More Felix Culpa: http://www.felix-culpa.com/
Joseph A. W. Quintela and Stephen Lipuma have curated The Art of the Multiple, a group exhibition at BROOKLYNWORKS at159 (159 20th Street, South Slope) from April 28th to August 28th. The opening reception will be from 6-9pm on Friday, April 28th, and thereafter showings will be by appointment. Featuring Art by, Mo Baretta, Joseph Barral, Jazzmine Beaulieu. Marcy Brafman, Denver Butson, Moray Hillary, Stephen Lipuma, Rammer Sanchez, Eryk Wenziak, and #Bookdress. BROOKLYNWORKS at 159 is a co-working space. The Art of the Multiple is presented by Smith&Jones Art: (email@example.com)
The contemporary artist lives in exciting times! No longer the providence of misﬁts, mainstream interest in art has never been greater than it is today. Social media and the explosion of art apps have decoupled the artist from slavish reliance on the gallery system and democratized the playing ﬁeld for both sales and public recognition. With the door wide open on what's considered art (instagram, ephemera, staring contests: all art!), there's never been more opportunity to create than now. So why is being an artist still so hard?
The cynic might call art a victim of its own success. Indeed, with so many players on the ﬁeld, it sometimes feels as though the competition for attention is both exhausting and exhausted. However, the fact is, no matter how much art is out there, people want more not less. Far greater than the problem of saturation is the antiquated gallery model of sales and valuation. Even as artists learn to sell directly or leverage online marketplaces with better percentages, they are still tempted to use the aggressive pricing that underpins the gallery system. And why not? Certainly, making Fine Art takes a large investment of money, space, and time. Particularly in New York, those last two take more of the ﬁrst: money, money, money. So while an armchair art aﬁcionado may balk at prices in the thousands or even tens of thousands, to a hard-working artist, these seemingly exorbitant prices don't result in much proﬁt even when a well-heeled collector in the buying mood is ﬁnally found. So what's an artist to do?
The easiest thing is to make cheaper, smaller, faster art. It's not a bad idea. Indeed, it's the artists who take these three words as their mantra who are most apt to ﬁnd independent success. The danger of this approach is that, inevitably, it takes the word "Fine" out of "Fine Art. That, itself, is not a problem. Not all art needs to be Fine Art. In fact, some of the best art being made today, isn't Fine Art...and doesn't want to be. That's liberating. But for artists who still want to use archival materials, work big, and take time it can seem like even with a liberated system the end result is oddly familiar: broke and at the mercy of galleries that don't want to take much in the way of risks
anymore. So back to that question: what's an artist to do?
One answer worth examining: the Multiple. What's a Multiple? A Multiple is a series of identical art objects commissioned to the speciﬁcations of a single artist and usually manufactured in a limited edition. Multiples have been around for a while, popping up in the oeuvre of household names like Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol. Still, they're usually treated with all the regard afforded to a literary sub-genre like teen horror. Nice but niche. But what if Multiples could drive an entirely different approach to ﬁnancing Fine Art? How, you ask? By doing exactly what artists are supposed to be good at in the ﬁrst place: seeing things differently.
After all, who says the Multiple has to be a separate niche? Why can't the Multiple be part and parcel of a Fine Art practice? Who says the only thing an artist should have to sell after hours in the studio and an incredible investment in lasting materials is a single exquisite object? What if the artist could create that exquisite object and then create an exquisite image of the object, too? And who better than the artist to really look at their art and see it differently. Suddenly a ﬁnished piece of art can have two lives: one as an object, the other as an image. If it takes time for the object to ﬁnd a collector who can afford to give it the lasting home it deserves, the artist doesn't have to languish in the red. The image can be reproduced and sold in less expensive iterations that provide a much sought after commodity: art the rest of us can actually afford. And that's what's in it for the buyer. Art on the walls whilst supporting living artists who make Fine Art.
The Art of the Multiple is the ofﬁcial launch of Smith&Jones Living: a new section of Smith&Jones Art devoted to the Multiple form. For the inaugural show we've selected 8 ﬁne artists (and 3 poets!) with whom we've already worked and asked them to supply a single image of their work. Printed toorder will be 50 reproductions of the image on 8x10 metal print, 16x20 metal print, 24x30 metal print or 16x16 throw pillow. Want the image printed on something else? Just ask. As long as the artist approves, we'll arrange to print on anything that can be printed on.
This is only the beginning. Most of the artists included have given us a gorgeous image of a single work in their Fine Art portfolio, lovingly photographed. But a few are already seeing their art anew, using it as a subject for creating an image that is radically different from the object it represents. We want to keep these artists working in this way, and simultaneously creating lasting, large, time consuming Fine Art. That, potential buyer, is where you come in. Fine art and affordable art don't have to be mutually exclusive. The Art of the Multiple brings them together, and honestly, we're doing it for you.
Contact: Smith&Jones Art | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.smithandjonesart.com
Felix Culpa will unveil a pop-up shop at Brooklyn's Court Tree Collective (371 Court Street, 2nd floor, Carroll Gardens) from April 19th to April 26th. The opening reception will be from 7-9pm on April 19th, and thereafter showings will be by appointment. Pop-Up Shop is presented by Smith&Jones Art (email@example.com)
When Andy Warhol co-opted the production model of modern industry to proliferate his artwork, the Factory must have seemed the obvious moniker for the site of his production. No other building better symbolized the mechanized world or its ideal of cheap and perfect reproduction. The digital world has no such brick-and-mortar space. Instead, Felix Culpa--an art brand modeled on bespoke, boutique retail--finds its abode in the virtual spaces of the World Wide Web and the boundless imagination of its sole proprietor, Curtis Frank. As such, Felix Culpa eshews the tired and unsustainable valorization of unceasing production and expensive, wasteful inventories. Instead, the brand focuses on made-to-order, timelessly-crafted instantiations of images generated on a dedicated web page.
