contemporary art

Lower East Side native Marcus Glitteris is not only an intriguing self-taught artist but a passionate curator, as well.  Largely  influenced by New York City’s Downtown club scene, he teems with the energy that permeated it. Earlier this week, I stopped by Home Grown, an exhibit he curated at Village Works in the East Village, and posed a few questions to him:

Can you tell us something about your vision in curating this exhibit?

Its main focus is to showcase the varied works of a wide range of artists who live or have lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side or East Village.

And what about this wonderful space?

Village Works is the name of this new gallery. Designated specifically as a space to showcase NYC artists, it sells rare art books, as well as art. My friend, Joe Sheridan, is the creative director here. We know each other from the night life scene, but since, Joe has since ventured into the the artist community and invited me to curate here. This space used to be an architectural firm.

What about the show’s title? It does seem appropriate now that I know a bit of the backstory. 

“Home Grown” is a term lots of New Yorkers, especially those in urban neighborhoods, grew up with. It references the distinct qualities and influences of a particular neighborhood. In my case — and in the case of many artists in this show — it is the Lower East Side.

The range of artists here is so varied — in terms of their backgrounds and choice of media. How did you choose which artists to include in this exhibition? 

It’s a community. Many I’ve known for a long time. Others I met and got to know in varied circumstances. Carol Fassler, for example, is a photographer I met on many occasions over the years on Thursday nights at the New Museum. And then there are artists who were new to me…whom I didn’t know anything about. Nora Timbila, for example, was introduced to me by Joe. When I curate, I like to mix up shows with artists who are established, artists who are emerging and artists who’ve never had a show before.

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing this exhibit through?

Working with artists in any industry can be complex. Some of the artists — especially the more established ones  — ask, “Who else is in the show?” or “Where is the venue?”  So I have to deal with that. And it can get stressful!  To be a successful curator, though, I have to admit that I’m not always right, and yet still set boundaries. A curator has to have patience, compassion and love.

How was the response to this particular exhibit?

It was wonderful! The energy was great, as were all the people who came by.

Congratulations!  I especially loved discovering artists in Home Grown who were new to me.

Note:  Home Grown continues at Village Works, 90 East 3rd Street, through next Wednesday, April 14. Text 917.749.0319 to find out if the gallery is open or to make an appointment.

Images:

1 Optimo NYC 

2 Marcus Glitteris

3 Marina Reiter

4 BC1 NBA

5 Nora Timbila

6 A. Candela

7 As seen from the outside — Renda Writer and Hektad

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1, 4, 5 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 2, 3 & 6 A. Candela

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Prolific, passionate, and hugely inventive, both Clarence Rich and Mr Mustart are among Jersey City’s most prominent street artists. POLARITY: New works by CLARENCE RICH & MR. MUSTART, showcases their talents  — individually and collaboratively — in a tantalizing exhibition that continues through April 13 at Jersey City’s PRIME Gallery.  The image pictured above, 3rd Eye, was fashioned with mixed media on canvas by Clarence Rich. Several more images from the exhibit — curated by PRIME  Gallery director, Maria Kosdan — follow:

Mr Mustart, Polaris, Mixed media on canvas, 11 x 14”

Clarence Rich, Solace Sky, Mixed media on canvas, 24 x 30”

Mr Mustart, Dry Ice, Mixed media on canvas 16 x 20”

Clarence Rich, Hippy, Mixed media on canvas, 16 x 20”

Mr Mustart, All Eyes On You, Mixed media on canvas, 40 x 60”

Clarence Rich & Mr Mustart, Poetic Justice, Mixed media on canvas, 11 x 14”

And painted directly onto the wall by Clarence Rich & Mr Mustart

PRIME Gallery is located at 351 Palisade Avenue in Jersey City Heights. To visit you can contact its director here.

