the images dominating Raymond Pettibon’s 700-piece show of annotated drawings. More than ever, the language of advertising, the media, and politics been more pervasive, and no one has captured the link between language and image better than Raymond Pettibone. Dominated by images captured in pen and ink, and sometimes paint, with handwritten phrases and sentences, above and below, Pettibone’s work demonstrates his signature gestural energy combined with prickly, manic, and illogical language lifted from B-movies, classical literature, and everyday rants. Mr. Pettibon is, with gratifying regularity, a sharp political critic. His targets can be quite specific from the hippie movement of the 1960s to the American war in Iraq. His entire output, despite the strains of nostalgia and humor, is a steady indictment of American culture as he has lived it over the past 60 years.


Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965
January 10, 2017 – April 1, 2017
Grey Art Gallery, New York University
100 Washington Square East, New York

By 1952, Abstract Expressionism (Ab Ex) was the big American deal, since it was credited as the art that won the culture war with Europe. Americans liked muscle, ego and size, all of which Ab Ex embraced. However, not everyone was thrilled by Abstract Expressionism. Some artists and dealers were tired of abstraction; they wanted to paint people and nature, tell stories, or try out crazy new forms that had merged in art and theater. For others, politics, and art’s expression of it, was of immediate concern. So, the only guaranteed way these artists could achieve their goals was by opening galleries of their own, and that, they did. Grey Art Gallery presents a historiographic survey of thinking, making, showing, and collaborating during a pivotal moment in the history of New York City’s avant-garde. The exhibition, which starts at Fifty-One East Fourth Street (Tanager Gallery) and travels all the way up to Fifteen West Fifty-Seventh Street (Green Gallery), introduces us to the nascent and crackerjack happenings from some of New York’s finest and most renowned artists.


Vija Celmins
Vija Celmins
February 10, 2017 – April 15, 2017
Matthew Marks Gallery
522 West 22nd Street , New York

For more than four decades, Vija Celmin (Vee-ya Sell-min) has worked late into the night obsessively drawing and painting her most beloved subjects, the dark sky, the surfaces of the ocean, the moon, and the desert, without horizon or perspective. At 78 years old, she is a beloved figure in the art world. Starting out in Los Angeles in the 1960’s with the photo-realist painters like Ed Ruscha, it was always thought that her dark night skies were made for the California sun to backlight them. Her ocean surface paintings were inspired by the photographs she had taken from the Venice Beach pier back in 1968. Now living in New York, it has been seven years since her last show and the art world has yearned for this show of beauty and soft power, filled with distilled intensity and quiet dignity.

FEBRUARY 6TH, 2017

Currently in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Oaxaca with the Curatorial Program for Research.

JANUARY 12, 2017

OFF THE WALL WITH LISA FROMATRZ

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

In her bright and airy fifth floor studio on Spring Street, Lisa Fromartz, lives and works surrounded by her dynamic and intricate sculptural installations, and her colorful and gestural paintings. Her allegiance to highly visual art with strong composition has remained constant throughout her career. Her desire to embrace her surroundings and absorb the cultural landscape in elegant abstraction is a signature note of her style. She takes the vocabulary of everyday objects and the mass media to create vibrant, exciting, and sensual works.

Pitching from sculpture, to collage, to photography, and painting, her work draws on the detailed messiness of life, but her skillful abstraction of the elements erases their previous meaning to produce a work that is open to interpretation each time it is encountered. This openness gives the work longevity and rewards the viewer with each encounter. Her sculptural works are incredibly playful and sophisticated in composition, as she explores and incorporates unexpected forms and materials like foam, crutches, window blinds, hair rollers, plastic, mesh and metal scraps. However, it’s not until you look closely at the sculpture that the familiarity of these objects reveal themselves from the abstract. These sculptural installations and mobiles were a springboard for Fromartz to create prints, collages, and photographs, drawing on the colors, forms, fragments, and representations of the objects she had gathered from the streets.

Lisa recalls the time she read about an archeologist who found a fragment of an ancient vase. From seeing its curves and precision, he knew that an entire civilization lived behind this fragment. This analogy extends to her paintings; Fromartz intends for the energy, expansiveness, and mystery of the painting to extend beyond the canvas. As an artist, you invite the viewer into the presence of your work, through their imagination and history they draw connections and meaning in the work. One interesting part to note, the titles of her works are made-up words, or words from obscure languages, so that no meaning can be inferred onto the painting and it is purely up to the viewer’s discretion.

