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Special Goings On
September 10, 2007
FRANKLIN FURNACE ANNOUNCES THE FRANKLIN FURNACE FUND FOR PERFORMANCE ART 2007-08 AND THE FUTURE OF THE PRESENT 2007-08
Franklin Furnace has no curator; each year, a new panel of artists reviews all proposals. We believe that this peer panel system allows all kinds of artists from all over the world an equal shot at presenting their work. This year's esteemed selection panel of artists, Mendi Lewis Obadike, Nicky Paraiso, Jenny Polak, and Sapphire (biographies follow below) met on June 26th, 27th and 28th.
The selected artists/collaborations will receive grants of $3,600 each. In 2007-08, these programs are made possible by the generous support of Jerome Foundation and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
FRANKLIN FURNACE FUND FOR PERFORMANCE ART 2007-08
For over twenty years, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art awards have been given to emerging performance artists to allow them to do major work in New York. Events are presented in partnership with collegial venues, or, in the case of site-specific collaborative groups, in the city environment. This season, Franklin Furnace received 269 applications.
Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art 2007-08 grant recipients are:
Alicia Cristina Grullón, Bronx, NY
Diana Heise, Kansas City, MO
Wayne Hodge, New York, NY
Kanene Holder, New York, NY
Selene Luna, Hollywood, CA
Taylor Mac, New York, NY
Naeem Mohaiemen, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Jessica Ann Peavy, New York, NY
FRANKLIN FURNACE THE FUTURE OF THE PRESENT 2007-08
The Future of the Present program has evolved from net casts, co-produced, beginning in 1998 with Pseudo Programs, Inc., into sophisticated public events we produce in partnership with an array of venues in and around New York and the world. These events encompass every gradation of possibility between two poles, the body of the artist and the body of the net. Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc. is pleased to announce the grant recipients for The Future of the Present 2007-08:
Sarah Drury, Philadelphia, PA
Robert Ransick, Jackson Heights, NY
Since becoming a "virtual institution" on its 20th anniversary, Franklin Furnace has developed partnerships designed to present complex works of art and bring them to the widest possible audiences. In the past, we have teamed with such collegial institutions as Downtown Community Television, Eyebeam Atelier, Hunter College, Rhizome.org, Location One, Parsons School of Design, Postmasters Gallery, Pseudo Programs, and The Kitchen; as well as venues in Managua, Nicaragua, Split, Croatia, and Tokyo, Japan.
Artists’ Bios and Projects
Sarah Drury (Philadelphia, PA)
Sarah Drury is an interdisciplinary artist who creates dance/media performance pieces in collaboration with dancers and movers. Her projects work with embodied language, sensing technologies and responsive media design in physical performance. Integrating the media arts, dance, movement, language, engineering methods and social concerns, Drury’s work visualizes and investigates the body in relation to social and representational space.
Her performance projects explore the boundaries between the body and media, focusing on questions of control, play, and the emergent subject. Drury works with technologies that sense the gesture of a performer, responsively generating projected media images based on the shape, force, and timing of the gesture. Her work has been presented internationally at museums, theaters, conferences, broadcast venues and galleries, including: the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival; the National Theater of Belgrade, Serbia; the Brooklyn Museum; the Kitchen Center for the Arts, New York; SIGGRAPH 2005; ISEA 2002; the Philadelphia Fringe Festival; Sound Cultures Symposium, Cornell University; Performative Sites; ACM Multimedia, Bristol, UK; Artists Space, New York, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY, the Worldwide Video Festival, the Hague, Netherlands; and on WGBH’s Alive From Off Center. Her projects have received support from National Endowment for the Arts and grants from the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, the Leeway Foundation, the Philadelphia Council on the Arts; the Five County Arts Fund, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Drury is currently an Assistant Professor at Temple University’s Film & Media Arts Program. She was on the faculty of the NY Art & Media Program from 1990-2000 and served on the faculty of the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program.