Photo credits: 1-7 Lois Stavsky; 8 Courtesy PRIME Gallery

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On our first-time, long-overdue visit to Jersey City’s Deep Space Gallery this past Sunday, we were greeted by a treasure trove of first-rate artworks in a wide range of styles and media. Currently on exhibit is MORE MINIS, the gallery’s annual miniature show, showcasing works by over 60 contemporary artists. While many are formally trained, others are self-taught. All produce delightfully intriguing work.

Featured above is a close-up from an installation of spray cans painted by Jersey City-born and bred multimedia artist and graffiti veteran T.DEE, along with a small sculpture — from the series Elephas Maximus Indicus — crafted by noted India-born, Newark-based “3D light artist” Sunil Garg.

What follows are several works by featured artists who also have a strong presence on our streets:

NJ-based GOOMBA, “#8 of 9,” Acrylic, spray paint and ink on canvas

NYC-based Optimo NYC, “AIDSERIES #5: And It Don’t Stop,” Aerosol, enamel and acrylic on canvas

NJ-based RH Doaz, “Moving On,” Mixed media on reclaimed wood

Jersey City-born, bred and based Clarence Rich, “Maelstrom,” Acrylic on canvas

Jersey City-based Catherine Hart, “Love Note 3,” Resin art, one of 12

Wide view of segment of MORE MINIS exhibition

Founded in 2016 by the multi-faceted Jenna Geiger and artist Keith VanPel, Deep Space Gallery is  located at 77 Cornelison Avenue in Jersey City’s Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood. To visit Deep Space Gallery and view the distinctly alluring artworks on exhibit through mid-February, you can send a direct message to its Instagram account. or drop an email to deepspacejc@gmail.com.

Photo credits: 1 & 7 Ana Candelaria; 2-6 Lois Stavsky

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Twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo aka OSGEMEOS returned this fall to Lehmann Maupin with their magic.  Portal, their second exhibition at the Chelsea gallery, draws us into a fantastical dreamworld at a time when we most need to escape the “real” one we have been living in. The wonderfully gifted artists’ fanciful characters — fashioned in their iconic bright yellow tones in a range of uncanny settings — delight and intrigue. The image featured above, Mix Master Coconut, is is one of 13 new mixed media artworks that — according to the artists — “are like PORTALS or windows into a new dimension.”

Several more images captured on my visit to PORTALS follow:

The Pretty Island, 2019, Mixed media and sequins on MDF board (medium-density fiberboard)

The Composer, 2019, Mixed media on MDF board

All Connected, 2020, Mixed media on MDF board

Taking the Dog for a Walk, 2019, Mixed media on MDF board

Liquid Room, 2019, Mixed media on MDF board

The gallery is located at 501 W 24th Street and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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In early May — before the brutal death of George Floyd and the ongoing protests that followed it — members of the The Bowery Union began installing images of artworks on Soho’s shuttered spaces. As The Street Art Project progressed, artists from outside of NYC began to contribute their talents, as well.

Over a dozen of the boards have since been salvaged and are now on view at The Bowery Union‘s spacious gallery space at 329 Broome Street. And along with them are works by these same artists on a range of surfaces.

The two large portraits featured above — Barack Oh Mama and Regina George Washington — were fashioned by NYC-based artist and writer Isabella Cortez. And making its way in between them is the now-familiar face created by Jessi Flores aka Stealth Art. Several more images seen on my recent visit to The Bowery Union follow:

Brooklyn-based Cavier, “From Dust to Dawn”

Tomaso Albertini, Duel RIS and Swoon; Swoon’s image was initially made for  the ‘Create Art for Earth‘ campaign 

 NYC-based Oscar Lett, “In Still Waters”

NYC-based Miishab, “Heaven’s Gate,” to the left of Romanian artist Gagyi Botond, “Silence 2.0”

NYC-based Adrian Bermeo, “Bustelo Boy #2”

Dominican-American artist Indie 184, “Take Back Your Power”

