Time is the whirlwind (part II: New York, New York)

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Needless to say life since the previous newsletter/blog entry has been a whirlwind and thus this ‘part II’ is justified. A lot to touch on in this post, including very recent unexpected and exciting developments…

Get your coffee, this may take a while…

Outsider Art Fair New York, January 2019

Bar the near-infuriating process of getting out of Newark airport (which is considerably less infuriating than that of JFK airport), my journey was quite smooth. I do love arriving to New York, post-airport. Feeling the cold air on my face. Getting the train. Usually something happens that reminds me where I am. On this occasion, after leaving my things at the apartment where I’m staying, I went on my way to Raw Vision magazine’s party celebrating its 100th issue. On my way there, it was perfect, I entered the subway and heard the music that was used to open and close the film After Hours. A classical piece, I forget who wrote it and what it’s called but I very much enjoy it. Most likely through the association with the film. It is perfectly fitting in the film, which is Manhattan atmosphere-focussed and from the lens of an ‘outsider’s’ view of the downtown art scene of the early-mid 1980s (near enough when the film was made also). It was great and surprising to hear this piece on the subway upon arriving to New York. As if I was being welcomed by a specially curated subway journey. It was a violinist or cellist playing. It was quite a last minute decision and possibility to come, so I was very glad to be embarking on this odyssey. It is the first time my work is being shown at the OAF in New York. Thanks Jennifer Lauren Gallery!


Carlo beside himself


Queue for Carlo


Nice image nabbed off of Instagram via kirstycnyc 

 

A couple of my small drawings (The Disadvantages of Time part IV: Time Lapse, The Disadvantages of Time part V: To What End?) were shown and both sold, covering my trip with a bit of extra change. Nice. The Raw Vision party was cool. It was a night of short films submitted to Raw Vision, which made for some interesting viewing. The jetlag wasn’t too intrusive to my wakefulness but the atmosphere was somewhat surreal. I suppose sitting in an environment like an airplane for a good part of the day and then finding yourself walking around New York City in itself would do that. I had a complimentary beer. That was nice. I saw a few familiar beings. Jennie who was showing my drawings. Cathy Ward and Eric Wright. Fresh off the press: Raw Vision will be hosting a similar event in London (UK) mid-March.

The OAF opening was busy and buzzing. I saw friend Julia Sisi there, working at the Raw Vision stand with the great John Maizels. It was cool to see them. A man came up to me to express his admiration for my drawings. We talked about the different pens I use. He said something about the level of detail “you and Nick Blinko“. Wow. The most pleasing work at the fair for me to experience were three paintings by Joe Coleman, who has finally been un-banned from having work shown there, and his works were incidentally shown at the Andrew Edlin Gallery stand, Andrew Edlin being owner of the fair also. Coleman was banned under previous ownership though. Edlin’s stand for me is generally a highlight in what they show. I was awestruck by another monumental Marcel Storr work there again. The most impressive of Joe Coleman’s works must have been finished just days or at most a couple of weeks before the fair opened, evidenced by a section in the work being dedicated to the late Norbert Kox who had very recently transcended the Earth.


Joe Coleman ‘Adam Parfrey: A Feral Man in a Feral Land’, 2018-2019

 


detail of Norbert Kox

 

Also of note, as is usually the case, to my eye anyway, were the selections displayed by the Cavin-Morris and Henry Boxer galleries. Apparently the exhibition Cavin-Morris had on at their actual gallery in New York was considered by some to be the best show they have ever put together. I was adamant that I’d reach and see it while I was there but sadly the stars didn’t align that way. They currently have a solo exhibition of Christine Sefolosha‘s work on show, which must be fantastic. Sefolosha is a force to be reckoned with. It has now been a month since the fair, and a lot else has been happening so I’ll move ever onward..

Whilst in NYC, I did manage to see the Hilma af Klimt exhibition at the Guggenheim. I was not aware of her and had missed a recent exhibition of her work at The Serpentine in London. The Guggenheim show was interesting to see. I think it could have been curated better but it was fascinating to see her work and learn about it. I can’t say I like all of it, but some of it was pretty special and considering it in various contexts was quite enlightening, notably when the work was created and how overlooked it was within art history.


Hilma af Klimt works at the Guggenheim, NYC

 

The New York trip continues with a party at the American Folk Art Museum where I saw the Paa Joe and John Dunkley exhibitions. Both interesting in different ways. I walked around the John Dunkley exhibition sensing something very familiar about the work and eventually saw this painting which immediately took me back to the museum in Kingston, Jamaica where I had seen this very painting a few years ago when I was there. I believe it was the only John Dunkley painting I saw when I was there, or it was the only one that struck me, but clearly it stayed with me somewhere in the brain files.