“eVokability”: The Walking Project is a performance piece that explores ideas and images surrounding “the body with disabilities.” Performers wear costumes embedded with sensors that track the shape and force of physical gesture, using these dynamics to generate live media projectors that amplify their movement. Interactive media artist Sarah Drury collaborates with performance artists Cathy Weis, Shelley Barry, Lezlie Frye and others, and directs this ensemble of solo pieces that transpose movement to media. Performers approach “walking” from the standpoint of a question: what does it mean to walkand what slippages occur between the mind and the step, between the desire to step out and merging into pedestrian traffic? How do different bodies tread differently, and what are implications for ordinary passersby?
Alicia Cristina Grullón (Bronx, NY)
Alicia Cristina Grullón is a New York artist. She has exhibited at Mount Holyoke College’s Five College Women’s Studies Research Center where she was a research associate in spring 2006, the 2005 Peekskill Arts Festival, Samuel Dorsky Museum at the State University of New York at New Paltz, The Hunter College Gallery, The Point Community Center, and The University of Rhode Island. Her work has appeared in ICP at the Point Magazine and The World Journal of Post-Factory Photography. She was a guest panelist for the First Annual South Bronx Film Festival discussing her acting role in the award winning video “East 182nd Street,” produced by Alex Simmons and Mark Gasper. She presented a paper titled, “Sacrifices: Women and Racism in Higher Education” at Mount Holyoke College’s Five College Women’s Studies Research Center and is co-author of English language textbooks Talk it Up books 1-4 and Speak for Yourself books 2 and 3, published by Young and San Media Seoul, South Korea. Ms. Grullón has traveled extensively and has lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MFA in Intermedia from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
“An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is the next stage in Grullón’s artistic endeavors becoming part of the “Becoming Myth Series,” which explores how artifacts and dialogue are created in performance, by viewers, participants, and artists and if the dialogue created by looking and participating becomes artifact. “An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is collaborative, reciprocating, site-specific, transient, and relational taking as its conceptual horizon the performance and site as the realm of Exchange between community, artist, and artwork. Her goal with “An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is to explore the different methods in which she can decolonize images, performances, and public spaces. For this Project, she wants to use the Internet not just as a mechanism to present a survey of her work, like a personal website, but as a public space where her ideas and art work are in action with the community and activism. She is at a stage where she wants to take her work into public spaces more frequently in New York City where issues of power relations and cultural pluralism are undergoing changes. The performances will take place in the Bronx, where she grew up and currently lives, in areas such as Hunt’s Point, Kingsbridge, and Mott Haven. These areas are witnessing a large percentage of displacement from within Latino and African American populations due to the real estate boom. The Project aims to generate a dialogue through art within these areas in order to help empower, build resistance and inform the people there.
Her objective is to create a website using information and performance as acts of resistance such as each performance will transform her, the communities and audiences to the website into bodies of resistance. She proposes to do public maskings and demaskings within areas of the Bronx where issues of power relations and gentrification are undergoing changes.The maskings/demaskings will be recorded on video, edited, and placed on the website (astudythebronx.com). Before the performances begin, the website will be constructed to act as a beacon for information regarding the project. All information will be in English and Spanish. Links will be added of sites and blogs, such as the Center for Social Inclusion and Applied Research Center, discussing how community planning can be used as effective tools fighting luxury developments displacing established local people mostly poor and of color. The maskings/demaskings will take place in up to 10 different sites of contention in the Bronx from Highbridge to Fordham. Performances will begin early October 2007 running through June 2008. During this time period all video editing of the performances will take place. Before each performance date, she will contact local community centers, such as The Point and Longwood Arts Gallery, inviting community members to the performance to participate by standing beside her (they will be free to enter and leave the frame at any point). Postcards promoting the project and website will be printed by the end of September 2007 and distributed at the sites along with fliers with performance dates. During winter months of January and February 2008, she will focus on holding performances on the website and review all material collected thus far for revision and study. Throughout the project timeline, opinions from community members she contacts and interacts with as well as her field notes on each performance and experience will be posted. She will ask community members questions that for example investigate how they feel about housing changes and what options/information they see open to them. At the completion of the project, each community will be contacted and all participants acknowledged for their taking part in the project. She aims to have the website up and performances completed by July 31, 2008 and have exhibition ready images by the end of September 2008. Her long term plans are to maintain the website up and running and locate funding in order for her to take this project to other cities undergoing changes similar to New York City such as Seattle and Philadelphia and abroad to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. “An Auto-Ethnographic Study: The Bronx” is monumental in scope and impact as it is a direct example of how an artist responds to issues such as gentrification and resistance while including community reaction and using web-based technology to address the concerns.
