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Entries Tagged as 'public art'

A Persian Garden in Manhattan—with Bahar Behbahani

June 23rd, 2021 · Comments

This Persian Garden Project will be providing visitors with a private, yet public environment in which to engage important social and cultural issues by gathering and gardening through conversations, screenings, readings, and communal performances. I’m imagining it as a hub for activism and healing—a home for all marginalized, mediated, untold, and less celebrated stories.

Bahar Behbahani, 2021

The art of Brooklyn-based artist Bahar Behbahani responds to the history and character of the complex landscapes that surround her—reflecting on her cultural origins and immigrant experience. Conversations with the artist across time reveal how she has immersed herself in the form, poetry, and politics of the Persian garden. Now, her vision extends to designing and programming a public environment for activism and healing where she aims to engender a communal sense of hospitality, resistance, and resilience. When Behbahani reaches her goal, a new Persian garden will flourish in Manhattan—cultivated by the hands and minds of artists and historians, thinkers and doers from cultures around the world that call New York City home.

Sound Design: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: Bahar Behbahani, Suspended (2007) and All Water Has a Perfect Memory (2019), courtesy the artist

Related Episodes: The Awakening, Bahar Behbahani on Politics and Persian Gardens

 

Related Links: Bahar Behbahani, Ispahan Flowers Only Once (2019-ongoing), All Water Has a Perfect Memory/Wave Hill Public Garden, 9/11 Memorial

Tags: contemporary art · sculpture · public art · activism · environment · community · architecture

I Wish to Say—with Sheryl Oring

May 5th, 2021 · Comments

Today’s story takes place at the intersection of art and the First Amendment. This vital element of the United States Constitution protects our right to freedom of expression, by prohibiting lawmakers from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. 

 

Artist Sheryl Oring took up this cause célèbre in 2004. In conversations across time, we trace her synthesis of art and free speech in a public performance project that quite naturally, has no end in sight. As long as there is democracy in the United States, there will be opportunities to voice opinions about the U.S. presidency, about social justice, the economy, public health, globalization, climate change, education, and more. 

 

What would YOU wish to say to the U.S. President?

Let us know on Instagram: @freshartintl #iwishtosay

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: Sheryl Oring on ABC World News Tonight, 2004; Sheryl Oring at Washington and Lee University, 2018; I Wish to Say with University of Michigan and Wayne State University students, 2020; Lisa Bielawa, Voters’ Broadcast, 2020

 

Related Episodes: Where Art Meets Activism, Topical Playlist: Art and Politics, Charles Gaines on Philosophy and Politics in Conceptual Art, Bahar Behbahani on Politics and Persian Gardens

 

Related Links: Sheryl Oring, I Wish to Say, Activating Democracy (the book), The First Amendment Project, Oakland, CA, Creative Capital Foundation, W&L Quick Hit: Sheryl Oring Performs I Wish to Say, Sheryl Oring on ABC World News Tonight, I Wish to Say Archive, University of Michigan, Democracy & Debate Theme Semester, Stamps Gallery, Lisa Bielawa, Voters’ Broadcast, Mauer Broadcast with Lisa Bielawa, The Berlin Wall

Tags: contemporary art · public art · activism · performance art · performance · community · education · political art

Puerto Rico Rising—Resilient Artists

February 17th, 2021 · Comments

In 2018, two years after Hurricane Maria devastated the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico, Dominica and St. Croix, Art in America published an exposé by San Juan born and based curator Marina Reyes Franco. Journalists were “comparing Puerto Rico to Greece, Detroit, and New York of the 1970s,” she wrote, “prompting myriad articles about its economic woes and the population’s resilience.” Central to many of these stories were inspiring narratives about artists and entrepreneurs responding to the crisis. In 2019, we journey to the island to record voices from the cultural scene. 

 

The artists we meet in San Juan convey the promise and pathos of this Caribbean island. In this segment of our Puerto Rico Rising series, four Puerto Rican creatives offer insight into how art can join forces with the strength of community to contemplate beauty and the paradoxes of everyday life. 

 

Voices in the episode: Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Michael Linares, Chemi Rosado-Seijo, Llaima Sanfiorenzo

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio in Order of Appearance: Fabián Wilkins Vélez, Listening Session, 2019; Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Celaje (2020); Florian Dombois, Triple Instrument, 2019; Llaima Sanfiorenzo, Let the Beast Breathe, 2020 and 1 sq foot of freedom, 2007

Related Episodes: Puerto Rico Rising—Resisting Paradise, Puerto Rico Rising—Radical Leaders, The Awakening, Juan Botta Makes One-Minute Movies in Puerto Rico, Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting Communities, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies

Related Links: Beta-Local, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Michael Linares, Chemi Rosado-Seijo, Llaima Sanfiorenzo/Self Portrait Factory, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, Marina Reyes Franco, ATLAS SAN JUAN: TROPICAL DEPRESSION, Art in America, Oct 1, 2018.

