Friday, September 30, 2011


September 30th
Opening of AIOP RITUAL 2011
Here some opening impressions by G. Vaes (partcipating with MASKI):

Art in Odd Places Opening Reception @ Theater Lab

TheaterLab was packed with performers and guests last night as we kick off the 2011 Art in Odd Places Festival.

Subscribe to our blog or follow us on twitter (@artinoddplaces)  to get daily festival updates







Images from Dahlia Elsayed "Really Real" project for Art in Odd Places

Here are a few pictures from Art in Odd Places 2011 artist Dahlia Elsayed. You can check out her work ,  "Really Real", between 2nd and 3rd Avenue along 14th street

Follow this artist on twitter @dahliaelsayed

Why should anyone take part in MASKI at AIOP?

Because recreating your environment is as important as breathing. Anyone can be an artist and have a profound effect on his or her surroundings. Just stepping into a creative process releases energy that can lead you to places you didn't know existed. Therefore I invite everybody to come to the MASKI workshops, making masks and freeing the vocal chords and have this procession through 14th Street. It's not about getting a message through, it's tuning into creative forces and surfing on a communal vibe. This will lead you further than any aim you could've set yourself... For more info, check the AIOP-site.

Don't be afraid, put on your selfmade mask!

Konstantin Dimopoulos believes the term "Art in Odd Places" is a misnomer ...

Get to know another Art in Odd Places 2011 artist before we officially kick off the festival later at TheaterLab (see invite information here) . The Art in Odd Places Festival brings artists all over the world. This year, we have Konstantin Dimopoulos hailing from Australia. Learn more about him and check out what he plans to bring to the festival.

Konstantin Dimopoulos, photo provided by artist

AiOP: Tell us about you?
KD: I see myself as a conceptual and a social artist; an artist who believes strongly that art can change the world, that we all have the capacity in us to effect and change our environment through art.

I like the idea of social art - bringing it into the very fabric of society – into the streets. In fact Art in Odd Places is a misnomer in my opinion, because art began outdoors not indoors, scratching on walls, on the ground, in caves and it has returned outdoors through the work of graffiti artists and performance artists. I see galleries and museums as being the Odd places to show art.

I am based in Melbourne, Australia, but I create public artworks around the world. I have 2 streams to my art practice - social art installations; and public sculpture.

AiOP: How  did you hear about Art in Odd Places?
KD: I have always loved the idea of New York. The architecture, the gritty ness, the jazz, the theatre, the arts, it’s a living artwork in itself, always breathing and evolving. And so I have been following various events in the city and feel the idea of Art in Odd Places because in some way I feel that’s where artwork belongs. I hope that other cities globally take note of what you do.

AiOP: Walk us through your thought process in creating your piece for Art in Odd Places.
KD: Ideas flutter around my head constantly and the idea of The Tattooed Tailor, the idea of bringing a bit of the history of my tailoring ancestry to the city that never sleeps – the idea of fabric, of material and looking at it and transferring it onto the streets like a graffiti artist was the crux of how the process began. Threads that come together to make a whole. I am using lace patterns to describe RITUAL because lace is often used in ritual - we see it in ecclesiastic robes, christening gowns, wedding dresses.

Lace on Bench, photo provided by artist

AiOP: How is the preparation coming along?
KD: It's all going really well. What is particularly exciting is that this type of work involves getting on the street and beginning the process right there so that its both experimental and performance. The unknown is something that appeals to me because I may find something on the street to link my idea to something that wasn’t planned, so as I said before, to some degree the work is spontaneous, relevant to the context of its site.

AiOP: Where will we see you along 14th street during the festival? 
KD: Again like all ideas they can change on the day but I like the idea of using bus shelters (terminals of exits and entrances) and covering them (around 9th and 10th Avenues) and linking those to a number of shop windows or bags of rubbish found lying out there. I like to create a work that is in effect a living, changing work - surprising people.  It's an evolving, organic process so that when I get to 14th Street something from the street itself may trigger where the work will go. And you might see me at 14th Street Park.

AiOP: What do you hope to bring to the festival?
KD: I see myself as part of a beautiful tapestry and when put together with the other artists this will make sense.
I hope that people see the beauty in both the lace patterns themselves and in the structures the patterns cover. The beauty that is “their” street and when we leave “the street “ will still be there, and then memory will keep our works alive. I like the idea of memory playing a part in the work. Also I am a stranger in NY and whatever I bring I also hope to take back to Melbourne, Australia - the vibrancy and energy of ” the street” back with me.

AiOP: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?
KD: I hope people come up and talk to me while I am creating the lace graffiti forms. Interaction with the public is always part of the work I create.  Life is about change and how we cope with it. It’s about the individual rituals that are created to make sense of it all. Often these are invisible because they occur behind closed doors, in churches, in homes. The festival removes these doors for a small period of time, so you can see them. Your environment changes every day but because it's gradual you don’t notice it. The festival is like fast-forwarding time so that for a brief moment the hand of the artist, "the shaman" becomes visible.

