Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions @ Asia Society Museum, June 27 – August 6, 2017, New York City

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“Thoroughly enjoyable”
The New Yorker

“Long overdue”
Cobo Social

“For immigrants, the children of them, and anyone of South Asian descent, this exhibit is no less than a love letter to you.” 
Odyssey

“A most lively and provocative show not to be missed”
International Examiner

Asia Society Museum in New York shines a spotlight on the work of nineteen contemporary artists from the South Asian diaspora. As individuals living between worlds, diasporic artists often negotiate notions of home and issues relating to migration, gender, race, and memory in their practice. Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in the Diaspora, organized by Asia Society Museum with the support of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, will be on view from June 27 to August 6, 2017.

On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of independence of the Indian Subcontinent from the British Empire, this exhibition, first proposed by Jaishri Abichandani, founder of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, provides a timely platform to celebrate these artists and their diverse perspectives, notably in response to the recent rise of nationalism and xenophobia that has swept the globe.

“Seen in the context of the turbulent state of affairs for immigrant populations, the work of diasporic artists working and living between worlds has taken on a new urgency in counterbalancing the retreat into simplistic identity politics and xenophobia,” said Boon Hui Tan, Asia Society Vice President for Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum. “Through a number of mediums, including photography, sculpture, and video, the artists featured in Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions challenge prevailing stereotypes and assumptions of South Asian identities in the United States today.”

The artists, all living in the United States, represent a microcosm of the American experience and their respective practices across four decades have collectively impacted the development of contemporary art in the United States.

The artists reflect the diverse demographics of South Asia and their work engages the nuanced cultural specificities of the region, as well as the racial and cross-cultural tensions in the current sociopolitical climate.

Featured artists: Jaishri Abichandani, Anila Quayyum Agha, Mequitta Ahuja, Rina Banerjee, Khalil Chishtee, Ruby Chishti, Allan deSouza, Chitra Ganesh, Mariam Ghani, Vandana Jain, Gautam Kansara, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Naeem Mohaiemen, Kanishka Raja, Tenzing Rigdol, Shahzia Sikander, Jaret Vadera, Palden Weinreb, and Zarina.

The artist selection was made by Boon Hui Tan and Lawrence-Minh Davis, Curator, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Together they formed the curatorial committee with Abichandani and Michelle Yun, Senior Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia Society.

Related symposium

A two-day symposium organized in conjunction with the exhibition brings together South Asian American artists, curators, and academics to discuss the state of the field and to identify strategies to bring the work of contemporary South Asian artists and cultural practitioners to a broader audience. Titled “Fatal Love: Where Are We Now,” the symposium is co-organized by the Queens Museum and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and will be held at the Queens Museum on July 1 and 2. The keynote panel for the symposium will be held at Asia Society Museum on the evening of June 30, preceded by a reception for the exhibition.

Exhibition support

Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions: South Asian Art in the Diaspora is made possible by the generous support of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Critical funding is provided by Burger Collection, Hong Kong.

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Fatal Love Invitation

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Lapses @ Harrington Street Arts Centre, April 28 – May 30, 2017, Kolkata, India

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“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

—Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

The processes of memory are random. Quite literally tangled. Neuroscience has sifted through pathways in the brain linked to memory to find that they are all over the place; an absurd process of cataloguing unrelated objects in a hoarder’s den.  Phenomenologically, a strong sensorial cue emanating from an individual’s environment could unleash a flood of unrelated memories. Just as Colonel Aureliano Buendía, as he was facing the firing squad. Empirical data and the archaeologies of cognitive science are yet to unveil a teleological narrative, the manuscript of fate penned by Melquíades. The overarching imprints that we are left to work with are fluorescent patches assembled in the shape of a brain, dispersed tangles of calcium pathways in mice brain, low resolution MRI scans and Positron Emission Tomography. Memory is yet to yield anatomical diagrams in biology textbooks, unlike other mystical phenomena such as the heart that pumps blood, or the mitochondria that fuels the cell. Epigenetics tells us that we inherit history in our genetic material, like a newly appointed curator inheriting a museum’s collection, a palimpsest of time. Destiny has it that a ‘tangible’ memory is entirely its external referent — its material correlates and learned linguistic associations made by stories that evoke the mind, identity, nostalgia, déjà vu — both tautologically looping into the sensorium to reinforce neural pathways. Like a totem, we embalm and contain in the physical shape of a perfume bottle, a memory related to its fragrance. Then there is the totem we inherit from our ancestors, perhaps as a relic, a funerary rite, a fetishized object in the guise of a family heirloom or fear of persecution coded into our DNA. The closest visual/tactile/sensory map we have of historical memory is the museum and of personal memory, a cabinet of curiosities. A life is its objects and the longing for them, tangible or elusive. This exhibition consists of a series of artworks that lend memories their object-hood, saving them from the lapses in our collective and personal memory.

