Kate Oh, Korean artist & gallery owner


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    Who is Kate Oh? One of those rare gallery owners who is herself a gifted artist. A champion, interpreter and reinventor of Korean art. Her work is representative – with a contemporary and often humorous twist. Figurative, she’s a storyteller. In sum she’s an innovator who dares exhibit newsworthy shows even in the height of New York’s summer. Her personal and painting style are classic – and a class act. Her paintings are little worlds, complete unto themselves. No sloppiness here dribbling off the canvas. And she shows all this in a classy Parisian-like setting in her Upper East Side suite on 79th just off Mad Ave. 
    Kate is not only known for her own unique art but also for her leadership and support for Korean art in general. This summer she hosted several Korean art shows, with official support of Korean organizations – much like the Met did its noteworthy “Diamond Mountains” show this last spring in collaboration with the Korean government. 
   This summer’s first exhibition was a collaboration between herself and the KFAA (Korean Fine Arts Association) – https://wsimag.com/art/41379-international-art-exchange-exhibition – featuring the works of 16 Korea-based artists and 16 America-based artists. This is an example of her ability to establish broad ranging partnerships that in turn create opportunities for artists to expand their practice in diverse settings beyond gallery walls.
    Kate Oh in her own art uses traditional materials and techniques to explore a special traditional area of Korean art, Minhwa. Minhwa commonly refers to a genre of Korean folk art from the late Chosŏn era (17th–19th C.). Based on Shamanic, Buddhist, or Confucian themes, Minhwa, as a popular form, conveys freshness and vitality in a relaxed ambiance, in contrast with the more scholarly and stern Muninhwa-style favored by the yangban, or aristocratic, class. The use of vibrant primary colors and exaggerated painting styles were indicative of the taste of the middle-class, who wanted to imitate the yangban love of art, but with a touch of flamboyance.
    This summer – and during her special shows – her own recent pieces of the “Chochungdo” series can be found on display. Chochungdo is a painting genre initiated by the Korean poet and artist, Sin Saimdang, in the 16th century that depicts plants, fruits, and insects. 
    Kate’s interpretation of classical Chochungdo invites viewers to contemplate in the small natural worlds she creates. The eye is never tempted to leave these worlds. Her artwork depicts the intimate relationship between insects, fruit, and vegetation, all of which she painted with a delicate lightness of touch. Abstract butterflies, realistic wasps, beetles, frogs, and praying mantises are busy – and often fooling around – in the foliage. A true delight! Two mice on all fours are scattered among the leaves while dressed in bride and groom clothing, sharing a piece of melon. Wit, often partially concealed, plays on this classical genre, gives it life, and connects it with the contemporary world. This humor is vividly portrayed and captured. 
    Kate Oh created her gallery last year. Its focus is on emerging and mid-career artists. Its mission appears to be to advocate for the work of lesser-known artists, of western and non-western artists alike. Her openings – by RSVP and invitation only – are on Thursday afternoons from 4-8pm. Her next show, opening this Thursday, August 23, is curated by Pema Rinzin and features works by Marlon Forrester, Erin Hinz. To go to the opening email the gallery, info@kateohgallery.com. To view the show email for a personal tour. The gallery will be open to the public on two Saturdays in September, the 1st & the 15th, from 11-5pm.

a Masterpiece gay film

    A major, well-done, well-received dual Masterpiece PBS film done in 2017: Man in the Orange Shirt. Rarely do we have a gay film, much less one done exceptionally well, with a sense of history that does not sacrifice its drama. That’s what Masterpiece Theater does – and this is a masterpiece from Masterpiece. What a timely time of the year to see it – search the PBS stations’ schedules for it – sink into it, and let it sink into you.
    Per bear

Deceiphering the art scene in Brooklyn


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The recent Greenpoint art studio open house weekend led me to get a fix on the overall art scene in Brooklyn. Knowing which part of Brooklyn a gallery is located in requires a working knowledge of its addresses. Luckily two sites cover Brooklyn’s art scene regularly: Wagmag or ArtinBrooklyn. Here are some links to good overview articles, starting with a June 2018 list of 15 top galleries: https://foursquare.com/top-places/williamsburg-brooklyn/best-places-art-galleries. This Dec 2017 article gives a gallery by gallery description + covers Brooklyn’s major art events: https://www.tripsavvy.com/brooklyns-indie-art-scene-4083821Here is an Oct 2017 article for you on the transition from Williamsburg to Bushwick and beyond: https://www.departures.com/art-culture/bushwick-brooklyn-art-sceneLastly, check out this Oct 2016 https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/new-york/articles/nyc-culture-guide-williamsburg-s-top-10-art-galleries/

