After 10 days and 80 films from 22 countries screened, many the United States or Long Island premiere, the 2018 Gold Coast International Film Festival came to a close and declared the winners:
The Audience Award Winner for Best Narrative was “The Lost Suit,” a bittersweet story made in Argentina and Spain by Pablo Solarz about an 88-year-old Jewish tailor who embarks on a long, transcontinental journey to try and find the man who saved him from certain death during the Holocaust. Heartfelt and charming, with a wonderful comedic flavor, the film reminds us of the importance of family, friendship, and keeping your word. Out of 230 audience-goers, 212 gave the film the highest ranking. “People were obsessed with it.” The Gold Coast arts center, which stages cinema series throughout the year, is hoping to bring it back.
The Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature Film went to “Heading Home,” by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger, a stirring underdog chronicle of the unexpected triumph of Israel’s national baseball team at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. With their Mensch on the Bench mascot by their side, the team laughs and cries as they discover the pride of representing Israel on the world stage. The screening featured a Q&A with Co-Director Jeremy Newberger.
The Audience and Jury Award Winners for Best Narrative Short Film went to “Stems” and Best Documentary Short Film award was won by two films, “Wendy’s Shabbat” and “One Small Step.”
A new award this year, Best Family Short Film, went to Rag Dolls.
Shorts film curator Alexandra Gil viewed some 2,000 submissions before making the selections for the festival.
The awards winners for the 8th annual festival were named at a gala lunch at the NM Café at Neiman Marcus Roosevelt Field, a major sponsor of the festival, which also supports youth arts programs. Other major sponsors included the Town of North Hempstead and Douglas Elliman Real Estate, which provided important seed money “when we were just an idea” and have kept up. Hofstra University is also a major supporter, offering film programs including internships.
Some 4,000 tickets were sold; audience goers came from 180 zipcodes. Audience goers get to see films that are rarely screened outside of independent theaters in New York City – the festival brings films to the suburbs. Many of the documentaries, like “Bathtubs Over Broadway,” an astonishing documentary about Steve Young’s quest to collect Industrial Musicals which sets him on a journey to meet the makers; and “Happy” Academy Award® nominated director Roko Belic’s film explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion, traveling from the bayous of Louisiana, the deserts of Namibia, the beaches of Brazil and the villages of Okinawa to a communal home in Denmark; and short films are only seen at festivals. There are also opportunities to hear from filmmakers and historians and engage in question and answers. One special program gives Young Filmmakers, from K-12, a chance to shine (and shine they did).
The 2018 festival kicked off with a Gold Coast Arts Center gala in Great Neck, Long Island honoring film and television star Robert Wagner with the second annual Burton Moss Hollywood Golden Era Award in recognition of his long, illustrious career that began in 1950. (See story.)
Some of the most illustrious artists of Urban Pop are on view a short distance from the mean streets of the city: The Gold Coast Arts Center has again chosen to showcase graffiti, street artists and media savants of urban culture in its exhibit, “URBAN POP,” on view through September 8. Fans had a chance to meet the five featured artists at an opening reception, May 20, at the Great Neck, Long Island gallery.
“The art scene has developed significantly since the 1970s with the introduction of using popular culture (pop art) as a source of inspiration,” writes exhibit curator and gallery director Jude Amsel. “Many contemporary artists have now merged other modern influences such as street art, graffiti, architecture and urban culture into their work.
Among the artists featured in Urban Pop, include Shiro, whose controversial work appeared on the murals at 5Pointz, a warehouse complex and graffiti mecca in Queens, and Luis “Zimad” Lamboy. Their work, along with several other artists, was subsequently destroyed when whitewashed by the property owner and was the subject of a prolonged court battle, ultimately decided in favor of the artists, awarding them $6.75 million. On hand at the reception was Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, one of the most prominent graffiti artists and a leader at 5Pointz, who has painted sections of the arts center.
Shiro actually provided the theme for the show, gallery director and curator Jude Amsel said. “She is marking her 20th anniversary as a graffiti artist. She is like Lady Pink – one of the world’s most famous graffiti artists.”
Her paintings feature a consistent character – her alter ego.
“Since I was little, I have been deaf in one ear. I wasn’t communicating with people. My family kept moving for my father’s job. It was hard to make new friends, so I kept drawing a character – my imaginary friend. I wasn’t lonely with my friend. Now I travel all over world by myself – India, Brazil, China – 18 countries. I can travel by myself because I have my best friend,” says Shiro.
She leaves her images like an “I was here” stamp in the places she visits.
“People call me to do the murals, big murals, with my character, my best friend. I leave her on the wall in the country. I keep creating my character.”
She covers her face when I photograph her with her painting. “I don’t want to worry about how I look, I want people to see my art,” she says.
Shiro grew up in Tokyo and began her career as an aerosol artist in 1998. “As a young artist, I fell in love with hip-hop. In Japan, the only way to get information about hip-hop culture was to read books, watch videos, and listen to music. I used to go to clubs in Japan every weekend with friends and other artists to dance and paint, all the while imagining what it would be like to experience the movement in NYC at the time.”
She came to New York in 2002, inspired by a film, “Wild Style” to see the Bronx.
In celebration of her 20th anniversary as an aerosol artist, she began her “90’s project’” by painting walls internationally.
She’s been living in New York for the past four years, “the city I used to dream about.”
Luis “Zimad” Lamboy is showing pieces created for the show that draw upon his early career. “In the mid-80’s I discovered creating graffiti, collage and mixed media on paper which wasn’t being done at the time by any of my peers. It’s been awhile since I’ve gone back to doing this style of work. I felt it necessary in order to move forward in my career to look back and fine tune what I had started. The new works are vibrating with color and life and feel as it tells a story of walls I’ve done, characters I’ve created and the many people I’ve had the honor of meeting and calling brothers and sisters.
Michelle Carollo’s major work, “Steampunk Davis,” is a large-scale (8’ x 8’ x 4’) 3-D construction, inspired by 1930s modernist painter, Stuart Davis. “This is an homage to his work.” It’s constructed of the discarded junk she found around her Brooklyn studio.
You feel the power, a kinetic energy of the piece.
“My work explores gender, pop-culture, and domestic industry,” she writes. “It uses humor and color to capture the energy, power and tension in contemporary culture. By using a series of symbols, figures and built handicraft, my work blends the playful with the serious.
