(e)merge

5 Things For An Art Filled Weekend

It's summer, it's hot, but get out and get #artsee with these 5 things... 

1. Opening TONIGHT at Studio Gallery from 6:30-8:30 PM, The Last Picture Show from faculty and students of the Corcoran  [link]
2. And down in Anacostia... Honfleur opens the 7th Annual East of the River Exhibition TONIGHT [link]
3. TONIGHT - DCAC will open You Can't Put Art on a Pedestal [link]
4. On SATURDAY, Open Studio DC will host a moving/opening party at their NE location from 7:00-9:00 PM [link]
5. And then SATURDAY NIGHT is double the fun at Connersmith with the (e)merge party and opening of Academy 2014 [link]

Hope we see you there! 

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Elizabeth 

Photo Credit: Connersmith, Work of Emerson Myers

Sijae Byun Wins Emerging Artist Prize

Surrounded by silks, stretchers, dozens upon dozens of squeezed paint tubes, brushes and other art-making materials, Korean-born artist Sijae Byun sits on a stool in her studio at the Arlington Arts Center and says with an exuberant smile, “I am very thankful.”

Less than two weeks ago at the third annual (e)merge art fair, Byun was awarded The Phillips Collection Emerging Artist Prize. The award is the first of its kind to be given by the nation’s oldest modern art museum, and supports Byun as an important new artist, whose work is thought to be original and of art historical significance.

“I think her paintings were the most impressive work that we saw at the fair,” director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art and curator at large at The Phillips Collection, Klaus Ottmann said during a phone interview. “It was just a matter of which one we should buy.” 

Ottmann, along with The Phillips Collection director Dorothy Kosinski and senior curator of modern and contemporary art Vesela Sretenović, selected Byun’s Wind #7 In Jungle as the winning work and the piece that would be acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. The selection was made after all three administrators saw Byun's work displayed in the Washington Project for the Arts booth, curated by executive director Lisa Gold. 

Wind #7 In Jungle is a large-scale artwork with content and context equal in monumentality to the towering 37.5 x 50.5 inch work, made in a highly complex practice of layering and painting silk. A dynamic and energetic ovular form asserts itself against a modulated pink background. A variety of textural surfaces and intricate patterns intertwine and support one another, creating a surrealist structure. A purple flower hangs quiet and closed, ready to bloom, provoking thoughts of nature. Environmental themes such as these are supported by vegetal imagery resembling lily pad leaves and green algae, and are underscored and considered critically juxtaposed the architectural forms, rendered in sharp manufactured lines scattered throughout the work and clustered heavily at the bottom right. Strands of dark hairs and veins appear to weave the elements together, and one cannot help but to consider whether the blood-pumping vessels give life to these traditionally oppositional forces, or if the human body constricts and strangles, further complicating the relationships between natural landscape and mechanical construction.

“This particular work fits really nicely into [The Phillips Collection's] long tradition and conversation that goes on in our collection about color and painting, but at the same time, brings in something new, a different kind of dialogue in terms of material as silk and some non-western aesthetics that play in the work so it’s kind of expanding that tradition,” said Ottmann.

The Phillips Collection has a long history of supporting emerging artists. Duncan Phillips, the seminal art collector whose collection was the precursor to the 1921 museum and who played a key role in introducing America to the modernists, was widely responsible for launching the careers of such important figures as Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keefe and John Marin. In keeping with the spirit of Duncan Phillips, Ottmann believes award and grant programs that both support emerging artists in the local DC-community and engage artists and viewers in a global dialogue, should occur regularly, given the appropriate funding.

When asked about having her work in The Phillips Collection, Byun said humbly, “I’m very happy, but I also, I want to work harder and be a greater artist. I really like [The Phillips Collection] and I want to be one of the great artist there.”

The acquisition of a painting is of particular significance for Byun, who was told by her undergraduate teachers that she should avoid painting and instead focus her artistic practice on installation. Following the advise of her teachers, Byun studied fabric design and primarily worked in installation and set design, until a professor at the School of Visual Arts in New York noticed Byun’s aptitude for drawing and suggested she start painting.

