Edit – August 2018
Bea Fremderman, Untitled, 2018, American Medium.
What happens in August? Some may say not much — steaming heat and proliferating vacations do seem to have some diffusing effect on cities around the world — but life goes on, and often the most exciting times of our lives slide quietly into view when least expected. This month, follow the force of the earth, with sage words from ceramicist Simone Bodmer-Turner, Eckhaus Latta at the Whitney, and music by Mark Ernestus' Ndagga Rhythm Force and the Catskill Mountain Gamelan, to name a few.
- Read the Editorial
- Location Totokaelo
If you have passed through Totokaelo's 190 Bowery location lately, you will undoubtedly have noticed a patch of gorgeously organic matte white vessels that have transformed our Art–Object assortment into what looks like a blooming garden on an alien world. This is the work of artist Simone Bodmer-Turner, whose dedication to her craft has made her one of the most appreciated ceramicists of her generation. It was immediately clear to us that Simone’s approach to her practice was something special, so we decided to head to her studio in Long Island City to check it out for ourselves — as well as discuss her travels, inspirations, and philosophies along the way.
ECKHAUS LATTA: POSSESSED
AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM
- Location Whitney Museum of American Art
- Date Aug 3 - Oct 8
The Whitney hasn’t hosted a fashion exhibition in 21 years, but if there was ever a time to do so, that time is now — and if there was ever a brand to collaborate with, that brand is Eckhaus Latta. Rooted in the fertile ground of the Rhode Island School of Design, designers Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta have positioned themselves as cultural arbiters in a space where expression of all miens has never been more fluid ever since their first collection in 2011. The Whitney’s three-part exhibit, housed in a free-of-charge gallery on the lobby floor, examines broad-reaching themes of desire, consumerism, and social dynamics with uniquely accessible elasticity: a first component re-interprets some of fashion’s most iconic photographic tropes, while an operational retail store section designed by several collaborating artists encourages visitors to touch, try on, and buy items from a collection of merchandise exclusive to the exhibit. A darkened third room filled with surveillance screens (including one from Totokaelo's own sales floor in Seattle), seals the experience with a bleak reminder of the paranoia and voyeurism of our times. Frank in its assessment of both self and other, the exhibition promises a surreal and challenging environment translating easily to the zeitgeist at large — perhaps the most effective way to rebel of all.
- Date Aug 10 - 13
- Locations Southwest Seattle
When people around the world think of Seattle, their perception (whether they know it or not) has been fundamentally shaped by Sub Pop Records. Credited for the rise of grunge music in the ‘90s with artists like Nirvana and Soundgarden, Sub Pop recognized a scene forming, crystallized it, and shared it with the world at precisely the right moment, cementing Seattle’s legacy as a music center and fostering the soundtrack and culture of a generation. In its 30 years of operation, Sub Pop has expanded far beyond its original grunge roots, however, signing artists from the disparate worlds of hip-hop, punk, and the nebulous universe known as ‘indie’. For its big 3-0, Sub Pop has elected to celebrate in spectacular fashion with SPF30, a multi-day, multi-level festival in West Seattle including performances by many of its most beloved artists from Mudhoney and Shabazz Places to Beach House and Pissed Jeans. The festival will feature multiple concerts, both free and ticketed, plus a night of comedy with the cast of Bob’s Burgers. With 4 stages, numerous local vendors, and a huge family-friendly area, August 11’s big (gratis) anniversary party seems unmissable, especially at this time of year, when Seattle’s weather couldn't be finer.
- Date Aug 18
- Location Sculpture Center
In a nod to its initial concept, Sculpture Center has recently begun to devote one day a year to Clay Club, an institution originally created by Dorothea Denslow in 1928 wherein attendees of all ages may come together to create monumental pieces of art out of nothing but natural clay. The event will offers food, drinks, and a soundtrack by AHMD, Lizzi Bougatos of Gang Gang Dance, and artist Diamond Stingily — but the ultimate draw will be running your hands through the cool grey material of the earth's core. You won’t be without guidance, though, as the Center has enlisted some of the most lauded talent in the art world to add a bit of structure to the experience. One of these talents is Alisa Baremboym, whose viscous and politically-minded reinterpretations of the human body were on display in one of New York gallery 47 Canal’s most intriguing solo shows. Another is ektor garcia, whose elaborate pieces discussing Mexican heritage brought a new dimension to CDMX’s famous Kurimanzutto space. These two also join Ficus Interfaith, Steffani Jemison, Sara Magenheimer, and Jesse Wine to round out a team that will be sure to help anyone find their inner sculptor.
