ARTISTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

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Barthélémy Toguo, is a Cameroonian painter born in 1967. He lives in Paris and Bandjoun. He has also worked with photographs, prints, sculpture, videos. Toguo produces very powerful works that reflect his socio-political views about African and Western relations.

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Abdoulaye Konaté is a Malian artist. He was born in DIré and lives and works in Bamako. Konaté studied painting in Bamako and then Havana, Cuba. Konaté worked as a graphic designer at the Musee National in Bweineramako. He was appointed to be the Director of the Palais de la Culture. Now, he works as the Director of the Conservatoire of Arts & Media in Bamako. He and his work have received several awards, including in 2002 the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mali and Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France.

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Below is an exhibition of El Anatsui, Barthélémy Togo and Abdoulaye Konaté at Manchester Art Gallery 2012. Africa has narratives that are just being recognized but have been developing for quite some time. If you compare these narratives to new Chinese and Middle Eastern work you will some similarities — struggles with economics, politics, identity.

 

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COOL JAZZ AND HARD BOP ARE INSPIRATION FOR NEW HARLEM TOURS

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The Curator for the West Harlem Art Fund was just asked about her process behind their new location-based tours in Harlem. Just doing the tours was not enough. Using technology was not enough. There must be another reason. Quite annoyed, the curator slept on it and realized that the tours symbolized the spirit of jazz. Not the music, but it’s approach and understanding.

Jazz is America’s original music and art form. A combination of European chords that’s overlaid with melody or melodies which are entirely improvisational. It’s a blending of cultures, rhythms, and appreciations.

It’s more than just music, it’s an approach, a lifestyle that offers room for growth and change. Started by African-Americans but open to all people around the world. Our location-based tours are very similar to jazz. It’s independent. Refusing to be placed in some cookie-cutting box. Overlaying various new film, music or poetry over the architecture and history of Harlem like musical harmony with its repetitive chords.

Yes, taking what seems straight-forward and adding layers that are personal, controversial or just exciting. Masters of those jazz styles included Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus, Art Blakely just to name a few. West Coast Cool was slow and lyrical. Hardbop defined NYC with soul, funk and blues as its overlays.

As we present these tours, we are asking participants not to look backwards but to spring forward using technology to embrace our new melodies and songs.

Can you dig that!

FRESH EYES/HARLEM DIGI-TOUR

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Still Image from What We Were, What We Are, What We Will Be
by Bryan Christie

 

Public Art Curator Savona Bailey-McClain is presenting FRESH EYES, an exclusive, site-specific Harlem Digi-Tour for FRIEZE WEEK. The tour will spotlight points in the Mt. Morris Historic District where she’s identified connections to these videos. Visitors can take a self-guided or guided tour via a QR coded map. Two FREE tours will be given on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 1 p.m. on the southeast corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue and again at 2 p.m.

FEATURED ARTISTS

Bryan Christie, Negin Sharifzadeh, Debra Swack

FRIEZE WEEK 2015  is apart of the City’s NYCxDesign.

DISRUPT HARLEM with FRESH EYES

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Artist: Negin Sharifzaheh
Stop Animation Work: Even Gray Feels Blue

This spring the West Harlem Art Fund will use technology for a location based walking tour and ask participants to look at Harlem differently. Fresh Eyes is being developed exclusively for FRIEZE WEEK 2015 and the Mt. Morris Historic District will serve as its background.

Curated films clips have been selected by Savona Bailey-McClain, Executive Director & Chief Curator for the West Harlem Art Fund. Different from scavenger hunts that also use a geographic region, to engage participants in neighborhood exploration, this location-based art tour wants participants to explore life issues and how we should embrace the complexities of city life creatively. Two FREE tours will be given Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 1 p.m. on the southeast corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue and then again at 2 p.m.

TAKE ME TO THE RIVER

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In 2005 and then again in 2008, the West Harlem Art Fund in partnership with the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and NYS Division of Coastal Resources collaborated on two studies for West Harlem and Northern Manhattan, Take me to the River. The process was heralded for its inclusiveness and many community stakeholders were involved. Yet, moving forward has been a challenge. That began to change last year. By adding ten more blocks and including the 12th Avenue viaduct along with inviting an artist to help transform West Harlem with a lighting design, we were able to rekindle that effort and ALL the hard work that went into that process. Though a little battered, the West Harlem Art Fund found new partners and friends who believe in the beauty of our community and that we can support economic development to better the lives of all. The West Harlem Art Fund can now create more public art by mixing art, design and technology. And we are advocating that the old Marine Transfer Station be transformed into a tech and design center. The Presidential Library should come to West Harlem and it should be the 1st digital Presidential Library in the country. That would inspire thousands of young people and invigorate our community to truly benefit everyone across race, gender and income levels.