John Dunkley ‘Banana Plantation’, c.1945

 

Lastly, it was Saturday, I had been running around town since Wednesday and against my urge to reach everywhere I wanted to reach, felt I did need some rest. My calculations of timing had begun to be off, and it was clear I needed to make some adjustments. I passed on the Ricco/Maresca party dedicated to the recently passed Phyllis Kind, which I’d really have liked to experience. (note: I’d only met Phyllis Kind once, over a decade ago in the last year or two of her New York gallery being open. The exhibition was fantastic and I also got to see a Nick Blinko drawing up close for the first time, which was brought out from the stock room after we’d got talking about his work.) I laid low for an hour and then walked through the rain to Zinc Bar. It was imperative to check out some music, after all. I’d been in touch with trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah whom I’d interviewed for my radio shows over the years (the Sweet Earth Records special, and the Arthur Blythe special) and he said he would be performing there with a group called AfroHORN and that Bob Stewart (note: Bob Stewart’s solo on Arthur Blythe’s Lennox Avenue Breakdown from the late ’70s is potentially the most significant tuba solo in Jazz history) would be guesting also. This show was from 8-10pm and there was another show over in Brooklyn that I’d initially planned to go see from 10pm onwards. I was toying with the idea of doing both somehow. The other show was a collective improvisation featuring the legendary drummer/percussionist Warren Smith, saxophonist Salim Washington who I was interested in seeing from having listened to him on a record by QPSM Unit, and Ras Moshe Burnett whom I was intrigued to see also. I never made it to that event. Partly because, to my surprise, Salim Washington was on stage at the AfroHORN gig! I’d mentioned to Ahmed Abdullah via email, the other show, and he responded delighted to hear Salim Washington was in town and that they had known each other for a couple of decades and had been neighbours and worked together but that he had moved to South Africa. I could be wrong, but there is a possibility that Salim Washington was on that stage in Manhattan in part due to me having mentioned him in an email to Ahmed Abdullah!? Potential evidence in support of an alternate explanation is that the bassist on that QPSM Unit record was also on stage in Manhattan that night and that could have been his in. (In some sort of way, this reminds me of the time Wayne Kramer of the MC5 was performing in London on the day GG Allin died, give or take a couple of decades, and as we were in correspondence at the time, I’d mentioned it to him the day before. The first words he said before starting to play referenced GG’s death and the newspaper reviews the following day made a point to highlight this. Kind of silly, but it’s funny how and where things ricochet). In any case, I was so glad I had come to hear this. It truly lifted my spirit and rejuvenated my everything. I was fulfilled and didn’t need to rush off to any next thing. I was soaking it in and reflecting on it for some time after. Salim Washington’s partner and baby were in attendance, all seemingly leaving for the other gig ten minutes before the set ends. Also not in the listing was that the incredible Donald Smith was on piano that night. Blissful. They did a great rendition of Sun Ra’s ‘Love in Outer Space’ (standout version being from Sun Ra’s ‘Night of the Purple Moon‘ LP from 1970. Note: both Ahmed Abdullah and ArfoHORN leader Francisco Mora Catlett played with Sun Ra’s Arkestra in the 1970s and beyond. I first heard Ahmed Abdullah on one of the first records that got me into Sun Ra, ‘Cosmos‘ from 1976) and a wonderful version of Reggie Fields’s ‘Reminiscing’. I sacrificed the moment to capture some on my phone, which you can check out if you scroll down to the bottom of all this.


with Ahmed Abdullah

 

As if I don’t have more significant things to include in this already overstretched newsletter/blog post, here is an inflated rat I saw in New York, and a couple of octopus sightings..



 

You know what? This was all stuff from my New York trip and I have a lot of other things to write still, but there is enough here. To keep it neat and for those of you that have read this to the end, I’ll let you return to your lives for now.. The subheading for this post was ‘New York, New York’ because the second dose of New York will be happening in March already. Those very recent and exciting developments alluded to in the opening sentences of this post will have to wait. I’ll save that information for the next entry, which I will follow this one up with sooner than you think.. I hope.

AfroHORN – ‘Reminiscing’ live @ the Zinc Bar, NYC, January 2019

Time is the whirlwind (part 1)

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Outsider Art Fair Paris, 18th-21st October, 2018

It came and went. And a lot has come and gone since. I haven’t managed to post in the blog here, and it’s all piled up and fragmented now. I’ll see what I can recollect and hope not to leave anything ‘significant’ out. I recently returned from New York, where I experienced the Outsider Art Fair there, which was certainly a whirlwind. I use this metaphor a lot. In the end, time is the whirlwind!

