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Contents for July 13, 2015

Licio Isolani, FF Alumn, In Memoriam

School of Art Professor Emeritus Licio Isolani, a prominent figure of the Italian-New York art scene in the '60s and '70s, peacefully passed away on the evening of July 4, 2016. A memorial service wias held for Isolani in the garden behind the library on Pratt's Brooklyn campus on Friday, July 10 from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM.

Isolani had a long and illustrious career as a professor of sculpture at Pratt, which spanned more than five decades. A renowned pioneer in the exploration of plastics and polymeric materials, Isolani donated a collection of his own work to the Math and Science Department, fulfilling his passion for connecting science and art. His greatest contribution to Pratt rests in the development of the Foundry, which he designed and which still remains the only professional and academic foundry in the New York City area.

Isolani was known and appreciated by colleagues and students alike. In keeping with Isolani's wish to be remembered in a living and breathing space, Pratt community members are invited to celebrate Isolani's life in the Institute's tranquil gardens.



1. Susan Mogul, FF Alumn, receives Tree of Life Individual Artist Grant

Tree of Life is pleased to announce the five individuals who were selected to receive the Tree of Life Individual Artist Grant.

The Grantees are:

Susan Mogul, Los Angeles, CA
John L. Moore, Jackson Heights, NY
Kathy Rose, New York, NY
Martha Jane Terry, Raleigh, NC
Daniel Wiener, Brooklyn, NY

Additional information about the artists and their projects is posted to our website, www.treeoflifeartists.org, under Tree of Life Grantees. A press release is also attached for additional information.

Please consult our website for questions about our Grant Program or email us at info@treeoflifeartist.org



2. Mark Havens, FF Alumn, at James Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, thru Aug. 3, and more

First, I am in a 3-artist exhibition entitled "Pivotal" with Nadine Rovner and Martin Buday at the James Oliver Gallery in Philadelphia. The show continues through August 1. (http://www.jamesolivergallery.com)

And second, my work in the show was the subject of a feature article this week on LensCulture. (https://www.lensculture.com/articles/mark-havens-out-of-season)

Please let me know it would be possible to include these two items in the next email. Thanks for your help, I look forward to hearing from you!





3. Larry List, FF Alumn, at AMEICO, New Milford, CT, thru Oct. 31, and more

FF Alumn Larry List contributes catalog introduction and co-curates "The Interaction of Form and Color: Works by Josef and Anni Albers" at AMEICO, in New Milford Connecticut.

"The Interaction of Form and Color: Works by Josef and Anni Albers" was organized by Daniel Basiletti and Larry List. It features examples of Josef's early Bauhaus-era Tea Table, Secretary's Desk, Nesting Tables, and Bookcase furniture designs as well as Anni Albers' Study Rug, Child's Room Rug, Smyrna Rug and others designed during her Bauhaus years. Complimenting these works are thirty of the hand-silkscreened folio pages from Josef's deluxe limited edition 1963 Interaction of Color treatise. In an adjoining room there is a video documentary, a wide collection of texts on each of the Albers, and, perhaps, best of all, a full array of color aid color papers, scissors, and glue as well as an iPad app with all of the Interaction of Color exercises, so visitors can sit down and "learn by direct experience" as both of the Albers encouraged generations of artists to do through their teaching and writing. The exhibition opened Saturday, July 11th and will be up through October 31st. For more information contact larrylist1@verizon.net or daniel@ameico.com

AMEICO, based in Connecticut and Zurich, Switzerland, produces the works of prominent Modernist artists, architects, and designers authorized by the artists or their estates and offers them through a network of prominent North American and European design stores and museums such as MoMA, the Phillips Collection and others.



4. RENO, FF Alumn, at Dixon Place, Manhattan, thru Aug. 3

RENO Free Dixon Place Hot Fest Every Monday July 13-Aug 3 @7:30



5. Alicia Grullon, FF Alumn, at The Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows, July 17-19

Alicia Grullon, FF Alum
Queens Museum, July 17-19, 2015
United States Society for Education in the Arts (USSEA) regional conference, "Building an Inclusive World". http://www.queensmuseum.org/events/united-states-society-for-education-through-art-ussea-regional-conference
On Saturday the 18th, I will be presenting a paper on my social sculpture project, PERCENT FOR GREEN, a work with the aim of passing a Bronx led bill modelled after a Percent for Art. The project focuses on climate change and building communal resiliency in environmental justice areas in the Bronx.



6. DANCENOISE, FF Alumns, at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Manhattan, July 23-25

DANCENOISE at the Whitney
shows on thurs-sat july 23-25.
on monday, tickets for the wah wah hut show wed july 22, which we are hosting will go on sale.
love to all

for tickets please visit this link:



7. Anton van Dalen, FF Alumn, now online at huffingtonpost.com

Dear family, friends and neighbors,

Sending you a video portrait of my life with pigeons and neighborhood.



Meet The Last Pigeon Keeper in New York's East Village



8. Hector Canonge, FF Alumn, in Lima, Peru, July 8-19, and more

After finishing presentations, talks and workshops in Europe: Berlin, Valencia, Athens, Naples, Rome, and Venice where 2 new works were introduced within the frame of the Venice Biennale, Hector Canonge returned to the USA to participate in the Rosekill International Performance Festival in New York, and in the Miami Performance International Festival.

During the month of July, Canonge will present in Perú the series of performances denominated "DESENLACES" (Disentanglements). In Lima (July 8 - 14), as guest artist in the Encuentro Espacio Abierto a Libre Performance, and in Arequipa (July 16 - 19) in a special program for Alliance Française through the French Consular Office in Perú. "DESENLACES" (Disentanglements) a new Performance Art project constitutes a series of actions that are determined by the use of traditional elements native of the Andean region transformed by the typical style of the artist's corporal movements.

In addition, Canonge participates in the Stapari International Arts Summer Festival in Belgrade, Serbia, with the video and photographic documentation of his performances "Hombre de Barro" (Bolivia, 2013), and "Descenso" (Colombia, 2014). Following his presentations in Perú, the artist will travel to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia to initiate a new Latin American program for Live Action Art, and to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he will exhibit work at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Argentino. Canonge will return to the USA at the end of August to work on the international festival ITINERANT taking place in Fall 2015.

Hector Canonge
Artist / Curator / Educator / Cultural Promoter
Email: hector@hectorcanonge.net
Website: www.hectorcanonge.net
Skype: HectorCanonge



9. Alan Sondheim, FF Alumn, new CD now available

Brand New CD, Threnody, Shorter Discourses of the Buddha!

Available from Public Eyesore

Azure Carter, voice / songs,
Luke Damrosch, madal, guzheng, electronics Alan Sondheim, acoustic

We have a new release, available now! The new cd has 24 pieces,
including five songs with Azure Carter, and live Supercollider reverse
reverberation (revrev) from Luke Damrosch. I play 19 instruments, the
musical structures are innovative and at times fast enough that speed
itself becomes an essential component of the pieces. There are also
slower pieces, pieces with Luke on madal and retuned guzheng, pieces
with qin, and several double- recorded duets with myself (alto clarinet
and clarinet for example). I try to reach the limits of my ability,
breaking new ground when I can. The emotional range of the music is
broad; the title indicates a sense of mourning, but the shorter
discourses of the Buddha imply peace, planes of sound, fast and slow
structures, enlightening.