STREETS ARE PUBLIC SPACES

 

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“Urbanization is the defining trend of the 21st century; by 2030, 75 percent of the world’s 9 billion people will be living in cities. And urbanization is occurring most rapidly in places with the greatest lack of planning for urbanization.” — UN-HABITAT Executive Director Joan Clos i Matheu

According to Project for Public Spaces, cities and towns are growing at unprecedented rates. In 1950, one-third of the world’s population lived in cities. Just 50 years later, this proportion has risen to one-half and is expected to continue to grow to two-thirds, or six billion people, by 2050. In many cities, especially in developing countries, slum dwellers number more than 50 percent of the population and have little or no access to shelter and other basic services like electricity, clean water, and sanitation. These conditions are unacceptable. They can, and must, be changed. Streets, squares, and parks, especially in the informal city, are often chaotic, poorly planned and maintained — if they exist at all.

The West Harlem Art Fund will make 12th Avenue a public space for Under the Viaduct, 2015. We will close 12th Avenue down to vehicular traffic with the help of NYC Department of Transportation and their Weekend Walks program. 12th Avenue will become a destination where people can meet, talk, bike, skate, dine and enjoy art. The organization has been studying various possibilities since 2005 when we 1st collaborated with the State of New York, Division of Coastal Resources and produced the study Take Me to the River and then again in 2008 with Take Me to the River II. Now, we are finally able to experiment with fresh ideas. And the use of light-based technology and design is making this happen.

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What are some of the challenges?

Lack of Public Space. Especially in informal settlements, public spaces can be lacking altogether, increasing tension and stress for people who live in crowded and inadequate conditions. In other cases, new commercial and residential development can destroy traditional public space, as older neighborhoods with well-established social patterns are wiped out to make way for high-rise development, resulting in a profound dislocation of the population and disruption of centuries-old ways of living together and sharing resources. Streets, in particular, have for millennia been a vital part of the public realm, providing a place where merchants can sell their wares, children can play, and people can stop to talk. The growing prevalence of the automobile has squeezed out these uses. Reclaiming streets as places for people can strengthen cities in a variety of ways – economically, environmentally, as well as socially.

Lack of Planning for Public Spaces. All over the world, sprawl development is allowed to spread without any plan for public space. Sometimes, builders create “public” space that is actually private — behind the walls of gated communities, inside malls that are patrolled by security guards, or within exclusive club like recreational areas. All of these types of spaces create the illusion that public space exists, but in actuality function to separate people by class and income, as well as sometimes by ethnicity and religion.

Lack of Public Spaces That Bring People Together.  The best public spaces bring together people from all walks of life and all income groups. The presence of multiple types of people ensures that no one group dominates, and that the space is safe and welcoming for all, including women and youth. Where public space is absent, inadequate, poorly designed, or privatized, the city becomes increasingly segregated. Lines are drawn based on religion, ethnicity, and economic status. The result can be a dangerously polarized city where social tensions are more likely to flare up and where social mobility and economic opportunity are stifled.

Lack of Participation and Poor Design. These are not only matters for planners, designers, and bureaucrats to decide in a void. Only with full public participation in the creation of public spaces can truly great places come into being. Building a city is an organic process, not a simple recipe or a one size-fits-all pattern. Local customs must always be considered and honored. Maintenance costs must remain within reason for the community involved.

Source: Placemaking and the Future of Cities, PPS

SEEKING UPTOWN ARTISTS

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UNDER THE VIADUCT 2015

Informational Meeting for West Harlem & Northern Manhattan
Visual Artists

Digital Media Opportunity
Thursday, April 30, 2015
6- 8:30 p.m.

West Harlem Development Corporation
423 W 127th St, New York, NY 10027

Presented by The West Harlem Art Fund in partnership with Pratt Digital Arts.

Eventbrite:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/under-the-viaduct-2015-tickets-16233080581

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WHAF PARTNERS W/CULTUREHUB & BRINGS DATA VISUALIZATION UTV

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The West Harlem Art Fund will extend Under the Viaduct a little north to the borders of West Harlem & Washington Heights. The organization will partner with CultureHub to bring data visualization uptown. Below is a commentary and a video that showcase Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda. The goal is to inspire and encourage local residents and fellow New Yorkers to the possibilities of digital art in open, public spaces. This work was shown at the Park Avenue Armory. We wish to thank our sponsor West Harlem Development Corporation who will fund our new work uptown.