Lisa has known she was an artist from a very young age. She views the world through the lens of art and her work is an extension of her voice. This has taken her across the globe and landed her in prestigious public and private collections. From the genesis of Lisa’s career, art has been a conduit for her to comment on culture, history, and her environment. The Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum have recognized her life’s work with them both acquiring key works.

– Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant | info@mercercontemporary.com

January 12, 2017

THREE MUST SEE EXHIBITIONS IN NEW YORK

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

art|REAL aims to capture the best of art and real estate in New York through collaborations with industry influencers, presenting curated content featuring artists, interviews with industry insiders, luxury real estate listings, related news and exclusive events that combine the two worlds in new and unexpected ways.

Titus Kaphar
Shifting Skies
December 16, 2016 – January 28, 2017
Jack Shainman Gallery
524 West 24th Street and 513 West 20th Street, New York

Titus Kaphar’s latest two-part show, Shifting Skies at Jack Shainman Gallery examines the racial injustices of mass incarceration in the United States. His show on 24th street, Destiny, began after Kaphar attended a panel at the Studio Museum in Harlem about a female inmate called Tina Reynolds, who was forced to give birth to her son while shackled to a bed. This image traumatized Kaphar and triggered him to start examining mass incarceration and the endemic racism that exists. Destiny, a common name in the African-American Community to symbolize hope and optimism, became a racial identifier for Kaphar. He typed the name Destiny into mugshot.com and busted.com, and the name itself quickly became the antithesis of hope and optimism. Using the found mugshots, he painted their portraits, layering one over the other. The outcome was shocking; Destiny had become a racial profiler within the incarceration system and he realized that the system was already scaled against these women.  Destiny represents the artist’s effort to humanize the countless women of color who, like Reynolds, who have been lost in the prison-industrial complex, whether they committed a crime or not.


Hyon Gyon
She’s A Riot
December 20, 2016 – February 5 , 2017
Shin Gallery
322 Grand St, New York

Hyon’s latest show, She’s a Riot is a veritable visual playground of found objects, painting and sculpture, fusing materials from satin to cement to create energetic and gestural works with an open dialogue.  Combining objects such as boxing gloves, gold leafing, sex toys, clothing, and linguistic markings in both English and Korean, Hyon allows the interpretation of each piece to be defined by the viewer… and this viewer felt the fire of sexual politics.  The passion, chaos, rage, and femininity of a woman’s personal riot in the current political landscape can be seen throughout the works, with the vibrant colors, physical gauging of the paint, tearing and pressing of materials into the canvas, and the placement and destruction of female objects creates a fiery and feminine event.


Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid
December 8, 2016 – January 21, 2017
Leila Heller Gallery
568 West 25th Street, New York

Leila Heller Gallery, New York, presents the oeuvre of the internationally acclaimed late, great architect Dame Zaha Hadid. For over 30 years Hadid engaged with architecture as a form of landscape painting, transforming the traditional hard, geometric edges of building into organic, liquid-like forms.  This show explores her innovation in materials and scale, from the delicately tactile to the high-gloss industrial. These signature elements in the evolution of her gesture translate into lyrical condensations in the interior, domestic, or personal space.

DECEMBER 5, 2016 

THREE MUST SEE EXHIBITIONS IN NEW YORK

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

art|REAL aims to capture the best of art and real estate in New York through collaborations with industry influencers, presenting curated content featuring artists, interviews with industry insiders, luxury real estate listings, related news and exclusive events that combine the two worlds in new and unexpected ways.

Ai Weiwei
Laundromat
November 5 – December 23, 2016
Deitch Projects
18 Wooster Street, New York

It has been a while since I’ve openly wept in a gallery, but Ai Weiwei’s first exhibition following his political imprisonment in China, heart-wrenchingly examines the displacement of the refugees, specifically in the Idomeni camp along the Greek/Macedonian border.  Ai Weiwei spent time in this camp among others. He saw the refugees live in squalor, be attacked by the police, and ultimately evicted to the long road to nowhere. Women, children, the elderly and disabled, walking the fields aimlessly, fearful, and broken. As the refugees left, Mr. Ai gathered the clothes and shoes they left behind. Back in his Berlin studio, he washed, pressed, and hung each piece, to honor their human dignity. The gallery is filled with racks of these clothes and shoes, sorted into men, women, boy, girl, and baby. The baby clothes are the hardest to see, imagining the story behind each child who wore each onesie. A film plays in the background documenting his time there, and you walk out of the gallery breathless, truly realizing the scale of this international emergency.


Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905 – 2016
October 28, 2016 – February 5, 2017
The Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York

This magical carpet ride through American video art from 1905 to present day, reminds us of the wonder of visual movement and allows us to rediscover an art form that has, in recent years, been neglected institutionally.  The show tracks not only moving image and technology but how artists have manipulated and transformed technology. The works alter space, form and time, to explore themes of identity and narrative, and thus blurring the line between reality and illusion. Make sure you check out the futuristic works by Hito Steyerl and the collaboration between Alex De Corte and Jayson Musson.


Terence Gower
Havana Case Study
November 6 – December 23, 2016
Simon Preston Gallery
301 Broome Street, New York

As the curtains draw on Cuba in the wake of the US lifting their embargo’s, Terence Gower examines American diplomatic architecture as a way to analyze US international relations through a series of installations. In the late 1940’s the US embarked on an ambitious embassy building program, employing the leading modern architects of the day. The architecture was designed to represent the aspirations and foreign policy of the government – simply, a dominant global force. Opening in 1953, and then closing in 1961, the embassy had remained an artifact of diplomatic relations until most recently when Obama once again flew the American flag in 2016. Gower re-created the Ambassador’s balcony at a 1:1 scale in the center of the gallery, flanked by a series of collaged prints which re-imagines the comprehensive architectural exhibition on the embassy building presented in the late 1950’s, at the height of the modernization and expansion in Havana.

 

December 5, 2016 

PUBLISHED: From High Finance to High Art: The Work of Sarah Meyohas

Monthly Correspondent for art|REAL

What if an artist traded stocks online in a gallery and visualized the moves in the market on a canvas? What if an artist created a digital currency called Bitchcoin that was backed by photography assets at a fixed exchange rate of 1 Bitchcoin to 25 square inches of photographic print? What if the artist took over the desolate Bell Labs Holmdel Complex and hired temps to pick tens of thousands rose petals to be captured as digital data? This is a mere sampling of the artwork created by the phenomenal Sarah Meyohas.

Meyohas was born and raised in New York, and she’s not your typical artist. At 24 years old, she has a finance degree from Wharton and started out by taking the precedential path of interning with Distressed Private Equity and Hedge Fund firms while in college. However, after completing a photographing class, her love for the arts was sparked and snowballed into her applying to Yale to complete her MFA.

Meyohas’s practice examines how we conceive value, understand value, and how it’s represented, traversing the world of finance and art. Her project Stock Performance 2016, comprised of her trading stocks online chosen subjectively based on their name or industry, with the goal of moving the stock price to see a visual change. Once the price moved, Meyohas would take an oil stick and draw from memory the movements of the stock onto a canvas.

She started out by trading Paradise Inc., and the broker called her up to tell her she was the only person in Paradise. Ultimately, she made the stock move by fully one-third of its market cap. Then she moved onto Patriot National Bancorp, whereby with each trade the lines did not move and the parallelism was subsequently reinforced on the canvas.

Next up was Neuromama, an $8 billion company that trades on the pink sheets. To Sarah, this stock seemed questionable since it’s a relatively unknown Russian search engine. She brought the stock price down by 13% and magically, at the end of the day someone pushed it right back up to where it was before she traded it. Another was Pope Resources. She pushed the Pope stock price between $61 and $65.5 three times, which, for a $300 million market cap company, is quite significant. As Sarah continued, the empty canvases on the gallery wall became filled with visual representations of value, exchange, and causality.

Meyohas confirmed, that upon completion of her gallery show the brokerage firms that she was trading through “broke up with her” and closed her accounts without explanation. Now, she has plans to turn these break-up letters into a new project.

Photography has a special place in Sarah’s heart and has stayed with her throughout her process. Speculation, a fine art photography series utilizes two-way mirrors to explore the constant exchange between light and subject matter. Again, we can see the themes of exchange, value, and reflection in her work. Sarah explains, “the notion of infinity and the void, ones and zeros, have always interested me”. Combining this with soft, feminine subject matter she creates luscious and desirable photographic abstractions.