Diana Heise (Kansas City, MO)
Diane Heise was three years old the first time that she was on stage and the practice stayed with her. Performance gives her the room simultaneously to embrace the visual languages of our time and work to combat the effects of over-saturation from media and modern life. She sees her role as an interlocutor, promoting a perpetual revolution which asks the audience to pay attention to the world around them. She was educated at Vassar College and the School of Visual Arts. Her work has been screened at the New York Underground Film Festival, the Brooklyn Arts Council Film and Video Festival, the Big Muddy Film Festival and the Black Maria Film Festival, among others. She has performed in New York and Savannah, GA, and is currently living/practicing in Kansas City, MO, while teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute.
Diana Heise says, in regards to “Troop Splurge,” her project: “Daily, I am bombarded by depictions of violent conflict. As more people die, it is difficult to contemplate each tragedy deeply and I am unwilling to accept this attitude. In response, I will build a life-size military vehicle out of edible material. In a public gallery, I will eat this mass. Because my eyes cannot absorb the repercussions of images fully, I will consume and digest this object with another sense. My body will negotiate the limit between consuming more and inducing nausea, a process which mirrors my relationship with news media. I will also like to ask the public who come to the gallery to join in consuming if they wish so that we may collectively process this military vehicle.”
Wayne Hodge (New York, NY)
Wayne Hodge is an artist whose work combines elements of performance, video, photography, and sound production. He received an M.F.A. from Rutgers University and attended the Whitney Independent Studio Program. His work has been shown at the Bronx Museum, Gallery Korea, as well as the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has shown internationally in Germany and Brazil.
Wayne Hodge creates a series of performance videos based around important works by Bruce Nauman. Taking his cue from Nauman’s early film Art Make-Up (1969), Hodge examines his relationship to Nauman’s gesture of painting his face and body. Hodge’s project Minstrel Torture, is a recreation of the Nauman video installation Clown Torture (1987). In this case, Hodge replaces the clown imagery with his own body as a minstrel, literally “blacking up” the space previously occupied by Nauman’s clowns. Hodge takes this idea further with Bert Williams (Shit in Your Hat). In this video, based on Nauman’s Shit in Your HatHead in a Chair (1990), Hodge replaces the mime with himself dressed as Minstrel performer Bert Williams (1874-1922). Hodge will wear a costume reconstructed from Williams’ performance in the 1910 Ziegfeld Follies. He will perform the commands from Nauman’s video, creating another layer of context to his ongoing project on Williams.
Kanene Holder (New York, NY)
Kanene Holder is a New York performance artist who received her Bachelors Degree in speech pathology from Howard University. She has done film, commercials, theatre, voice-overs, and radio appearances.
“SITCHAASSDOWN” is “21 perfect-pitch snapshots of the black experience.”Ellen Carpenter, New York Magazine. It is an interactive, multi-media, solo-satire whose characters including Buckwheat, Booticia, and Holly-Hibiscus alliterate/navigate internal impediments towards “final solutions” to racism, ghetto-isms, femininity, police brutality, and war, attempting to redefine their peripheral reality. Written and fueled by poetic alter-ego intelligent-ignoramus’s quest to reconcile with “Man’s inhumanity to Man” due to racial slurs throughout childhood, “SITCHAASSDOWN” is peppered with ironic word play as the juxtaposition of imagery, music, and dialogue engages audiences in the character’s journey, both emotionally and intellectually, through soliloquies in a Caribbean or Urban cadence.
Selene Luna (Hollywood, CA)
Selene Luna is a one-of-a-kind performance artist with a look and style all her own. At 3’10,” Luna is a small package with a very big presence. She is a talented performer with a timeless sex appeal that makes her equally viable as a vintage Hollywood glamour girl or a modern music video vixen. She is part burlesque star and part rock and roll queen. Luna is a performer who embodies the eccentricities of 1930’s screwball comedies, combining a keen sense of comedic timing with smoldering sensuality. She is a larger than life personality, with a body of work, which is as impressive as it is eclectic.
