Instincts, Impulses, and Contention

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Got an FB invite to attend a pop-up art event on Wednesday evening, so we went. Given the fluid nature of Facebook, it is amazing that we saw the notice at all. And it’s a good thing that we did, because it was our first and last opportunity to see this collection of work.

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First of all, an amazing loft space above the bespoke Richter Co. at 616 Broadway. The artists are losing their lease, but I know they will all turn up again without a  doubt. The place has tremendous potential, but such is the condition of the art world, unfortunately. Most often under-capitalized, it is a constant struggle to stay afloat and maintain creativity. We salute the effort!

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Raul Castellanos had planned to show new work, but was unable to finish due to an injury. What we got to see last night was a collection of his mixed-media assemblages in which he takes the old, the broken, the used up, the disenfranchised, the junk heap rejects and gives them new lives and renewed purpose as art. He is supposed to be opening a new collection on December 7. Time and place to be announced. Raul is represented in the collection of SAMA, so we look forward to seeing what he is up to next.

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Emilio Flores showed his mixed media sculptural work, a series called “Caged Beasts.” Using styrofoam, paint, metal insulating tape, pallet stretch wrap, steel grid, and metal wire, he delivered a very tight and well conceived presentation. The aspect that tied the work together and articulated his vision were the videos that documented his technique of beating the crap out of the work. They are called “Bleedings.” A very interesting approach. Check out Emilio’s website — especially the videos — here.

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Last, but not least, there was a single painting by Albert Alvarez. It depicted the Pacific Theater of World War II. This intrigued me very much. This is a subject that I was raised with, constantly amplified in the popular culture of the times. However, it’s been a really long time (if ever) since I have seen a young and gifted contemporary artist tackle this subject matter. Very surreal to see this subject explored in a style that is usually given to expressing the woes of gang violence, drug abuse, and the culture wars. I spoke with the artist briefly and learned that he did have a grandfather who he obviously loved very much who was in the war. He never spoke of it, which is typical of that generation, until as an old man his grip on things temporal started to loosen. His grandson was paying attention and has paid homage. Would love to see more.

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As usual, Page got some great shots of the gathering.  Check out the album here.

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