Since those initial conversations in 2007, Byun has combined painting with such mediums as stop motion animation, installation and fabrics, to create nuanced and challenging artworks that share a masterful command of space.

When asked about how the prize will affect her artistic practice, Byun said it will help her maintain energy and encourage her to continually work harder. For Byun, she is most concerned with keeping her eyes and her mind strong, and always following her inner voice.

Sijae Byun’s solo exhibition, Vaginascope, is currently on display at Tallybeck Contemporary in New York until November 15, 2013, and her solo exhibition, Circulation-Respiration at the Korean Cultural Center in Washington, DC, opens November 1, 2013.

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Roxanne Goldberg

The 25 Project: Cory Obendorfer

In our second interview with on of the amazing artists from the 25th Anniversary celebration for DCAC, the 25 Project. The 9th artist in this exhibition is local artist Cory Obendorfer, the resident artist on making like larger and more colorful.

Obendorfer has been in DC since 2008 when he started his MFA at American University. Lately, he has been seen at (e)merge, Katzen, Mclean Project for the Arts, and Artomatic. He has been known for his larger than life works that bring ordinary, often bizarre images to life. Lately his subject matter has included skaters, popsicles and candy. We caught up with him to do a Q&A about the 25 Project.    

Why the 25 Project? What inspired you to be a part of it?

I've always admired the organizing partners who put together The 25 Project - No Kings Collective and DCAC. I think both have a terrific presence in DC and provide great opportunities for artists. I haven't exhibited with either in an official capacity, so I eagerly jumped on board when I was invited.
 
What can we expect to see of your work with the Project?
Popsicles. I have been obsessed with painting popsicles recently, larger than life.
 
What intrigues you about popsicles and skaters?
Both fascinate me, but they contradict each other.
The skaters in my Rollergirl series are icons of contemporary feminism. They are strong, tenacious, feminine, aggressive, dedicated, sexy, playful, athletic. All the qualities I admire.
The popsicles are icons for youth and innocence. They are both general and specific in the way they reach people. Most people share the same response upon seeing the popsicles, but each viewer's tie to the work is very personal. I have heard so many stories of when and where people would get certain popsicles, including their favorite flavors and who they were with at the time. I have seen total strangers stand in front of a popsicle painting and start sharing memories of their childhood. I love that!
 
The waffle video? Did you lie or not lie?
I lied about the fact that my obsession with the waffle video was a secret. It's totally not a secret.
But I find the video itself hilarious and brilliant!
Here's why it works:
The title of the video gives away the punchline, the waffle will fall over. Which means there will be tension and anticipation as we await the fall.
The waffle itself is a stoic creature. Its grid structure is solid, strong, stable and predictable (and is echoed in the background). Our waffle hero is infallible, and yet we are foretold of its ultimate demise.
The close-up composition creates a monumental perspective. We ignore the fact that it is probably only five inches tall and sitting on a stove. It can easily be perceived as being of a human scale or much larger. This makes the fall more powerful.
When the fall happens, we cannot prevent the action. The waffle does not falter, it simply succumbs to the inevitable burden of gravity and its own weakness as an organic construction.
The waffle does not noticeably bounce or move upon impact. This reinforces the previous conceptions of its monolithic nature.
The waffle commits. It accepts its fate during the tipping, the fall, and the landing. It does not fight its fate.
We feel compassion for the waffle. Our hero has fallen, literally. It is just as difficult for us to accept the waffle's demise as it was for the waffle.
It is a waffle. A breakfast pastry has created the most captivating six seconds of cinema I have ever seen.

For more information on the 25 Project, visit their website here.  And for more information on Cory Obendorfer, visit her website here.

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Elizabeth 

(e)merge: ArtSee's Picks

Unfortunately, the (e)merge Art Fair is over. But that doesn't mean the conversation (and mild obsession...) has to stop just yet! Below are a few of our favorite artists, now colloquially known as ArtSee Picks. 