Luna began her career performing among Hollywood’s eccentric artistic community. She cut her teeth performing in clubs and art venues, doing stand up comedy and acting in independent films. She quickly became a darling of Hollywood’s underground scene.
True to her roots, Luna has built a career performing in cabarets and burlesque, and is a well known performer in this scene. Miss Luna is a featured performer in the Velvet Hammer, the internationally renowned troupe, which is the originator of the current burlesque revival. As the world’s only little person burlesque dancer, Luna has performed internationally, has been the subject of numerous news features and documentaries, and has shared the stage with legends of burlesque such as Tempest Storm and Tura Santana. Luna’s burlesque background has infused her performing style with a strong sense of theatricality,
improvisation, sex appeal and comedy.
Luna has crossed over to mainstream film, television and print work. She has worked with respected directors including Guy Ritchie, Stephen Sommers and Peter Berg. Her television work include national Snapple and Cingular Wireless commercials, and music videos for some of music’s biggest acts including Madonna, Marilyn Manson, The Smashing Pumpkins
and Stone Temple Pilots. Miss Luna appeared in Kirstie Alley’s celebrated television show Fat Actress.
“Pocket Venus” is a one-woman performance piece created to enlighten audiences on the contributions little people have made throughout the history of art, culture and entertainment. As an illegal immigrant; now a proud U.S. citizen, who is the only little person to make a career as a burlesque dancer in the current neo-burlesque revival, Luna has gained the ability and wisdom to offer a unique perspective on life.
“Pocket Venus” will be executed under the glamorous guise of cabaret, as it intertwines anecdotes from her tough upbringing in the housing projects of East Los Angeles to discrimination little people continue to face in modern society. Digital images from her early childhood in Tijuana and East Los Angeles, including historical portraits of little people who made notable contributions towards art and culture act as shock absorbers to the seriousness of the material. She equates her
disability to priceless ability.
Taylor Mac (New York, NY)
Taylor Mac is a theatre artist working in the genre of pastiche. His most recent works are the solo-pastiche, “The Young Ladies Of” (NYC’s HERE Arts and London’s Battersea Arts Centers), “The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac” (The Sydney Opera House, NYC’s The Public Theatre in the Newman, London’s Soho Theatre, Stockholm’s Sodre Teatern, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, Portland’s Time Based Arts Festival, and over 30 additional theatres all around the globe) and his 12-member ensemble musical pastiche “Red Tide Blooming” (with puppets by Basil Twist and premiered at Performance Space 122). Vintage Press, New York Theatre Experience, Smith and Kraus, and Allworth Press have published his plays/work and he is the recipient of three Brighton Best of Festival awards (The Latest 7, The Argus Angel, and The Best of the Fringe awards), The Edinburg Festival’s Herald Angel Award, PS 122’s first ever Ethyl Eichelberger Award for artistic excellence, an Edward Albee Foundation Residency, a Peter S. Reed Grant, The Ensemble Studio Theatre’s New Voices Fellowship in playwriting, a Mabou Mines Suite (with collaborator Elizabeth Swados) and he is currently a HERE Arts Center Resident Artist and a member of New Dramatists.
“The Lily’s Revenge”: Using flowers as a metaphor for the queer community, an ensemble of 14 performers and musicians tell the story of a self-uprooted lily on a quest to destroy the modern tool for oppressionnostalgia. In this multidisciplinary full-length work, Taylor Mac continues his work in the genre of pastiche and the exploration of homogeny. Using puppets, elaborate costume designs, film, live music, and vaudevillian theatrics, Taylor and ensemble will combine a neo-romanticism with the macabre, and reveal how our national pastime has become repressive melancholy remembrances of what never was.