Deceiphering the avalanche of art treasures in the LarryQualls art event site


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  Weekends always pack a surprise. Today is testimony to that. Luckily the master site of art events in NYC – http://www.LarryQualls.blogspot.com – appears each day about 7am. It may seem like just a list. But in fact it’s a daily story about landscape of art in NYC – our art openings, book signings, discussions & fairs. And its clues are geographic – for it it describes the day’s largesse from the tip of Manhattan to its top. And then goes onto Brooklyn, Queens – and the rest. Read it this way, and slowly patterns will reveal themselves – and eventually much will become quite clear – as to when to see what in this city of ours.
  Today, Saturday, as usual there’s a cluster of avant-garde events in the Bowery area, including a book signing, a conversation/tour in Chinese, a Marching Band performance:
-Klaus von Nichtssagend 54 Ludlow St readings from Liz Luisada’s Shapes Deck, part of her exhibition Find Your Way noon-2:30
-Krause 149 Orchard St book signing: Oliver Hibert Eye See You – The Art of Oliver Hibert 4-6
-James Cohan 291 Grand St conversation: Yun-Fei Ji with John Yau and Robert Lee 4; Chinese language tour 2
-Company 88 Eldridge St performances: Hayden Dunham, Ayana Evans, Jasmine Nyende, Keijaun Thomas; in conjunction with Altered 5-8
-Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St closing event: Marching On: The Politics of Performance performance by The Marching Cobras of New York 5; comments: Terrel Stowers and Kevin Young of The Marching Cobras with Bryony Roberts and Mabel O. Wilson 5:15; reception 6-6:30
-Tibor de Nagy 11 Rivington St artists talk: I Was Like She Was Like Delia Brown, Inka Essenhigh,Hilary Harkness, moderated by Sarah Valdez 4
-Lichtundfire 175 Rivington St exhibiiton: Parallel Fields Kathleen Elliot, Kaethe Kauffman, Bobbie Moline-Kramer; curated by D. Dominic Lombardi 6-9
  There’s usually one Big Event. And this one qualifies at the L-L gay art museum:
-Leslie-lohman Museum 26 Wooster St Summer Block Party co-hosted with Papi Juice; public opening reception of Daybreak: New Affirmations in Queer Photography Kevin Aranibar-Molina, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Ryan James Caruthers, Ryan Duffin, Andrew Jarman, Mikaela Lungulov-Klotz, Groana Melendez, Vanessa Rondón, Alexis Ruiseco-Lombera, Matthew Papa, Jess Richmond, and Elias Jesús Rischmawi;  unveiling of Queerpower: Façade Commission by artist collective, fierce pussy; artist Cupid Ojala  presents Unicorn Utopia, a coloring book for all ages 2:30-6
  Then there are a few midtown events, including a closing reception:
-Gallery35 30 E 35 closing reception: Form & Formless: Figurative to Abstract John Devaney, Teresa Hommel, Ingrid Sletten, Virginia Asman, Susan Demmet-Harris, Bev Thompson, Cari Clare, Denise Fryburg, John Connors, Juanita Gilmore, Peter Robinson, Valerie Lynch, and Yolande Heljnen 6-8
-Manhattan Graphics Center 250 W 40 reception: Ruth Moscovitch Unspent Motion: Copper and Steel 6:30-8:30
Noted museum shows may be occurring, this one perhaps close to you:
-Cooper-Hewitt  2 E 91 exhibition: Color Decoded: The Textiles of Richard Landis opens to the public
And increasingly something in Harlem, this one celebrating a service-minded motor cycle club:
-Harlem Haberdashery Assembly Site 245 Lenox Ave The League: A Distinguished Gentlemen Movement in association with the Trash Project presents Greener Lenox: Tree Restoration Project cleaning and restoring 115th to 125th 9:30-1 rsvp theLeagueDGM@gmail.com

A funny thing happened on the way to the gallery….


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Thursday is often a day when galleries on the Upper East Side choose to bloom. I was heading to the Kate Oh Gallery at 50 East 72nd Street, 3a – but on the way I came upon a glass treasurehouse at Sara Japanese Pottery (950 Lexington Ave), served with a delicious Saki. Here was the work of Ushio Konishi – justly famous for his delicate laced glassware. Trained near the Cape, then in Venice, Konishi produces incredibly delicate, finely tuned pieces. Indeed, there in the store buying up a storm, was a Fifth Avenue lady beautifully outfitted – fitting for such a splendid setting. (Dressing up for the Madison Avenue boutiques is definitely an UES thing to do.)

