New Art Exhibit at the Andrew Freedman House

Another great exhibit debuting at the Andrew Freedman House this week! Check out the details below:

From the West Harlem Art Fund


May 2nd – May 16th 2013
Andrew Freedman House, 1125 Grand Concourse, nr 167th Street, Bronx, NY 10451
Meet & Greet on May 3rd at 5pm



Featured Artists

L.W. Antonius, Alta Berri, Linda Byrne, Thomas Callahan, Marco Castro, Robin Kang, Suprina Kenney, Jongil
Ma, Tomo Mori, Anca Pedvisocar, Roberto Sandoval, Chris Smith, Dianne Smith, Nancy Steinson

Brimming on the Edge is a group exhibition that marries the disciplines of art, design and technology together.
Produced by The West Harlem Art Fund in partnership with the Andrew Freedman House, Brimming on the
Edge coincides with NYCxDesign, and the Frieze Art Fair located nearby on Randall’s Island. There is a budding
movement revolutionizing the Western world. The public is demanding more customized experiences that reflect
their personal lifestyle and appreciations. Yes, it’s easy to purchase a picture frame or a wine rack from a large
retailer that’s inexpensive and probably made in China. But now, the public wants a unique work that’s made in
the United States for which they can showoff in their home or keep as an heirloom. We wish to show the public
these new possibilities in a number of combinations. Brimming on the Edge is curated by Savona Bailey-McClain,
Executive Director, The West Harlem Art Fund, Lisa Banner and Linda Griggs, Independent Curators.

About the Organizations

The West Harlem Art Fund is uniquely positioned to offer this experience. A fifteen year old public arts
organization, we have produced numerous exhibitions and special events with artists and creative
professionals wishing to share their talent with residents around the city. Public art for the West Harlem Art
Fund has included traditional exhibitions, digital installations, storefront windows and live performances. The
West Harlem Art Fund encourages audiences to not only think outside of the box – but to live outside the box.
Our heritage symbol is the double crocodile from West Africa — Funtunmmireku-Denkyemmirreku which means
unity in diversity.

Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council (MBSCC), one of the leading non-profit, community development
organizations in the Bronx has been the owner and operator of the Andrew Freedman since 1984. This
majestic building has been home to a “one stop” social service center which provides a vast array of programs,
resources and referrals for residents of the entire community. It is expanding into a new and exciting
destination for art, culture, learning and creativity.

Bartow Pell Mansion Stroll

In celebration of spring and my day off on Friday, I decided to head over to the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum to check out the Dianne Smith exhibit. I missed the rescheduled debut because I was at a seminar in Rhode Island, but I definitely wanted to make time to see it!

First, one of the most important things you need to know about getting to BPMM is transportation. If you’re part of the 1.3 million NYC households that own a car, then getting there won’t be a problem . However, if you don’t, like me, you MUST catch the Bee Line 45 bus, which only runs once an hour. Your other alternative would be to take the Bx29 heading towards City Island, but it’s still a considerable walk. If you’re impatient like I was (also having seen the 45 leave before my eyes with another 20 minutes for the 29 to show up), you just suck it up and walk the two miles. It’s not a bad walk if you’re wearing comfortable shoes and just follow the bike path.

Second, you should probably look up BPMM’s hours before you go. Which, like a fool, I did not, so after walking the two miles, I discovered that the actual mansion itself was closed. It’s only open Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 12 pm – 4 pm. {Unless there’s a special event, like this Friday’s First Fridays event. Check their calendar for details} The good thing is that the grounds around the museum are open from 8:30 am til “Dusk” (I’ve never been partial to the word dusk.)

Spring is probably one of the best times to visit the grounds, where you can see flowers beginning to bloom and nature (fear it as I may), come back to life – particularly after the hellish Fall and Winter we had.

Plus, it’s a great place to get away from it all, whatever ‘it’ may be for you.

As for the exhibit, it is definitely called Organic Abstracts for a reason. Having known the background behind the exhibits, I had a much greater appreciation for them than Boyfriend, who having went to an art school (to study business of all things) is very particular about art.

Check out the pictures I took during my visit:

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Upcoming Event: Dianne Smith ‘Organic Abstracts’ at Bartow Pell Mansion

I received some great info about a new public art installation that will be on display at the Bartow Pell-Mansion beginning this upcoming Monday. Additionally, next Thursday, March 7, 2013 is Bronx Armory Day, a day to celebrate and appreciate Bronx artists and Bronx-related art. The artist behind the outdoor installation at BPM is Dianne Smith, a born and raised Bronxite who now lives in Harlem.



More about her installation, Organic Abstracts, from the West Harlem Art Fund:

‘Organic Abstracts’ is a new outdoor installation produced by the West Harlem Art Fund in partnership with Bartow-Pell Mansion and the City of New York Parks & Recreation Department for Armory
Week 2013. The featured artist is Dianne Smith, a native New Yorker that was born and raised in the Bronx but
now lives in Harlem.

The installation, comprised of two sculptures, showcases a minimalist approach to abstract art, scaled
large and reminiscent of works by Henry Moore who incorporated them into the local landscape and was
heavily influenced by non-Western art. The works will not be made from traditional wood or metal but from
repurposed materials offering a more direct and intimate experience for the artist. Viewers will be able to
discover the sculptures on the grounds of Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, part of the Historic House Trust of
NYC. The Bronx Trolley will make three round trips from Pier 92/94 to the Mansion for press & fair guests.

The Couple will be two beautifully androgynous heads approximately twenty feet wide and ten feet tall at the highest point. The heads will rest on one another and be secured on to a rectangular base. They will be made from everyday discarded materials such as, packaging, paper, cans, fabric, magazines, etc. These items will be tightly bound together with string, rope, as well as a nontoxic polymer, and waterproof varnish. As such, the piece will be weather resistant. The materials and it connectors will create a colorful and textural work of art that will engage the viewer. The Couple represents the idea of environmental, community and family respect. The concept of heads resting on one another, plays on the old adages “two heads are better than one” and “it takes a village”. They symbolize the idea that we all need each other and the environment to live harmonious and balanced lives.

Working with these objects and connectors allows the viewer to interact with the materials. For instance, the objects will be visible through the rope and string. The installation then becomes more personal to the viewer as he or she can identify things from their everyday life. Sculpting with everyday objects is similar to life there is no sure thing–something useful one moment is discarded the next. These materials speak to the fragile balance that exists in day to day existence. Thus, it is important to respect, support, and love our communities, families and environment.

Flying High is a site specific installation constructed out of brown butcher paper The paper may be crunched, crumpled, rolled, twisted, interlocked, woven and manipulated hanging between two trees. Its formations and sunlight will create patterns of shadows, as well as contrast of light and dark. The paper will be treated with waterproof varnish.

Butcher paper [for me] is a metaphor for the treatment of people in developing countries, particularly those of African descent. It is used for many things and tossed away once we are done. Wrapping meat, craft, shipping and packing of materials are just some of its uses. When we pack things we often pushthem down, bunching the paper to fill corners, trying to get everything tightly secured, and contained. It symbolizes consumption in a global market.

Flying High is also meant to question our ancestral, historical, cultural and political past, as well as the possibilities for our future. I will encourage the viewer to look at the wrinkles in the paper, think about the wrinkles in the skin of the elders in your families: What stories do they tell? What memories do they hold? Look at the ways in which the paper intertwines: How are you connected to your ancestral legacy? Look at the shadows the paper casts: What are your hidden truths? What is the imprint of your personhood on humanity and the environment?


To check out my post on last year’s Bronx Armory Day, click here.