guest-curated by Con Artist Collective!!!
The Culturefix Interview: Audrey Ryan and Sessa Englund of Con Artist Collective (MEMBERS ONLY Group Show, 9.17-9.22)
Johnny Sagan: Hi Audrey!
Sessa Englund: How are you?
Johnny Sagan: Hey! So, this is Johnny Sagan, of Culturefix Gallery, this is Sessa Englund, this is Audrey Ryan. I just wanted to get a couple of verbatim quotes in addition to what has already been published about the show. I love that the theme is, you know…nude portraiture. I mean, what could be more interesting than that?!? But yeah, tell me more.
Sessa Englund: The theme is nude self-portraits—
Johnny Sagan: Nude SELF-portraiture, even better!
Sessa Englund: It came out of—well, I started organizing this group show as a way for Con Artist Collective to do something together. And it occurred to me, ah, as we were talking about themes, that nude self-portraiture is…well, kind of like the most, ah…one of those questions where either, like, whatever you make on that subject is going to be very telling—you know, about yourself, as…your comfort level, and how…you yourself, as like a public person, you know, or a private person. And that’s kind of like why that theme really—
Johnny Sagan: Appealed.
Sessa Englund: —appealed to me. Haha. Yes.
Audrey Ryan: Yeah, and I…at first, when we heard about the show, we thought that it was going to be…portraits of each other. Which I was really interested in, and…we thought it would be really hilarious. But I think that the self-portrait actually lends itself to…more substantial works? And less…pure theater.
Sessa Englund: Right. Because yeah, it’s a fun theme, but I think also that…seeing as it is, you know, the whole idea of like turning the eye of the artist on…on yourself, and in such like a vulnerable and, ah…exposed, you know…ah, situation, is just…yeah, a more interesting but still fun take on that. So that’s why I thought it would be a really cool thing to do as a group, and also it’s such an awkward, you know, theme. And I feel like with an awkward theme, you’re going to get some really…hopefully, some really fun, weird art. And that’s what I’m hoping, at least, for the show.
Johnny Sagan: So, um…for me, like, I don’t know. I’m definitely a product of my time, but I feel like…the age of the Internet has like brought to a head, like, this ongoing cultural conflict that we inherited as, like, the children of the Baby Boomers, about like sex and society, that has really been like slowly working itself out, like, in the West, since like the Victorian period at least. Um, I mean, the Marquis de Sade was a key figure in not just the sexual revolution, but the French Revolution, and now, with globalization happening, we’re seeing a recapitulation of, like, debates over, like, sex as this, like, powerful political force in society as well as an elemental, like, force of our…in our being. And as a curator in the New York art scene, I feel like there’s actually about to be a wave of, like, erotic art coming out—
Sessa Englund: Totally.
Johnny Sagan: —that I feel your show is a harbinger of—
Audrey Ryan: Mm-hm.
Johnny Sagan: —because like…as the, like, cultural conflict having to do with the values of the millennial generation—growing up online and growing up with like a really…proactive interest in transparency and stuff like that—starts to come to a head in the case of the PRISM Project and Occupy Wall Street and all of these, like, moments where shit is getting real in terms of, like, all of the exploration of how we should live that is being done online, you know, um…I feel like our generation’s ability to, like, present ourselves online nude without shame—
Sessa Englund: Well—
Johnny Sagan: —in the face of the CIA…yeah, so, I’m just saying yeah, how do you guys feel about this zeitgeist?
Sessa Englund: Well, I think what’s interesting, and like, a key difference between like the, the Baby Boomers’ sexual revolution and all that, and what we’re seeing today with the Internet, is that most of…I, I feel like most of the nudity, or the…the kind of…what’s getting a lot of attention, is unintentional nudity. Like, not actually like a choice, but people’s privacy being invaded? So I think it’s like…I also think there’s just too much obsession, or like assumption, of nudity and sexuality or eroticism?
Johnny Sagan: Yes.
