“Love Action Art Lounge” is a group exhibition that features works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity. Through installations inspired by underground music clubs, written scores that instruct audiences, performed celebratory rituals, and videos that simultaneously world-build and critique existing sociopolitical systems, “Love Action Art Lounge” becomes its own hang out space that reflects the people-positive, aspirational, and, at times transgressive, attributes of its artists and collectives.
Curated by Franklin Street Works’ Creative Director, Terri C Smith, the exhibition will be on view from January 28 – May 7, 2017. Exhibiting Artists: Chloë Bass, Katie Cercone, Go!PushPops, Elisa Garcia de la Huerta, Riley Hooker, House of Ladosha, Carmelle Safdie, Christopher Udemezue, and Laura Weyl. The exhibition will also include a commissioned event with Bruce High Quality Foundation University on March 25th as well as educational programming throughout the exhibition. “Love Action Art Lounge” is supported by a generous two-year grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and with support from Connecticut Office of the Arts.
Social connections as the starting point for collectively creating art is at the core of House of Ladosha and Go!PushPops practices. For House of Ladosha camaraderie and interactions at art school, parties and clubs inspired them to make music and videos that foreground performance, social and/or media critique, queerness and play. The collective is also engaged in ideas around micro-realities, creating family or “sisterhooding,” and being your own hero. In a Brooklyn Rail interview, HLD member Neon Christina adds, “As the comfortable become a little agitated and the powers that be grip at what they can control – queer, black/ brown, and femme people especially will continue to take on the heaviest weight of this political landscape. More now than ever we have to become the armor of our own protection against the tyranny of hate, capitalism and the police state. Our own imagined superheroes.” “Love Action Art Lounge” will feature three videos created by House of Ladosha along with two works by individual members commissioned for the show — a takeaway poster by Riley Hooker and a photograph by Christopher Udemezue.
Go!PushPops is self described as, “a radical, transnational queer feminist art collective… [that] employs the female body … in tactical, ideological strategy.” Their practice includes, performances in the public sphere, art and movement workshops, parades and other participatory actions that encourage peace, sustainability, sex-positivity, gender fluidity, and love, while critiquing patriarchy, war, and systems of power. “Love Action Art Lounge” will include videos of the collective’s past performances, textiles used in performances, and photos of the collective taken by Laura Weyl. There will also be two videos on view made individually by Go!PushPops members Katie Cercone and Elisa Garcia de la Huerta. As part of the exhibition programming, Go! Push Pops has organized a hip hop yoga CHAKRA workshop for youth of Stamford in collaboration with UNDAKOVA, which will culminate in a live-action performance as a kinetic sculpture embodying the rainbow of chakras and the celestial serpent of consciousness.
Two projects in “Love Action Art Lounge” – one by Chloë Bass and one by Carmelle Safdie — encourage visitors to connect socially through real, fictitious, and/or hybrid situations that include prompts and immersive design. Carmelle Safdie’s “Nightlife Design” project navigates from architectural proposals to pop music, imagining idealized spaces for collective audio-visual engagement. This ongoing project was inspired by the artist’s reflection on her communal creative experience as a musician and a desire to establish a utopian space for such social expressivity. In her 2016 music video, “Discovery of The Shape,” she uses interior design — created as part of an artist residency at a New York City bar — as the stage for a fabricated party where her friends perform various roles in a nightclub scene. At Franklin Street Works, the video is installed amidst sculptural lounge furniture, and its original dance track activates a full-scale prototype for a light-up dance floor. Additional components include drawings that sequence through the patterning of dance floor lights and a new series of phosphorescent paintings that translate these sequences into a gridded system.