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SalON!: I’d Rather Be Dead @ Hell Phone, December 17, 2016 at 8 PM, Brooklyn, NY

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It’s Title:Point’s monthly array of sights and delights, and December brings us back to Hell Phone, just in time for seasonal depression and piles of work holiday parties.

Come release your demons with us!

All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood.
And bring donations for the Hetrick-Martin pantry – https://www.myregistry.com/organization/HMI-Pantry-New-York-NY/630635

This is an economy of magic, folks — good fortune and good fun await. We are here to fill the pockets of your mind with wealths of theater, story, image, information, knowledge, sound and nightmare.

FEATURING:
-Gautam Nikolai Kansara (video art)
-GJ Dowding (performance)
-Glace Chase (drag)
-Deborah Wallace (documentary: BLOOD ON THE MOUNTAIN)
-Darian Dauchan (voice & sounds)
-Clara Pagone and Timothy McCown Reynolds (theater)
-Walter Wlodarczyk (photo)
-Peter Mills Weiss (story)

(g)Hosted by CATFOX (song imp)

Pottery available by Mia Schachter – https://www.facebook.com/Paperclippottery/

Curated by Theresa Buchheister & Catrin Lloyd-Bollard

Saturday, December 17 | Doors at 8:00pm
$7-$10 sliding scale
No BYOB
Hell Phone
247 Varet St, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Merriam-Webster definition of “salon”:
a fashionable assemblage of notables (as literary figures, artists, or statesmen) held by custom at the home of a prominent person.

Welcome to our home. Notables will be provided.

20th Anniversary Show @ Smack Mellon, November 12 – December 31, 2016, Brooklyn, NY

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Smack Mellon turns 20 and marks the milestone with a large exhibition of 90+ works by artists who have participated in their Artist Studio Program, curated by Charlotta Kotik, the former curator at the Brooklyn Museum, and loyal champion of artists and art spaces.

The 20th Anniversary Show fully attests to the steadfast adherence to the philosophy of artistic freedom and full inclusion, practiced by Smack Mellon for the past twenty years. Giving an exposure to emerging and under recognized artists Smack Mellon became a platform for the development of ideas for the future. Its large space offers a unique opportunity to develop projects that would otherwise never be realized. Although an exhibition of works by the Artist Studio Program participants that commenced sixteen years the 20th Anniversary Show well represents the overall exhibition practice of the space. The sheer number of artists does not allow for the installation of the large scale projects for which Smack Mellon is know for, however the extraordinary range of styles, techniques, media and above all of the ideas, displayed in the individual pieces, bespeak the support of the varied identities and artistic freedom which made Smack Mellon one of the preeminent alternative spaces in the City. As a long time resident of Brooklyn I have closely followed the exhibitions at Smack Mellon since it’s founding in 1995 and its later Artist Studio Program. It was an honor to serve on the Artist Studio Program panel, and now to become a part of events celebrating the double anniversary. It is the vision of the artists, their commitment to ideas and the will to pursue them, as well as the foresight of Smack Mellon’s staff and leadership that we are celebrating in this exhibition.”
Charlotta Kotik
Curator Emerita, Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum

Smack Mellon has made a significant contribution to supporting emerging and under-recognized mid-career and women artists through providing studio workspace and access to equipment and technical assistance for the realization of ambitious projects. As an early pioneer in Dumbo and over the past two decades Smack Mellon has served hundreds of artists and hundreds of thousands of people have visited our galleries and studio spaces. One of the highlights of our 20th Anniversary celebration is Ward Shelley’s timeline drawing The First Twenty, which includes the name of every artist that created or presented work at Smack Mellon, as well as featuring the transformations of the neighborhood’s cultural life since our inception.

Smack Mellon was founded in 1995 and incorporated in 1996. In 1998 we began a partnership with the Walentas family and their company Two Trees Management. At that time, Two Trees had a number of vacant historic, industrial properties throughout Dumbo and was interested in providing their spaces in-kind to not-for-profit organizations to use for cultural programming. From 1998 to 2005 we occupied a Civil War-era iron foundry, which had been turned into a spice milling and grinding factory in the 1950s. Our current location is a former coal fired boiler house that provided steam for heat and power to several industrial buildings in the neighborhood. We thank the Walentases and Two Trees for providing awesome and inspiring spaces for our programs and we thank all of the foundation, government and individual donors who have supported our mission over these many years. It is by their generosity that Smack Mellon has been able to succeed in providing opportunities for artists to create ambitious projects and present them to diverse audiences.