Sessa Englund: And I think that, like, the two…obviously we’ve seen through history that the two are not…you know, directly, always interlinked. And I think that, um, you know, nudity is just as much about the actual, physical body as a political being, as well as like a sexual, you know—
Johnny Sagan: No, that’s why I feel it has a revolutionary potential. It has the ability to survive the sexual connotations with dignity unscathed, but then the elemental, animalistic, like, core unit of human rights is, like, the embodied consciousness that is a human being.
Audrey Ryan: Right, exactly. And it’s really interesting, with just the Digital Age and whatnot, how…how, you know, it is so transparent, and…but really, at the same time, it’s also so…exploitative, almost.
Johnny Sagan: Yeah…mystifying.
Audrey Ryan: Well, I think also, too, the Internet has become a very important part in people’s human and sexual development.
Johnny Sagan: Yes.
Audrey Ryan: And I think that, you know, children…as…children now—you know, we…started to grow up in it, but I think children now are really discovering themselves through technology. Through iPhones, through the Internet, and I think that in…we don’t really have any privacy anymore. And I think that, ah…you know, things like pornography, sex tapes, things like that, ah…sometimes maybe need to be more embraced, rather than kind of skeletons in the closet.
Johnny Sagan: Yeah! Anthony Weiner, shoutout to Anthony Weiner!
Johnny Sagan: If he were to win—I mean, I think it’s showing us that he actually had some character flaws that…mean that he shouldn’t win, but if he were to win, it would at least signal that people were acknowledging that everyone has, like, a freaky sexualside.
Sessa Englund: It’s like, for me it’s more a problem of like, it’s hard for me to take him serious anymore. I mean, I don’t…like, what my friend said—which, I agreed—is like, I liked him before he became the Charlie Sheen of the electoral…you know.
Johnny Sagan: Yeah, no, he was great!
Sessa Englund: He was great! And now it’s just like…it’s, it’s…yeah, I don’t know. I’m…it’s kind of, like, difficult, I feel, to vote for him now. But that’s just me, personally.
Johnny Sagan: No no, I wouldn’t now…
Sessa Englund: But, you know, he’s welcome to show up at the show, that would be awesome. If he wanted to submit…
Johnny Sagan: And then, um, I guess the only other thing that I feel, um—because I think these are going to be some great quotes. The other thing I’d want to get from you guys is just, um…you know, Fall 2013. I just received the email about your guys’ fundraising to be in Select Fair down at Art Basel this winter, and I’m just wondering, like, between Select Fair and this show here, and…this neighborhood increasingly blowing up in the art world, like, what are your guys’, like, planned power moves with the Con Artist Collective, you know?
Sessa Englund: (to Audrey) You probably have a better understanding of, like, everything that’s going on.
Johnny Sagan: Yeah, like, what’s the State Of The Union?
Audrey Ryan: What’s happening? Um, well, we actually just—a couple days ago—started putting up the…well, we started about a week or so ago, but, um…yeah, we’re now…street level. So we are no longer just underground, we are, you know, seeing sunlight now. So I think that that’s going to increase traffic.
Sessa Englund: Yes, definitely.
Johnny Sagan: And what’s the address again?
Audrey Ryan: 119 Ludlow.
Sessa Englund: And that is between…?
Audrey Ryan: That is between Rivington and Delancey.
Johnny Sagan: Love it, love it.
Audrey Ryan: Um, and then…what else do we have? Oh! We’re…launching a residency program.
Johnny Sagan: Very cool.
Sessa Englund: Called Epic Epoch.
Johnny Sagan: Very cool!
Audrey Ryan: Yeah, so that’s, that’s very exciting.
Sessa Englund: And yeah, hopefully the fair, the you know, um…the Miami art fair. We’ll see…if that works out. (to Sessa) Isn’t that, like…?
Audrey Ryan: No, it’s gonna happen. We’re gonna go, it’s a thing! Like, no matter how much we fundraise, we’re still going, and it’s going to be great.
Johnny Sagan: Well, and the thing that I’d like to invite our gallery and your gallery to work on together and to aspire to for 2014 is, I think we should make our own art fair on the Lower East Side.
Audrey Ryan: Yeah, totally. I think that’s a great idea!