“THE TRANSFINITE”

RYOJI IKEDA

In “The Transfinite,” Japanese artist and composer Ryoji Ikeda utilizes the digital building block of binary codes to display human’s captivation and bewilderment with technology. Filling the massive 55,000-square-foot exhibition hall with his video and sound installations, Ikeda created an immersive audio-visual environment at the Park Avenue Armory in New York’s Upper East Side. As one walks into the hall they encounter a 45-foot-tall, 60-foot-wide vertical screen, where Ikeda has projected barcode-like black-and-white lines, which pulse to an audio component that is being dictated by binary codes (programmed by the artist). The other side, also a screen, displays the inner workings of the installation, showing digital renderings of both the binary codes and the programming used to create the light projections on the opposite screen. Many viewers were awestricken by the work, approaching and examining the hypnotizing light and sound patterns, as though encountering something from a foreign universe.

Ikeda incorporates binaries in all aspects of the exhibition, from the codes that control the flow of the barcode lines and audio to the displays on the screens, which split into white and black sides—simultaneously showing different segments—during one projection sequence. The bisection continues onto the white floor, which becomes halved by the two different projections. These patterns in the display create vibrant variations and rhythm in the exhibition.

The synced visual and aural displays of the binary codes in the transfinite (2011) are reminiscent of early television airwaves (and the buzzing noise generated when its scheduled programming ended late at night), combat radio signals with fuzzy reception, and even audio transmissions sent out by space stations in search of alien contact. Techno beats can be heard within the soundtrack, which is accompanied by vibrating black-and-white lines on the screen. The projection sequence also includes meditative segments, with sounds evocative of vibrations from a singing prayer bowl, and images of lines reverberating like waves on the screen, enticing many viewers to experience the installation while sitting in the lotus or vinyasaposition. Visitors lounged upon the floor in front of the large screen as if relaxing in A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884) by Georges Seurat. Media’s multifaceted role in communication comes forth in the various patterns and rhythm of Ikeda’s installation.

The contemplative front side is juxtaposed with a darker side in the back, which consists of a black floor with nine, smaller monitor stations lined in single file leading up to the front of the 45-foot-tall screen. This side displays the binary code that dictate the movement and shape of the black-and-white bars that appear on the front screen, as well as that of other digital components of the installation, and various visual interpretations of the code are simultaneously displayed on each of the nine monitors. The digital renderings create a hypnotizing vision that viewers gaze upon in bewilderment, as they attempt to unravel the enigmatic code. In the transfinite, Ikeda creates a digital spectacle that explores human’s fascination and interaction with technology.

WHAF GEARING UP FOR UNDER THE VIADUCT 2015


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And when we say, GEAR UP, we really mean it. The West Harlem Art Fund is planning some lifestyle interventions for Under the Viaduct.
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With support from the NYC Department of Transportation, WHAF hopes to create temporary lanes for new and experienced riders on 12th Avenue. Signage will be created by street artists and then when it turns dark, digital and reflective art.

More details to come!

WEST HARLEM ART FUND PRESENTS FOR ARMORY

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ON THE EDGE OF FUƧION

Get your tickets on Eventbrite

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-the-edge-of-fuion-tickets-15857455075?ref=etckt

                  

The West Harlem Art Fund and Friends are presenting “On the Edge of Fusion” for Armory Arts Week from March 2nd through March 6th. This four day, pop-up digi salon with live art installations, takes place in Harlem at MIST. Curator-driven, this digital platform will allow participants to enjoy watching digital art, and digitally-based films ONLINE from the comfort of their homes or LIVE at MIST where participants can talk and share their opinions with others. On the Edge of Fusion will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and led by the Curator Savona. Curatorial partners also include the Socially Relevant Film Festival and the producers of Finding Dante. This special Armory Arts Week program is recognized by the organization Light2015 for the International Year of Light.

Lead Curators: Savona Bailey-McClain

Participating Curators: Socially Relevant Film Festival, Producers Rico Washington and Shino Yanagawa Producers of Finding Dante

Artists: Lady K Fever, Iliana Emilia Garcia, Maddie Irmen, David Joly, Yuon Kibaik, Ellen Maynard, John Michael Reefer, Dianne Smith, Vaughn Spann.

BRING YOUR OWN SMARTPHONE, TABLETS OR LAPTOP TO VIEW FILMS & DIGITAL ART WORKS

Media Partners

When & Where

MIST Harlem
46 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10026

Monday, March 2, 2015 thru March 6, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)

Organizer

West Harlem Art Fund 

The West Harlem Art Fund, Inc. is a seventeen year old, public arts organization. WHAF offers exhibition opportunities for artists and creative professionals wishing to share their talent with residents uptown and around the city. The West Harlem Art Fund, Inc. showcases art and culture in open, public spaces to add aesthetic interest to our part of the city; promote historical and cultural heritage; and support community involvement in local development. Our organizational symbol is the double crocodile from West Africa. Funtunmmireku-Denkyemmirreku means unity in diversity.

V Line for Everyday Life

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Reflective Wearables

The V Line is an artistic collaboration developed by Street Artist Lady K Fever and the Curator Savona. The jackets are made from repurposed fabric with reflective or LED lights appliquéd.

