I ART NY Interviews Jason Clay Lewis

By Rebecca Major and Izabela Gola | August 13, 2020
Riding Death 2020, Oil, acrylic mixed media on canvas, 48 1/4

Riding Death 2020, Oil, acrylic mixed media on canvas, 48 1/4" x 36 1/4" (2 panels)

IG: Jason, welcome back to our show. We hosted you on I Art New York on August 22nd of last year and we are so happy to have you back in this very strange time - right now in this pandemic. Welcome back.

JCL: Thank you very much. I'm glad to be here.

IG: Wonderful, let me just remind our listeners about what you do. Jason Clay Lewis is an artist and the Director of The Royal @ The Royal Society of American Art in Brooklyn, New York. His responsibilities include curating and promotion of all gallery exhibitions as well as the day to day running of the studios. His newly launched platform The Royal List allows artists to create FREE Artist Profiles and apply for Open Call exhibitions at The Royal gallery.

I have a first question for you which is regarding the current show of The Royal which is the online show called Satellite of Love. It opened on May 22nd and it will go on till June 21st. It's a group exhibition which you curated, co-curated with Katie Hector and Barry Hazard featuring artists Kelsey Tynik, Heidi Lee Johnson, Heather Elizabeth Garland, Susan Carr, Habby Osk, Denise Treizman, Kylin O’Brien, Greg Brown, Noa Charuvi, John O’Brien.

IG: There is a Kylin and John O'Brien. Are they related?

JCL: No, they're not related.

IG: Oh interesting, Erick Alejandro Hernandez, and Tom Prinsell.

IG: So this show, as I was reading the pr and looking at it - I was going over the press release and looking up the works. It's mainly primarily about artists who are adapting new methods of staying connected in this strange pandemic reality and keeping in touch. I like the corny sounding Satellite of Love title which embraces a selection of multimedia works. The works are love at first sight, satisfying, fun, and kind of tongue-in-cheek. I wanted to ask about the tongue-in-cheek? What caught my eye is one of the small paintings. There are a few works, but one of them is a small painting of Heidi Lee Johnson titled Sisters from this year. It is 24" x 24" and that painting quotes on the one of the most, I would say oddly erotic paintings in Western Art from the 16th Century. The portrait of Gabrielle d'Estrées and One of Her Sisters from 1594. The portrait of a mistress of King Henry IV of France and her sister Duchess de Villars and all of the works are very humorous and tongue-in-cheek. What did you guys have in mind curating this theme? How do you see the tongue-in-cheek as a device in response to this social distancing and the group stress of this new strange reality? The tongue-in-cheek itself, its relation to the kitsch and how did you activate this?

JCL: Well, the last couple shows have been interesting since the crisis has started. The exhibition before this was the Social Distance show. That was more of a photography show - much more serious, much more dark, and monochromatic in tone. It's interesting having the four different curators. We have Katie, Ilona, Amelia, and Janet all have different types of aesthetics when it comes to curating shows. It just turned out that Katie's show was going to be next and that was Satellite of Love. When we started talking about the show, it was a way of saying - Okay, we had this really dark show to begin with, but now a little bit of time has passed. That month is over now, let's look for how do we can raise the spirits? How do we find something positive? Everything can't be down. We have to look towards the future and right now that's a really hard thing to do. During the planning of this show, let's have a positive outlook. Let's look at the fun part and see what people are doing.

In the painting that's by Heidi, it’s a reference from our eyes in the modern context. It's two women and you can see it reads almost like they're a couple. There could be a lesbian reading of it, but I think at the time period when that was actually done in the 16th century, it was painted because she was the King's mistress. It was announcing to everyone that she was pregnant at that time. I think there is a huge difference between how European's view sexuality versus how the Western World views sexuality at that time period and even now. That's a very interesting painting. I think in general, we were really just looking to see and put a really eclectic fun, energetic show together and then see what happens.

