2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002

ABOUT GOINGS ON: How to subscribe and submit listings

Contents for April 4, 2017

1. Coco Fusco, FF Alumn, at Hyperallergic.com, now online

Text only follows below To see the complete illustrated article please follow this link: https://hyperallergic.com/368290/censorship-not-the-painting-must-go-on-dana-schutzs-image-of-emmett-till/


by Coco Fusco

Censorship, Not the Painting, Must Go: On Dana Schutz's Image of Emmett Till
Presuming that calls for censorship and destruction constitute a legitimate response to perceived injustice leads us down a very dark path.

The presence of blackness in a Whitney Biennial invariably stirs controversy - it's deemed to be unfit or not enough, or too much. The current Whitney Biennial is no exception - the art press has been awash this past week with reports of a protest staged in front of a painting of a disfigured Emmett Till lying in his casket and a letter penned by an artist who called for the work to be removed and destroyed. The painter is Dana Schutz, a white American. The author of the letter is Hannah Black, a black-identified biracial artist who hails from England and resides in Berlin. The protestors are a youthful coalition of artists and scholars of color. The curators being called on the carpet are both Asian American. Debates about the painting and the letter rage on social media, to the exclusion of discussion of the many works by black artists in the show, most notably Henry Taylor's rendering of Philando Castile dying in his car after being shot by police. This multicultural melodrama took a rather perverse turn on March 23, when an unknown party hacked Schutz's email address and committed identity theft by submitting an apologia under her name to the Huffington Post and a number of other publications; it was printed and then retracted. Up to now, none of Schutz's detractors have addressed whether they think it's fine to punish the artist by putting words in her mouth.

I would never stand in the way of protest, particularly an informed one aimed at raising awareness of the politics of racial representation, a subject that I've tackled in various capacities for more than 30 years. A group of artists staging enraged spectatorship before an artwork in a museum strikes me as an entirely valid symbolic gesture. A reasoned conversation about how artists and curators of all backgrounds represent collective traumas and racial injustice would, in an ideal world, be a regular occurrence in art museums and schools. As an artist, curator, and teacher, I welcome strong reactions to artworks and have learned to expect them when challenging issues, forms, and substance are put before viewers. On many occasions I have had to contend with self-righteous people - of all of ethnic backgrounds - who have declared with conviction that this or that can't be art or shouldn't be seen. There is a deeply puritanical and anti-intellectual strain in American culture that expresses itself by putting moral judgment before aesthetic understanding. To take note of that is not equitable with defending whiteness, as critic Aruna D'Souza has suggested - it's a defense of civil liberties and an appeal for civility.

I find it alarming and entirely wrongheaded to call for the censorship and destruction of an artwork, no matter what its content is or who made it. As artists and as human beings, we may encounter works we do not like and find offensive. We may understand artworks to be indicators of racial, gender, and class privilege - I do, often. But presuming that calls for censorship and destruction constitute a legitimate response to perceived injustice leads us down a very dark path. Hannah Black and company are placing themselves on the wrong side of history, together with Phalangists who burned books, authoritarian regimes that censor culture and imprison artists, and religious fundamentalists who ban artworks in the name of their god. I don't buy the argument offered by a pair of writers in the New Republic that the call to destroy Schutz's painting is really "a call for silence inside a church"; the vituperative tone of the letter hardly suggests a spiritual dimension - not to mention that the biblical allusion to silence in the church seems to come from a Corinthians passage about requiring women's submission and obedience! I suspect that many of those endorsing the call have either forgotten or are unfamiliar with the ways Republicans, Christian Evangelicals, and black conservatives exploit the argument that audience offense justifies censorship in order to terminate public funding for art altogether and to perpetuate heterosexist values in black communities.

Black and her supporters argue that the painting is evidence of white insensitivity; that a "painting of a dead Black boy by a white artist" cannot "correctly" represent white shame; that it's an example of an unacceptable practice of white artists transmuting black suffering into profit; that white artists who want to be good should not treat black pain as material because it is not their "subject matter"; and that Emmett Till's mother made her son's dead body "available to Black people as an inspiration and warning" (my emphasis). The mainstream media's "willingness" to circulate images of black people in distress is equated with public lynching. Despite attempts by her supporters to suggest that Black doesn't really want to destroy the artwork, she recommends this explicitly in her opening line. The insistence that white people cannot understand black pain and only seek to profit from the spectacle of black suffering is reiterated throughout.

It is difficult to reason with the enraged, but I think it necessary to analyze these arguments, rather than giving them credence by recirculating them, as the press does; smugly deflecting them, as museum personnel is trained to do; or remaining silent about them, as many black arts professionals continue to do in order to avoid ruffling feathers or sullying themselves with cultural nationalist politics. (As a commercially successful young black artist once confessed to me over dinner, "My dealer says collectors don't want to hear about my problems.") Hannah Black's letter can and should be unpacked separately from an interpretation of Schutz's painting as a painting, or as the expression of a white person's sentiment.

Black makes claims that are not based in fact; she relies on problematic notions of cultural property and imputes malicious intent in a totalizing manner to cultural producers and consumers on the basis of race. She presumes an ability to speak for all black people that smacks of a cultural nationalism that has rarely served black women, and that once upon a time was levied to keep black British artists out of conversations about black culture in America. Her argument is laced with an economically reductionist view of artistic practice and completely avoids consideration of the visual strategies employed by Schutz. Some of her supporters assert (without explanation) that abstraction in and of itself is illegitimate for representing a traumatic figure, a claim that ignores key 20th-century aesthetic debates about the problems with realistic depictions of extreme violence.

Furthermore, in her letter, Black does not consider the history of anti-racist art by white artists. She does not recognize that the trope of the suffering body that originated in Western art with the figure of the Christian martyr informs much representation of racialized oppression - by white and black artists. She does not account for the fact that black artists have also accrued social capital and commercial gain from their treatment of black suffering. Numerous black artists have depicted enslaved bodies, lynched bodies, maimed bodies, and imprisoned bodies in the early stages of their careers - and then moved away from such politically charged subject matter without having their morality or sense of responsibility impugned. Others, like Kara Walker, who delve into complicated racial fantasies that are tinged with abjection or eroticism, have been on the receiving end of character assassinations by black people who find the work disrespectful or prurient and claim to speak for "the community." Whether Black intends it or not, her dismissive treatment of Schutz's painting, her essentialist position on black and white racial identities, and her use of offense as a rationalization for censorship reinforce elitist and formalist views that ethical considerations don't belong in the aesthetic interpretation of art.

