Our 10th Anniversary Benefit was a Success Thanks to You!

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2014

Thanks to you, our 10th Anniversary Gala was a resounding success. The funds raised make it possible for More Art to continue to provide a public platform of expression for artists and community members through public art projects in NYC, and free educational programs for Middle and High School students and emerging artists.

 


Click here to see more images from the evening.

Be sure to follow our our Facebook page for a recap of some of the memorable moments over the last ten years. Stay tuned and visit our webpage for our upcoming programming, including our “No Fixed Address” Panel Discussion at the School of Visual Arts on November 17th, and our Art Walk in Dumbo with Dread Scott on November 22nd!

A big thanks to our “Feed More Art to the World” Honorees:
Fred Wilson and Shelley Rubin

Thank you to everyone who made this evening possible:

Hosting Committee:
Cynthia Conigliaro                Paul Davis
Keith B. Denison                  Anne Edgar
Peggy Bonapace Gelfond    Micaela Giovannotti
Kerry Halleran                      Terri Feldman Hodara
Nancy T. Jones                     Martina Kenworthy
Kimsooja                               Tim Rollins
Dread Scott                           Andres Serrano

Curatorial Committee:
Jennifer McGregor                Christine Minas
Sara Reisman                       Serena Trizzano

Participating Artists:
Abdolreza Aminlari   Angelo Filomeno
Gentleman’s Game  Pablo Helguera
Katie Holten             Alfredo Jaar
Joan Jonas              Ilya & Emelia Kabakov
Byron Kim                Lauren Marsolier
Andrea Mastrovito   Mary Mattingly
Clifford Owens         Luisa Rabbia
Daniel Rich              Tim Rollins
Peter Rostovsky      Dread Scott
Francesco Simeti    Greg Vore                                 

Dustin Yellin

Thank you to our patrons!

Thank you to our sponsors!

If you were unable to attend More Art’s 10th Anniversary Gala but still would like to support our Public Art and Educational Programs, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Thank you!

The Impossibility of Freedom. Protest and Creative Resistance

Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Creative Resistance is the practice of incorporating profound visual elements into protests and civil disobedience. Art can have enormous outcomes on the energy, strength, and emotion of a protest when incorporated into advocacy. Powerful images or performances can convey what cannot be absorbed through only facts. This practice has been pertinent with many generations.

Bertolt Brecht’s political theater revolutionized the involvement and the emotions of the audience by having them no longer feel the illusion of being an unseen spectator. The Dadaists used satire, anti-rational and anti-idealistic discourse to critique World War I and the capitalist agenda behind it. Dada exhibitions often had the feeling of a protest. The challenge against elitism in the art world was echoed and incorporated into the work by the artists of the Fluxus movement as well. In the 1950s, groups of artists became devoted to contextualizing the horrors in the aftermath of World-War II through staging Happenings and exhibitions focused on Humanism. In the 1960s through the 70s, there were many artists groups associated with the Anti-Vietnam War movement, Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist movement. During last decade’s “War on Terror,” anti-war protests also incorporated powerful visual elements and iconography with artists making graphics for grassroots causes. More recently Occupy Wall Street incorporated a multitude of visuals and performances by artists like Reverend Billy Talen to embolden their statement in opposition of wealth inequality and corporate corruption.

Our recent project (October 7th, 2014) was a one time performance by Dread Scott called On the Impossibility of Freedom: In a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide. Dread has been at the forefront of addressing social inequality in his performances and installations. His work has a longstanding history in  makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. Scott first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag. President G. H.W. Bush declared his artwork What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag? “disgraceful” and the entire US Senate denounced this work when they passed legislation to “protect the flag.” Scott added to the controversy when he and a group of artists/activists burned flags on the steps of the US Capitol. This resulted in a Supreme Court case and a landmark First Amendment decision.

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Recently Dread Scott has been addressing the dire situation faced by black men and women across the nation. His recent series presented around the streets of Harlem is called “Wanted,” a community-based art project that address the criminalization of youth in America. He wrote an Op-Ed on Ferguson, where Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, was killed by a police officer, sparking intense standoffs between police and the community.