RM: It's definitely hard to miss if you go online, the aesthetic from one show to the next. As you mentioned earlier, the Social Distance exhibition was monochromatic and it also showed video that was shot mostly in monochromatic. It had an angst to say the least, one of the videos there was screaming and kind of this idea of isolation and darkness. The the next show was very vibrant with colors and really saturated hues. I think it's interesting how these as you mentioned, the stages are almost like the five stages of acceptance. I can't remember them in the right order, but we go through these stages whether it be acceptance or as in this situation. Let's say, well we have to accept this situation as well, but we go through stages, like from maybe fear and panic or anxiety. Okay, now we are in the situation - how do we make the best of it? What's the next step? How can we find pleasure in this situation and the weather has been unbelievable. So no one can say that we haven't been blessed with amazing weather here in New York, right? So there's always something to kind of take away that's been great from this experience like how the city has become more quiet with less pollution. There's always something positive. It's interesting that way. What is your plan for your next show? Is it going to be more of a conversation about the stages? Are you planning on continuing this thought more in the next one up?

The Royal @ RSOAA

JCL: What's happening for the next show is that Ilona is curating. She's the photographer of the partners and we co-curated the Social Distance show together. She's focusing more on an individual person, but it's multiple artists that are doing work that relates to the isolation of this one person that she's friends with. The work centers around that and it deals with cirrhosis, the darkness that can come. We're kind of switching back again to a completely more insular feel. As you say, the different stages right now, we're all by ourselves.

We're all isolated and that show is going to be more about isolation. I think the next show after that will actually be a larger Open Call. I'm hoping at that point, basically the end of July-August show, we will have physical work in the gallery. We will then be able to have people come and that will be bringing much more interaction with what's happening right now.

IG: I just wanted to follow up on the second part of my previous question with that tongue-in-cheek aesthetic because I found that very refreshing. How do you see this as the method of staying connected? Is this a device? I see references to primitivism in some of the works like in Tom Prinsell with the room with creatures of fantasy. This painting is from last year, with this demonic, ritualistic vibe, and primitivism was an art movement from the late 19th century. It's like Victorian times and then the tongue-in-cheek, the humor and the kitsch as devices. So were you thinking about those terms and why this kind of aesthetic and why now? What kind of devices are they?

JCL: I think Tom's work has a mythological feel to it with the characters and the unicorns and different things. It's fantasy-based more than anything else with the characters and the animals and the way that he paints with the knights and lions. In general, the one fun thing about the different curators is that they all bring their own aesthetic like I said, and so it just shifts from month to month. It gives us a fresh take on things, so when we were looking at artists for who are the best artists for the theme. What I usually do with the shows and now the Online Open Calls - the original aesthetic was that we have the four different curators and then they have their own idea and they bring a title, a theme, and possibly a handful of artists that they might want to show or be the main artist for that one show. Then they build a show around that one specific person or a group of people. Then the online part is you try to find other artists that help build that story of the original artists that are being brought to the show - already started and created. So that's the playfulness that comes, the kitschiness. It is because it was the original artists that Katie had chosen. Kelsey's work was used for the banner image, emails and online marketing. Her work is very performance-based, she's creating props, doing videos, and making objects out of just found things like cardboard.

How do you find artists that enhance that idea of the playfulness of what's happening? We are going through this crisis and we're all going a little crazy. Now let's center the show about the kind of craziness that's happening. This is work that was already being done, but it relates to how we're kind of feeling about being isolated right now.

RM: I have a question that's related to that. You're the Director of The Royal at the Royal Society of American Art and also a curator. The Royal is a gallery within that same space. How has it been for you to have the responsibility of leading the space and managing it as a kind of executive manager through this pandemic and all of the trials and hurdles. You know as a small business and a gallery. Of course there are financial responsibilities that artistic spaces are not exempt from. How do you manage to be creative within the confines of those stresses - those daily stresses within this era?