“Love Action Art Lounge” will also include a score-based, interactive installation by Chloë Bass, which includes a test kitchen installation that directly interfaces with the daily workings of Franklin Street Works’ café. The project is one of several Bass has created to connect people via performance scores and food. “The project,” says Bass, “is designed to question intimacy in one-on-one relationships. The kitchen will serve as a gathering and decompression space in contrast to the more ‘party’ aspects of the exhibition.” The project includes text prompts printed on café cups, napkins, and plastic cutlery that encourage interconnection, safe place making, and solidarity via phrases such as, “We make sense of things by being together,” and “We need each other more than ever.” For the exhibition, Café goers will pick up their printed cups in the gallery as part of making their order at the café.
While all of the exhibiting artists in “Love Action Art Lounge” approach the social from distinct and varied perspectives, they, arguably, share what Yates McKee, the author of Strike Art: Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition, describes, when writing about Occupy Wall Street, as “…a horizontal pedagogical space in which viewers themselves might be prompted to imagine and perhaps eventually enact their own sense of social transformation.” While this exhibition has a celebratory and social tone, it is not escapist in its intentions. In keeping with Chloë Bass’s statement, “When I make art, it’s not a balm or a distraction. It’s an invitation to come closer,” “Love Action Art Lounge” explores how ecstatic actions and supportive, accepting prompts can set the stage for personal expression and, through a caring social space, spark interest in learning about each other and expanding our common ground.
New York City based artist collective Go!PushPops, in collaboration with musician and yogi UNDAKOVA, will give a youth hip-hop yoga chakra workshop titled “CHAKRAPOLIS” at Franklin Street Works. Go!PushPops are exhibiting artists in the not-for-profit contemporary art space’s current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,” and their workshop is part of the show’s free public programming. CHAKRAPOLIS is designed for youth ages 8 to 18 and parents are invited to join in, have brunch in the Franklin Street Works Café, and/or explore the exhibition during the workshop! CHAKRAPOLIS takes place Saturday, February 25, from 3:00 – 5:30pm. Limited spots available due to space and this program will be videotaped as part of the artists’ practice of using video documentation in their work. Please RSVP to Creative Director, Terri C Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place and receive more details.
In this two and one-half hour workshop the artists will playfully explore chakras (spinning wheels of energy in the body) with the participants using movement, instruments, singing and simple yoga set to a healing soundtrack that correlates to each energetic center and its color — red (root), orange (sacral), yellow (solar plexus), green (heart), turquios (throat), purple (third eye) and gold (crown). The youth will be outfitted with colorful costumes representing the seven colors of the rainbow chakra system and create a collaborative kinetic sculpture embodying the rainbow of chakras and the celestial serpent of consciousness. The workshop will conclude with participants performing a parade through the neighborhood.
Falling close to the Chinese New Year, this “serpent of consciousness” (representative of enlightened knowledge or a faith in Oneness) also references the dragon ceremonies performed at the opening of Lunar New Year, the original calendar of the Goddess (Moon Time). The Chinese Dragon represents good luck, protection and fertility, tracing back to Asia’s dragon ladies (female shamans) and other living expressions of serpent worship and Goddess-consciousness — myths that were remade by patriarchal religions such as Confucianism and Buddhism and associated with demons and witchcraft in the Judeo-Christian world. “As a moving expression of the collective, our celestial serpent and dragon of consciousness is symbolic of the full spectrum of energy centers with balanced masculine and feminine elements,” explains PushPop, Katie Cercone, “Together our bodies in motion with the sound current serves as a microcosm of the greater cosmos and a powerful expression of an integrated, diverse, vibrant community.”
Franklin Street Works past exhibiting artist Damali Abrams (Danger Came Smiling, Summer/Fall 2016) will give an artist talk at UConn-Stamford. This is a free public event, so anyone can attend. It is co-sponsored by the UCONN-Stamford WGSS department and Franklin Street Works. March 6 from 4:30 – 6:00 pm at MPR (Room 108), UConn, Stamford.