Tags: contemporary art · film · public art · activism · performance · community · political art · festival

The Awakening

January 27th, 2021 · Comments

Today is January 27, 2021. One week ago, we inaugurated new leaders in the United States. Many hope that President Joseph. Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris will cultivate an era of unity, democracy, and truth in this country. 

Multiple flashpoints complicated the year 2020. The relentless coronavirus pandemic, accelerating discrimination against people of color, heightened climate emergencies, and the imploding global economy had a intense polarizing effect on the electorate.

Kamala Harris, the first African-American and Asian American to become Vice President, is also the first woman to be given this tremendous opportunity. As she steps into a crucial role of responsibility, Harris inspires this episode. 

What part can creativity play in such turbulent times? 

We speak to six women artists and curators responding to the challenges of the past year with renewed resolve. Strengthening their engagement with vital issues and ideas, each one positions herself in service to social justice. Future episodes will reveal more about their individual awakenings.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: When We Gather, courtesy Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and collaborators; Whitewash, courtesy artist Nadine Valcin; Celaje, courtesy artist Sofía Gallisá Muriente; All water has a perfect memory, courtesy artist Bahar Behbahani; Drip in water tunnel, New York City, courtesy artist Mary Mattingly; "This Earth,” by Susan Griffin, courtesy Andrea Bowers and performance participants 

Related Episodes: International Curators Champion Creative Resilience, Mapping Caribbean Cultural Ecologies, Where Art Meets Activism, Creative Time Summit Miami 2018, Bahar Behbahani on Politics and Persian Gardens, New Point of View at Venice Art Biennale, Mary Mattingly on the Art of Human Relationships, Andrea Bowers on Art and Activism

Related Links: Bahar Behbahani, Andrea Bowers, This Earth, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, When We Gather, Mary Mattingly, Public Water, Andrea Fatona, The State of Blackness, Marina Reyes Franco, Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, Sofía Gallisá Muriente

Featured Voices in Order of Appearance

 

Born in Cuba and based in Nashville, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons teaches at Vanderbilt University. A dream led her to invite collaborators to celebrate all that Kamala Harris represents. Performance and poetry in the new art film When We Gather embody their collective hope and imagination.

 

Dr. Andrea Fatona is a Toronto-based curator and scholar who teaches in the graduate program at Ontario College of Art and Design University. For decades, she has sought to remedy the absence of Black visual art from critical writing, art archives and other avenues of representation. Whitewash, Nadine Valcin’s performance video about the history of slavery in Canada, is featured on Fatona's website: The State of Blackness.

 

Born and based in San Juan, Marina Reyes Franco is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She talks about the Museum’s powerful new partner and introduces the metaphoric exhibition she will present this spring. In 2020, Reyes Franco took the time to support artist friend Sofía Gallisá Muriente in her creation of a new film. Sited on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, Celaje is an elegy to the death of the Puerto Rican colonial project and the sedimentation of disasters on the island.

 

Water channels, fountains, roses and pools are elemental to the legendary Persian garden. Iranian-American artist Bahar Behbahani has been investigating the garden’s histories for years. In 2019, she created her first garden-inspired public art project at Wave Hill in the Bronx. In 2021, the artist aims to break ground on a purposeful Persian garden in Manhattan.

 

New York-based artist Mary Mattingly has always been concerned with sustainability, creating lyric environments that meet the basic needs of water, food, and shelter. Her latest project concerns the invisible infrastructure of public water in the city she calls home. Mattingly is diving deep—her urban case study exposes inequities that limit access to clean drinking water everywhere. 

 

Early 2020 found Los Angeles based artist Andrea Bowers joining other women to read and record the poem “This Earth,” by Susan Griffin. Studying the spiritual origins of eco-feminism was among her solitary pursuits last year. When the pandemic slowed her activist projects, Bowers turned to re-examine how and why she makes art. 

Tags: contemporary art · public art · activism · curator · black culture · black art · environment · feminism · museum · community · political art · feminist art

Musical Manifesto vs. Contested Monument

July 15th, 2020 · Comments

Today, we’re talking about symbolic statues and monuments. In this moment, many are demanding the removal of memorials believed to perpetuate a legacy of systemic racial and ethnic injustice. Recent acts of violence against Blacks in the United States have brought these memorials to the center of a nationwide debate.