“I draw on multiple references from cartoons to graffiti and entertainment, as well as technology and the history of art. I find there is something completely ridiculous and pleasurable in making deceptively simple imagery. The result is a visual mash-up that remixes spontaneous information with a type of balanced order.”
The drawings are her studies for the larger piece to “help figure what color, patterns, shapes,” she says.
She also is exhibiting a quilt, demonstrating the versatility of the application of her kinetic scope. “I just started working with fabric.”
Carollo, who conquers “one white wall at a time,” has exhibited at MOMA PS1.
Lenny Achan’s style reflects his experiences growing up in New York City as a graffiti and street artist in the early 1990s. The works look as if origami were sucked into a canvas, but it is an illusion: he cuts New York City transit maps into precise shapes and assembles them, adding transparent spray paint as shadow to complete the illusion of 3-D.
“People looking at NYC transit maps likely means they are stressed out. I wanted to give people a reason to smile.”
Achan describes himself as “an artist and inventor, influenced by my time growing up in NYC” but embracing experiences outside of the traditional art world to enhance and influence his creative expression.
“I am a student of the laws of nature and sacred geometry and draw from the complexities of everyday life to create pieces that help audiences reflect on more simple times. My philosophy of modern art and the street art movement has been heavily influenced through studying and experiencing global disruption of various commercial and political industries. Art in all forms is a vehicle for innovation and communication. I used everything around me to create and share my view of the world.”
He says, “I wanted to use sacred geometry to mimic life. Geometry is sacred to the philosophy of origami – shapes, whether a person or a bumble bee – are shapes of geometry.
“It is formulaic – they mimic and respect the complexity of math, science, biology, while at same time” break down to simpler, essential shapes.
Achan clearly achieved his desired impact: a woman reflecting on his NYC Transit Map dog, “Cityboy,” exclaims how it brought her pure joy.
Will Power, a self-taught contemporary artist who was influenced by graffiti and hip-hop culture, describes the INV8DERS series of works in the exhibit as “a hybrid fusion of a New York City pigeon with spray paint can. The pigeon represents Graffiti and Street artists, the spray paint can head represents Contemporary Urban Art.” He is striving to make INV8ERS an iconic figure for urban art culture worldwide. He describes the vibrant colorful background as his foundation, his evolution from graffiti. “the ability to combine these various colors is a skill learned from many years of being a graffiti artist. The INV8DERS are a perfect amalgam of graffiti, street art and fine art.”
These artists “bring a myriad of visual cultural influences to their fine art practice,” said Gold Coast Arts Center’s Gallery Director and exhibit Curator Jude Amsel, Some hone their skills on the street, others working in the studio find their version of popular urban art, some having a unique language of their own not categorized within a specific movement. However, each one of the artists offers something unique and different as to their expression of Urban Pop.”
The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. Located on the North Shore of Long Island, it has brought the arts to tens of thousands of people throughout the region for more than 20 years. Among the Center’s offerings are its School for the Arts, which holds year-round classes in visual and performing arts for students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; film screenings and discussions; the annual Gold Coast International Film Festival; and initiatives that focus on senior citizens and underserved communities. These initiatives include artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher-training workshops and parent-child workshops. The Gold Coast Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
“Nature has been inspiring artists for centuries, and its beauty has been captured in paintings, sculptures, photographs and a variety of other medium. But some artists take the relationship between art and the environment a step further, creating works from nature itself or producing artworks that make bold statements about the natural world and the imprint mankind has left on it.” This is what curator Jude Amsel was looking for when she put together the exhibition, COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS, on view at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gallery in Great Neck, Long Island through April 1.
The seven artists whose works are represented “are commenting on man’s relationship with our planet. These artists have the power to make environmentalism a priority and bring green initiatives to the forefront of cultural conversations,” she stated.
“With all the gloom and doom, we can feel sad with what’s happening in the world. But these artists bring an awareness,” a literal consciousness of our role and responsibility, Amsel said at the Artists’ Reception, March 4. The viewer is left with a sense of optimism that man’s better impulses will rise to the fore.
Yoon Cho’s work – multi-media performance art which combines video superimposed with digitized drawings – is the starkest commentary on this theme: her project was inspired by a difficult pregnancy after 10 years of marriage and the birth of her son, she and her husband traveled to barren landscapes to comment on extinction and procreation, the images of life forcing its way through.
Beth Williams Garrett created feminized Buddha head sculptures out of plastic bags.
Linda Cunningham turned the blighted industrial waterfront of the South Bronx into striking images on torn, furled canvas.
Nancy Gesimondo found solace in creating assemblages of natural materials, where mussel shells appear as butterflies, a metaphorical prayer flying to heaven; water chestnut seedpods are like flying bats, and peacock feathers are like tall grass.
Lauren Skelly Bailey re-creates the natural world of coral reefs in meticulous glazed ceramics, mimicking the surprise you have when you touch coral, which seem to be fluid and flowing to discover they are rock hard.
Charles Cohen uses realistic photography to get reduce household products to the shape and color of their plastic containers to force a different perspective.
Luba Lukova, whose graphic artistry can be seen in the New York Times, brings her timely commentary to an image of a green plant shielded by a hand as bombs fall, in her silkscreen, “Peace and Planet” (2015).
What is so interesting is to see such variety of media and approaches that come together to the essential message of human impact on the natural world: a collective consciousness of our responsibility.
Here’s more from the artists about their works:
Lauren Skelly Bailey’s ceramics are uncanny in the way they so realistically, meticulously yet artistically represent coral. You appreciate the beauty of nature’s own design. And like nature itself which is deceptively complex (think of a wasp’s nest), her work is exceptionally technical. “Stacking Up” (2016) for example, is crafted of porcelain, stoneware, slip, glaze, resin and flock – the pieces are each fired five to seven times. There are pieces gilded with real gold on the last firing.
She began her arts education studying painting and cartooning at Adelphi, graduating with a BA and MA, then went on to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to earn her MFA. She produced many of these ceramics during a residency at the Museum of Arts & Design and had two grants from the NYS Council for the Arts.