JCL: I feel very fortunate for one that we do have the space. I's an incredible space and we have multiple renters. I have make sure that everybody is happy. We have to pay rent. We all sort of have to get along. I have to stay on top of all the little things to keep each person happy and whatever needs to be done. If someone leaves, I try to fill that space and including the four partners that help run the gallery. In some ways, I joke that they're helping curate an empty space. Luckily, we get to fill it every month because they are involved and that's very exciting. As for myself, it's been absolutely amazing having these four ladies be part of the gallery. Because things change month to month, a different type of energy comes from the different shows that we've had. I'm able to keep things on schedule, keep things moving, and that has been really great. As for my own practice in the studio, I don't like a lot of upheaval which is what we're in right now. As long as everything is running smoothly, I can work in my studio. I have a studio space here and everything is great. I just manage and make sure everything is running the way it should be.

IG: I've been following the podcast series that you have launched at The Royal List. You recently had Roxanne Jackson the ceramic artist on. That's a new initiative, right? Would you talk about it? When did you launch it and talk about its mission and the upcoming episodes and the one with Roxanne Jackson. What was your objective and how do you select artists for this series?

JCL: Well, it's not really a podcast. It's more like I'm doing interviews, it's only written so there's no sound to the interviews. I'm doing the interviews and choosing based on some artists that I really like, others that I've been friends with, and others that I have curated in different shows. Roxanne and I met at the Socrates Sculpture Park when we did the Emerging Artist Fellowship Program. It was about 10 years ago, and we've been friends ever since. I've been following her work and I curated her into a show about three or four years ago here at The Royal. It's been really fun. It was around December when I started doing the interviews. I've got probably a half a dozen right now that are in the works. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than I would like to get to the next interview. It's been really fun reaching out to people, especially the artists that I admire, care about, and want to support - to give them another platform to say something about what they're doing.

RM: Have you found the online platform to be a way to reach an art community in lieu of a physical space? Have you found it to be a successful way to communicate?

JCL: The one thing I can say about doing The Royal List and creating the artist profile is that the most exciting thing for me is it feels like about a quarter of the people that are on there are from different countries. Many of the people that have been applying for the Open Calls have also been from different states or different countries. Even in this last show, one artist we chose was from Israel, one was from Connecticut, one was from Massachusetts and the other ones were in the surrounding boroughs here in New York, Queens, and the Bronx. We also had one person from Boston. The really exciting part is when I am able to give opportunities to people and showcase their artwork and they're from completely different countries and it's an international platform. That's one thing I actually love here in the studio when I rent different studios. We have been very fortunate, right now I have someone here from New Zealand and another person that has just moved here from Israel. Before that, we had an artist here from Austria and another from Japan. That's another part of New York that is so exciting. It's amazing when it happens, the same thing is kind of happening online when we have our Online Open Calls.

Riding Death

Riding Death 2020, Oil, acrylic mixed media on canvas, 48 1/4" x 36 1/4" (2 panels)

Riding Death

Sicilian fresco 1445, painted for a former hospital in Palermo, Italy.

Riding Death

Step one of Riding Death, Acrylic on canvas, 48 1/4" x 36 1/4" (2 panels)

IG: Would you talk about your own art practice, because I know that you do spend a lot time in your studio for most of the day. How does it progress or how did it transform your day-to-day life as an artist in general? Just focusing on your own practice - how is it working out now and what are you working on?

JCL: At the moment, I'm working on a series based on and called Triumph of Death, which is a reference to a painting by Pieter Bruegel. I was doing these relief paintings using large brush strokes of color, seeing the movement, frenetic action of the paint and brush stroke. With the pandemic, the work turned a little darker than it was before when I was just basically testing and thinking about color and motion. With this last series, I decided to put something behind the actual abstracted brushwork even though you can't see it. I was looking and had this picture of The Triumph of Death in my mind. It's basically a painting that was about a pandemic, a plague, and in it the world is on fire. You have the rider of death sweeping through, crowds of people. It's a very scary image from the 16th century. I started working on that and I was doing a few tests of smaller pieces. I ramped up and did a four panel piece and now I'm working on another two panel section titled Riding Death. It's using a different image, but in the same vein.

