Check out my feature film Romantic Loner! For those of you who are reading my blog/public art diary for the first time, I have been posting my progress here. Click here to read about the shoot and click here to read about the work-in-progress screening!
A few weeks ago I performed at a one-night-only live show at Smalls Jazz Club put on by Dan Colen to celebrate the release of his artist's book, A Real Bronx Cheer (2012), published by Fulton Ryder (Richard Prince's publishing imprint). For the show, Colen invited...
A few days ago, I wrote of my experience performing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art last weekend. Today I am sharing with you an interview with one of the people I worked with.
All photos courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ©2012
Last weekend, Friday, September 14th and Saturday, September 15th, I presented four performances at The Metropolitian Museum of Art as part of the preview weekend of the exhibition "Regarding Warhol." The...
During my month long residency at Headlands Center for the Arts, I met artist Jeremy Mende. His work is one of several I began having an internal dialogue or conversation with. Check out my interview with him below.
This August I spent the month at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA shooting a feature film. My official feature film debut as far as performance goes happened in James Franco's and Ian Olds' Francophenia (Don't Kill Me...
On Friday, July 13, I attended Blasting Voice, a performance exhibition at The Suzanne Geiss Company in Tribeca conceived and developed by Ashland Mines. Installed in the space is a stage for one designed by Thunder Horse Video. I enjoyed Butchy Fuego an artist, producer, engineer from LA who has...
When logging into Twitter last week, I came across a tweet that mentioned me.
I have been producing and starring in my own web series, entitled, "Melody Set Me Free," that streams on Whosay. Season Three premiered this past Wednesday and will air every Tuesday night for seven weeks.
I have begun recording dialogue, music and pondering how to execute my feature film 'Introducing Kaye. "How can or what should I create to substitute the "money shots" that the script doesn't call for?" and "What about all the coverage shots that time may or may not allow? These are the questions that run through my mind. The web series has also become a way for me to experiment with visuals and expand on them to create a feature-length piece.
This panel was moderated by Brittany Stanley (Editor-In-Chief of Videoart.net) other panelists, including Brian House (The Research and Development lab at the NY Times), and Professor Shelly Silver (Columbia University). We discussed the current state of video art and its future in the Digital Age.
With it being a vast number of options to experience video, film, and performance, I am always grateful when I am invited to be a part of any platform that falls into alignment of where I feel my work belongs. I refer to these opportunities as vehicles, not in the sense of using them then disposing of them or simply using them. I see them more as the machines that carry or drive the movements.
This weekend, I will begin painting my space that I will convert into sets for my experimental musical feature film, "Introducing Kaye."
No, Shia Lebeouf isn't the first Hollywood/actor/celebrity to contribute to experimental music, film, video, performance, or art and I'm sure he won't be the last. However, seeing this video felt right on time to me. It was a reminder that we artist should always push our work, be daring, brave, fearless, transformative, transcendent.. Keep experimenting go for it, work it out!
Thank you Sigur Ros and Shia LaBeouf for inspiring more weirdness in me.
Also a special thank you to James Franco and Rabbit Bandini Productions for giving me a platform and space to continue presenting, developing, refining my visual language and performance skills! And for helping me maintain that jolt of energy source within that keeps my motor/engine running!
A new season of Melody Set Me Free is on the way. Instead of ten episodes like last season, there will only be six. A softer season, but it still should be fun!
Look for us in July and August. For now, enjoy some outtakes from last season:
On June 1st, I traveled to my hometown Stuckey, Florida for a surprise birthday party for my mother that was put together by my aunt. After being in talks to do a reality show and participating in several docu-series, I imagined what my reality show would look like. The relatives...
All photos taken by: Benedetta Pignatelli.
On May 6th, I memorialized one of my beloved characters, Taiwan Braswell, at The Whitney Museum of Art's annual Art Party. The performance was produced by Kreemart, an organization that creates art projects centered around deserts....
On May 7, I participated on a panel at The Public Theatre asking the question, "Is New York Still A Home For Artists?" The first roundtable discussion included novelist and 360 host Kurt Andersen, Justin Davidson (classical music/architecture critic), Amy Larocca (fashion director), Jerry Saltz (art critic) and was moderated by Damian Woetzel, director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program. The second included composer Gabriel Kahane, writer/director Young Jean Lee, Emma Straub, myself, and director of the Public Forum, Jeremy McCarter, who moderated.