All are invited tomorrow (Tuesday) evening for an artist’s talk featuring Doc Hammer at 7pm and to the exhibition’s opening reception on Thursday at 8. Check here for specific details.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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With his extraordinary passion for art and his penchant for sharing it with others, Nic 707 touched so many of us. Beginning in 2013, I accompanied Nic several times a year — often along with other artists and photographers — on his subway train interventions, as he transformed dull, ad-saturated subway cars into vibrant moving canvases. Nic 707 was as eager to showcase other artists’ work — from old school writers to contemporary creatives — as he was to share his own, and he always had a “new” artist to introduce me to.

Each trip with Nic was a distinct adventure. And I was waiting for the current crisis to end, so that we could hit the trains — where I would, once again, serve in my dual role as look-out and documentarian. Sadly, that won’t happen, as Nic passed away last Sunday, April 12 — a victim of the cruel Coronavirus.

The image pictured above features Nic 707 and the legendary Taki 183 — whose tag Nic brought back to the trains — outside Taki 183′s Yonkers workplace. What follows are several photos of Nic 707 and his artworks riding the trains:

Nic 707 eagerly waits for the train to arrive

Nic 707′s iconic character, Kilroy

Kilroy in love

Kilroy as spaceman

Nic 707 schooling a subway rider on the history of subway graffiti

Two Upper East Side ladies on the 6 train discussing Nic 707‘s abstract art with him

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Instagram feed for images of works by other artists who participated in Nic‘s InstaFame Phantom Art project.  You can check out the interview I conducted with Nic 707 back in 2013 here.  And you can read David Gonzalez‘s obituary of Nic (Fernando Miteff ) in The New York Times here.

R.I.P. Nic 707. We will miss you.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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First conceived in 2017 when Billy and Mernywernz curated a collaborative and immersive exhibition inspired by shrines they had seen in their travels, “The Shrineing” has continued its project with the publication of eight limited edition artist books.

One of eight books recently released by “The Shrining”  is Pink, a charming, beautifully curated selection of artworks by Berlin-based Argentine artist Caro Pepe.  Several more images from Pink follow:

Her signature one-eyed lady

Full-page collage of images

On the streets

The other booklets in “The Shrining’s” current project include:

Salt In The Caramel by DAVE THE CHIMP

Chairs & Stairs by BILLY

Lines & Metal by GLOTES

Wot Vargen #4 by MERNYWERNZ

Neukölln by PABLO BENZO 

Free As A Bird by BUE THE WARRIOR 

and Pictures Born In Chaos by BLO  (not pictured)

Images in the booklets range from studio shots and paintings to street art works and musings — from the cleverly comical to the sublimely solemn. All intrigue! And any can be purchased here.

Photos of images: 1 & 6 courtesy “The Shrineing”; 1, 3, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky (from Pink)

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Currently on view at GR Gallery, one of our favorite Downtown art galleries, is Geometric Heat, a tantalizing exhibition showcasing the works of four international artists who share an inventive approach to geometric abstraction. The painting featured above, From the Top on Down, was fashioned by NYC-based Adam Lucas, known to many of us street art aficionados as Hanksy. Several more images we captured on our recent visit to Geometric Heat follow:

Italian artist Marco Casentini, On the Streets, Acrylic and glaze on canvas

Berlin-based Daniel Rich, Palestine Meredian Hotel, Baghdad, Acrylic on Aluminum Dibond

Czech artist Jan KalábDark Purple Ameba, Acrylic on canvas

Wide view with  Marco Casentini (side) and Adam Lucas (back wall)

Located at 255 Bowery, GR Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday | 12 to 7pm. Geometric Heat remains on view through August 18.

