A NEW FLOWER FROM ETHIOPIA
1. Nicolás Aracena Müller: Atalaya is on view at Chamber until September 12, 2015.
After arriving from Chile, carpenter and architect Nicolás Aracena Müller spent the entirety of Thursday, July 23rd driving around the city to collect exquisite pieces of wood for his latest “Atalaya” project at Chamber. He visited five locations in Brooklyn and Queens that sell and give away salvaged wood. For these locations, Nicolás carefully selected pieces of extraordinary character. The collection process was video recorded, showing his journey as well as the colorful locations.Nicolás’ performance continued at Chamber. He built a small workshop with a meticulous tool stand for himself in front of the gallery. Those passing by the window could see him at work and were welcome to come in and discuss the project. Since July 27th Nicolás has completed one unique piece of furniture every single day.
2. Awol Erizky: New Flower is open at The Flag Art Foundation until December 12, 2015.
The exhibition marks the first presentation of the artist’s series of photographs taken in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa in 2013. This compelling body of portraiture challenges the mythologized art historical role of the Venus and the odalisque in Western painting, setting those tropes against the reality of one of the largest concentrations of sex workers in Africa. Awol Erizku has created several bodies of work re-contextualizing iconic art historical images through his cross-disciplinary approach to sculpture, photography, music, video installation, and social media channels, to discuss identity and the politics of representation. Erizku states “Growing up going to the MoMA or the Met, and not seeing enough people of color (in the art or in the museum)…I felt that there was something missing. So when I was ready to make work as art, I wanted to comment and critique the art history, and make art that reflected the environment I grew up around…” The exhibition’s title New Flower is the English translation of Addis Ababa, where Erizku created the series, made possible by the Alice Kimball Fellowship Award from Yale University, where he received his MFA. In New Flower | Images of the Reclining Venus, Erizku sought to create “a new reclining Venus, one with darker skin” that dismisses the mythologizing of the Venus and the romanticism of the odalisque featured in Jean-August-Dominique Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque (1814) and Édouard Manet’s Olympia (1863).
3. Kelly Heaton: Pollination is open at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts until October 24, 2015.
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts announces the premiere of Kelly Heaton’s new work in an exhibition entitled Pollination, a tour de force of sculpture, electronics, perfume, and mixed media art. Images of real and supernatural bees invite the viewer into a fertile exchange involving not only plants, but our very identity as human beings. Dominating the exhibition is The Beekeeper, a floor to ceiling kinetic sculpture. Heaton built her eight primary chakras (centers of spiritual power in the body) to create what she refers to as “an energetic self-portrait.” At the heart of the sculpture, bees fly around an illuminated honeycomb rooted in a landscape of floral electronics. A reflective mind and crystalline third eye spiral up to a radiant sun of hands. Heaton also created eight exquisite perfumes to correspond with her chakras. Bee The Flower is a limited edition artist’s toolbox for painting your body with perfume and “pollen.” Art supplies crafted by the artist support a luxurious experience that is visual, tactile, and olfactory. Two additional fragrances seduce the audience to experience Pollination through scent: Smells Like Weeds (The Queen of Hungry Spirits), a rare perfume made by Heaton using bee-friendly plants; and Smells Like Money (Hungry Spirits), a delicate perfume extracted from hundreds of dollar bills using the labor-intensive method of cold enfleurage. Perfume samples will be available for visitors to smell.
4. After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997 is open at Queens Museum until September 13, 2015.
The era following India’s 1947 independence was marked by the emergence of Indian modern art led by the Progressive Artists’ Group and their contemporaries. A half-century later, the year 1997 signaled the beginning of a new phase with Indian artists gaining sudden visibility in a newly globalized contemporary art world, while India experienced a surge of paradigm shifts including economic liberalization, political instability, and the growth of a religious right-wing. After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997 presents the juxtaposition of these two historical periods in Indian art for the first time, examining Indian modern art from 1947 through the 1970s, and contemporary art from 1997 to the present.