The authority to speak for or about black culture is not guaranteed by skin color or lineage, and it can be undermined by untruths. My 25 years of teaching art have shown me that a combination of ignorance about history and the supremacy of formalism in art education - more than overt racism - underlie the failure of most artists of any ethnicity to address racial issues effectively. Many young black artists harbor deep insecurities about their capacity to "represent the race" because their Eurocentric art education leaves them with few tools or references to work with. Only a privileged few hail from socially engaged families committed to exposing their children to black art, history, and cultural traditions. They also face intense social pressure from teachers, peers, and art world power brokers not to "rock the boat" with political discussions about race. I myself was once grilled at a job interview by the white male search committee chair about whether I agreed with black artists' criticisms of Kara Walker - which I understood immediately to be the litmus test of my acceptability at an elite institution.

As a teacher I've been privy to dozens of confessions from students of color at elite art schools who have been scrutinized and intimidated by visiting artists, professors, and peers if they're perceived as obsessed with race or overly concerned with politics. I've been screamed at by frantic students who are afraid of calling themselves "black artists" because arts professionals have warned them not to do so. While elite art schools deploy tokenist inclusion strategies to create the impression of diversity, they actively avoid revising curricula and discourses of critique; the end result is that they produce artists and curators who lack formal opportunities to engage with critical race discourses and histories of anti-racist cultural production. In the absence of informed discussion, we get unadulterated rage.

Hannah Black claims to know more about black suffering than Schutz, but her treatment of history could use more accuracy and depth. She claims that Mamie Till wanted her son's body to be visible to black people as an inspiration and a warning; however, according to Emmett Till's cousin Simeon Wright, who was with him the night of his capture and attended his funeral, Mamie Till said "she wanted the world to see what those men had done to her son" (my emphasis). There was no exclusion of non-black people implied, nor was it a deviation from the custom of having an open casket. That casket was donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture by Till's family to be on view for all, not just black, people. Scholar Christina Sharpe's assertion in an interview with Hyperallergic that if no white people attended the funeral, no whites were supposed to see the casket doesn't hold. The trial of Till's murderers was filmed and shown widely, as were photographs of his funeral. Those photographs galvanized the Civil Rights Movement: activist leaders strategically and adeptly circulated them to encourage blacks and whites in the North to join the struggle, and in order to shame politicians by casting doubts on America's adherence to its democratic ideals.

My mother, a Cuban immigrant, arrived in New York shortly before Emmett Till was murdered in 1955. She was not physically present at his funeral, but saw pictures of him in the casket and learned about his death from the news. She was so appalled by the violence that she never got over it. She talked to me about the Till case throughout my childhood and refused to let me or my brothers visit the Deep South. She was a pathologist who performed hundreds of autopsies, but the image of a disfigured Emmett Till in the casket left an indelible mark on her memory as the archetypal representation of American racism.

Black claims that Schutz's painting is yet one more example of white representation of black suffering as an exercise in commercial exploitation. She also suggests that such representations cater to a morbid fascination with black death that she associates with lynching as a public spectacle. It is undeniable that reality TV shows lionizing cops in pursuit of an endless stream of black and brown men are extremely lucrative for their white producers. It's also true that there are plenty of examples of simplistic and fetishistic representations of black bodies in Western art and advertising. However, it is reductive and inaccurate to claim that all treatment of black suffering by white cultural producers is driven by commercial interests and sadistic voyeurism. Black overlooks an important history of white people making anti-racist art, often commissioned by Civil Rights activists.

That history extends back to 19th-century abolitionists who used photographs of the branded hands and scourged backs of slaves to denounce the inhumanity of slavery and to target white audiences in the North. It includes the works made by white artists Paul Cadmus and John Steuart Curry, who drew and painted blacks struggling against white mobs for the 1935 exhibition An Art Commentary on Lynching, organized at the behest of the NAACP in support of its anti-lynching campaign. It also includes Charles Moore's and Danny Lyon's celebrated documentary photographs of police brutality toward black Civil Rights activists that circulated among white people at home and abroad, and helped push a reluctant US Congress to pass Civil Rights legislation. It encompasses the Minimalist sound piece "Come Out," composed by avant-garde musician Steve Reich in 1966 for a benefit for the Harlem Six upon the request of a Civil Rights activist. Reich's piece consists of a looped sound recording of Daniel Hamm, a young black man in Harlem who was a victim of false arrest and police violence. The speech fragment repeats his explanation of how he turned his physical suffering into spectacle, making one of his bruises bleed visibly so that the police would finally take him to a hospital.

In citing these examples, I do not mean to suggest that all artistic representations of black oppression by white artists and all curatorial efforts to address race are well intentioned, or that they are all good. However, the argument that any attempt by a white cultural producer to engage with racism via the expression of black pain is inherently unacceptable forecloses the effort to achieve interracial cooperation, mutual understanding, or universal anti-racist consciousness. There are better ways to arrive at cultural equity than policing art production and resorting to moralistic pieties in order to intimidate individuals into silence. Indeed, the decolonization of art institutions that Black's supporters claim to want entails critical analysis of systemic racism coupled with a rigorous treatment of art history and visual culture. Arguing that Schutz's painting must be destroyed because whites aren't allowed to depict black suffering, blaming Schutz for capitalizing on the entire history of racist violence in America, suggesting, as some have done on social media, that she's tainted by having collectors who are heartless real estate developers, while ignoring the work by a dozen or so black artists in the biennial is not going to advance anything.

Over the past 40 years, critics, cultural historians, and artists themselves have devoted a good deal of attention to the problems they see with such exhibitions as Harlem on My Mind, The N*gger Drawings, and "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art and such white artists as Rob Pruitt and Kelley Walker, whose treatments of black subjects have been deemed exploitative. Black British artist Isaac Julien and art historian Kobena Mercer first gained international attention in the 1980s for their critical analysis of white artist Robert Mapplethorpe's depictions of black men, launching an extensive debate that eventually resulted in Mercer altering his original stance to acknowledge more complexity and complicity in interracial relations within gay subcultures. My point here is that reasoned assessment involves more nuanced evaluative criteria, ones that do not essentialize racial identity, impute intent, or ignore the way distinct cultural forms hold differing degrees of power when it comes to racial relations.