                                                                       

On Memorial Day, in the year 2020, Minneapolis police killed a Black man named George Floyd. The public incident ignited the resurgence of a 21st century civil rights movement known as Black Lives Matter. In 2013, with use of the hashtag BlackLivesMatter, thousands responded on social media to the acquittal of a white man, George Zimmerman. He had been charged with the shooting death of Black teen Trayvon Martin.

 

Black Lives Matter is now the leading force behind massive protests across the U.S. and abroad. Crowds are toppling statues honoring colonizers, slaveholders, and Confederate heroes. The controversial figures have become a cultural flashpoint.

 

Social justice advocates have contested these iconic sculptures for decades. Let’s look back to 2014, for one example, when artist william cordova and his collaborators staged an unannounced public declaration of liberty and justice. They chose to make their statement at the site of a towering statue of confederate leader Robert E. Lee in New Orleans.  

 

Born in Lima, Peru, and based in Miami, New York and Lima, cordova is known as a cultural practitioner. We call him to hear the story behind this prescient intervention. 

 

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: silent parade, 2014 

 

Related episodes: Black in America, Modern Black Portrait of Florida, Amy Sherald on New Racial Narratives, Amy Sherald on New Racial NarrativesSanford Biggers on Time and the Human Condition, Fahamu Pecou on Art x Hip-Hop, Theaster Gates on Meaning, Making and Reconciliation, Jefferson Pinder on Symbols of Power and Struggle

 

Related links: silent parade, The Soul Rebels, william cordova, now's the time:narratives of southern alchemy, Perez Art Museum, Miami, 2018, Prospect New Orleans, Headlands Center for the Arts, Black Lives Matter

Tags: · · · · · · · · · contemporary art · public art · activism · black culture · black art · performance · community · distance learning · political art

Edra Soto on the Architecture of Connecting with Communities

February 4th, 2020 · Comments

Edra Soto is a Puerto Rico born, Chicago based, interdisciplinary artist, educator and curator whose architectural projects connect with communities. Soto's temporary modular SCREENHOUSE pavilions are evocative symbols of her cultural assimilation that we can enter and share. Each free-standing structure functions as both sculptural object and social gathering place. Couched in beauty, her ongoing OPEN 24 HOURS project offers a different visceral encounter — with evidence of displacement and want. The aesthetic display of cast-off liquor bottles culled from steadily accumulating detritus in the historically Black neighborhood she now calls home suggests that we consider the personal and communal impact of poverty and racism. During a studio visit with the artist in Northwest Chicago, we talk about recent iterations of these projects.

In concert with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Millennium Park Foundation commissioned the artist to produce a temporary gathering place in one of the park’s outdoor galleries. Only steps from Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, she worked with a team to construct SCREENHOUSE. The 10-foot high pavilion made of 400 charcoal-hued, 12-inch cast concrete blocks is part of an ongoing project, an architectural series inspired by iron grills and decorative concrete screen blocks found throughout the Caribbean and the American South.

New versions of OPEN 24 HOURS are on view in two 2020 exhibitions. One appears in Open House: Domestic Thresholds at the Albright-Knox Museum, in Buffalo, New York. Cognac bottles carefully arranged on shelves with decorative panels reveal the artist’s connection to two places she calls home. More liquor bottles command attention in the three-part installation she designed for State of the Art 2020. Featuring work by artists from across the United States, the exhibition celebrates the opening of The Momentary, a new contemporary art space at the Crystal Bridges Museum, in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio 

Related Episodes and Photo Features: Architecture with a Sense of Place, Views—Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019, Fresh VUE: Chicago Art and Architecture 2017

Related Links: Edra Soto, The Momentary, State of the Art 2020, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, Knox-Albright Museum, Millennium Park, Chicago Architecture Biennial 2019

About Edra Soto: Born in Puerto Rico and based in Chicago, Edra Soto is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, curator, and co-director of the outdoor project space THE FRANKLIN. She is invested in creating and providing visual and educational models propelled by empathy and generosity. Her recent projects, which are motivated by civic and social actions, focus on fostering relationships with a wide range of communities. 

Recent venues presenting Soto’s work include Chicago Cultural Center (IL), Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (KS), Pérez Art Museum Miami (FL), Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (PR), Hunter EastHarlem Gallery (NY), UIC Gallery 400 (IL), Smart Museum (IL), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (NE), DePaul Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago (IL). Soto was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, the DCASE for Individual Artist Grant from the City of Chicago, the 3Arts Make A Wave award, and 3Arts Projects grants, and the Illinois Arts Council grant. 