“My work explores methods of making assemblage sculptures, conglomerations, installations, and figurines. There’s that sensation of falling for process, the chase of finding the unexpected and learning how it occurs. From that knowledgeI make intentional decisions regarding textural surfaces, glazes, slips and clay applications, changing the context of the piece from a study to a solution. I respond to changes and observe balance in my work, seeking to push an uneasy tension between materials and form. Each new sculpture is a moment, something new that has been achieved or understood, taking me further into my experience with ceramics.” (laurenskellybailey.com)
The first reaction to Nancy Gesimondo’s assemblages is how they evoke Native American references. Nancy is from Sunnyside, Queens.
“My work is an exploration of materiality and science that results in new visceral narratives. I create assemblages comprised of natural materials such as shells, feathers, seedpods, semi-precious stones, rocks and crystal formations.The juxtaposition of these found elements results in surreal landscapes, imaginal creatures and hybrid specimens that aim to suggest the exploration and sense of mystery of an archeologist assembling vestiges of a distant past with no true reference of their origin.
“My work is a reflection of my appreciation of nature’s beauty and diversity, as well as my concern for its decline. The delicate fragments imbue the work with an ethereal quality that portends a futuristic glimpse of the place we call home.”
Her assemblages draw upon natural materials she regularly collects – feathers, shells, seedpods, semi-precious stones, rocks and crystal formations. “It shows a reverence for Earth.”
“I’ve been collecting feathers forever – they are like little signs from beyond to me.”
She added, “I let the materials guide me towards the image. I very rarely see the composition in advance.”
The overall feeling is of tranquility, a peacefulness, a poetic aesthetic. The natural elements are used as metaphors.
“A Winged Victory for the Sullen” (2016) is an assemblage with amethyst crystal, iridescent feathers, and water chestnut seedpods (collected at Beacon NY), that look like flying birds. It is mounted on 300 lb watercolor paper, and she explained how she had to puncture roofing nails from the back, then glue the seedpods on.
“Evening Prayers III,” (2017) draws upon mussels that look like butterflies, and a strip of peacock features that look like tall grass. “It’s difficult to find mussels that are still together, but after my father died, I wanted to go to the beach. I went to Long Beach where I know there are mussels, but on this day, I never saw so many whole mussels as then. I collected four bags worth. I felt it was a sign from my father, “Abundance. Don’t worry.”
“The shells poetically morph into butterflies. They are like prayers – wishes and wants that fly to heaven.,”
Linda Cunningham makes an artful plea on behalf of South Bronx in her series, “South Bronx Waterfront Sagas-shards: The New Vision” (2016).
“Collaged canvas with torn edges convey contradictions documented with photo-transferred images, layered with acrylic and pastel revealing a broken South Bronx history, an urban renewal tragedy, an area once the retreat of choice for fresh air and greenery. The shards of information and vistas evoke the Port Morris harbor where barges once docked and youth swam off a pier in the East River. The beautiful open vistas are now inaccessible to the residents of the Mott Haven and Port Morris areas of the South Bronx, abandoned and dominated by deteriorating remains, rotting remnants of piers, power stations and City Waste transfer stations.”
Cunningham’s work centers upon time, transience, contradictions, and compelling environmental concerns juxtaposed against industry and urban blight.
The canvas itself is twisted and tortured in its way – not at all the neat rectangles that fit into frames.
“Life doesn’t come in a convenient box – I can’t work in a square (or rectangle). Life is one torn edge to another.”
Beth Williams Garrett, who studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and has shown her artwork up and down the East Coast, said, “I was a painter for 30 years, until 2010, when I felt the need to make sculpture. I was searching for a suitable sculpting material, I stumbled upon using plastic bags as a medium… Plastic bags were being thrown away – that’s no good for environment. They present themselves to me as a material to make sculpture with.”
“The inspiration for my first sculptures came from my travels to Buddhist temples in Japan and ancient ruins in Rome.”
Indeed, the sculptures fashioned of plastic bags evoke Buddha, but then there is a twist. “I have always felt my work was autobiographical, as a woman and focused on the female figure.
The result is a feminized Buddha – “girl Buddhas” she said.
Her skill as a painter comes through in the way she uses the colors and patterns in the plastic bags to great effect. One of the pieces draws on both her painting and the sculpting.
“Since then, I have been exploring what I can do with the plastic bags. My newest endeavors have been combining the 3-dimensional work with the 2-dimensional work as relief/multi media pieces and I continue making heads as I love how the plastic bags lend themselves to creating facial expressions.”
“It happened by accident in the studio. I propped the plastic bag head on a canvas to take a picture and decided to combine the two. I usually paint bodies without a head, so it made me laugh to make plastic bag without the body. (bethwilliamsgarrettart.webs.com)
Yoon Cho’s Desert Walk Photo and Video Series explores the connection with our environments by featuring America’s diverse desert landscapes with superimposed digital drawings of various biological life forms over the artist’s walk performance. The silhouette graphics of biological life forms such as cells, pollen, reproductive organs, embryos, and skeletons in the sky tell a story of the cycle of life and our co-existence with the Earth.
Cho’s personal journey from a difficult pregnancy to motherhood and upbringing in a family of physicians encouraged her to examine the relationship between the biological life forms and their habitats. The Desert Walk encapsulates beauty, destruction, and preservation of the land we live in.
The work is based on photographs from 20 different sites in four states (New Mexico, California, Nevada and Arizona). The final scene is at the Array where astronomers listen for signs of life from outer space. “That represents the future,” she says.
Her work was supported by the Puffin Foundation and New York State Foundation of Arts. (www.yooncho.com)
Charles Cohen uses photography to change perspective.
“From the threshold between participation and observation, I break with day to day experience. Familiar with the ethnographer’s dilemma, I embrace this betwixt state as the key to being human: we act as protagonist and critic in our own lives so that we can bridge the gap between individual and collective.
“My work exposes reductive dualities and challenges the ordinary relationship between perceiver and perceived by provoking reflexive thought… My work explores a range of subjects, literal and figurative, in an embrace of liminality and in confrontation with a binary view. The result transforms the subject/object relationship from real to metaphor and liberates a state of being—one. (www.promulgator.com)
Luba Lukova creates images that she hopes will catalyze action and change the world. Her thought-provoking posters address essential themes of humanity and injustice worldwide. Her messages help viewers develop empathetic understanding for social and cultural issues through indelible metaphors and an economy of line, color, and text. Lukova’s work is included in the permanent collections of MoMa; Denver Art Museum; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Hong Kong Heritage Museum; Centre de la Gravure et de l’Image imprimée, La Louvière, Belgium; the Library of Congress; and the World Bank, Washington, D.C. (www.lukova.net)
The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. It offers classes for tots to seniors in art, music, dance and performance;, events, gallery, film festivals and outreach programs.
