NEXT FAB and the infamous Biennial

I am really struggling the past few weeks with this blog and time in general. I am new to this so I thought the most important thing for a blog was to be consistent. To build up a core group of readers, albeit few, and find something to say. It turns out that this leads to panic on my end. This friendly panic then goes to procrastination. All very familiar I am sure. So even though this blog is in it’s infancy I am giving up “A week in Art” because when you know you know. And art can’t be rushed nor can I.

I will begin with the easy part. On saturday our fearless leader Linda, from Fleisher Art Memorial, took some teachers for a tour of NextFAb. Their tag line is ” Philadelphia’s Gym for Innovators”, and I am sure they are right. This idea of being a member is very popular. At Fleisher for instance, and almost any art related facility. The various Museums, the Sculpture Gym, the Orchestra, and so on.

So why not a space where you pay to use equipment a single household could not possibly afford or have space for? IT makes perfect sense. This equipment I speak of is practically anything you have ever heard of to make an object, and many things you may have not heard of. A place where you can print, make a mold, or scan anything you can imagine. And then use infinite amounts of material to recast the object you originally made. The space is broken up in to category just like art school. Wood, metal, photography, textile, print, and plastics. They have a class for almost everything in the building, and it seems that many use NextFab as their office and home away from home.

Of course every artist thinks about how they can use aspects of fabrication in their work, and I have long heard of the competitive Kohler grant, and our own Fabric Workshop and Museum, to accomplish this. However, NextFab is a place where for a price anyone can experiment with ideas of expanding any practice. The options are pretty much three fold. You become a member paying over $100 a month plus  the price for introductory workshops for each machine, and then this monthly fee will allow you to do what you what when you want as long as they are open. Second choice, same as above but with limited weekend space, for just under $100 bucks. Finally, think you need a onetime job? You can commission staff to make your objects.

Flow Mach4C 3020 Water Jet

Flow Mach4C 3020 Water Jet


GiANT Flamingos in process





Welcome to NExtFab

The lobby


The Whitney

I wrote a little about what I had heard regarding this Exhibition GIANT, but ever since I actually went I have done everything possible to avoid writing about it. It does not make sense really, because my opinion does not mean anything in this art world, but maybe I just don’t know how I feel. On the visit to New York I was nothing but optimistic. Jared and I met my new friend Michael from VCCA at a place I like to brunch at in Chelsea called the Rocking Horse. On a beautiful and rare spring day we walked to the Whitney. I know, it is far, but it was a great time. We payed, it was not crowded, and the first thing we did was watch a video. Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst depicted a crazy and sexually charged universe attacking the imagination on all fronts. I did not get to see the whole video, but was pleasantly surprised when they were featured heavily on the third floor curated by Stuart Comer. I felt a calm in the presence of their beautiful and subversive photographs. The artists were giving you a view into the intimacy of todays diverse relationships. This floor was by far my favorite. Another fan favorite in my group was Bjarne Melgaard, Think I’m Gonna Have A Baby, 2014. A whole room covered in penises. The brightly lit florescent room had a very aggressive feeling, as you are sitting on lip couches covered in stuffed animals depicting sexual organs and acts. 

This is what KevinMcGarry wrote about it:

“The Gesamkunstwerk, entitled Think I’m Gonna Have A Baby(2014), includes projections of found clips depicting interchangeable violence between animals and people respectively, and a monitor with a staged, raunchy confessional dialogue between two gay lovers who seem to hate one another. The wall text identifies the dissolution of humanity into a circus of cruelty as its subject, but this declaration is, frankly, not even necessary, because the work is writ so large, scary, and engrossing.”

The fourth floor had all the hits. Curated by Michelle Grabner, she used the beautiful open floor plan style. The Owens and Sillman’s prevailed, with a hideous bejeweled tent installation recalling Tracy Emin with a sprinkling of Chihuly. I am sure it had a meaning of glam loss, but to be honest I did not look into it.

Finally and going backwards Anthony Elms had the First Floor ( which is actually the second) and while it was mostly not my aesthetic, he used physicality juxtaposed with the delicate quiet beautifully. Charlene Von Heyl took a whole wall of her usual grid, and the recently deceased Terry Adkins also was a star for this floor.

So after the hype there are hits and misses for all, but worth seeing of course.Image


The Gesamkunstwerk, entitled Think I’m Gonna Have A Baby(2014)


Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst


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