Elizabeth Grazioli, ArtSee Founder and Creative Operations Director

David Brown, Goya Contemporary, 2nd Floor:  

The large red forms and fish-like shapes of Baltimore-based David Brown’s artworks were of instant intrigue.  Brown had two bodies of work being shown. The first, a smaller series of black-and-silver ink on paper numbers are made using a directional shift in what Brown calls his "eye motif." His interest in the numbers involves their form and how his "eyes" can make this form appear by simply changing the way he draws them. In contrast, the "Red Eye" series (pictured) consists of skeletal forms that do not entirely fill the page. I was captivated by the empty space Brown leaves around the shapes, opening room to imagine what could be there, while at the same time appreciating the strange form that exists. Brown uses x-rays of vertebrae to find his image but enjoys the imperfection in creating that image out of his tiny "eyes." The red is a deliberate nod to the human body and the blood that connects it, similar to the way the spine functions as a connector. What really struck me about Brown's work was what was not shown at (e)merge. Brown has a series of these "eye motifs" on panel that take different forms. One such piece hangs on the corner of two walls in the home of Amy Eva Raehse, Goya Contemporary curator and executive director. I hope to see more of Brown’s work soon and maybe one day, find a place in my home for one too! 

Si Jae Byun, Washington Project for the Arts, 2nd Floor:

It didn't take long being in the WPA room to realize the talent in Si Jae Byun.  Immediately making the connection to her powerful work from her past show at Arlington Arts Center (AAC), I has instantly connected. What proved to be even more impressive was her process for her silk works WPA presented this year. As explained by Samantha May of WPA, each piece is layered with 4-5 layers of silk with paint and ink applied over it to reveal forms of how architecture and nature intersect.  What stood out most to me are the way Byun's colors pop. They create a wonderful composition of her imagination. 
Si Jae Byun also won the Phillips Collection Emerging Artist Prize.  

Shira Karsen, ArtSee Creative Assistant

Jeremy Dean, Aureus Contemporary, 2nd Floor:

Native New Yorker Jeremy Dean explores the American dream in sculptural and definitive ways; a presidential face pasted on American printed dollars, the dichotomy between rich and poor, superwoman versus the business man. But the pieces that struck me the most at (e)merge are some of his most current works. "Owe and Own" and "Buy and Sell" are two Chinese-centered pieces a museum in Shanghai commissioned Dean to create. These pieces are deconstructed tourist flags, broken down thread for thread and divided between the horizontal and vertical strands. Dean then reconstructs the flags from that one singular flag, making one out the horizontal and one from the vertical, implanting them onto a board with a needle for each thread. Behind the Chinese flags are the English words, "owe" and "own", a commentary about how the Chinese are owned by the Americans and want to own American goods. Likewise, behind the American flags are the Chinese characters "buy" and "sell". These pieces are so deeply detailed, aesthetically striking and of course, highly political, it would be difficult for me not to admire them.

 Lennox Campello, Alida Anderson Art Projects, 2nd Floor:

A member of the DC-based Alida Anderson Art Projects, Lenny Campello is a seriously energetic and frenetic artist. The works that caught my eye were hanging on the wall, plugged into an outlet. These pieces are original charcoal and graphite drawings that display Campello’s impeccable figure drawing skill with an added 2.0 techy twist: each one has a cut out with a digitally produced image peeking through. They are quirky, fun and totally modern. One of my personal favorites is "Frida Kahol: An Homage to Bloch." Campello is of interest to ArtSee for not only his technical skill, but also his unbelievably smart, savvy and cheap marketing. For a mere $75, a buyer can own an original 8 x 10 inch charcoal drawing, and for $125, the admirer can have it framed and matted by the talented hands of Campello. How do I know this? I bought one myself.