Dread’s performance with More Art in part, references the 1963 Civil Rights struggle in Birmingham Alabama, during which city officials used high-pressure water canons to disperse non-violent protesters and bystanders in an effort to maintain segregation and legalized discrimination. On the Impossibility of Freedom will feature Dread Scott engaging in a Sisyphean attempt to walk into the battering force of water jetting from a fire hose. While the performance is highly reminiscent of crowd control tactics used in the past, it also serves as a statement on a myriad of socio-cultural issues that affect a diverse group of marginalized individuals through discriminatory policies in immigration, criminal justice, welfare and education. This piece also reflects on present-day struggles against racism and the struggle for equality, as those demonstrated by the protests and then the militarized police response in Ferguson, Missouri.

On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide is a performance about the struggle for freedom,” said Scott. “People yearn for freedom and have repeatedly struggled against oppressive governments, economic, political and social relations. People have taken great risks in a fight for emancipation and have often been battered in the process.”

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The performance resonated with the audience which included over 200 students from Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Many of whom had only heard about this brutal law enforcement tactic during the civil rights era. For many, seeing it provided a deep emotional realization. One student said afterwards “It was very touching — we got emotional. It brought back feelings, even though we weren’t there, but we felt like we could relate to it,” she said. “It was good. It felt I saw it before, because we had always heard about it.”At one point Dread powered on against the hose, holding his hands high above his head, a reference to Brown who held his hands up in the air to signal “don’t shoot.”

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Engaging Artists: The Artist as Activist

Posted on Monday, July 28th, 2014

Our final speaker session on July 17th was a great introduction to the work of socially engaged practices within the arts. We were informed of the work of artists/activists Jordan Seiler and Caroline Woolard, as well as Paula Z. Segal, who as an attorney works within the public space, often collaborating with artists.

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Jordan Seiler (founder of Public Ad Campaign) is an advocate for a more democratic use of our shared public spaces by questioning outdoor advertising, and creating new avenues for public communication.Jordan Seiler’s work re-shapes the public space by replacing illegal advertising with art. Jordan has led initiatives to remove. Jordan has now taken his work on the streets of New York and combined it with technology “NO AD” is a great urban public arts project by Jordan Seiler and the team at Re+Public. “NO AD” is an app that changes subway advertisements into a curated art exhibition when the user directs their phone’s camera over the advertisement.

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Caroline Woolard spoke about her work with the Exchange Cafe at MoMA. The Exchange Cafe presented an experiential archive of artwork that is based on the act of reciprocity and exchange by developing cooperative, alternative, and non-market economies. The Exchange Cafe featured dairy from activist organizers Milk Not Jails, tea from Feral Trade Courier, and honey from population control researchers at BeeSpace.Caroline talked about creating alternate economies and venues for the exchange of goods and services. She also gave an informative talk about labor for all artists and activists.

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Paula is an attorney and educator who lives and works in Brooklyn. She is also the founder, Executive Director and Legal Director for NYC Community Land Access Programs of 596 Acres, a non-profit organization that supports transformation of vacant public land into sustainable community institutions. Paula spoke about how 596 Acres has been mapping out vacant public space throughout the city and supporting the public’s reaction to reclaim this space for community gardens, art installations, and meeting places.

Another week, another inspiring Engaging Artists Workshop

Posted on Monday, July 21st, 2014

Each week our Engaging Artists workshops bring new perspectives and great dialog about homelessness and activism to the forefront of creative practice. On July 10th we had an inspirational evening talking with special guest artists: Heather Stoltz (Temporary Shelter Project), Kenji Nakayama (Signs for the Homeless), Hunter Reynolds (Art in the Woods), Jody Wood (Beauty in Transition) Koko Surani, and Travis Laughlin (Education Director at the Joan Mitchell Foundation).