Sessa Englund: That’s a great idea, and we have it on tape now.
Johnny Sagan: Okay, cool, so that’s gonna be #GOALZ. Official #GOALZ for this collaboration, so thank you guys so much, and I will write this up and we’ll talk about it, but thank you guys, I can’t wait for the show!
Sessa Englund: Yeah, thanks!
Audrey Ryan: Yeah, cool!
Selected Artist Bios For Members Only by Con Art Collective (MEMBERS ONLY Group Show, 9.17-9.22)
Full list of Members Only participating artists:
Brooklyn-based painter Charlotte Segall is best known for her use of sheep shearing as framework for anatomical associations. She suggests abjection in disorganized bodies and realms of possibility in animate wool. In 2013 Segall exhibited at The Painting Center, was selected by Donald Kuspit to exhibit at First Street Gallery in New York, NY, and was selected for publication in Studio Visit Magazine by Barbara O’Brien, Executive Director of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. She also appeared in New American Paintings 86 and participated in the Triangle Arts Association Workshop in 2012.
Meghan Borah was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. She received her Bachelors in Studio Art at Boston College, and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Miranda Louise Nichols
Miranda Louise Nichols is a Brooklyn based mixed-media artist whose work focuses on audience participation. She values the exploration of the grey area between high and low art, and challenging the notion of art as precious or untouchable. Through use of magnetic puzzle pieces and imagery altered and obscured by social media, pen and ink, she hopes to simulate the primordial soup of visual information in the human subconscious. The work she has created for “Members Only” is her first exploration of interactive self-portraiture, and she looks forward to seeing audience interpretations and reconstructions of her body and expressed identity.
Laura Tack, Belgian born artist based in NY
I share a quest: crossing genres and mediums, reaching back to the roots of humanity in order to explore the vast land of the collective mind. Where do we come from. How did it begin. The cadences of the universe inform all artworks, ancient and modern alike, shaped itself into a Universal Substance -
Sessa Englund is a NYC and Sweden based artist and curator working across media and disciplines. Previous shows include Problematic (BK), Napolen Complex(NY) , Flower of Habit (NY) and Pending (NYC). Her work explores the boundaries of personal and public space within design and commodities, and investigates the collective culture of systemized art distribution. For Members Only Englund sought to pose the participating artists in an situation where the resulting works are genuine, revealing and self examinatory. Sessa Englund received a BFA in Visual Arts at The School of Art+Design, NY 2013
Christopher Adrian Quizhpe
Christopher Adrian Quizhpe is a New York based artist who explores the unconventional with a geometric personality. Always In search of a new perspective and a challenge he utilizes different mediums to develop a unique and introspective creation. Formally trained as an architect he introduces certain architectural techniques and designs based on the city he lives and thrives in. Quizhpe contributes his inspiration to an unyielding need to create something that might be perceived more than understood. As a member of the ConArtist Collective Quizhpe looks to establish his unique point of view on the art world.
Sonja Lessley, a Brooklyn based artist/painter draws inspiration from many places, such as her love and compassion for animals and the environment. Sonja admires the filmmaking of Bergman, Lynch, and Kubrick; as well as the paintings of Hopper, Caravaggio, and Richter. She enjoys cooking, eating and people watching. Thoughts on nudity and our culture: ”I find, culturally, we are inundated, particularly through social media, with flesh and a kind of ’false psychological nudity.’ We have become a culture of multifaceted exhibitionists. Yet, metaphorically, our collective cultural psyche seems to be backtracking towards an antiquated time of intolerance and fear of ‘true exposure.’ So to find true raw beauty, vulnerability, and transparency, we must look creatively through a more open and universal lens in unlikely places…rather than accepting what we see at face value.” Sonja recieved a BFA from CU Boulder and and MFA from SMFA, Boston. Currently resides in East Flatbush Brooklyn.