Roxanne Goldberg, ArtSee Creative Writer

Larry Cook, Shanti Grumbine, and Alan Turner, Present Company, 2nd Floor:

Brooklyn-based exhibition, performance and social space Present Company exhibited three uniquely dynamic artists who explore taboo pieces of American culture and who together, revealed a darker side of American society. Curators Brian Balderston, Chad Stayrook, and José Ruiz used cardboard to line the walls of the hotel room and installed additional lighting to create a sleek, clean, curated exhibition space. The extra effort successfully converted the hotel room into an art gallery that highlighted the excellent quality of Larry Cook’s photographs, Alan Turner’s graphite and colored pencil drawings, and Shanti Grumbine’s screen prints. Cook’s striking portraits examining issues of race and racism challenged the viewer with a sense of sincerity and confrontation, while Turner’s “box house” works inserted the viewer within vacated buildings around New York City, begging her to consider economic disparities. Grumbine’s broken horizontal lines reminiscent of a broken television screen were set against a glittered background and hung between the social and economic concerns of Cook and Turner, effectively questioning American media culture and its relation to the issues presented by the other two artists.

 Carol Jackson, Benjamin Bellas, slow, 2nd Floor:

Chicago-based alternative contemporary art venue, slow, presented dark, contemplative, and undeniably humorous conceptual art works that innovatively utilized the fully-furnished hotel room. Walking into the booth, the viewer was greeted by the beautiful script of Carol Jackson. The last words of condemned criminals, so elegantly composed in old-world calligraphy, caused the viewer to alternate between emotions of disgust and contempt, sympathetic compassion, and disturbed hilarity. Humor continued throughout the space, ending under the bed. Crouching near the floor with a flashlight in hand, artist Benjamin Bellas encouraged viewers to crane their necks and lie on the floor in an attempt to see and identify sugar ball constellations. The installation was fun and brilliant for the way in which it engaged the viewer, encouraging a curious audience, and also played with the childhood fear of finding monsters under the bed. Leaving slow’s booth, one could not help but to be affected with a peculiar smile and inquisitive thought. 

Naomi Minkoff, ArtSee Intern

Ali Miller, CONNERSMITH CONTEMPORARY, 2nd Floor:

Ali Miller exhibited many works from her collection bad habits. However, a few small, vibrant pieces stood out to me. These incorporated crystals stuck into the paint. They added a three dimensionally of light and pulled in the viewer's imagination. In her works, Miller takes an ordinary scene from everyday life and departs from it into a fanciful, imagined view of reality. She explores the psyche and the crazy, unexpected directions in which our minds take us. 

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

The ArtSee Team

2013 PERFORMANCEs + ART ACTIONS SCHEDULE:

DAILY, throughout the FAIR: 
Benjamin Andrew - Chronoecology Corps
The artist creates a narrative in which time-traveling scientists from the 23rd-century operate a field station to collect and study the natural world before it disappears. Presenting interactive simulations of natural phenomena, they conduct participatory research at the fair, collecting visitor interviews to be added to an online memory bank.
LL/2, 12pm, various times

Nancy Daly - #LookingForLove 
Monitoring social media over the four days of the fair, the artist progressively creates a large sculpture consisting of nautical knots known as “monkey paws.” Every time someone uses the hashtag #LookingForLove, she will add another knot to the sculpture. 
HALL A/12, 12pm, various times

Double A Projects (Athena Robles and Anna Stein) -PROJECT MICRO-FLOAT 
Using practices from microfinance, pledge giving, crowdfunding, IOUs and other alternative strategies, this public art action launches a social campaign for artists and arts supporters to explore concepts of self-worth and financial networking. Visitors can browse artist projects that need funding, cast their free vote to float a project, and symbolically pledge to support a lending circle, a cause they believe in, or the cultural arena as a whole.
ROOM 3/16, 12pm, various times

Adam Void + Chelsea Ragan - Freedom Is Not For Sale 
This active installation explores traveling cultures, makeshift homesteads, and life “off the grid.” This folk-art Wunderkammer highlights the beautiful struggle of life on the road by coupling handcrafted treasures with found oddities.
Pool Deck/47, 12pm, various times