From Jason Weiss (author of Steve Lacy: Conversations; Always in
Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk; Back in No Time: The Brion Gysin
Reader, etc.)

"Who could have made such music? What was he thinking? Or rather, what
were his fingers telling him with their ecstatic stuttering, their
motormouth metalanguage?

"And do you call this music? It does not sound like noise. In its
skittering, scampering, blurting of pure expression, it is alive,
unmistakably alive. Like a creature we don't quite recognize, that
moves by its own lights, that does not need our permission to exist,
that finds or makes its own spaces and habitats.

"Music is always abstract, so it would seem a redundancy to think of
this as abstract music. Of course, we do not consider songs abstract,
nor familiar melodies or classical forms---even when we are aware that
what seems familiar is really a matter of cultural habits and slowly
developed norms (which are themselves constantly changing, naturally).
This music, this splash of tonalities and textures, this breathing of
illuminations in their flurries of flight, might well be an abstraction
of the seemingly-non-abstract. Quickest glimpse of a melody from afar,
so far that it must be foreign, though no less human for that; and so
quick, so speeded up perhaps, that we do not know what we are hearing.
The spine of a massive animal poking up through a surface we did not
even realize was there.

"Alan Sondheim is a polymath, a restless connecter, explorer of virtual
realms, tinkerer in the currency of questions, ever curious about
impossible articulations of the body, of bodies, of dust and stars. Or
what had seemed impossible. Luke Damrosch, meanwhile, tracks the
flickering web of Alan's spells, catches their reflections, follows
them through to their secret heartbeat. And Azure Carter? Azure assures
him, ensures the voice within the music, soft anchor to a wild ear,
filters the wind of vast expanses into a sigh, a melodic speaking, we
are here, we were here, we may be somewhere else tomorrow."


Please consider ordering and supporting this music; and please share
this announcement! We need your support!

Also, consider ordering Avatar Woman, from Public Eyesore,

(see numerous reviews for Avatar Woman here)

Thank you so much!

- Alan Sondheim, sondheim@panix.com



10. Katya Grokhovsky, FF Alumn, summer events 2015

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I would like to inform you of my news and events taking place this Summer:


*How is it going?
July 6th-July 30th 2015
Curated by P.E.S - Park Exhibition Space (L.A)
Occupying a space in Midtown Manhattan, P.E.S will exhibit a continuous and rotating show of works from various artists across the United States and abroad.

Live Performance: Status Update by Katya Grokhovsky
July 9th 6-8pm

1370 Ave of Americas 11th floor
(56th between 5th and 6th) New York, NY

*Group Exhibition by Mentors and Mentees of NYFA's
Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program
August 8th - 23rd 2015
Opening reception August 8th 2015
Lorimoto Gallery
16-23 Hancock St. Ridgewood, NY 11385

*Face to Place
Selected Works from the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program
June 25, 2015 - October 23, 2015
60 Wall Gallery
Deutsche Bank's Americas headquarters, NYC
On view for staff and clients

SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery
Residency LAB
July 21- August 22 2015

548 West 28th St.
Suite 333
NEW YORK, NY 10001

Open Studio and Performance TBD


Alone, privately, publicly, in silence, daily - I protest!

SOSHO20 2015 Residency Lab resident Katya Grokhovsky will present and moderate an open round table, focusing on the personal, often silent protests women carry out in their daily lives due to persistent and overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, expectations, patriarchy exhaustion and gender inequality.
July 30th 2015 7pm

SOHO20 Gallery Chelsea
548 West 28th St.Suite 333
NEW YORK, NY 10001

NYFA Immigrant Artist Program 2015
June-September 2015


BRIC Media Arts Fellowship
January - October 2015
BRIC House
647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217





Best Wishes
Katya Grokhovsky




11. Donald Daedalus, FF Alumn, at The Bronx Museum, thru Sept. 20

Donald Hải Phú Daedalus presents :Reproducible At Any Nearby Home Depot(r) Store," (2015), part of the Illinois River Project, at the Bronx Museum's third Bronx Biennial. The sculptural vehicle is designed to catch sound-sensitive invasive carp during the 2016 fishing tournament in Bath, IL. A limited edition booklet is available at the museum.

The exhibition runs from July 8- September 20, 2015 and is free and open to the public.

For more information please visit http://www.donalddaedalus.com/illinoisriverproject






12. Doug Skinner, FF Alumn, new book now available

The Doug Skinner Dossier is now available from Black Scat Books! This blessed compendium features articles, short stories, verses, columns, literary essays, alphabets, metrical translations, monologues, talks, cartoons, rounds, lipogrammatic smut, a puppet show, a ventriloquism routine, and a one-act play. 248 pages of pure, unadulterated Skinner.
Holy cow! Take a look at blackscatbooks(dot)com.



13. Mat Fraser, FF Alumn, at BAM Fishman Space, Brooklyn, July 25

PRESS CONTACT: Mat Fraser 347 615 3238 mat.fraser@virgin.net PRESS PHOTOS & MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE: cripfest.splashthat.com

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
ONEOFUS presents ...
SAT JULY 25TH 2015, 2 PM - 11 PM, BAM FISHMAN SPACE, 321 Ashland Place, Brooklyn NY 11217, Closest Subway: Atlantic Avenue, Barclays Center

Book Tickets at cripfest.splashthat.com
Starring American Horror Story: Freak Show's Mat Fraser, Little Women NY's star Jordanna James, UK TV's comedienne Liz Carr, U.S. dance legend Bill Shannon, Turner Classic Movie's Lawrence Carter Long, "L.A.'s favorite openly gay artist with a disability" comedian Greg Walloch, NYC band The Spazms, theatre from The Apothetae, Edinburgh festival star Laurence Clark, burlesque from Cerebral Pussy, Nina La Voix, & Mx Bushwick Burlesque Velvet Crayon, NJ comedian Rich "The Claw" Cyr, and much much more.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA), Cripfest is a free all day and night festival where professional disabled artists reclaim their images and identities, with celebration, agitation, and Cripsploitation.
"American Horror Story: Freak Show" British star MAT FRASER curates this assured movement of creative artists who are reshaping the notion of disability in our World, in the quest of shaking New York away from the tired, inaccurate performances of disability on Broadway, and waking the Big Apple up to the real action going on right now.
"CRIPFEST will explode the condescending do-gooder myths around disability," says Fraser, "showing the dangerous, transgressive, and amazing work of some of the most radical and exciting artists in the UK and USA. THIS AIN'T NO TELETHON!"

Beginning at 2pm with Turner Classic Movie's disability film expert Lawrence Carter Long presents the "Good Bad & Ugly" of disability cinema leading a panel discussion of industry professionals, then at 3.30pm NYC's The Apothetae perform a foley presentation of acclaimed disabled playwright Todd Bauer's "Downsizing Camus". At 5pm legendary "Crutch Master" Bill Shannon gives an hour of his seminal dance work, then New York theatre Co. , followed at 7pm by British award winning comedian Laurence Clarke, who exploits his cerebral palsy to collect money in the name of bogus charities. Finally the 9pm variety show features radical performances by new NYC band The Spazms, star of TV's "Little Woman New York" Jordanna James in her burlesque persona "JJ Sparkle", L.A.'s favorite openly gay artist with a disability Greg Walloch, British TV star and comedienne Liz Carr, Coney Island sideshow artist Nati Amos, NJ comedian Rich "The Claw" Cyr, NYC burlesque star Nina La Voix, Criptease from Cerebral Pussy, as well as a rare screening of multi-award winning short erotic film "Krutch". With more deformity than in Bradley Cooper's worst nightmares, THIS REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELETHON-ISED, YOU HAVE TO SEE IT LIVE!!