RM: I want to follow up on that because I've seen those paintings on your website and I was not able to see the Pieter Bruegel painting that you're referring to. Your saying it's underneath those layers and it's influencing the painting by just knowing that it's there? You can't really decipher it or see it. Do you think if I go back to those paintings and look at them now knowing that they're there - will I see them?

JCL: You won't necessarily see them. Although there are certain shapes that happen within a painting like whether it's a vertical, horizontal or some chaotic section. I'm trying to mimic the shapes that are happening in the original painting. One thing I have always done, even when I first started making work was think about layering. I like the archaeology part of looking through something and how 200 years from now or how two hundred year old paintings we are scanning and using x-rays. You see that a figure was seated or a figure was standing. This is where an arm moved. This is where something changed. There's something exciting about having more information the deeper and the farther back you go within the work.

RM: So this sounds like a very conceptual painting because of this layering idea that you have about how to relate to history.

The Triumph of Death

Triumph of Death 2020, Oil, acrylic mixed media on canvas, 48 1/4" x 36 1/4" (4 panels)

The Triumph of Death

Color Study: The Triumph of Death 1562 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Oil on panel, 46" × 63.8"

Triumph of Death

Step one of Triumph of Death, Ink on canvas, 48 1/4" x 36 1/4" (4 panels)

JCL: It's like we're always struggling, you have something to say and you want the work to say and mean something - sometimes it's only to yourself. There's got to be a reason why you're making something, for me you have to keep pushing. I want to say something and I want it to be more, but I wanted to continue in the vein that I had been working. This is just another layer for myself, to give myself something to play against and something to talk about.

RM: Since we opened this avenue of investigation, how do you see the now? Looking back at history, how a civilian from the Middle Ages when Bruegel was alive and how they related to pandemics, death, and plague. You know those very, life changing, life altering, and scary challenges to our current situation?

JCL: In some ways, I feel like artists always feel like they need or you tell yourself you want more time. We are more used to the isolation because you end up spending hours in your studio working on a certain project. I think as time goes on, you grow, you get older, you think - if I just had more time to focus on what I want to do. If I could just reach my own potential and we're always coming up against that wall of how do I have more time? How do I keep growing? How do I keep pushing in times like this? I have a friend who was working in a restaurant and was laid off like many Americans. He said this is the first time that he is now full-time in the studio since he was in grad school that he has had time to focus on his work. He's trying to find a silver lining, in all the darkness and everything that's happening?

RM: That's really interesting. I have to just interject personally. I've had that same experience of this forced slow down to kind of stop a person from their normal routine. There is something in it that is valuable and it goes into what you're saying about kind of assessing how you spend your time and where you are in your life and valuing each day. I have noticed that each day goes by so much faster now that I'm stuck at home and not working. I'm like - Wow! A day is actually really short, because when you're running around it somehow feels longer because you can get so much accomplished in a day and then when you're sitting still and you're not busying yourself, you realize how short life is. This is the time for just noticing.

JCL: I think great art comes out of great upheavals. In some ways, talking about silver linings for a moment - artists need something to speak out against, stand up against, and fight against. This is not all the time, but a lot of times. You have different periods such as the First World War, afterwards Dada and Surrealism came after that and then in the Second World War you have Existentialism and gestural Abstraction Expressionism. All these different things that came from those upheavals. We don't know yet, right now we're in the dark times where we don't really know what the future is holding and we don't know exactly where the art world is going. You can kind of see the trends, but until we're aways from it, we won't know what's coming. We just came from a period where China was very powerful and Chinese international artists and Asian artists were taking over the art world in some ways. Now that period seems to be ending and now there's this great upheaval. What is the next thing that's going to come? Artists keep working, they keep creating new things and that never stops.

RM: What is your forecast for small galleries in New York? That's a tough question and I think, it's conjecture at this point. How do you see the future?

JCL: I don't want to get too dark with everything, but you did see things changing even before this. We had gone through a period where art fairs were the place to be, people were spending huge amounts to go to all of the different fairs. The big mega galleries were taking control and we already saw how things had been changing. They had increasingly been taking blue-chip artists away from the mid-tier galleries.

