August 07, 2011

Welcome Brooklyn and Thank you

Tonight ZieherSmith, a Brooklyn gallery will open a pop-up gallery in Nashville, TN. The exhibition, BNA: Brooklyn to Nashville, will present a selection of top emerging artists who work out of the borough of Brooklyn, home to the largest and most diverse concentration of art studios in the world. Though young, these artists have already been acquired by top museums and collections across the globe. They work in a variety of mediums and styles.
Featured artists include: Samuel T. Adams, Caroline Allison, Patrick Brennan, Andy Coolquit, John Copeland, Jess Fuller, Kate Gilmore, Denise Kupferschmidt, Liz Markus, Eddie Martinez, Sam Moyer, Rachel Owens, Javier Piñón, Matthew Porter, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Mariah Robertson, Vadis Turner, Sara VanDerBeek, Chuck Webster, Wendy White.
-press release, BNA: Brooklyn to Nashville.

It's as if my message in a bottle drifted to the shores of Manhattan and an exhibition of 21st century work appeared here in Nashville.

I don't mean to whine, which is what I've secretly been doing since I landed here last summer after living the life of an expat for two decades, but it's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one that thought something was missing from the contemporary art scene in Nashville. There's been a serious void, to the point where I was beginning to worry that maybe it was the rest of the art world that was behind, so I am freaking elated that ZieherSmith has delivered a slice of the current art scene with their pop-up gallery at Icon in the Gulch. I'm also just a little dismayed that it's taken a Brooklyn (Manhattan, actually) gallery to bring this type of work to Nashville. Although most of the works in the show date 2011, some go back to 2008, but that's just to say this type of work has been showing in NYC, LA, et al., for at least a few years.

Eddie Martinez, Untitled, 2011 (photo credit: ZieherSmith)

Liz Markus, American Scream, 2011, (photo credit: ZieherSmith)
John Copeland, "Wake Me When It's Over, 2011 (photo credit: John Copeland)

Wendy White, Burger FF, 2010 (photo credit: ZieherSmith)

André Pretorius, Rich Girl Undercover  (photo credit: This one was not in the show.)

My current favorites are John Copeland's, gushy and stoically funny portrait, Wake Me When It's Over; André Pretorius's untitled figurative paintings of skateboarders caught in a sort of filmic time-slice effect of calamity and bedazzlement; Wendy's White's airbrushed and graffiti like abstractions with hard-edged lettering on subtly-shaped canvasses, and Eddie Martinez's raw and quirky painting of what looked to be a pawn/gumball dispenser of personal iconography staring me down. The show contains over 40 works by about 20 artists, runs through the end of August, and is walking distance to my studio, and across the street from my new BFF coffee, Drew's Gravel Springs French Roast at the Turnip Truck in the Gulch, which means I'll be having coffee and taking a closer look at the show's salon wall this month.

I'll stop short of hawking The Icon's condo loft living, but I admit, I eyeball them on my way home and the vacant ground floor space would make a fabulous gallery for someone with a vision.  And thank you again ZieherSmith for bringing some contemporary art to town, especially painting. 

BNA: Brooklyn to Nashville
Pop-up show at Icon at the Gulch

For my next trick, post I will deconstruct the regional art world in one paragraph causing both my social and professional life to disappear. 


Joe Nolan said...

Enjoy your thoughts. Didn't realize you were relatively new to Nashville. While the scene here tends toward the enthusiastic amateur, it's important to know that Owen's glass cowskull piece showed at Zeitgeist Gallery in Hillsboro Village a few years ago and Caroline Allison is a Zeitgeist artist. Zeitgeist and Cumberland Gallery both offer work as good as this regularly. Also you should see the current video show at Blend in the Arcade. I think you'd be pleasantly surprised :)

Carla said...

I like your descriptions of the work.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Hey Joe,

Thanks for reading and commenting. Grew up here, left in the late-80's but visited regularly before moving back last year. I didn't mean to sound as snarky as I did when I implied there was no 21c art here. I was being dramatic. It's mostly painting like the images I posted that I miss seeing here. (Gestural/ abstract/figurative, hybrid, work that makes you wonder a little more than usual, and good old painterly painting.) As a painter, my reasons are purely selfish. I heart painting and feel that we're missing out on seeing the wider spectrum of painting being done today.

I haven't been to Blend, so I will check them out this week. I'm familiar with Zeitgeist and most of the other major galleries here (I think). I do agree good work is being shown in town. Cumberland certainly has a strong roster of painters, and Zeitgeist regularly shows a good postmodern mix but they lean toward minimalism and objects, at least that's my impression. Not to beat a dead horse, but it's like Nashville is showing S, M, L when there's xxs, xs, s, m, ml, l, xl, xxl, xxl out there. I hope that's a good analogy. Or maybe I'm an art snob. That could be, too ; ) My tastes are changing though.

Would love to hear your take on the show.

Carla, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey girl-
I just stopped in ZieherSmith's BNA show the other day. What a breath of fresh air. I thought it was a very unique and rare Nashville art experience; not too slick an exhibition space (which allows one to focus on the art and not the wine or the architecture); smart, clean curating; artists with a history of making real contemporary painting and 3D work for more than a few months while they are between bands; no work that panders to decorators (you want it in blue? I'll get it in blue); no amateurs in the mix. Anywhere. And no illustrators. Or videos of the artist's kids as subject matter.

Which is not to say this level of work is nowhere to be found in Nashville. There are individual artists doing authentic, exciting, challenging contemporary 2 and 3D work in studios all over town. In general, it is the group shows in Nashville that I am comparing to this show. They just haven't been as tight as the BNA show. Or as interesting. I was excited to see these artists' works feed off each other. There was not a single piece that broke the spell. This speaks to the talent gathered in this terrific space. And to the curators who are not beholdin' to gallery politics or history or local collectors. Like I said, a breath of fresh air.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Anonymous, I agree, but can you leave me a hint of who you are? Anything will do. I'm just happy to know someone local reads me and agrees.

I will say that the review of the show in the Scene read like a back-handed compliment, calling the work in the show "pretty good." wtf? Pretty good? The paintings were killer by some standards. I thought it funny that not one painting was posted in the review. FUNNY, like this milk smells funny. Painting is dead here. Dead, I tell you.

lucy mink said...

if Zieher Smith really wants to cause a ruckus, they should pop up in Syracuse, NY, there Painting is dead to, really hard to find a gallery even showing a painting. I am no longer there, but when I left the other painter said to me "all the good painters always leave" I wanted to stay because of her, to fight the fight. but the husbands job called. wish i cold see this show, thanks for the coverage Mary

kreuther said...

interesting conversation. i would add to your wish list for Nashville: good critical review of work, not just description. call out the impostors, and inform as to why. ruffle some feathers. thanx MAH.

Mary Addison Hackett said...

Thanks Kit and Lucy!