Andrew Wodzianski - Self Portrait as Jack Torrance
In this endurance-based performance, the artist replicates the obsession of Stephen King’s protagonist/antagonist in The Shining. Repetitively typing a prescriptive proverb inside the hotel lobby, the artist, acting as Jack Torrance, is condemned to artistic failure.
LOBBY/48, 12pm, various times

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3
Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 5pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth 
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection.
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 5pm

Borjana Ventzislavova - 15 Min. Rest
Visitors are invited to rest and read passages from the U.S. Constitution in a bedroom set up in a public area. Participants will receive Polaroid photos taken of them by the artist, as their actions prompt consideration about whether the Constitution has contemporary relevance beyond that of a bedtime story or a dream.
time: 3 hours
LL/45, 5pm

Armando Lopez Bircann – Animals + Fire - ARLOBI - Emerge 2013 Mix
The artist will present a collection of multimedia, ceremonial performances. These works play with the formats of performance, the ritualization of self-portraiture, and the activation of performative sculptures.
time: 2 hours
LL/AREA D, 5:30pm

Monica Jahan Bose - Unwrapped
The artist will wrap and unwrap her body with a 216-foot sari inscribed with writing by women from her grandmother’s village in Bangladesh. Drawing inspiration from the Indian myth of Draupadi, the eternal virgin who was married to five brothers, as well as her grandmother’s factual marriage at age seven, the artist’s performance speaks to the rights of women for education and autonomy over their own bodies. 
time: 1 hour
ROOM 1/25, 6pm

Benoit Izard “BIZARD” – Animals + Fire - KISSERS
Two anonymous nude persons are sealed in a kissing position by a double head mask. Kissing and hugging continuously for one hour, the performers reduce their action to nothing but a presence, which manifests between them and their viewers.
time: 1.5 hours
POOL DECK/AREA D, 7:15pm

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4
Paul Shortt - The Legitimate Artist
The artist will carry an enlarged replica of his Master of Fine Arts diploma around the fair as he interacts with attendees. Posing for pictures and declaring his qualifications as a legitimate artist, Shortt enacts a critique of artistic credentialing, thereby calling into question the categories of amateur and professional art. 
time: 7 hours
LL/41, 12pm

Kirsty Little – Overload
This trapeze-inspired performance aims to capture the feeling of a modern phenomenon, thecultural fascination of wanting it all and the rush to the top of what may seem to be a precarious ladder. Amid too much information, too much expectation, and too little time, the artist asks if we ever get to the end of our to-do list and considers whether this is what we really desire.
time: 15 minutes
POOL DECK/28, 1:30pm

Alex Braden - Outside and Play
Positioned throughout the parking garage and wearing headphones, several musicians, who have never rehearsed together, will play along to a recording of the artist's composition, which is publicly available for prior download at www.alexanderbraden.com. As the musicians begin to play their parts in isolation, visitors may press “play” on their own digital audio players, then roam through the garage with their headphones on, listening to a dynamic blend of recorded music and live performance. 
time: 15 minutes

LL/7, 1:30pm

Borjana Ventzislavova - 15 Min. Rest
Visitors are invited to rest and read passages from the U.S. Constitution in a bedroom set up in a public area. Participants will receive Polaroid photos taken of them by the artist, as their actions prompt consideration about whether the Constitution has contemporary relevance beyond that of a bedtime story or a dream.
time: 3 hours
LL/45, 3pm

Alex Braden - Outside and Play
Positioned throughout the parking garage and wearing headphones, several musicians, who have never rehearsed together, will play along to a recording of the artist's composition, which is publicly available for prior download at www.alexanderbraden.com. As the musicians begin to play their parts in isolation, visitors may press “play” on their own digital audio players, then roam through the garage with their headphones on, listening to a dynamic blend of recorded music and live performance. 
time: 15 minutes

