Blog9 840x480 - Notions by Sanford Biggers

Notions by Sanford Biggers

In 2006, ROVE helped to put together an American’s first ever solo show on UK soil. The title of the exhibition was Notions and it was made by the very talented Sanford Biggers. The exhibit was held from the 10th of February to the 18th of March.

What was particularly interesting about this exhibit was the fact that it hailed from countless sources in the life of the artist. It wasn’t just one big thing. It was an amalgam of quietly steadfast Eastern spiritualism and the more coarse black form of vocal expressions. It was a surprisingly unique take on varying mediums of modern art: urban culture and technology. Somehow, Biggers had managed to create a harmonious situation between the wisdom of Buddhism and the more up to date expressions of Black music.

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There were other installation pieces that were part of the exhibit as well. In the middle of the works in the show was the installation/video piece ‘Network: A Remix’. This was motivated by the 1976 film entitled ‘Network’. It was a satirical film about a fictional TV network named Union Broadcasting System (UBS) and their fight with meager ratings.

Biggers has reinvented three arrangements from the film and installed them to seem as if the observer is ‘backstage’ or in the TV studio where the accompanying video was shot. The audiovisual comprises re-enactments of significant acts from the film through which he converts a 20th Century artistic relic into a timeless note that resounds with our own present-day presence.

His piece entitled Calenda is something that is completely profound without being in your face about it. Structures of footprints or what the dance sphere calls ‘dance notation’ are scattered across the floor and walls of one of the corners of the gallery. These follow the patterns of the Hustle and Disco Tango.Altering and theorizing the footprints on the walls into swirling creations, Biggers moves to reorient their gist from frolicsome disco steps by illustrating them in constellation patterns.

Biggers’ works have always been called the right blend of meditation and improvisation. What makes him quite amazing as an artist is his drive to ensure that his audience would interact with his work. As such, he has often turned his sculptures into actual performances.

A lot of people back then didn’t really believe in the clashing of genres. It often seemed that hip hop had no place melding with anything else. The thing was, if it worked for the likes of DJ Monkey now, it would certainly work for Biggers. There was some criticism regarding Biggers and how legitimate his grasp of music was. It was quite unfortunate these critics did not realize that Biggers had spent a large fraction of his life playing the piano. This provided him with the ear and the knowledge of music that would allow him to push the boundaries of mixing genres.

Biggers, as a person, is highly determined in pursuing his craft. He knew that he had always wanted to do arts. This is why he attended the School of Art Institute of Chicago. Something he looks back fondly upon is the fact that his college, Morehouse College, had a severe lack in art major classes. As a consequence, Biggers had to take his classes at an all-girls university.

This certain helped to shape his wider view of life and his understanding of freestyle. This is something the world can certainly be thankful for. It is because of this unique perspective that he was able to build his own understanding and interest in melding cultures together.

The blending of cultures resonates with us particularly. The writers of Rove TV are a varied bunch. Some of us have long complicated histories that stem back from mixed marriages that came from different cultures. It can always be quite disconcerting when you’re born half and half. The cultural identity that the parents got to enjoy as children is not something that is generally experienced by the children of mixed race marriages.

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Often, there is a prolonged state of confusion and a heck of a lot of soul-searching. While it is so easy to simply dismiss the concern as something that “they will eventually grow out of”—that does not mean that the struggle is any less poignant or real. Having an artist like Biggers to bring together cultures that are geographically so far apart is a great place of solace. Art is one of the ways in which people can grow. Art can inspire or frighten. Thankfully, Biggers’ blend of traditional and current culture is a fascinating way to allow those in the middle to form a bridge between varying pieces of themselves.

Representation always matters. So many of us would definitely want to thank Biggers for his part in helping others get though their troubles or issues through his art!

After his success with Notion, Biggers continued with other successes. In 2008, he went on to receive the Creative Capital Award. In the year after that, he earned the William H. Jonson Prize. In 2010, Biggers was bestowed the Greenfield Prize along with a two-year position and warrant of fresh work. This opportunity birthed the center of his 2012 solo exhibition which was put together by Matthew McLendon. It was also in the year 2010 that he became an assistant professor in the Visual Arts program in an Ivy League university.

When art and artists make an effort to unify otherwise far-reaching cultures, something more meaningful and profound occurs in the process. Much like how Paul Thek developed thoughtful commentary through his art, Biggers managed to take several things that he found interesting and create something new altogether. We continue to support Biggers’ thriving successes and we gladly await his future projects. We’re certainly vested in what he has in store for the world next.

If there was anything that anyone could take away from this, we hope it will be the fact that you don’t have to only be part of one culture. You can immerse yourself in others in a wholly positive and respectful way.