Soto holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts from Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico. She teaches Introduction to Social Engagement at University of Illinois in Chicago and is a lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

About SCREENHOUSE: Decorative screens, known as rejas and quiebrasoles, are ubiquitous in Soto’s birthplace in Puerto Rico. In her SCREENHOUSE series, Soto transforms the quiebrasol form from a planar screen that divides public from private into a nearly fully enclosed, free-standing structure that functions as both sculptural object and social gathering place.

About OPEN 24 HOURS: Witnessing the excessive accumulation of litter and detritus in the historic African American neighborhood of East Garfield Park where she lives motivated Edra Soto to initiate this ongoing project. Since December 2016, Soto has been collecting, cleaning and classifying cast-off liquor bottles to create installations that display the impact of racism and poverty on this marginalized community in Chicago. Bourbon Empire, the book quoted below, recounts the historic connection between African Americans and cognac from its genesis in the 1930s to contemporary repercussions instigated by hip-hop and rap culture.

“Cognac’s relationship with African American consumers started later, when black soldiers stationed in southwest France were introduced to it during both world wars. The connection between cognac producers and black consumers was likely bolstered by the arrival of black artists and musicians... France appreciated these distinctive art forms before the U.S. did, continuing a French tradition dating back to Alexis de Tocqueville of understanding aspects of American culture better than Americans did. For African Americans, the elegant cognac of a country that celebrated their culture instead of marginalizing it must have tasted sweet ... During the 1990s, cognac sales were slow, and the industry was battling an image populated by fusty geriatrics. Then references to cognac began surfacing in rap lyrics, a phenomenon that peaked in 2001 with Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy’s hit “Pass the Courvoisier,” causing sales of the brand to jump 30 percent. During the next five years, other rappers teamed up with brands, and increased overall sales of cognac in the U.S. by a similar percentage, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.”

—Reid Mitenbuler, author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey

Tags: · · · · · · · · · · contemporary art · art biennial · public art · activism · black culture · community · education · political art · architecture

Commuter Biennial Brings Public Art to Miami’s Margins

October 1st, 2019 · Comments

The Commuter Biennial aims to activate unseen margins of metro Miami. Local curators Laura Randall and Courtney Levine have organized a set of art experiences for those who spend hours navigating the city in cars, busses and trains. Over the span of four months, ten public art projects will pop up around this suburban landscape.

Two of the participating artists join Randall and Levine to introduce us to The Commuter Biennial. Artist Lily Martina Lee lives and works in Boise, Idaho. Lee’s art juxtaposes intimacy and anonymity—pointing out how forensic crime scene investigations have become embedded in our everyday reality. For her commuter-centered project, she creates public memorials in locations throughout Miami Dade County, where unidentified human remains were found. Since 2005, New York based artist Marie Lorenz has navigated waterways in her handmade boats designed to optimize tidal currents. Her passengers are privileged with intimate experiences on the water. For the roving biennial, she brings her Tide and Current Taxi to Miami.

Listen to this episode to hear the voice of positive thinking. Optimistic about the potential for art to transform the grind of suburban life, the tedium of public transit and the boring daily drive, the Commuter Biennial aspires to draw our gaze from the center to the fringe—suggesting that art belongs to everyone, everywhere, across metropolitan Miami. 

Related Episodes: Public Art Meets Poetry, Public Art Hopscotches Across Buenos Aires, Art of the Everyday, Creativity in Miami’s Public Realm

 

Related Link: Commuter Biennial

Tags: · · · · · · · · · contemporary art · sculpture · public art · curator · environment

Ellen Harvey on Public Art and Climate Action

July 11th, 2019 · Comments

Today, we take you to Miami Beach, Florida, for a conversation with British-born artist Ellen Harvey.

In 2002, the art fair known as Art Basel traveled here from Switzerland, to set up a winter home. While the South Florida metropolis has grown into an international contemporary art mecca, this coast has also become recognized as ground zero for sea level rise. 

Despite increased flooding from high tides, the population keeps growing. Public and private investments continue to pour in. In 2015, the City of Miami Beach allocated 620 million dollars to renovate and expand the Convention Center where the Art Basel fair takes place every December. Seven million dollars of the budget were dedicated to public art. Six new site works are adding star power to the City’s permanent collection.

Selected for one of the high profile commissions, Brooklyn-based artist Ellen Harvey seized the moment, to create what she describes as “a hopelessly romantic call to action.” We sit down with her to talk about the endangered eco-system that informs Atlantis, her shimmering glass wall installation.