At Kate’s gallery the title of the exhibition, “Two Horizons”, was immediately apparent: the show features work of Kyp Malone and James McClung – two artists who are literally worlds apart. McClung is definitely a Redlands California artist whose mixed use of technique keeps your eye inside the painting – always the artist’s greatest hope, and greatest challenge. And there trying to choose which one she liked the most was my new acquaintance from the glass show.

Kyp Malone is a figurative painter whose paintings explore mythic, spiritual and psychedelic themes. Inspired by Mughal painting traditions in India, his work is populated by black and brown peoples and is often utopic, Eden-like. “I’m working towards something like a black fantastic [the quote of the evening!]. The conspicuous absence of people of color, or worse, their being relegated to caricature or background in the fantasy side of the western imagination troubled me. So I started painting what I wanted to see.” May we see more artists like Kyp and more galleries such as Kate’s – exploring not just the best, but the most advanced territories in the art world.

It is not surprising that Malone also works as a musician and video director in NYC. His work makes you want to dance – and his figures never seem to sit still. This tradition-smashing show recalls the recent opening at the Met Museum of “History Refused to Die” – the Met’s refusal to relegate art by brown, black and yellow artists – hell, artists of any color, including rainbow – as “self-taught” or “folk art”. Too long have museums  -stereotyped artists of color as artists “informed only by experience rather than training”. The Met, by starting to put the work of contemporary artists of color smack dab into its Modern Art galleries, has welcomed this long-lost fountain of human creativity back into the Art Family as a whole. Welcome back, Kyp. May we all benefit from your visionary work.

Fri night live – what to do?

Tonight’s activities – as is often the case – are clustered on the LES around Grand Street, with three far-out openings followed by the three grand Grand Street Galleries:

Bortolami 39 Walker St reception: Ben Schumacher The China Chalet Group 6-8

Situations 127 Henry St reception: Andres Bedoya Still Life with Others 6-8

Krause 149 Orchard St reception: Oliver Hibert Infinite Rainbow of Doom 6-8

Peter Freeman 140 Grand St reception: Summer David Adamo, Geoffrey Hendricks, Shara Hughes, Stephen Pace, Emily Mae Smith, Ned Smyth, Pat Steir, curated by Ugo Rondinone 6-8 – dependable

Peter Blum 176 Grand St reception: Excavation Zahoor ul Akhlaq, N. Dash, Josephine Halvorson, Corin Hewitt, Erik Lindman, Stanley Rosen 6-8 – a very fine gallery indeed

Marc Straus 299 Grand St reception: Stereo Love Seats Hot Wheels Mark Manders, Joel Otterson, Huma Bhabha, Red Grooms, Rona Pondick, Michael Brown, Sandra Tomboloni, Woody de Othello, Jeanne Silverthorne, Folkert de Jong, Paloma Weiss 6-8 – Very LES….

Gallery 131 Eldridge St reception: SYE Retrospective: A Solo Exhibition by SYE: An Uncut Look at The Experiences of a Woman Coming into Adulthood – 2011-2017 7-10

AEG Underground 212 Bowery reception: Maiden Form curated by Heather Benjamin 6-8

But we’re going to the Nieue Museum at 86th and Fifth which is not only free Fri night but at night looks far better – and is far more full of far more interesting people. After? the Met Museum – open nights all weekends promises music, snacks, art and interesting people.

PS Let’s not forget BushWig this gay month of June


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This is the link to BushWig. They did a two hour show at the Brooklyn Museum in the May First Sat evening extravaganza – which took the crowd by storm. They do a festival each year. Their twist is putting the gay and the macho back into drag – and it’s about time! https://bushwickdaily.com/bushwick/categories/arts-and-culture/4960-oops-is-east-williamsburg-s-hottest-free-drag-show-on-wednesday-s

Queer Words, Queer Worlds take over Brooklyn Museum’s free First Saturday Evening


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Overview: On June 2, Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday celebrates the stories of Pride with LGBTQ poets, artists, and performers. Highlights include the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus; the premiere of an episode of Viceland’s new docuseries My House; a screening of the documentary The Revival: Women and the Word, followed by performances by Circle of Voices, Be Steadwell, and t’ai freedom ford; and a conversation with Jeanne Vaccaro of the New York City Trans Oral History Project.