Rebecca Sherman is a visual artist living is Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Columbus Ohio and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Studio ART from New York University in 2003. Her artwork is inspired by New York City’s constant evolution, collective memory, imaginary picture and ultimate essence. Her creative process involves a series repetitive re-interpretations; extending the dialog from one artistic medium and making it available for further elaboration in new media, context and experience. The quixotic reconstruction of the city paints a visual soundtrack for the intangible experience of its changing space. For Members Only, Rebecca integrated her nude figure with reflective, architectural forms. Nudity is no longer shocking or taboo in her generation. However, it still evokes a raw vulnerability.
Tag Brum is a Brooklyn based artist from Brazil working with digital media deconstruction. His pieces are disintegrations of photographs meant to systematically reorder the senses through the deconstruction of digital media. He does not wish to reproduce genres used in the past, rather he chooses to make new statements and juxtapositions from these old memories and the new tools we have. That’s his inspiration. The piece in the Member’s Only show is a good example of that. This nude portrait overlaps a fine and indistinguishable line linking the lascivious and the sublime. Nudes speak to us at the deepest levels of our being; a concept entrenched in our genetic code. Its execution and style largely defines, in artistic terms, the harmony of the old and the new. Digital and analog at the same time.
Audrey Ryan/Paul John
Audrey Ryan is a drawer/painter currently living in the NYC/Jersey City area. Heavily autobiographical and obsessed with the human figure, her work is a battle of Void and Substance. Together with life partner/collaborator Paul John, they are MADP$$YTAT$. With a BFA in Drawing/Painting and a BS Degree in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz, Audrey is currently transitioning out of “Senior Marketing Intern” to “Real Employee?” at Con Artist Collective and Gallery.
Maria Petrovskaya is a NYC based artist, she is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts. Recent shows include “Born 4porn” at Lyons Wier gallery and Whitebox benefit for Ai Wei Wei. "The painting "Superwoman" is inspired by many generations of male painters and the role of women in the nude scenes throughout art history. Most of them manifest the triumph of male power and certain helplessness and vulnerability of women. I feel that images portraying the triumph of a female power are still rare, particularly in the Judeo-Christian tradition. My painting traces back to such classical images of nude women as Eve being purged from Eden, Mary Magdalene and Botticelli’s Venus among others. “Superwoman” serves as a protector and a guard- she is armed with a shield and a spear that helps her to control the snake lying at her feet. She represents a triumph of unsuppressed femininity and strength. She also symbolizes the power of love, as love conquers all.
Sarah Wang is a Harlem based artist working in paint and photography. Her art is inspired by her relationship with the urban environment and those who live within it. Nudity in our generation brings to mind sex and desire. In her “Kiss My Lips” painting Sarah expresses her own desire in love life. Sex is a form of power, which is used most frequently for the sale of everything from popsicles to cotton swabs. Those who hold this power are also those who withhold their power. To have desire results in both pain and pleasure, as Sarah reveals in her piece.
Daniel Lamanna 25yr old, born in Brooklyn. Experienced in many different fields, love and done graffiti on and off since age 10, from large blue color family and neighbourhood. Inspired by music, comics, sheets and life experience.
Shaina Yang is an Ohioan born, Californian raised, Taiwanese cultured, Chinese rooted American artist living in New York City. She owns a self-distancing humor and along with sculpture and drawing in arsenal, she does without knowing. Having grown up in a household where taboos were wrapped in silence and nakedness was certainly covered up she says, “a relationship with nudity is simply a relationship, a personal journey to those in it…time helps, times change”. See her creations: www.shainayang.info
Elke Reva Sudin
Elke Reva Sudin is a Brooklyn based visual artist who draws inspiration from urban culture and her Jewish heritage. Her work is complex in its intimacy with ritual and culture, and explores how to live contemporaneously while adapting ancient myth and ritual. Brooklyn being the world’s ironic intersection of artists and religious Jews is the setting of inspiration and of strife for Elke caught in the middle. At first glance, Elke’s self-portrait does not seem exposed, but is in fact extremely nude in the context of her religiousity, as it exposes her long lushes hair. Elke follows the Jewish tradition for married women to cover her hair, a practice with reverence for the holiness of hair by protecting it’s spiritual energy. “People only know me for the way I present myself in public [with hair wrapped]. This portrait is an intimate way to see how I see myself. It is the most exposed I have ever been in my artwork and is not something people do in the religious Jewish world.” Elke’s view of modesty is that it is shaped by the culture and an individual standard. Expectations, not of the body, are what make something exposed. Follow her atwww.elkerevasudin.com
My name is Nicole Salomon, I’m 27 years old and from Queens Village, NY. I have a Bachelors in Fine Arts with a concentration in Illustration from St. John’s University and a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Mercy College. I was raised in New York all my life and I’ve always had a passion for art. Lately I have been pushing myself to go beyond my comfort zone. I started drawing again after stopping for about a year or so. I decided the first thing I wanted to do as an artist was to share my artwork with other people. I have displayed work at the Greenpoint Art Gallery in Brooklyn, NY for their small works summer art show in July 2013 and joined Con Artist in order to be apart of a supportive and creative art community. Being involved with Con Artist and participating in non academic related art shows is a first for me. I look forward to where this journey will take me and I just want to continue to learn and grow as a better artist.