Reflective prototypes will debut at the Harlem Premiere of Pop-Up Digis at Madiba Harlem January 23, 2015.

A team is being assembled to further the project with CUNY students Ivan Estevez and Aulio Diaz from the Grove Engineering School.

HARLEM PREMIERE


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On Friday, January 23rd 2015, residents and fellow New Yorkers can view digital art & film at the multi-media venue MIST. This white carpet event is meant to make Harlem glow with technology. Participants would be able to join in our Google Hangout to share their thoughts and give vote on their favorite works. Spirited by the West Harlem Art Fund with guest curators and cultural groups, these pop-up experiences will support new platforms that include large outdoor projections and the merging of disciplines that can be enjoyed by all.

Pop-Up Digis is an official event with NYC Light 2015 & the International Year of Light. Funding for Pop-Up Digis was provided by the West Harlem Development Corporation.

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Tickets are free and available on Eventbrite. Register  Pop-Up Digis Harlem Premiere

WE KICK OFF THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LIGHT JANUARY 1ST

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The Steering Committee for NYC Light 2015 is proud to present Vicki DaSilva’s light graffiti work as our official digital logo. The artist has been extremely supportive of our efforts to showcase the importance of this technology. The kick-off press event will be held in BLDG 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Friday, January 16, 2015.

Below is the artist’s bio.

BIO

VICKI DASILVA is a light graffiti and painting pioneer. Since 1980, she has been making single frame time exposure photographs, at night. Vicki is credited with the term “light graffiti” as well as being the first artist to make deliberate text light graffiti photographs. Vicki was influenced by video and performance artist Joan Jonas and then Richard Serra whom she worked with for ten years. Her work with Jonas and Serra, along with the birth of Hip Hop and the fusion of graffiti with fine art was extremely influential in her art.

Vicki, along with her husband Antonio, use 4 and 8-foot fluorescent bulbs attached to a complex system of tracks and pulleys to create her work. Using a camera that allows a ‘bulb’ setting for an extended time while on a tripod, the light source is directed at the camera and then the camera documents the movement of the light.

YOUNG HARLEM ARTIST — VAUGHN SPANN

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The West Harlem Art Fund in partnership with TEDxCUNY presented a new talent in Harlem. This young man is powerful and a real gentleman. We are happy to present a future star Vaughn Spann.

VAUGHN SPANN was born in Orlando Florida and is a BFA candidate at Rutgers University. He has used art to develop a visual language that addresses politics, and popular culture. His experiences growing up in various urban environments has helped define his identity and influence his work. Spann’s work has been shown at The Newark Museum, Reginald Lewis Museum, Rupert Ravens Contemporary Gallery, Aferro Gallery, and the annual Newark Open Doors.

 

West Harlem Art Fund announces partnership w/Socially Relevant Film Fest

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The West Harlem Art Fund has secured several partnerships both domestically and internationally that will make 2015 one of its most progressive years.

Meet our new film partner the Socially Relevant Film Festival New York

SR(™) Socially Relevant Film Festival New York (Rated SR) – 2nd edition

March 17-22, 2015

SR Socially Relevant Film Festival (™) New York, a new non-profit film festival, will have its 2nd edition in March 2015 at 3 venues: The Tribeca Cinemas in Tribeca, The Maysles Cinema in Harlem and The School of Visual Arts SocDoc . The festival showcases socially relevant films with human interest stories as a response to the proliferation of violence and violent forms of storytelling. SR(™) believes in promoting positive social change through the powerful medium of cinema. The festival’s inaugural edition took place in March 2014 at the Quad Cinema over one week, showcasing 55 films from 18 countries and presenting multiple awards to winning filmmakers. Submissions for 2015 are open through December 10. For details on partner organizations and the festival please visit the festival’s website: http://www.ratedsrfilms.org/

Press and media partnerships: Delphine Millot ratedsrfilms@gmail.com

Community and education outreach: Constance Du Bois outreachsr@gmail.com

 

WHAF will celebrate the UN International Year of Light in 2015

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About the Year of Light —

On 20 December 2013, The United Nations (UN) General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015).

This International Year has been the initiative of a large consortium of scientific bodies together with UNESCO, and will bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.

 The West Harlem Art Fund is working with several entities to develop light-based interventions, programs and events in 2015. This international collaboration is very important for us because art is being used to develop innovation solutions to world problems. It’s not about aesthetics — it’s about changing the world!