Paris in October was destined to be an unparalleled moment for me, due to having the calendar-diary I’d spent a year and a half accumulating over 50,000 words within in response to becoming a father and detailing every day of that until the page was filled, shown. The weekly magazine of auction sales, La Gazette Drouot, must have caught wind of this and in turn mentioned me in their ‘Vous Avez Dit <<Outsider Art>>?’ article, published in No.35 on 12th October. (note: click on images to enlarge)

People, L-R (me, Marilena with sleeping Nemo, Philippe) Art works L-R (my calendar-diary containing 1st jan 2017- 8th May 2018, a stunning work by Madge Gill)

Lucienne Peiry, former director of the Collection de L’Art Brut (2001-2012) and still working as Director of Research and International Relations there, found my drawings interesting and we had a chat. The museum have since acquired one of my diary drawings, which leaves me somewhat speechless.

Lucienne Peiry observes ‘The Disadvantages of Time, part 1: Grandfather Clock’

 

My diary efforts, sandwiched in between works by Aloise Corbaz and Madge Gill

Of note at the fair, was encountering Tim Ter Wal (represented by Maison Savant at the Galerie Atelier Herenplaats (Rotterdam, Netherlands) booth in a moment of working on his drawing. I noticed people just photographing him without actually speaking to him, which I found quite unsettling. I didn’t want to interrupt him though, but got talking to the gallerist whom I’d had contact with in the past, and in an opportune moment I got to speak with the artist and ask him if he minded me taking any photos while he is working. He said he didn’t mind. So, here are a couple of photos below.

Tim Ter Wal

I took the opportunity to visit some other exhibitions while I was in Paris and was glad to catch my friend Julia Sisi‘s solo show ‘Hypnagogies’ at the Galerie d’un Livre l’autre which had been extended, making it possible for me to see it. I don’t have any photos but spent quite some time absorbing all the energy and wonder. I also managed to see La Maison Rouge’s final exhibition, ‘L’Envol’, which was an inspired and enjoyable exploration of (some of) our collective desire to fly, physically and metaphorically.

Fun flying

 

An incredible Adolf Wolfli drawing

 

 

Detail from the George Widener piece. He strongly advises you not to fly on these dates. Pass it along.

 

Bruno Decharme (abcd Collection), who co-curated the exhibition, tells a wonderful story about this art/artist which I’ve by now managed to lose from my memory. But you can see people were entranced.

 

An original page of Winsor McCay‘s ‘Little Nemo in Slumberland‘ (1910), which to my amusement is focussed on the moon simultaneous to a time when my son Nemo is constantly expressing his fascination with the moon

I also managed to see the Jean-Michel Basquiat and Egon Schiele exhibitions at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. It took an hour to get in and was very busy, but the Basquiat was well curated, unlike the recent Barbican show in London. A few years ago I saw a refreshingly unpretentious Basquiat retrospective at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, which was exciting. It was also the first time I’d managed to see an exhibition of his work. The Paris show possibly had the right balance though, overall.

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Finally, I caught the dynamic and rich Halle Saint Pierre exhibition ‘Art Brut Japonais II’ which featured all manner of work by many interesting and intriguing artists whom I sadly cannot do justice to here due to time restrictions but the catalogue looked quite fantastic, so perhaps seek that out. One highlight was this epic piece (seen below) by Norimitsu Kokubo, who’s work I think I first saw at an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London a few years ago. Incidentally, we were both represented by the Jennifer Lauren Gallery at the Outsider Art Fair in New York last week (at time of writing this). More on that in the next blog entry…

Norimitsu Kokubo

Yes, so all of the above should have been put together and posted months ago. The writing would have most likely been more detailed, precise, and poignant.. but even in these short months, things fade with time.. I was going to write about the New York Outsider Art Fair now, but certainly 1) do not have enough time 2) I would use up way too much space, which also means you’ll most likely not have enough time to read it all either. I really hope to post it very soon. In the next few days.. or.. next week?

Meanwhile, if I’d managed to get my phone out to film it a bit sooner, you’d get a better view but if you watch this on a loop a few times, here is a squirrel down my road, getting confused by some fake 2D trees. I guess the designers didn’t think that through, or they simply did not care, or were curious to see what would happen, etc.. Anyhow, here it is, from around the same time as all the above (according to my phone)..

Further ongoing adventures..

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I’m back from Amsterdam. Nice place. Pockets of land with windy water passages throughout. The place is not short of record stores. Good to see  that vinyl all around town. The Circus Terminal came to town and we had a lot of fun..

 

Circus Terminal Amsterdam

The opening took place last Saturday at Amsterdam Outsider Art. With 85 artists from 19 countries being represented, you certainly get an overwhelming sensation of creative energy channeled through your optical orifices through to your brain, soul, and wherever else allows. A dynamic experience for sure, with raw ox meat and olives tantalising the taste-buds and illusory potential brides in a seemingly physical form, interacting with the onlookers. She was also there the following day, I am pretty sure, though perhaps I was just in a strange dream. There are photos though, so it must have been real. Click on these to see larger images..