Now a star in the USA due to his celebrated role in "American Horror Story:Freak Show", Mat Fraser has been well known to UK audiences as an actor, and prominent face of the British Disability Art scene for 20 years. In 2012 he hosted the Paralympics opening ceremony, played drums with Coldplay in the closing ceremony, and married his sweetheart and co director of ONEOFUS, the legendary downtown artist, actor and burlesque superstar Julie Atlas Muz. In 2013/14 they collaborated to make their smash hit adult version of "Beauty and the Beast", which got rave reviews in the NY Times, leading to his ground-breaking role as Paul the Illustrated Seal in FX's "American Horror Story: Freak Show". Mat & Julie were just crowned King & Queen of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

The British Council is the UK's international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.
For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.



14. Max Schumann named Executive Director, Printed Matter, Inc., Manhattan

Max Schumann named Executive Director of Printed Matter, Inc

Printed Matter is pleased to announce that Max Schumann has been appointed to the role of Executive Director. Max has worked with Printed Matter for 26 years, starting as a book packer in 1989. He served as Bookstore Manager from 1993-2004, as Associate Director from 2005-2013, and as Acting Director on a number of occasions during his time with the organization.

Max Schumann takes on the position at an exciting time for Printed Matter as it prepares to move into a larger location this fall. The new home at Eleventh Avenue and 26th Street will bring both challenges and opportunities to the organization, providing an expanded platform for the distribution of artists' books and for the strengthening of Printed Matter's public programs and services. The Executive Director role oversees the many facets of the non-profit organization's activities, including administration, programming, development and institutional relations and partnerships. Max is also tasked with the significant challenges that come with the build-out of the new space, greatly increased programming and a growing infrastructure. The organization is currently undertaking the largest Capital Campaign in its 40 year history, with a goal of raising $850,000 to underwrite the renovations underway at Printed Matter's new facility.
Philip Aarons, Chair of Printed Matter's Board of Directors, said: "We couldn't be happier that Max has decided to take on the Executive Director position. For many years Max has been the heart and soul of Printed Matter. He knows the organization better than anyone, and it is hard to imagine a more perfect match for the job. His expansive knowledge of the present day culture and history of artists' books has already been a tremendous asset in shaping the vision of the organization, and I'm confident he is ideally suited to taking on Printed Matter's new challenges in the chief executive role. His deep and genuine commitment to the possibilities of the artists' book as both an artistic and political medium is remarkable, and speaks to much of what the organization stands for. We look forward to Printed Matter's continued growth under his expert guidance."
Max Schumann said of his new appointment: "We are at an extraordinary moment in Printed Matter's history. With the recent resurgence of artists' publishing, we are uniquely positioned to support this activity on a number of fronts. I'm eager to work with Printed Matter's staff to best utilize our amazing new space, advance our many public programs including the NY and LA Art Book Fairs, and develop our online presence to strengthen the reach of artists' publications as an accessible and democratic form of art. Artists' books have an amazing legacy of addressing a range of social, political, economic and cultural themes, both as artistic works and as models of cultural activism. In the role of Executive Director I look forward to reinforcing Printed Matter as an essential platform for this type of material, as well as to encourage the field of artists books and publications in the broadest way possible."

During his time at Printed Matter, Max Schumann has played a key role in the development of many of Printed Matter's programs and services over the past three decades. He curated the exhibitions By Any Means Necessary: Photocopier Books and the Politics of Accessible Printing Technologies (1992); PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT: the Multiples and Editioned Works of Jenny Holzer (2002); and A Show About Colab (and Related Activities) (2011); NOTHING IS NOT READY (2013), featuring the publishing work of Bread & Puppet Press; and co-curated the expansive Learn to Read Art: A Surviving History of Printed Matter at NYU's 80WSE Gallery (2014). Max also curates "Friendly Fire," which features political and activist publishing collectives at the NY and LA Art Book Fair. He is the editor of A Book About Colab (and Related Activities), forthcoming from Printed Matter in the fall of 2015.

In addition to his work for Printed Matter, Max is an artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. He serves on the Board of Directors of Primary Information, a non-profit artists' publishing imprint, and Bread and Puppet Theater, one of America's longest running non-profit experimental theater groups.

Printed Matter, Inc.
Printed Matter, Inc. is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1976 by artists and art workers with the mission to foster the appreciation, dissemination, and understanding of artists' books and other artists' publications.


Printed Matter, Inc. has received support, in part, through grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Booth Ferris Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund (The Charles E. Culpeper Arts & Culture Grants), The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Gesso Foundation, Mayor's Fund to Advance New York and the Fund for the City of New York, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Art Dealers of America Association, The Jerome Foundation, The Greenwich Collection Ltd., The Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Orphiflamme Foundation, The Harpo Foundation, The Leon Levy Foundation, The Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Furthermore Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Mondriaan Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Schoenstadt Family Foundation, The Jay DeFeo Trust, Clinton Hill/Allen Tran Foundation, Society of American Archivists, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, New York Council for the Humanities, Shapco, and individuals worldwide.

Printed Matter, Inc.
195 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY 10011

T: 212 925 0325
F: 212 925 0464

Copyright (c) 2015 Printed Matter, Inc., All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:



15. Paul Henry Ramirez, FF Alumn, at El Paso Museum of Art, Texas, thru Oct. 11

Dear Friends,

I'm pleased to be included in this wonderful permanent-collection exhibition at the El Paso Museum of Art-AMPlified ABStraction, July 12 through October 11, 2015. If you are in town, I hope you'll have a chance to see it! -Paul Henry

AMPlified ABStraction, July 12 - October 11, 2015.
El Paso Museum of Art
One Art Festival Plaza, El Paso, Texas



16. Jay Critchley, FF Alum, in The Boston Globe, July 12

Jay Critchley, a 'born-again' artist
Boston Globe, 7-12-15
By Emeralde Jensen-Roberts
Jay Critchley has been a multimedia and performance artist for over 30 years, renowned for his politically charged works of art. A self-described "born-again artist," his pieces include "Miss Tampon Liberty," the "Big Twig Tunnel Tapes," and the "Martucket Eyeland Resort & Theme Park." He is the founder of the Provincetown Swim for Life and Paddler Flotilla, an annual swim across the Provincetown Harbor that has raised nearly $3 million for AIDS and women's health care. He resides in Provincetown.

What are your points of inspiration?
I was very involved with political issues - the anti-Vietnam-War peace demonstrations, anti-nuclear issues. I set up an organization called the NRC, which people know [as] the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but I changed it to the Nuclear Recycling Consultants. I like to set up corporate identities and logos. It's a commentary on [their] role in society. With the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that corporations are individuals, it's even more relevant - this idea of the corporate persona. In the '80s, I set up a corporation called TACKI, which stands for the Tampon Applicator Creative Klubs International. The purpose of TACKI was to recycle plastic tampon applicators to create art, but also to ban the manufacture and sale of non-biodegradable feminine hygiene products that were littering the ocean. For the centennial [of the] Statue of Liberty, which was in 1986 in New York, I appeared in a gown of 3,000 applicators. It makes this fabulous rustling sound.