QUESTIONBRIDGE ORGANIZERS SPEAK

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In 2012, the West Harlem Art Fund produced an installation with French artist Patrick Singh at the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan. As we prepared this digital installation, the Questionbridge exhibition was being installed at the Brooklyn Museum. Their project deals with Black male identity. I asked several members of the team to review the works being presented by Patrick Singh and share their thoughts about his views on Black identity. Below are the interviews about Patrick’s works. Also added is Harlem-based artist Dianne Smith who has worked with our organization several times and who is apart of the exhibition I found God in Myself — the 40th anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The Questionbridge exhibition is at the Schomburg Center too until January 3rd.

These digital interviews were assisted by National Park Service Ranger Cyrus Forman.

Bios

    KAMAL SINCLAIR (American, born 1976) is a professional artist, teaching artist, and producer of live and transmedia art. Kamal obtained her BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated with honors from Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business MBA program. Her professional career began as a cast member of STOMP where she performed in the national and international tours, as well as on the Emmy Awards, MTV’s Beach House, Good Morning America, The Today Show, BET, and PBS’s Reading Rainbow. Sinclair was the founding artistic director of Universal Arts and creative director for many festivals and awards shows. She taught business courses to artists through the Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD) and Fractured U: Continuing Education for the DIY Artist. Sinclair is also a periodic contributor to the acclaimed theatre publication, Black Masks.

    CHRIS JOHNSON (American, born 1948) is a photographic and video artist, writer, curator and arts administrator. Johnson studied photography with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham and Wynn Bullock; and his artwork has been exhibited at the Oakland Museum of California and at the Mills College Museum. In 1994 he co-produced a large performance work in Oakland titled “The Roof is on Fire” bringing together inner-city high school students and adults. In 1996 he produced an innovative one-hour video piece titled “Question Bridge” that investigates class divisions within the black community. In 1999 Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown appointed Johnson to be Chair of the Oakland Cultural Affairs Commission to advise on all matters affecting cultural development in Oakland. Johnson is currently a tenured Full Professor of Photography at the California College of the Arts.

    DIANE SMITH (born 1965) is an abstract painter, sculptor, and installation artist. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York City’s Soho and Chelsea art districts as well as, numerous galleries and institutions throughout the United States. She is an educator in the field of Aesthetic Education at Lincoln Center Institute, which is a part of New York City’s Lincoln Center For the Performing Arts. Since the invitation to join the Institute over five years ago she has taught k-12 in public schools throughout the tri-state area. Her work as a teaching artist also extends to under graduate and graduate courses in various colleges and universities such as: Lehman College, Columbia University Teachers College, City College, and St. John’s University to name a few.Recently she was invited to join the team at The Center For arts Education in New York City. In 2007, Dianne was one of the artists featured in the Boondoggle Film Documentary Colored Frames. The film took a look back at fifty years in African-American Art, and also featured other artists such as Benny Andrews, Ed Clark and Danny Simmons.That same year the historical Abyssinian Baptist Church, which is New York’s oldest African American church commissioned Smith to create the artwork commemorating their 2008 Bicentennial. In addition, she co-produced an online radio show the New Palette, for ArtonAir.org (Art International Radio)dedicated to visual artists of color. In 1995, she presented Poet Dr. Maya Angelou and Broadway Choreographer George Faison each with one of her paintings: Spirit of My Ancestors I and II. Her work is also in the private collections of Danny Simmons, Vivica A. Fox, Rev. and Mrs. Calvin O. Butts,III, Cicely Tyson, Arthur Mitchell and Terry McMillian. Dianne is a Bronx native of Belizean descent. She attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, the Otis Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Smith recently completed her MFA at Transart Institute in Berlin. She currently lives and works in Harlem.

East River Flows in the UES

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This past Saturday evening along the East River Esplanade, Vicki DaSilva created several light graffiti works. Commissioned by the Friends of the East River Esplanade and curated by Savona, the goal of the intervention was to bring attention to esplanade and the need for repairs that are necessary for the local residents. Most attention is placed further south, we showed our lovely the UES really is.  And in early 2015, a mural banner will benefit its neighbor in East Harlem at 116th Street and the river.

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The mission of The Friends of the East River Esplanade is the restoration and reinvention of the section of the Esplanade from 60th to 120th Streets. We have been working with, and will continue to work with, our partner community groups, elected officials, and private enterprises, along with the NYC Department of Parks, to restore and maintain this section of our spectacular, though forlorn, Esplanade. Our goal is to improve and enhance the quality of the running paths, boating access, fishing piers and bike paths.

Installation photos of The “H” in Harlem

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The H in Harlem is the largest public art installation in the community’s history. It will be lit on June 25th through September 25th, 2014.  Many thanks goes to the artist, his team at Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging and Theta Consulting.

Thanks are to be given to the NYC Department of Transportation & their Urban Art Program, Manhattan 26th Police Precinct and local leadership.

