Cosmic Code A/V show with Psychemagik & Ari Russo on 18th November 2014

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In preparation, Psychemagik and Ari Russo have gone through 1,000’s of VHS tapes, laserdiscs, vinyl records and cassettes in search of the perfect sample. Unknown private press records from the 1970’s and 80’s will be mixed with more familiar sounds, whilst the visuals will combine sensory overload with stark, sarcastic footage. A live camera will capture video which will be processed in real-time using a programming code developed by Ari Russo. These three-dimensional visualisations will be led by the music, and projected back into the space, creating shadows that blur imaginary with reality. Far from a random arrangement, the performance will provide a film-like narrative held together by carefully selected music, found footage and audience participation.

Commission have worked together with the artists to create a body of work which encompasses ‘Cosmic Code’ a juxtaposition of Psychemagik’s otherworldly sounds from the past and Ari Russo’s digital intervention. This site-specific installation will occupy two 3 x 4m walls on which we’ll display a series of screen prints at the Gallery Bar of the Ace Hotel London between the 18th and 30th of November 2014. The prints are 50 x 70cm and limited to 10 per colour-way, these will be available to purchase at £30 each.
Further details:
Entrance £5, advance tickets available from Resident Advisor
18th November 2014, support DJs at 19:00, performance 20:30 – 22:00
Miranda Bar, Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JQ
Hope to see you there!
The CHC
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Kiki Valdes – Riding Dualism

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KIKI VALDES
RIDING DUALISM

Reception: Wed, November 19th 2014
The National Arts Club / Marquis Gallery
15 Gramercy Park South, New York, New York 10003
6 – 8 PM / RSVP is required 
ridingdualism@gmail.com

For his FIRST one-person exhibition in New York, Kiki Valdes presents new paintings that explore the phenomenon of dominance and the translation of experience into image and form. Continuing his inquiry into the evaluation of popular culture in the context of established American settings, Riding Dualism proposes a step further whereby traditions are re-explored and roles often reversed.

Valdes’ work often draws a corollary between the content and action with surroundings punctuated by arid landscapes and fragmented spaces. In his work “Bullish in the Desert”, the interaction between the dark colossal animal and the brightness of the hovering ghost-like figure is offset against the brightness of the warm tones of the landscape. This painting as well as others in the series, investigates the poetics and memories of the perpetuating Western American culture, re-enacting the artist’s own experience in the wilderness of Arizona.

Simultaneously entertaining and strikingly composed semi-abstract paintings, Kiki Valdes’ works are critical interrogations of the duality between the individual and the system, or in this case the ‘animal’. Tracing the conflicting broadcast of everyday uprising, the unleashed beast in “Angry Horse” exposes the overthrow of ongoing endorsed system, projecting the viewers in a mental state of a no-man’s land where the dignity of the animal and individual are one. Kiki Valdes approaches the lore of the American cowboy with an intimate immediacy, enabling his contemporary experience to exist within the continuum of civilizations.

Kiki Valdes was born in Miami, Florida in 1981, and lives and works between New York, New Jersey and Miami. A Cuban American painter, Valdes’ work explores the multidimensional complexities of people, religion, American-life, sex, and superstition. His canvases tend to overlap on top of various unresolved paintings and capture a sense of association, rhythm and conflict. Kiki often refers to his paintings as studies; instead of art history’s draw toward the female or still life, Valdes explores the use of 1990’s cartoons with expressionistic tendencies. His appropriation of Disney/Nickelodeon characters is a starting point for him to redefine his understanding of the subject. The work can best be described as a marriage between abstract expressionism and cartoons.

“Kiki Valdes: Riding Dualism” will be on view at The National Arts Club, New York from November 3-29th 2014. A reception will be held on November 19, 2014 from 6-8 PM.

Press Contact: RidingDualism@gmail.com

A Twist on Relational Aesthetics

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Happy Meal” by Montreal artist Thierry Marceau at Joyce Yahouda is no longer in exhibition but is definitely worth mentioning! Why may you ask? What importance does it hold? And why bring it up now? Well, my friends this display by Thierry Marceau displayed the past, relational aesthetics, and celebrated the gallery space in a number of new and exciting ways. 

The ethos surrounding “Happy Meal” was the exploration of the relationship between POPULAR CULTURE and the King of Pop Art, ANDY WARHOL. Marceau transformed the gallery space into a playground of kitschy, gauche McDonald icons in conversation with the late Mr. Warhol.

Upon entering the space, the viewer walks beneath the iconic GOLDEN ARCHES into a McD’s haven. The viewer was then confronted with images, installations and sculptures all relating to that franchise we all know so well and love. Chicken nuggets play in what looks like a play pen, hamburgers sculptures, friends of Ronald McDonald, images and video installations of Ronald McDonald play throughout the gallery space, where viewers could sit on comfy red and yellow pillows mirroring those playgrounds kids are so often used to playing in at the restaurant.

