1. How does an artist figure out what’s truly essential?

    Performing "A Woman Waits For Me II" (2014) with his parents at Pace University in Lower Manhattan, artist Bryan Zanisnik discusses how he draws on his family and personal history in his artwork. In this film, Zanisnik returns to his parents' home in Springfield, New Jersey to dig up the long-forgotten home movies he made as an adolescent. Inspired by Hollywood film directors like Martin Scorsese, the VHS movies are an unironic mix of slapstick comedy and gangster violence, with Zanisnik's grandmother often playing an armed and dangerous protagonist. Uncovering the videos in graduate school was a eureka moment for Zanisnik. "I thought, 'This is who I really am.' These interests in the abject, the absurd, the humor, the gender inversions, the fragility," he explains, "the conversations between the performer and me behind the camera was really getting to the core of what I wanted out of an artwork." Frequently incorporating his parents in his work, Zanisnik creates performances in which power dynamics—such as struggles for control between parent and child—play out in surreal scenarios. As part of the exhibition "Oblique Strategies" at Pace University's Peter Fingesten Gallery, Zanisnik performs inside a wooden museum display case transformed into a mobile sculpture, as his parents and the audience look on. Tightly confined inside the sculpture and straining to move through the building's hallways, Zanisnik intentionally knocks into onlookers, challenging them to respond. For Zanisnik, the performance "A Woman Waits For Me II" (2014) evokes his own emotional journey from a reclusive adolescent to the artist he is today. Also featuring the artworks "Meadowlands Picaresque" (2013); "Dissociative Pastry and Stone" (2011); "Repetition Compulsion" (2010); "Ten-Thousand Meals Than Ever Yet" (2009); "When I Was a Child I Caught a Fleeting Glimpse" (2009); "He Is Not a Man" (2007); "Next of Kin" (2007); "Family Reunion" (2006); and "Remembrance of Things Past" (2006).

    Bryan Zanisnik (b. 1979, Union, New Jersey, USA) lives and works in Queens, New York. Learn more about the artist at: art21.org/newyorkcloseup/artists/bryan-zanisnik/

    CREDITS | ART21 "New York Close Up" Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Producer & Editor: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Cinematography: Rehana Esmail, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Nick Ravich & Ava Wiland. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: CRUX Design & Open. Artwork: Bryan Zanisnik. Music: Robert Carlton. Thanks: Charlotte Becket, Douglas Campos, Alice Capotosto, Martin Kagan, Suzanne Kim, Emmy Mikelson, Peter Fingesten Gallery, Pace University, Smack Mellon, Bob Zanisnik & Carol Zanisnik. An ART21 Workshop Production. © ART21, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

    ART21 "New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.

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  2. How do you get your audience to touch the art?

    Artist Abigail DeVille constructs the set for a premiere performance of Adrienne Kennedy's play "She Talks to Beethoven" (1989) at the JACK arts center in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. Theater director Charlotte Brathwaite describes the play’s dreamlike style and time-bending narrative: an American expatriate in 1960’s Ghana "converses" with Beethoven in early 1800s Vienna. DeVille draws parallels between the play’s temporal cross-cutting and theoretical physics—specifically the concept of wormholes, or passageways in the space-time continuum—as well as the hidden histories and absences that mark the African American experience. To create the sculptural set titled "Intersection" (2014), DeVille and Brathwaite drill holes into wooden flats, linking them together to form two concentric ellipses. Acquiring cast-off materials through the Recycled Artist in Residency program in Philadelphia, DeVille describes what attracts her to the discarded: "Material already has so much information trapped inside of it. It has whatever it’s chemically made up of, its physical and chemical properties, whoever owned it, loved it, and threw it away...What can you improve on that?" In a performance set to Beethoven's "Fidelio," the actors move fluidly through the dramatically lit set, sharing the sculptural space with an equally mobile audience. "You can hold an audience captive," marvels DeVille, who is fascinated by the possibilities a theatrical context can provide. The film also documents DeVille at work in a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Features the installations "New York at Dawn" (2010), "Dark Star" (2010), "Dark Day" (2012), "'If I don't think I'm sinking, look at what a hole I'm in'" (2012), "Street Life: A Vortex" (2012), and "XXXXXXX" (2013); and includes music by Ludwig van Beethoven—"Egmont, Op. 84"; "Symphony No 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55"; "Coriolan Overture, Op. 62"; "Fidelio, Op. 72"—performed by the Musopen Symphony.