Everyone had begun to move on from going to art fairs and spending lots of money. The different art fairs were where the Art Market was going and collectors were buying work in the fairs instead of in galleries. That was pushing some smaller galleries out. To go back to the very first point of not going too dark, now it seems it's going to be even harder for a small gallery to survive. In some ways, this is very sad and I don't know what the solution is right now, but I think it's going to affect, thousands and thousands of artists. There was a time period in the 80's when art stars were starting to be created and paintings of younger artists were bringing huge amounts of money. You could be this rock star of the art world and that was very enticing. You have thousands of artists since then that say, I can be an artist - I can do it. You come out of art school thinking that's just the norm, you have one big show and you become a rock star.

Now with this situation and the financial crisis, it's the virus, it's everything coming together. It's really very sad. A lot of people will have to go find a way to survive, they'll have to move away from New York, they'll have to find a different way to continue. That may stop a lot of people, if you don't have that really intense passion, a lot of those people will disappear. On a smaller scale it happens anyway, every year people come and go. One of the best things about New York is there is always something new, but this is definitely a very scary time.

IG: I wanted to make another reference to the paintings. I want to kind of roll back to your new series of paintings that you're working on. The frenetic actions, you call them with the brush strokes over the Bruegel's The Triumph of Death? Are you covering the whole painting or doing it in sections? Do you select parts of the painting? What is your process and the idea of it? The idea of the series reminds me of Lara Favaretto paintings from 2010 which I saw at MoMA PS1 with titles such as 23272C. I wonder how do you title your series and if you could elaborate more on this gesture of concealing like with Lara Favaretto. Do you know this artist and her work?

JCL: Yes, I know mainly the sculptural element.

IG: This work is also sculptural because she takes a found painting - an existing found painting and she covers it in layers of wool strings. She wraps it in wool and it's quite a large format. It was 31" x 59", and I thought it was mesmerizing because you could see the concealing in a way that you could still see some contours, some representation that was on the original painting, that she appropriated.

The main gesture was pointing to this concealing, but you could still see the painting. In your case, you're completely covering the painting Triumph of Death with your brush strokes. So that in the end it's erased, it's a blank slate or there's new content imposed and the old content is gone.

JCL: That is true, except that when I am doing the drawing on the canvas, it's raw canvas, and it bleeds into the back. You can see from the back of the painting that there is something hidden under those brush strokes. There is a telltale sign of something has happened before. In some ways, it's interesting because I started this process because I was looking for something that was, quicker and faster, and how to make a mark, and have it be gestural. With adding the background element, and breaking things down, and doing the drawing behind, it's extended my process. It's become much more involved than I had originally intended, when I started this body of work.

RM: So it's not a collage, it's an actual drawing or redrawing of the Bruegel painting?

JCL: It is.

RM: I see it as kind of merging of these two histories through your hand. Originally, I thought you were pasting parts of a collage. I now see you are reworking an artists painting from another era dealing with the theme of a pandemic. Were you looking to connect these two histories through that act?

The Black Death

The Book of Death 2003 Paper, acrylic, 12 1/4" x 9 1/2" x 4 1/8"

JCL: Yes, it was very apt for the moment and even my very first one-man show that I had here in New York was called The Black Death.

IG: So when was that?

JCL: That was in 2003. In Oklahoma every single year when you have the harvest, after the harvest, they burn the wheat fields. It's what's left over after harvesting. So you've already harvested the wheat, but you still have the straw left over. If you don’t want to bail that straw, then whatever's left over you burn. You can then till the earth and replant again. For that project, I shot video and took photographs of the burning fields during that time of year.

It's kind of scary in some ways. When you drive between towns in Oklahoma, every 20 or 30 minutes there's another tiny little town. So in that 20 to 30 minutes of driving, no matter where you were during that time period, you see smoke on the horizon of these fields that were burning. It feels like this post-apocalyptic world where everything is on fire and that's what that original show was based around. Now that we're in the middle of this pandemic - how do I bring that idea back to what I'm doing right now? The Triumph of Death by Bruegel was that bridge that put those two things together for me.