AiOP: Where can we reach you

AiOP: Any final words?
KD: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." Albert Einstein (thanks Albert you rock!)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Leon Reid IV's Tourist -in-Chief received permission from the Parks and Recreation Department



Caroline Reid


New York, NY, September 30, 2011. Public Artist Leon Reid IV has received permission from the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to dress the statue of George Washington in Union Square Park. The installation "Tourist-In-Chief" involves placement of five props on the statue: "I Love NY" cap, subway map, shopping bags and camera. The project is designed to transform the appearance of George Washington from military general to modern tourist. Installation is on view Saturday, October 1 from 8am-7pm as part of Art In Odd Places 2011 festival RITUAL.

The three objectives of "Tourist-In-Chief" are:

  1. Reflect cultural atmosphere of Union Square.
  2. Make Washington more relatable to contemporary audience.
  3. Inform public about Washington’s role in NYC history.

The statue of George Washington created by Henry Kirke Brown in 1856 is the oldest in New York City possession and the second equestrian statue created in the United Sates. The work depicts Washington on his historic march down Broadway during Evacuation Day 1783, marking an end to British colonial rule in the city. Leon Reid IV's "Tourist-In-Chief" sets a creative precedent; it is the first instance of an artist permitted by the city to use the statue in a work of art.

Ed Woodham, founder and director of Art In Odd Places said of "Tourist-In-Chief":

"...[W]hat this project does, and what Art In Odd Places hopes to do is to see the city and its normal surroundings in a new ligh[t]..."

The project raised over $3,100 on the fund-raising platform Kickstarter, but early public support did not guarantee complete success; "Tourist-In-Chief" underwent a turbulent administrative process. Dismissed by the Parks Department, unanimously voted in favor by the Parks Committee (Community Board 5),officially rejected by the Department then ultimately permitted. The project united some and divided others. Attorney Philip Z. Kimball brought the parties together and negotiated a permit on the Artist's behalf.

Leon Reid IV is known for creating humorous works in the public realm, his first forays were experienced as a teenage graffiti writer in the mid-1990's. Since 2005 his works have been commissioned in cities throughout the world. Selected commissions include:

"True Yank" : Hip-hop props placed on bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln. Commissioned by Urbis contemporary art center2009, Manchester, U.K.

"Free As A Bird" : Larger than life vulture installed on top of a maximum security prison. Commissioned by CMS Atelier, Missouri State Penitentiary, 2008, Jefferson City, MO,

"The Grazers" : Anthropomorphic parking meters feeding from nearby tree. Commissioned by The City of Syracuse, 2007, Syracuse, NY.

"Love Is A Two-Way Street" : Pair of Brazilian street signs sitting beside each other on a bench. Commissioned by S.E.S.C, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2007

Future plans for public display include "A Spider Lurks In Brooklyn" a massive sculptural intervention to take place on the Brooklyn Bridge fiscally sponsored by New York Foundation For The Arts/Artspire.

For further information about "Tourist-In-Chief" or any other project please visit Leon Reid IV is available for interviews by phone or e-mail, feel free to use the contact details as listed above.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Art in Odd Places Does Urban Design Week

Last Week, Art in Odd Places participated in the first annual Urban Design Week festival, organized by the Institute for Urban Design. Urban Design Week was created as a way to engage New Yorkers in issues relating to the public realm and to give the public a voice in re-imagining their own communities. The folks at the Institute for Urban Design structured this exchange through workshops and events across the five boroughs, and an open-call design competition called By the City/For the City, which asked designers to take ideas submitted by hundreds of New Yorkers, define a site, and design a response to public concern to make the city a more livable and user-friendly place.

Working in partnership with the interdisciplinary gallery and reading room Proteus Gowanus, our gracious hosts, we organized the panel discussion Rise and Fall: Contemporary Nautical Practice on the Gowanus Canal.

The lively discussion centered on artists and activists who take the NYC waterways as their creative point of departure, working with boat building and the creation of other watercrafts as an alternative means to reclaim our city’s complex archipelago as viable public space. The conversation was moderated by Jeff Stark, editor of Nonsense NYC, a popular weekly email newsletter listing quirky and independent parties, events, and art happenings, and included a dynamic group of artists and activists: Ludger K. Balan, Dylan Gauthier, Constance Hockaday, Adam Katzman and AiOP veteran, Tim Thyzel.

Of particular interest in this dialog was EPA Superfund site, the Gowanus Canal.

Several proposals for Urban Design Week’s By the City/For the City competition dealt with the concern over how the Gowanus area should be developed (they can be viewed on the UDW website here), and highlighted a shared belief in the potential for the canal to be transformed into something that knits the area together, rather than acting as a barrier.

The panel addressed this concern and more from the vantage point of their own creative endeavors, ranging from the creation of alternative economies, defining the artist’s responsibility to a local community through their work, how the Superfund designation has affected activity on the canal, and what relationship, if any, should grow between artists and real estate developers. We saw passionate interest on this last point from both the panel and the audience, prompting the question of whether this site should be developed at all, and if urban decay was in fact a valuable state to maintain in the face of all of the gentrification taking place across the city, and specifically in Brooklyn.

