Tagged: chashama

Calendar. 08.18.09.

infinity, in Spool, at chashama on 37th street. (Image courtesy of infinity.)

Studio Visit: Lishan Chang at chashama in Queens.

Taxidermy galore: in the studio with Lishan Chang. (Photos by C-M.)

A couple of weeks back I attended an open studio that chashama hosted at their new studio spaces in Jamaica, Queens. My favorite of the bunch — hands down — was the former dentist’s office that has been reborn as a taxidermy studio for artist Lishan Chang. Chang, whose past installations have involved everything from plastic wrap to burnt bread, is now hard at work on a series in which he catalogues, taxidermies and displays road kill.

Though the project is still underway, he currently has a fine selection of squirrels, raccoons, hawks, geese and cats that have all been harvested from area roads. Prior to the project, Chang had little experience with taxidermy. But after a short introductory course and a few how-to YouTube videos, he has become a prolific stuffer of unfortunate animals. It’s an interesting way of honoring the creatures we thoughtlessly mow down with our cars. Can’t wait to see the full-blown install when it’s done.

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NY Post to Art: Drop Dead.

The New York Post would probably like this better if it were a glass-walled high-rise. (Photo by F. Trainer. See it large.)

As a teenager, I had the visual misfortune to go to high school in Orange County, California, land of cookie cutter developments, cookie cutter strip malls, cookie cutter freeways and cookie cutter nose jobs. Which is why I’ve always appreciated the visual chaos of New York: from the blingarrific oversized billboards in Times Square to the polished chrome gates of row houses in Queens to the graffiti that covers just about every surface not policed by a business improvement district.

Which is why reading Lois Weiss’s real estate column in Rupert Murdoch’s mouthpiece today was such a complete and total buzzkill. Weiss picked on one of my most personally beloved buildings in the city: the Artkfraft Strauss building on the corner of 12th Avenue and 57th Street, where all the blingarrific lights that once illuminated Times Square used to be produced. Weiss reports that the building has turned into “a symbol of neglect and a mag net [sic] for petty crimes.” She describes the tags as “ugly” and the graffiti as “unwanted.”

Now hold on a minute there, Tex. Who said anything about “unwanted”? The Artkraft Strauss studios are inhabited by artists from chashama, who use the space to produce sculptures and paintings and performances. (See here and here.) The art on the building is a combination of graffiti that has accumulated over time, along with original pieces painted — with permission — from artists as far away as Spain and Germany. On a week-to-week basis, the walls are added to, by figures both renowned and anonymous.

There are many people who may not find the building’s exterior aesthetically pleasing. (It’s not as if I’m in love with every last piece.) It’s the gestures I find inspiring, especially in a city that, block by block, seems determined on becoming cookie cutter. Chashama: please don’t buff the art. The rest of the city can homogenize. Let the artists, freaks and weirdos have at least a corner.

Bringing you the latest on Revolutionary War-era submarines.

The Turtle by Duke Riley

Last month, NYC artist Duke Riley made headlines by manning a homemade submarine (see above) in the waters just off of southern Brooklyn. As anyone who followed the story will know, the police took his attempt to float by the Queen Mary none too lightly and promptly escorted him and his plywood sub to the nearest station house. As much of a buzzkill as this may have seemed, I’m told that the NYPD saved Riley the considerable trouble of fishing the sub out of the water himself, no small task considering that the darn thing weighs a ton.

“The Turtle,” as its called, will go on public display at Magnan Emrich in Chelsea in November, but I managed to catch a sneak peek during chashama‘s open studios on 57th Street this past weekend. I also got a gander at one of the extensive mosaics (see below) that will accompany the sub at what promises to be one highly-entertaining show.
Duke Riley mosaic

Other pics from the open studio can be found here.

Posted by C-Monster