SEX AND LOVE
IN THE 90S
- Location Anthology Film Archives
- Date Aug 19
As part of the film series FEMINISM(S), Anthology Film Archives has curated a survey of seminal video works that they hope will ignite conversation about the topics of sex and love during the peak of Generation X. Each of the four artists chosen have tackled American preconceptions about femininity at any given opportunity, each doing so with a visual style that is undeniably indebted to the unique trends that permeated the art world during the 1990s. It was a decade where dismantling taboos and subverting institutions was at a premium, and that is exactly what you’ll see here — carried out through an array of experimental film techniques.
MARK ERNESTUS' NDAGGA
- Date Aug 17
- Location Pioneer Works
As part of the group Basic Channel, Berliner musician Mark Ernestus was one of the originators of dub techno, a sub-genre of its more intense Detroit-born cousin. It traded a bit of the original's stomping brutality for the soothing reverb and rhythmic elements of Jamaican dub, and eventually led to the creation of the groundbreaking group Rhythm & Sound. Mark found a second wave of inspiration 17 years later when he encountered the Senegalese national music genre, Mbalax. Continuing his known propensity for collaboration, he reached out to some of Dakar’s most respected local players to form a supergroup focused on creating a hybrid style between the two distinct sounds. Unlike so many muddled fusion records that come off like one famous person’s interpretation of something they don’t truly understand, Ndagga’s creations play out like a true marriage of each side's strengths, slightly paring back the explosive vocals of most Mbalax while upholding the breathtaking rhythmic elements that make the sound so singular.
- Date Always
- Location Bushwick
Nestled in a tangled mass of rather lonesome Bushwick blocks, the Mediterranean restaurant Petra offers a much-needed infusion of energy in an area that is almost surreally quiet. That all changes when you get within remote proximity of the establishment, when the dead air begins to fill with the laughter of patrons outside as well as the smoke of grilling octopus. The initial draw of the restaurant is the impeccable selection of natural wines, which is unsurprising given it shares ownership with Henry, a fabulous liquor store a few blocks down. What you will quickly find, though, is that the food is far more than just a suitable complement to the libations, but a true triumph all its own. All the flatbread options are delicious, rich, and filling — a perfect addition to the more sensitive flavors of the octopus. The vegetable plates are more adventurous, often paired with fruits, and lend a refreshing counterpart to the rest of the dishes. This all combines to create a perfect outpost to start off a busy Brooklyn evening.
LOUISE BOURGEOIS, TOPIARY
- View the Feature
For Louise Bourgeois, the process of creation worked to heal deep wounds — and in the long and all-too-often forgotten history of artwork made by women, this process has often been inextricably linked with the natural world. Topiary, a kneeling figure whose head has transformed into a coniferous organ, has been housed in contexts both natural (a watery cave tucked away in a Tuscan winery) and unnatural (MoMA). The word 'topiary' refers to a plant that has been gradually trained and groomed to resemble a shape that is not its own… a process that rings all too true for most women. The sculpture’s plaintive pose, surrealist vegetal head, and intricately textured surface suggest some iconic prayer — perhaps for beauty, perhaps for freedom, perhaps for a return to the nature from which she is so coolly removed. Perhaps the three are more closely linked than they appear. Explore the latest Reference, featuring Louise Bourgeois and natural selections from the Beauty alcove.
GAMELAN IN THE MINE
- Location Catskills
- Date Aug 12
If you've never seen music performed live in a cave (and chances indicate you haven't), here is your opportunity. Gamelan is a Javanese musical style composed of a wide range of instruments in bronze or iron, unified by a tuning system unique to each group that results in a 'colotomic' effect — meaning that each instrument acts as part and parcel of the overall sound. What's produced is an elaborate and enveloping wave whose hypnotic vibrations have entranced people around the world (including icons from Debussy and Satie to John Cage and Don Cherry) over these past few millennia — since the year 230 AD, specifically, when, according to Javanese mythology, the god-king Sang Hyang Guru needed a signal to summon the gods. This month, the Catskill Mountain Gamelan, whose origins are Sudanese West Javan, is slotted to occupy the Widow Jane Mine in Ulster County, New York, which was first tapped as a source of natural cement in 1825. Its glut has formed many of New York’s most iconic landmarks (the Brooklyn Bridge and the base of the Statue of Liberty, for example), but today it's simply a wide and softly lit cavern-and-pillar space visited mostly for its beauty — and its superior acoustics. Bring sturdy footwear and a folding chair, as the mine’s floor tends toward dampness, and allow yourself to access an ancient, unknown space in your mind as the gamelan begins to play.