I’ll go ahead and say it: Saturday was the best day of our collective lives in 4 years. Things are looking up! It was also a beautiful day weather-wise in the northeast. People were out and about, and they were PUMPED. An art opening was the perfect place to be!
And the art was GREAT. I’m no profesh and my opinion does not matter but as a casual art observer I was INTO IT.
Almost all of the pieces I really enjoyed had some aspect of a colorful sky in them. Like a super bright cloudless blue or a post-sunset twilight pink/purple. The paint colors for the skies took me to A PLACE.
Many of the pieces of art had animals! You know how I feel about animals, you guys. So each of the following pieces of art will come with an unsolicited personal story about an animal or two. You’re welcome.
This one with the bats was my most favorite in the whole show. I LOVE THESE BATS. Maybe it’s because I’m still feeling a residual “spooky time of the year” feeling. It’s a good feeling to feel.
Part of the theme of the show was this nostalgia regarding growing up in a rural/suburban kind of place and being out and about with pals getting into trouble or wishing there was maybe just a tiny bit of trouble to get into but it was too boring for even that to happen. I guess that’s my personal interpretation of that kind of nostalgia. BUT part of being outside when the night falls and you’re hoping for some (good) trouble is that the bats start to come out! Like they’re flying around in their super fun erratic way and you’re like, “THE NIGHT HAS ARRIVEDDDDD!”
Also I just learned a bit about bats in a webinar I attended a couple of weeks ago that Wild Bird Fund put on. Completely unrelated to art but I learned some cool stuff about bats and what “torpor” means and what to do if you find a sleepy/injured/acting weird bat to help it. So like, I’m flying high on bats right now.
Bird nest and mouse!
My second favorite painting was this one of a “School” sign featuring a huge mess a bird made just by living there and a cute little mouse looking on in the bottom corner.
I just love how the bird nest is all haphazard and the bird(s) just went to the bathroom all over the whole thing. Because that’s what birds do. I love birds but they’re a huge mess.
It’s a super mundane every day thing, the bird mess on a public building, and I found a weird comfort in looking at that. Kind of like when I see pigeons roosting (also making a HUGE mess) under the awnings over top of bodega windows. Birds are just hanging out and watching us and making a mess. That’s their life.
The tiny mouse peeking in also made me glad. I currently have a mouse in my house and for now he’s my friend. He hasn’t eaten anything or chewed anything or even made a mess so I’m not mad at him. I also only see him once a week or so. Anyway I love the mouse. Yes, I knowingly live with a mouse. I SAID he stays out of the way. Deal with it.
The last of the animal friend paintings I noticed was this one that includes a TON of animal friends looking on.
I talked to Slaby a little about the animals and how much I loved them and he mentioned he included them because animals are always around and observing us. And he’s right! I love that. I don’t know what else to say besides, “I love that.” Hopefully that’s enough. Even in a city the animals are always around.
This painting looked like it had raccoons in it and I was like, “I have two raccoons that live on my roof and hang out on my fire escape!” Then I realized that sounds weird. Maybe. But then the artist was like, “Yeah raccoons are cool, they’re so BAD.” But like good bad because they are HILARIOUS and ADORABLE. I said the “hilarious and adorable” part inside my head but I feel we were on the same page regarding general raccoon bad-assery and I was pleased.
“Scary Catholic” is a genre of art I invented and some of Slaby’s art in this show fit the description. Maybe I didn’t invent it. I don’t know. Google it.
There was a small section of “Scary Catholic” that looked different from the other art. I believe he said it was inspired by a childhood of Catholic school and altar boy duties.
One of the pieces was a rosary made out of skateboard wheels, YOU KNOW I loved that.
But “Scary Catholic” is scary because Catholicism is scary to me. Religion in general is terrifying but Catholicism does a good job of making stuff look super creepy and sometimes bloody. But also very richly colored! Which makes it art!
This leather jacket is so badass but I’m still scared of the Jesus. Or whoever.
I’m totally going to paraphrase because I had a few drinks and didn’t write this down, but another topic Slaby was kind enough to discuss with us was the concept of influence and how certain ideas/cultures end up in places that seem unlikely. He talked about growing up near Wilkes-Barre, PA in the 90s before the internet as we know it now, and how it took “someone visiting their cousin in the city and then bringing it back” for him and his friends to learn more about skateboarding culture.
This was relatable, as I also lived in the middle of nowhere with limited outside influence and I remember the first time I made friends with kids from Bergen County at Rutgers and I was like “Where are they GETTING these clothes because I NEED them” <Goes to Garden State Plaza for the first time in 2004 and buys all of Bebe>. I mean skateboarding and North Jersey Mall Culture are two completely different things but like, I GET it. It has to come from somewhere, when you’re from nowhere. And that was a mind blowing thing to make art about.
I should have asked about this as well but I had no idea what “macadam” meant. I googled it just now and it says “Because of the historic use of macadam as a road surface, roads in some parts of the United States (as parts of Pennsylvania) are often referred to as macadam, even though they might be made of asphalt or concrete.” So I guess that makes sense. There was one piece that was very… road inspired. PS Pennsylvania is HAVING A MOMENT right now.
I really liked the texture!
And I guess you do need asphalt/concrete/macadam for the skateboarding. As I’ve said before I’m a skateboarding admirer to the core but I don’t REALLY know anything about it.
So that was the show! I also got these really fun skull stickers. Not part of the show, but now part of my life.
John G. Slaby’s Slow Summer Macadam is at Deep Space Gallery until 11/29. Slide into their DMs on Instagram at @deepspacejc to set up a time to visit and GET UR BUTT THERE.
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Jersey City’s own Distort at Deep Space Gallery. I attended the opening last night and it was freakin fantastic. But TECHNICALLY the opening is all weekend so you should prob get your ass over there.
I was incredibly beyond excited to get back to a semi-normal-feeling Deep Space weekend opening. Like, it was the evening and people were THERE and we could look at art and also CHAT. I realized that perhaps IT WAS THE CHATTING I’D MISSED MOST.
I’ve been to a few of their openings in normal times and one or two during post covid times. Or like WITHIN covid times. The times we live in. And during covid times they have done a great job of keeping it to only a certain number of people inside, making sure they wear masks and sanitize their hands, and overall just following the basic rules that keep us all alive.
And I applaud them!