Blog6 840x480 - Looking Back on Full Serve

Looking Back on Full Serve

Today, we look back upon one of the past shows that Kenny Schachter has curated. We’re talking about the fun times at Full Serve. This was a celebration of ten years of shows that were curated by the man himself. It was held for quite a significant period of time which spanned October 25th to around December 3rd of the year 2000. This event was partnered with Mixed Greens.

Mixed Greens is an organization that is committed to the discovery and promotion of the new. New artists, new filmmakers, new everything! They do not shy away from championing those that practice with newer forms of artistic media. This means that if your art falls under the more “modern” precepts like digital art or print, they would be happy to boost you. They believe that a lot of great talent goes unnoticed and often gets buried under a thick layer of wrongful stigma and unrealistic expectations.

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Mixed Greens helps to represent budding artists through website creation—providing a clear space for visual artists to fully express their personalities, influences, and art processes. It is something that a lot of local talent needs. Here are some of the artists that were featured:

  • Sanford Biggers
  • Lucky de Bellevue
  • Dan Asher
  • Andrea Zittel
  • Janine Antoni,
  • Christian Schumann
  • Willie Cole
  • Fred Tomaselli
  • Rachel Harrison
  • Ricci Albenda
  • Spencer Finch
  • Cecily Brown
  • Nicola Tyson
  • Lisa Ruyter
  • Lawrence Seward
  • Graham Gillmore
  • Devon Dikeou
  • Brendan Cass
  • John Lekay
  • Hiroshi Sunairi
  • Richard Kern
  • Amy Globus
  • Craig Kalpakjian
  • Jonathan Horowitz
  • Rob Pruitt
  • Chantal Joffe

Here are the others:

Marco Brambilla, Richard Woods, John Kelsey, Alfredo Martinez, James Brown, Lonnie van Brummelen, Zoe Pettijohn, Daniela Rossell, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Joao Onfre, Ruth Root, Nina Bovasso, Ilona Rich, Curtis Cuffie, Ian Dawson, Simon Bill, Karen Yasinsky, LC Armstrong, Alix Lambert, Vito Acconci, Paul Thek, Bonnie Seeman, Fairfield Porter.

What was particularly pleasant about this event was that it was starting to espouse the belief of Schachter that art and art markets need to have transparency in its dealings. As such, all the prices for the pieces shown were clearly marked and were even shown on the website of the event itself. There were art installations and exhibits that showcased a variety of art. There were utilitarian art pieces and some fine art pieces. There were over 50 artists in total that were able to show their pieces in the 10,000 sq. ft. garage that was the venue for Full Serve.

At this point in time, Schachter had over 274 unaffiliated artist showcases under his belt. He was never the type of person to cull controversy for the sake of publicity or a chance to boost sales. Instead, he has always made it a point to make the art speak for itself. He lets the artists fully show their capabilities with choice pieces that can truly set them apart.

When everything was said and done, there was a positive air and a lot of hope for the future. To this day, Schachter continues to embody these values. Lately, Schachter’s focus has been on local art fairs. He has expressed his belief that art fairs while a great way to establish networking, don’t exactly produce a truly steady business practice for those involved.

One reason why art galleries and museums have massive profit margins is in part due to established locations and massive publicity. Local art fairs don’t exactly put much emphasis on who is showcasing their pieces. Schachter is aiming to provide a healthier market for local artists to secure better sales and garner more reach in terms of their reputation.

Much like Full Serve, the goal is to promote local talent and let art flow. It does not particularly matter as to whether something could be written off as “good” or “bad” art. The concept of art has always been primarily subjective. Schachter does not act as judge or jury toward those that peddle their wares in art fares. Instead, he helps to garner organic and healthy interest for the art pieces and for the artists themselves.

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The concept of artist fatigue is uncommon in art fairs as there is no overboard demand for their pieces. Instead, they get to produce their pieces at their own pace and at their own discretion. Most commercialized art that is sought after by celebrities and those with nefarious purposes can come off as disingenuous. The true bearer of the title of “art for art’s sake” which later on devolves into “art for the wallet’s sake”—it is a truly awful cycle that needs a breath of fresh air.

This is why Schachter has taken it upon himself to jumpstart the public’s otherwise flimsy interest in art fairs. He is quite vocal on tips on how newbies to the world of art fairs can survive. He tells people to come with an open mind. Most people already have their noses turned up at the concept of modern art. It seems that after the likes of da Vinci, the rest fall flat. However, what Schachter tries to get everyone to remember is that Art changes.

Art evolves to fit the era, not the other way around. As the time of the Impressionists and other have passed, it is truly time to embrace our time’s form of art. More modern takes of art make use of the technological advances that the likes of Monet would have killed for. Schachter also warns newbies to pace their selves when it comes to perusing art fairs. Art can always be quite disorienting to those who are not usually exposed to it.