To the left of this so-called McDonald’s sanctuary lay another room. Covered in silver paper, hung images of Marceau depicted as Warhol imitating the environment of THE FACTORY. These two rooms adjacent to each other seem to fit perfectly next to one another – the King of Pop commenting on one of the largest popular culture phenomenon’s that has taken over internationally.

Now, I that I have explained the space, why might you ask is this innovative or any different? What struck me about this exhibition was the underlying celebration of our postmodern world we live in today.

What Marceau essentially created was a place of deconstruction where we could look at the past, and our current situation today and find new ways of interpreting the past to our current situation. This exhibition plays upon this relatively new 90’s theory art historians like to call RELATIONAL AESTHETICS, but puts a twist on it.

Marceau created a space where the viewer could INTERACT, take part and come to ones own conclusions. There was no need for the artist to coerce the audience into interaction because the space he created did this itself. We walk around see what we see and come to our own conclusions. Maybe Warhol was celebrating this global franchise that links people, cultures society together. Maybe he was making a mockery of how culture becomes so wrapped up in our consumer goods and getting a bang for our buck. This twist for me was new and exciting, because I felt an instant conversation arise between myself, McDonald’s and Warhol. Marceau breathed new life into a late artist and older artistic movement. It was NEW, EXCITING, and FRESH. That’s what ART should be.

PEACE OUT, K

Revamping the Old – Kehinde Wiley

kw3I must admit, when I first saw the paintings of Kehinde Wiley I was not impressed what so ever. My first impressions were that these paintings were tacky, kitsch and camp. The VIBRANT, the COLOURFUL, ROCOCO patterns juxtaposed by photo-realistic portraits just did not do it for me.

However, as they say, NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. After visiting Stephen Friedman Gallery for the exhibition The World Stage: Jamaica I realized the reasoning behind the way Wiley paints, and instantly fell in LOVE. Wiley is a RENAISSANCE MAN, following the long history of PORTRAITURE paintings but revamping them in an URBAN way. He attempts to bring subjects that would not usually be portrayed in this style of painting and gives these people a A STATUS OF PROMINENCE AND A VOICE.

What Wiley does is go into the streets of poor neighborhoods, be it HARLEM, the slums of RIO or in this case JAMAICA and photographs the everyday man in prominent historical poses of people of noble status. He then goes and paints these photographs onto a canvas with the backdrop of older patterns depicted within history but in different tones – brilliant reds, greens and yellows.

kw2It is a way for him to respond to SOCIO-POLITICAL issues surrounding black males-colonialism, imperialism, racism etc. By evoking these traditional painting modes onto black males and females, he is thus not only bringing status to these everyday men and women, but as well showing the inequality of the subject of the cultural “Other” that is still prominent today.

It is not camp and kitsch at all.

It is BEAUTIFUL and THOUGHT PROVOKING.

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Peace Out, K.

The Ugly American: Saber @ The Outsiders Gallery, London

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The opening of Saber’s The Ugly American had a record attendance level this past Thursday at The Outsiders Gallery in LONDONTOWN. This exhibition includes a large number of ABSTRACT GRAFFITI styles on canvas and wood. It is the gallery’s FIRST show of the NEW YEAR and WELL WORTH THE VISIT!

photo-2Saber’s works were divided between two floors. A total of seven trademark Stars’n’Stripes flags (Old Math Series) on stained wood, depicting the American Flag and the Union Jack, were BEAUTIFULLY displayed on the entrance level of the gallery (images above). Eight more works were displayed in the basement (so don’t forget to go downstairs)! Each work varied in size but stayed within a reasonable measurement for a gallery setting, in contrast to his works that can be seen in an outdoor environment. Yet, the use of spray paint, oils and charcoal to create these different graffiti pieces not only expanded the dimensional constraints but the overall depth of each piece. To some extent these small-scale works are even more beautiful than some of his pieces seen outdoors, as the artist now had the opportunity to use a variety of mediums.

The wood series has a more muted tonality with a more dominant use of the natural wood coloration, while the abstract graffiti canvases have VIVID splashes of colour amongst toned down tones (see images below). It gives the otherwise gray walls of the gallery a more lively conversation.

photo copy 2For Saber, these paintings are meant to give those spectators who know nothing about graffiti an opportunity to look at his work and say, “This is a beautiful painting.”

The title of the show refers to the popularized phrase in William Lederer’s and Eugene Burdick’s 1958 novel, The Ugly American, which revolves around  international perceptions of Americans. Saber states in his Press Release for the show, “It’s a reference to the excesses, and foul nature, that some believe Americans possess. Obviously this has similarities to modern Britain too, but… I come from this culture that’s so self centered, and self-preserved, and I want to expose the cracks in it.” He has been known to go AGAINST many of the OFFICIAL POLICIES in the US, particularly those surrounding the health care system, misuse of public funding, and cuts in the art sector. These themes are some of the key factors dominating his works. It is no wonder this well-received exhibition was brought to London by POPULAR DEMAND.

Do yourself a favour and go check it out!

à plus! MCC (Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @CultureHeARTs)

AHOL and INFOE Present “STICK UP KIDS” In Memory of STREET ARTIST REEFA – WE NEED YOUR HELP

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Urban Artists and STICKER Aficionados Infoe (@infoe_stv) and AHOL (@AHOLSNIFFSGLUE) amongst many others in the Urban Art scene in Miami have made continuous efforts to keep the memory of Israel Hernandez aka Street Artist REEFA, alive, after he was tased to death for tagging an abandoned McDonald’s. Not only is this a bit dramatic on behalf of the Miami Beach Police Department, but it is incredibly TRAGIC, BRUTAL, and OBSCENE – RIDICULOUS too, may I add. In a conversation with AHOL regarding the event he honestly states, “There is still a lot that needs to be done for their case legally and bringing awareness. We are lending our names to the cause to help in any way we can.” And thus an ART SALE will be taking place this SATURDAY MIAMI. ALL PROCEEDS, YES ALL PROCEEDS, WILL GO TO #JusticeForREEFA. Here is the info below. Please share. JUSTICE NEEDS TO BE SERVED. RIP REEFA. You are always in our thoughts.

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XX, DP

Jimmy C: The Interview

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Dearest CultureHe(ART)s – we know it has been a long time since we last posted, so we decided to come back with a BANG! SURPRISE! We got to interview the UTTERLY TALENTED Street Artist Jimmy C! Check it out!

You were born in England but grew up in Australia and studied down under, yet we see so much of your work in London… do you have just as much work up in Australia? What is the street art scene like there? I did used to have quite of work in Australia but a lot of it is probably covered over now. I was involved in the graffiti scene in Australia when I was younger, so painted a lot of walls at that time, mainly along the railway lines. I later went on to do commissioned mural works, so some of these walls are probably still up in various locations.

In relation to the street art scene, I was part of the graffiti scene back then, which was an exciting and energetic new art form at that time. It enabled me to find good friends like a family on the street. From what I have seen, the current street art scene is strong with many good artists, and I will aim to go back soon to visit.

How did you come across your infamous technique of drip/pointillist with spray paint? It looks incredibly difficult to master none the less, yet you execute it brilliantly! Does this inspiration come from Impressionism or did you come across it trying to break away from traditional types of street art? Also, do you create works in other techniques with spray paint or are you solely dedicated to your pointillist/drip technique? Thank you for your comments on this, and I first starting working with the dots when I was doing a lot of community arts workshops and mural projects in Australia. In one project I worked with an aboriginal artist who was working with the traditional dot painting technique and he asked me if it would be possible to do this on a wall with spray paint, and I said, I can’t see why not. I showed him how to make dots with the spray can and we went on to paint a wall together, combining our two styles. This led me to start thinking about dots and how to make images in this way. As my background was in figurative realism, my experimentation with the dots came to resemble a form of Impressionism or Pointillism with the spray can. In 2004 I made a series of work which I titled the Aerosol Pointillist series, but I felt that just working in dots was not really enough, which then led me to experiment with drips. That’s when I felt that I had found something more unique and personal, which I came to call the Drip Paintings, which were images made from layers of individual drips of spray paint. I also use a similar technique with lines that I call the scribble paintings. 

The works we have seen of yours are portraits of people – besides the famous people like David Bowie… who are these people? Do you know them or are they random by standards? What does it mean to you to create a portrait? And why do you choose mainly portraiture as your subject over other subjects? The human subject is the main source of inspiration behind my work, and almost all the portraits I have painted are from people I have met or had some kind of interaction with. The human subject in the context of the city is of particular interest to me, and I am trying to convey an essence of the human spirit through my painting with the consideration of hope, resilience, and compassion. I am also part of a tradition trying to seek new approaches to portraiture through painting.

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What is your favourite city to work in? What is your favourite mural you have done? I like painting here in London, and travelling to paint is always a good experience. I have painted in many cities and have great memories, which is so often connected to the people you meet at the time. One of my favourite walls is at 5 Pointz (a) in New York, as it was an honour to have worked in a place that has always celebrated the culture and diversity of styles from the hip hop tradition. Another favourite wall is in Hasselt in Belgium (b), where I got to form some great friendships. 

A:

66. 5 Pointz, New York 2011 Aerosol sur mur

B:

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How do you define your style? A socio-poetical dripping (he)art.

What galleries represent you/where can your work be purchased?! We would love to know! Also, where can our followers follow YOU on social media? What are your twitter/facebook/instagram accounts for our dear friends to keep up with you on the reg(ular). I work with a gallery in Melbourne, Australia called Lindberg Galleries, and also a gallery in Lille in France called Galerie Raison d’Art. Work can also be purchased directly from my studio in London.

For more information check out Jimmy C’s website, LIKE his Facebook page, and lastly, FOLLOW him on Twitter @akajimmyc and Instagram akajimmyc.

Check out some more of his works below!

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WOW. WOW. WOW. WOWWWWWWWW. THANK YOU JIMMY C for taking time to participate in the interview and for sharing your he(ART) with us!

XX, DP and the CultureHe(ART)s Team

p.s. Follow us on Instagram: CultureHeARTs