It has taken me a minute to respond because I have not only been pondering the question "Is New York Still A Home For Artists?", generally speaking, but also "Is It Still A Home For Me?", personally.
I spend most of my time in my studio, which is a live work space in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. When I'm not traveling, I am writing, shooting, recording, performing, drawing, or painting. Unlike my early days in New York, I no longer roam the boroughs attending opening after opening, party after party, all night conversations in some random artist loft/apartment/space (the after after party). It sounds great because it was great. It was also more distracting than inspiring. This is not to say this lifestyle couldn't work for some other artist. just couldn't afford to lose my career and opportunities that presented themselves, because I was too busy hanging out hungover. On the other hand, too much time in the studio and no fun doesn't help my perspective either. I am not the type of artist who wants to be creating work all the time with no sense of community. What artist does? It is true that practicing art can be an isolating experience and yes, we are born alone and we die alone, but relationships, being connected to others -- especially like minds rather it be a husband, wife, friend, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, sister, brother, family members and so on -- are important for an artist to thrive.
On May 24, I attended a screening of The Triptych presented by Afro-Punk Pictures at the Brooklyn Museum. The film featured artist-friend Sanford Biggers.
Artist-friend Wangechi Mutu:
Barron Claiborne -- to whom I was introduced for the first time:
The event was packed and it was obvious it was a scene and a group that congregated often. I saw many friends, familiar faces I hadn't seen for some time and a few I see all the time. During the Q&A, Wangechi Mutu said she was not a public studio artist and had some issues at first being filmed. I'm glad she agreed because it gave me some new insight on her process and her background that I wasn't familiar with. The same was true with Sanford Biggers who I have also known for some years. He followed up by saying recently for the first time he had folks over to his studio, something he hadn't done in all the years he's practiced art. I wondered how much time do successful artists spend on hanging out partying and/or throwing studio parties?
Recently, I've walked into spaces and people have turned, and looked at me with the expression, "What is he doing here?" And a few have actually asked, "You live in New York?" My thoughts, "First, I don't go anywhere I'm not invited. Secondly, is it that serious? I'm here. All up in here. Lastly, where am I suppose to be, besides any and everywhere I choose?"
In early May, I was invited by Amy Cappellazzo, chairwoman, Post-War and Contemporary Development at Christie's to attend a luncheon in honor of Romare Bearden -- guests included Thelma Golden (director of Studio Museum in Harlem), Glenn Ligon (artist), Henry Louis Gates Jr. (scholar) and others. I felt honored to be there, but what felt better is the staff greeted us with kind words and spoke kindness as we all went our separate ways afterwards. I was told, "This is your home. Keep coming back. See you soon!"
If they knew it or not, it was something I needed to hear. Yes I had performed there a year earlier, but sometimes an artist doesn't always click with an institution, space, and/or company. Or the relationships grow distant and/or turn sour.
Happy to be part of the Christie's family. This is not to say I don't call other institutions, organizations, and spaces home, because I do.
Presently, my video Melody Set Me Free is playing at the Museum's video on demand program on the second floor.
I am not boasting or complaining, but this is what I experience in New York when I go out. Honestly, I don't think I would have as many options anywhere else. There are many scenes happening in New York and sometimes they overlap. For the most part, I'm not sure if there is one synergy or scene that represents or dominates not only New York, but the international art scene. I could be wrong -- feel free to argue your point -- if you disagree. I will say there may be more opportunities for success in New York than anywhere else for artists. Mostly depending on what opportunities present themselves and how the artists manages them and their life in general.
"Is New York Still A Home For Artists?" Yes. "Is It The Cultural Capital Of The World?" Every city should start a website and have bloggers post pics and videos of openings, events, parties, etc. and have the world vote. Or maybe this is the next great art/culture reality show?
The truth is... the world is the artist's home and we should find communities online and off that support our aesthetics. It is not always an easy task. Sometimes it's worth the battle of getting others in those desired spaces to accept us, but we may find acceptance, liberation, have everything fall into place by moving on, forward, somewhere else. Where? Home. Wherever that is for us as...
On Thursday May 3, I attended the VIP opening for Frieze Art Fair on Randall's Island. Didn't know what to expect. I thought I was going to see five of my paintings on the wall, but as I entered the space I only saw one, which made me think, "Where's...