For more info, go to http://www.thehinharlem.com/

 

The H in Harlem

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The West Harlem Art Fund is pleased that The H in Harlem by artist Bentley Meeker will finally be installed in June. It was a tough approval process and I am very proud of the artist for sticking with it. Public art is hard in NYC. I want the public to know and not take public art for granted.

This will be the largest public art installation in the history of Harlem. Many thanks to the NYC Department of Transportation, Manhattan Community Board for their letter of support, local restaurants and other supporters who believed in this project. Please read the statement below.

Artist Statement:

“As a resident of East Harlem, and a resident of West Harlem for 13 years, I am honored to have been approached to create a public work here in Harlem. This last remaining slice of “real” New York is one of the few areas of Manhattan that resemble the New York I came to love when I got here in the early ’80’s. It is at once culturally vibrant, gritty and still, even in this age of intelligence driven authorities, a land that plays largely by its own rules. It is that, more than anything, that attracts me to this neighborhood and has compelled me to make my home here.

I was approached by The West Harlem Art Fund to create a large public work where 12th Avenue and 125th Street intersect. It was a lot of driving around the site and looking at the surrounding area before any ideas at all came to fruition. While the scale and scope of the project, apparent from the first moment of discussions, weren’t daunting, honoring the neighborhood with a work that would be both respectful of the environment visually, true to my own ethos as an artist, and interesting enough to add value to the neighborhood, became quite daunting. So I got quiet, meditated and let it come to me rather than me try to force it. Sure enough, emblazoned over the 125th Street arch of the viaduct was a great big “H.”

I hope that the “H” will both inspire, pay homage to, and show my consideration to a part of the world that is like no other. That I was asked to do this is symbolic of one of the greatest achievements in my career. It is with gratitude, humility and respect, that I undertake this project. It is my ultimate goal that this project will make one of the greatest places on this great planet even better, and if I achieve that, this project will have been an wild success.

 

Thank you,

Bentley Meeker

For more info, go to http://www.thehinharlem.com/

 

Lawn Moaning Digital Still by Swedish Artist Eva Olsson


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Lawn moaning

1:48 min

2012

 

After the rain drifted away and the sun comes out they come one by one, in harmony with the moans and groans from neighbors who just wanted a quiet moment.

EVA OLSSON is a Swedish artist who works with contemporary art where moving image is her major way of expression. She reconstructs familiar situations to create new insights in short animations, by working with reflections on everyday life. Eva completed her MFA degree at Norwich School of Art & Design in the UK. Her works are represented at:

– ArtFem.TV an online television programming presenting Art and Feminism.

– FemLink. The International Video-Artists Collective.

– Northern Video Art Network, NOVA a web-based platform for artists working with video, media art and experimental cinema.

She is also a member of the artist association Smålands Konstnärsförbund. Together with Jonas Nilsson, the co-founded and curate Art:screen, which is a platform for new media art. They also run Art Temple 1:85, which is an art space for contemporary arts with a focus on emerging and experimental arts on research and development practices.

The West Harlem Art Fund is grateful to have artists from Sweden participate in our lighting intervention. We hope to attract more artists from abroad.

 

HARLEM IS CREATING IT’S OWN URBAN “BURNING MAN” — BUT WITH LIGHTS

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Eduardo Difarneco

A Papa. 1999

Video, Black and White, Sound, 4’09”

Many folks are familiar with the “Burning Man” Festival in Nevada. For years, in Black Rock, a community is created where fire and light is the focal point. People come from thousands of miles to come. Participants think it’s an amazing experience. Well, right in Harlem, West Harlem to be exact, the 12th Avenue viaduct will be the inspiration of art, design, technology and LIGHTS. A “real” art scene that is contemporary and 21st century is budding in West Harlem. Artists and restaurant owners will be working together to make 12th Avenue hip and cool. And Harlem artists will join this intervention series too. Get to know the artists below.

DIANNE SMITH is an abstract painter, sculptor, and installation artist. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in New York City’s Soho and Chelsea art districts as well as, numerous galleries and institutions throughout the United States. She is an educator in the field of Aesthetic Education at Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), which is part of New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Since the invitation to join the Institute over six years ago she has taught k-12 in public schools throughout the Tri-State area. Her work as a teaching artist also extends to undergraduate and graduate courses in various colleges and universities such as: Lehman College, Brooklyn College, Columbia University Teachers College, City College, and St. John’s University. Dianne is a Bronx native of Belizean descent. She attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, the Otis Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Smith recently completed her MFA at Transart Institute in Berlin. She currently lives and works in Harlem, NY.

EDUARDO DIFARNECIO was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1962 and raised in the United States and Colombia by his Colombian parents. He is a conceptual artist and curator who works in different mediums including video, photography and drawing.  He completed postgraduate diploma in fine art at Goldsmith College, London in 1996 and his BFA at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn in 1986. Difarnecio has had solo shows and has participated in group shows internationally in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Mexico and New York City. He currently lives and works in Harlem, New York.