There is always quite a selection available in art fairs and in events much like Full Serve. It is important to go at your own pace, feel free to take a break, and to keep criticism at low volumes. Just as no one would appreciate strangers come to their houses only to point out flaws, no artist wants to overhear unjust criticism. They have their own sets of critics for that.

Blog4 840x480 - Remembering One of the Greats: Zaha Hadid

Remembering One of the Greats: Zaha Hadid

The world of art seems to go on forever and yet for some, it all seems to pass in a blink of an eye. Today, we take a look at one of the better artists to have shared her talent with the world: Zaha Hadid.

Just who was Zaha Hadid?

She was born on the 31st of October in Baghdad. Her father was a wealthy industrialist and had a hand in co-founding one of the more significant political parties in the 30s and 40s. Zaha Hadid attended boarding schools in her youth.

She went on to study math at the American University of Beirut. She later on moved to the Architectural Association school of Architecture. One of her professors had described her as one of his most outstanding students. Hadid was touted as a true visionary who had the ability to see beyond the traditional angles. Although it is said that she wasn’t as attuned to small details—she focused mostly on the larger picture. The smaller details followed shortly after.

After graduation, she went on to work for one of her former professors. While her projects were largely unbuilt, she was steadily earning her reputation with her pretty visionary ways. One of her works in the Vitra Fire Station in Germany. It has large angles which pushed boundaries of the lot which is indicative of the design style that she’ll carry for the length of her career.

She also designed the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. It was no small deal. Her being able to design the arts center meant that she was the first woman to ever design an art museum in the US.

What a career it has been, indeed! This amazing lady has a very special place in the heart of Rove TV. She had allowed Kenny Schachter to organize her exhibition at Sonnabend.

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The entire exhibition aimed to reinvent the connection between art and architecture. Hadid built a series of large scale art installations which made use of the precepts of architecture as the core of sculptures, design, and even paintings. What was amazing was that Hadid was able to challenge and evoke discourse about the processes, machinations, and forms of the pieces. She developed spatial representation through the notions of warping the space, pulling it, and she even pushed the boundaries of the gallery itself.

What she built for her 2008 exhibit was breathtaking and effectively created a new and unfamiliar interior perspective. In one of her pieces, she transformed a full wall. From something plain and steadfast, she brought to life a large relief which turns into an elegant and rather futuristic desk. We got to experience the perfect unison of architecture, art, and design. While her pieces could be functional—which is the utilitarian aspect of architecture—she made sure that was not the point of it at all.

Her exhibit showcased Hadid’sperception into the new 21st century urbanism. This is a culmination of over thirty years in the field. After this exhibit she went on to build more masterpieces. She even went on to earn more accolades to her name and prowess. It was also in the year 2008 that she was named among “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes. One of her more recent projects was the Port Authority in Belgium.

Other than her buildings, she also was a valuable source of information. She was a professor at University of Illinois. She was even a guest professor at HFBK Hamburg.

All of these barely scratch the surface of who she was as a person, an architect, and an artist. This is why it was so hard for everyone to hear that it was March of 2016 that the world had lost a truly great visionary. Hadid was in a Miami hospital undergoing treatment for Bronchitis when she suffered a heart attack.

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Following her passing, there was a massive outpour of commiseration and remembrance. All the people she had helped in the course of her career came out to speak. They spoke on how she had touched their lives and how large of an inspiration she was to them and their particular fields. The Port Authority in Belgium had named the square at the front of the building in her honor.

Even after Hadid had passed, she continues to gift the world with her genius. The Salerno Maritime Terminal was one of her last projects and had its soft opening. What was wonderful about Hadid was that she didn’t particularly put any emphasis on herself as a female architect. She had never wanted nor needed any particular treatment simply because she was female.

Even the pieces that she built were not indicative of her gender. Instead, she created features that were devoid of gender but were all clearly her. Hadid and her many successes inspired many a generation of female artists and architects. She did not let her gender or her race color her art and work. She merely completed everything as she saw them in her own unique vision.

She pushed the envelope when it came to her designs and visions. Her creations have never been easily categorized. They always seemed to shift from project to project. Much like the person herself, the art spoke for itself. It captured attention. It always demanded the question “is that the same space as it was before?”

Hadid had a magical way of transforming ordinary spaces into extraordinary ones. She heightened the awareness of the space by molding them in ways that weren’t thought to be possible or functional. Yet, it always somehow just worked. She was the kind of artist that made you wonder why her style was not thought of before—they were functional, yet they emphasized the space around the piece or the building. Spatial awareness was her true forte.

While it is regretful that the world lost a unique and strong visionary, we all hope that the seeds of inspiration she has left will bloom beautifully.