Damali Abrams is an emerging artist who uses youtube videos to directly connect with viewers, in part, bypassing the gallery and museum system to reach a broader audience. Writer Dominique Hunter elaborates on Abrams’ practice, “She is a feminist, a self-professed “pop culture critic” and “glitter priestess”. Like so many other artists, Damali Abrams uses her own lived experiences, good and bad, as catalysts for her own bodies of work. And although using “self” as the source as well as the vehicle for communicating with the public is hardly new, her work is quite different because it continuously blurs lines that have traditionally been shrouded in obscurity. Performance art might seem like an alien concept to most Guyanese but for this New York-based Guyanese artist living in such a dynamic art hub, it is anything but.” (http://www.dominiquehunter.org/single-post/2016/01/03/Damali-Abrams-Power-and-performance-art)
Damali Abrams the Glitter Priestess is a project-based artist born and raised in NYC by Guyanese parents. She constructs spaces and experiences of fantasy and myth, using collage, video installation and performance, that explore Black Utopia through the lenses of Afrofuturism and Afro-Caribbean syncretic religions. She examines folklore and contemporary popular culture, placing them in dialogue with one another to create a site of liberation for the Black imagination, rejecting tragedy as the sole, dominant narrative of the Black experience.
Damali’s work includes video, performance, installation, and collage. She earned a BA at NYU, an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and recently completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. She has been a fellow at A.I.R. Gallery as well as with apexart in Seoul, South Korea. She has been an artist-in-residence at Fresh Milk (Barbados), Groundation Grenada, JCAL, The Center for Book Arts, and LMCC on Governors Island.
In New York City, her work has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), A.I.R. Gallery, JCAL, Rush Arts Gallery, The Point, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, BRIC Rotunda Gallery, and the 2013 bienal at El Museo del Barrio. She has presented her work or taught workshops at Soho House, BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College), SUNY Purchase, Barbados Community College, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Hunter College School of Social Work, and Syracuse University’s 601 Tully.
B-YOU/Build Your Own University is a workshop that explores how to start your own school and is led by organizers Bruce High Quality Foundation University, a free university started by the internationally exhibiting, anonymous artist collective Bruce High Quality Foundation in 2009. Faculty member, award-winning poetAna Božičević, and artists-in-residence from Bruce High Quality Foundation University,Nina Behrle and Jesse Chun, will lead a sharing session, workshop and primer on how to build your own university at Franklin Street Works on Saturday, March 25, from 4:00 – 6:00pm. The workshop will delve into questions around pedagogy and organizing a grass roots platform for learning. What can you teach and what do you want to know about art? How does one even design and implement administrative policies and a curriculum? This is a free public program. Drop-ins welcome, but RSVPs help us plan. RSVP: email@example.com.
This event is one of seven free, educational programs planned around our current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,” a group show featuring works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity. Two of the exhibiting collectives in the show, House of Ladosha and Go!PushPops, met in art school and began making work after getting to know each other socially. Similarly, the originators of Bruce High Quality Foundation University are a collective that was formed when they were in art school at Cooper Union. New York Times critic Roberta Smith wrote about their genesis in 2009, “The Bruces, as the members … are often called, guard their anonymity fiercely. But they are generally known to be a band of artists, all male, some of whom became friends while undergraduates at Cooper Union in the late ’90s, when Hans Haacke, one of the fathers of institutional critique, was still teaching there.”
This free, two-hour workshop will take place in Franklin Street Works’ upstairs gallery. The exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge” will also be on view, providing participants with opportunities for both hands-on and viewing experiences at the event.
ABOUT BRUCE HIGH QUALITY FOUNDATION UNIVERSITY
BHQFU is New York’s freest art school, a learning experiment where artists work together to manifest creative, productive, resistant, useless, and demanding interactions between art and the world. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, BHQFU offers completely tuition-free courses on a variety of subjects during fall and spring semesters, hosts public programs and exhibitions year-round, and operates cost-free artist studio residency programs.
ABOUT THE PRESENTERS
Nina Behrle graduated from Mason Gross at Rutgers in 2014. Her 3D kinetic work bridges the worlds of sculpture, prop design, and comedy. She is a figurative sculptor, figuratively speaking. She’s also an MFU Artist in Residence at BHQFU, where she teaches Skill Yourself, a hybrid course comprised of skill-based workshops and an immersive, interdisciplinary, collaborative exhibition project.