This time around, because it was a local artist more people know about and I think they expect more people, they are more strictly observing a reservation policy just to keep things organized. So email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM them on Instagram at @deepspacejc to make one! RUN DON’T WALK!
As always the artist was in attendance so we could ask him questions but this time I was too busy catching up with some pals I haven’t seen in a while. We’re hoping to maybe go back for a bit on Sunday and I can ask my questions then. Oh shit better make a reservation…
As for the show…LOVED IT. I guess I always “love” everything I write about but just know I don’t write about things I don’t love unless they really, really outrage me.
It’s true that I love bright, loud, vibrant colors, but the slightly muted colors of Distort’s work also appeal to me. They gray tones combined with blues/greens/purples actually remind me of my best bird pal the pigeon, in the best way. Like they look gray but when you look close at some of them you can see the greenish-purple sheen of their feathers.
AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL.
I also like the use of cityscapes in the background or foreground or randomly in the paintings. I think I recognized Philadelphia? Maybe I just thought I saw it because it’s in my mind because I’m going there next week? Something to ask if we go back on Sunday. Still need to make a reservation.
Wait JK I lied about that. There is a live Zoom tour by Distort at 3:10pm on Sunday October 4. That’s where I got “Sunday” from. Jeez I need to start writing shit down. You can register at thejcast.com/jcast-live
I believe that some of the work is on a canvas of a kind of metal, and some of it is etched to make designs with some of it also being painted. It’s cool! I like the combination of the two and can’t remember seeing it anywhere else, besides other times I’ve seen this type of work by Distort around the town.
There were also fun/exciting/mind blowing 3D elements around both of the rooms.
The walls were painted to look like exposed brick and then some kind of plastery(?) material was used to make it look like parts of the wall were soft or liquidy or like curtains or something and got pulled to the side to expose the exposed brick parts of the wall.
AND since it is OFFICIALLY SPOOKY SEASON it was a nice spooky touch to have a creepy hand reaching out of one wall.
And some creepy heads coming out of another.
These probably weren’t nods to spooky season and were likely meant to convey something else but they made me happy either way.
This one made me unhappy because it’s “a little kid getting a gun on Xmas morning” kinda vibe. I think maybe it was supposed to make me unhappy. But I’m terrified…TERRIFIED of guns so gun arts always make me very nervous. I feel as if the gun is able to jump out and kill me. Which is perfectly rational, you guys. Guns are awful.
This one I loved because I made a little joke about the woman crying and holding her shoes in it and was like, “This is me on a Saturday night at Rutgers.”
Har har I think only I thought it was funny. Very good piece, either way.
Oooo this was a very fun and interactive tiny hall/tunnel made of mirrors to look into. VERY FUN. VERY INTERACTIVE.
And of course, lady lib. LADY LIB 4EVA. LADY LIB IN EVERY ART SHOW EVER. LADY LIB 4 PREZ.
Also be sure to browse the shop downstairs when you walk in! They have a ton of records, housewares, jewelry, and clothes. A WHOLE BUNCH OF COOL STUFF.
They’ve just done a bit of reorganization in the shop and it looks great!
The opening weekend for Distort “Reaching for the Steal” at Deep Space Gallery continues today Oct 3 12pm-11pm and tomorrow Oct 4 12pm-8pm. RSVP AND GO TO THERE.
YOU GUYS. Not only was I excited to actually leave my house for a destination other than JC Bourbon Street, but I was excited to get back to checking out the bad ass art at Deep Space Gallery. On a Saturday afternoon…late afternoon, because I was late…I attended the opening for Waiting for Sunshine at Deep Space Gallery, showcasing art by Rebecca Johnson and Macauley Norman. I apologize for not posting about it until now, but my brain has just been really tired.
Before you get all FREAKED OUT, this was a socially distanced opening and all of the precautions were taken. Frankly they straight up EXCELLED at the precautions. There was hand sanitizer and masks and you signed in on a little sign-in sheet and only a certain number of people were allowed inside at a time.
SO JUST CALM DOWN.
The best part was that we got back to art! I really, really missed going out and looking at art with my pals, and I especially missed going to Deep Space because it’s my favorite place to go look at art with my pals.
The gallery looked beautiful! It actually was really cool to see everything without other people in the way. I mean, I do like other people but sometimes they’re in the way. Actually, I’m lying. As a rule I DO NOT like other people. Either way there was lots of space for me to roam around and look at the art!
You may be aware that I REALLY LIKE BRIGHT COLORS and they held no punches on the bright colors with this one. Both artists’ works were vibrant and resplendent, some were even glittering and sparkling! Also there was yarn.
I love yarn.
I always like to chat with Macauley when I run into him at Deep Space and this opening was no different! Always good for a chat, that guy.
His art was also good! As I mentioned, there was yarn. He brought the yarn.
A few months ago I attended a store opening and they had some hats there I thought were knit and someone corrected me and was like, “They are CROCHETED,” and I googled it and they were right. So I was really embarrassed. They weren’t mean or anything, I just hate not knowing things. So when I was asking Macauley about his work involving yarn I was like, “Is that crochet?” When it actually seemed quite obviously knit but I no longer trust my own brain.
Anyway he confirmed that it was knit and I thought it was a badass method of mixing media. And I was also glad I was right this time. In my mind.
Along with the knitting/weaving, many of the pieces had spiders in them! I also really like spiders but I realize I’m in the minority. Macauley talked to me about how he was a little worried that the spiders would be off-putting for some…which was a good point.
But I say SPIDER AWAY. Because they also knit. They’re knitters of nature! They knit webs, you guys.
Another fun part of some of his work was friendship bracelets! I’m telling you, the medias were really mixin.
The other fab artist in the Waiting for Sunshine show is Rebecca Johnson. She was there for chatting too! And has super cool newly hot pink hair, and two cute dogs. “Polite” dogs are welcome there! Only polite ones. No jerk dogs allowed. It’s the rules.
I have seen Rebecca’s work before and really liked it. There are animals and ladies and flowers and colors…all the things I love most.
The best part is, SOME OF HER ART SPARKLES! I was super into her use of glitter on some past pieces, and the ones at this show had small reflective squares on them.
Upon closer examination, THESE WERE ACTUAL DISCO BALL MIRRORS. Can’t get better than that.
It’s my own conclusion that they’re from disco balls, I didn’t get to confirm with her. Just go with the disco ball thing, it’s fun.