ERIK SANNER is a visual artist, living and working in Harlem, NYC.  He has recently exhibited at Tria Gallery (NYC), the Courtauld Institute of Art (London), LICHT FELD (Basel),  the Danforth Museum (Massachusetts), and Carmichael Gallery (LA). Sanner’s overarching goals include expanding our experience of painting by utilizing technology, promoting awareness of traffic cone aesthetics, and collaborating with artists and non-artists alike to realize projects no individual would have imagined or executed without sharing their visions and cooperating together. Erik currently lives in Harlem.

 

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Stranding Memory, 2009 by Erik Sanner and K Staelin, on Vimeo, symmetry/growth series,

digital media 2009, dna, time. K staelin, sim-me-try, 2009

Regional & International Artists are joining Repurpose

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The West Harlem Art Fund is so pleased to have regional artists Dennis Hlynsky and Dr. Henry Gwiazda joining our lighting intervention series as well as husband and wife team Jonas Nilsson and Eva Olsson from Sweden. Their participation is showing that West Harlem is budding a real art scene that is both contemporary and progressive .

Bios

DENNIS HLYNSKY is a US-based artist and designer. With an insatiable desire to consider technology and its place in the arts, he came early to video and has more than 30 years of experience in the medium. He was among the first students in the RISD video program and is now a devoted teacher. Since 1983 he has committed himself to the study of digital processes. A skilled 3D artist, his most recent work was cited by the Black Maria Film Festival.

Hlynsky was a co-founder of Electron Movers, a regional media center and performance space, and a principal in the Video Analysis Project for ten years, using video as an intervention for people with life-threatening problems. The project garnered the attention of international media. His interest in celebration as an art form resulted in his designing the fireworks celebration for Providence for five years and has been central to several longstanding community arts events. Most recently, he and Daniel Peltz co-designed the Lepton, a true-non-linear editor for social web-based media.

EVA OLSSON is a Swedish artist who works with contemporary art where moving image is her major way of expression. She reconstructs familiar situations to create new insights in short animations, by working with reflections on everyday life. Eva completed her MFA degree at Norwich School of Art & Design in the UK. Her works are represented at:

– ArtFem.TV an online television programming presenting Art and Feminism.

– FemLink. The International Video-Artists Collective.

– Northern Video Art Network, NOVA a web-based platform for artists working with video, media art and experimental cinema.

She is also a member of the artist association Smålands Konstnärsförbund. Together with Jonas Nilsson, the co-founded and curate Art:screen, which is a platform for new media art. They also run Art Temple 1:85, which is an art space for contemporary arts with a focus on emerging and experimental arts on research and development practices.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtzmIvmL0qI

HENRY GWIAZDA is a new media artist/composer whose artistic trajectory has taken him from sampling, sound effects, and immersive technologies to his current work with new media. This new work is a comprehensive artistic approach that has resulted in work that is multimedia in nature and focused on movement. Gwiazda’s works are regularly screened in festivals and galleries throughout the world including New York, Paris, Madrid, Cairo, Amsterdam, Beijing, Berlin, Sao Paolo, Naples, Marseilles, Seoul, Damascus, Athens, Istanbul, Moscow and many others. He won First Prize at Abstracta Cinema (Rome, Italy), Magmart Video Festival (Naples, Italy), Festival InOut (Gdansk, Poland), Second Prize at the Crosstalk Video Art Festival (Budapest,Hungary), Third Prize at the GIGUK Video Art Festival (Giessen, Germany), and the Grand Prize for Best Audio at the 2008 DIGit Media Exposition (Narrowsburg, NY). His work is available on Innova Recordings.

JONAS NILSSON is an artist who works with contemporary art where moving image is my major way of expression. He was born in Sweden where Jonas first went to a couple of art schools before completing his MFA degree year in 2000 at Norwich University College of the Arts in the UK.

His work often deals with issues surrounding the western way of life where he likes to make comments on, and relate his work to, a dark dystopian and/or melancholic places or landscapes, both in an inner-world and outer-world.

Jonas’s work has been shown at video screenings and video art festivals through-out Europe, north America and Asia, and he represented at Northern Video Art Network, NOVAis a web-based platform for artists working with video, media art and experimental cinema. He is also a member of the artist association Smålands Konstnärsförbund.

Jonas is the co-founder and curator with Eva Olsson of art:screen which is an international platform for new media art. We are also running Art Temple 1:85, Art Temple 1:85 is an art space for contemporary arts with a focus on emerging and experimental arts on research and development practices.