Ana Božičević is the author of Joy of Missing Out (Birds, LLC, 2017), the Lambda Award winning Rise in the Fall (Birds, LLC, 2013) and other books of poetry, and the translator of It Was Easy to Set the Snow on Fire by Zvonko Karanović (Phoneme Media, 2017). Ana has read, taught and performed at Art Basel, Bowery Poetry Club, Harvard, Naropa University, San Francisco State University Poetry Center, the Sorbonne, Third Man Records, University of Arizona Poetry Center, and The Watermill Center. She is the studio manager at The Bruce High Quality Foundation and teaches poetry at BHQFU.
Jesse Chun is an interdisciplinary artist from Seoul, Hong Kong, New York and Toronto. Her practice engages with the elements of language, context, and cultural memory to investigate the conditions of belonging. Select venues of exhibitions and fellowships include the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Fridman Gallery, BRIC and Lehman College Art Gallery (NY), CICA Museum and Incheon International Women Artists Bienniale (Seoul), Lite-Haus Galerie (Berlin) and Space Debris Art (Istanbul). Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, the Wall Street Journal, the Korea Times, Hyperallergic, Vice, Asia Literary Review and Art21. She’s an MFU Artist in Residence at BHQFU, where she teaches ESL: Transcultural Poetics, a class examining the interplay of image and text, poetry, and multilingual narratives.
“You, I, and Other” is a participatory workshop designed by artist Julian Phillips where the artist uses news, his experiences and a decontextualized stage play script to imagine new approaches in discussing topics around race and othering. Phillips uses these texts as tools for catalyzing conversations about how the “other” is thought of and addressed in discussions and for collectively exploring the subject of race at a personal and social level with workshop participants. The workshop is on Saturday, April 1, from 3:00 – 5:00 pm, and will be followed by casual reception in the Franklin Street Works’ until 5:30 pm cafe where beer, wine, coffee drinks and more will be available for sale.
“After leading and having countless conversations about race through the years, I wanted to approach “talking” in a new way,” explains Phillips, “My solution to preventing a dialogue that can swiftly collapse, was to propose a conversation as an artwork. I aim to liberate our discourse and shift it to a place of more understanding and honesty.”
The workshop idea was sparked by a particular scene in a play Phillips read, and he began to imagine how the structure of a play could be used to bring about the same results of honest exchange in conversation. The artist’s script is designed to free participants from the personalization of the ideas of race by using someone else’s words. For the workshop, notecards provide simple prompts and participants finish the thoughts and turn them in anonymously. In the latest version of these conversational works, the artist is looking to open the conversation past the binary terms of black and white, making race an important component in this dialogue, but by no means the only one. The ultimate aim is to move the conversation closer to art and, in doing so, expand the possibilities of honest exchange.
Workshop participants will divide into groups, complete sentences proposed by Phillips, discuss perspective and language of their responses. Then everyone will gather as a larger group to determine how they want the scripts to be performed. Afterwards a discussion will take place on participants’ experience.
ABOUT JULIAN PHILLIPS
Julian Louis Phillips is a New York based artist and photographer. He primarily inquires about social issues through, photography, video, and performance. The themes of race, identity, poverty, and religion are throughout his work. Generally his questions seek to find the persisting nature of societal problems and its constructs.
Phillips graduated from Saint Joseph’s University, after studying Studio Art and Psychology. He is currently an MFA student in the Social Practice Queens program at Queens College. Phillips leads discussions and lectures on race and art throughout the northeast.
“Scribe Empathy: Tools for Compassionate Listening and Visual Transcription” with artist Virginia Lee Montgomery
UPDATE: We will be rescheduling this event due to illness.