Thanks to all of those who came out and made this such a meaningful and productive conversation!

Laurie Breton's pilgrimage for the festival is longer than Holy Week

The festival is coming upon us soon, so it is time to get to know another artist gracing 14th street on October. Allow me to  introduce Laurie LeBreton. For the festival, she promised to bring 300 figures with her. What figure you may ask? Well it has something to do with her journey, thus naming her work "Pilgrimage". Let's just say she hopes each "piece" will bring "peace" to anyone passing by. Yes, that is a lot of peace.

Watch out for these figures  next week. Rumor has it she will collaborate with another Art in Odd Places 2011 artists. For now, get to know Laurie a little more.

Laurie Lebreton, photo provided by artist

Aiop: Tell us about you?
LL: I make installations of sculptures of handmade paper and sound. I often work with
multiples of objects, although the 300 figures in “Pilgrimage” is a record for me. One
important influence in my work is the popular religious art of other cultures – Indian
roadside shrines, Haitian altars, the stands selling religious objects outside Central
American cathedrals. I find my materials everywhere – fabric stores, dollar stores,
grocery stores.

AiOP: How did you hear about Art in Odd Places?
LL: Doug Stapleton, the curator for the State of Illinois Gallery in Chicago, forwarded the
information to me. He thought that “Pilgrimage” would work well in the festival.

AiOP: Walk us through your thought process in creating your piece for Art in Odd Places.
LL: “Pilgrimage” has about 300 figures 14” to 30” tall. I start with simple wire armatures
that I cover with wet handmade paper. As the paper dries and shrinks, the figures
change shape slightly. When they’re dry I ornament them in various ways. No two
figures are alike.

photo provided by artist

I started making the figures after a visit to Laos, where I went on two pilgrimages. One
was to a cave that had 2,000 Buddhas in it; the other was to a small shrine with two
Buddhas on the side of a hill. I was very moved by both pilgrimages and decided to
create my own moveable shrine when I came back.

photo provided by artist
photo provided by artist

My figures aren’t necessarily Buddhas. They’re kind of generic spiritual figures that
viewers interpret in many different ways, as spirits, as ancestors, and as a depiction
of community. I’ve exhibited them in very different settings – a community garden, a
downtown Chicago building and in a public park.

The sound component of “Pilgrimage” – you’ll be able to hear it through Broadcastr
during the festival – is called “A Full Taste of Happiness.” It’s about both my trip to
Laos as well as the pursuit of happiness in all our lives.
photo provided by artist

AiOP: How is the preparation coming along?
LL: It’s coming along really well! I was wondering how I was going to find a spot from
Chicago, but another AIOP artist, Dahlia Elsayed, suggested I contact the 14th Street
Framing Gallery, at 225 W. 14th Street. The space is perfect! My only challenge is
getting all 300 figures into the window.

AiOP: Where will see you along 14th street during the festival?
LL: I’m installing on the 29th. You can visit the figures anytime during the festival.

AiOP:  What do you hope to bring to the festival?
LL: Maybe a sense of peace? A quiet moment on a busy street? I’m always surprised by the many different things that viewers see in the figures, but it’s usually peaceful.

AiOP: Any message to the people who will be in 14th street during the festival?
LL: Yes, of course. I hope you’ll stop for a minute and look Maybe you’ll catch a moment of

AiOP: Where can we reach you 

AiOP: Any final words?
LL: Yes – the Miraculous Artist and I will be doing something together at one point during
the festival. We haven’t decided yet what or when, but we anticipate something
spectacular when we combine her power with the power of the figures.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brolab's Kickstarter campaign: Piazza Gratissima

Our friends and previous Art in Odd Places artist collective, Brolab, just started a kickstarter campaign for an upcoming project.

Learn more about it here:

Piazza Gratissima

A site for community gathering

When installed in the courtyard of New York Public Library's Mott Haven Branch, Piazza Gratissima will facilitate anything from outdoor readings to local barbecues and serve generally as an avenue for civic discourse. Piazza Gratissima will be developed entirely in collaboration with Bronx residents as well as community organizers and officials. This urban intervention will serve as an inviting temporary structure complete with seating, out-door lighting, and custom surfaces.  This realization of this project will depend on public support in raising the necessary funds to make it possible. All donations will be dispersed between material costs and wages for a local workforce that will work side by side with the BroLab Collective for one week fabricating the piazza.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kickstarter, any donation amount helps and the project will be funded once we reach our set goal of $5000

We have a thoughtful array of BroLab gifts to encourage your support beginning with the black and white photos currently on view at BRAC.

To make this project possible, visit us at Kickstarter:

All contributions are made through the Bronx River Arts Center and are tax deductible.

We hope to realize Piazza Gratissima in the spring of 2012.

We Thank you for your support

Adam, Alexander, Jonathan, Ryan and Travis  

Saturday, September 24, 2011