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio 

Related Episodes: Art and the Climate Crisis with IKT Miami, Curating and Creative Resilience with IKT in Miami, Whithervanes: The Art of Anxiety, Where Art Meets Activism, Art and the Rising Sea

Related Links: Ellen Harvey, Art in Public Places

Ellen Harvey’s Atlantis joins other public art projects to be realized in and around the Convention Center. Accessible to visitors and locals, the full set will include a vivid painted mural by Franz Ackermann (Berlin), a bent swimming pool sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset (Berlin), a neon global positioning installation by Joseph Kosuth (London/New York), whimsical park seating by Joep van Lieshout (Rotterdam), and an expansive patterned tile wall by Sarah Morris (New York).

Cathy Byrd, Fresh Art International Founder and Artistic Director, participated in the review and selection process from 2015-2016 as a member of the City of Miami Art in Public Places Committee.

Tags: · · · public art · environment · art fair

Public Art Meets Poetry in O, Miami

April 29th, 2019 · Comments

Public art meets poetry in the month-long festival known as O, Miami. We sit down with visual artists Najja Moon and Michelle Lisa Polissaint and O, Miami's managing director Melody Santiago Cummings to talk about their work and introduce the spectrum of site-specific projects that bring poetry to communities.

Who’s The Fool? How To Patch A Leaky Roof: Moon and Polissaint create a Little Haiti Cultural District version of the blue umbrellas distributed for free in the Design District, a burgeoning retail development that is rapidly reducing the footprint of a community established by thousands of Haitian immigrants beginning in the 1950s. The artists imagine a dual role for the 1,000 bright red umbrellas they had fabricated. Mobile shelters from the rain and shields against the impact of urban development, the Little Haiti umbrellas feature a Creole proverb alluding to the false promise of urban development in the district. As if placing a flag on the moon, or drawing a line in the sand, Moon and Polissaint proclaim the identity of the community they call home and construct a monument to those fighting to preserve the district. The artists will go door to door with their gifts, inviting their neighbors to join in addressing the larger issue of gentrification in Miami. 

O, Miami projects introduced in this episode: Who's the Fool?Chiquita PoemasThe Last Ride of José MartíThe Beach is a Border; The Sunroom, poetry in schools

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: Michelle Lisa Polissaint, Moonlight Moanin'; O, Miami: Ivan Lopez, The Last Ride of José Martí; Mia S. Willis, "hecatomb;" Sandra March, with Jose Olivarez, The Beach is a Border; The Sunroom

Related Episodes: Poetry, Art and Community JusticeCultural Complexity in Little Haiti

Related Links: O, MiamiNajja MoonMichelle Lisa Polissaint

 

 

Tags: · · · · · · · · · · Fresh Talk · contemporary art · public art · curator · performance · community · education

Live from the Everglades, Part Two

April 1st, 2019 · Comments

South Florida’s subtropical wilderness inspired us to stage a remote radio broadcast from the Everglades. On February 24, 2019, we brought live and pre-recorded conversations with artists, scientists, rangers, educators and Miccosukee activists to a live audience on the porch of the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.  

Voices in Part Two (alpha order): Warren Abrahamson, Miguel Alejandro Castillo, Robert Chambers, Houston Cypress, Jose Elias,  Nathan Fox, Ellen Harvey, Jenny Hipscher, Lori Marois, Deborah Mitchell, Cristina Molina, Adam Nadel, Paula Nelson-Shokar, Sarah Michelle Rupert, Dara Silverman, Hilary Swain

Sound Editor: Anamnesis Audio | Special Audio: Jack Tamul & James T. Miller, Voices of Everglades National Park

This episode is supported, in part, by Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) and Everglades National Park. Fresh Art International’s Cathy Byrd, AIRIE Fellow, February 2019, lived in the Park for one month as curator in residence.

Related Episodes: Live from the Everglades, Part OneRobert Chambers on Art, Ancient Plants and New TechnologiesGustavo Matamoros: Inside Miami’s Sound ChamberDeborah Mitchell: The Artist as Guide to the EvergladesJenny Larsson on Searching for Arctic WinterAdam Nadel on Getting the Water RightArtist Residency in EvergladesArt and the Rising SeaJorge Menna Barreto on Environmental SculptureRauschenberg Residency on Rising WaterAndrea Bowers on Environmental Activism

Related Links: Artist in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE)Everglades National ParkJolt Radio

Tags: · · · · · · contemporary art · public art · activism · curator · environment · community · education · political art

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