What other kinds of materials do you like to collect?
I walk the beaches a lot. I like working with materials that are right in my locale. It connects me to the place. I've used fish skins, sand, Christmas trees, fishing gear - things from the beach that pile up.

Do you have a favorite installation or project?
One project that I think had some real life impact was Old Glory Condoms. [In] 1989, there had been a case, Texas v. Johnson, in which the Supreme Court said it is legal to burn the flag, it's free speech. It was around the same time as the AIDS pandemic, so I thought, "Let's redefine what it means to be patriotic." I created this image of the American flag on a condom. I knew I was onto a hot idea. I knew it would have an impact.
Part of the strategy was to challenge the government to deal with the reality of HIV. When I applied for a trademark and the trademark office denied my application, I was surprised that the government's response was so arcane; they said it was immoral and scandalous to associate the flag with sex. But that's exactly what I had hoped for, in a way; it showed the absurdity of the government's position, not only about sexuality, but about patriotism. After three years of battling, they did grant me the trademark, for the name and the image. It became a legal corporation. Condoms were distributed around the world.

What has the response been like from the Cape Cod community?
I think people are bemused by my work. Sometimes I make things that I really can't believe I made. Like, I made a tampon pie. It's in a pie pan, made from plastic tampon applicators with a fish skin crust. I made this piece and cut a slice and I was horrified at first - where did that come from?! So I put it aside [and] didn't show it for a long time until I was ready to figure out how I could relate to it.

How often are you working on art?
I don't think I ever stop working. It's part of my DNA. My life is really what my art is about, and the world around me is the canvas. Doing other things is part of experiencing the world and then that becomes fodder for creative ideas. I don't just go into a studio and work for a few hours. In fact, I don't even have a studio. When I work on specific projects, I make the space to do it.
For many summers, I had a series of programs called "septic opera." I have this abandoned septic tank in my backyard that I rediscovered [to] create a theater in the ground. I made a number of short videos. One is called "Toilet Treatments" and one of the characters lives inside the septic tank. It won an HBO Audience Award in the Provincetown Film Festival when it came out
It's a small space, in a beehive shape, about six-and-a-half feet in diameter, five feet deep, and circular. Performers would use above ground and belowground as a stage. I had opera, drag, poetry, music, performance art. There were big flags hanging behind the space with lighting and there were seats out on the ground. It was magical. www.jaycritchley.com



17. Michelle Handelman, Zackary Drucker, FF Alumns, at The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA, thru Oct. 11

Irma Vep, The Last Breath
July 11 - October 11, 2015

The Henry Art Gallery
University of Washington
15th Ave. NE & NE 41st St.
Seattle, Washington 98105

The Henry presents the West Coat premiere of the multichannel video installation Irma Vep, The Last Breath (2013) by Michelle Handelman. Irma Vep - an anagram for vampire - is the lead female character of Les Vampires (1915, dir. Louis Feuillade, 1915 - 16), a French silent, serial film about a gang of thieves that terrorizes the upper class of Parisian society.

In Handelman's contemporary reconsideration of Feuillade's classic, the legacy of screen criminal Irma Vep comes alive in the body of transgender artist and performer Zackary Drucker (Transparent). A non-linear narrative and psychological portrait unfolds as Irma Vep exchanges dialogue with her therapist and encounters the real-life actress who played her, Musidora, in the form of drag icon Flawless Sabrina (The Queen). Starkly illuminated projections and a dramatic audio score envelop viewers in a story of queer identity, criminal anxiety, and a life within the shadows of society. Irma Vep, The Last Breath features a score by Quentin Chiappetta (Christian Marclay's The Clock) and costumes by Garo Sparo and award- winning fashion collective threeASFOUR.

This marks the 100-year anniversary of Les Vampires,and in celebration the Henry will host a series of screenings and talks, ranging from a profile of the film's female lead, Musidora, to the cultural history of the catsuit.
Interrupted Dialogues Series
July - October, 2015:
Vicki Callahan with Les Vampires (episodes 3 & 6)
July 24, 2015, 6-8:30pm
- Jennifer Bean with Les Vampires (episodes 8 & 10)
July 31, 2015, 6-8:30pm
Michael McCann with To Catch A Thief
August 14, 2015, 8:30-11pm
- Jessica Burstein with Irma Vep
October 8, 2015, 6-8:30pm

Irma Vep, The Last Breath - Cast & Crew
Director: Michelle Handelman; Cinematographer: Ed David; Composer: Quentin Chiappetta; Editor: Michelle Handelman; Costume Designer: Garo Sparo and threeASFOUR; Makeup Designer: Michael Gwaltney; Production Designers: Michelle Handelman, Nadja Verena Marcin; Choreographer: Tori Sparks; Still Photographer: Laure Leber; Production Manager: Dominic Cloutier; Performers: Irma Vep: Zackary Drucker; Musidora: Jack Doroshow a.k.a. Flawless Sabrina; Therapist: MIchelle Handelman; Rooftop Irma Veps: A.K. Burns, Zackary Drucker, Marti Domination, Tori Sparks.
Michelle Handelman is a Brooklyn-based artist who has exhibited and screened her work internationally. She has had solo shows at the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing (2014); Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin, Texas (2011); and Participant, Inc., New York (2009). She was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for research toward Irma Vep, The Last Breath and has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Art Matters. She is an associate Professor in the Film and Media department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.
Irma Vep, The Last Breath is organized by Nina Bozicnik, Assistant Curator. Support is generously provided by 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax, and our season supporter ArtsFund.

Press Contact: Dana Van Nest danavn@henryart.org Tel. +1 206-616-9625



18. Michelle Stuart, FF Alumn, at Marc Selwyn, Beverly Hills, CA, opening July 18

Michelle Stuart
Topographies: Drawings and Photographic Works 1968 - 2015
July 18 - September 5, 2015

Opening Reception:
Saturday, July 18th, 6-8 pm

Marc Selwyn
9953 South Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
T. 310.277.9953


An important survey exhibit of works on paper by Michelle Stuart, the first of its kind in the city of her birth.



19. Barbara Rosenthal, FF Alumn, at Shades of Green, Manhattan, July 27

Barbara Rosenthal, (FF Alum) will be a featured reader with Bill Considine and Thad Rutkowski in the Saturn Series curated by Su Polo at Shades of Green, 125 E 15 St, Mon. July 27, 8pm. Free. Barbara will be reading from her new novel, WISH FOR AMNESIA, published by Deadly Chaps Press. The book has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, PEN/Bingham Award, National Book Award, and Pushcart Prize.
Barbara Rosenthal



20. Adrian Piper, Dread Scott, Andy Warhol, FF Alumns, at Artspace, New Haven, CT, opening July 17

Arresting Patterns
July 17-September 13, 2015

Opening: Friday, July 17, 5-8pm

50 Orange Street
New Haven, CT 06510
Hours: Wednesday-Thursday noon-6pm,
Friday-Saturday noon-8pm

Download the art-agenda iPad App Share

Curated by Sarah Fritchey with Titus Kaphar & Leland Moore

This exhibition brings together a group of artists who seek to uncover the often-overlooked patterns of racial disparity in the U.S. Criminal Justice system. The urgent need to explore indicators of intentional and unintentional discrimination arises in the aftermath of the Ferguson verdict, the Baltimore riots, the killings of Eric Garner and William K. Scott, and the Charleston Church Shooting. These events have produced collective frustration around the question of whether every citizen is protected equally under the law, and have lead to a call for a more transparent dialogue between citizens, law enforcement agents and policy makers.