    Abigail DeVille (b. 1981, New York, New York, USA) lives and works in the Bronx, New York. Learn more about the artist at: art21.org/newyorkcloseup/artists/abigail-deville/

    "She Talks to Beethoven" (1989) at JACK, Brooklyn, NY:
    jackny.org/she-talks-to-beethoven.html

    Studio Museum in Harlem:
    studiomuseum.org/

    CREDITS | ART21 "New York Close Up" Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Erin Casper. Cinematography: Amitabh Joshi & Erik Spink. Sound: Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio, Open. Artwork: Abigail DeVille. Music: Musopen Symphony. Thanks: Hao Bai, Charlotte Brathwaite, Gabriel DeLeon, David Dempewolf, Antonio DeVille, Billy Dufala, Alec Duffy, Fern Gookin, Elizabeth Gwinn, JACK, Adrienne Kennedy, Eric N. Mack, Jason Mitja, Natalie Paul, Paul Pryce, Recycled Artist in Residency, Revolution Recovery, Studio Museum in Harlem, Lucia Thomé, Hannah Wasileski, Yuka Yokoyama, and Yi Zhao. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

    ART21 "New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.

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  3. How does a busy artist get the job done?

    Amid a demanding appearance and performance schedule, artist Jacolby Satterwhite works to finish his latest animation, "Reifying Desire 6" (2014), in time for the 2014 Whitney Biennial. In the window of the Recess workspace in Soho, Satterwhite dances in a silver catsuit, enticing passers-by to perform in front of a green screen for a new video work. With upcoming projects and performances at Art Basel Miami and Sundance New Frontier, Satterwhite describes this particularly challenging time in his professional life: “Knowing when to stop, knowing when to say no, it’s just all these rules that aren’t written down for you, and you have to figure it out for to yourself through trial and error.” On top of his pre-existing commitments, Satterwhite is invited by curator Stuart Comer to be part of the prestigious, career-defining Whitney Biennial exhibition. With less than three months to finish his longest animation to date, Satterwhite goes into creative hyperdrive at his Lower Manhattan Cultural Council studio in the Financial District. Satterwhite maintains a Red Bull-fueled, 24/7 work schedule, completing his new work the day before the opening. With its intricately-wrought digital landscapes and elaborate personal symbology, Satterwhite hopes Biennial viewers recognize the deep-seated formalism underlying the “impulsive perversions and strangeness” of "Reifying Desire 6" (2014). After the adrenaline rush and press attention of the Biennial opening, Satterwhite is back at work in his Lower Manhattan Cultural Council studio, laboring on yet another computer-intensive project.

    Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986, Columbia, South Carolina, USA) lives and works in New York, New York. Learn more about the artist at:
    art21.org/newyorkcloseup/artists/jacolby-satterwhite/

    CREDITS | "New York Close Up" Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Producer & Editor: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Cinematography: Ian Forster, Amitabh Joshi, Nick Ravich, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Nick Ravich & Ava Wiland. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Stephanie Andreou, Crux Studio, Open. Artwork: Jacolby Satterwhite. Thanks: Amanda Angel, Stuart Comer, Allison Freedman Weisberg, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Stefan Lundgren, Mallorca Landings, OHWOW, Recess, Sundance Institute, Whitney Museum of American Art. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

    "New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by The Lambent Foundation; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.