Franklin Street Works is hosting the original event “Scribe Empathy: Tools for Compassionate Listening and Visual Transcription” with “Business Witch,” Virginia Lee Montgomery on Saturday, April 8th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The program was created by Montgomery exclusively for Franklin Street Works as part of the programming for its current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,” a group exhibition that features works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity. Drop-ins are welcome, but RSVP’s help organizers plan. RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Scribe Empathy, interdisciplinary artist and professional Graphic Recorder Virginia Lee Montgomery will lead a two-hour workshop in active listening and drawing to visually map out each other’s stories. Learn how to create a one-page summary of your own personal story via simple infographics and how in return to deeply listen and create a visual summary of another’s journey.
The facilitation process of Graphic Recording cultivates understanding. When employed collaboratively, it enables radical empathy. Talk together, draw together, be together. Artist Virginia Lee Montgomery, “Business Witch”, will teach practical visual note-taking skills from her professional experiences working as a Graphic Recorder in the business and non-profit worlds.
What is Graphic Recording? Graphic Recording is the translation of conversations into images and text. Also referred to as reflective graphics, graphic listening, etc., it involves capturing people’s ideas and expressions—in words, images and color—as they are being spoken in the moment. It is a perfect tool for bridging the world of interior thought, visual thinking and outward communication for it helps to illuminate how we as people connect, contribute, learn and make meaning together.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Virginia Lee Montgomery works in video, performance, sound, and sculpture. She channels affects of the emotive and economic uncanny to manage circulations of exchange. Montgomery received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2016 and her BFA from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Between her BFA and MFA she worked in corporate creative consulting as a Visual Knowledge Worker translating innovation cycles as a responsive form. Selected engagements include Material Deviance at Sculpture Center, NY (2017), SOS ONSHORE OFFSHORE at MEYOHAS, NY (2016), ONSITE OFFSITE PARASITE, Greene Gallery at Yale University, CT (2016), All Byte: Feminist Intersections in Video Art, Franklin Street Works, CT (2016), things you can’t unthink, Walter Phillips Gallery, CN (2016), and Ideation Accelerator, Wright Nuclear Laboratory, CT (2015). She has been awarded residencies at Coast Time, The Shandaken Project at Storm King and The Vermont Studio Center; she was the recipient of Yale University’s Susan H. Wedon Award and the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship 2016 Nominee in Sculpture.
“Witchcraft: a corporeal practice” with past exhibiting artist iele paloumpis is a participatory workshop where we will explore movement, ritual and visualization as pathways toward re-patterning stagnant energy. The event takes place at Franklin Street Works on Saturday April 8 from 3:30 – 6:00 pm. This is a free, public event, and RSVPs help us plan- RSVP to email@example.com. Drop-ins welcome if space is available. This is one of several community programs developed for Franklin Street Works’ current exhibition “Love Action Art Lounge,” which is a group exhibition that features works that are generated from or encourage convivial social scenes, freedom of expression, and interpersonal connectivity.
Over the past few years, changes in dancer iele paloumpis’ health and body shifted the ways they approached dance and daily life. Without concrete answers from doctors or various bodyworkers, they began looking to witchcraft and earth-based rituals as somatic practices of integration, acceptance and healing. iele also has considered how all bodies – whether elderly, disabled, or otherwise “different” – can enter into dance.
“The iconic symbol of the witch has recently made a comeback among younger feminists who are part of the current “fourth wave” of feminism,” explains Franklin Street Works’ Creative Director, Terri C Smith, “The term ‘witch’ was born in the 15th century from the idea of a threatening woman. My understanding is that this coincided with the printing press and pamphlets that were used to spread the falsity that these empowered women would be downfall of men. Rather than seeing the witch as a negative or “evil” force, many of today’s feminists/womanists look to the witch as a metaphor for female power, the outsider, a person who stands on their own terms and/or an individual empowered to harness nature and spirit to manifest change in the world.”
For this workshop, participants will look to ritual, Tarot imagery, astrology and the lunar calendar, as well as their own unique and defiant bodies to generate restorative movement. Seasonal and astrological influences have a visceral effect on bodies, so participants will simply be tapping into what is already present. Come with an awareness of something you might like to shed, heal and/or embrace.
