A Curatorial Residency in New York: Week 2
On Sunday it was -18ºc, the coldest day in New York City since January 19th, 1994. The past week has flown by and as this is my second post, it means I’m already half way through my month-long residency. Before I arrived here, a month sounded like such an expanse of time, however now I’m here, time is going by so quickly. This past week has fallen between studio visits with artists at RU and at NARS; field trips; events at Flux; open studios; working on projects back in Wales; researching more potential artists/ spaces/ organisations to visit; and exploring the city, its museums and galleries.
As part of my residency with RU, I spent Wednesday afternoon at The New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation, a platform for cultural exchange and collaboration among artists and curators. NARS provides professional development opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists through short-term integrated residency programs and I visited the studios of current residents Ana de la Cueva, Bénédicte Thoraval, Jennifer Lawint and Fernanda Carvalho. Visiting these artist in their studios really helped to shape the conversations we had, particularly when locating how each artist’s practice exists today. It was interesting for me to see how they inhabited their spaces and how production processes became visible through early studio workings. Happily, the artists I met with are coming along to Breakfast Club at RU on Thursday, and so I hope to continue our conversations there.
RU also programmed a field trip to the Donald Judd Foundation at 101 Spring Street; a 5-story cast-iron building bought by Donald Judd in 1968. Our Artist Guide told us he bought the building because of the light – 101 Spring Street is on a corner, it’s a right angle of windows. It’s beautiful. Each floor has one purpose: sleeping, working or eating. The building is a balance between useful space for living and working, and perhaps of most importance, a space in which to permanently install Judd’s own works and those of artists he admired. Each floor is an installation within which art, architecture and domestic life blur together – there are art works by Dan Flavin, Frank Stella and John Chamberlain, furniture pieces by Alvar Aalto, Gerrit Rietveld and Judd himself, the kitchen shelves incrementally progress from 2 to 12 inches, perfectly holding the family’s collection of kitchenware, and the walls of the third floor are separated from the floor, defining and separating the floor as a plane. As is perhaps evident, I loved visiting 101 Spring Street. It was an experience that was rich for me in all areas of my practice.
On Friday afternoon I made my way to the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP). ISCP supports the creative development of artists and curators, promoting exchange through residencies and public programmes. I was visiting on the invitation of curator in residence Satu Oksanen. Satu came across my profile on RU and on seeing potential crossovers in our research, emailed to arrange meeting up. It was really great to have a conversation with a curator around curatorial ideas, and to exchange cultural reference points and projects. In Helsinki, Satu is exploring ideas of public art as situations, fleeting moments, and processes which infiltrate the everyday; interdisciplinary collaborations that enable new curatorial and artistic practices. Her residency in New York is focussed on furthering this research and so it was great to learn more about Satu’s projects, her work with the Helsinki Art Museum and the museum’s relationship with the city’s public art collection.
On Sunday (the day it was -18ºc) I travelled to Red Hook in Brooklyn to visit Pioneer Works. I was there for Second Sunday’s (a monthly series of open studios, live music, and site-specific interventions) and also to meet with Pioneer Works’ Residency Coordinator Yael Krevsky. Pioneer Works describes itself as a centre for research and experimentation in contemporary culture; housing artist studios, exhibition and performance spaces, a science lab, a recording studio, and other spaces as needs arise. As a multidisciplinary building (located in a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse) facilitating collaboration between artists, musicians, scientists and educators, across the gallery space and into the studio, I found it to be very exciting place to visit.
I’ll be posting another blog next week, but in the meantime I’ll continue posting photos on Instagram. This residency has been made possible with a grant from Wales Arts International and the Jane Phillips Travel & Research Bursary, administered by Mission Gallery.