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Heather Stoltz showed us two projects that were focused on homelessness. “See Me” was realized through the artist’s interaction with men in New York City’s faith-based shelters.  The work asks the viewer to see the individuals affected by stories that we read in the newspapers and not simple and impersonal statistics. For example, the gaze of one of the individuals, Roger, strikes the viewer in a humanizing contrast to the impersonal numbers contained in news articles about homelessness.  Temporary Shelter was developed through collaborations with shelter families and individuals. Heather asked children inside faith based shelters to create a quilt based on their feelings. She also engaged in discussions with adult residents and created a visual representation of their story. These works were woven into the shelter, which takes the form of a sukkah which is used on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The sukkah tells the stories of homeless New Yorkers ages 4 to 75. The inside panels each represent one individual staying in NYC’s faith-based shelters and the outside walls are made from fiber art created by children in New York’s family shelters.

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Next we listened to Kenji Nakayama who started Signs for the Homeless. Kenji and his collaborator Christopher Hope meet homeless individuals on streets of Boston, interview them, and offer to make them new hand-painted re-creations of the old signs. Kenji stated that the reason for doing this was to raise the public’s awareness to the larger issue of homelessness which he noticed was growing at an alarming rate. When the press took on the story, it significantly generated a response from the community and it provided a platform for these homeless individuals to be seen in a human manner. Participating in this project also has helped him become more involved in his neighborhood.

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Jody Wood is currently A Blade of Grass Fellow who has sets up a mobile beauty salon that serves the homeless at shelters around the city.  The project called Beauty in Transition, originated in Kansas, and has since traveled to Denver Colorado. This socially engaged art project provides beauty services including a hair wash, cut, color, styling services and skin care to willing participants, as well as workshops geared toward long-term hair management. Through the support from A Blade of Grass and the Brooklyn Arts Council, her city-wide art project will launch August 4 and run until October 31, 2014 and serve a great and growing number of homeless shelters. A full list of participating shelters and salons can be found at www.beautyintransition.org.

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Hunter Reynolds showed us his work as a performance artist who uses art as a way to communicate and bring awareness to social justice issues. Hunter Reynolds has been an AIDS activist for over two decades. He was an early member of ACTUP and in 1989 co-founded Art Positive, an affinity group of ACT-UP, to fight homophobia and censorship in the arts. Both of these groups were responsible for creating a huge policy change, removed stigmas, and increased advocacy of HIV/AIDS research. Hunter Reynolds is also the founder of Arts in the Woods, a summer arts camp designed to help homeless or disenfranchised LGBTQ adults to explore and express themselves as the leaders of tomorrow’s gay rights movement through art, music, dance, and theater. Two of our artists in residence are currently upstate with Hunter and the rest of the community at Arts in the Woods. We can’t wait to hear all about their experiences when they return!

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Koko Surani was one of the talented young LGBTQ artists to attend Arts in the Woods. Koko told us her heartbreaking story of how she ended up homeless in New York City. She is currently living with Hunter Reynolds who is mentoring her arts education. Koko plans to go to college and possibly major in art. She brought one of her sculptures, a hyper-realistic baby, and did one of her performances that she typically does within the public space.

Art About Homelessness: Fanny Allié

Posted on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Our Engaging Artists residents are currently volunteering each week with the local homeless population. Some of the volunteer opportunities involve creating collaborative artworks with homeless residents who are either in shelters or in affordable housing. We’d like to celebrate their hard work and compassion by taking a look at previously realized projects around the issue of homelessness. The first artist we’re featuring is Fanny Allié.

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Fanny’s The Glowing Homeless (2011)  was exhibited at a public art event organized by Bring to Light NYC (Nuit Blanche), in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The Glowing Homeless is a neon outline of a human form resting on a park bench. Representing the homeless person sound asleep amongst the park’s crowds, through a rendering of neon light, I created an alluring object for Bring to Light NYC (Nuit Blanche). She says “Through my implementation of attractive materials, I reversed the normal reaction of avoidance, and drew people towards the form on the bench.”