Meyohas’s latest film project Clouds of Petals, to be exhibited in 2017, documents her four days in Bell Lab’s with a team of male temps and 10,000 roses of different colors and variety. Each day the men sat at stations picking and photographing each petal to produce a digital data set, totaling approximately 100,000. The perfect petals were then kept and pressed, approximately 3,200. The digital images of rose petals, petals turned into pixels, will live on in perpetuity while the actual decompose. The potential for this data to be reproduced in exponential ways, such the realm of virtual reality, film or photography is endless.

Meyohas effortlessly combines the grit of finance, value and exchange with the feminine softness of flowers, the body and mythology to generate an undeniable presence of soft power. Sarah’s undying curiosity, astounding intellect, and eye for beauty will ensure she has a place in prominent collections as she continues throughout her career.

For inquiries about Sarah’s work please contact info@mercercontemporary.com.

– Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant | info@mercercontemporary.com

November 18, 2016

Published: Heroine's of the Art World Take new york

Regardless of whom you are voting for in this election, the increased focus on issues affecting women has been at an all-time high, at least in my lifetime. Whether or not Hilary makes the White House, women are indeed commanding the 2016-2017 art season, with almost all the major New York institutions celebrating female artists.

On October 7th the highly anticipated retrospective of Agnes Martin (1912 – 2004) opened at The Guggenheim (until January 11, 2017). Martin was a fixture of the downtown artist community in the late 50’s and 60’s, mixing with Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman as they relished in the hype of Abstract Expressionism.

However, while the popular trend was towards the masculine gestural brushstroke, Martin honed her practice to become more reductive, methodical, and geometric. She worked continually in this restrained and delicate technique until her death in 2004 in New Mexico. As one of the few female artists who gained recognition in the male-dominated art world of the 1950’s and 60’s, her approach was an important pivot between Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.

The original Goddess, Carolee Schneeman (1932), who has been working since the 1960’s and achieved notoriety for her provocative 1964 performance of Meat Joy and then again in 1975 for her performance of Interior Scroll (you should Google them both). Schneeman has a two-part solo show, Further Evidence, which just opened at Gallerie Lelong and PPOW in Chelsea. Performance and the body are at the heart of Schneeman’s practice, and this survey of important works from the eighties, nineties and present day explores the representation of the body in captivity and visualizations of repressed histories of control and confinement.

The Queens Museum has a survey of another groundbreaking lady-boss of her time, Mierle Laderman Ukeles (1932). Since the 1960’s Ukeles has been combining performance, feminism and labor activism. Coining the term “Maintenance Art” she explores the roles of domestic labor, both at home and within the community. For over 30 years she has held an Artist in Residency with the New York City Sanitation Department, yes, that’s the Sanitation Department, and between 1983 and 2013 she has conducted The Work Ballets, using garbage trucks and other large machinery in a series of stunning performances across the world.

Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera (1915), at 101 years old is celebrating her long overdue retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The wonderfully strange and moody early works of Diane Arbus (1923 – 1971) from 1956-1962 are on view at The Met Breuer through November 27. The Swiss Artist, Pipilotti Rist (1962) is showing her unconventional retrospective of evolutionary video art at The New Museum, and be sure to go to the 4th floor to watch the video’s projected on the ceiling while you lay on a second-hand (but cleaned) bed.

On a daily basis, New York City continues to provide a never-ending buffet of the best of Culture. However, this force des femmes is a very special moment that transports us back to a time we relish in New York’s rich art history, when these badass women were fighting for their place in the Canon and not in the kitchen.

– Nicole Bray, Contemporary Art Consultant | info@mercercontemporary.com

Heroines of the art world.jpg

November 7, 2016

Nicole Bray awarded curator-in-residence

Excited to announce that Nicole Bray has been selected by the Curatorial Program for Research as one of the Curators-In-Residence in Mexico, February2017. She's looking forward to an intensive examination of the local artists, institutions and collections! Muchos Gracias! 

November 1, 2016

THREE MUST SEE EXHIBITIONS IN NEW YORK

Monthly correspondent for art|REAL

art|REAL aims to capture the best of art and real estate in New York through collaborations with industry influencers, presenting curated content featuring artists, interviews with industry insiders, luxury real estate listings, related news and exclusive events that combine the two worlds in new and unexpected ways.

