art

No Longer Empty – From Courthouse to Art Gallery and Beyond

Sandra Bertrand

Thanks to No Longer Empty, a New York-based nonprofit involved in pumping new life into community spaces abandoned or left behind, the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse is opening its doors once again.  Only this time, after being shuttered for 37 years, its walls no longer resound with the smack of a judge’s gavel.  Instead, artists, performers, and the community-at-large can enter its cavernous space and call it home.

Meet Annika Connor, the Art World’s ‘Socialite Realist’

Kristin Sancken

A studio visit with Connor is an experience in itself. In lieu of a stuffy warehouse studio in Bushwick, the artist chose to work from her bright and cheery Dumbo loft. The walls are covered salon style with her whimsical portraits of ballet dancers, ruminating women, kissing couples, decadent interiors and stylized landscapes. Upon entering, you are greeted with a warm hug, cup of spiced coffee and invited to relax as you take in the sheer complexity of Connor’s diverse body of work. 

The Brash New World of Trenton Doyle Hancock

Sandra Bertrand

If you think paying a visit to your local museum exhibit is a relatively safe endeavor, then beware.  It’s likely you have not visited the The Studio Museum of Harlem’s current exhibit,  Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing.  Chronicling the evolution of his comical, often nightmarish universe, it’s a show that may alternately delight and repel but guaranteed, one you will not soon forget.   

‘How We See’: Photographer Laurie Simmons’ Mainstream Embrace

Sabeena Khosla

Simmons made a name for herself in the ‘70s and ‘80s by constructing dollhouse rooms and photographing them. They were a subversive reflection on the Marxist notion of the fetishizing commodity and were done through a feminist lens. She was not interested so much with creating a narrative in her photographs, though her subject matter may have reflected otherwise. Rather, she refers to the early works as “doll still life work” and they became as such after she stared at the created spaces until they became void of meaning and abstract to her. 

Richard Gabriele and the Rise of Reverse Impressionism

Kristin Sancken

Philadelphia-based painter Richard Gabriele has emerged in the New York City art scene as a symbolic figurehead, reminding us that Romance does exist, even in our generation. Art has always been a part of Gabriele's life. He began drawing at an early age and kept sketchbooks throughout childhood and high school, traveling extensively to gain the experiences and stylistic influences depicted later in his paintings. By the time Gabriele realized his dream of becoming an artist in college, his techniques were nearly perfected.

Exploring the Art of Bahar Behbahani

Bahar Behbahani

Through her lyrical videos Behbahani stages a contemporary cultural critique by layering and juxtaposing allusions to past and present sociopolitical circumstances with a language that she draws from her experience as a painter. Her work has been featured in the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia; Sharjah Biennial 10, UAE; Queens Museum, New York; The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan; MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art, Italy; Mimara Museum, Croatia; The Tribeca Film Festival, New York; as well as the Asia Art Biennial, Bangladesh, among others.

Intriguing Exhibit of Self-Portraits Featured at the National Academy Museum

Sandra Bertrand

But the primary focus of the show is a far-reaching exploration of how such personal portraiture has been transformed over the decades.  It comprises not only choice works from Academy members, but entries from places as far-flung as Palestine, Lebanon, Iran and China.  Perhaps the biggest and most welcome surprise is the extent of entries from women—62 such artists represented from 30 different countries in all.  

Cultural Appropriation: Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

Angelo Franco

Cultural appropriation is a dicey subject, not least because there are no given parameters of what can be considered appropriation. This while some hold that it is impossible to “steal” forms of a culture in itself, and that the imitation of it is a human phenomenon that should, in fact, be celebrated.  The term has also become a point of origin for other, wider discussions, including those of race relations and even sexuality.  

Marc Riboud Captures the Mysteries of Asia in Photo Series

Sabeena Khosla

While it sounds typical – Western male artist enters “exotic” land to bring stories back home – one must remember that at the time of Riboud’s creations, the metropolitan West, in the fallout of the World Wars, was just starting to gain a real appreciation for what Asia had to offer. Yet Riboud deters from juxtaposing the differences in cultures as a way to highlight both sides’ strengths. 

New Exhibit Features Life of Helena Rubinstein – Every Woman’s Empress of Beauty

Sandra Bertrand

From her small town beginnings in the Jewish Poland of 1872, Helena Rubinstein grew a cosmetics empire that spanned four continents.  By her death in 1965 at 92, this self-made magnate of beauty had not only amassed a world-class collection of Western, African and Oceanic art, but transformed how millions of women thought about themselves.  The Jewish Museum’s gorgeously-mounted exhibit, Helena Rubinstein: Beauty is Power, is aptly titled.  

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