Burning Fields

Renewal 2003, Photographs, 29" 3/4 x 29 3/4"

IG: It's interesting because before Rebecca, you mentioned the five stages and the first one is denial. I'm making the connection here with the act of concealing, hiding, removing. It's like denying in a way, the previous truth. Trying to hide the elephant in the room and then I'm concealing watching news. I can't process so much information. I just conceal it through or dilute it through humor. Watching Stephen Colbert instead of you know news sometimes, just conceal some of that harsh reality. Were you thinking about any any of these, atrocities happening right now as a result of this pandemic? There are many negative things happening and using the act of denial and concealing in that way? Is that your self therapy in a way to deal with with this reality?

JCL: Yes, in some ways we're dealing with and in a time right now of just unimaginable loss and tragedy. Artists and myself ask , how do you make work that says something? I'm constantly pushing. I have something to say, but how do I say it? How do I do it? How do I make it? How do I create something that's going to touch someone and is going to say something about our times. Of course, you can do things that are very quick like going and protesting. Make a sign and when you are carrying a sign - it's an automatic gesture. If you want to make great art or the art that I think of as great, you look through time - what are the works that we focus on that have meanings that have lasted the test of time? Instead of lasting just this week or this year, it's only going to have a 10-year lifespan. That's not always as exciting or as romantic as some things can be, but how do you make that thing last? Ultimately, I chose this way of painting. I'm doing this work because this is something that I'm trying to say. This is something I'm trying to put out into the world, but I needed there to be some story of why this is being made during this time period. Just the act of taking a regular painting and giving it a title, sometimes that is enough to say - this is what I want to talk about and this is what the painting is about. Ninety-nine out of a hundred viewers would never see that title relates to that painting, but this is what the artist was thinking about when they make or made that work.

IG: You mentioned that the there are works that last through time, that are timeless. I wanted to ask you, what are those works of art that always stay with you, that you come back to? This is what I was thinking about lately. What works are really timeless and transgressing enough that you come back to such as The Triumph of Death. What else would you list?

JCL: Well, there's obviously the big artists in the Contemporary World of Modern Art like Picasso. I go back to artists like Van Gogh, but this work is going back to the mid-sixteenth century. I often gravitate towards art that has a much darker context to it and to me the more macabre works in some ways stand the test of time. One artist that is more contemporary would be Basquiat. His work can be very childish looking, scrawling, and figures. If you look underneath the subject matter, there's a violence and real darkness to that work. It's one reason I believe that his work still resonates today.

RM: Thank you for all of your insights, we're going to be starting to wrap it up. I do have one more question, which is also an observation. All of your insights into your practice, through this really stressful time has been really incredible to hear your process and a testament to the fact that it hasn't hindered your artistic inquiries. In fact, it seems to have stimulated work for you and not just your own studio art practice, but your curatorial projects in conjunction with you're managing and being the Executive Director of the space as well. That's really a lot to juggle and I want to ask as the last question and thank you again for explaining all of your processes and your insights into your artistic process. My question is, What do you have planned for the future? What is the first thing you'd like to do when the art world comes back into the real tactile platform?

JCL: Well, obviously the art world has changing. I guess what I would say when we come into the real world and we're actually able to see friends and really be around others - the best thing about the art world is the social part. I want to embrace my friends, give them a hug, have a beer and cheers, see them smile, be close, and feel that comfort of that support that we all have together. I think that would be the thing. Everything right now is going to virtual studio visits, live streaming on Instagram or virtual tours of exhibitions, and eventually we're going to come back. It's going to be about taking care and building community. That's what I really want to focus on when things get back. Part of having the Online Open Calls right now is just giving people opportunities, showing people that you can still put things out there, you can make and have amazing experiences. When we come back together, we can keep this going and we can have a better positive outlook on the future and things are going to be great.

RM: On that positive note, thank you for leaving us this evening with that to look forward to.

IG: The actual light at the end of the tunnel, now I see the virtual of that light and what you mean by that. So anything that you would like to announce for us?