LL/7, 3:30pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection. 
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 4pm

Sheldon Scott – Animals + Fire - Victory
This performance explores the acceptance of hollow victories. Based on the large-scale installation, Level With Me, Victory is informed by the cyclical nature of systems of inequality. 
time: 1 hour
LL/AREA D, 4pm

Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 4:30pm

Alex Braden - Outside and Play
Positioned throughout the parking garage and wearing headphones, several musicians, who have never rehearsed together, will play along to a recording of the artist's composition, which is publicly available for prior download at www.alexanderbraden.com. As the musicians begin to play their parts in isolation, visitors may press “play” on their own digital audio players, then roam through the garage with their headphones on, listening to a dynamic blend of recorded music and live performance.
time: 15 minutes

LL/7, 6pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5
Paul Shortt - The Legitimate Artist
The artist will carry an enlarged replica of his Master of Fine Arts diploma around the fair as he interacts with attendees. Posing for pictures and declaring his qualifications as a legitimate artist, Shortt enacts a critique of artistic credentialing, thereby calling into question the categories of amateur and professional art. 
time: 7 hours
LL/41, 12pm

Benoit Izard “BIZARD” – Animals + Fire - KISSERS
Two anonymous nude persons are sealed in a kissing position by a double head mask. Kissing and hugging continuously for one hour, the performers reduce their action to nothing but a presence, which manifests between them and their viewers.
time: 1.5hrs
POOL DECK/AREA D, 12:15pm

Kirsty Little – Overload
This trapeze-inspired performance aims to capture the feeling of a modern phenomenon, thecultural fascination of wanting it all and the rush to the top of what may seem to be a precarious ladder. Amid too much information, too much expectation, and too little time, the artist asks if we ever get to the end of our to-do list and considers whether this is what we really desire.
time: 15 minutes
POOL DECK/28, 1:30pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection. 
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 2pm

Borjana Ventzislavova - 15 Min. Rest
Visitors are invited to rest and read passages from the U.S. Constitution in a bedroom set up in a public area. Participants will receive Polaroid photos taken of them by the artist, as their actions prompt consideration about whether the Constitution has contemporary relevance beyond that of a bedtime story or a dream.
time: 3 hours
LL/45, 3pm

Holly Bass – Revival
This performance brings together folks from all walks of life in a shared celebration of community and rejuvenation. Borrowing elements of early church traditions, Revival will include live music, collective singing and spoken word as well as personal "art testimonies" by guest artists and community members.
time: 1 hour 15 minutes
POOL DECK/4, 3:30pm

Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 4:30pm

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7 
Monica Jahan Bose - Unwrapped
The artist will wrap and unwrap her body with a 216-foot sari inscribed with writing by women from her grandmother’s village in Bangladesh. Drawing inspiration from the Indian myth of Draupadi, the eternal virgin who was married to five brothers, as well as her grandmother’s factual marriage at age seven, the artist’s performance speaks to the rights of women for education and autonomy over their own bodies. 
time: 1 hour
ROOM 1/25, 12:30pm

Linda Hesh - Kissing Booth
Visitors are invited to pose for a photo portrait kissing their choice of friend, lover or spouse while surrounded by photos displaying two men or two women. Participants may upload their own photos, or pose for the artist, to join an ongoing online conversation about what feelings are elicited by same sex affection. 
time: 3 hours
ROOM 4/22, 2pm

Flore de Preneuf - When We First Met 
In this interactive installation, the artist bends the patient practice of street photography into a time- and place- bound format. Two backdrops - one interior, one exterior - will provide the setting for photographic encounters with her audience mediated through an old-fashioned view camera. 
time: 2.5 hours
LL/35, 2pm

Holly Bass – Revival
This performance brings together folks from all walks of life in a shared celebration of community and rejuvenation. Borrowing elements of early church traditions, Revival will include live music, collective singing and spoken word as well as personal "art testimonies" by guest artists and community members.
time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Pool Deck/4, 2:30pm

Armando Lopez Bircann – Animals + Fire - ARLOBI - Emerge 2013 Mix
The artist will present a collection of multimedia, ceremonial performances. These works play with the formats of performance, the ritualization of self-portraiture, and the activation of performative sculptures.
time: 2 hours
LL/AREA D, 3pm

Image Credit: (e)merge art fair

Flashpoint: (e)merge preview

Hotel rooms are odd spaces as temporary homes for visitors to foreign places or familiar faces seeking moments of escape.

