27 October 2006

Artists in Contested Spaces

Artists in Contested Spaces
An exhibition in conjunction with the Art in the Contested City Conference at Pratt Institute.
October 29th - November 10th, 2006
Higgins Hall Gallery

The struggle for space is not a new issue among urban artists. The manner in which artists create work in spite of this struggle, however, is constantly evolving. The work, collaborations, collectives, and communities created are directly related to a common trend moving from traditional artistic methods into creative forms of cultural engagement. Some of the work actively addresses the question of
what is art but we are posing the question what is the relationship of art to society. Artists in urban environments are often displaced from neighborhoods, pushed out of live/work spaces, and forced to persevere in extraneous circumstances. Many artists use their creative practices to reclaim their city and build communities. Historically there have been many reasons for artist to go to the streets, gentrification displacement being a common trigger, however, this is just one of many social concerns that artists address.

This exhibition deals with a cross section of artists currently working in
New York City, but artists across the globe are finding creative ways to activate public space. This exhibition deals with individual artists and collectives whose work is related to concerns with social justice and whose efforts are typically displayed outside the traditional methods of exhibiting art. Our choice to represent here and now will show a real time view of artists reacting to many of the issues brought to the surface through the Art/Space Conference that this exhibition is presented in conjunction with.

Jim Costanzo
Brynna Tucker
Exhibition Curators

Participating Artists, Collectives, and Arts Organizations:
CUP Center for Urban Pedagogy
CUP makes educational projects about places and how they change. These projects bring together art and design professionals - artists, graphic designers, architects, urban planners - with community-based advocates and researchers - organizers, government officials, academics, service-providers and policymakers. CUP was formed as a loose collective in 1997, received its 501(c)(3) designation in 2002, and continues to grow as a platform for collaboration.

The Danger

Risk + Revelry

El Puente

El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action. Founded in 1982 by Luis Garden Acosta, El Puente currently integrates the diverse activities and community campaigns of its Center for Arts and Culture and its Community Health and Environment Institute (CHE) within its three neighborhood Leadership Centers and its nationally recognized public high school, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. Organizing in North Brooklyn and beyond, El Puente remains at the forefront of community/youth learning and development issues and as such, initiates and impacts social policy both locally and nationally.
Ryan Watkins-Hughes
Born in Atlanta, GA in 1979, Ryan Watkins-Hughes studied at the Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn, where he received his B.F.A. in painting in 2001. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe with various grants and awards. Ryan currently lives in New York, where he works as a photographer and new media artist.
neuroTransmitter was co-founded in 2001 by Angel Nevarez and Valerie Tevere as a project whose work fuses conceptual practices with transmission, sound production, and mobile broadcast design. Through a combination of media forms and sound performance, their work re-articulates radio in multiple environments and contexts, considering new possibilities for the broadcast spectrum as public space. neuroTransmitter’s public performances connect FM radio technology and the body - negotiating, occupying, and sonically mapping the invisible and physical spaces of the city. As radio-sonic installation, their work references the politics, history, and technology of the medium.
Not an Alternative
Not An Alternative is a not-for-profit cultural production company whose mission aims to facilitate and engage in the work of creating social change. Our practice is based on transforming popular understandings of key symbols associated with particular campaigns. Not An Alternative also operates a multipurpose space The Change You Want To See based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Michael Rakowitz
Michael Rakowitz (b. 1973, New York) is an artist based in Chicago and New York CIty. In 1998 he initiated paraSITE, an ongoing project in which the artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. Rakowitz’s work has appeared in exhibitions worldwide including P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, MassMOCA, the Tirana Biennale, the National Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Transmediale 05: BASICS at the House of World Cultures in Berlin. His work has been included in “SAFE: Design Takes On Risk” at MoMA, “T1: The Pantagruel Syndrome” at the Castello di Rivoli in Torino, and “Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art” at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago. He has had solo exhibitions at Lombard-Freid Projects, New York City, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Torino, Italy, and the Stadtturmgalerie/Kunstraum Innsbruck. Upcoming solo projects include “Return,” produced by Creative Time in New York City and “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist” at Lombard-Freid Projects. He will also participate in the Sharjah Biennial in 2007. Rakowitz received a 2006 Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is the recipient of the 2003 Dena Foundation award and in 2002 was awarded the Design 21 Grand Prix by UNESCO. A book on his work, “Circumventions,” was published in 2003 by the Dena Foundation of Contemporary Art and onestar press. Rakowitz is an Associate Professor in Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University and is a Contributing Editor for Surface Tension: A Journal on Spatial Arts.
Michael is represented by Lombard-Freid Projects.
Duke Riley
Duke Riley holds an MFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Swoon is a street artist from New York who specializes in life-size wheat paste prints and paper cutouts of figures. She started doing street art around 1999. She studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
Lee Walton
Lee Walton is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in both Brooklyn and San Francisco. Walton holds an MFA from the California College of the Arts. His work can be viewed at www.leewalton.com.
Participating Writers:
Alan Willard Moore
Alan Moore worked with Colab and ABC No Rio in NYC in the 1980s. He edited ABC No Rio with Marc Miller in 1985. He wrote his PhD thesis on NYC artists’ organizations for the City University of New York. Recent articles: ``Local History: Battle for Bohemia in New York’’ (in Ault, editor, Alternative Art New York, 2003); chapter for Greg Sholette and Blake Stimson, eds., Collectivism After Modernism (2007); introduction to Clayton Patterson, ed., Resistance: A Social and Political History of the Lower East Side (2007).
Gregory Sholette
Gregory Sholette is a New York-based sculptor, multi-media artist, writer, and a founding member of two, noted politicized art collectives: Political Art Documentation and Distribution (PAD/D, 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000). His art has appeared at Dia Foundation, the Museum of Modern Art (NY), and Anthology Film Archives among other venues. His writing appears in Third Text, Mute, Art Journal and Oxford Art Journal, and his most recent book is Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945 with Blake Stimson (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). Sholette is also co-editor of The Interventionists: A Users Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life with Nato Thompson (MASS MoCA & MIT Press, 2004).

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