Megan Tatem is a self-taught photographer based in New York City, with an interest in documenting American lifestyles. Megan studied at Parsons, The New School for Design, where she realized and developed her passion for photography while pursuing a degree in business administration. By attending local art shows in lower Manhattan, Megan was inspired to document through photography both her life and its environments; and, having been exposed at these shows to work by artists similar in age to her, Megan knew she could redefine the snapshot aesthetic by making it beautiful, poetic, and candid. Megan’s work consists of snapshots of things most familiar, and things unbeknownst to her.
Ryan Wijayaratne is an Australian/ Sri Lankan actor and artist. Working largely in photography and drawing, his main goal when creating work is to be as honest as possible about the people in his life. It is a goal that he believes is yet to be attained. This piece in Members Only is of particular importance to him given it was the last photo of him with his long hair of five years. It is also, as of this minute, the last photo he took naked. He currently resides in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Eric Triton is a photographer living in the Lower East Side. Eric began taking photographs as a child, as his father was an amatuer photographer, and decided to never stop. Eric went to college in order to study photography and then moved to New York to pursue his passion. You can find him at Con Artist taking self portraits on any given night.
From her empirical experiences, Lädy Millard “re-appropriates” common iconography … to not only claim her power but also to reference the pervasive force of its imagery. As a social commentator and street anthropologist, Lädy incorporates her environment to manipulate the audience’s view in the reality that they live in. Lady changes our perspective on the definition of “Lädy” itself. She is not only an artist but a movement.
Jessica Prusa is a multimedia artist currently based in Brooklyn. Her work explores self representation, online authenticity and existentialism and has been exhibited in Barcelona and Brooklyn.
As an installation artist, I am extremely interested in studying materials. I believe that creation is momentary in its definition of us. This thought has brought me to the use of temporal materials that have varying results. By witnessing the gestation period I allow a personal exploration of anxiety generated by balancing purpose and control with accepting the realities of time and its fleetingness. Natania Frydman is an artist from and based in NYC.
Julia Pascone was born in Nova Friburgo, Brazil and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is currently based out of Philadelphia, PA. She received her B.F.A. from Parsons the New School for Design and has studied at the Cooper Union and Fashion Institute of Technology. Her work consists of drawings, paintings, silkscreen prints and hand painted textiles depicting a sense of place and a personal connection to landscape. She creates visual maps of places she has been as a documentation and celebration of local signage and culture.
We are very excited to announce our first off-site exhibition featuring the work of six gallery assistants from Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space: CR Johnson, Enrique Figueredo, Anjelee Miranda, Heidi Russell, Marne Meisel and Mirian Varela.
If you’re in New York, be sure not to miss Source on view at Superchief Gallery at culturefix Bar & Gallery in the Lower East Side through September 1, 2013. The opening reception is this Thursday (tomorrow!) and will be overflowing with good company, great artwork and mini cupcakes generously donated by Prohibition Bakery.
Opening Tonight: Three’s A Crowd, Curated By Matthew Eck
Three’s A Crowd, curated by Matthew Eck
Three’s A Crowd will explore a collaboration between the sculpture and paintings of David Jacobs and the assemblages and paintings of Denise Treizman.