When an art fair enters the hotel framework, as does the Capitol Skyline Hotel at the (e)merge art fair, the hotel room takes on another totally strange personality, that of a temporary art gallery.

While some exhibitors at the third annual (e)merge art fair elect to have the furniture taken out of their assigned rooms-turned-booths, other galleries challenge the artists they represent and exhibit to adopt the hotel room persona into their art.

“We spend a lot of time talking about how to negotiate the space,” said Karyn Miller, director of visual arts and communications at CulturalDC. “We’ll be acknowledging the fact that it’s a hotel room again.”

Flashpoint, the gallery space managed by CulturalDC, has been exhibiting at (e)merge since its inaugural fair in 2011. That first year, Baltimore-based artist Lisa Dillin installed a structure over the bed, inviting visitors to sit and contemplate the work from a comfortable setting. At this year’s fair, collaborators Lauren Rice and Brian Barr will also be utilizing a bed space, while pen-and-ink artist Dana Jeri Maier has specifically requested to show her work in the bathroom.

“In some ways it’s an exciting challenge for these artists to show work in these contexts,” said Miller, “It asks them to present work in a really unorthodox and potentially awkward space and making it work.”

In her curatorial process, Miller considered ways in which to merge upcoming artists in Flashpoint’s fall exhibition schedule, with themes that are socially relevant.

Though all three artists work in different media and use different inspiration as diving points, each engages with the appropriation and remixing of found images, text, conversations and objects.

Sonya Lawyer purchases family photo albums at auction in an effort to ‘rescue’ her ‘ancestors’ from predatory purchasers who buy and divide the photographs in the album in order to re-sell individual photographs at higher prices. Sonya incorporates these photographs into her work, which is focused on the process of hand dying cotton fabric.  The resulting compositions are strong, emotive works that cause the viewer’s mind to wonder in curiosity about the anonymous figures, presented in concurrence with intimate fabrics that retain a sense of human touch through texture and color. Similarly, Lauren Rice and Brian Barr collage found images and remix them in order to create new contexts for objects already in existence.

Dana Jeri Maier does not draw in a studio, but instead takes her practice into bars and coffee shops, where she appropriates overheard conversations and general surroundings into the artwork she produces while absorbing these various stimuli.

“These artists are really interested in providing new meanings and understanding that meaning is never a fixed or static thing,” explained Miller, “Meaning is something that is constantly changing and evolving.”

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Roxanne Goldberg 

Camden Place: (e)merge preview

Hillary Clinton is running for president.

This is the constructed reality according to Camden Place, a local artist whose fascination with the gap between perceived realities of the self and the actual self, inspired a mock Hillary 2016 campaign for presentation at the third annual (e)merge art fair.

“Obama has revolutionized the way presidents interact with us not as a president, but as a celebrity,” explained Camden, “What I’m trying to do, is increase the celebrity status of the president.”

The 2012 American University MFA graduate has recently been working on a series entitled, “Memories: 1985- 2000.” In these digital collages, he superimposes images of himself in pictures with celebrities, finishing the work by framing the prints as if they were ordinary family photographs. Such constructions as a smirking young Camden wearing a pink YMCA shirt among the Sandlot boys are endearing, while other collages, like that of toddler Camden imitating the outstretched arms of Ace Ventura, evoke an undeniable sense of humor.

Camden plays on this sense of levity in his mock presidential campaign, but not for the sake of comedy. Instead, he seeks to challenge viewers and participants to question and consider what is presented to them.