Workshop participant, Yonah Adelman, reflects her experience with the workshop, “iele’s facilitation of their Witchcraft – A Corporeal Practice workshop felt welcoming and affirming to my experience, identity and mental state. With their gentle and mindful guidance, I felt a sense of opening and release, which I experienced pretty viscerally in my body and through my movements…. The space they created felt transformative and I left feeling rejuvenated and hungry for more.”
This workshop is for anyone interested in connecting to their bodies. There will be time to improvise and make movement, and the workshop is tailored to make sure folks get whatever they want out of the event. paloumpis adds, “If dancing or improvising feels intimidating/not right in the moment, participants can engage in other equally valid ways (i.e.: through writing, drawing, or observing). Overall, the goal during this workshop is to tune into our bodies in whatever ways feel good to us as individuals.”
Franklin Street Works newest exhibition, “The Work of Love, The Queer of Labor,” is curated by New York City based artist/curator Yevgeniy Fiks and curator/critic Olga Kopenkina. In “The Work of Love, The Queer of Labor,” queerness is discussed through the lens of class and vice versa. Exhibiting artists are: Angela Beallor, Hugo Gellert, Montague Glover, Noam Gonick, Hagra, William E. Jones, Erik Moskowitz+Amanda Trager, Jaanus Samma, and YES! Association / Föreningen JA!. The exhibition is on view from May 21 – August 27, 2017.
In “The Work of Love, The Queer of Labor,” individual artists and collectives contribute works that represent a desire for liberation through critically engaged connections between class, gender and sexuality. LGBTQI identities are explored from the class perspective in order to re-discover political potentialities in queerness’ countercultural paradigm. By exploring queerness through its relationship with class, curators Fiks and Kopenkina aim to interrogate the possibility of love in a class-based society. They attempt as well to envision a classless society akin to “affectionate community” built by LGBTQI people.
In today’s global economy the difference between work as a productive force in service of capitalism and labor as a condition of biological life is almost gone. Artists’ creative work, once avant-garde and independent, has become alienated and inseparable from market economy. Likewise, love and sexuality have become abstracted from the site of their enactment. They are no longer a product of biological body, but, instead, generated by techno-bodies impacted by multimedia technologies of global capitalist production.
Is it possible for queer activities, which are driven by “true desire,” not social norms, to restore love and produce new relationships between people? Could these relationships be based on equality of all forms of sexuality, love and labor? Artists who present their works in this exhibition extend this desire for love and personal relationships in a society built on equality and justice rather than exploitation and oppression to all people. The struggle for queer rights is everyone’s struggle!
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Yevgeniy Fiks was born in Moscow in 1972 and has been living and working in New York since 1994. He has developed many projects on the post-Soviet dialog in the West, among which are: “Lenin for Your Library?”; “Communist Party USA,” “Communist Guide to New York City,” and “Reading Lenin with Corporations.” He has curated and co-curated exhibitions in New York City, including: “Monument to Cold War Victory” at The Cooper Union (2014), “The Wayland Rudd Collection” at Winkleman Gallery (2014), and “Future Queer Perfect” at Station Independent Projects (2015).
Olga Kopenkina is a Belarus-born, New York-based independent curator and art critic. Her curatorial projects and exhibitions include: Feminism is Politics!, at Pratt Manhattan gallery, 2016; Future Queer Perfect (co-curated with Yevgeniy Fiks) at Station Independent Project, 2016; Lenin Icebreaker Revisited, Austrian Cultural Forum NY, 2014-2015;It’s not paranoia when they are really after you, film program at apex art, NY, 2007; Russia: Significant Other, Anna Akhmatova Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2006; Post-Diasporas: Voyages and Missions at the First Moscow Biennale, Moscow, 2005. Kopenkina is a contributor to publications such as Art Journal, Moscow Art Magazine, Modern Painters, Afterimage, and others. She teaches at Department of Media, Culture and Communication, in Steinhardt School at New York University.