Participating artists:
Golnar Adili, Nadia Awad, Nicole Awai, David Baskin, Amy Bennett, Jesse Bercowetz, Lea Bertucci, Sonya Blesofsky, George Boorujy, Michael Paul Britto, Matt Bua, Haley Bueschlen, Torsten Z. Burns, Maria Buyondo, Eduardo Cervantes, Patty Chang, Mike Crane, Jennifer Dalton, Melissa Dubbin & Aaron S. Davidson, Blane De St. Croix, Esteban del Valle, Molly Dilworth, Oasa DuVerney, Ira Eduardovna, David Ellis, Emcee C.M. Master of None, eteam, Nona Faustine, Chitra Ganesh, Ghost of a Dream, Skye Gilkerson, Cate Giordano, Susan Graham, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Valerie Hegarty, Tyler Henry, Wayne Hodge, Janelle Iglesias, Yoko Inoue, Steffani Jemison, Jennie C. Jones, Gautam Kansara, Jena Kim, Shin il Kim, Hiroshi Kimura, Chelsea Knight, Tom Kotik, Liz Magic Laser, Joan Linder, Andrea Loefke, lovid, Erica Magrey, Joanna Malinowska, Esperanza Mayobre, Diane Meyer, Megan Michalak, Joiri Minaya, Cheryl Molnar, Ivan Monforte, Nyeema Morgan, Carlos Motta, Shana Moulton, Rachelle Mozman, Lori Nix, Jeanine Oleson, Jessica Ann Peavy, Meredith Pingree, Shannon Plumb, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Lina Puerta, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Claudia Schmacke, Dread Scott, Donna Sharrett, Jean Shin, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Kwabena Slaughter, Stephen Sollins, Suzanne Song, Micki Spiller, Mónika Sziládi, Ari Tabei, Dannielle Tegeder, Chat Travieso, Kako Ueda, Juana Valdes, Kai Viestra, Tobaron Waxman, Saya Woolfalk, Seth Wulsin, Rona Yefman, Bryan Zanisnik.

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Of Record @ Grizzly Grizzly, June 3-26, 2016, Philadelphia, PA

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‘Of Record’

Takashi Horisaki and Gautam Kansara

June 3 – June 26, 2016

Opening Reception: First Friday, , June 3, 6-10PM

For our June exhibition, Grizzly Grizzly presents ‘Of Record,‘ featuring two New York based artists, Takashi Horisaki and Gautam Kansara. Both artists utilize the act of recording to report on the state of our social landscape.

Takashi Horisaki’s “Social Dress” sculptures are latex imprints of wall surfaces, telling the stories of communities dealing with issues such as abandoned housing and natural disasters. Incorporating the imperfections, scars, and layers of detritus that build up over time, Horisaki’s fabric-like, latex walls “explore the tensions between community and urban structure, storytelling and history, object and narrative.”

Gautam Kansara‘s “Wearing Through News” series is a collection of cyanotype image transfers onto shirts made up of ‘important’ headlines from the front pages of The New York Times (as signified by the editorial decision to use bold-faced capital letters.) As Kansara’s daily uniform, the lifespan of the shirts is intentionally shortened by bleaching and toning, weakening the fibers so that the imagery deteriorates through wearing and washing, a reference to the temporary nature of stories as they rise and fall within the confines of the news cycle.

Takashi Horisaki (b.1974, Tokyo) is a New York-based sculptor whose work has been exhibited internationally at venues including New Orleans’s Prospect.1 Biennial (2008), the Incheon Women Artists Biennale, Korea (2009), the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2012), and Seoul Art Space Geumcheon (2012), Abrons Arts Center Gallery (2013, 2011); hpgrp Gallery New York (2012); Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Projects (2012); Kunsthalle Galapagos, NY (2011); Regina Rex, NY (2010); Third Streaming Gallery, NY (2010); the Mason Gross Galleries at Rutgers University, NJ (2010); the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, Germany (2008); Flux Factory Inc., Queens (2006, 2007); The LAB Gallery, San Francisco (2006); Murray Guy Gallery, New York (2005); and the Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis (2004.)