Logistics: Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday events each have a theme. The last one had a spectacular two hour gay drag show that blew everyone’s socks off. The films and the Hands-On-Art events marked with an * in the listing below have limited space and are ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis. GET THERE EARLY to get tickets to them. Subway connections to the museum are good; the 2 & 3 trains deposit you right at the museum’s door – the only entry to use for these First Sat nite live events. From the UES it’s only 40 minutes with the new Q. The address for GPS is 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY. Plenty of parking.

What’s on, in detail: At 5–6:30 pm Music: The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus kicks off the evening with their ineffable sound while Tati 007 battles on the ballroom floor. At 6 pm there’s Community Talk: How do queer zines and archives build community? At 6 pm there’s a *Film and Performance: The Revival: Women and the Word (2016, 82 min.) documents the creation of a U.S. tour by poets and musicians led by queer women of color – and is followed by poetry performances Also at 6–8 pm is *Hands-On Art: Design your own pride notebook inspired by David Bowie and Radical Women’s Virginia Errázuriz. And at 6:30–7:30 pm there are Pop-Up Gallery Talks: Teen Apprentices host ten-minute talks about LGBTQ artists in Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985. At 7–9:30 pm DapperQ hosts a Drink and Draw celebrating the diversity of LGBTQ fashion, bringing femmes to the forefront and celebrating a range of New York–based designers and gender presentations. And from 7–10 pm bklyn boihood and Rimarkable will be presenting JOY, a multigenerational event celebrating queer and trans people of color, featuring board games, Spades tournaments, dance-offs, a performance by Nappy Nina and a DJ set by Rimarkable. (bklyn boihood is a collective that creates visibility within the LGBTQ community, crossing barriers of gender, race, class, age, and sexual preference.) At 8 pm there’s a Community Talk given by Jeanne Vaccaro of the New York City Trans Oral History Project, a community archive dedicated to collecting, preserving, and sharing trans histories, presents stories from, and leads a conversation about, the Project. And at 8:30 pm there’s Pop-Up Poetry, with readings by Brooklyn-based poets, including Wo Chan, a nonbinary drag performer and Charles Theonia, author co-editor of Femmescapes. At 8:30 pm there’s another *Film, the premiere of an upcoming episode of Viceland’s new docuseries My House, which chronicles the competitive underground queer ballroom scene in NYC from the perspective of voguers and commentators. The screening is followed by a talkback with cast members.

Teens Takeover of the Met

Thousands of teens from New York’s five boroughs will descend on The Metropolitan Museum of Art—many for the first time—tonight from 5 to 8 p.m., for Teens Take The Met!, a teen-centric evening devoted to art and culture through interactive programming in workshops, performances, art making, demonstrations, photography, and more. Teens 13 and older from both The Met’s high school internship program and 40 partner organizations play an instrumental role in planning the twice-yearly event.

“In today’s world of vanishing safe spaces and increasing youth activism, it’s more important than ever that institutions like The Met are conveners for young people to connect, celebrate, and explore. This year, we have seen the extraordinary power young people have to instill and inspire change and at Teens Take The Met!, students have the unique opportunity to not only consume art and culture, but to creatively share their voice on the key issues facing teens today,” said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, The Met’s Chairman of Education.

Artistic Profiles: Gift from the New Yorker

Artistic Personalities

In 1957, Janet Flanner published a Profile called “The Surprise of the Century.” The “surprise” was Pablo Picasso, a genius who struck his friends as unprecedented, as both an artist and a person—a “complete phenomenon.” (“The excesses of his artistic endowment, of his will, of his life appetites, and of his character,” Flanner writes, “appear to have been idiosyncratic from earliest childhood.”) This week, we’re bringing you close encounters with great artists in their prime. Ellen Willis reports on the turbulent vision of Janis Joplin and her band, and Whitney Balliett chronicles the musical innovations of the jazz legend Charlie Parker in “Bird.” Janet Malcolm explores the complexity of Sylvia Plath’s work and life in “The Silent Woman,” and Jervis Anderson accompanies the novelist Ralph Ellison on a trip to his home town and recounts the author’s thoughts on race in America. In a 1974 Profile, Calvin Tomkins traces Georgia O’Keeffe’s path from the Art Students League, in New York, to her legendary ranch in New Mexico, and, in “The Duke in His Domain,” Truman Capote visits Marlon Brando on the set of “Sayonara.” Finally, S. N. Behrman writes about Joseph Duveen, who—as the art dealer to William Randolph Hearst, Henry Clay Frick, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and other major collectors—shaped the art world as we know it today. We hope that you find these glimpses of artistic minds as fascinating as we do.

—Erin Overbey and Joshua Rothman, archivists