Anagnorisis Fine Arts

The Futility of Fighting with Chaos by Binnorie

JR's furrowed brow colorized by Irene with Kenny Scharf

Hurricane Irene left very little damage in New York City compared to what happened in surrounding countrysides.  New Jersey, upstate NY and Vermont all got hit very hard with flooding, not to mention what happened further south.  It’s as if Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs are in a protective bubble, rarely affected by natural disaster.

Irene did leave her mark behind in Gotham, however.  Many are reporting this mark as damage, but I see it as Mother Nature’s collaboration with artists JR and Kenny Scharf.  Irene’s water has soaked through JR’s black and white photo of a giant furrowed brow and crinkled nose so much that Scharf’s colorful painting left underneath shows through.  Personally, I think JR’s photos are far more powerful when installed in cities that heavily benefit from its presence.  He is a selfless and intelligent artist whose work blends in and gets lost in New York City’s jaded and cynical streets.  Scharf’s colors give this particular photo of his a nice punch.  The new look further reminds us how pissed off Scharf was when his work was tagged (sorry, Kenny, the tagging looked horrible, but stop wearing your trendy outfits around town and maybe you’ll avoid this kind of problem in the future).

A close-up of the Os Gemeos mural

Kenny gets tagged

The graffiti wall on Houston Street just west of Bowery, curated by Deitch Projects,  had for a while a recreation of a mural by Keith Haring.  Haring’s image was eventually replaced with a new mural by street art duo Os Gêmeos who were soon covered over by Shepard Fairey’s pasted graphics.  Shepard’s efforts weren’t well respected by some.  I recall walking by and seeing giant holes punched into the wall of Shepard’s pastings, revealing the drywall and metal studs that had been built over the previous work.  The holes let the Os Gêmeos painting peek out once again creating a Fairy/Gêmeos medley of sorts.  So, you see, the wall has a history of damage that has been inflicted upon it, time after time.  The latest damage from Irene’s deluge is not unexpected, yet creates a pleasant visual surprise.

The Keith Haring replica gets whitewashed to make room for something new.

Shepard Fairey's mural with plywood to cover up extensive damage.

My favorite city walls are those covered with many artists’ work, stickers, tags, dirt and nails all collaged on every surface in even the most hidden nooks, all giving New York its special character.  To me, the uproar that results when one of the works on this Houston Street art space gets marred is silly.  Part of the allure of street art is the random or uncontrollable changes that happen to it over time.  If you put something up on a wall giving others access to it, then you need to accept and even revel in the fact that others are going to tag it, break it, lick it, pee on it…  It’s going to rain, mold will grow on it, the glue and paint will peel…  If you don’t want that to happen to it, put it inside and protect it, or make sure the materials used to create it can withstand the toughest abuse.

I don’t know…I suppose one could argue that the news about the damage is all part of the art, but I think time would be better spent helping those who cannot return to their homes due to Hurricane Irene.

{This post was inspired by Animal New York}

On the Value of Utilizing a Goose by Binnorie
November 15, 2010, 11:54 am
Filed under: Announcement, Art Critiques, Art Shows, Lecture

Please join us and Observatory‘s Phantasmaphile this Saturday, November 20th, 5-7pm for a discussion on the grotesque in art with Dr. Nancy Hightower.  In addition to chatting about the amazing work on the walls at the ISE Cultural Foundation, Nancy will have other works to present from visual and literary grotesque history, including a passage from Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantatruel concerning the best ways of keeping oneself most comfortably clean and fresh (see this post’s title…if you’re still confused, come to the lecture).

This event is FREE. RSVP via our facebook event page would be appreciated, but not required.

ISE Cultural Foundation
555 Broadway, between Prince and Spring (please hit buzzer for entrance)
please note that the ISE is not connected to the Scholastic store

One of Gustav Dore's illustrations of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel

“Modern contemporary art, film, TV, and literature embrace the bizarre in a way never before seen. Many might term what they see and read as “grotesque”—used pejoratively to mean that which is strange, unsightly, obscene; in some cases, even funny. The grotesque as a scholarly study, however, is something different. It’s not altogether different, mind you, for certainly the grotesque always includes elements of the bizarre. Yet many authors and artists have used the grotesque—this elusive intersection of humor and horror—to question the strongest rhetoric that holds our society together.