Naeem Mohaiemen (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Naeem Mohaiemen is a filmmaker and digital-media activist specializing in political Islam. He is Director of Visible, a Collective of Muslim and Other Artists, which created Disappeared in America, a film trilogy and multimedia installation that humanizes the faces of "disappeared" Muslims since 9/11.Disappeared has been presented as a museum show in New York and Sweden and as a lecture in Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin, Serbia-Montenegro, and Stuttgart. The Wall Street Journal called the project "moving and eerily impressionistic" and The New York Times described it as "politically hard-hitting." Naeem directed Muslims or Heretics, a documentary about struggles between moderate and radical Islamists in Bangladesh, which premiered at Amnesty International Film Festival. He also co-produced Rumble in Mumbai, a documentary on globalization, which aired on Free Speech TV. Naeem's essay on "Hip Hop's Islamic Connection" will be published in the forthcoming Sound Unbound (edited by DJ Spooky, MIT Press). His work and writing has been featured in The Washington Post, The Village Voice, Tikkun Jewish Journal, Alternet.org, CounterPunch.org, Chimurenga.co.za (South Africa), Wordt Vervolgd (Netherlands), Peace News (UK), New Internationalist (UK), Prothom Alo (Bangladesh), Dawn (Pakistan), and Rediff.com (India).
Mohaiemen’s proposed project explores the myth of good-vs.-evil in government kidnapping and assassination of Maoist guerillas in 1970s Bangladesh, exploding parallels with today’s “war on terror”where “their” heroes are “our” terrorists. He plans to make a feature length experimental documentary and interactive installation that will exist in a gallery space and on the Internet as a walk-through, make-your-own-juxtapositions, jigsaw puzzle storyline, SMS-enabled journey. The installation will collage posed “heroic” photos, rehearsed diary entries, pronouncements against pornography, underground life artifacts, and interviews showing narrative contradictions: a tone poem with pop-up interjections and video meditation on tangents,
digressions, and a questioning of bombastic imagery.
Jessica Ann Peavy (New York, NY)
Jessica Ann Peavy received a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in Film and Television and an MFA in photography, Video, and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts.
Peavy’s works encompass film, video, photography, and performance. She has exhibited in galleries, museum, and festivals across the country including Rush Arts Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum in collaboration with the Brooklyn Arts Council, as well as the International Black Media Festival in London. Peavy has also been invited to speak on panels for the CUNY Graduate Center and Cinewomen NY on the role of women in film and video.
Currently, Peavy is creating new works in the Smack Mellon residency and fellowship program.
“Get Your Fatback” consists of a cooking show featuring three fatback-based dishes and public fatback tasting in Central Harlem and Downtown Brooklyn. The pre-recorded satirical cooking show will be distributed on DVD to participants and passersby during a public performance in which she gives the public free samples of a blob of greasy fatback attached to a card listing the percentages of overweight and obese African American and Latino women as well as percentages in rates of heart disease and diabetes.
Robert M. Ransick (Jackson Heights, NY) Robert M. Ransick recently completed a 6 month Residency at Eyebeam in New York City where he was researching and developing a forthcoming project titled Casa Segura.” He has worked in a wide range of media and has exhibited his work in NYC at such venues as Exit Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Howard Greenberg Gallery and White Box Gallery. In addition he has shown at The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Illinois and at the Palazzo delle Esposizione in Rome, Italy, among others. He has worked as a curator and cultural producer in collaboration with Creative Time, the Aperture Foundation, and Blindspot. He is a co-creator of the Blur conferences and other events focused on current creative practices in digital art and culture.
Previously, he was the Director of the Photography Department and the Director of the Computer Instruction Center at The New School. He has taught at The School of Visual Arts, Parsons School of Design, and The New School. BFA, Photography with Honors, The School of Visual Arts; MA, Media Studies, The New School for Social Research. He is currently a full-time faculty member in digital arts at Bennington College. He is also a member of the media collective Screensavers Group. Robert M. Ransick lives and works in New York City, but spends a good deal of time in Southern Arizona.
Casa Segura (Safe House) is an artwork that combines a small public access structure on private land in the Sonoran desert in Southern Arizona with a dynamic bilingual web space that facilitates creative exchange, dialogue, and understanding. Located north of the Mexican border, Casa Segura engages three distinct groups: Mexican migrants crossing the border through this dangerous landscape, the property owners whose land they cross, and members of the general public interested in learning more about border issues and the intricate dynamics at play in this heavily trafficked region. It is a conceptual project that contrasts existing conditions with new choices that can positively transform how individuals on both sides of the divide engage with and perceive one another.