The impact of an individual artist's single, non-mass-produced artwork is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the coercive power of an advertising campaign or a Hollywood blockbuster, and to discuss their effects as if they were the same is hyperbolic and unjust. True, Dana Schutz did not create her painting at the request of Civil Rights activists - however, the fact that she was stirred to resurrect the image of Emmett Till's open casket is a sign of the success of the Black Lives Matter movement in forging awareness of patterns of state violence by politicizing the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and others. The specter of Till's death at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan lingers behind these more recent deaths at the hands of the police. Though six decades apart, the circulation of images from these tragedies serves the same function - and sadly signals how little American society and race relations have changed. That is not what mainstream public education teaches American children, and it is not what white liberals would have Americans believe. Schutz is stepping out of line with the dominant culture in underscoring the connection.

Schutz has stated clearly that she never intends to sell the painting, so there is little evidence that she's seeking to enrich herself by it. Artists, myself included, often explore what troubles them for reasons other than personal gain - and if I want an art world that can handle more than pretty pictures and simplistic evocations of identity, I understand that I will have to support not only difficult subjects but clumsiness and mistakes. Though Schutz is not known for painting works about social issues, her inclination to respond to a heightened awareness of violence and injustice is hardly unusual and not inherently opportunistic; other white artists have changed their approach and focus in times of intense social unrest.

Philip Guston, for example, dropped abstraction in the 1960s and began making eccentric renderings of Klansmen and cartoons lampooning Richard Nixon. The Art Workers' Coalition created the iconic, antiwar "And Babies" poster by reframing a news photo of the Mai Lai Massacre featuring dead Vietnamese people killed by US soldiers in 1969. Robert Gober, not known for an ongoing commitment to racial issues, produced what he saw as a commentary on white guilt by juxtaposing a white sleeping man with a black hanged man in a 1989 lithograph - and generated a similar controversy to today's when black employees at the Hirshhorn Museum, where it was exhibited, protested. Hannah Black demands that all whites wallow in shame about racist violence against blacks, but in the case of Gober's work, his attempt to represent white guilt did not prevent a protest. And despite that protest, Gober sold his piece to Harvard University, whereas Schutz has pledged not to sell hers at all.

The most perplexing criticism that's been bandied about regarding Schutz's painting, both on social media and in discussions I've had, is that some great harm has been inflicted by the act of abstraction, as if the only "responsible" treatment of racial trauma is mimetic realism. Strangely, though Henry Taylor's painting of Philando Castile is no more realist in its rendering than Schutz's, he's been left alone by protesters. I would have liked to think that the days of Black Arts Movement militancy were long gone, but it seems that for some, they are not. There was a time when political correctness in black art was linked with realist aesthetics and didacticism, but it's been widely since recognized that this stance led to the marginalization of black abstractionists. Masters such as Romare Bearden, Bob Thompson, and Alma Thomas, and even contemporary abstractionists like Jennie Jones, have bristled at the notion that authentic blackness must be equated with realism and that black art must be subject to sociological approval before being evaluated aesthetically.

There's a fundamental misunderstanding at work in damning abstraction by associating it with erasure and irresponsibility. Abstraction, like mimeticism, is an aesthetic language that can be interpreted and used politically in a range of ways. It doesn't necessarily mean erasure, but it does complicate the connection between perception and intellection - something that deeply thoughtful painters like Gerhard Richter have taken advantage of in order to make us reflect on how photographic images represent history and structure memory. Jacob Lawrence "abstracted" his black figures, not to obscure their humanity but to explore new ways of evoking ethnic identity and communal purpose through color and dynamism. The story of how the CIA championed Abstract Expressionism at the height of the Cold War to counter Socialist Realist propaganda is well known; however, abstraction can also be mandated by religious beliefs or, in the repressive contexts of many authoritarian states, serve as a rejection of narrow-minded populism. Perhaps the best argument in favor of abstraction was articulated by Theodor Adorno after the Holocaust, when he asserted that realist representations of atrocity offer simple voyeuristic pleasure over a more profound grasp of the horrors of history.

Whether or not we like the painting or consider it her greatest work - I do not, but think it still has value - Schutz's decision to refract an iconic photograph through the language of abstraction has forced the art world out of its usual complacency and complicated the biennial's uniformly celebratory reviews. She has, perhaps inadvertently, blown the lid off of a biennial that features an almost too perfect blend of messy painting, which appeals to conservatives, and socially engaged art, which appeals to the more politically minded. As far as I'm concerned, that's not such a bad thing, given the ghastly state of American political culture at this moment.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial continues at the Whitney Museum (99 Gansevoort Street, Meatpacking District, Manhattan) through June 11.

(c)2017 Hyperallergic Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.



2. Clifford Owens, FF Alumn, in The New York Times, March 27

For the complete illustrated article please visit this link. Text only follows below.


The New York Times
Should Art That Infuriates Be Removed?
MARCH 27, 2017
We all encounter art we don't like, that upsets and infuriates us. This doesn't deserve to be exhibited, our brains yell; it should not be allowed to exist. Still, does such aversion mean that an artwork must be removed from view - or, worse, destroyed?

This question has been at the heart of the controversy that has split the art world since the Whitney Biennial opened nearly two weeks ago. The turmoil, which has been excruciating for many people in different ways, centers on "Open Casket," a painting in the exhibition by Dana Schutz. The work is based partly on photographs of the horrifically mutilated face of Emmett Till lying in his coffin in 1955, about 10 days after that African-American 14-year-old was brutally killed by two white men in Mississippi for supposedly flirting with a white store clerk. The artist, Ms. Schutz, is white, and her use of the images has struck many in the art world as an inappropriate appropriation that, they argue, should be removed.

The first protest was solo: The day the exhibition opened an African-American artist, Parker Bright, stood in front of it wearing a T-shirt with "Black Death Spectacle" handwritten on its back, sometimes partly blocking the view, sometimes engaging others in conversation. A photograph of Mr. Bright at the Whitney was posted on Twitter:

Objections to the painting went viral with an open letter from Hannah Black, a British-born writer and artist who lives in Berlin, co-signed by others, charging that the Till image was "black subject matter," off limits to a white artist. Ms. Black belittled the Schutz painting as exploiting black suffering "for profit and fun" and demanded that it be not only removed from the exhibition but also destroyed.

For me, as for others, the ground kept shifting with the eruption of opinion pieces, interviews, blog and Facebook posts, and emails with friends. The discussion was upsetting, bracing, ultimately beneficial. Is the censorship, much less the destruction of art, abhorrent? Yes. Should people offended or outraged by an artwork or an exhibition mount protests? Absolutely. And might a museum have the foresight to frame a possibly controversial work of art through labels or programming? Yes, that, too. Inside the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, Till's coffin occupies a sanctuary that has become a shrine. Lonnie G. Bunch III, that museum's founding director, has said its placement "almost gives people a catharsis on all of the violence that the community has experienced over time."