Kerry James Marshall
Mastry
October 25, 2016 – January 29, 2017
The Met Breuer
945 Madison Avenue, New York

Take a moment to think about art history, the traditional landscape, religious and patron portraiture, the still life, and the Odalisque; these elements all comprise the Western canon of art. But where is the black figure or black culture within this history? Kerry James Marshall’s major monographic retrospective presents a broad range of pictorial traditions to counter stereotypical representations of black people in society and reassert the black figure within the canon of Western painting.  Yes, this is critical, and yes, this is long overdue but Marshall, who grew up in Birmingham Ala. 1955 during the Civil Rights Movement and then moved to Los Angeles in 1965 when Watts went up in flames, has absorbed both American history and African American history to become one of the greatest history painters of our time. Run, don’t walk to see this show.


Pipilotti Rist
Pixel Forest
October 26, 2016 – January 15, 2017
The New Museum
235 Bowery, New York

Certain to be the most instagramable show of the Fall, Pipilotti Rist’s retrospective of pioneering video art from the past 30 years mesmerizes and sensually engulfs the viewer in colorfully kaleidoscopic projections, drawing on both technology and nature. Each floor of the New Museum is a playground of innovation and imagination, transformed into a dream-like environment, complete with beds and cushions to lie on. This is the perfect show to see on a Sunday when you’re hung over and don’t want to waste the day on your sofa.


Mark Leckey
Containers and Their Drivers
October 23, 2016 – March 5, 2017
MoMA PS1
22 – 25 Jackson Ave, LongIsland City, New York

Turner Prize winner, Mark Leckey presents his largest exhibition of work to date at the MoMA’s alternative little sister space, PS 1 in Long Island City. An exploration of sound, performance, and sculpture, Leckey’s formally experimental practice examines the profound effect of technology on popular culture, the transition from analog to digital, and the forlorn of memory. From a giant inflatable Felix the Cat to the breakthrough video work that put him on the map, Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (1999), there is a dark humor and at times, a sinister feeling as you meander through this show.

OCTOBER 2016

Mercer Contemporary collaborates with european art consultancy velvenoir

European art consultancy firm, VELVENOIR announces a new collaboration with art consultancy and advisory, Mercer Contemporary, to focus on providing original art and creative solutions for hotels and private clients.

OCTOBER 2016

Three must see exhibitions in New york

Monthly correspondent for art|REAL

art|REAL aims to capture the best of art and real estate in New York through collaborations with industry influencers, presenting curated content featuring artists, interviews with industry insiders, luxury real estate listings, related news and exclusive events that combine the two worlds in new and unexpected ways.

OSGEMEOS
Silence of the Music
September 8 – October 22, 2016
Lehmann Maupin
536 West 22nd Street, New York

If you’ve recently walked past the intersection at 2nd Ave and 1st Street on your way to Ludlow House, you can’t help but notice the monumental mural by Brazilian duo, Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, otherwise known as OSGEMEOS. Their first solo New York show is a multi-sensory and immersive experience that embraces unbridled imagination and the vast possibilities of the subconscious. The floor-to-ceiling interactive exhibition at Lehmann Maupin pays tribute to the golden age of hip-hop during the 1970s and 1980s and the cultural influences of working class Brazil.


Rashid Johnson
Fly Away
September 8 – October 22, 2016
Hauser & Wirth
511 West 18th Street, New York

Forbes described this exhibition as possibly “the most important and timely [art] exhibition of the year.” The current landscape of explosive racial animosity compounded with incredible feats in Black artistry has resulted in a redefining of pop culture. Beyonce’s Lemonade, Kanye’s Life of Pablo, while they are fantastic entertainers, against the backdrop of the social landscape they cannot be simply viewed aesthetically – they are becoming political figures. Rashid Johnson’s tightly curated show is his personal expression of culture and his place within it.  The mesmerizing themes of anxiety, escape, and identity, have the viewer ask, “What is causing his anxiety?” Violence, injustice, explosive racial conflict, gender inequality, economic and political instability? His personal expression as an artist inevitably morphs into a political and social commentary.


Carmen Herrera
Lines of Sight
September 16, 2016 – January 2, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort St, New York

At 101 years old, Cuban-American painter Carmen Herrera continues to energetically and prolifically create minimalist abstract works. Described as a “Must See” museum show by Artnet, the exhibition consists of about 50 works, including, drawings, sculpture, and paintings that trace the arc of her career from the years between 1948 to 1978.

 

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