The selected artworks use serial repetition as a strategy for showcasing how one action, repeated over time, may accumulate, spread or evolve into another version of its original self. The show situates repetition as an aesthetic arena within which artists can show difference within a shared experience, or pursue its opposite, replicating an image in perpetuity until it is emptied of meaning. Read through this critical lens, the works produce a variety of effects-pacifying, enraging, seducing, neutralizing and leaving the viewer on inconclusive ground. The show focuses on repetition and replication in order to recognize how a system might evolve into a new version of itself over time.

Artspace is working with New Haven-based painter Titus Kaphar to develop the historical, curatorial and educational portions of this exhibition. Visitors will encounter a timeline of the history of racial violence in America that begins in the 1700s and focuses on events that took place in New Haven. Kaphar's series of chalk on blackboard drawings from The Jerome Project sparked the idea for the numbers-driven framework of the show. This project started when a search for his father in the U.S. prison system turned up 99 incarcerated African-American men with the same first and last name. Those Federal Registry images put in stark relief the racial bias in our judicial system, giving visual form to the notion that the sentencing policies over the past 40 years have transformed the nation's prison system into a modern equivalent of Jim Crow. In an attempt to make sense of these images, he painted each of the mug shots in the Byzantine icon style of Saint Jerome. The works in Arresting Patterns similarly demonstrate how artworks might act as surrogates for standard data visualization charts and graphs.

A companion exhibition displays the work of local high school students who collaborated with Kaphar and the Collective Consciousness Theater to create new work inspired by The Jerome Project. The exhibition includes a reading room with texts, essays and archival clippings on the impact of the criminal stereotype on prisoners, their families and entire communities. A related two-day conference at the Yale University Art Gallery takes place Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13, 2015. Support is provided by the Surdna Foundation's new Artists Engaging in Social Change initiative, the Seymour Lustman Fund, JANA and Andy Warhol Foundations, Friends of Artspace, and other generous funders listed below.

Artists include: Jamal Cyrus, Maria Gaspar, Titus Kaphar, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Adrian Piper, Laurie Jo Reynolds, Dread Scott and Andy Warhol.

About Artspace
For thirty years, Artspace has championed the ideas and artistic concerns of local artists and created space for exhibitions on some of the most urgent issues of our time. These topics have spanned the AIDS Crisis (with the group exhibition Interrupted Lives, in 1991), the War on Terror (Between Fear and Freedom, 2002), Immigration (Mythical Nation, 2003), Globalization and the loss of manufacturing jobs in Connecticut, (Factory Direct, 2005), Climate Change (Futurecast, 2012) and, in 2015, racial bias in the Criminal Justice system.

Press contact
Katie Jurkiewicz: katiej@artspacenh.org / T +203 772 2709



21. Liliana Porter, FF Alumn, at Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, opening July 14


Opening Reception: Tuesday, July 14, 6-8 pm
Sicardi Gallery is pleased to present To See Gold and other prints, the gallery's sixth solo exhibition of work by Liliana Porter, and the first to focus exclusively on the artist's prints.
Porter's extensive ouevre encompasses painting, photography, works on paper, installation, video and theater, but printmaking has been a constant in her production since the early 1960s. Shortly after moving to New York in 1964, she co-founded The New York Graphic Workshop, an important site for experimentation around the conceptual possibilities of the medium. Members of the NYGW were included in the seminal 1970 exhibition Information at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Porter was featured in a solo project at MoMA in 1973.
Porter writes, "In the early seventies, I was using as subjects images that I considered simple or less loaded with meaning, such as things found in a hardware store: a nail, a hook, a string. The goal was to create meaning without literal or expressionistic means. To use silence instead of words, so to speak. I was interested in the simultaneity of the thing and its representation, when the real and the virtual coexist."
Featuring lithographs, etchings, embossings, digital embroidery prints, solar etchings, and photo-polymer gravures, the exhibition surveys some of the many different modes of printmaking that Porter has used since 1970. Liliana Porter: To See Gold and other prints coincides with Print Houston, the annual celebration of printmaking in Houston, hosted by Print Matters.
For more information, please visit www.sicardigallery.com, call 713.529.1313, or write to press@sicardi.com.
1506 W. Alabama St.
Houston, Texas 77006 USA
(T) +1 713.529.1313
(F) +1 713.529.0443
Tuesday - Saturday 10-6
or by appointment



22. Jacki Apple, FF Alumn, new publication now available

Announcing the publication of
THE TOWER by Jacki Apple & Helen Thorington
Designed by Paul Soady and Kio Griffith.
A limited edition, hardcover, signed and numbered, artist's book.
The Tower has joined the collections of The Huntington Library, The Getty Research Center, Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Fales Library NYU , Virginia Commonwealth University Special Collections, Art Center College of Design Special Collection, the Frank Ellsworth collection, Mark Johnstone's book collection, among others.
"Every paragraph is like a painting. Amazing..... Particles have memory. So dharmic! I feel like I was asleep to all that [The Tower] presented. So much to contemplate." Julie Adler
"A beautiful and ambitious project." - Heidrun Mumper-Drumm
At the center of this illustrated and annotated experimental narrative is an imaginary ten-dimensional architectural structure - the Tower - inspired by, and evolved out of research into the theoretical physics of multi-dimensional spaces including the Calabi-Yau Manifold and M-theory of multiple universes.
Located somewhere on the Atlantic coast of the northeastern Unites States in multiple dimensions and parallel worlds, the Tower has a powerful visual and sonic presence with profound effects on the environment. As the story unfolds the characters experience dimensional slippage, question their perceptions and beliefs and the very nature of identity and consciousness. Questions of conscience and ethics emerge. Is the pursuit of knowledge of the unknown a worthy goal if we unwittingly disrupt the balance of the universe and the planet we live on, by unleashing forces beyond our control and understanding?
The cinematically structured story, written by Apple and Thorington in parallel columns, can be read both vertically and horizontally, thus allowing for a multitude of entry and exit points. Sumi ink painting endpapers by Yoshio Ikezaki establish the ambience of place. Visual maps by Kio Griffith represent the approximate topography of the town, its surrounding landscape, and the sites of events as recalled by the narrators before and after the Tower's construction. They provide a guide to the general mise en scene, architectural points of reference, and natural terrain as it may have appeared at the time.
For more information about the artists and their work see their websites at: www.jackiapple.com, http://new-radio.org/helen, www.kiogriffith.com, www.paulsoady.com



23. Mark Bloch, Ray Johnson, Yoko Ono, FF Alumns, now online at whitehotmagazine.com

Please visit:


thank you.



24. Denise Green, FF Alumn, launches new website at denisegreen.net

Dear friends,

I thought you might like to know that I've rebuilt my website. It is www.denisegreen.net. Now you can see much more of my current work including the photo collages. There is also a special section of works in public collections.

Thank you.

Denise Green AM



25. Richard Alpert, FF Alumn, now online at siteworks.exeter.ac.uk/interviews/alpert

Nick Kaye, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Performance Studies at the University of Exeter, UK recently did an interview with me about my performance and site work from the 70s & 80s. It is currently published online. The link to the interview is:


His project is called, SiteWorks and documents performance and ephemeral art and the locations in which it occurred across San Francisco between 1969 and 1985.