JCL: I think the next thing is just that now is the time for breaking rules, taking risk. You know we have to adapt. You have to just refuse to be dull and boring, and responsible. This is a time, if you're in your studio to get after it. Things are going to come back.

IG: No excuses, don't conceal yourself, don't hide yourself - just get in there.

RM: I wanted to remind our listeners that, if you want to hear more about Jason - Isabella and I interviewed him on September 1st of last year Episode 10 - so check that out. In that interview we also interviewed Amelia Biewald and Janet Rutkowski. Really fantastic interview, we got to speak with each of them extensively about their curatorial and artistic vision and everything. So check that episode out and of course go to their website RSOAA. You can find out more about their Online Registry, what they do, and don’t forget to check out the online show which is beautiful. I really love the straight forward platform that you've made because I've checked out a friend's online gallery that is a virtual tour. You're seeing walls and kind of navigating and it just didn't work. I really appreciate the more straightforward way where your really about the artwork and you can see the artwork. Of course it's not the same as seeing it in person, but it's pretty good. It's as good as your screen.

JCL: Well, thank you - thank you. We do our best.

IG: Yes, I'm looking forward to the larger Open Call show that will be at the end of July?

JCL: Basically, it will be all of August.

IG: Okay, stay tuned at The Royal List for more information about that. Jason, thank you so much for being back on our show and catching up, touching base in the midst of this pandemic and thank you for sharing all your advice and ideas.

RM: Thank you.

JCL: You’re very welcome.

The Royal List Profile: Jason Clay Lewis


I Art NY

I ART New York

Hosted by Rebecca Major and Izabela Gola

I ART New York podcast is a guide into the NYC Art Apple. Released bi-weekly on every 1st and 15th day of the month, 60 min episodes grapple with the question: How to love art in the big city, why to pay attention to it, and how to relate to it? Hosts of the show, Rebecca and Izabela in the first half of the “art hour” offer an alternative review of the large NYC museum retrospectives and selected gallery shows, soaked in candid criticism and diffused by humor. In the 2nd part of the hour, they host noteworthy guests from the art world for interviews asking questions relating to the shows but also the tricky question of a hands-on experience in the arts as a profession in practice. I ART New York’s critical insight focus on selected exhibitions, and consider concepts and narratives as told through the various forms within Contemporary art. Rebecca and Izabela take on large museum retrospectives at first and move onto the various exhibitions in different parts of NYC, galleries in Chelsea, LES, Williamsburg and Bushwick. Through emotional and considered reactions to artworks, Rebecca and Izabela attempt to unpack the work of iconic, established, and less known artists. They discuss the mediums and concepts and compare and contrast the aspects and characteristics of the art, the practice, and artists’ lives. Tune in for the alternative art tour in the Big Apple.

Rebecca & Izabela

About Rebecca Major and Izabela Gola

Izabela Gola is a visual artist and an independent curator who works in the field of cultural diplomacy. Izabela’s art practice encompasses multimedia narrative environments exploring ideas revolving around memory and identity associated with a relationship between a figure and a landscape. Izabela works for the Polish Cultural Institute New York overseeing visual arts and design programming of exhibitions, art and design focused events in collaboration and partnership with the major NYC art institutions and art fairs, like The New Museum, Hudson Valley MOCA, The Kitchen, Frieze, Armory, and NYC Parks, among others. Izabela holds an MFA degree from Hunter College. www.izabelagola.com

Rebecca Major is a mixed media artist creating installation, video, and sculpture, investigating notions of identity and the body. These themes are often melded with allusions to history and investigations on social discourse. Rebecca was born in Budapest, Hungary and grew up in the experimental theater group, Squat Theatre, where she was a frequent performer. Her work has been exhibited at Grace Space (NYC), Cynthia Broan Gallery (NYC), Ludwig Museum (Budapest), and the Mai Mano House of Hungarian Photography (Budapest), among others. She currently assists as a curatorial researcher while completing her MA degree in Art History. She holds a certificate of curatorial studies and an MFA from Hunter College. www.rebeccamajor.com