Tag Archive | "The Watermill Center"

Ashram: Art & Architecture’s Lasting Gesture

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Daniel Ashram's Hooded Figure.

Daniel Ashram’s The Formless Figure

By Dawn Watson

Architecture is more than the study of blueprints and building specs for Daniel Arsham. It’s a living, breathing thing to be experienced. It’s art.

Creating site-specific sculpture directly relating to the space in which it’s erected, the artist’s aim is to transform the entire area into a visceral, yet playful, interaction with the viewer.

“When we think about architecture, it’s the most lasting gesture we can make as human beings—art too, I suppose, although one could argue that architecture is the most visible and present,” says Arsham. “Therefore its disruption can be very uncanny and powerful, and this is where I’m trying to allow the work to reside, a place where people are a little bit shaken by the disruption of the familiar and the everyday.”

He is now working to install his newest piece, “The Formless Figure,” made of fiberglass, metal and plaster, at the Watermill Center. Located in the Water Mill-based artistic laboratory’s main rehearsal studio, the “draped figure, minus the figure,” according to exhibit curator Daneyal Mahmood, will be on view starting Saturday, April 4.

“The form, generated through negative space, looks like a plaster form coming through the wall,” he said during a telephone interview on Monday morning. “Imagine if, as when you were a child, you put a sheet over your head like you were pretending to be a ghost.”

The slightly larger than life-size sculpture, blends directly into the wall, creating an interaction between the work and the building, said Watermill Center special events manager Elise Herget during Monday’s interview with Mr. Mahmood. “It shows, as Daniel’s work often does, of how we walk into a space every single day without noticing our own interaction with that space. What he’s done is to mold or melt that space around you. It’s an amazing duo.”

Arsham, a growing name on the contemporary art circuit, is well known for his work in “Snarkitecture,” a collaborative and experimental artistic expression that he and co-creator Alex Mustonen dreamed up. The name pays homage to the Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of The Snark,” which describes an “impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature.”

“Snarkitecture investigates the unknown within architecture – the indefinable moments created by manipulating and reinterpreting existing materials, structures and programs to spectacular effect,” says Arsham. “Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected.”

The work is “simply hypnotic,” said Mr. Mahmood, who described himself as a big fan. One of the things he loves most, he said, is that it’s instantly accessible to everyone, from children to art critics. “Whether you have a vocabulary about contemporary art or not, Daniel resonates with everybody.”

The busy artist is in high demand as of late. He’s currently collaborating on a film project with Watermill Founder Robert Wilson, who says he appreciates the arresting quality to Arsham’s work.

“I see in Daniel’s work something very personal, a unique visual vocabulary,” he said. “Through sculpture, drawing and performance, Arsham challenges our perceptions of physical space in order to make architecture perform the improbable. The surfaces of walls appear to melt, erode and ripple. Animals contemplate the emergence of floating shapes in nature. Sculptures from antiquity are infused with rigid, geometric forms.”

The New York-based artist recently completed a project with musician and producer Pharrell Williams. For that collaboration, Arsham recreated Williams’s first keyboard, presented as a relic, in volcanic ash. He’s also recently worked with actor James Franco on a “The Future Relic” film series based on his casts everyday objects—such as eroding laptops, cell phones, and cameras—made to resemble archaeological finds made from volcanic ash and plaster.

Current and upcoming exhibitions include:” A Special Project for Leica” at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles, “Remember the Future” at the CAC in Cincinatti, and solo exhibits at Galerie Perrotin in Manhattan in November and at SCAD in Savannah next spring. Additionally, Arsham’s work has been shown at MoMA PS1 in New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, The Athens Bienniale in Greece, The New Museum In New York, Mills College Art Museum in California and Carré d’Art de Nîmes in France.

“The Formless Figure” will open with a public reception at the Watermill Center on Saturday, April 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. Arsham will give an artist’s talk at Watermill on June 6 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit watermillcenter.org

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 8 to 10

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"Stable Disfunction" by Holton Rower is on view at the Eric Firestone Gallery this weekend.

