Art Exhibition Curation
One of the major benefits of managing The Yard’s Williamsburg/Greenpoint location is that I am afforded the opportunity to curate a rotating program of visual art exhibitions. Since September, 2012, I have put together over a dozen shows and worked with nearly two dozen artists, co-curators and patrons. I’ve even organized a few exhibitions at The Yard’s Lower East Side location, including an open call group exhibition of 10 LES artists.
Looking back at the last 14 months of my curation at The Yard, I wanted to tip my hat to these incredible NYC artists, please do visit their online portfolios and follow their social media profiles. Or just take a look at the albums of photos I took the opening receptions for the exhibitions of these incredibly talented artists.
If you are a local, emerging artist interested in submitting work for consideration please do contact me.
- Andy P. Smith
JOHN P. DESSEREAU – Hustle Harder
John is an old friend from my time as a party promoter in Williamsburg… I’m not remembering exactly how we first met but that’s just a testament to that time. We reunited recently through a mutual friend, Peter Sims, and after visiting John’s studio I was impressed by the narratives in his paintings: stories of power struggles, connectivity and insubordination.
ELLEN ROSE – Breadth
Ellen was introduced to me by another curator Beth Fiore. I found Ellen’s design work and retail installations intersecting with her fine art in a very complimentary way. And when I first approached her about an exhibition at The Yard I was impressed by her ambition to install site-specific works, most of which was very personal and whimsical with a very fine attention to detail.
JOY MAHANA – The Rabbi Series
Joy Mahana is a self-taught, Brooklyn-based artist who paints portraits of Sephardic and Ashkenazi rabbis. For this exhibition we selected over 30 portraits of her growing collection to exhibit and what struck me, beyond the sheer size of the collection, was the intimacy and accessibility of the subjects in her work.
REBECCA NORTON – Affine Complex
Rebecca Norton is a painter from Louisville, Kentucky, educated in Los Angeles and had recently transplanted to Brooklyn when we met. When I first saw her work I was made to think of stained glass, light reflected, sunlight through tree leaves… her paintings seemed at both delicate and robust. The Affine Complex was titled as such because of her use of mathematical formulas, geometry, particularly affine algorithms to delegate space and color in her paintings.
RACHEL RITCHFORD – Parallels
I was immediately enchanted by Rachel’s large scale paintings: ethereal and crystalline with a god-eye psychedelia. Her work feels very heavenly, but also… close to death.
MEG WACHTER – Nature Is Ancient
Meg Wachter’s photographs of the Icelandic are beautifully crafted and composed frames. The landscape is so foreign and yet so accessible in the photos. Gentler and seemingly more intimate than some of Meg’s other work, I found the large format of the exhibition transformed the space into a calmer, more serene environment: you could almost hear the soft roar of the waterfall; feel the cold wind across the hills.
PHIL GROMAN, PATRICIA ADLER – “File TransFer Protocol” at The Spring Showcase April, 2013
Collaborating with WASTED SPACES
April, 2013 – on permanent exhibition at The Yard: Nassau Avenue
This work, a filing cabinet with drawers full of pulsating light crystals is located just at the entrance of The Yard to welcome members and guests into our work place. Drawing on the concept of a filing cabinet to store information, data, digital or otherwise, the piece calls to mind images of kryptonite, which may or may not be a comment on our increasingly digital lifestyles.
TOM COSTA – Spring Showcase
I first met Tom Costa five or six years ago when I was working as Editor-In-Chief of ChiefMag.com. Reconnecting recently, I was blown away by his portfolio of work: rural and haunting, as if we only just missed the structure’s collapse or violent event, or worst yet maybe one is still to come?
DREW WITTIG – Spring Showcase
I was attracted to Drew’s paintings because they felt like an early morning dream, like a subconscious rendering of a Saturday morning cartoon: good guys, bad guys, nothing quite makes sense and danger is on the horizon. Or maybe just a comical gesture? With each viewing I took away something new and strange.
DREW MORRISON – ENTRIPPY
Drew Morrison and I met during undergrad at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. I’d always been a fan of his illustrations and comic characters, the universe of his creations. And when I discovered he had spent nearly a year painting a series of four pieces, each of four panels, I had to see it in person. Each painting panel can be interchanged, with all of the objects and figures connecting seamlessly across the images… an interactive display!
BRIAN SNOW Then and Now: The Lower East Side
Snow in the WSJ
In 1980, photographer Brian Snow traversed The Lower East Side taking photos that captured the raw and often destitute landscape of the neighborhood at the time. Then, 30 years later, Brian Snow revisited that neighborhood and photographed what looks and feels like an entirely different landscape. Sometimes. And it’s that grey area, the space between two photos taken 30 years apart of the same street, where you can’t determine which photograph was taken when.
JONATHAN SAUERMILCH The Pirates of Wall Street
Jonathan Sauermilch’s artwork is not dissimilar from his work as an art director: both are very strong, graphically, and feature overt, singular themes. This body of work, The Pirates of Wall Street, mixes Americana iconography with newspaper pages and photographs published during the financial crisis to create a satirical perspective of America and its financial oligarchy.
GREENPOINT NOW: Open Call Exhibition
Collaborating with Greenpointers & Ugly Art Room
Collaborating with Greenpointers and The Ugly Art Room, I put together and open call of work, created in Greenpoint in 2013, that solicited over 200 submissions of which we selected 25 artists to exhibit a variety of paintings, photographs, illustrations, and sculptures. The work represented the true diversity of the neighborhood despite the increasing cries against gentrification and homogenization.
TED McGRATH Weird Weather
Ted McGrath works as an illustrator for The New York Times. He also tends bar at The Diamond Bar. We went to Pratt together and I recently stumbled upon his updated web portfolio featuring a collection of new abstract paintings on canvas. I was intruiged by the work, which had a narrative quality to the collection despite feeling chaotic and disorderly. Ted exhibited 11 works all together and titled the show, WEIRD WEATHER, appropriately, in my opinion, for its alliteration and implied confusion.
OUR LOWER EAST SIDE: An Open Call Group Exhibition
Collaborating with The Lo-Down October, 2013
Working with the LES blog The Lo-Down, we sent out an open call for work made in the Lower East Side in 2013 and received nearly 100 submissions. Selecting 10 artists, the exhibition featured collage, photography, painting, and mixed media. The Lower East Side was the subject of many of the works exhibited and the opening reception featured a cast of characters at which neighbors met neighbors continuing the rich tradition of art and art events in the Lower East Side.
Special thanks to Traven and Ed at The Lo-Down, without whom this exhibition would not have happened.