Housed in what was Childs Frick’s natural history laboratory where he studied paleontology, the newly opened Manes Family Art & Education Center on the grounds of the Nassau County Museum of Art – Frick’s former estate – gives the museum a new dimension in arts education and appreciation.
The Manes Center, named in recognition of Museum Trustee Dr. Harvey Manes and the Manes Foundation’s $1 million gift, gives the museum the space to offer a dynamic and creative environment in which audiences of all ages and abilities can find creative engagement through a variety of activities, classes and projects. This includes new hands-on programs for children as young as 3, adults from beginners to skilled, and an ambitious curriculum for autistic individuals.
The environment is special: Childs Frick, the son of Henry Clay Frick, was a vertebrate paleontologist and a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History. The center has repurposed Frick’s labs into art “labs,” each dedicated to a specific type of art learning, to address the multiple learning styles, interests and abilities of adults and children: Hands-On Studio Lab, Indoor/Outdoor Lab, Reading Resource Lab and Design Tech Lab, as well as additional exhibit space.
This means that for the first time, the Museum will be able to offer hands-on multi-day workshops across the visual arts disciplines.
“Family programs at the Manes Center provide children and the adults in their lives the opportunity to take time from their busy schedules to reconnect while talking about and making art together. Each week we offer projects that encourage curiosity and experimentation, and creative thinking through a variety of experiences and materials inspired by current exhibitions.”
“Before, we always scrambled for space in order to run programs at the museum,” commented NCMA Director Karl E. Willers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, August 3. “This facility allows us to enhance and expand all kinds of classes… Programs can be geared to exhibits as well as to open to the surrounding landscape. Many art programs integrate science and the natural world. It adds a new dimension to our educational offerings – extended hands-on workshops, more events going on simultaneously spanning age and ability groups, when before we were limited by the space availability in the mansion.”
The building, which was designed for Charles Frick’s paleontology research (the specimens he collected are now at the Museum of Natural History), is a series of laboratories that are being repurposed for making art in all its forms. The floors are finished to accommodate workshops and there are sinks!
“We can offer proper professional art spaces for people to look at and make art in contemporary studio facility,” said Reem Hussein, who was brought in to manage the center. We are bringing in technology – i-Pads to create art with technology. But we are mindful of people who want traditional art making.
“These are programs we don’t offer now. We will able to offer more series programs, rather than one-shots and lectures.”
She said that the rooms are called “labs” to pay homage to Frick.
The New American Garden Inaugural Exhibit
The public is invited to preview the Manes Center and take in its inaugural exhibit, “The New American Garden: The Landscape Architecture of Oehme, van Sweden.”
Organized by The Cultural Landscape Foundation, The New American Garden is a traveling photographic exhibition which chronicles the careers and influence of Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden who revolutionized landscape architecture with the creation of a type of garden characterized by large swaths of grasses and fields of perennials. The gardens are the penultimate merger of man and nature, and the ultimate in “installation” art’s ephemeral quality. Indeed, 10 of the gardens that are immortalized in the photographs are gone, and many others are in jeopardy.
During this introductory period, through September 7, admission to the Manes Center is free (free admission offer does not include the main building, the Saltzman Fine Art Building).
The building now looks as a low-level white box, but that will soon change. The pop/surrealist modern artist Kenny Scharf is being invited to paint the exterior. After that, it is anticipated that the landscape architects Oehme, van Sweden will create a new garden.
The focus on gardens for the inaugural exhibit at the Manes Center is also appropriate for this grand estate.
Most of the 145 acres originally belonged to poet, lawyer, conservationist, political activist, patron of the arts and preservationist William Cullen Bryant, who settled in Roslyn in 1843. The long-time editor of the New York Post built is home, Cedarmore, and founded Roslyn’s public library. In 1862, he built a cottage for his friend and fellow poet, Miss Jerusha Dewey (you can see the cottage when you explore the hiking trails on the grounds). In 1900, Lloyd Stephens Bryce purchased Bryant’s ‘Upland Farm’ and commissioned architect Ogden Codman, Jr. to design Bryce House, the present mansion. Henry Clay Frick, co-founder of US Steel Corporation purchased Bryce House in 1919 as a gift for his son, Childs Frick, a Princeton graduate who became a vertebrate paleontologist and naturalist.
For museum-goers, the estate grounds also offer:
Sculpture Park: Approximately 30 works, many of them monumental in size, by renowned artists including Fernando Botero, Tom Otterness, George Rickey and Mark DiSuvero among others, are situated to interact with nature on the museum’s magnificent 145-acre property.
Walking Trails: The museum’s 145 acres include many marked nature trails through the woods, perfect for family hikes or independent exploration.
Gardens: From restored formal gardens of historic importance to quiet little nooks for dreaming away an afternoon, the museum’s 145 acre property features many lush examples of horticultural arts. Come view our expanded gardens and beautiful new path to the museum.
Today, Frick’s mansion is the Saltzman Fine Arts Building, home to the Nassau County Museum of Art, which has put on world-class exhibitions and has a notable collection, including 150 Tiffany paintings and drawings which were bequeathed to the museum.
Currently on exhibit in the Saltzman Fine Art Building (through November 5, 2017)
“New York, New York”: From its earliest years, New York City was the stage on which the transformation of America played out, reflecting economic and historic upheavals that led to the city’s place as the financial and art capital of the world. This exhibition, guest curated by Director Emerita Constance Schwartz, portrays the city’s grit and glamour, its excitement and bustle, the heartbeat of a great metropolis, through more than 140 works by artists such as John Sloan, Reginald Marsh, Childe Hassam, Red Grooms, Robert Henri, Fairfield Porter, Berenice Abbott, Milton Avery and Georgia O’Keeffe among many others.