Matthew Eck will comment on the collaborative works by incorporating elements of each piece into his photography.
Facebook Event HERE: https://www.facebook.com/events/658324150845431/?directed_target_id=0
Opening Tonight: BUST Magazine 25th Anniversary Show - LADIES REPRESENT
It’s been many moons in the making, but we’re excited to announce the opening of LADIES REPRESENT!, an all-female, all-awesome art show opening next week.
Bust Magazine, in collaboration with digital art and cultural collective Superchief, has curated an amazing lineup of female artists from all over the U.S. Works range from the intricate wheat pastes of street artist Swoon to E.V. Day’s gravity-defying installations and new diptychs by photographer Jaimie Warren, among others.
The show will run from August 13-18 at the Superchief Gallery at Culturefix (9 Clinton St. between Stanton and Houston).
BUST will host an opening reception on Thursday, August 15 from 6-9 PM. 21+
Including work from the following artists:
Beth Hoeckel, Dame Darcy, E.V. Day, Caroline Hwang, Veronica Ibarra, Alexis Mabry, Laura McMillian, Claw Money, Kembra Pfahler, Martha Rich, Beatrice Schleyer, Lauren Silberman, Heather Vernon, Jaimie Warren, Amy Watanabe, Esther Pearl Watson, Martynka Wawryniak, Sarah Wilmer, Swoon, Twiggs
Plus DJ Crew It’s Your Pick aka AgoodLhooq and Judy B will be dropping vinyl all night. Check them out at Itsyourpicknyc.tumblr.com.
Superchief Gallery At Culturefix Presents: The VICE 2013 Photo Show—Collaborations
Gallery Exhibit: Vice Magazine Annual Photo Show, ‘Collaborations’, 7/16-7/28, Open For Viewing Thursday 7/18
The Vice Magazine Annual Photo Show is hanging with us in the Superchief Gallery at Culturefix this year!
Vice Magazine is one of the favorite magazines of several people on our team, including Yours Truly, so it is with the utmost pride and excitement that we can now announce to you that we are hosting their curation of photographers for current art show, coinciding with the release of Vice’s Photo Issue 2013, entitled ‘Vice 2013 Photo Show: Collaborations’, and featuring a formidable host of globally great photographers, many of them in incredible collaborations:
Bridget Collins/Dear Madiera Collective; Ben Pier/Peter Sutherland; Alec Soth; Lele Saveri/Francesco Deiana; Martin Parr; Henry Hargreaves/ Amirah Kassem; Synchrodogs; Jerry Ricciotti; Jaimie Warren; Richard Kern/Kim Gordon; Gary Indiana/Tracy Emin; Barry McGee/Jim Goldberg; Sandy Kim/Maggie Lee; Ryan McGinley/Marilyn Minter/ Roe Etheridge/Collier Schorr; Petra Collins/Arvida Bystrom; Tim Freccia/Gerald Slota; Asger Carlsen/Roger Ballen; Jim Mangan/Tadayoshi Honda
The show will be on public view here starting today, Thursday, July 18 through Sunday, July 28, with our gala public opening party occurring next week on Thursday, July 25, 8pm-11pm, details TBA in next week’s newsletter and calendar entries, Vice Photo Issue 2013 perusable online now here: http://www.vice.com/magazine/20/7.
Opening Night Interview: An Oral History Of Fitness Gallery, Part 1
Tonight is the opening of our Fitness Gallery show, and in celebration of this momentous occasion, here is Part 1 of our vast and exhaustive oral history of this like-minded Brooklyn gallery. There is a LOT more to go, but this selection of pithy and whimsically apropos moments from the several hours of conversations I recorded quite nicely sets up the true-to-life epic of Fitness Gallery and this show in celebration of the first summer of its first—and quite momentous—year of existence, Inna Interview Verite’ Style:
Interview with Jessica Mensch
7/8/13 1:34PM at Culturefix
Okay, so, this is Johnny Sagan, getting ready for the Fitness Gallery show at The Superchief Gallery at Culturefix, and I’m here with one of the artists, who has just dropped off a painting.
