Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gala*: A Unique Industrial-Chic Dinner & Art Party

A massive New York Container Terminal turns into a contemporary museum for a dinner and art party highlighting the work of ten borough artists (including moi and my CYNTH-O-MATIC installation).

Cynthia von Buhler's What I am Now You Will One Day Be at Gala

Press release:

The Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island

Friday, October 2, 2009

7:00pm - 11:00pm

Warehouse 74/75, New York Container Terminal
241 Western Avenue
Staten Island, NY

Phone: 7184473329
Email: statenislandarts.org
The Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) will turn Staten Island’s massive New York Container Terminal into a contemporary museum for a special arts weekend highlighting the work of ten borough artists.

The exhibit, entitled “Mapping Staten Island,” explores these artists’ perceptions of their resident borough, through physical installations, video, light, and musical recordings, and will feature works by Nick Fevelo, John Foxell, Steven Lapcevic, Brendan Coyle, Paul Moakley, Robin Locke Monda, Mandy Morrison, Kala Pierson, Don Porcella, Mike Shane and Cynthia von Buhler.

The exhibit space – created by the newly established firm Archicorp -- will be a work of art in itself, as actual shipping pallets will be used to build walls, tables and other structures to display the artwork. After the exhibit, the pallets will be recycled and used for their original purpose of transporting consumer goods.

In “Mapping Staten Island,” the selected borough artists will play with ideas of psycho-geography, and other non-traditional ways of interpreting the theme. COAHSI Grants Director Ginger Shulick elaborates on the concept of “Mapping Staten Island”:

“The artists selected to participate in “Mapping Staten Island” are not only creating work that physically or conceptually represents the unique geography, history, or mythology of Staten Island, but they are also truly putting Staten Island ‘on the map’ artistically.”

The selection of the New York Container Terminal as the venue for the exhibit also builds on Staten Island’s specific geography and history. Each exhibition room will be constructed from shipping pallets and designed like a fort, 20x10 feet long. The pallets will literally be “branded” by hot iron brands, bearing the logo or tag line of each sponsor. Deconstructed after the gala, these branded pallets will then rejoin the flow of global trade, sharing with the world a small part of Staten Island. Artists will be on site both during the Gala and the public exhibit to discuss their installations with the public.

Gala tickets are available online at the COAHSI website: statenislandarts.org, starting at $125. A shuttle will be available to pick up attendees at the Staten Island ferry and transport them to the New York Container Terminal at 241 Western Avenue. For information about table sponsorships, please contact Frank Williams at COAHSI, 718-447-3329. BUY TICKETS HERE.

Cynthia von Buhler

Von Buhler will recreate the old-timey historical boardwalk of Staten Island’s South Beach, combining contemporary art criticism with a carnival motif to add a modern element to her installation – including a number of her animated sculptures. Von Buhler will be costumed in traditional carnival garb, wielding a microphone that samples pretentious artists statements mixed with the words “Step Right Up”.

Cynthia von Buhler is an internationally exhibiting visual artist, performer, and author. In March 2006, Art & Antiques named von Buhler as “one of the top contemporary surrealists”, and has been linked to the Fluxus and Lowbrow movements.


About Archicorp:
Archicorp is a design research collaborative based in New York City. Archicorp operates in a methodology that is affirmatively social, and maintains an optimistic position about the role of design as a device for solving complex problems. The studio engages in a spectrum of work ranging from urban planning and building design to large scale public art, cultural analysis, industrial and fashion design.

The Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) works to foster, develop, and support the arts and humanities on Staten Island. We do this through professional development, technical assistance, and regrants to artists and arts organizations. COAHSI works hard to bring together artists, organizations, and the greater Staten Island community. For more information on the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) visit www.statenislandarts.org.

Related link:

Von Buhler's Prize Capsule

Another packaging-related artwork from last weekend’s “Mapping Staten Island” show: Cynthia Von Buhler’s Cynth-O-Matic vending machine. This interactive sculpture caught me off guard and I was putting quarters into it before I had really sorted out my (art-consumer) choices carefully.

“This one has some color,” I thought to myself, “I’ll have one of those...” [turned the handle—made my first purchase] “Oh, it’s menstrual blood... hmmm, what were my other choices? Eyelashes, fingernail clippings, hair, pubic hair... OK, I’ll buy one more capsule, but I cannot be the guy who comes in here and buys only menstrual blood & pubic hair, so I guess I’ll have to go with the fingernails...”

Although the capsules’ labels claim that their contents are “100% Genuine” I do have some doubts about their authenticity. As a collector, I don’t want to open these capsules (thereby diminishing their resale value) but, to my eyes, the fingernails look a little plastic and the red seems too bright. (Doesn’t blood dry out and turn brown?) Plus, hair and fingernails take a while to grow. We covered another reliquary type fingernail artwork (here) and, in that case, it took the artist a long time to accumulate a quantity of fingernail clippings. Of course if the contents of Von Behler’s capsules turn out not to be genuine then what I lose as fetish object, I gain in commentary on truth-in-advertising. Her website has this to say about the project:

Have you ever noticed that when you go to an art opening, many people are more focused on the artist than the artwork? Frequently, art viewers do not seriously look at the art. Usually they drink the wine, eat the cheese, and show more interest in the artist than in their art. The Cynth-O-Matic is the answer to this troubling problem. For 25 cents, you can actually have a piece of the artist.

Another package-related vending-machine artwork by Von Buhler, was her Andy Warhol-as-fortune-teller machine which dispensed Warhol aphorisms printed to look like Campbell’s Soup labels.

-Randy Ludacer
Read the full article HERE.