“Glamour Icons: Marc Rosen”: Through the work of the award-winning designer Marc Rosen, Glamour Icons celebrates fragrance and cosmetic packaging as an art form. This retrospective spanning the designer’s 40-year career includes many of his most iconic designs as well as some vintage 20th-century perfume bottles from Rosen’s personal collection. The designer’s work has been recognized with many industry awards and is also in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Musée de La Mode in Paris.
Family Sundays – 1– 4 pm (free with admission): Be inspired by an exhibition based gallery conversation, then explore new art materials and learn new art-based vocabulary and ideas in the studio with our museum educator.
Super Family Sundays – 1-4 pm (admission plus $10 materials fee):
Families immerse themselves in artmaking and exploring the Museum, the grounds, and sculpture collection during Super Family Sundays. Multiple activities are offered in collaboration with teaching artists in a variety of media, from performance to monumental cardboard constructions. Themes connecting the artmaking activities are inspired by the art on view in our galleries, the Museum’s history or the changing seasons on display in its forests and gardens.
Preview of Educational Programs at Manes Center
Among the arts education programs that will be available at the Manes Center beginning this fall:
Early Childhood Programs: Programs for young children and their adult companions at the Manes Center are all about discovery. Both in the galleries and in the art studio, children find opportunity for self-expression, socialization, and experimentation, through creative play and exploration through open ended developmentally appropriate experiences. Looking at and talking about art fosters visual literacy in young children.
Story Time for 3 to 5 year olds, featuring gallery exploration and hands-on art activities.
Young Artists (ages 3-5) programs for children and their adult companions consist of hands-on activities designed to experiment and become familiar with art materials and processes.
An Outdoor Classroom program will offer guided and self-guided activities for children to encourage the exploration of the natural environment through experiences that make the connection between art and science. Activities are designed to encourage open air exploration and imaginative play.
A drawing class geared to children 8-11 years old, to learn the rules of traditional drawing by practicing line, shading, and perspective through drawing in the studio and gallery and using experimental materials.
A program tentatively titled “Imagine, Design & Build,” for children 11-15 to experience the design process through sketching and building as they dive deep into creative thinking and problem-solving to explore the connections between design, art, science, and technology.
A program for teens 13-17 is aimed at supporting high school students who are preparing portfolios as part of their college applications. Group and individual instruction focus on elements and principles of art and design through application to students’ own work and conversations about art work in the museum’s galleries. Student will have the opportunity for work with live models, critique sessions, and portfolio reviews.
Hands-on studio programs are being designed for adults of all levels of art making experience, taught by experienced artists. The programs focus on group and individual projects to help adults explore and learn art skills and processes, and have opportunities for personal expression. Adults will learn techniques of drawing & painting, sculpture, and printmaking and have opportunities to draw from live models.
“The Creative Process” dovetails with every changing exhibition in the Manes Center’s contemporary art gallery: visitors are invited to create in response to the art on view through hands on activities that focus on artists’ themes, processes, and materials. Projects are designed to pique curiosity and inspire creativity, and gain new insights into the creative process.
Life drawing at the Manes Center will present the opportunity to draw from a live model through gesture sketches and longer duration poses under the guidance of a teaching artist.
Adults can learn the basics of drawing and painting and explore materials such as graphite, charcoal, and conté crayon, watercolor and acrylic paint. Projects will be inspired by art history and current gallery exhibitions.
The center will also offer programs in using digital arttools to create traditional and experimental works of art.
Art Talksfor adults invited scholars, academics and exhibiting artists to introduce and discuss topics in the field of art with visitors in an intimate salon style setting.
Programs for Special Needs
Art education programs are also being designed for children, teens and adults with special needs.
One program invites families affected by autism into the galleries and art studio to talk about and make art. Throughout the course of this program parents and caregivers will gain skills in behavioral methods that they can employ when bringing their child into a community setting. Families will join the Art Educator trained in Art Therapy in fun interactive gallery experiences that provide opportunities for everyone to look at and talk about art in a group setting. Then off to the studio for hands on art making activities that encourage experimentation with new materials, processes and creative play.
Another workshop is aimed at building social and vocational skills for teens and young adults with autism through arts-based workshops. During this workshop series, teens will receive hands on training in basic artistic processes that can be translated into practical job skills. Based on current exhibitions in the galleries at Nassau County Museum of Art, these workshops will encourage participants to explore different methods of art making and design and how a museum can be a resource for creative inspiration. Students with autism will have the opportunity to apply their artistic skills and functional academic learning in a real world setting.
Explore picture & art books and related resources about art history and museum exhibitions. This space is equipped with manipulatives and simple drawing materials for young children.
The Manes Center will also be available for birthday parties, with appropriate art project activities. Party bookings are available on Saturdays 12:30 – 2 pm.
Nassau County Museum of Art, consisting of the Saltzman Fine Art Building and The Manes Family Art & Education Center, is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road. The Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to12). During the August 3-September 10 preview of the Manes Center, there is no admission fee (this does not include admission to the Saltzman Fine Art Building). Members are admitted free. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m.; meet in the lobby, no reservations needed. Tours are free with museum admission. Family art activities and family tours are offered Sundays from 1 pm; free with museum admission. Call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 to inquire about group tours. The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 516-484-9338 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log onto nassaumuseum.org.
When RJ Rosegarten left Great Neck 17 years ago, where he had gone to school, raised a family, had a career in advertising and served as Mayor of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, he was finally free to pursue an ambition from childhood: to be an artist.
He returns to the Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck Plaza – which as mayor he helped bring fruition – with a show, “Lost & Found: the Art of Assemblage” which draws upon his strong sense of design and construction. The exhibition is on view through March 12.
“Assemblage involves the thoughtful combination of elements to create something new and original,” states Jude Amsel, the curator who installed the massive exhibit of some 50 works.
RJ Rosegarten (better known by Great Neckers as Bob) claims that the pieces are not intended to hammer home a theme or message or story, that he approaches the work from the point of view of design, color and form, meticulously choosing objects that together form the image he has conceptualized in his mind.
At the end of it, he says, he comes up with a title. “That’s often the most difficult part,” he says.
His humor comes through with the titles (“it’s Great to be King”), but don’t read in a theme or moral – it’s for the beholder to find your own meaning.
But if the piece is built around an aesthetic, the choice of objects – each with their own meaning – the title, in fact, broadcasts a mood, emotion or message even if was subconsciously in Rosegarten’s mind, or resounds in the viewer’s own head. The design captures your attention, but then you keep going back to explore and discover and your head forms its own patterns and themes.