26. Agnes Denes, FF Alumn, at Fondazione Riccardo Catella, Milan, Italy

Fondazione Riccardo Catella
in collaboration with Fondazione Nicola Trussardi and Confagricoltura
is pleased to invite you to the


Thursday, July 9 from 3:00 PM to 7:30 PM
entrance at the Fondazione Riccardo Catella, via De Castilla 28 - Milan

After a public sowing in February and the opening of a footpath that restored this area to the city after 50 years of closure, Wheatfield, the environmental installation by American artist Agnes Denes, has been growing inside the perimeter of a future public park called "Biblioteca degli Alberi", or "Library of Trees". Everyone is invited to discover the secrets of the harvest: from the ancient techniques of reaping the wheat with scythes and threshing it with flails, to the modern operation of a combine and baler.

Bring boots for the dirt and a hat for the sun!

Kids under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
In the event of rain on Thursday, the celebration will be held on Friday, July 10 at the same time.
In the event of rain on both dates,it will be cancelled.

Share your images of Wheatfield on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
using hashtag #wheatfield

More info:
Press Office Fondazione Nicola Trussardi
Lara Facco
Fondazione Nicola Trussardi
Piazza Duse, 4 - 20122 Milano
T +39 02 8068821 | M +39 338 6075380




27. Cindy Sherman, FF Alumn, at Collectors Room Berlin, Germany, Sept. 16, 2015-April 10, 2016

Cindy Sherman
Works from the Olbricht Collection
16 September 2015-10 April 2016

Press preview: Monday, 14 September, 10am-6pm

me Collectors Room Berlin / Olbricht Foundation
Auguststrasse 68
10117 Berlin
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday noon-6pm


The forthcoming exhibition Cindy Sherman: Works from the Olbricht Collection will be on view at me Collectors Room from 16 September 2015 until 10 April 2016 and feature some 60 photographs by the artist. Including works from almost all periods of her career, the collection provides a remarkable overview of the entire body of work.

Variously casting herself as an ingénue at the sink in black-and-white of the 1950s, a gold-blonde "Maria Lactans" with a vacant expression and plastic breast, or an aging upper-class beauty wearing far too much jewelry and makeup, American artist Cindy Sherman is a master of masquerade. Throughout her career she has simultaneously acted as her own actress and photographer, subject and object. And yet her portraits do not represent actual personalities. Instead they paraphrase social and cultural stereotypes with the aim of deconstructing them through the prism of cinema, classical painting, or advertising.

The artist became widely known in the 1970s with her black-and-white series "Untitled Film Stills," in which she embodied a range of stereotypical female figures from the 1940s and 1950s, posing in what appeared to be movie stills. The 1980s brought not only a shift into colour and large formats, but, with her popular "Centerfolds," her major breakthrough. Provocatively evocative of Playboy magazine angles and lighting, the series showed women in various states of mysterious emotional crisis. This enigmatic mood also dominated "Fairy Tales" (1985) and "History Portraits/Old Masters" (1988-90), in which Sherman recreated and distorted characters and scenes from the world of fairy tales and classical painting, often with the help of visible prostheses and puppets. Oversized teeth, plasticky blond hair, and a homemaker's simplicity embodied the figures in her next series, "Hollywood/Hampton Types" (2000-02), while the humorously uncanny side to masquerade was captured in "Clown" (2003-04), which culminated in the sad, vulgar portraits of aging "Society Ladies" four years later. In all her series, Sherman presents us with a subtle analysis of contemporary cultural tropes, draws attention to the power of symbolism and the struggle of the individual against collective stereotype.

Cindy Sherman, now 61, has created an unmistakable and seminal body of work that broke new ground in photography.

For any interview requests concerning the collector Thomas Olbricht, please contact Tina Volk via
volk@me-berlin.com or +49 (0)30 86 00 85 114. Cindy Sherman will not be available for interviews.

Press contact:
me Collectors Room Berlin / Olbricht Foundation
Tina Volk
presse@me-berlin.com / T +49 (0)30 860085 114 / F +49 (0)30 860085 120



28. Lady Pink, FF Alumn, now online at boweryboogie.com

Please visit:


thank you.



29. Mona Hatoum, FF Alumn, in The New York Times, July 7

The New York Times
The Many Contradictions of Mona Hatoum
JULY 7, 2015

PARIS - Mona Hatoum was vacationing in London in 1975 when civil war broke out back home in Lebanon. With Beirut's airport closed for nine months, she found herself cut off from her family and on her own at age 23.

"I was stuck in London," the British-Palestinian artist said in an interview here late last month. "It didn't feel lucky at the time, because I was feeling miserable, but also supporting myself, and having to get used to the cold weather."

That extended holiday proved a pivotal twist of fate. Ms. Hatoum settled in London and, after a few years of doing odd jobs and living "hand-to-mouth," as she put it, graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 1981. By 1994, she had a career-altering mini-exhibition at the Pompidou Center in Paris and in 1995 was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

Now, Ms. Hatoum has a solo show of 110 works at the Pompidou, her biggest and most prominent exhibition yet. (It runs through Sept. 28 and travels to the Tate Modern in London in May 2016. A smaller, unrelated show opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston on Aug. 26.) The nonchronological display includes quietly disturbing installations featuring cages and grids, barbed wire, domestic objects, maps and strands of her hair. Her work is inspired by Minimalism, Surrealism and conceptual art. It occasionally also evokes her Palestinian roots, leading some to see Middle Eastern connections in everything she does, to her lingering displeasure.

"What I like about her is her ability to combine different cultures: She was born in one particular place, settled in another, was adopted by it, and has managed to mix everything together in a universal way," said Christine Van Assche, the exhibition's curator, who also was the curator for Ms. Hatoum's first Pompidou show 21 years ago.

Ms. Hatoum was born in Beirut in 1952 - four years after her Palestinian parents had seen their own temporary stay in Lebanon turn permanent in May 1948 after the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war. Her father found a job at the British Embassy in Beirut, and he got British passports for himself, his wife and their three daughters (Mona is the youngest).

Mona loved to draw and make things and was eager to study art, but her father was against it. He preferred "dealing with life and survival," said Ms. Hatoum, 63. "That's true of a lot of Palestinians," she added, "because they lost everything, and they didn't care so much about property and things. They cared more about building the character of their children and making them strong, so they could stand alone."

Ms. Hatoum ended up studying graphic design in Beirut, a field with better job prospects than art, and then worked in public relations and advertising. She was about to continue her studies at a Beirut university, this time focusing on art, when her London trip intervened.

Her first works were dramatic performances that alluded to her Palestinian origins and drew instant attention from the media and international curators. "Under Siege," staged in 1982 (a year after she graduated) at the Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, England, involved her repeatedly tripping inside a liquid-clay-smeared vertical chamber in an expression of personal turmoil, to the sound of revolutionary songs in Arabic and English recorded during London marches, and excerpts from Western news broadcasts. The clay obscured the fact that she was naked, but the British newspaper The Sun howled (according to subsequent reports in The Independent and The Guardian): "Nude has ticket to writhe," adding, "Taxpayers outraged."

By 1984, she was being given a residency at an art center in Vancouver, British Columbia - where her work was first spotted by Ms. Van Assche, the Pompidou curator. In 1986 came another residency, this time in Seattle.

