shows, visiting galleries, etc.). Preoccupied as I was with meetings with our architect (my husband and I bought a place in Brooklyn in preparation for our permanent move back to NYC, date TBD, but hopefully by end of 2014!), and
spending time with my family, I still managed to squeeze in visits to a few artists’ studios.
First up was Duke Riley, performance artist, tattoo guru, and all around rascal. I first met Duke in Shanghai during his residency under the smARTpower project (now defunct). I was part of the team that was brought together to support his project, The Rematch, a recreation of the myth of the Chinese zodiac race (you can read all about it on his website). He just so happened to be working on a large scale drawing based on this project the day I visited his studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Like many of his drawings, this one was elaborate and filled with irreverent details, like a panda pierced with spears or a couple fornicating. He announced that everyone who passes through his studio has to get to work. So he had me write a few phrases in Chinese, one of which I’ve yet to tell him the meaning of. I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of it when he discovers it.
Heights, her Miami. OK, Miami is a city, not a neighborhood), modern parenting culture, and about other projects that she is involved in. At the time, she was shooting a documentary, the subject of which I’m not allowed to reveal. Naiti was going to meet the subject of the film for the first time the next day to shoot some interview
footage. The documentary is for HBO so look out for it when it comes out; it’s a fascinating but frustrating look at the dysfunctional justice system in this country (and that's all I will say about it!).
My next visit was more about catching up with old friends but there was still some art involved. I brought along Lucianne (more on her later in the post), who is my closest and dearest friend from high school, to visit another high school buddy working at a commercial art studio in Bushwick. Claudia and her crew make reproductions of paintings and other artwork for commercial spaces (hotels, offices, etc.). Most of her co-workers are working artists doing this to pay the bills; Claudia herself is a trained photographer. One of her friends showed us some drawings he was working on, one of which reminded me of Weegee photographs from the 1930s.
My last stop of the day was John Zinsser's studio, just a couple of blocks from Duke's tattoo parlor, East River Tattoo. John was one of Jade's former professors at the New School, and he definitely fit the part. I stayed much longer than I had anticipated, listening to him speak lovingly of the New York City (he's a native born son), his parents (journalists), and his childhood growing up around intellectuals and scholars in New Haven (his father taught at Yale in the 60s and 70s). He was a well of knowledge, espousing on the New York art scene, artist Marcia Hafif (whom he had just interviewed for a project he was working on), and how the internet has changed the way we view images.
Eliza was working on several projects at once, which I guess is a trend with artists these days. They're not content with doing one thing. Duke, for example, has his drawings as well as performances and public interventions (you can check out his latest project, where he flew trained pigeons from Cuba to Florida, smuggling cigars). Jade works in drawings and elaborate installations and sculptures. John is a painter, scholar and published author, as well as a journalist (he had a column for Artnet magazine called Painter's Journal). Eliza herself was working on a new series of drawings with infinite lines but she also showed me new rope objects, watercolor tarot cards and a beautiful stone piece she made in Cambodia.
My next post will probably be posted almost immediately, as I am way behind in keeping you guys updated on what's been happening in Shanghai. But before I do that, look out for my next post, where I visit the Venice Biennale!
You can follow some of the folks mentioned here on Twitter:
Duke Riley: @_dukeriley
Jade Townsend: @jadetownsend
Lucianne Walkowicz: @shaka_lulu
Nina Tandon: @ninatandon