These aren’t objects. These aren’t randomly selected. Each element is meticulously chosen – sometimes involving longtime searches.
He describes his effort obtaining just the right red delicious apples (so realistic you think they are actual fruit), for his piece, “Legacy of the Red Apple,” (2016). He had two heads that he fused into one, like Siamese twins. Why apples? “In the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge had fruit.”
He can tell you the provenance of each object in the piece – where he obtained the silver head in “Sarah Silverstone Presents” and how it took a long time before he found just the sunglasses he wanted for the piece, how the drawer it is assembled in came from a factory (the writing is on the side). He sees Sarah as a person, referring to Sarah as “her”. Indeed, the two gauges and thermometer evoke her personhood, even symbolically.
There is a story behind every piece – about how I got there, where the pieces came from – can tell you where every piece came from – glasses – looked for it a long time – looked for a long time where to put – fit on Sarah – gauge, knew where it would go – design them, lay them out, do not glue them, leave for a week, come back and keep looking at them, move around, put pieces in/out, then glue, last stage – once glue, sign name, over – can’t go back and say I wish I put a ball in there.
“Sarah Silverstone has a twin sister,” he says, explaining that he bought two of the metallic faces. “Sarah represented to me the absolute woman, a sexy woman; her sister is so sexy, every time I pass her, I talk to her, ‘Hope you have a nice day.’”
He has the same personal connection with the “Wizard of Odd” and the “Thought Collector”.
The personal connection is manifest in his work, Dorzi/Dorzi, built around a vinyl record, but not just any 1950s 45rpm. His friend made the label to suggest it was made by the Bobby Randall 3 band. You learn that Bobby Randall, he explains was non-ethnic name Rosegarten was going to use when got out of college and was going into advertising. (He was discouraged from changing his name by his grandmother.) There are 3 hands – for the three band members, in a pose as if they are snapping their fingers to the beat.
His grandmother and grandfather appear again in small photographs that are embedded into a series of four “Junk Drawer” works.
Junk Drawers may look like a hodgepodge, but are not random, he says.
“I visualize what junk drawers have,” he says. “Everyone has junk drawers – in bedrooms, kitchens, desk drawer, basement.” He chooses the items that fill the drawers (which he builds) independently, and over time, lays them out and photographs them. “Then I take everything out and glue back the items one by one.”
The Junk Drawer series each has a photograph of grandmother and grandfather at Rockaway Beach.
One of the boxes has a plastic Howdy Doody figure, while another has the Princess character from the show. He says he goes for colors, shapes and looks for holes.
“It’s not nostalgia,” he insists. But as he knows the provenance of every piece – some have personal connection, like the photos of his grandparents and a John Lennon/Imagine photo.
“Every time you look, you see something else.” Or actually, you “find” something new.
But looking at the items, it is hard not to become nostalgic as you find items that spark memories of your own past. The Junk Drawer series and his Americana series are like mini-Smithsonians of American cultural icons of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and so forth.
Rosegarten says he loves making the Junk Drawers and would customize for someone on commission. “I would go to your house and if you didn’t have the elements I wanted, I would ask if I could use some of mine.”
The pieces he chooses are specific – he combs particular shops (he has his favorites for manikins in the Garment District), antique stores, flea markets, garage and barn sales, which “are entertainment in the country and have become an essential part of my new work with found objects. One day I might find a rusted scythe with a broken wooden handle; the next day a box of glass dolls’ eyes or a red View-Master. I put the material in labeled boxes and store them to be rediscovered.
“When I select objects for a new composition, I may sit with them for days, moving them around like pieces on a chessboard until they take shape. Placement and balance are key. I remove pieces; add others, balancing shadows, shapes, textures and color until I know instinctively that the work is completed: the new composition has taken on another dimension, a unity of its own and gained strength and character.”
Rosegarten, who grew up in Great Neck (he graduated high school with movie director Francis Ford Coppola), now lives “in the country” in upstate New York, in a house he built 17 years ago where he has a 30 x 30 ft studio off his bedroom that opens to a deck and pond, and a 2500- sq ft basement work area.
His collected objects are neatly organized in labeled tubs under tables – machine parts, metal parts, extra toys, manikin hands.“Everything has a place, a place for everything.”
Often, he visualizes the entire piece in his head before he starts his assemblage.
“I just finished a piece Thursday. It doesn’t have a name (or does it have a name): The Quick Brown Dog Jumps Over the Lazy Fox. Why? Because part of the visual – a box,with 2 white hands, at the top has the keyboard of a very very small typewriter –a vertical piece, a piece at bottom, a nodule on top hands,. The sense of design is perfect. It was in my head.”
“I never went to art school, except for a month at the Art Students League, Bruce Dorfman, teaching there since early 60s – he said, push the envelope. It’s ok if off-center, if you don’t have anything there and want it to sit there.”
Indeed, it is so ironic considering that most people move to Great Neck from New York City because of the public schools, that his big regret is that when his family was still living in the Bronx, he was accepted into Music & Art, but before he could attend, his family moved to Great Neck.
“I should have gone to Music & Art. I would have had an art background and the chances are I would have gone to Pratt, School of Visual Arts, or Cooper Union.” He said his father was not keen on Rosegarten going into advertising, but had he had an art background, he would have been on the creative side, instead of a “suit.” “I would have been more Don Draper than the account guy.”
He was doing painting until 1990s, then, around 2000, he went to an antique show on 6th Avenue and came upon wooden patterns which were used to make metal parts in the early 1900s. “I bought 20 of them –they were inexpensive – I didn’t know what I would do with them. I washed them off, That’s when I started.“
It fit into his overarching philosophy of reuse, repurpose, renewal – “an ability to use things that have been tossed away and have them come back and serve another purpose – Lost and Found (is what I call it). I’m not interested in what is sold in dollar store but things that have age, patina, character. Snapshot” is built around an antique folded camera and tractor parts.
“I take individual pieces that by themselves are utilitarian and they become a “body” – a personality. Each has its own personality.”