    # vimeo.com/92927660 Uploaded 3,966 Plays 0 Comments
  4. How do you make an artist?

    At The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, artist Josephine Halvorson guides an undergraduate painting class in a group critique. The student work ranges from letterform-inspired abstractions to painterly landscapes to intensely graphic narrative scenes on shaped canvases. The paintings are the culmination of a semester’s worth of work. On guard against the students’ tendency to respond to an artist’s words as much as their work, Halvorson explains her particular critique process: “The students give feedback without the artist over-determining it initially by what they say about it.” Her students’ comments are wide-ranging, off the cuff, and at times sharply critical. One student wonders if a densely iconographic set of paintings is an “allegorical overload,” challenging the viewer to give up on ever getting a clear understanding. For this student, the moment is poignant. This set of critiques will be one of few remaining opportunities to hear so consistently and variously from her artist-peers. Once out of school, she knows she’ll struggle to find similar chances for feedback. A Cooper Union alumna herself, Halvorson remembers the anxiety of her own undergraduate group critique experiences and the feeling of never producing work worthy of review. Art education—premised on the hope of training someone to do a seemingly untrainable creative act—is a necessarily tricky, contradictory endeavor. But for Halvorson, group critique, with its possibility of open dialogue and exchange, is one of art school’s truly constructive models for learning.

    Josephine Halvorson (b. 1981, Brewster, Massachusetts) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about the artist at:
    art21.org/newyorkcloseup/artists/josephine-halvorson/

    CREDITS | "New York Close Up" Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Scott Burgess & Erin Casper. Cinematography: Christine Ng & Iva Radivojevic. Sound: Scott Fernjack, Ian Forster & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design: Crux Studio & Open. Thanks: Alex Barrett, Beatrice Bolton, Sarah Demoen, Jenny Eagleton, Clara Genard-Claus, Phoebe Gray, Josephine Halvorson, Taylor Hand, Minjung Jun, Matias Maunu, Emma McMillan, Daniel Schraeder, Maya Strauss, The Cooper Union for the Advancement, of Science and Art, Dylan Vandenhoeck, and Theresa Zeitz-Lindamood. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

    "New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Lambent Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; and by individual contributors.

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  5. What’s the latest trend in New York City real estate?

    Over the course of the summer and fall of 2013, artist Mary Mattingly constructs and occupies "Triple Island" (2013), an outdoor sculpture overlooking the East River. Situated in the newly developed Pier 42 public park—a waterfront area flooded by Hurricane Sandy in 2012—the sculpture rests on buoyant 55 gallon drums, which allow it to float in the event of rising sea levels. Mattingly and friends build "Triple Island" out of a mix of recycled, donated, and custom-made materials. The three main structures—a living space, greenhouse, and community garden—together form a system for living off the grid in the densely-populated Lower East Side. A self-described apocaylptic thinker, Mattingly views the project as an experimental model for an imagined future where environmental degradation and collapsed economies render current ways of living in urban areas untenable. "I think 'Triple Island' has a very specific aesthetic intention," says Mattingly, "and it is to imagine a world with leftover materials and how you would build and what it would look like." Through summer heat and winter cold, the artist and several intrepid volunteers live in the sculpture, collecting rain for water, harnessing solar energy for power, and harvesting a garden for food. Residents' motives for participating vary widely; for artist Ivan Gilbert, "Triple Island" offers a chance to gain "a few more degrees of relative freedom from giant inhuman institutions." Partnering with a coalition of advocacy organizations, such as the Hester Street Collaborative and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Mattingly's project is less an experiment in individualistic self-sufficiency as it is in the communal sharing of local resources. Featuring the works "Triple Island" (2013) and "Flock House Project" (2012–13) with music by Chris Zabriskie.

    Mary Mattingly (b. 1978, Rockville, Connecticut, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about the artist at:
    art21.org/newyorkcloseup/artists/mary-mattingly/

    "Triple Island" (2013)
    tripleisland.org/

    CREDITS | "New York Close Up" Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Producer & Editor: Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Cinematography: Nick Ravich, Rafael Salazar & Ava Wiland. Sound: Wesley Miller, Nick Ravich & Ava Wiland. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Mary Mattingly. Music: Chris Zabriskie. Thanks: Hannah Black, CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Ian Daniel, Esteban Gaspar Silva, Ivan Gilbert, Good Old Lower East Side, Hester Street Collaborative, Chuck Lin, Greg Lindquist, Kelly Loudenberg, Lower East Side Ecology Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Nina Lucey, Rey Mendoza, Nancy Nowacek, Jess Segall, Mike Shuwerk, Lauren Slowick, Daija Solano, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, Rand Weeks, Darren Will & Moira Williams. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

    "New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; The Lambent Foundation; Toby Devan Lewis; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc., The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and by individual contributors.

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New York Close Up

Nick Ravich

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