Many people found themselves in the messy middle ground, seeing both sides, grasping for precedents.

What came to my mind are earlier works of art by those who crossed ethnic lines in their depiction of social trauma. "The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti" (1931-32), a series by Ben Shahn, a white Jewish artist, was a stinging commentary on the trial of the immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in Massachusetts during the 1920s - a politically charged case that mirrored issues surrounding ethnicity, class and corruption in the justice system.

In the same vein, it was a white Jewish schoolteacher and songwriter, Abel Meeropol, who wrote the wrenchingly beautiful "Strange Fruit," an anti-lynching ballad made famous by Billie Holiday that in 1939 "tackled racial hatred head on," as David Margolick wrote in "Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Café Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights."

Ms. Schutz's painting is not the only work of art inspired by the lynching of Till: There's a ballad that Bob Dylan wrote, and performed in 1962, titled "The Death of Emmett Till," released belatedly in 2010.

Some crossovers have been met with historic hostility. Among the most intense was the condemnation of William Styron's "The Confessions of Nat Turner" 50 years ago by African-American writers. In "William Styron's Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond," the contributors charged that Styron furthered numerous racial myths, stereotypes and clichés. Since then, Styron's Pulitzer-Prize winning novel and the debate it unleashed have come to be seen as an important turning point for writers of black history, and the confrontation, as The New York Times Book Review wrote in 2008, "helped shatter the idea that there can or should be one version of 'how slavery was.'"

Those who call for the removal of Ms. Schutz's painting today seem to align themselves with black artists who in 1997 started a letter-writing campaign against what they considered the negative stereotypes of blacks in the early work of Kara Walker, the African-American artist known for her mercilessly Swiftian portrayals of antebellum plantation life. They also appear to side with Roman Catholics who in 1999, led by then Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, protested a painting at the Brooklyn Museum by the British artist Chris Ofili. It depicted the Madonna and Child as black on a surface embellished with small cutouts from pornographic magazines and a few pieces of tennis-ball-size elephant dung, heavily varnished and decorated with beads.

Over time, artists have periodically depicted or evoked lynchings, but the injured black body is a subject or image that black artists and writers have increasingly sought to protect from misuse, especially by those who are not black. This debate flared up in 2015 when, in a reading at Brown University, the poet and performance artist Kenneth Goldsmith - most of whose work is based on appropriation, sometimes of violent deaths - read as a poem a slightly rearranged version of the autopsy report of Michael Brown, the black 18-year-old shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Mr. Goldsmith was reviled on Twitter, accused of exploiting this material.

For a moment, Ms. Black's letter about the Schutz painting created the impression that African-American opinion on this issue was monolithic. It is not. Antwaun Sargent posted a balanced editorial on artsy.com that linked to a short, blunt Facebook statement by the artist Clifford Owens. It read in part: "I don't know anything about Hannah Black, or the artists who've co-signed her breezy and bitter letter, but I'm not down with artists who censor artists."

On Thursday, Ms. Walker posted a cryptic message on Instagram that seemed guided by her own experiences. She stood up for Ms. Schutz's painting without making great claims for it or reprimanding the protesters.

"The history of painting is full of graphic violence and narratives that don't necessarily belong to the artists own life," Ms. Walker wrote. She concluded that an artwork can be generative regardless of how it offends or falls short, giving "rise to deeper inquiries and better art. It can only do this when it is seen."

Once released into the public sphere, images proceed under their own power and, in a free society, they will be used by anyone drawn to them, in ways that will be judged effective, inconsequential or egregious. But artists don't ask permission.

Ms. Schutz has said she painted "Open Casket" out of sympathy for the pain endured by Till's mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and the label at the Whitney has been adjusted to take this into account. In an email on Monday, Ms. Schutz wrote: "The photograph of him in his casket is almost impossible to look at. In making the painting, I relied more on listening to Mamie Till's verbal account of seeing her son, which oscillates between memory and observation."

But Ms. Schutz has always focused her art on physical suffering expressed by traumatized bodies and skin. Occasionally, the body has been black - as in her painting of Michael Jackson on an autopsy table - but it is usually white. Her subjects include Terri Schiavo on life support; George Washington as a kind of monster with overgrown wooden teeth; and a portrait of Ukraine's former president Viktor A. Yushchenko, his face disfigured by poison. Most ambitious is the enormous "Presentation," which shows two naked figures lying on a table being tormented and sliced up by a people in a crowd.

In a brief email exchange on Sunday, Ms. Schutz said that while making "Presentation" in 2005 she "was thinking about bodies not being seen coming home from Iraq." She was referring to the longtime military ban, lifted in 2009, on photographing flag-draped coffins of American soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Themes of race and violence figure in art throughout this Biennial, including a painting by the black artist Henry Taylor, "The Times Thay Aint a Changing Fast Enough!" It depicts the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile.

Some might say the events and their depictions are apples and oranges. Mr. Castile was not brutally disfigured. Till's torture more than 60 years ago, and his image, have become a nexus of inexpressible pain and anger for generations of Americans.

But by remaking these tragic images as paintings, both artists have given them a monumentality and a hand-wrought physicality that photographs generally do not attain. They have made them more present while keeping some distance. Mr. Taylor's Castile has the noble face of a Greek statue. Ms. Schutz has been faulted for "abstracting" Till's gruesome wounds, yet her sliding brushwork guides our eyes away from them, suggesting a kind of shocked visual reflex.

But perhaps most important, the paintings by Mr. Taylor and Ms. Schutz share an all-too-American subject, that of hateful, corrosive white racism. Who owns that?

The Schutz painting and the debate around it are already a historical unit, one that seems new to the art world, and one that will change things. Unlike the Styron controversy, it has unfolded on the internet at warp speed with thousands of people arguing about it almost in real time. Unlike Mr. Goldsmith's poem, the cause of the furor is not ephemeral; the painting has a kind of equal weight with the debate. They are each in their own way extremely present, for people to consider going forward. "Open Casket" will not be destroyed but by now it is also beyond destruction.