“The viewer may distance himself. He may ignore it, or take a pin,” said Camden.

The artist explained his interest in how people not only see themselves and others, but also how they respond to their perceptions, particularly when presented incongruous to reality.

“There’s always been this element of doubt. People will have to ask questions,” said Camden.

Buttons, flyers, pamphlets and other campaign paraphernalia, including an enormous, billboard-size poster, will constitute the mock advertising campaign.

Presenting a mock presidential campaign in Washington, DC is especially interesting, and one must wonder how Camden’s artwork will be received during the (e)merge art fair, which although takes place in the nation’s capital, draws crowds from many diverse locations worldwide.

“I want curiosity, I want disgust potentially, or for people to take it as offensive,” explained Camden, “I want people to dig into it.”

Hillary Clinton as a subject was not selected for the artist’s political preferences, but instead because she already enjoys the celebrity status Camden seeks to augment.

“She’s implicated herself,” said Camden, “Like when there is a meme made about her, she reaches out to those people.”

As Camden’s installation slowly reveals itself as an art piece and not as an authentic campaign booth, it will have the potential to inspire viewers to expand their awareness and to consider the implications of the recent phenomenon of the president as celebrity.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Roxanne Goldberg

(e)merge artist preview: Lavar Munroe

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“A hero is someone who went into the belly of the beast and survived.”

 Artist Lavar Munroe explains, the idea of the hero has the potential to manifest itself in the individuals who we come across by chance and who we choose to surround ourselves with everyday.

 Munroe, who recently moved to DC from St. Louis after completing a residency at the famous Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, is introducing (e)merge art fair audiences to an alternative hero, the one Washingtonians are often guilty of ignoring—the homeless. 

 “I’m becoming his maid or servant,” explained Munroe.

 Bed Colony, Munroe’s long-term project being presented in October at the third annual (e)merge art fair, requires Munroe to regularly replace the old, soiled and dilapidated cardboard of a homeless person downtown, with fresh new cardboard.

 The used pieces are tinged with signs of a past life and a sense of a mysterious and personal history. Munroe combines and collages the material that contains what Munroe identifies as “beauty in decay,” to create nine ‘beds’ complete with pillows and personal affects Munroe finds by chance, like hair, bibles, candles and from this particular site downtown, a flask.

 “I’m interested in the different uses of [cardboard]. The middle class use it to ship plastic goods and then they excrete it into the world.,” explained Munroe, “But the people who I take it from use it as a means of survival, as a means of eating off, sleeping on, using for toys, using it for games. It becomes such a precious item.”

For an artist whose native home in the Bahamas is riddled with drugs and gang violence, Munroe believes it is important to draw awareness to the discrepancies in the value of cardboard between classes.

“Last time I went there, he wrote ‘Cozy ‘Corner,’” Munroe said.

With Bed Colony, Munroe hopes to challenge audiences to rethink the typically negative manner in which the homeless are viewed, and to instead consider them as brave heroes surviving. 

While Munroe’s project may appear to have social connotations, the artist does not desire his art be used for social action, but is instead interested in occupying the space of the “trickster.”

The artist, who once volunteered at a Juvenile Detention Center in St. Louis with hopes of learning about life on the streets and the stories of convicted criminals, became interested in trickery and related themes such as absence and presence, through a lifelong fascination with mythology.

“I started my own mythology but it was autobiographical for the most part. It seemed so open ended,” explained Munroe, “so I thought the best thing was to introduce one character, which was the trickster. And that was me but it also becomes a hero.” 

In Bed Colony, Munroe acts as both the hero and the trickster. The man downtown has never seen Munroe and Munroe has never seen him. However, they are engaging in a very important exchange and dialogue. And through Bed Colony at (e)merge, the viewer may also become a hero. One must only challenge herself to think differently about DC’s homeless.  

Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Roxanne Goldberg

Bed Colony will be on display at (e)merge art fair at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, from October 4 through October 6.