Photo credits: 1-4 Lois Stavsky; 5 Ana Candelaria

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Working with shades of reds, blues and grays, the legendary Kenny Scharf has fashioned a tantalizing new body of paintings. On view through July 28 at TOTAH on the Lower East Side, the artworks feature a series of alluring, surreal landscapes. The exhibition, aptly titled blue blood, both entertains and provokes, as it raises questions as to the future of our planet. Featured above is Out of the Void, painted with oil and acrylic on linen with aluminum frame. Several more images I captured while visiting the exhibit follow:

Greysvillandia, 2019, Oil on linen with aluminum frame

Fuzzjungle, 2019, Oil, acrylic and spraypaint on linen with aluminum frame

What Me Worry? (Red), 2019, Oil, acrylic, silkscreen ink and mylar on linen with aluminum frame

In the Beginning, 2019, Oil, acrylic and diamond dust on linen

Segment of Funderworld — mesmerizing installation with fluorescent spray paint submerged in black-lit darkness

Located at 183 Stanton Street, TOTAH is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Based in Bari in the South of Italy, Nico Skolp is a masterful designer, graffiti writer and muralist with a particular passion for working in public spaces. As he readies to visit and share his talents with us in New York City, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to him:

You began painting on the streets as a graffiti writer while still a teenager. How has your style evolved since?

I still paint graffiti, but I am always searching for new inspiration. I’m interested in the possibility of communicating with a larger audience — one outside of the graffiti community. My murals blend shapes and colors into elaborate site-specific abstractions. Although graffiti is composed of  letters, it is more difficult to understand and more abstract than some other types of art. It is an interesting paradox!

You’ve been increasingly collaborating with other artists. What is that experience like? Is there any artist — in particular — with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I like collaborations. I like sharing visions and methods. It helps sharpen skills. If I could choose anyone with whom to collaborate, I would definitely say MOMO. His works are so interesting!  I admire his research and his experimentation.

Have you a formal art education? 

I graduated  with a degree in Industrial and Communication Design. In fact, I feel more like a designer than an artist. In 2006, I set up a visual arts and design agency, Ff3300.

Do any particular graffiti/street art memories stand out?

There is no one memory — in particular — that stands out. But I feel that my crew — Sorry Guys — contributed to the growth of a new generation of writers. Younger writers often enthusiastically tell me how much we have influenced them, as they grew up following us. It is an honor to think that I have inspired other writers, as  others — who came before me — inspired me.

When you paint in public spaces, do you work with a sketch-in-hand or just let it flow?

It depends. If the work is a commission, frequently I must first produce a sketch. Otherwise, I don’t, but I do seek inspiration beforehand. I used to work spontaneously, but recently, I’ve been using a method based on the rules that represent my style. It was from my style that the software open-source — based on shapes that are controlled by certain variables — was conceived. With these, you can make infinite compositions. You can download the software here. I designed it with Piero Molino, a close friend — an engineer who works for UBER in San Francisco.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

In general, yes! I’m satisfied, but I’m always striving to improve. Technically, I think I’m at a good level, The skills I have acquired have boosted my self-confidence. I’m happy with my life choices.

Have you exhibited your work in gallery settings? 

I’ve never had a solo exhibition. I’ve just contributed canvases to some graffiti exhibitions such as the one held at the 2010 Meeting of Styles in Tessalonica, Greece.  I’ve been thinking recently about showing in a solo exhibition and hopefully start with one in Bari. I love this city and it is where it all started for me. It has recently become a hub for tourism, and I love the idea of making a cultural contribution to it. 

What’s ahead?

I just finished my latest work in Matera, the 2019 Capital of Culture in Europe, and I’m heading now to  New York City, where I’d like to explore its urban art culture and make a contribution — why not a wall? — to the city! I will make myself available for any opportunities.

Yes! That would be wonderful!

Note: Nico Skolp can be contacted via his Instagram or his email nicoff3300@gmail.com.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of the artist

Featured images:

  1. Matera, Italy
  2. Bari, Italy
  3. Bari, Italy
  4. Corato, Italy
  5. Matera, Italy

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