Vases, Vessels and Vino

While in New York to install the sculpture this past week I kept seeing hoards of people with shining new tote bags with the word "Frieze" emblazoned across them and then I remembered...the inaugural New York edition of the Frieze Art Fair was underway out on Randall's Island! I wasn't able to make it out there (mostly due to time constraints and the $40+ price tag for a ticket) even despite the fact that it took place in the alluring setting of an island off the Manhattan coast but... I was able to make it to a few other events that were going on thanks to the palpable Spring art fair buzz!

Our pal & artist Chris Doyle came by to see Brent's newest install and invited us along to a gallery event he was on his way to. Trusting Chris while remaining completely skeptical as we stood outside of an old towering apartment building with air conditioners dripping overhead and various European tourists passing us on the stairs insisting "No English! Yes?," our skepticism was only alleviated after climbing a beautiful staircase and emerging into a crowded apartment room full of loud women, olives, sushi platters, drinks and slyly placed art. Apparently galleries, or other art type orgs in need of semi-permanent exhibition space, will often rent out apartments or hotel rooms in cities where art fair season is full bloom in order to showcase work during the hub bub and crowds associated with this time of year. I had heard about this phenomenon while in Miami but this was the first time I experienced it in the flesh, and it is as strange as it sounds! The San Francisco based Catharine Clark Gallery keeps such a space in the Chelsea district of New York opening its doors by appointment and for small openings at different points throughout the year. The exhibit on view featured the work of Stephanie Syjuco, a woman who I briefly met during this fun, odd little event and whose pieces, after mulling over the complexity of, I have grown to love! ...and after a little internet research, whose work I have apparently loved for years-- I didn't realize that she was behind the Counterfeit Crocheting project (fashion and craft lover friends of mine, click that link!)!!!!

The work itself was composed of print out images of vases downloaded from an online archive of Asian Art which were then tacked to wooden, lasercut boards to make them into 2d/3d prop-like objects, re-appropriating these historic, intangible pieces and curating a personal collection of these works. I reaaaallly like this idea, reclaiming a piece of hidden/archived art with all of its culture and history and revisioning it as an expression of both an individual and also for public exhibition. I am not getting into any original object argument over here but I will say that using an open-digital-resource as a medium leads to a whole new conversation in how culture can be broadcast, information & meaning articulated and the different value systems of art! Syjuco's project, titled Raiders (Redux), is soo layered and so thoughtful and, on top of that, so pretty in their rickety groupings and subtly perfect design! I love it! And what a lovely event! Score one for a little beauty in the madness of NY art fairs! And score a big one for Stephanie Syjuco who was by far one of the nicest artists I have ever come across in my many art world dealings! Hurrah! (And apologies for the not so great images of the art-- it was super crowded in there!)



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.