She then switched to sculpture and installation. Her first Pompidou show and solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York followed. Early installations included eerie structures - a penitentiary-style arrangement of steel bunk beds, a giant cube covered with iron filings - and a room filled with clumps and suspended strands of her hair ("Recollection," 1995). In 1996, she started a series of maps of the Middle East and the world, which she has continued.

One early work - on display here - is "Light Sentence" (1992), an enclosure of wire mesh lockers with a dangling light bulb that casts dizzying shadows. The piece is broadly meant to symbolize confinement and disorientation. Yet the artist (who has never lived in Israel or the Palestinian territories) said one viewer took it to represent a Palestinian refugee camp. "They come with this preconceived idea of where I come from," Ms. Hatoum said, "and therefore what I'm putting in my work, and they tend to over-interpret the work in relation to my background."

To be fair, her recurring evocations of Palestinians and conflict can encourage pigeonholing. The first room in the Pompidou show contains her first map, "Present Tense" (1996, recreated in 2011), made of 2,200 blocks of olive-oil soap from Nablus near Jerusalem, marking territories that would have been under Palestinian self-rule if the 1993 Oslo Accords had been implemented. Elsewhere, in "Natura morta (medical cabinet)" (2012), rows of delicate objects made of colored Murano glass turn out to be sculptures of hand grenades.

Tension runs through her domestic depictions, too. "Home" (1999) is a kitchen table covered with shiny steel utensils, some of which occasionally light up and emit ominous crackling sounds.

Ms. Hatoum agrees that her works often convey a sense of entrapment. "The basis of it is a feeling of wanting to be free of all those restrictions, whether it's social or political, that are always put on people," she said, "so I can be whatever I want to be."

The Paris exhibition mixes works from all periods and disciplines, emphasizing her breadth. Contradiction runs through the work. Items that seem harmless turn out to be menacing, such as a steel wheelchair with knife blades for push handles ("Untitled (Wheelchair II)," 1999). Her work "manages to combine accusation and poetry with a masterly deftness," the Sunday Times critic Waldemar Januszczak wrote of her 2008 show at Parasol unit, a nonprofit gallery in London.

Ziba Ardalan, founder and director of Parasol unit, said that Ms. Hatoum's installations were suggestive, not openly confrontational. "She doesn't scream at you," she said. "She says what she wants, but in a smart and gentle way."

While Ms. Hatoum's works draw healthy sums at auction, she is not among contemporary artists whose pieces fetch seven- or eight-figure prices. Her auction record, $470,500, was set at Christie's New York in 2011 for "Silence" (1994), a child's crib made of glass laboratory tubing.

She is "an artist I've very much enjoyed seeing, but have very little experience selling," said Cheyenne Westphal, co-head of contemporary art worldwide at Sotheby's, who noted that Ms. Hatoum's large sculptural works were often in museums but rarely at auctions.

Ms. Hatoum said that she doesn't monitor her market status. "In order to keep myself sane, I don't focus on those things," she said. But, she added, she sometimes asks galleries to price her work "low enough so that it attracts museums' interest."

Ms. Hatoum, who lives in London and Berlin, said her art often grows out of residencies. A recent stint at the Pinacoteca in São Paulo, Brazil, produced six new works, including one for which she asked women to embroider images from their dreams on pillowcases. This summer, she will make glass works at the Pilchuk Glass School in Seattle.

Ms. Van Assche said Ms. Hatoum still had plenty to say. "She works fairly slowly, and when she's putting together exhibitions and catalogs, she stops creating," Ms. Van Assche said. "Artists who work as slowly as that, and in a concentrated fashion, tend to endure."



30. Steed Taylor, FF Alumn, in The Wall Street Journal, July 8

For the fully illustrated article please go to this link:

The Wall Street Journal
Step by Step, Rebuilding New York City's Open-Air Staircases
Upgrades of the step streets include bike channels and murals

On the 130 steps of the West 187th Street Steps in Hudson Heights, Steed Taylor painted 'Patriot,' a 230-foot-long mural commemorating the American soldiers captured during the Revolutionary War at nearby Fort Washington and left to die on British prison ships.

July 8, 2015 6:13 p.m. ET

For roughly a century, residents of New York City's hilltops, slopes and valleys have relied on "step streets."

These steep, block-long, open-air staircases connecting two streets at different elevations are indispensable for navigating the pitched terrain of neighborhoods in upper Manhattan and the west Bronx. But the city's 100 step streets have never had the wow factor of the cinematic stairwells of Paris, San Francisco or even Pittsburgh.

Now, New York is modernizing and rebuilding a portion of its portfolio and tricking out a handful of passageways with eye-catching murals.

The effort will bring both aesthetic and public safety benefits that Feniosky Peña-Mora, commissioner of the city Department of Design and Construction, compares to the "broken windows" theory of policing.

"When a step street is in bad condition, the community avoids it, and unwanted behavior is generated on its steps," Mr. Peña-Mora said. "When it's reconstructed, it becomes an asset, an amenity, a source of appropriate behavior and community pride."

Beginning in the 1890s and continuing through World War II, New York constructed 100 streets composed entirely of steps: 63 in the Bronx, 20 in Manhattan's Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods, eight in Queens, five in Staten Island and four in Brooklyn, according to the city Department of Transportation, which oversees them.

Picnics, promenades, romantic affairs and the occasional wedding took place along the balustrades. But by the 1960s, disinvestment and middle-class flight took their toll on the steps streets. And as the city teetered on bankruptcy in the 1970s, dozens of staircases became closed-in stalking spaces for drugs, vandalism and prostitution.

Another 20 or so years passed, crime dipped and several pedestrian-only streets were rebuilt. Then the 2008 recession came, cutting into public funds: Over the last seven years, just one top-to-bottom reconstruction was completed, according to the design and construction department, which undertakes capital projects for the transportation department.

More recently, the city has been reshaping and beautifying its hillside infrastructure. Wayfinding signs, benches, improved LED lighting, channels for cyclists to transport bikes and other street furniture are being added, said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

Site-specific public artwork is popping up on the treads, risers and retaining walls of a handful of step streets as part of a transportation department art program designed to make them more hospitable, said the agency.

And six crumbling thoroughfares will be demolished and rebuilt over the next three years. One is Highbridge Park Steps at West 170th Street in the Bronx, which will become a grand gateway to the newly reopened High Bridge spanning the Harlem River.

The staircase boasts 168 stone steps, the greatest number in the city's inventory by some counts.

At their best, the so-called cut-throughs meld utility of purpose with majesty of place. Consider the West 215th Street Steps in Inwood, a nearly completed $2.5 million reconstruction of a 200-foot-long stairwell linking Broadway and Park Terrace East, which was built around 1915.

Pedestrians beginning the 110-step slog are now greeted by an inscription from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: "A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step." Cyclists wheel their bikes uphill and downhill on built-in stone bike channels, a tip of the hat to a burgeoning bike culture. And when the 63-foot climb concludes, magnificent vistas across the Harlem River await.

But at least one footpath, the East 168th Steps off Teller Avenue, provides a window into the bad old days of the Bronx: During a visit, two homeless women slept on a busted concrete landing; drug paraphernalia and litter were strewed about. Steps, stones and railings were cracked, loose, wobbly or missing.

"We have 15 step streets in the district...It's by far the worst," said Jose Rodriguez, district manager of Bronx Community Board 4.