Another thing I didn’t get to ask her about was some of the themes and what they meant for her when she created the art. I noticed a lot of birds (MY FAV) and some references to lungs. I’m personally always thinking about birds, but right now I think EVERYONE is probably thinking about lungs. A little bit, at least once a day. Like, “Can I still breathe? Okay, whew.”
In my mind the lungs were a nod to the scary COVID-19 world we live in right now. Maybe that’s not what they were intended to invoke, but I felt some degree of commiseration in viewing “lungs” as a topic.
She also had a piece that perhaps signified the other ways people can have trouble breathing that leads to death. Like from police brutality. Because a cop’s knee is on their neck. And they can’t breathe. I thought it was a beautiful tribute, and yet another important reminder to do better and fight to force others to do better as well.
waiting for sunshine.
This is a great show! A great reason to leave the house! An awesome local business that is excelling at social distancing and sanitation practices! What more could you ask for?!
Waiting for Sunshine will be on display until July 18. Deep Space Gallery is located at 77 Corneilson Ave in YOU GUESSED IT, the beautiful Jersey City, NJ. Reservations can be made by sending a DM (hawt.) to @deepspacejc on Instagram or emailing email@example.com
You guys know I love this place and there aren’t many ways to express my love in which I haven’t expressed it already BUT I was feeling some extra great vibes last night. I feel ew AF that I just said “vibes” but I guess that’s the only word for it unless I invent a new one. I saw some people I know and was glad to see them and talked to some nice new folks as well.
Part of what I really like about Deep Space Gallery, and I’ve said this before, is that it just always feels so welcoming and anyone that works there or goes there or is drinking a plastic cup of wine there is so friendly and open. It’s a magic place.
I wished that I could stay longer and drink wine because it felt like the electric possibility of making new pals was in the air. I don’t know WHY, I just FELT IT, okay? But I’m trying not to drink during the week so that didn’t happen. I’m sorry.
There were Valentine’s Day cupcakes that I DID eat. Because there is no chance in the world that I wouldn’t eat treats that are made available to me.
Now for the art!
THE COLORSSSSSS. You know I never shut up about the colors and I’m going to keep going on loving the colors and not shutting up about them forever and ever until I die. And you can pry the colors from my cold dead hands.
So deal with it.
These were all different colors but they all went together well and looked bright and happy and there were a lot of circular shapes (Circle the Square at Deep Space Gallery).
My friend told me she told the artist that she thought they looked like placenta paintings. And in a way they kind of do.
Then things went off the rails and everyone was talking about lactation and I’m still not sure why.
But it was a grand time and I love the paintings. I’m not sure how these shapes are made. It seems like some kind of chemical reaction or something but that’s merely speculation.
Ooooo yeahhhh these were shapes. Well the ones I liked best were 3D shapes on the wall and on a little pedestal table.
This shade of blue was so strikingly bright against the white wall I couldn’t stop staring at it. Just stood there and stared like a weirdo for probably too long.
This one made me think of a woman but also a peacock. Is it a woman? Is it a peacock? Lady peacocks don’t have the feathers like the peacocks you see in your mind, only the males do. So maybe she’s a lady human and also a male peacock. Honestly I can’t say. I AM an ornithologist though. In my dreams.
THESE LOOK LIKE RAINBOWS AND I WANT TO BE NEXT TO THEM.
I liked these and I was trying to figure out how they were made because it looked like a thick tape and paint but I could be way off.
There were a couple that were other colors and not just gray and I don’t know why I didn’t get pictures of those. But I will say that these gray ones actually stood out because everything else was colorful! Sometimes I like gray. This was one of those times.
Also there was THIS one that said it was called “Confluence” and I was like “Heyyyy any Pittsburgh fans in the house?” And everyone was like, “Um what?” And I was like, “Sry nvm.” JK I actually only said that to myself in my head but I do love the golden triangle thx. And also this painting.
debra lynn manville.
To me this one looked like toucans. I don’t really know why but I do know that I love toucans and therefore I love this painting.
I have one thought about this one and that is “OMG YELLOW!” Just like, lovin yellow. Nbd.
All of these pieces were lovely and sturdily sized squares and would be perfect for a living room or like over your bed. I’m not professional at where things would look good in your house or whatever but I just think that would be fab if that’s what you’re into.
I’m so impressed with how different the space looks at every show that I go to. It’s not very big at all but they can do a lot of dynamic things with it….or maybe it just looks totally different because the art is different. But either way I’m impressed.
My exit from these openings is always quick and random because I feel awkward saying bye and it almost feels like a game now. Like, how can I best slip out unnoticed?! I think I did a good job last night. Don’t worry, I’ll be back.
Circle the Square at Deep Space Gallery is happening now! Until February 29. GO TO THERE. K THX.
On Sunday I decided to venture out into the world and check out the Greenville Art Walk. I wasn’t feeling great because Dry January had ended on Saturday but I wanted to make it happen.
The Greenville Art Walk is held once a month on Sunday, the first weekend of the month, in the Greenville neighborhood of Jersey City. This was my first time checking it out but I think they have done it a couple of times so far.
I’ll be honest, I’ve lived up on The Hill for almost a year and I haven’t walked down MLK south of Kearny Ave. I haven’t gone past the Dunkin Donuts. So this was my time to check it out!
I didn’t take good notes and need to look up the artists and I swear I will fill their info in soon. In the meantime if you know any of them let me know! Edit: Great news! I found the curator Atim Annette Oton on Instagram and she kindly gave me the artist info, hooray!
There were 7 stops on the Greenville Art Walk, but I got started late around 3:30pm so I wasn’t going to be able to make it to them all. I decided to walk to Martha’s Boutique first and work my way back.
Sadly Martha’s Boutique was closed up when I got there, so I didn’t get to go in.
I turned around to make my way back north, and I walked past Myrtle’s Marantha Market. There was art there! And she also had some veggie hot dogs to sample, which I enjoyed.
She gave me her business card and said to call her if I need anything. This is the nicest thing someone has done in weeks. Unfortunately I don’t call people. Maybe I’ll text her.
Next up was Brick Street Realty and this spot had the most art of the walk. A representative from JCTC was there and she gave me a rundown of the art and artists. I didn’t take any notes and I regret that.
Two little girls that live upstairs were there enjoying the art and their Sunday and they told me about when HBO shot some scenes from Plot Against America there. They reported that they got free ice cream! But they also reported that they were keeping their bikes in the empty store and the HBO crew accidentally threw them out. Dammit!
Overall the Greenville Art Walk wasn’t much, but it was a start! It also “wasn’t much” because I started it 2.5 hours after it started, so that is my fault! I’m going to try going again (on time) next month so I’ll let you know if I find more art. My hopes are high!
On my travels along MLK I also came across this small business incubator that I have read about. None of the businesses were open, maybe because it was cold and drizzly, but I think when the weather turns nice it might be a bustling little place. I’ll definitely go back to see what’s up!
Have you attended the Greenville Art Walk? Did you have more luck seeing art than I did? What are your Greenville Art Walk tips? Thanksssss.
You can find more info about the next Greenville Art Walk on 3/1/2020 here.
On Sunday I went to the re-launch of the Gigantic Minature Show at Deep Space Gallery and it was BAD. ASS.
You may be aware that I love Deep Space Gallery. It is legit the best. I was feeling sad because I haven’t been able to make it to a show or opening there since the fall! It was an outrage! I missed it a lot! So I was glad to go back and see what they’ve been up to.
The Gigantic Minature Show at Deep Space Gallery is something they’ve been doing yearly for the last couple of years and personally I think it’s great. It’s a bunch of smaller pieces by a bunch of artists and the work fills up the walls in the gallery and in the entry area and all the little nooks all over the place and everything is for sale and it’s really cool.
Part of what’s cool about this show, and Deep Space Gallery overall, is that the pieces are small and affordable and everyone gets a chance to own a piece of art and be a collector! To use one of my favorite words/ideas/concepts of the modern world – it “democratizes” art. THANK YOU FOR DEMOCRATIZING ART, DEEP SPACE. YOU DA MAN.
As usual the space of deep was very welcoming and they had wine and snacks from Frankie. The eponymous Frankie herself was even there! She’s a little doggy that prefers to experience the world while riding in a tote bag and it’s adorable.
I made oatmeal raisin cookies and brought some to share, and I was PUMPED to see that people enjoyed them! Baking is relaxing and also makes other people glad so I think it’s a win-win on that hobby.
There’s been some trouble in shan land as far as having a cold for like two weeks so it took a lot of riling myself up to get out of the house on Sunday and I was really glad I went. Did you know that “malaise” is a cold symptom? Because I feel MALAISED AF.
Now for some art! And my personal opinions of said art at the Gigantic Miniature Show at Deep Space Gallery.
These are some cool hanging wire sculptures. I’m not super into any of these particular depicted images but I really like the wire stuff he makes and I thought these were displayed in an interesting way by the window. I liked the reflections!
Alexis Kandra has a whole wall of these cute little animal paintings of all kinds of animals, real and mythical. I of course love the unicorns and the phoenixes but the blue parakeet is my most fav. You can’t really tell in this photo but most of them have a little gold detail as well.
I love what this dude does but I don’t really know why. I can’t put my finger on why I love it and that’s kind of mysterious to me and makes me love it more. Maybe it’s something about the MAC machines? I did think money grew in MAC machines as a kid. And that it was unlimited. I still wish that was true every day.
He also made this lazy looking rodent-like painting and I know why I like this one. BECAUSE IT’S AN ANIMAL MAKING A LAZY FACE AND IT’S BRIGHT GREEN.
This was killin me and made me lol. I stared at it, and thought about it, and was like “Is that the lady from that Netflix documentary?!” And it was. And I laughed. Thank you for this laughter, Macauley Norman.
I love this, for the colors, the simplicity, AND THE DOGS. I recommend following him on Instagram and watching his stories because he posts videos of him hand painting/lettering and it is mesmerizing/soothing to watch his steady hand forming perfect letters. It’s self care and you deserve it.
Last, I loved that they had a little “graveyard” set up of the description cards from sold pieces. It felt like a nice positive “wahoo good job!” to the artists. I liked it. I already said I loved it but I also liked it. Maybe “graveyard” seems too morbid but that’s what I’m calling it.
The Gigangic Mjnkatjre show is at Deep Space Gallery until February 5! Go check it out!
AND THEN they have a new show opening on February 13! It’s gonna rock. I know it.
Yesterday I had a day off and I went touristing in NYC.
Those in the know, know that touristing on the weekends in NYC is a nightmare because everyone else in the LITERAL WORLD is touristing in NYC on the weekends so you have to be responsible and efficient and tourist when you have a random weekday off it’s the only way.
There are still tourists from the rest of the world crawling all over the place and they’re annoying as hell and they all have like SUPER EXPENSIVE sneakers and bags and it’s like WTF where do these people get this money to tourist in NYC and wear expensive shit and get in my way? But I digress.
Yesterday I was on the island of Manhattan to get my nails done and I was like “oh I’m gonna tourist! I’m gonna go to a museum!” And my first thought was to go look at the Basquiat stuff at the Guggenheim because I didn’t know about Basquiat before, but a few months ago I watched that movie where Bernard from Westworld was Basquiat and David Bowie played Warhol and I was like “OMG THE COLORS!” And then I became an instant Basquiat head. It was that fast. The colors!
Also the last time I went to the Guggenheim I was with my college boyfriend and just like everyone’s college boyfriend he was a total emotionally abusive dick the whole time and made me cry. Your college boyfriend DIDN’T do that? Oh. Weird.
But I really wanted to go to the Guggenheim and have fun memories with myself and bask in Basquiat’s brilliance and I was really looking forward to it but while I was getting my nails done on the Lower East Side I was like well shit the Guggenheim is like, ABOVE 23rd Street (I rarely go above 23rd St) and it is like, not just north, but BY CENTRAL PARK north so maybe I can’t go there.
So opened up the map and I was like what museums are by here and I saw the Tenement Museum and the New Museum and I was like oh I haven’t been to the new museum in a while and that was fun last time New Museum it is!
I should have gone to the Tenement Museum but I’ll tell you about the New Museum since we’re here and I went.
First of all they only had two floors open. And I willingly accepted this, they were very up front and told me as I arrived that only two floors were open. And I was like “well I’m here! Let’s NEW this!”
So the dude and gal at the counter, as is tradition in NYC and at 95% of art establishments, were not very friendly. Not very friendly at all. They kind of just started at me as I asked questions, or asked what the heck I was supposed to do. I didn’t know how much to pay because they said it was by donation and I was like I don’t know how much to pay for this shit you tell me. And then they just stared. Then stared a bit more. Then finally told me $5. Thanks for nothing. Then I tried to walk into the thing and the security gatekeeper man was like “no backpacks you have to check it” and I was like okay but there is no one at the coat check and I just stood there for like 5 minutes and people working here but not currently working at the coat check just stared at me smugly without alerting anyone and tumbleweeds blew through the door of the coat check because no one has been assisted in checking their belongings in decades and I don’t know what to tell you. I was that annoyed. I don’t know why but I was really wound up. So then I went BACK to the desk with the unhelpful gal and dude and the dude slowlyyyy meanderrrrred overrrr to the coat check and I was like okay I’m trying to look at some freakin art over here let’s get a move on you guys. I mean maybe they were just exhausted by the tourists wearing the expensive shit. I know I was.
So finally I got in the elevator and rode up and looked at art and what follows is the first person account of what I saw.
The elevator door opened and there was a lot of wind and white noise because there were a bunch of fans involved in this exhibit.
The first thing I noticed that I liked was a piece called “Blue Sail” which was like a weighted blue sheet hanging over a single oscillating fan and as the fan moved around it blew the sheet and I looked like a wave. Visually I really liked this and the sound of fans calms me (I sleep with one on every night) so this was enjoyable. Thank you, Hans Haacke.
Next fav thing was this mound of dirt with grass growing on it called “Grass Grows.” Grass does, in fact, grow, because apparently this dude got the dirt and put it somewhere and put grass seed in it and then it grew. I don’t really know but it was a pretty pop of nature in the gallery and I was into it.
I then walked into a room that had a bunch of pictures of addresses in NYC and pictures of the homes at those addresses and they were organized in a kind of timeline around the room.
I walked around a little and tried to figure out what it meant. Or like…the why. I noticed that the addresses traveled from north to south down Manhattan as I walked from left to right and I was like ok still but why?
Then I was like I can’t wait til these numbers get to 23rd st and below so I can see if I recognize anything please play the one we know.
And finally I came across some art guidance! I don’t know about you but I always need art guidance to really appreciate art. Like someone always has to tell me what it means. I’m not always able to figure out what it means to ME.
So this guidance said that one day the artist had a thing and he asked all the people that came to the thing to put a blue dot on where they lived currently and a red dot on where they were born on a map of Manhattan and also the other boroughs. Not the 6th borough of Jersey City though that was offensively not included and I almost burned the place down.
So after they marked out their current homes and birthplaces he went to around those places and took pics of each, then spread them out from north to south along this timeline, and it showed where most of the people that came to his art thing lived. And it was cool/weird/funny because not many of those people lived above 23rd St! It was a thing! I felt seen!
JK there were quite a few on the Upper West Side but besides that it wasn’t that plentiful. It was interesting. And I was glad I solved what it was about with some art guidance and I enjoyed it.
Next I came across “Ice Stick” which I found odd and didn’t really get. NEXT!
Last was “Wide White Flow” and it was more sheets and fans and blowing and I thought it was cool but I liked the blue one better BECAUSE COLORS.
Then I went back downstairs to see work by Carmen Argote and came across THE most important takeaway from this museum visit. There is an app called “gesso” that has art guidance and other types of museum guidance ON IT. You just get the app and tell it your location and it’s like oh cool you’re in so and so museum here is some GUIDANCE. So as I looked at Carmen Argote’s art I listened to her talking on the app about how she made the art and it was very cool supplemental info.
The supplemental info actually MADE the whole thing because I was bored by the art. I’m sorry, it wasn’t enough colors. It was like browns and more muted reds. Not really my style but that’s okay. In the art guidance she spoke about how she painted it on the floor and then hung it up so that made it seem cooler. Then I eavesdropped on a tour and the tour guide pointed out how the artist had used her feet to make something and I was like whoa! That part was cool. Other than that I needed more colors so I realized it was time to move on.
Pretty often when I go to museums I realize that I really like the gift shop/bookstore/merch booth better than most of the stuff in the museum itself and this was true here as well. Again…COLORS! And also books. Love books.
Anyway, that was my day of tourism. Slightly underwhelming. Actually very underwhelming I’m sorry I’ll do better next time.
Do you like the New Museum? When was the last time you’ve been? Is viewing art in NYC less fun because the people are more smug? Yes. It is. Do you like touristing on your days off? Can you tell me better places to go? Thx bye.
If you’re a fan of the odd and a fan of those that are fans of the odd and also odd themselves you will love the Jersey City Oddities Market. I never met a skeleton of any species I didn’t like and this market takes it to the next level with taxidermy and old creepy biology charts and other fun things that glow in the dark and/or go bump in the night.
Full disclosure I would say I’m probably just odd in the normal way that most people are a little odd, I wouldn’t consider myself goth or a horror movie buff or anything like that so I just want you to know that I’m not posing as one or trying to be one here and I will leave that to the professionals of which I encountered many yesterday and which I admire and respect especially during this season of spooky. I salute you.
We attended this exhibition of oddities last year in October when it was held at the Harsimus Cemetery, hallowed home of grass eating goats, Pushing Up the Daisies, and most famously Ghost of Uncle Joe’s (can you tell I’m getting PUMPED AF for Ghost of Uncle Joe’s this coming weekend?! BE THERE). This year it was held at Harborside and there were so many vendors! I don’t know how they did it at the cemetery last year but there wouldn’t have been room this year which was pretty cool, to have so many spooky creepy scary vendors ready to get spooky, creepy and scary.
They had a bar and everything set up thanks to The Lutze, and most of the business at Harborside are closed on Sunday but Modcup was open and saved my boyfriend’s life because I would have murdered him and the market would have had a 6’4” human male skeleton to add to their collection if he continued to exist in my presence while not caffeinated. Thank you Modcup.
My biggest goal while attending this market was to get some early Xmas gifts for my nephew. This is my second year of gradually collecting Xmas gifts as the months go by instead of saving it all for December and stressing myself the F out and turning into a terrifying Scrooge/Grinch/Abominable Snow Monster with a toothache hybrid and I feel like it’s really paying off and working well and I’m glad.
I got him a cement baby doll head from Reimagined Empire because he already loves removing his sister’s baby dolls’ heads (don’t worry he very considerately asks permission first) and putting them out in his mom’s garden (as ART, OBVI) but this cute but creepy little cement baby doll head has an open top so he could feasibly plant a garden INSIDE of it or out whatever else he wants inside of it and I think he’ll love it. Oh man maybe I should have gotten two.
I also got him a cool glow in the dark magnet of a skeleton face from Glowmania. This guy had all kinds of cool glow in the dark magnets and other kinds of glow in the dark stuff like paintings of creepy characters like the ghost dog from Nightmare Before Christmas and other creepy friends we know and love. How many times can I say “creepy” in one post?
I really like the concept of old medical stuff being kind of spooky but in addition to being spooky also being artistic because it is. The whole idea that medicine wasn’t really figured out not very long ago and they did all kinds of freaky experiments that would probably not be approved by today’s standards and they made drawings of it all and people were probably alive and not numbed enough and screaming but they figured some shit out is really cool. A few vendors had a lot of old autopsy drawings and pages from old anatomy books that I was super into.
The prettiest thing I saw there were these headbands made from rabbit ears by Lonely Bones Jewelry. They were creepy pretty and I’m not big on taxidermy so I don’t know that I would wear them BUT they were made from ears from rabbits that were already killed and being used for food so as not to allow the ears to go to waste and I thought that was great. And I like the flowers that accompany the ears so they’re like you’re a rabbit wearing a flower crown. I don’t know why I feel like I have to justify this but I really liked them so that’s it.
Weird NJ had a table there, and I always love checking out their stuff and reading their stories because it SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF ME to think about all of the things in NJ that are weird and/or haunted but in a GOOD WAY.
Inexplicably, this toad trick or treating.
Also inexplicably, these casual Tupperware containers filled with bones of small animals.
As always I found some clothes to try on and that happened at ADHD Driven’s table/booth. Would we call this a table or a booth? Or something else? I’m confused. Anyway she had some very super cool hand dyed vintage denim and I was ON BOARD.
She graciously allowed me to traverse the full distance of the Harborside space with her merchandise to go to the bathroom and try some jeans on, but sadly neither fit. AND I WAS SO SAD. But then she let me know if I follow her on Instagram and tell her my most loved size/fit of jeans she will look for them when she is looking for jeans to dye and then those can be mine! SO I WILL.
I’ve seen her stuff around the Internet from other folks that like to shop for clothes in Jersey City and I had never seen it in person and this weekend I saw her in person out there in the JC world selling cool shit two days in a row and it was badass.
Lastly…I ATE BUGS! I already wasn’t really feeling well yesterday so I figured WHY NOT I AM ALREADY HERE LET’S EAT SOME BUGS. Liberty Science Center, one of my most fav locations in JC, had a booth about eating bugs and all of the food made of bugs was just laid out.
So I picked based on flavor (duh) and chose the Coconut Brittle Bugitos and as I was chewing I asked the lady what bug they were and she was like “Maggots!” And I almost barfed right there but then I asked to look at the bag at the ingredients and it listed the more refined than maggots ingredient of “mealworms” (which are the larvae of a certain kind of beetle and therefore I guess at the same phase of life as maggots) and then I felt okay about it. Semantics are important, people! I do think she may have just been trying to creep me out, in the spirit of the market. And I appreciate that, her giving me the full experience. So then I told her how my chickens love mealworms (they seriously lose their minds when they see a bag of them, and they have VERY GOOD EYESIGHT so they know EXACTLY what is inside that bag) and I was glad to share this culinary experience with them because I love them (I love them so much). And then she said “Bugs are the protein of the future!” And that was that.
What do you think of the Jersey City Oddities Market? Have you been? It’s cool! They’re doing it again on 12/8/19! Check it out…IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU MWAHAHAHAHA SPOOOOOKYYYY.
I’d like to begin by saying I know nothing about art. I’m not an artist, I didn’t take that Art History 101 class that everyone else took freshmen year at Rutgers, I don’t have it in my budget to be a collector of art at this point beyond some prints and stickers of said art, etc. But I do love to be around some art and look at it and maybe talk to some random super stoned guy with long hair next to me about it and also to support galleries of folks I think are great with my presence and my social media. If that’s wrong I don’t want to be right.
There’s a word I first heard/thought about/pondered just a few months ago and that word is “democratize.” I went to a writing “salon” (Novella plz come back I miss you I’m begging you) and the speaker Harling Ross, of Man Repeller fame, was praising Instagram and saying that it has “democratized fashion” and my head exploded right there and I had to scrape pieces of my brain off the ceiling at the Lively underwear store because yes that is exactly what Instagram has done and I am fully pumped and fully on board.
I think that Instagram has also democratized art, but I think that art is pretty democratized on its own in Jersey City. Maybe Instagram helps but it seems like the Jersey City art world was pretty open/fun/friendly even before that. Like, these people are pumped AF about art but also they’re not dicks about it. People are welcoming, inviting, friendly, excited to share their thoughts/stories/ideas/motivations but they’re definitely not condescending “art people” as I would have understood “art people” to be before I started to check this stuff out around the town.
You may or may not know that I am a very awkward and anxious person and sometimes I’m good at hiding it but always in my head I struggle with feeling “cool” or like “worthy of peoples time/consideration” so going to art shows has always caused me a lot of stress because everyone is going to have something insightful to say and I’m just gonna be like “I love the bright colors! And the textures!” Because, in fact, I DO love the bright colors and the textures, but in the past that was sometimes lame/not okay or at least I was made to feel that way but MY POINT IS I have never been made to feel that way in Jersey City and there’s another reason to add to the top of the huge pile of reasons I am in love/obsessed/forever grateful for this land I call home.
ANYWAY this past weekend was the Jersey City Art and Studio Tour and it was super great and I’m going to tell you a little bit about my personal experience with it and I took a lot of notes so I’ll try to get my facts straight but again I am no expert and this is just personal reflection (please find me worthy of your time and consideration I am begging you).
First up was opening night! Woo! It was held in a large cement looking space at 2 Shore Lane in the Newport neighborhood of JC, the “Shorehouse.” WTF is the Shorehouse you may ask? Well that’s funny because we were all asking that too and everyone got lost on the way there and there was mass confusion and maybe a few almost breakups of friends and lovers happened because of it. I’m saying just maybe that happened.
I’m not sure why they chose this location and I’m sure there is a good reason, but when we saw it was (vaguely) in what we would affectionately call the “nerdy part of town” we were like why the heck?
Once we found the place and walked in and wiped the sweat from our brows and eventually found each other, it was good times! They had drinks for sale at reasonable prices and free snackies (I’m going to keep using “snackies” and can’t be stopped. I’m sorry). I personally saw some very good looking cupcakes but was steered away out of my boyfriend’s own self interest. <glares at boyfriend>
The art I liked best were these flamingos by Britt Ford because I am 100% obsessed with flamingos and I know they’re like a “thing” right now but I have always been obsessed with them. Just like owls when they became a “thing,” I had already proven my allegiance to owls for many years. I just need you to know that. If it’s a bird I have been obsessed with it and it has been a “thing” to me since birth. Birds are mine. Bye.
Also bird related, I loved this pigeon with a spray paint can head by Will Power. Pigeons need more respect and that will be explored fully someday in another post. Get excited.
There was a spaceman thing by Erin Ko Studios that had a cool interactive thing that if you looked at it with their app a FREAKIN WHALE SWAM OUT OF IT and it was badass. Art and technology together make beautiful art-technology babies, it’s true. I didn’t get to take a pic or a vid with their app but I still really liked the space…people. Sorry I said man up there. Ugh I’m terrible.
There was a ton of great art there but I came across this child’s drawing below in a guest book and I was really excited about it, specifically the alligator and giraffe. A budding artistic genius! GET IT, BRENDAN.
I went home early and didn’t drink because I’m living a new lifestyle where I try not to feel like shit during the week and it’s really working out for me thanks for asking.
When Friday night came we went first to Deep Space.
Deep Space is my fav and I have gone there the most often in regular life, not just for this studio tour, and I will continue going in perpetuity as long as they will have me. They have fun new openings every few weeks and also closings and also you can go there any time (I’m pretty sure) and shop their art and vintage clothes and records and other trinkets and treasures. They also have a roof you can stand on and look at the world and now there’s a light sculpture on it by Sunil Garg so that takes it to an even higher plane of excellence.
I went on Friday night for the opening of RU8ICON1, and Scott Free was DJing, and later on Ian Kenselaar played some music and it was a full on artistic experience and I loved every minute.
My fav piece of art by RU8ICON1 was this and if you know me you know that I don’t need to explain WHY but after I stood and looked at it for a minute I had to stoop down and mop up the puddle of drool I left on the floor…
One of the things I really like that they do there is keep around the art from past shows and put it on display and for sale in the shop part and when I see it there it gives me happy memories from shows past and someday when it’s in my budge to buy arts it may even be soon enough from now that I can buy one of these arts from a show I enjoyed so much, a girl can dream.
Overall Deep Space is a fun, relaxed, welcoming place and they’re excited to see anyone and everyone there, even if you just come to hang and commune with art and artists. The folks in charge there are in the most recent issue of Eighty Mag and I think they just look so damn cool and like badass art bosses on the cover and I couldn’t be more proud.
Go to Deep Space if you know what’s good for you.
Six Columns is home base of Norm Kirby and if you like to casually peek at art in Jersey City you may know it’s him I’m referring to if I tell you “he’s the fence art guy.” All around the town, seriously all around, not just in the expected places, and Jersey City is huge, there is like a silk tape material, I think that’s what it is, woven into fences to make different designs, people, animals, buildings, quotes and song lyrics, all kinds of stuff. I love it.
There wasn’t much of that at this particular show because it was inside and not on fences around the town but I did see a photo or two of the fence things and I was like, “Hey! The fence things!”
He also makes drawings of places around the town and I love those but I didn’t see any at this one. But here are some from the last show I went to.
Finally, he makes these wire figures in frames that are super cool and I saw some in the bathroom but I didn’t take a pic but here’s a pic from another of his shows.
In addition to Norm’s work there were some photos by the gal known as @queenmary_no_no on Instagram, her debut! She was proud/amused to recall that one of the photos was a picture she had taken that got zero likes on Instagram when she posted it long ago. It was a nice lush green summery picture and I was appalled no one noticed it on social media but now it is ART and hangs in a GALLERY. SO THERE
Blaze has some art there too and I didn’t get a good pic but I always like his stuff because anything made with a 3D printer blows my mind because it’s like there was nothing filling that space in the world and then you just make it on a computer and PRINT IT OUT and then it fully exists as a three dimensional object and that is INSANE and I’m still making my peace with it but in a positive way if that makes sense.
I apologize for not taking any photos at this gallery and instead posting photos from old shows but I was talking to people and having fun EVER HEARD OF IT?
Blue House aka The Lighter Side of Darkness Metal Sculpture Garden
I’m going to call this Backyard Sculpture Garden by Jerome China, featuring Jerry Gant, Patricia Talbot, and Saffell Gardner, “Blue House” because it took place in the backyard of a beautiful blue house off of Bergen (alliteration!) I arrived and no one else was there and there were signs to go to the back and also a sign to NOT OPEN one of the doors into the house so I followed the rules because I fear authority and I went to the backyard and OMG THIS BACKYARD.
I’m already a sucker for a backyard because I grew up feral and free in the forest and now I have to compete for space with literal cockroaches all day but I was even more pumped about this one because it was just so nice and peaceful and had great sculpture art by Jerome China. Some of the sculptures even had plants just casually, naturally, growing around and on to them and it was beautiful.
I sat on a bench and stared and took deep breaths and really just felt great for like 20 minutes. I liked these pieces that were made out of discarded parts of tools best.
Unrelated to art but there was also a skunk trap in this yard! I’ve never seen a skunk trap and found it interesting. I wonder if he’ll catch the skunk or if it will coyly evade him forever.
As I was leaving the dude in charge (China himself!) called to me from the porch – “there’s more inside!” Whoaaaa. Don’t mind if I do, sir. I went inside and his house was awesome. I’m talking BAD. ASS. I was barely looking at the art at this point (sorry). There were like, lamps with fringe, old wood, rich colors, posed portraits of ancestors, carpets with cool patterns…the whole thing. I didn’t get any pics because this wasn’t a HOUSE TOUR it was an ART TOUR but I do wish it was both.
While I was talking with him he let me know there is a Newark Arts Tour that many of the JC artists will be participating in next weekend. I think I may try to go Sunday! Saturday is Double Parked Fest, can’t miss that y’all. SRSLY I BETTER SEE YOU THERE.
After Blue House I headed down the street to Snapdragon. I have followed this place on Instagram for a while but have never made it there as a customer. I still technically have not made it as a customer because I wanted iced tea and they were out but I guess that just means I have to go back!
They had arts by Kelsey Reilly displayed upstairs and…I really did love the bright colors of these. Sue me.
They also had super cool chairs and tables and rugs and it just looked like they collected a bunch of random furniture and housewares and threw them all together and it was perfect. It was also nice and quiet upstairs. I really prize quiet in my old age.
Additionally there were some treats on a table but none of the other 3 people up there were consuming the treats and there weren’t napkins or utensils by the treats so I worked myself up into an awkward personal crisis over whether or not I should consume the treats so I didn’t try any and I regretted it later but just know they looked delish. I believe they make treats there but don’t quote me on that. Like I said I need to go back for a better look, okay???!
CB I Hate Perfume
After Snapdragon I tried to find an exhibit on the St. Peter’s campus but it looked like it was in a large student center type building and the door was locked and I tried to open it and a security guard started to walk over to open to door from somewhere on the inside but I didn’t feel like interacting with anyone so I scurried away. And I’m sure I missed out due to being a weirdo but it was just not a good time to talk to strangers. I just didn’t feel like it. Leave me alone.
So I hopped on a Citibike in McGinley Square and cruised down Montgomery to Downtown JC. I had read on the map that there was an “olfactory exhibit” and I was like holy shit if it’s smells I need to go. Super into smells. It’s how I judge everything. Every place, every food, every person, every single situation I judge by smell. I could have gotten this from my best pals, which are all the dogs that have ever existed. Anyway I was very interested to see how smells could be presented as an art exhibit so I rushed right on over.
As I approached CB I Hate Perfume there was a tour crowd outside. I didn’t realize they did tours for this! Actually I lied…I knew but I forgot. Sorry.
Inside I was having a little trouble finding where the smelling was supposed to happen and I’m awkward as hell as previously mentioned so I was standing there feeling like a total weirdo and finally a nice gal with very excited blue eyes came over and was like “has anyone spoken to you about what you’re experiencing here?” And I was like “um no thanks just browsing heheh” and she was like “um cool” and then started telling me more about the smells and the exhibit and I was like oh, she’s in charge here, this is valuable.
So she told me all about the artist Christopher Brosius and the Aesthesia project which involved breaking down smells from nature into vibrations that come from the plants that make the smells and then using those vibrations to make music, which was also part of the exhibit. So it was like sounds from vibrations that lavender plants made at some point playing next to smells of lavender plants and also a lavender plant image, for example. It was super cool and I don’t know if I’m explaining it well so maybe you should just go look for yourselves.
In the back they had more smells! All kinds of smells you could test out and smell and think about what kind of place they took you to. I was just smelling and smelling and smelling. There was a dude back there that assists in making the smells and I was like “what are these smells even made of?!” And then I felt dumb because like, duh, chemicals, and then I was like “oh yeah, chemicals!” And then I felt guilty for referring to the smells as “chemicals” because that seemed rude and potentially implied they were healthy and unnatural in some way so then I felt hot with shame and regret and then he was like “yes! Organic chemistry!” and then I was like “science!” And all was well.
In the back they also had an exhibit/art piece/environment that was felt balls that were made to look like snow balls and they smelled like snow! It was one of the smells the artist had created and I swear IT SMELLED LIKE SNOW. So much so that it made my nose and the back of my throat feel kind of cold when I smelled it, in a psychosomatic way. Not like a menthol way. As I was smelling the snow and lost in my thoughts I overhead the artist talking to someone and I only heard parts but it seemed to be about trying to get this piece set up at a gallery and the powers that be at said gallery were like “okay what is this going to smell like because we don’t want it to take over the whole gallery and we def don’t want people to barf.” And it was cracking me up.
As I was leaving the tour group came in and it was a CROWD so I dove out of there and speed walked down Newark Ave to the next place.
I came across Village West gallery by surprise as I didn’t have it circled on my map for whatever reason, but it’s up a staircase I have walked by one million times on the way to shows at White Eagle Hall and I’m always like I wonder what that staircase is and now I know. Full circle.
It was cool in here, I liked the look of it overall and all of the art was nicely displayed. Honestly there was a tuxedo gallery cat there and I’m such a sucker for a tuxedo cat I basically just took pics of him the entire time (they’re all “him,” even though I googled it and I was disappointed to find tuxedos are 50/50 male/female, they are still all “him” in this blog and for all other purposes in which I’m involved)
They also had those kinda supermarket brand bakery sugar cookies that are so moist and delicious that you’re like how did a straight up basic-ass supermarket make this? But you’re glad they did.
Oh and one more thing was this really cool couch that instead of reupholstering with new fabric an artist painted over some parts of it with fun colorful paints (BRIGHT COLORS) and I think the little info box next to it said the artist got it for like $27 or something and I was into that.
Last on my journey was Piersanti studios. There were other works/studios there in the Merseles Studios at Jersey City Theater Center building (that’s a mouthful and I’m still unsure what to really call this place) but I particularly wanted to see this one. I really like the work of his that I have seen around the town and I think it’s super cool/fun/very Jersey City that it’s a cast of characters of people he has come across. At least that’s what I was led to believe…I could have made that up. Anyway it’s great and bright and portraits of people and I love it forever. He had a lot of stuff on display in the studio and every corner had pops of color and faces looking at you and it was a lovely experience.
He was in there working on a painting (of one of those hairless cats! Cool!) and I didn’t want to disrupt the artistic process, duh (JK I was crippled by awkwardness and tiptoed around so as not to make a sound lest he hear me and then say hi to me and then I would have to think of something to say. He seems perfectly nice this is my issue not his), but I was grateful that I was allowed to lurk in his studio and check things out for these few moments. Thank you!
So as you’ve read and seen above, if you’ve made it this far, it was a great great time. I enjoyed exploring a couple of different neighborhoods before heading downtown. I moved to “The Hill” in May after living downtown for 8 years so it’s been a huge adjustment finding different places to hang out but it’s also been hugely fun and eye opening and I don’t know why I never ventured far from downtown before and I AM SO SORRY FOR BEING SO BASIC.
JCAST 4 life! Did you go? What did you see? What did you like best about it? What did you like least about it? Didn’t it seem like there were so many places on the map and you couldn’t possibly visit them all?! Do you feel that art is democratized in JC or do you think they’re a bunch of snobs? Well, they’re not. Go out and enjoy the arts in our awesome town! Woooo!