“Stable Disfunction” by Holton Rower is on view at the Eric Firestone Gallery this weekend.

By Tessa Raebeck

Here’s our list of things to do on the East End this weekend, because no one’s going to honk at you at an art gallery:

Two New York galleries, the Eric Firestone Gallery and The Hole, are collaborating on “Storage Wars” in East Hampton.

“‘Storage Wars,’” the galleries said in a press release, “examines the fundamental reality that much contemporary art resides in a crate or wrapped in plastic. Aside from the relatively brief period of its presentation in a white gallery, the lifespan of the artwork is dominated by languishing in storage between exhibitions. Galleries, and increasingly collectors, have extensive storage spaces packed with artworks. In an effort to reveal the previously unseen or briefly seen artworks in our inventories, Eric Firestone Gallery and The Hole will present a selection of this cache ‘as is.’ The gallery will be stacked with crates opened to reveal their previously secreted away contents.”

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, August 9, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Eric Firestone Gallery, located at 4 Newtown Lane in East Hampton.

A self-portrait of Salvio Mizzi from the artist's Facebook page.

A self-portrait of Savio Mizzi from the artist’s Facebook page.

 

At Salon Xavier in Sag Harbor, East Hampton artist Savio Mizzi will be featured, with an opening reception on Saturday, August 9 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Mr. Mizzi will show the paintings he creates at his East Hampton studio at the salon, which is located at 1A Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-6400.

 

From 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 10, The Watermill Center hosts Discover Watermill Day, an afternoon of art installations, performances, workshops and tours for the sole wanderer or the whole family.

The Center’s eight landscaped acres will be entirely open for the public to move at their own speed around the installations, performances, sculptures and artifacts. Artists from over 30 countries, who are participating in The Watermill Center’s International Summer Arts Program, will be on hand. Tours of the center and collection will take place throughout the day, and the current exhibition, “Portraits of Lady Gaga,” by founder and artistic director Robert Wilson, will also be on view.

The Watermill Center is located at 39 Watermill Towd Road in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 726-4628.

 

Multi-media Artist Jayoung Chung in Residence at the Watermill Center

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"Drawing YOU," 2013 by Jayoung Chung. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“Drawing YOU,” 2013 by Jayoung Chung. Photo courtesy of the artist.

By Tessa Raebeck

“Like the Moon, I am constant. My work, however, keeps changing like the moonshape which is changing all the time,” says Jayoung Chung, the newest artist in residence at the Watermill Center in Water Mill.

Starting her residency this week, Ms. Chung will be at the Watermill Center through April 6 working on her visual and performance art piece “Performing with You,” which incorporates drawing, music and technology into a performance. Primarily a visual artist, Ms. Chung is also a musician, animator, filmmaker and storyteller and most of her work is multi-media. A native of South Korea, she has exhibited her work in both solo and group shows worldwide.

In “Performing with You,” Ms. Chung has embedded 12 strings made of conductive wire, paint and tape within a sheet of paper. The artist creates a multi-dimensional portrait of an individual in the drawing performance. As she draws with charcoal, the instrument touches the stings, generating sounds in real time through a computer program. The act of drawing creates the sounds and the sounds in turn affect digitized, moving images projected on screens. The drawing, words and sounds all interact with one another to create a multi-dimensional portrait.

"Drawing, as composing and performance," 2012 by Jayoung Chung. Courtesy of the artist.

“Drawing, as composing and performance,” 2012 by Jayoung Chung. Photo courtesy of the artist.

During her six weeks in residency at the Watermill Center, Ms. Chung hopes to create and record a series of 40 performance portraits.

“Above all, I want my art to be yours,” the artist explains in her bio, “I want it to be a sweet whisper, a consolation and happiness for you. I want your story to be revealed beautifully through my sensitivities, and approach you as nature’s wonder. For you.”