Casa Segura provides concerned private property owners on the border with an opportunity to create a life-saving beacon in the desert, a platform for engaging with the anonymous individuals crossing their land, and a non-aggressive means of protecting their homes. The project makes manifest the compassionate choices available to individuals who live within this highly charged border region. As an alternative to the further militarization of the border, Casa Segura offers a new method of engagement and free exchange. Shifting away from the abstract rhetoric of numbers, the project focuses on the anonymous--yet intimate--relationship between a property owner and the individual migrants walking their land.
The small solar-powered structure acts as a temporary transitional space in which migrants can meet basic needs for water and nutrition and share stories via an embedded touch screen interface. Drawing upon the vernacular of traveler graffiti, pictograms, and the Mexican tradition of ex-voto painting, migrants are invited to creatively share something about themselves and their journey with the homeowner and the larger populus. The interface provides a simple means for the migrants to draw, write messages, or make a pictogram from a set of ready-made graphical icons. These icons, representative of Mexican culture, geography and myths/belief systems, are being created in collaboration with Alberto Morackis and Guadalupe Serrano of Yonke Arte Público in Nogales, Mexico.
These images and messages are automatically uploaded to the Casa Segura website from the remote location. The bilingual web site will be a public space for viewing the migrant-created images/messages, a place for others to create their own, and an access point for resources about immigration issues and the borders of the southwestern United States.
Casa Segura does not promise resolution to the complex set of issues revolving around the border, illegal immigration, and humanitarian efforts. Instead, it seeks to provide new opportunities for individual action, understanding, and dialogue.
Panel Bios 2007-08
Mendi Obadike is an interdisciplinary artist and Franklin Furnace alum. She is author of the book Armor and Flesh and regularly collaborates with her husband, Keith Obadike. Their projects include Blackness for Sale (in which they auctioned Keith’s blackness on eBay), The Sour Thunder (an Internet opera commissioned by Yale University, released by Bridge Records), The Interaction of Coloreds (a race verification system for the Whitney Museum’s artport), and The Pink of Stealth (a surround sound / Internet work commissioned by EAI & The NY African Film Festival). This spring they launched Big House / Disclosure, a 200 hour house song and performance suite commissioned by Northwestern University. They are currently working on Four Electric Ghosts, a project supported by Toni Morrison’s Atelier at Princeton University.
Nicky Paraiso is a performance artist. He was a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan. He has also worked with Jeff Weiss and Carlos Ricardo Martinez since 1979 and was an actor and musical director in "Come Clean" and the Obie-winning "Hot Keys." He is also affiliated with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks, with whom he has appeared in four major productions since 1988. He is also a frequent performer with Ma-Yi Theatre/NATCO. Paraiso's awards include a 1987 Bessie and a NYSCA Performance Art Initiative Grant. He was nominated for the prestigious Cal Arts/Alpert Award in 1998. His films include "Book of Days," "Fresh Kill" and "Jeffrey." He has been invited to perform his solo work, "House/Boy" at the upcoming Initiation International Festival in Singapore, November, 2007.
Jenny Polak is an artist making architectural installation, drawings and web projects. Her designer alter ego, Design For The Alien Within, promotes hypothetical hiding and dwelling places to accommodate people without immigration documents. Posing as modern furniture or 'para-architectural' structures, the works infuse design logic with the dangers of today’s immigration politics. The cultural resonances of visibility and secrecy and the cheery terms of interior design consumption recast immigrant-citizen struggles at home, at work, and in prison. Polak comes from England and family history of hiding and migration drives her work’s preoccupation. She has shown widely and is a recipient of a Franklin Furnace Future of the Present Award and a Digital Matrix Award among others.
Sapphire is the author of American Dreams, a collection of poetry which was cited by Publisher’s Weekly as, “One of the strongest debut collections of the nineties.” Her novel Push, won the Book-of-the-Month Club Stephen Crane award for First Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s First Novelist Award, and in Great Britain, the Mind Book of the Year Award. Push was named by the Village Voice as one of the top ten books of 1996 and by TIMEOUT New York as one of the top ten books of 1996. Push was nominated for an NAACP IMAGE AWARD in the category of Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction. About her last book of poetry, Poet’s and Writer’s Magazine wrote, “With her soul on the line in each verse, her latest collection, Black Wings & Blind Angels, retains Sapphire’s incendiary power to win hearts and singe minds.” Sapphire’s work has been translated in eleven languages and has been adapted for stage in the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Netherlands.
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