 

Gareth Hughes, Carlo Keshishian, Chutima Nok Kerdpitak, Julia Sisi, Liz Parkinson

Gareth Hughes, Carlo Keshishian, Chutima Nok Kerdpitak, Julia Sisi, Liz Parkinson

Julia Sisi trying to read my mind

Lady and her dog contemplating my creations

Lady and her dog contemplating my creations

In comes the bride..

In comes the bride..

Catherine Goodwin (the bride) encounters Liz Parkinson

Catherine Goodwin (the bride) encounters Liz Parkinson

And then we hit the pub. Check out our Circus Terminal Amsterdam customised drink mats. Featuring Sisi, Liz, Bea, Gareth, Susan, and Carlo. Nok's was in production at time of photo.

And then we hit the pub. Check out our Circus Terminal Amsterdam customised drink mats. Featuring Sisi, Liz, Bea, Gareth, Susan, and Carlo. Nok’s was in production at time of photo.

 

The following day, I took it upon myself to lead and initiate a collaborative piece, which we enjoyed adding to for a couple of hours in the garden. So far there have been contributions from 7 artists and the canvas is open to addition until the exhibition ends August 17th, so if you’re in the area, make sure you get down there! Entry is free. I’ve got a few photos of  fellow Circus Terminalists Julia Sisi and Liz Parkinson getting involved with the collaborative canvas. I’ll post a photo of the (hopefully) finished canvas in my next blog entry. Gotta send a shout-out to Nok and Bert for all their energy going into putting this all together. Also, was nice to meet Susan and Emily from Studio B based out of Boyertown, Philadelphia, USA who hosted the last Circus Terminal incarnation. I think the next one might take place in Slovenia? or Serbia? Oh wait! Before that, there is one in London, UK in early September. Stay tuned for details…

My Posca pen partners and I getting busy. Gareth getting married in the back.

My Posca pen partners and I getting busy. Gareth getting married in the back.

Liz and I. The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Liz and I. The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Sisi and Liz

Sisi and Liz

Julia Sisi creating wonderfully. Nice little octopus dedication to me also!

Julia Sisi creating wonderfully. Nice little octopus dedication to me also!

Gareth adding his bit. I went on to put a stream under Sisi's ark.. I also did a half octpus half elephant half snail, no photo yet though.

Gareth adding his bit. I went on to put a stream under Sisi’s ark.. I also did a half octpus half elephant half snail, no photo yet though.

 

Maybe it’s just my tinnitus, but turn your volume way down..

Carlo meets Catherine

Carlo meets Catherine

 

The Running Horse Contemporary Arts Space

So, I’m off to Beirut to continue to put in motion (in more ways than one) some things to do with my big solo exhibition happening in November at The Running Horse Contemporary Arts Space and very much look forward to seeing Emi Miyashita‘s solo show which is currently on. Here’s some photos of what I remember from the Drawing Now Paris art fair which took place at the Carrousel du Louvre (I mainly remember seafood, but you can also see some Miyashita drawings nicely configured with many curious onlookers, and a few people looking at my drawing)..

All mine

All mine

All gone

All gone

Me being closely observed

Me being closely observed

More onlookers at the Louvre

More onlookers at the Louvre

 

Here’s some photos from my last Beirut trip..

Spiralling into control

Spiralling into control

Some graf'd up buses in Beirut

Some graf’d up buses in Beirut

Hot dog

Hot dog

Exploring the Spiral 5th World to no end

Exploring the Spiral 5th World to no end

Beirut at night with a large moon

Beirut at night with a large moon

Eat fruits

Eat fruits

Finish off with an Armenian beer brewed where I stay in Naccache, Lebanon

Finish off with an Armenian beer brewed where I stay in Naccache, Lebanon

 

Outside In / Impact Art Fair

Finally, when I get back from Beirut, on the very same day in fact, I’ll be picking up art works and rushing over to the Impact Art Fair in Brixton, London, UK to help out with Outside In‘s booth. The day I’m speaking of is Thursday 25th July. I’ll enjoy the preview night (I will!) and then head over and do a little DJ set at The Sun also in Brixton. That’s the plan anyway, but considering I have to get up at 4am and nomadically transport myself around for the following 20 hours, I might not make it to The Sun, but I really want to! I think I will. I can be a trooper. I’ll also be at the Impact Art Fair on Sunday 28th July (the last day) invigilating the Outside In booth, so if you’re around, do drop in and check out some art! Come keep me company.. all of the above.

Final Thoughts

I can’t seem to get into the habit of writing these blog entries more regularly, in more digestible doses, but I suppose it goes with my character to build and build and build and then deliver, so that’s the way it is. If you’ve cared to read this far down, good on you! I’ll be back with more in a while, but be sure to check some of the above stuff out when it’s happening.

Enjoy the summer,

Carlo.

 

 
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