Six-Hour, Multimedia Experience Challenges Conventions of Performance Art at the Watermill Center

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Kenneth Collins, Alaina Ferris and John Sully of the New York City-based performance group Temporary Distortion. Photo by Scott Fetterman.

Kenneth Collins, Alaina Ferris and John Sully of the New York City-based performance group Temporary Distortion. Photo by Scott Fetterman.

By Tessa Raebeck

The same performance could be enjoyed for 15 minutes or six hours—the only necessity is that the audience member has an autonomous, unique experience.

In “My Voice Has An Echo In It,” a new durational performance by the New York City based group Temporary Distortion, the traditional boundaries of performance and art are challenged in a six-hour, installation-based performance with live music, text and video. Temporary Distortion will present its latest work at The Watermill Center on Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m.

The performance comes at the end of the group’s two-week residency at the center, where its members have been developing the project, creating a site-specific installation and adjusting the ever-evolving final product.

Founded in 2002 by Kenneth Collins, Temporary Distortion has shown in venues across the world, including in Australia, the Czech Republic and Japan. According to the group, its  multimedia art “explores the potential tensions found between practices in visual art, theater, cinema and music.” Most recently, its focus has been on long, durational, installation-based performance with live music. Saturday will mark the first time the ensemble will consecutively perform all six hours of the material for “My Voice Has An Echo In It.”

Although the piece will run six hours in its entirety—and performers Alaina Ferris, Scott Fetterman, John Sully and Mr. Collins will perform throughout it—audience members are encouraged to come and go as they please.

“The audience can interface with it for however long they want to,” TJ Witham of The Watermill Center explained. “The audience is 100 percent in control, you can come and sit for the entire six hours if you want or you can experience it, go away and come back.”

The center is hosting a tour at 2 p.m., so that visitors can see the piece has started, take a tour of the building, grounds and art collection, and then reengage with the piece after their tour.

During its residency in Water Mill, the group has installed a corridor on-site in the center’s dining room space, alongside pieces from the art collection. While the performers are inside the enclosed box playing music and reciting text, accompanied by screens flashing text, images and video, the audience will use headphones to hear the material.

At the group’s New York City studio, it has installed a 24-by-6-foot hallway, which completely encloses the performers in a freestanding, soundproof box. Spectators watch the performance through two-way mirrors, so the audience can see inside the box, but the performer can only see his or her reflection. Following this weekend’s premiere, Temporary Distortion is bringing the show on tour through the United States and to France, using similar installations that interact with each building it visits.

“So what they’re presenting on Saturday is almost, in essence, like a dress rehearsal for them,” said Mr. Witham, adding the content of Saturday’s performance is yet undetermined, as the group is “creating it as they go along.”

Unlike traditional performances, the audience at “My Voice Has an Echo in It” is discouraged from trying to follow a progressive storyline or piece together some sort of plot; the intent is for people to engage, disengage and reengage, to create their own experience from what the group provides.

“The fact that an audience member could come at 2 p.m. and stay all the way to 8 p.m. and just listen to the music and hear the performance in the entirety and then someone else could come at 7:30 and be there until 8 and still have their own experience; that is a completely unique performative experience,” said Mr. Witham.

“It has the feeling,” he continued, “it’s connected with both performance and gallery installation, performance art installation—it’s extending the boundaries of what we consider performance and that’s obviously 100 percent at the core of what we do at Watermill and the kind of art what we want to support.”

The Watermill Center is committed to showcasing artists who are “doing what no one else is doing,” in the words of the center’s, Robert Wilson, and Mr. Witham said Temporary Distortion was an obvious choice for the residency program’s selection committee.

Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of theater and performance art, Watermill founder Mr. Wilson is known for his durational work. One of his earliest pieces, “The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin,” was 12 hours long.

“My Voice Has an Echo in It” will premiere Saturday, February 22, at the Watermill Center, 39 Water Mill Towd Road in Water Mill. The performance will run from 2 to 8 p.m. Reservations are free but required and can be made online here. For the 2 p.m. tour of the Watermill Center, reservations can be made here. For more information, visit The Watermill Center.