Cross-borough collaboration for Repurpose under the 12th Avenue viaduct

carlton bright

 

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Mountain View 6,  Arles-sur-Tech

Artists from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn are now participating in the lighting intervention Repurpose.  All of the interventions will be along 12th Avenue in local restaurants, sidewalks and buttress walls underneath the viaduct.

The Riverside Drive Viaduct, also known as the 12th Avenue viaduct, was built in 1900 by the City of New York, is a viaduct constructed to connect an important system of drives in Northern Manhattan, a high-level boulevard extension of Riverside Drive over the barrier of Manhattanville Valley to the former Boulevard Lafayette in West Harlem. This May also marks the 200th anniversary of 125th Street.

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NYC artists include: Cynthia Beth Rudin, D. Carlton Bright, Dianne Smith, Erik Sanner and Peter Regina

Restaurant Partners include: Cotton Club, Dinosaur Bar-b-que, Covo Trattoria, 9A Restaurant

Organizational partners include: Center for Holographic Arts, Harlem Biospace, Sweet Spot Festival, West Harlem Food & Beverage Association

 

 

VICKI DaSILVA LIGHTS UP WEST HARLEM

By artist Vicki DaSilva

By artist Vicki DaSilva

 

REPURPOSE

Public Art Intervention

A  North River Arts! Production/Curated By Savona Bailey-McClain

Public Display on May 10, 2014

North Rivers Arts is a public art initiative for the communities of West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. Communities along the Hudson River, want to enhance their open public spaces and attract artist locally, regionally and beyond. Northern Manhattan neighborhoods understand the benefits of the “arts” and that it can improve quality of life, local tourism, safety as well as bring beautification.

According to curator, Savona Bailey-McClain, “we can make West Harlem along the Hudson River and underneath the viaduct, a destination for art, food and lifestyle. Artists have been contacted like Vicki DaSilva to work on collaborative or individual projects. We can have a real art scene that’s contemporary and speaks to the issues and concerns of today.”

Vicki DaSilva is a light graffiti and painting pioneer. Since 1980, she has been making single frame time exposure photographs, at night. Vicki is credited with the term “light graffiti” as well as being the first artist to make deliberate text light graffiti photographs. Vicki was influenced by video and performance artist Joan Jonas and then Richard Serra whom she worked with for ten years. Her work with Jonas and Serra, along with the birth of Hip Hop and the fusion of graffiti with fine art was extremely influential in her art.

Vicki, along with her husband Antonio, use 4 and 8-foot fluorescent bulbs attached to a complex system of tracks and pulleys to create her work. Using a camera that allows a ‘bulb’ setting for an extended time while on a tripod, the light source is directed at the camera and then the camera documents the movement of the light.

North River Arts first intervention will be displayed on Saturday, May 10th underneath the 12th Avenue viaduct from 125th Street to 135th Street. REPURPISE is an official event during NYCxDesign and Frieze Week NY.

CURATOR

Savona Bailey-McClain currently lives and works in New York City.  She is an independent curator, producer and preservation advocate. The range of McClain’s practice has included sculpture, drawings, performance, sound, and mixed media. McClain is the Executive Director and Chief Curator for The West Harlem Art Fund, Inc. a sixteen year old public art organization serving neighborhoods around the City. Her public art installations have been seen in the New York Times, Art Daily, Artnet Magazine, Los Angeles Times, DNAinfo and Huffington Post among others. McClain strives for a soulful, meaningful connection with the public and the “arts”. It simply has to be approachable as far as she is concerned. McClain has installed at Times Square, DUMBO, Soho, NoLita, Williamsburg, Governors Island, Queens, Harlem, Chelsea & the Bronx and recently Soho with the new art fair FUSION NY. McClain has a liberal arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

VENUE

The Riverside Drive Viaduct, built in 1900 by the City of New York, is a viaduct constructed to connect an important system of drives in Northern Manhattan, a high-level boulevard extension of Riverside Drive over the barrier of Manhattanville Valley to the former Boulevard Lafayette in West Harlem. May, 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of 125th Street.

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Images from FUSION NY 2014

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FUSION NY 2014

Artists and curators of color made a powerful statement during Armory Week. They propelled themselves in the midst of Armory and the results were amazing. The best is yet to come. Congratulations to all of the artists.

Lead Curators & Producers: Savona Bailey-McClain and Yves Marie Vilain

Participating Curators: Ina Archer, Badder Israel, Richard Beavers, Suave Rhoomes

Artists: Ina Archer, Brian Convery, Kenly Dillard, Dianne Dwyer, Dan Ericson, Scherezade Garcia, Chris Harris, Yasmin Hernandez, Ariel Jackson, Lady K-Fever, Shani Peters, Joshua Reynolds, Adrienne Reynolds, Jamal Shabazz, Madeline Schwartzman, Shiro, Dianne Smith, Toccarra Thomas, and Yves Marie Vilain