Gautam Kansara (b. 1979, London) is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Gautam’s video and photographic work is part of prestigious private collections including The Burger Collection, Hong Kong, and The Shreya and Swapan Seth Collection, New Delhi. Since 2002 his works have been featured internationally in numerous exhibitions and screenings, most recently as a part of Speak Out at the Bronx Art Space, New York City (2016); The Time is NOW curated by the Rush Philanthropic Foundation at the Scope Art Fair, New York City (2015); Save As… at Shrine Empire Gallery, New Delhi (2014). Gautam has been an artist-in-residence at Smack Mellon, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space, and the Center for Book Arts. Gautam is part of the faculty at Manhattan College’s Visual and Performing Arts Department and New York University’s Department of Art and Art Professions.

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WeAr(e): The Art of the Wearable @ Chashama/The Urban Garden Room at One Bryant Park, April 20, 2016, 8pm, New York, NY

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The human body has always been a primary subject and/or site of art making, and thus, by natural extension, has the skin that encapsulates it. As a result, the textures, technologies, objects that we embellish or enhance our skin with, that adapt us into our environments, as much reflect our own tastes and desires, as they do the society and time we live in.

Our interest in curating the show WeAr(e) [Wear We Are], showcasing wearables in the contemporary art practice, is two-fold. On the one hand, it is linked to Lev Manovich’s defense of fashion and its relevance in today’s rapidly changing world, “It is the beginning of the new century… We want to imagine ourselves anew. If visual art, hopelessly stuck in recycling its recent history over and over, can no longer help us, where can we turn? Enter fashion. Fashion is everything contemporary art is not: it is concerned with beauty; it is more semiotically layered than the most complex Photoshop composite you ever worked on; and it has one ever present constraint…–the human figure. ” On the other, it is with the intention of situating the contemporary wearable within the canonized history of art, directly linking this practice to its predecessors in the performance and time-based works of the 60s and 70s. In this manner, we acknowledge the act of wearing as well as the wearable objects which are worn, as powerful gestures that merge the body, society, politics, technology and material, and communicate messages that are crucial in the contemporary climate, delivered in a manner that is accessible to a larger audience, beyond the white walls of the gallery.

Contemporary artists participating with their wearables in the live component of the exhibition include: Jeff Aaron Bryant /Blaze Ferrer /Ásta Bennie Hostetter, Noumeda Carbone, Emma Dorothy Conley, Michelle Cortese, ntilit with Krishna Christine Washburn, Gautam Kansara, Bryan Pettigrew, Normandy Sherwood, Max Steiner and Tattfoo Tan.

Curators: Burcin Ayebe, Andrea Bass, Lori Brungard, Priyanka Woojin Lee, Jean Carla Rodea, Jenny Seastone, Erik Sanner, Emma Yi

Desktop Cinema: Reconfiguring the Screen, a lecture by Miriam DeRosa featuring Gautam Kansara and Kevin B. Lee, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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If it is true that since the introduction of accelerated digitalization, the practice of archiving has strongly influenced modes of academic work and cultural activities, it has also massively affected artistic practice. Such influence is deep and two-fold: not only the archive-related techniques provided a brand new set of possibilities for artists and filmmakers, but the technologies enabling the archiving also became part of the aesthetics put forth by cinematic and visual arts works. Automatic praxis such as sampling, saving, structuring a directory/folder archive or database entered the realm of artistic practice itself, which now more and more often includes the aforementioned actions as explicit components and essential moments of the creative process. The paper takes into consideration such mechanism, proposing a comparative analysis of the multiple media installation Save as… (2013) by New York-based artist Gautam Kansara and Kevin B. Lee’s video Transformers: the Premake (2014). Both Kansara’s artwork and Lee’s desktop cinema effort present different, though similarly interesting shared expe- riences of recording, collecting, sharing practices and paratexts redefinition. Centered on the idea of ‘gesture’ and on the figure of the ‘table’ as both a real object an a metaphor for orientation, the two works invite to reflect upon the contemporary shaping of personal memory into discursive formations, and the changing identity of the cinematic medium.

Miriam De Rosa is Lecturer in Film Studies at UCSC Milan. She serves in the NECS Publication Committee, co-edits the exhibition review section of NECSUS and the Art&Media Files section of Italian journal Cinergie. She published articles and books chapters on cinema and visual arts, cinematic experience and medium specificity, and the relationship among subject, space, and filmic device. She’s the author of the monographic volume Cinema e Postmedia (2013) and her current research project deals with moving images relations.

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