The exhibit also includes Rosegarten’s paintings, which have the look and vibe of Pop. “Just as I have reinvented myself a number of times in the past 30 years, so too has my art undergone a metamorphosis. Over the last ten years, it has moved from post-Pop paintings to a more muscular sculptural medium, where form and design take precedence over color.”
Regina Gil, Founder/Executive Director of the Arts Center, writes in her introduction to the catalog:
“In this latest chapter of his creative life, RJ Rosegarten draws upon the rich fabric of his imagination, strong art and design skills, and solid knowledge of carpentry that lets him execute what he already sees in his mind fully formed. And the results are impressive.
“Here is a man who grew up in a small town, absorbing all the qualities of civics, ethics, and community values that one associates with such an upbringing. He married young, had three sons and led the life of the American Dream. He even went on to work in the advertising world; that fabled Madison Avenue bastion of the creative idea sellers; but not as an artist, as a ‘suit’. So, without knowing it, he was adding to his arsenal of skills by including leadership, salesmanship, and public speaking to his repertoire. But he was fascinated by and engaged with the artists and designers.
“When he left advertising, he became a beloved and respected mayor of that same town, bringing his love of the town and business acumen to the job. He demonstrated that the world of politics and government were new fields on which he could impose his creative eye. As a result, the town grew and he was elected and re-elected time and again.
“It was only when he left the town again, retiring from public life that he began to fully realize his longtime dream of being an artist in his own right. And he is an artist in the fullest sense of the word. Not only are his technical skills the very best; but his thoughts, ideas and vision are on display, inviting the viewer to enter his carefully constructed world; challenging the viewer to understand his point of view, to embrace it or to disagree. A lifetime of thinking and living, of humor and wit, of deep, serious emotion and also of playfulness; the full range of the human experience in a construction of wood and found objects.
“As a longtime friend, I am delighted to see RJ ‘Bob’ Rosegarten come home to Great Neck. Without his friendship and assistance, mentoring another dreamer through the shoals of politics, fundraising, and community engagement, it is doubtful that this Gold Coast Arts Center could have found its home here. It seems fitting that we honor him with this exhibit that introduces the people he served as mayor to the man he is now — the artist.”
“RJ Rosegarten, Lost & Found: The Art of Assemblage” is on view through March 12 at The Gold Coast Arts Center, 113 Middle Neck Rd, Great Neck, NY, 516-829-2570 or www.GoldCoastArts.org.
For the first time, all of Nassau County Museum of Art’s galleries are devoted to the art of photography, collectively giving a retrospective and perspective on 100 years and some of the most important photographs and photographers in history. The exhibit is on view through March 5, 2017.
On view in the Main Galleries on the first floor are two exhibitions drawn from the collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts (KIA), Kalamazoo, Michigan: Ansel Adams: Sight and Feeling and Light Works: 100 Years of Photos. On view in the Second Floor Galleries is New Photos: Long Island Collects, important photographic works of the last half century from private Long Island art collections.
Ansel Adams: Sight and Feeling: Ansel Adams’ ability to create photographs with a remarkable range and subtlety of tones is legendary. Yet for all his technical mastery, Adams recognized that what made a compelling photograph was far more elusive. This exhibition of Adams’ photographs from the KIA collection suggests how his intuitive and emotional response to the landscape resulted in powerful and enduring photographs.
Light Works: 100 Years of Photos: From Eadweard Muybridge’s 19th-century photographic studies of animal locomotion to Richard Misrach’s contemporary chromogenic prints, this exhibition spans the history of photography. Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Curtis, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson and many other celebrated photographers comprise this survey of photography processes and subjects from 1873 to 2000.
Coincidentally, the opening at NCMA occurred the same day as Time published its “100 Most Influential Photos of All Time,” and notably, several in this exhibit have been included among those deemed the most influential including Eadweard Muybridge’s breakthrough photo, “The Horse in Motion,” from 1878; Edward Steichen’s “The Steerage” (1904), Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare” (1932), Dorothea Lange’s “The Migrant Mother” (1936) among them.
New Photos: Long Island Collects focuses on significant photographic works created from the 1960s through the present day, from private collectors. Among the artists included in New Photos: Long Island Collects are John Baldessari, Matthew Barney, Robert Mapplethorpe, Vic Muniz, Cindy Sherman and William Wegman.
The Museum is offering a variety of public programs to amplify the experience of visiting these three exhibitions. Two films are screening daily: Stryker’s America: Photographing the Great Depression and Cartier-Bresson’s Century. Three Brown Bag Lectures illuminate the art and the artists included in these exhibitions. Other public programs are inspired by the exhibitions: Sketching in the Galleries, and The River, a concert performed by the musical ensemble ETHEL. The Museum’s family programs from November 19 to March 5 similarly draw inspiration from the exhibitions: Neiman Marcus Family Sundays,February Break for Art and two Super Family Sunday offerings, Winter Wonderland and Merrynaking in a Gold Coast Mansion. For further information on these programs, visit the Museum’s website, nassaumuseum.org/events.
Even the museum’s gift shop artfully presents items that evoke the exhibit.
The Nassau County Museum of Art is a destination in itself.
Most of the 145 acres that are now the Nassau County Museum of Art originally belonged to poet, lawyer, conservationist, political activist, patron of the arts and preservationist William Cullen Bryant, who settled in Roslyn in 1843.
The long-time editor of the New York Post built his home, Cedarmore, and founded Roslyn’s public library.
In 1862, he built a cottage for his friend and fellow poet, Miss Jerusha Dewey (you can see the cottage when you explore the hiking trails).
In 1900, Lloyd Stephens Bryce purchased Bryant’s ‘Upland Farm’ and commissioned architect Ogden Codman, Jr. to design Bryce House, the present mansion. Henry Clay Frick, co-founder of U.S. Steel Corporation purchased Bryce House in 1919 as a gift for his son, Childs Frick, a Princeton graduate who became a vertebrate paleontologist and naturalist.
Be sure to make time to explore the grounds of this magnificent estate:
Sculpture Park: Approximately 40 works, many of them monumental in size, by renowned artists including Fernando Botero, Tom Otterness, George Rickey and Mark DiSuvero among others, are situated to interact with nature on the museum’s magnificent 145-acre property.
Walking Trails: The museum’s 145 acres include many marked nature trails through the woods, perfect for family hikes or independent exploration.