Follow Roberta Smith on Twitter: @robertasmithnyt

(c) 2017 The New York Times Company



3. Irina Danilova, FF Alumn, at Station Independent Projects, Manhattan, thru April 23

Dear Friends, hope you could make it to this show I am fortunate to be part of with a USA premier of 59 Notes, improvisational video performance made in Kharkov, Ukraine, in 2014 during the few uplifting days between the victory of Maidan and Crimea annexation.
The performance was inspired by and performed with Lidia Starodubtseva, Chair of Communication department of Karazin University, video by Dmitry Konovalov. This performance was an homage to my childhood piano teacher (lived near Lidia) and legendary Lidia's piano that knew many top musicians from Kharkov, Kiev, Moscow and St.Petersburg in the beginning of last century and was restored after being crashed by an axe during WII to stop its deportation to Germany.


Curated by Katherine Daniels and Carol Salmanson
March 31st - April 23rd, 2017
Reception: March 31st from 6-8

China Blue | Paul Corio | Irina Danilova | Jen Hitchings |Tony Saunders | Audrey Stone | Emma Tapley | Anita Thacher |Audra Wolowiec

59 Notes

Our brains are wired to detect changes of all kinds-it is essential to our very survival. They can be extreme or subtle, and sometimes barely imperceptible. At times, our senses know instantly that there is a shift; at other times we come upon it slowly, as our senses adjust. Whether clear or vague, fast or incremental, the observation that something has changed creates a place to return to for inspection. How did we get from there to here? The color, tenor, medium, and sound can be switched, requiring us to look or listen again and again for understanding.

Our contemporary culture focuses exclusively on the sharp changes, a reflection of our era of broad sweeps and blaring oppositional politics. We have witnessed a coarsening of all aspects of our culture, and perhaps this is the right time to re-focus on the nuances of both contemporary art and public discourse.

The artists in Tonal Shift represent a broad spectrum of media in today's
visual art, and create works that take shifts in tone in different directions.

Gallery Information:
Station Independent Projects

138 Eldridge Street, Suite 2F, NYC 10002
Thursday to Sunday, Noon-6pm and by appointment



4. Mark Bloch, FF Alumn, now online

Please follow this link:


Thank you.



5. Michelle Stuart, FF Alumn, at Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills, CA, April 8-May 13

Michelle Stuart
Seed Gardens
April 8 - May 13, 2017

Marc Selwyn Fine Art
9953 South Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Marc Selwyn Fine Art is pleased to announce Seed Gardens, our second one-person exhibition of works by Michelle Stuart. Featuring approximately thirty works, it is the first full-scale presentation of Stuart's series of Seed Paintings, created during the early and late 1990s.

Seed Gardens precedes a major presentation of works from the 1960s to the present by Michelle Stuart in Arte Viva Arte at the 57th Venice Biennale, including three works from the seed paintings group. In this series, the artist continues her pioneering use of non-traditional materials, merging science, botany and the collection of organic specimens. Seeds collected from treks along coastal areas of California, Oregon, and New York, are embedded in translucent encaustic beeswax, forming grid-like patterns which are sequential, even calendrical in nature, emphasizing that seeds are part of a continuum. They play a crucial role in the cycles of life, representing the potential for growth, the storage of genetic knowledge through dormancy, and the future itself. As Stuart recalls:

"I read in a Journal of Archeological Science about the pollen grains and lotus seeds that were found buried in a boat within the precinct of the archeological dig in Xi'ian, China. They dated from around 210 B.C. Botanists later planted six seeds and four of them sprouted. To me that was revelatory, the fact that a seed can still retain its life force within its shell for thousands of years is one positive thought among many not so positive thoughts about the state of our world."

With compositions recalling the minimalist grids of artists like Agnes Martin and Sol Lewitt, these works address the metaphysical, while remaining deeply connected to their own physicality and the implications of their materials.

Since the 1970s, Michelle Stuart has been internationally known for a rich and diverse practice, including site-specific earth works, intimate drawings, multimedia installations, paintings, sculpture and photographs all centered on a lifelong interest in the natural world. Stuart brings forth imagery by using natural materials in unique ways, situating them in a new context which informs the fundamentals of painting.

Born in Los Angeles, between her travels Michelle Stuart lives and works in New York and California. Recent individual museum shows include: Michelle Stuart, Theatre of Memory: Photographic Works at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, N.Y and Michelle Stuart: Drawn from Nature, which originated in 2013 at the Djanogly Art Center, Nottingham, UK and traveled to the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, accompanied by a catalogue published by Hatje Cantz. Her work has also been the focus of solo shows at the Centre d'Arts Plastiques Contemporaines de Bordeaux, France; the Institute of Contemporary Art, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; and many other major museums and galleries worldwide.

She has participated in numerous group shows and international surveys ranging from Documenta VI, Kassel in 1977 to Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Haus der Kunst, Munich in 2012; Apparition: Frottages from 1860 to Now, at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and the Menil Collection in Houston in September, 2015; America is Hard to See, the inaugural exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Revolution in the Making: Abstract Sculpture by Women, 1947 - 2016, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, Los Angeles.

Major works by the artist were recently acquired by the Tate Gallery; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, the Menil Collection; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and are also in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and many other distinguished institutions.



6. Julie Tolentino, FF Alumn, at Hope Mohr Dance's Bridge Project, San Francisco, CA, thru Spring 2018

Julie Tolentino,FF Alumn, received Hope Mohr Dance's Bridge Project initiative, Spring 2017-2018
One-Year Community Engagement Residency in San Francisco, CA.

The purpose of HMD's Community Engagement Residency is to provide sanctuary and creative opportunity for opportunity for self-defined artists-from-the-margin to create new work, as well as take part in HMD Bridge Project: Radical Movements: Gender and Politics in Performance in November 2017.



