I don’t attend many collaboration shows. Often times, the insights of a third party into another artist’s work puzzle me – though more intrigued than ever – leaving me feeling unfulfilled if there exists no guarantees of socratic-style discussion immediately following collective speculation. Art, to me, at base, is conversational: visual, physical, verbal and etherial; both the antithesis and originator of copacetic transcendence. It breathes and grows, pulses, learns, affects. Lives. Finding pieces which cohabitate harmoniously is a tedious responsibility requiring respect, research, a bit of rehashing, and creative re-envisioning. Sometimes – sometimes – the work compiled flows together in such a cohesive manner, the coalescence is both definitive and sure. It is full, and it is bright, and it touches you, and it makes you feel solid.
And at Brooklyn BRIC Media House’s opening reception, “Art into Music,” this curation by Elizabeth Ferrer, was entirely manifested in these sentiments.
I am not by any means a native New Yorker. I meander with conviction, perhaps. It’s comical, really. But last night it was too cold, and too hot, and raining (kind of?), and the grimy-dirty snow-ice was making far too many threats for me to feel comfortable actually walking anywhere I wasn’t familiar with. You can imagine my relief at finding Fort Greene’s BRIC Media House after about a half-hour of being continually misdirected to the Barclays Center.
Entering the space, I was immediately greeted with the kind of buzz only a gallery opening can provide: music mixed with voices, laughter and movement, the lingering smell of alcohol, sweets, cheeses…captain crunch berries – it all felt like home. Large middle-grey painted concrete stadium-seating littered with cushions, myriad discarded outerwear, bodies and bottles, ascended from an 18-foot tall pit of a room. Mixed media, framed, suspended, superimposed, filled the walls while freestanding works broke up the space in-
between: A DJ by the name of Fritzo in his makeshift booth adjacent to a 15ft sculpture of walk-men and boom-boxes. Maps dictating musical gestation and evolution in color overlooking a stack of takeaways proclaiming ‘The music of the city is free.’ – the suffix ‘ing’ may or may not be implied. Sculpted record jackets, bent red mic stands and collaged graffiti tags hold down one corner while a bursting black line work graphic overlays a mountain of wood-cuts crawling up the wall and expanding out from the floor, a drum set, guitar, amp and mic’s atop it, occupy another. A wall of silver prints connoting expertise in tone, timing, and trust during the 80’s punk scene freeze time across from a showcase with preserved zines, posters and bills of years long past. Each station complete with it’s own playlist to consider, allowing the viewer a pass into the artists.
All of the work was brilliant, but there were two artists whose work I kept coming back to: Dread Scott and Ward Shelley. Now, I’m a left brainer – I also went to art school. So, anything systematic, with measurable process, scrutiny or deep contemplation, anything that directly effected by considerable variables and outliers, makes me jump for joy. It’s all pretty embarrassing, to be honest. Both Scott and Shelly – both multi media, multi platform visionaries – contributed pieces that were direct responses to societal push. Transient and fluid and angry, or euphoric, or something else entirely. Scott’ s photographs of the hardcore punk scene circa 1980’s Chicago are kinetic and dark and sharp and open. So open. These images of bodies moshing and thrashing and coming
together and falling apart practically shout back at the viewer rousing the messages these persons learned in the dark inside these borrowed spaces where they resigned themselves to the sounds and just. let. go. Scott’s observations are so keenly executed, the blacks so rich, it’s easy to get lost in the void, imagining yourself fitting in the space left over. Shelly’s work is visual data fully realized. And it is great. It’s a musical family tree. A long form study of the genres borne of anthropological collisions throughout time. These musical genealogy chart break down musical lineage through a fine line of ancestry paying homage to the historical legacy of music’s forefathers and innovators all the way through to its newest members, already on their way to being dissected and and mixed and born anew.
The space thrummed with age and culture. Colors, commitment, observation, and passion. Lovers, listeners, little children, and the sonic boom of musical impact – decades old, and young, still.
Symbiosis personified. Music got me feelin’so free.
BRIC Media House’s exhibit, “Art Into Music” is now opened to the public from February 20-April 27, 2014 /10:00 AM-8:00 PM / Weekly on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. For more information, please feel free to visit BRIC’s site.
The folks at EARFLOAT Radio enjoyed DJ FritZo’s mix so much, we’ve compiled our own list of favorites that we would’ve loved for him to spin too. Here’s the link to our radio on Spotify. Happy listening!
To see a visual recap of the extraordinary night, check out the gallery (of the gallery) below.
BRIC Media House’s Opening Reception of “Art Into Music”
Forte Green, Brooklyn
February 19th, 2014
(photography by Black Congo)
About the Author
RGB v. CMYK is an observer of all things. With a BFA in photography and a minor in religion and philosophy, her quest to unearth the quandaries of the human experience is a constant. Currently, she is working as a freelance photographer, writer and editor in the tristate area.
About the Photographer
Black Congo is the Managing Editor of Blackcongolese.com. She freelances for CMJ.com as an events photographer and writer, is a hip-hop cultural critic, urban explorer, black queer feminist, and dedicated vegetarian.