What’s your name, and what’s the name of this painting?
Ah, it’s a true story. Ah…
The painting is called Sevens.
Alright, tell me about this painting.
When did you start on it, what are the materials?
Like two weeks ago.
It’s oil on canvas.
And it’s…ah, I have this project I’m working on that’s like, I’m taking like miniature sets and stuff and putting people in them.
Like green-screening people in, and it’s kinda like a sci-fi melodrama with like some of the pyramids.
And this is sort of like a…
[gestures at painting]
…it’s like a weird form of a pyramid, like, in its pre-pyramid state, like it’s being built from the top down.
[gestures at painting]
…this is like this time…window, or so?
Like, into another dimension?
And so…these characters are paper characters, in this, like…paper room?
Oh really? So you have, like, a diorama in your studio?
And how many other paintings are there in the series so far?
Yeah, and these are all characters from this video I made called The Fuzz.
And for a couple of characters, I took photos of the stills, and then cut them out and made dolls of these characters.
That’s so cool.
The original Fuzz video is like this drama set in the paper rainforest.
And there’s, like, a Santa-Banshee…
This character—he emerges from a coffin.
[gestures at painting]
He’s like an Egyptian king, but, like…from the future.
So it’s…yeah. And that’s the Santa-Banshee, actually.
Oh, the middle character?
Yeah, and this emblem…
[gestures at painting]
…is the emblem of a woman on his coffin.
I’ll send you The Fuzz.
No, I’d love that, I’ll send you my contact information.
I’d love to see everything about it.
And then, do you have a series of these artworks that you’ve shown in galleries before, or do you have any coming up?
Yeah, I have a show coming up in January in Montreal, where I’m from.
Like, I just moved here in March.
But The Fuzz I showed at Visual Voice Gallery in Montreal. I can send you some paintings from that.
And, ah, where’s your studio in New York?
Right now it’s at my house, because I just moved here.
Where is that?
Oh, Bed-Stuy, nice…that’s great.
So I guess…we’ll just incorporate this into the info for the show, and I’ll give you my contact info, and we can look at some images and stuff.
Yeah, I can send you more stuff.
I know this might sound a bit fragmented.
No, no, it totally makes sense to me!
No, I just wanted to know more…I just wanted to know, like, more of the story, you know?
Interview with Miles Pflanz & Laura Bluer
7/9/2013 via Skype
Miles Pflanz: Are you doing like a transcript of this?
Miles Pflanz: Perfect.
I thought since you guys, you know, all started this gallery together, and I’ve been a fan of Fitness in this really specific way that I find exciting, where, like, you guys are like a TV channel to me, because I never have any time to come to Bushwick, unfortunately, between the gallery and living over here on the East side of Prospect Park, so I never actually come to any of your events, sadly, but I get all the invites.
And so, as an addict of reading magazines, I would love to be able to read more articles about Fitness, because you guys are like my favorite TV channel, but there is no, like, definitive article about you guys, so I thought I would take a stab at making An Oral History of Fitness Gallery on the occasion of its first…Founders’ Exhibit, you know what I mean?
So yeah, just basically tell me the story of Fitness Gallery from your perspective, and tell me the story of this show that we’re doing at Culturefix this week.
Miles Pflanz: Everyone at Fitness kind of does different things.
We’re all veterans of other…communal living situations, and other DIY houses.
And we met in the summer of last year, very quickly, and in a couple of weeks we decided to start something.
Laura Bluer: It was mostly based off of, ah, a few people’s need to find a new place to live.
Um, so…it sort of came about like, “Well, we all wanna have a space to do art in, and we also need a place to live, so…why don’t we get a storefront?”
And…that’s essentially what went down.
And it was…initially me, Miles, and Dave.
Um, who I don’t know if you’ve met.
Yeah, I did meet Dave, and I interviewed him.
Laura Bluer: Cool.
And then, ah, Reece came on, ‘cause he was into it, and then Simone, too, and Jenna, and…now there’s, like, nine of us!