7. Stephanie Brody-Lederman, FF Alumn, at Southampton Arts Center, NY, opening April 15

East End Collected3, Curated by Paton Miller
April 14 - May 29, 2017
Public Opening Reception: Saturday, April 15, 5-7 pm
East End Collected3 continues to reflect Paton Miller's vision of this area as an ideal environment for artists to create work. Through this exhibition, Miller celebrates the community of artists, honors the collectors who have supported it, and marks Southampton Arts Center as a home where the East End arts scene can continue to thrive.
East End Collected3 Artists:
Stephanie Brody Lederman, David Bunn Martine, Arthur Carter, Jennifer Cross, Janet Culbertson, Franco Cuttica, Josh Dayton, Eric Dever, Adriana Echavarria, Chris Engel, William Falkenburg, Brian Farrell, Terri Gold, Lautaro Keudell, Mary Lambert, Laurie Lambrecht, Gerson Leiber, Judith Leiber, Brett Loving, Lynn Matsuoka, Simon Parkes, Dinah Maxwell Smith, Jonathan Morse, J. Alan Ornstein, Pamela Ornstein, Gabrielle Raacke, Maria Schon, Neill Slaughter, Eileen Stretch, Susan Tepper, Diane Tuft, Sarah Jaffe Turnbull, and Frank Wimberley.
Related Programs:
Drawing Workshop with Paton Miller
Saturday, May 6 | 11 AM - 12:30 PM | Ages 8+ | $40
EEC3 Artist Talk
Sunday, April 30 | 2 pm | FREE
Closing Reception
Saturday, May 27 | 6-7:30 PM | FREE
Closing Concert with Mambo Loco!
Saturday, May 27 | 8 PM | $15




8. Carolee Schneemann, FF Alumn, spring news

Danspace Gala 2017, CS Honorary Member Benefit Committee - April 25, 2017 - NY

Venice Biennale, Elga Wimmer curates "Body and Soul" with Carolee Schneemann Precarious - May 10, 2017

Hales Gallery Carolee Schneemann Solo Exhibit - Works relating to war, May 19, 2017 - June 24 - London

Frankfurt Museum Kinetic Painting Carolee Schneemann Retrospective - May 30 - Sep 24 - Germany

MoMA PS1 Kinetic Painting Carolee Schneemann Retrospective - October 22 - NY



9. Kriota Willberg, FF Alumn, spring news

Hello Everyone!

Spring has officially sprung and like every spring it is a bustling season. I hope you can make it to some of my New York events listed below.

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Arts Festival (a.k.a. MoCCA Fest) April 1-2 11:00AM-6:00PM
I will be tabling (if that is a verb) at table #A115, selling new mini comics such as "Anatomical Triangles: A Selection Of Love Stories" and "The Wandering Uterus and Contemporary Applications Of Ancient Medical Wisdom." As always I will also be offering my ever-popular comics about injury prevention for cartoonists and artists. Directions and Ticket information is here: https://www.societyillustrators.org/events/mocca-arts-festival-directions-tickets

New York Academy of Medicine Artist In Residence
I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected as the first-ever artist in residence at NYAM! NYAM is home to one of the world's foremost collections in the history of medicine and public health. I will spend the majority of my time researching the history of stitches (sutures) and ligatures. This area of "sewing" continues my explorations of needlework, medicine, and their intersecting histories. My research will be the inspiration and materials of graphic narratives and needlework well beyond the six month residency. I've attached NYAM's press release, if you'd like more detail.

Anatomy for Artists Workshop at NYAM
Tuesday evenings May 2-23, 6-8:30PM I will be teaching the Visualizing and Drawing Anatomy workshop.
This four-week workshop utilizes live models as well as anatomical illustrations from The New York Academy of Medicine's historical collections to teach participants to look beneath the skin of the human body and draw the structures and tissues giving the body its shape and character. Each class starts with an exploration of body parts and systems in the Academy's Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room. Afterwards, I will draw musculoskeletal structures on a live model so that students may practice visualizing and drawing the skeleton and muscles of a living body. This is not a traditional figure drawing workshop. Our focus will be on visually locating and rendering the anatomy of the body on the page in order to enhance (figure) drawing skills. All skill levels are welcome.For my blog post about last years workshop, visit https://nyamcenterforhistory.org/2016/07/13/anatomical-illustrations-a-round-up-from-our-visualizing-anatomy-workshop/
To register for the workshop visit http://nyam.org/events/event/visualizing-and-drawing-anatomy-workshop/

All Best,



10. Grace Roselli, FF Alumn, at MotorGrrl, Brooklyn, April 28

Grace Roselli, FF Alumn, at MotorGrrl, Brooklyn, A Night of Motorcycles and Art, April 28th, 7-10pm

42 Dobbin Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11222 (718-384-0811)
April 28th, 7-10pm

MotorGrrl Garage presents the premiere of Grace Roselli's NAKED BIKE PROJECT and Susana Rico's VIRAGOS PROJECT April 28th from 7-11pm.

Grace Roselli is a Brooklyn born artist, bad-ass and longtime moto enthusiast. In her 'NAKED BIKE PROJECT', she reimagines the visual portrayal of women who ride within the context of contemporary art, society and motorcycle culture. Roselli's large-scale photographs, paintings and collages combine the idea of the motorcycle--a machine associated with sexuality, rebellion and freedom-- with the narrative and aesthetic of a woman's body. Naked Bike is about the journey- the beginning of a provocative and culture-shifting ride.
www.graceroselli.com NYC Motorcyclist MCN Jalopnik

Susana Rico, originally from Portugal, is a New York based photographer. Her VIRAGOS PROJECT is a portrait series of tintypes depicting women riders and their motorcycles. Virago was a title of respect and admiration for heroic women in a masculine society and a woman could earn it if she surpassed the perceived expectations of her gender. Susana sees women bikers as challenging the conventions of gender, making them contemporary Viragos. She chose to use the traditional tintype technique because of a timeless, powerful, and indestructible feeling, echoing the power, strength and beauty of her subjects.

MotorGrrl, a female owned and operated motorcycle garage in Greenpoint, Brooklyn has revolutionized the motorcycle community by creating a new concept motorcycle community and garage. Valerie Figarella, its owner says, you are not just an anonymous face under a helmet at MotorGrrl. You are part of a community that celebrates the motorcycle and the women and men who ride them. MotorGrrl is located at 42 Dobbin Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11222 (718-384-0811).



11. Yvonne Rainer, FF Alumn, in the New York Times, March 29




12. John Cage, FF Alumn, in the New York Times, March 28




13. Doug Skinner, FF Alumn, at Jalopy Theater, Brooklyn, April 8

I will perform an evening of my songs on April 8, at the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn. I'll do some new ones, all fresh and dewy, and some I haven't dusted off for decades. Ralph Hamperian will join me on tuba. It's at 8:30 (PM, I hasten to add), it's $10, and Jalopy is at 315 Columbia St. (and at jalopy(dot)biz).

I'm proud to announce the publication of "I Am Sarcey." Francisque Sarcey was the most influential critic in 1890s Paris, and easily the most conservative. The brilliant humorist Alphonse Allais appropriated Sarcey's byline for a celebrated series of merciless parodies in the Bohemian press, turning him into an obese buffoon, who prattled on about his constipation and impotence and championed mediocrity in the arts. I've selected, translated, and annotated the best of this extended prank, and it's available from Black Scat Books on April 1. (blackscatbooks(dot)com; also on Amazon.)