Soon, the city will raze the 97-step eyesore and put in new retaining walls, granite steps, lighting and handrails.

Other problems are more subtle. Jerome Slope in Highbridge, a 139-step monster on East 165th Street off Jerome Avenue, is hemmed in by a thicket of overhanging branches. If the city pruned the limbs, an unbroken view shed would open up, taking in Yankee Stadium, the Grand Concourse and the Bronx County Courthouse.

If only the job were that simple: The Slope's switchbacks make it out of reach for most bucket trucks and tough to access manually, said the city Department of Parks and Recreation, which manages the parcel. Mr. Rodriguez countered, "Hire a private contractor, get in there.... Get the job done."

Meanwhile, art is being deployed to transform underused space, enlarge the public realm-and encourage pedestrians to trek up steps doubling as canvasses.

The staircase connecting Broadway and Park Terrace East at 215th Street in Inwood is under construction. ENLARGE
The staircase connecting Broadway and Park Terrace East at 215th Street in Inwood is under construction. PHOTO: STEVE REMICH FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Inspired by the Grand Concourse's art deco vibe and decorations in the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage and other historic Bronx houses, Cara Lynch created "What We Came For," a 17-foot-high mural with a palette of purple, green and pink on the 41-step Carroll Place Step Street.

Ms. Lynch's work effectively broadens the footprint of the Bronx Museum of the Arts, which it abuts.

A few miles away, Steed Taylor adorned the Naples Terrace Steps in Kingsbridge with "The Bridge & the Devil," a pair of tattoo-like designs-one visible walking up, the other walking down-inspired by the neighborhood's namesake bridge, a 17th-century span across the Spuyten Duyvil.

And on the 130 steps of the West 187th Street Steps in Hudson Heights, a part of Washington Heights on the Hudson River side of Broadway, Mr. Taylor painted "Patriot," a 230-foot-long mural commemorating the American soldiers captured during the Revolutionary War at nearby Fort Washington and left to die on British prison ships.

"The step street humanizes the city and speaks for the common man, even as it molds and tames the city as a more functioning space," Mr. Taylor said.



31. Agnes Gund, FF Member, in The Wall Street Journal, July 10

The Wall Street Journal
Collector Agnes Gund on Artists
July 10, 2015 2:49 p.m. ET

Arts patron Agnes Gund has spent much of her life immersed in art, but she has boundaries. Just last month, she drew the line at Yoko Ono's sunrise performance for the summer solstice at New York's Museum of Modern Art. "I couldn't possibly get myself anywhere at 4 a.m.," says Ms. Gund, the 76-year-old philanthropist and president emerita of MoMA.

Sitting on her couch under a large abstract Jasper Johns painting, Ms. Gund is gearing up for a busy afternoon and evening. She'll visit artists' studios around New York before attending a benefit for MoMA PS 1, the museum's sister institution that she now chairs. Beyond New York, she's also involved in the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland.

Ms. Gund served as president of MoMA from 1991 to 2002; today, she has more of an advisory role and sits on several of the institution's committees. The museum has drawn criticism in recent months, especially for overemphasizing celebrity culture with its solo exhibits for Icelandic singer Björk and for Ms. Ono. Ms. Gund shrugs it off, saying that MoMA goes well beyond celebrity art. "Usually [visitors] don't necessarily know the artist," she says, noting that the museum currently has a show on architecture in Latin America. However, the celebrity shows are a change from when she was president, reflecting the broader trend of a more star-centric culture.

It has also been a pivotal time for contemporary art, of which she is a major collector. Her New York apartment is filled with art: At the end of one hallway is a 7-foot-tall painted bronze lamp by Roy Lichtenstein. On the living room floor sits a white marble Louise Bourgeois sculpture called "Eye to Eye" that, on first glance, looks like a collection of uneven bowling pins.The market for postwar and contemporary art is going strong, after record-breaking spring auctions in which works by Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti sold for more than $140 million.

Ms. Gund doesn't believe all the hype. One of her efforts this summer is to try to figure out which contemporary artists have real staying power. "A number of us got together and asked, 'Who is going to be in the art history books? Who is going to last?' And I think many contemporary artists are trendy" and will be forgotten, she says. She credits the high auction prices to speculation by investors. "I think [that] parking art"-without the primary intent of displaying it-"is just ridiculous, and that's what's happening now."

Born in Cleveland, Ms. Gund is an heiress to the fortune that her father, George Gund II, made in banking. She became interested in art in boarding school at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Conn., and went on to earn a degree in art history at Connecticut College for Women (now Connecticut College).

She started collecting in the late 1960s. Now, she estimates she has about 2,000 works. One of her interests is collecting art by women, and she has been trying to get museums to do the same. In a blog post last year, she asked, "Why are women artists less known and less admired?"

She found that dealers, for one, thought that women artists were "a poor investment." Other potential factors are that there are few women art collectors or museum directors. "Women artists, no matter how well recognized they are, are seldom given solo exhibitions or featured in significant group shows," Ms. Gund wrote.

To change that, she has donated some of her works by women, such as Bourgeois, Jackie Winsor and Sylvia Plimack Mangold, to museums for their permanent collections.

She has also helped start an archive of women's artwork at Columbia University, and has been outspoken about encouraging curators to show lesser-known female artists from other countries, such as Brazil and Poland. "We helped find women from other countries we wouldn't have thought about before or collected in depth," she says. "I think it's also good to keep talking about it."

Whoever the artist, Ms. Gund generally collects art that she finds easy on the eye. "Most of the art I have is more on the beautiful side than the violent or disturbing side," she says. She doesn't fill her home, for example, with works by British figurative painter Francis Bacon, known for his realistic, raw and often emotionally charged images. "I really am taken by Bacon, but I couldn't live with Bacon," she says.

Many German contemporary artists deal too specifically with German history, she adds, and she doesn't find their work very attractive. "My art would be more things where I love the surface, the material and the pop art aspects," she says. Ms. Gund also owns Lichtenstein's 1962 colorful cartoonlike "Masterpiece," which features a woman looking at a painting and telling a man, "Why, Brad darling, this painting is a masterpiece! My, soon you'll have all of New York clamoring for your work!"

Ms. Gund's charitable work includes being a board member of an educational program called Chess-in-the-Schools as well as serving as chairwoman of Studio in a School, a nonprofit she founded in 1977 after the government cut arts funding in education.

Last year, New York schools chancellor Carmen Fariña asked Studio in a School to help train teachers in art in the city's newly expanded prekindergarten program. "If it's taught well, art really is important to kids early on," Ms. Gund says. "It helps children develop language and allows them to see themselves in a way that isn't right or wrong, because if they draw an animal with five legs instead of four, nobody's criticizing them for it."

Ms. Gund, who is divorced from her second husband, has four adult children from her first marriage, all of whom are involved in the arts in some way. Even her two dogs have a link to the arts. At the end of our hour, she hears a door open and shouts, "Bronzino!" It's her Italian water dog, named after the 16th-century Italian artist. Her other dog, a Wheaten terrier, is named Giotto.

As Giotto bounds in, his wagging tail nearly swats a small blue aluminum-and-stone John Newman sculpture. Does she worry the dogs might damage the collection? She leans down to pet the energetic pup and says, "They're trained to stay away from the art."

Write to Alexandra Wolfe at alexandra.wolfe@wsj.com



Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller