Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The saga continues: Leon Reid IV 's "Tourist in Chief" at the NYC Community Board 5

As you may heard, AiOP 2011 artist, Leon Reid IV , made an amazing presentation to the NYC Community Board 5 to allow the execution of his project, Tourist-in-Chief,  for the upcoming festival in October. L magazine followed this story intently, raising questions about securing permits for public  spaces. Leon shared with us what happened during the meeting

Another full board meeting will commence on September 8. We encourage you to attend and support Leon. During the festival Art in Odd Places will present a panel discussion on October 8, Pseudo-Public Space to discuss this matter. Art in Odd Places supports  Leon Reid IV  100%.

Watch the video of the board meeting

Saturday, August 27, 2011

AiOP 2011 artist Doreen Kennedy has something to cheer you up during Hurricane Irene

Do you like flowers? I have somebody who has a lot of them

As we patiently wait for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, allow me to introduce you to one of our artist for 2011 who will brighten up our day today , and during the festival. Get to know Doreen Kennedy and hopefully her work will help our East Coast friends get through this impending mess. She is definitely sending her love from Ireland.

Doreen Kennedy

AiOP: Tell us about you?
DK: I am an Irish artist based in Dublin, Ireland. I work mainly with photography to make installations, photomontages and prints.

Bookgrids 1 – 6, from Portrait of a Library, 2011, 40cm x 84cm x 6, Giclee prints
Photo provided by artist

Endless Seascape, photographic prints, 30cm x 42cm x 10, 2009
photo provided by Doreen Kennedy

One Thousand Flowers, installation, 2007
photo provided by Doreen Kennedy

AiOP: How did you hear about Art in Odd Places?
DK: I stumbled across the AiOP website. The image of 'Invasive Crochet' by Crystal Gregory caught my attention.

AiOP: Walk us through your thought process in creating your piece for Art in Odd Places.
DK: Flower Bed is a photo-based installation designed to appear in a public park environment. It is made up of aprox 600 photographic prints, placed upright in the grass to make up a ‘flower bed’ rectangular shape. The idea for the installation began with an earlier piece I did at the Electric Picnic Festival in 2007 ‘1,000 Flowers’. 1,000 flower prints were placed on to the bark surface of trees in a woodland area. While making it I began to think about the everyday action viewing of flowers / plant life in a public park over repeated visits. It's almost nostalgic. The work explores themes of the external environment, time capture and the process of recording time with the use of single or repeated images. The flower images can provide a type of evidence or findings from a location. The recreation of an artificial photo-based ‘Flower Bed’ in a public space aims to surprise the viewer and to reconsider the idea of what art in a public space can be.

"Flower Bed" Photo provided by Doreen Kennedy

AiOP: How is the preparation coming along?
DK: I'm looking at the logistics side of things at the moment, travel dates and checking out flight times....

AiOP: Where will see you along 14th street during the festival?
DK: The Flower Bed installation will be in a park space with a grassy area somewhere along 14th Street, the specific location is to be confirmed.

AiOP: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?
DK: It'll be great to engage with the local community there, any feedback on the artwork is welcome.

AiOP: Where can we reach you
DK: website:
twitter: @doreenk

AiOP: Any final words?
DK: This will be my first time making an art installation on location in New York, I'm really looking forward to taking part in the festival.

Thank you, Doreen. Your photographs made me feel better to brace the storm. The Art in Odd Places team will see you on October.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ma Inspira Opening - CultureFix

Ma Inspira is a fund raising exhibition curated by Gabriella Mesa-Jonassen that opened last August 9.  Located at CultureFix in the Lower East Side, 15 artworks, made by 15 young female artists, are in display for the silent auction. Percentage of the proceeds goes to the "House of Treasure" , benefiting the victims of human trafficking in Romania. The show is on going until August 21st.

Stop by and check it out when you get a chance. Art in Odd Places was at the opening

"Lifted up, Large Children Having lost their heads."  by Lauren Shaw

The curator of the show: Gabriella Mesa-Jonassen

Gabriella next to her work "Wrapped & Hanging by a Thread"

For the complete list of artists, click here

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Katie Urban wants you to *almost* lay down on a bed of roses

Let me ask you this question: what  happens when you combine the red carpet and confetti? Answer: you will see Katie Urban's 2011 project for Art in Odd Places. She will explore the calming and "processional"  properties of rituals, while displaying an act of kindness. Using an object that is a typically symbolizes as a gesture of affection, this artist hopes to bring joy to everyone her walk way.

What exactly does she have in mind? I tell you this is much better than laying down on a bed of roses, because let's be honest here: New Yorkers really don't have anytime for that.

AiOP: Tell us about you?

KU: I live and work in a Victorian house in Brooklyn. I work in many different media, basically whatever it is that best communicates my ideas. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of photography based work.
Katie Urban, Photo provided by artist
A print from "Time Exposures", photo provided by artist

I’ve always been creative, always liked making things and felt some kind of need to express myself. A couple of years ago I found a sketchbook from when I was in fourth grade. It was filled with drawings of the covers of books that I wanted to write (think Babysitters Club meets Sweet Valley High), different hairstyles that I liked and outfits that I designed- I was big into Greek mythology then, so there was lots of drapery, wrap around sandals, lyres and columned buildings in the background. I actually worked in fashion for a spell, but decided that I instead wanted to focus on art making where I feel more creatively fulfilled.
A drawing from the artist's sketchbook

A lot of my work is very emotional. I think this is because I’m an emotional person, but generally have trouble showing that to people. So making art has become a way for me to express deeply personal things to others, but in this indirect, sort of coded way. In the end though, I think the work is less about me than it is about universal human experiences and emotions. Hopefully it is something that anyone can relate to and that makes people think, feel and appreciate being alive.

And I enjoy cooking.
"No One Receiving" Katie Urban

AiOP: How did you hear about Art in Odd Places?
KU: Through NYFA’s website. It’s a great resource for artists. I check it all the time. I’m really interested in sociology, comparative religion and mythology (see fourth grade sketchbook) so I was immediately drawn to this year’s festival and its theme of ritual.  

AiOP: Walk us through your thought process in creating your piece for Art in Odd Places.
KU: I started out by thinking about what a ritual is- how in religious contexts, it’s a highly symbolic, meaningful action, but in a psychological, more everyday context it’s a repetitive action that becomes automatic and meaningless. In my own life, I try to avoid going around on autopilot, try to appreciate the really small things like walking to work or going to the laundromat. I think kids do this, or at least I did when I was a kid. Some of my most vivid memories are of really mundane things like driving to CVS with my Dad listening to the oldies station. 

So I wanted to do something that would celebrate these little moments and awaken an awareness of them in people. New Yorkers work so hard and I also wanted to celebrate the efforts that we make every day just to get by.

I was looking at pictures of ancient temples and ziggurats and was interested in the processional walkways, these demarcated paths leading up to the sacred spaces. This led to the idea to create processional walkways out of rose petals along 14th Street to sanctify people's paths and offer them purification for the day ahead. I want the walkways to make people feel special, like they are walking on a red carpet. I also want them to remind people that life goes quickly and that the smallest, most mundane moments are worthy of celebration.

AiOP: How is the preparation coming along?
KU: Good! I’m really psyched to do this and am having fun scouting out 14th street for prime locations and looking for freeze dried rose petal suppliers. 

AiOP: Share one of your rituals with us that is part of your art or performance work.
KU: When I'm starting on something new, I always do a big clean and purge of my workspace. At the beginning of a project, my mind is usually still a little scattered trying to figure out the details and tie together lose ends and I feel like a disorganized space blocks my thinking. Also, once I'm working it tends to get messy so I like to start out on the right foot. 

AiOP: Where will see you along 14th street during the festival?
KU: To be confirmed very soon! I’m considering a few different locations. There’s a really cool church between 1st and A that would be an interesting spot. I’m also thinking about near the 6th Ave subway stop or in the meatpacking district near the High Line entrance at 10th.

AiOP: What do you hope to bring to the festival?
KU: Joy, awareness, appreciation.  

AiOP: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?
KU: There are going to be so many cool projects this year. See as many as you can and talk to the artists. Also, if you’re rushing along and randomly happen upon something interesting, take the time to experience it, don’t just walk by.  

AiOP: Where can we reach you 
KU: Check out my website, 

AiOP: Any final words?
KU: Mark your calendars with big hearts and stars for Art in Odd Places- October 1-10!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An Art for a Good Cause | Ma Inspira - Opening night August 10

A good friend of Art in Odd Places, Gabriela Mesa-Jonassen , is curating a show benefiting the "House of Treasure", a shelter in Romania helping young victims of human trafficking.

Opening  night:  Aug. 10. 7- 9 pm

We hope to see you there
Credit: Dave Schroeder

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In exchange of your support, Rob Andrews might give you a pedicure

We typically view the word "ritual" as a very religious, almost snooty, act. However, the word can also invoke a sense of "regularity": an activity done to simply bring order. It could be as elaborate as ceremonies, but ritual could be about doing simple things: such as cleaning or taking a bath. Our next artist has explored rituals in different ways, such as using toothbrushes as a cleaning utensil or singing to a coyote, to name a few. We are excited to have Rob Andrews to be part of this year's festival. Upon getting to know his work, the Art in Odd Places team feels this partnership is a match made in heaven.

Who is Rob Andrews and what exactly is he doing for the festival? It involves your feet and something about cleaning. You will know in just a second. I do want to take this time first to let you know about his fund raising project with a great micro-funding site called United States Artists. He is currently asking for your support for his upcoming exhibition soon after the festival. Read it all about here:

Now let's get to know 2011 Art in Odd Places artist, Rob Andrews.

2011 AiOP artists, Rob Andrews

AiOP: Tell us about you?
RA: I'm an artist and teacher based in Brooklyn. My work focuses on enacting rituals and telling stories using my own body and the bodies of others. I steal from tradition, religious practice, and from my collaborators in an attempt to get their stories wrong on purpose in order to make them right in another way. My practice involves personal intervention into the muck of inherited mythology, public actions, and volunteer and forced collaborations. I've shown work at the Museum of Modern Art, Exit Art, Grace Exhibition Space, and English Kills Art Gallery in New York as well as in collaboration with other innovative public programs like 40*PHI Art in the Parks.

"Assembly" by Rob Andrews

"Be Void" by Rob Andrews

AiOP: Let's talk to us about "Gowanus Minotaur". The imagery is so, if I may say, a little scary.
Gowanus Minotaur photo provided by Rob Andrews

RA:This work was a breakthrough. The Minotaur is part of our character: as Americans, as humans, as brothers, as mothers, as sons, as friends. He haunts us in his impotency and violence. This piece achieved a fidelity to its source even I couldn't have anticipated. During this work, the Minotaur was meant to be separate from the gallery (a former textile factory), and present only as a specter. The Minotaur was under the main space, chained through the floor to an industrial sewing machine. A three channel video made him visible in the gallery, but the body of the Minotaur was removed - in the labyrinth so to speak. Over the course of the piece however, audience members infiltrated the basement, and threw bottles at the Minotaur, and poured liquor on his body. Someone actually broke an 8 foot florescent bulb over the Minotaur.

AiOP: How did you hear about Art in Odd Places?
RA: I've known other artists who have participated in the festival in past years and have kept tabs on it just because it is such innovative and provocative public programming. When I saw this year's curatorial point of view, I absolutely had a, "That's what I do!" moment. I'm thrilled and honored that the curatorial staff feels the same way about my project.

AiOP: Walk us through your thought process in creating your piece for Art in Odd Places
RA: I have been building cleaning pieces for ten years. Cleaning is a profound metaphor for human experience. Not only does it have deep formal ritual roots across world religions, it is a notable informal form of human connection. One has one's feet cleaned at a beauty salon. I clean my children at night, and in doing so honor and protect them. We clean ourselves for absolution. For presentation! We clean to get closer to each other, or to get control.

In 2003 I cleaned the floor of the gallery Exit Art for three months. Roberta Smith of the New York Times wrote of the work, "In a piece that suggests interior reconstruction Rob Andrews has been and will continue cleaning the gallery's entire floor with a toothbrush, a few square feet each day. His air of meditative concentration contrasts noticeably and nicely with the prevailing sense of bustle and bulk." My goal is to use this project as a spiritual nexus, invite collaborators from the public to meditate beyond their workaday personal interactions, and possibly experience interior reconstruction themselves.

Cleaning is a beautiful expression of absence as well. I'm attracted to actions like this: that superficially imply subtraction, but that represent metaphysical gain. I've cleaned the feet of strangers. I've convinced others to allow themselves to be cleaned by strangers. I've cleaned my body to the point that it was an open wound and, in so doing, invited threatening infections into it - all to achieve a sort of spiritual purity!

This is why cleaning is so special. It embodies our contrary nature in it's most basic form. We try to control the things that are out of our control. In a sense, that's what ritual is: an acknowledgment or our fundamental weaknesses. An appeal. The question is of course: to whom do we appeal and why?

I am going to fill Union Square with forty cloaked figures. The cloaks are black and will extend to the figures' ankles. The public will be invited to clean the feet of the figures with me. They'll be invited to do so in English and in Arabic. This is an act of communion. Of preparation for prayer. Of sublimation. Of sharing. Of acknowledgment of difference, but also of sameness. Let us be contrary, but let us find peace in our shared rituals!

AiOP: How is the preparation coming along?
RA: The piece is coming together! For the most part, the challenge in a work like this is building a trusting and courageous volunteer base. This is a threatening and vulnerable act as a "cleanee." You give yourself over to an intimate intrusion. The trick is finding the strength in that act. Again, we have this lovely paradox: gaining control by giving it up.

AiOP: Where will see you along 14th street during the festival?
RA: We will populate Union Square.

What do you hope to bring to the festival?
RA: This festival is happening at the right time in the right place for the right reasons. I have tremendous respect (and awe) for artists and people that multiply themselves and add new layers of self in this digital age. I do it too to the extent that I can thin myself out. Physical ritual however, peels us down to our essence. It reminds us of the catches and traps we had to create for ourselves before we could so easily get answers from the cloud. We need to remember about the blood, the spit, the light! We need to hold hands with one another. We need to cross the barriers that we're most afraid of crossing, so that we can learn why we were so damn afraid in the first place.

I hope that when the public engages with my work, they let it live inside them. I hope they remember the selves that are compacted inside of them. I hope they live in their memories and the memories inside those memories. We need to touch each other. We need to stop fearing each other.

AiOP: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?
RA: Do not be afraid.

AiOP: Where can we reach you

RA: My personal website:

Vimeo: (or @andrewsautomat)

AiOP: Any final words?
RA: I am so thrilled to participate in Art in Odd Places and to announce that shortly after the festival, my first solo show goes up at English Kills Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn on October 22, 2011. As a 2010-11 Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art winner, I qualified to collaborate with an amazing organization: USA artists, a sort of specialty Kickstarter for fine arts projects. For the next two weeks (only!) I'm raising money for this show and I have a long way to go. My work is unconventional, ephemeral, and outside of the mainstream. Please consider joining my supporters in micro-funding this ambitious project. Please check out the project, where I show a video that explains a bit more about the project and my work in general: - I need your help! You can be a patron of the arts right now!

Every dollar counts, so visit his fund raising page and make a donation. Thank you so much for sharing, Rob. We wish you all the best with this fund raising endeavor