I'm also contributing regularly to Black Scat's monthly journal "Le Scat Noir," available as a free PDF at the above address.



14. Stephanie Skura, FF Alumn, at Roulette, Brooklyn, April 18-19

There is splendor in older movers who are still at it & able.

There is splendor in embracing alternatives to unison, to illuminate dance relationships & structure.

There is splendor in the co-existence of specificity & improvisation, & in vulnerabilities evoked by doing two seemingly contradictory things at once.

There is splendor in unearthing the subconscious

Dear friends, colleagues & supporters,

Our performances are approaching: April 18 & 19 (Tuesday & Wednesday) this month in New York City, & if in the environs, we welcome your astute presences at one of them!

Tickets & info: http://roulette.org/genre/dance

Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act has been underway around the planet for the past two years, with a group of wizardly 'elder-inclusive' improvisers. It began when I had no funding to do anything complex, & decided to work in studios around the world with movers I love & with whom I share deep connections - doing what we love & what we'd do anyway, funding or not. It's evolved into a performance process that's been fascinating & ever-evolving. I call it 'anti-fascistic dance': Embracing complexity & nuance. A whole-systems view of the world. Non-linear approaches to problem-solving & structure. Respectful, collaborative approach to art-making.

Our wizardly performing improvisers are: Sally Dean (London), Eva Karczag (NYC & The Netherlands), Wendy Perron, Debra Wanner, Paige Barnes (Seattle), Shelley Hirsch (moving composer/vocalist), & myself.

A Hatchfund crowd-funding campaign in late 2016, to which many of you contributed, has enabled us to offer two full evenings this month at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. We're grateful to also receive a modest commission from Roulette, and recently a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant to help pay travel expenses. Lincoln Center has decided to produce a high-quality video document for their archives at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division at Lincoln Center Library & Museum of the Performing Arts. And Cathy Weis invited us to present a process showing last October at the unique & important Sundays on Broadway event series.

We're enormously grateful to our many individual donors, to all of you for your enthusiasm & support, to Roulette, to Hatchfund, to Foundation for Contemporary Arts, & to Daisy Pommer at Lincoln Center Jerome Robbins Dance Division for life-saving support.

Hope to see you there! And look forward to saying hello after a show.

With love & gratitude,


Twitter: @SkuraStephanie
Subscribe for updates on workshops & events:



15. Hector Canonge, FF Alumn, at Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows, April 8, and more

April 8, 2:00-5:00 PM
Hosted at Queens Museum
NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Independent initiative created by Hector Canonge presents "Performance and Transmedia," an afternoon of performances featuring the works of a guest artists Polina Riabova (Russia), Julia Santoli, (Italy), Joshi Radin (United States) and Maryam Taghavi (Iran/Canada).
LiVEART.US was established as a platform to present and feature local, national, and international artists working in Live Action Art and its diverse manifestations. The program features works where the body, as main instrument for artistic creation and expression, is the catalyst for sensorial experiences, cultural interpretation, and critical reflection. LiVEART.US main objective is to further support the creation and presentation of new works in Live Action Art in an environment suitable for reflection and dialogue. The series follows and complements the monthly program TALKaCTIVE: Performance Art Conversation Series initiated by Canonge in September 2014.

April 13, 7:30 - Midnight
KarnaL KriminaLz [fujeetiv fleshh]
The Woods Cooperative
1826 Palmetto, #1, New York, New York 11385
As guest artist, Canonge will present
new work in collaboration with Veronica Peña. The artists propose a different type of approach to the performative based on the program's theme that questions creativity, criminality, delinquency and disobedience in today's politically charged climate.

April 17-23
Festival International d'Art Performance de Martinique
Canonge will present two new works during the first edition of Fiap 2017 in Martinique. The works are based on his readings and reflections of the works of Frantz Fanon "Peau noire, masques blancs" (Black Skins, White Masks), and Albert Camus "L'Étranger" (The Stranger). The artist will also present a workshop and private outdoor performance intervention denominated "Fantômes azurés" (Blueish Ghosts).
More information: www.hectorcanonge.net



16. Liliana Porter, FF Alumn, Basque Museum of Contemporary Art, Araba, Spain, opening April 7


Liliana Porter. Dialogues and disobediences
From: Friday, 07 April 2017

To: Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Argentine artist Liliana Porter is one of the most lucid and original creators working today. Since the 1970s, she has gradually created a universe of her own, with solid and fascinating proposals for rethinking conventions by playing with spatial subversions, unexpected dialogues and disturbances to proportions. She is represented in the collections of major international museums and is an invited artist at this year's Venice Biennale.

Porter works across a very wide creative spectrum that encompasses painting, installation art, printmaking, video, drawing, sculpture, theatre, etc. The personal world she depicts is astonishing and is permeated by her extremely refined wit, intelligent sense of irony and highly individual subtlety. She offers thought-provoking proposals for and about a world that needs to be narrated afresh. To this end, she shatters it, sets it awry, even attacks it, displaying extraordinary insightfulness at all times.

Her work reveals the need to rename every event and to retrace borders anew merely to disrupt them. There is a need to pursue the space, to run after it and dwell on the edge of an account in which everything is in disarray beneath the appearance of infinite ordinariness. It is the world drawn with an internal order that evades and exasperates us; powers of language capable of evoking a place constructed around this formidable and insurmountable divide, capable of evoking new ways of approaching space and time that are fracturing and tearing themselves apart.

Even so, the associations in Porter's works are deliberate and hence we are never on safe ground in her pieces, in her rewritten territories. We are always exposed: underlying her brilliant plays of narrative, that world of seeming trifles, is an unyielding subversive line that interrupts the gaze and shatters the calm, that announces at every step a certain luminous possibility of disobedience among the spectators as well.

It is an unceasing assault on the comfort zone behind which Porter frequently camouflages herself when she alerts the observant visitor to the elusiveness of the line, and hence of the rigour of geometry as a science. Kandinsky indicates as much in his classic book: the line never stays still and ends up turning into a point. In Porter's work, this point is a fascinating bruise inflicted on the order that does not emerge by chance but is part of a precise and detailed plan...