Um, yeah, so that was the…the foundation
Miles…and Laura, how did you guys know each other?
Miles Pflanz: Uh, we met, like…two…years ago?
Laura Bluer: Um, yeah, we’ve been dating for like 2 years.
Are you guys at Fitness right now?
Laura Bluer & Miles Pflanz: Nooo.
7/10/2013; 12:00:55 AM
Interview With Sasha Winn
7/8/13 at Culturefix
Sasha Winn: People I knew from Baltimore eventually moved into Fitness, so it kind of for me represents that—
Johnny Sagan: The New York-Baltimore connection.
Sasha Winn: Yeah. We’ll have shows that sometimes have people there from Baltimore, which is dope.
And that just means that there’s more communication between the people in different scenes.
But in my mind, Fitness is just one of the best places to have an event in New York.
Johnny Sagan: To have a place like the galleries of old, where when you’re ready to have a show, you can put it on with a minimum of red tape, is really important.
Sasha Winn: Mm-hm.
Johnny Sagan: And, I mean, one of the things I’m always searching for, and trying to put forward with the shows we put on, is the kind of multi-media performance as entertainment that I feel you and Dog Dick are really good at conjuring up, where it’s like this kind of new form of cabaret, or almost like theatre and music combined.
Sasha Winn: Yeah, I mean, mostly we just give artists and performers what they need, in terms of…faith…in their ideas.
So, you know, when a Non Grata performance is 12 hours or something…damn, that was one of the first events that happened at Fitness.
But that’s what they wanted to do, you know?
Johnny Sagan: Yeah.
Sasha Winn: So that’s what happened.
And then sometime…after that, Miles put together this incredible…marathon of noise pieces.
For two weeks!
These…twelve-hour performances, every day.
It felt like that was exactly what the space was for, you know?
They were already scratching the surface of, you know, what a gallery could do.
7/11/2013; 11:22:34 PM
Interview With Vincent Baeza
7/8/13 at Culturefix
Johnny Sagan: How would you…describe…the, like, art, and the…curatorial sensibility of the different principals in Fitness?
Vincent Baeza: Uh—
Johnny Sagan: So, like, Miles Pflanz.
Vincent Baeza: Ah, Miles is very charismatic, Miles is a…a very intense personality, very smart.
And, ah, he’s…he’s definitely…someone who has…has a vision.
Might not be so good on, like, the…interpersonal social skill levels with others? And knowing their sensitivities and things like that? But that’s kind of the charm about Miles, is that, uh, his, his…like, ah…his very fascist kind of like…not ‘fascist’ like, you know, hateful or anything, but his very…his very passionate energy, is what…also has, like, a…he’s a very extreme person, he does things in extremes, and he’s so passionate that, like…sometimes—and I know that by making things—that you lose sight…a lot, and things get blurred, but Miles is the type of guy where he can juggle so many things.
And, and, you know, he’s the guy who…he loves taking on a challenge, will take on so many things at once.
And, like, I do that all the time, and I juggle a lot, and, and…and sometimes I can’t hold all the balls, but that’s kind of just the theme and the spirit of Fitness, where it’s just a very chaotic zone, and we like it to be a…autonomous, free, and transgressive, and…and open space.
7/12/2013; 12:01:50 AM
OPENING TOMORROW…MAJOR MOMENTS!
SUPERCHIEF AT CULTUREFIX PRESENTS:
FITNESS CENTER FOR ARTS & TACTICS focuses on the transformative effects of sound, visual, and performance art. Expanding on noise, hardcore, dance, and various artistic genres of the like, artists who exhibit or perform at Fitness are required to push beyond the boundaries to which they have previously been confined. We aim to test the creative stamina of our featured artists, and to stress the refinement and training of the eyes/ears of our audience.
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY SASHA
etienne pierre duguay
and participating artists
Mike Diana was the first artist to get convicted of obscenity in the United States, so you know his stuff is good. Tonight and tomorrow there’ll be a big party celebrating his work at Superchief Galle…
MAJOR Linkage from Vice Magazine RE: Our current show with Mike Dian…World Without End, Amen!