Gardens: From restored formal gardens of historic importance to quiet little nooks for dreaming away an afternoon, the museum’s 145 acre property features many lush examples of horticultural arts. Explore expanded gardens and beautiful new path to the museum.
Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive in Roslyn Harbor, just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (62 and above) and $4 for students and children (4 to12). Members are admitted free. Docent-led tours of the exhibition are offered at 2 p.m. each day; tours of the mansion are offered each Saturday at 1 p.m.; meet in the lobby, no reservations needed. Tours are free with museum admission. Family art activities and family tours are offered Sundays from 1 pm; free with museum admission. Call (516) 484-9338, ext. 12 to inquire about group tours. The Museum Store is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Red Maple Market Café is open Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. Call (516) 484-9337 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log onto nassaumuseum.org.
What is inside, and what is outside? What are the boundaries that delineate “interiors”. How much of what is interior is our own perception, our own making? These are the questions explored by three artists – Laini Nemett, Orestes Gonzalez, and Maxi Cohen – represented in “Interiors” on view at the Gold Coast Arts Center in Great Neck, through November 20.
Interiors is an exhibition that explores the artist’s relationship with familiar places and how they connect to interior landscapes of personal history, memory and association. The painter Laini Nemett comments that she wants the composite imagery to conjure memory but also to emulate an experience of place. Orestes Gonzalez’s photographs of interior spaces captures moments of loneliness, happiness and a time of innocence. Photographer/videographer, Maxi Cohen captures moments in the ladies room, “as a space of sanctuary and solitude”.
The only thing common to all is that their creative works “serve as a portal to interior spaces that are in plain sight and yet frequently overlooked,” notes Jude Amsel, Gold Coast Arts Center Gallery Director. They offer a portal to a new way of looking and experiencing what we all take for granted.
Laini Nemett: “Last Door on the Right”
Laini Nemett creates her own sense of place and space – literally. Her paintings stem from imagination – memories and relationships – which go into intricate cardboard models models she constructs at the beginning of her process. She then creates bold paintings that realistically represent these imagined places. They take the viewer in, forcing the viewer to contemplate the scene. It is at that point that the viewer realizes the impossibility of the place – a window that is upside down, a ceiling that has the texture and color of carpeting which should be on the floor.
One of the most interesting perspectives stems from a whirlwind visit to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. You would never realize it is the Eiffel Tower because the perspective is looking down from a landing through plexiglass casting a reflection made “wobbly” with rain.
“I assemble my own relics of experience. I discover their logic in the ways they fit together and attempt to make sense of how we decipher place,” Nemett says. One of her paintings in the exhibit is titled “Last Door on the Right.”
“A constant kaleidoscope of imagery the mind sorts at random, concealing and revealing fragments of memories. I choose to disorient myself amidst the puzzle, letting observation suggest the direction.”
“Extended time in different architectural cultures has shaped how I understand the idea of ‘home.’ In downtown Baltimore, buildings are boarded up and left as skeletons of a family’s history, while new constructions incite possibilities of new beginnings. In the boroughs of New York, old facades are painted away or torn down as new anonymous condo projects begin almost every day. The expansive land of Wyoming holds 100-year old ranches and hand-built homesteads that remain as physical mementos of multiple generations.”
But while the constructions hold the histories and the memories of the people, the paintings are devoid of people altogether. Like a dream, you are surveying the scene.
There is such detail that at first glance, you think you could walk in. But these structures don’t exist – and can’t exist.
“It’s more compelling. I don’t want the painting to answer the questions, but get you to think more, ask more, linger longer. That’s why I paint instead of take photographs. I want to do something that can only happen in painting.”
Orestes Gonzalez: Photographs of Havana, Miami
Orestes Gonzalez also challenges people’s perspective. His black-and-white photographic series from Havana, Cuba, “This Island is My House,” (2016) shows interiors which are really exteriors – a barber who has turned a courtyard into his shop, a building without a roof. Exteriors become interiors and vice versa.
In Cuba, he notes, roof collapses are common, and the lack of materials nad maintenance has created a landscape of ruins in a city of 2 million people.
By necessity, then, “public and private lines are blurred or compromised,” he says. In Cuba, where interior space is very limited or compromised, “interiors are more symbolic rather than literal.” These are people who live their inner lives in a public setting and deal with their environment – their situation – the best they can. In Cuba, the island is the ‘house’ they live in.”
There are also four mural-sized color photographs taken of his Uncle Julio’s apartment in Miami, taken after he passed away. “Julio’s House,” 2007, shows how his interior space was revealing of who he was inside, but afraid to reveal to the outside world.
Maxi Cohen: ‘Ladies Rooms Around the World’
Maxi Cohen, a filmmaker, turned to a different camera in making “Ladies Rooms Around the World.” The series, produced over decades, makes you rethink these customarily private spaces. Her own journey began in 1978 when she was at the Miami Film Festival with her first feature length film documentary, “Joe and Maxi” about her relationship with her father. She retreated to the Ladies room to escape the boring awards dinner and found herself among a gaggle of octogenarians fussing over corsets and false eyelashes. She was entranced by this “tribal dance” and whenever she saw an interesting scene in the ladies room – Australia to Zambia, Bombay to Bosnia, Rio to Tel Aviv, she snapped it. Almost all of them also capture her in the scene – she said she didn’t feel it was right to invade the privacy of others and not include herself. “Since I am recording others in their private rituals, the sanctuaries of women, I have not wanted to separate myself; there is no ‘them’, only ‘we’.” She says.
She notes that in the 1990s, she was in an Aboriginal bar in the Australian outback, when women took her into the ladies room to confide in her about the incest and rape of the young boys and girls in the community. In Zambia, she watched as a ladies room attendant would be accepting cash all night, and exchanging little packets in blue tissue paper.
The contrast in places, scenes and colors (since she shoots with available light), not to mention the range of women captured in the images – the New York Thruway, 1978; Livingstone Disco, Zambia, 2003; a film festival in 1981 where Maxi Cohen captures herself in a borrowed gown or possibly robe her friend got from Yoko Ono – is artful and aesthetically pleasing in a way you would never expect hearing about a series of photos of “Ladies Rooms Around the World.”
The Gold Coast Arts Center is located at 113 Middle Neck Road (entrance from the Maple Avenue parking lot), 516-829-2570, goldcoastarts.org.