Similarly, the protagonists of her accounts-small figures that acquire a life of their own and constantly wander about in search of a displaced home, the house on the other side, a trap and a disguise-present spectators with a repeated question that points them to a mirror that does not reflect but rather distorts in an operation resembling Freud's notion of the 'uncanny'. Photographs, paintings, prints, videos and installations are a kind of realm of resistance for a back-to-front world; a world in which everything-especially oneself-is precisely the opposite of what it ought to have been. What seemed to be a harmless story ends up disclosing its ultimate stratagem: to make the gaze waver.

This is the narrative formulation that Porter-a good storyteller-uses in her ambiguous scenes of objects and unexpected situations: that which ought not to have been there. The works look at us through the characters and they shatter us: the line extends beyond the frame-sculpture or overflowing outside the photographic surface-and forces us to think for a moment about how the boundaries between inside and out, reality and fiction, the familiar and the unknown were not as immovable as we might have thought in this meeting of inanimate beings, humans and animals that make up Porter's rich universe. She shows an infinite respect for her characters that makes them so human, a compassion and recognition of differences in the face of the mass-constructed. As mentioned earlier, nothing in Porter is there by chance.

This exhibition, which takes some of these premises as its starting point, will feature around a hundred public and private pieces, among them videos, installations, photographs, drawings and paintings, offering a Liliana Porter retrospective that gives an overview of the development of this artist who, with her plays of scale, her unexpected combinations and her sense of irony vis-à-vis the world, is capable of building a parallel universe in which the lines break up, the dialogues spill over, the proportions are distorted and things are never what they seem.

The show is divided into three sections that sum up some of the central questions in Porter's work: Rips and Tasks, which begins with her early installations of wrinkled paper and continues with her Trabajos forzados and the breakages and repairs; The Route and the Line, which looks at her fascination with lines as a territory for displacements and as ways of bursting out of the confines of spaces and realities; and Conversions and Doubles, in which the characters engage in dialogues and duplicate themselves, reply and bring each other to a close.

24 Francia Street,
01002 Vitoria-Gasteiz, Araba, Spain



17. Jayoung Yoon, FF Alumn, at Belskie Museum of Art & Science, Closter, NJ, opening April 9

April 9-30, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, April 9, 2017, 1pm - 5pm

Belskie Museum of Art & Science
280 High Street, Closter, New Jersey 07624
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 1 - 5 pm

Thank you so much!
All the best,
Jayoung Yoon
interdisciplinary artist



18. C. Michael Norton, FF Member, at David&Schweitzer Contemporary, Brooklyn, opening April 14

When Paintings Awake
April 14 - May 7, 2017

Opening Reception Friday, April 14, 6-9pm
David&Schweitzer Contemporary
56 Bogart St. Bushwick, NY 11206 (347) 829-6277



19. Penny Arcade, FF Alumn, at Chevalier Books, Los Angeles, CA, April 5, and more

Penny Arcade makes rare appearances in Los Angeles

Reading from Bad Reputation with Heather Woodbury and Dudley Saunders at Chevalier Books


the 171 and 172 performances of Longing Lasts Longer at Freud Playhouse UCLA

cultural criticism you can dance to




20. Harley Spiller, LuLu LoLo, FF Alumns, at NYC Fire Museum, Manhattan, April 8

Collectors' Night 2017
New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring Street, NY, NY
Saturday, April 8 @ 5 PM
Online admission: $7/$5 Reliquary or Fire Museum members
Door admission: $10/$8 Reliquary or Fire members

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collectors' Night on Saturday, April 8 at the New York City Fire Museum. Collectors' Night celebrates one of the quirkier cultural practices of everyday New Yorkers. Every year, artists, packrats, and other unusual archivists gather to show off their collections. Displays range from the charming and quotidian to the intriguingly morbid. Special presentations by guest speakers focus on a specific area of collecting.

Collectors' Night 2017 Guest Speakers:
Schoolteacher Miriam Sicherman of the "Closet Archeology" project will discuss the early 20th-century debris found by her 4th graders under the floorboards of their 1913 NYC public school. See coverage from the New York Times.

Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiques & Oddities will discuss his collection of original artwork from 1960s & '70s Mexican comic books.

And a special performance from artist and activist LuLu LoLo of the Where Are The Women Monuments project. LuLu will perform two short monologues drawn from the obituaries of Elizabeth Tashjian, founder of The Nut Museum, and Hugh Hicks, whose massive light bulb collection formed the Mount Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting.

This year collections:
Industrial Revolution and Mechanical Era ephemera from Museum of Interesting Things. With interactive demonstrations.
Rare maps, books and photos chronicling the history of Queens from Jason Antos

Coca-Cola ephemera from David Argov

100 years of paper, cardboard and self-playing ephemeral records from Michael Cumella aka Phonograph DJ MAC. Some records will be played on site.

12 reproduction mechanical banks from Georgine and Bill Eberight. Includes coin demos.

Vintage cartoon decals, illustrated aprons, cocktail napkins, and more comic ephemera from Gabe Fowler of Desert Island Comics

Business cards of Chicago gangs from the 1970s & '80s from Brandon Johnson.
Brandon's collection of gang "compliment cards" has been published as Thee Almighty & Insane. The book has been reviewed by Vice.

Preserved insects from Jamison Heldrich

Beach and sea glass collected in New York from Emily Kawasaki

Vintage hats & handkerchiefs from artist and activist LuLu LoLo

Found fishing lures and metal tins from different countries from Gail Mitchell

Road maps from Alex Schneider

Classic educational filmstrips from Jonathan Sims. With projection of some strips.

Collections of rock collections acquired from friends, family, states, and geological societies from artist Ben Sisto

1950s lady head vases from Lisa and Nina Skriloff

Star Wars items, mounted mini orchids, and wheat pennies from Mike Smith

Mid-century desk lamps from Ronda J. Smith and Adrien Blanc

WWII family ephemera and vintage potato artifacts from Harley Spiller, aka Inspector Collector

Archival 16mm vintage cartoons by Tommy Stathes of Cartoons on Film. Screenings throughout the night.

Over 100 1:64-scale police, fire and emergency vehicles, with many international police cars and rare items from Corgi, Solido, Siku, Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Tomica, from Jeremy Willinger

And the City Reliquary Kid Collectors! Featuring the collection of "O" shapes from Opal Herman, the geisha doll collection of Rosie Herman, and the Beanie Boo & Pokemon collection of Olive Scanga

Tickets through Artfully, $7/$5 for City Reliquary or Fire Museum members. Become a Reliquary member today! Admission at the door will be $10/$8 Reliquary and Fire Museum members. Buy online and save!



Goings On is compiled weekly by Harley Spiller