The grotesque has a rich and long history, beginning in antiquity. It was simply ornamental back in Nero’s time, as we see in the “grottoes” of his palace, the Domus Aurea. Human forms blended into plants and animals, with a playfulness that delighted the eye. That ornamental version of the grotesque turned darker when Bosch incorporated it into his Garden of Earthly Delights and Bruegel in The Triumph of Death. Both works give us insight into the paradoxes of the artists’ cultures Over time, the grotesque grew to include an aspect of horror along with a humor that moved beyond an intellectual sarcasm. The purpose of such transgressive humor and horror addresses the paradoxes, hypocrisies, and binaries seen in our post-modern society.”

Dr. Nancy Hightower is an instructor in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she teaches courses on the Grotesque in Art and Literature.

Please visit the gallery at any time, Tues – Sat, 11am – 6pm, from now until the end of the year to view

Another Roadside Attraction | An Exploration Into The Contemporary Art Genre Of The Neo-Grotesque

November 9 through December 31, 2010

To see an online gallery of the work, click here.

Dormitorium: An Exhibition Of Film Decors By The Quay Brothers by dezzoster
September 21, 2009, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Anagnorisis Picks, Art Critiques, Art Shows | Tags: ,

The Street of Crocodiles (1986) was my first Quay Brothers film experience, and I mean experience in the most literal sense. The lights dim, and you slide back in your chair. The screen illuminates with that black glow that spawns a flittering of anxiety in the base of your stomach, even before any images appear. I remember the wooden esophagus with it’s clustered, rusted screws scurrying along the floor, the towering boxes with layers of filth, and that moment on the street where everything comes together.

Image courtesy of Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy

Curator’s Corner: First Impression At CCNY by dezzoster

Over the decades, CCNY nurtured the craft of many photographers through providing enriching classes, lectures, exhibitions, and residencies. Although countless aesthetic preferences have developed the organization, First Impression reflects upon the medium’s own heritage which features contemporary artists that catalyze a current sensibility through the means of archaic methods.


An Hour and a Day by Binnorie
September 3, 2009, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Announcement, Art Critiques, Art Shows, Video, White Rabbit

Kasia Houlihan’s video, “An Hour and a Day” is a meditation piece. Steeping in serenity, her planes will lull you.  Kasia’s work will be on view on Friday September 4th during the opening reception of Philip Hardy’s “Predictive Text” exhibit.

Kasia Houlihan
An hour and a day, 2009

The basic building block of An hour and a day is simple, mundane even: a shot of an airplane in flight, crossing from one side of the screen to the other. Some are fast. Others are slow. Some appear as small as fireflies off in the distance, while others soar just overhead. It is in the pointed arrangement of these singular clips where several complexities arise, as the shots of plane after plane making its way across the sky have been sequenced into a meticulous montage according to the exact time of day at which each was filmed.

The hour-long video spans early morning to late night hours and everything in between, as shifts in light reveal the passing of time not only over the course of a day, but also throughout the year. However, what presumes to be a straightforward dawn-to-dusk equation eventually breaks down as afternoon turns into a dark February night, which shifts into a glowing August evening and then back into darkness once again.

In much the same way that one keeps a daily journal, I continue to collect this footage, shot from my kitchen window since January 2008.

The Sensuous Affairs of Rik Garrett. by dezzoster
August 31, 2009, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Art Critiques


Rik Garrett’s photographs are thin slivers of time taken from waking dreams: sublime and seductive, blurred and yet completely refined, so serene and profound. Crisp visuals slip away from realism with a smooth, inebriated grace. His work not only relishes the beauty of the female form in which it courts, but washes over it with a sense of  languid reverie allowing our subject to openly draw us through a beautiful infatuation.

Reflections of Basel: Crisis and Opportunity by dezzoster
June 20, 2009, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Art Critiques | Tags: , , ,

Last week the small town of Basel, Switzerland brimmed with over 2,500 contemporary artists, 300 leading galleries, curators, collectors, and of course thousands of art appreciators. Each day, full with lectures to attend and films to be critiqued. This is the 40th anniversary of Art BASEL.


A Movement or a Mole Hill? by dezzoster
June 14, 2009, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Art Critiques | Tags: , ,

I’ve always had a genuine interest in the grotesque – beauty is in the mistakes. Now trying to sculpt this fascination into practical knowledge; reeducating myself through history and applying it to the arts. My mind wants to make grotesque a movement. What? I mean, It has been around for CENTURIES!