How does it work? It's simple, really. A website is a fluid medium: a blank canvas for content with customizable style elements such as color, font, and spacing. But additionally, every website is framed by a banner, footer, and navigation bar that consistently surround this content. At Felix Culpa, Frank has smartly branded the latter while loading the former with a wide variety of well-curated content. The result? A lavish red backdrop and the Felix Culpa logo surround any image loaded onto the webpage. When he is ready, Frank takes a screenshot and this is what he paints. It's the combination of well-curated content and consistent branding that makes the finished product unquestionably boutique.
Indeed, the value added by this process might best be summed up with the suggestion that you don't just put a Felix Culpa on the wall; Felix Culpa puts the wall into your life.
A consumer-oriented buying process is where the bespoke element of Felix Culpa comes into play. Avoiding the trap of art as hall of mirrors, Frank isn't interested in producing an endless inventory of paintings worshipfully devoted to his own aesthetic whims. Every Felix Culpa begins with a consultation, an opportunity for the client to impress their lifestyle and their living space upon Frank's careful consideration. It is from this consultation that Frank will create the content to be loaded onto the Felix Culpa website in order to generate the screenshot that begins the painting process. Don't confuse this client-driven customization for the frivolity of Paint-On-Demand. Frank retains all creative control after the initial consultation, a stipulation that insures a product which can be universally recognized as genuine Felix Culpa. As with every dress designed by the greatest names in Haute Couture, every Felix Culpa is perfectly fitted to its collector, but unmistakably part of a far greater collection.
Equally innovative is Felix Culpa's tantalizingly simple pricing model. With a minimum of 18" on the shortest size, every Felix Culpa is priced at a $1 per square-inch. While ensuring accessibility to the budding collector, this model provides for the imposing sizes demanded by seasoned buyers. Both will find a product that is well worth the time investment and asking price. Frank is a classically trained painter and his mastery of color and form is evident in every stroke of the brush. Similarly, lasting quality is provided by Frank's attention to sourcing materials of the highest quality. Every Felix Culpa canvas comes with a life-time guarantee, a practice befitting of a product designed to be passed through generations.
When regarded as artistic enterprise alone, Felix Culpa is conscious of several of contemporary art's most meaningful tropes: Art as Arrangement, Art as Framing, Art as Transaction and Art as Social Experience to name a few. However, Felix Culpa does not stop at being an academic or intellectual exercise, it follows through to a marketable product with a value underpinned by honoring both fashion and form. If comparisons to the Factory seem premature, it is to be remembered that Warhol's very model is part of an unsustainable mode of production that is as in danger of extinction as the factories it engendered. The contemporary marketplace requires visionaries less concerned with simply becoming iconic and more concerned with providing artisan products imbued with a living soulfulness that is not destined for a landfill in 2-3 years time. It is exactly this kind of enterprise that Felix Culpa's timely entry into the art market announces.
Keywords: timeless, artisan, genuine, hand-crafted, made-to-order, bespoke, boutique, lasting, uncompromising, unparalleled, unique
By Joseph A. W. Quintela
Smith&Jones Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of current surreal analog photographs by artist Barbara Rosenthal from June 9th to July 2nd, 2016 at Galerie Protégé in New York’s Chelsea art district. The first complete American showing of this series comes on the heels of a lauded Berlin exhibition in February and in conjunction with the release of the definitive edition of the artist’s first novel, “Wish for Amnesia,” by Deadly Chaps Press (New York). Together, the exhibition and book release represent the culmination of a 36-year work-in-progress finally brought to the public eye through 2 years of tireless effort by Rosenthal and publisher/curator, Joseph. A. W. Quintela. The 3-week exhibition will feature all 50 of her Surreal Photographs reproduced in the latest 6 draft editions of the novel, as well as a display of all 12 of these proto-publications. These draft editions, themselves, are a compelling collection of writerly process seen here now as artistic artifact.
With ever-increasing attention paid to Rosenthal’s essential contributions to the history of Performance, Video, and New Media Art, the exhibition pays homage to an equally significant, if sometimes overlooked, facet of her artistry: her work in Photography. As a fully-integrated aspect of her debut novel (and not mere chapter headers), these 50 photographs, even though shot over decades and in many countries, offer an unusual visual element to the mis-en-scene of the novel’s text, compelling the reader to approach each word with the mindset of surreal sensory de-arrangement typified by Arthur Rimbaud. Taken on their own, the suite offers a window into the painstakingly-developed, highly-kinetic visual sense that has guided Rosenthal's eye across mediums. Often unsettling, ever-witty, and marked with the suggestion of the same multi-layered illusion that pervades both her prose and performance, the photographs are further unified by the most prominent theme of her remarkable oeuvre: provocation.
Rosenthal deploys odd angles, unexpected relationships and curious vignettes to provoke the eye into an unguarded dispute with its (often faulty) perception of reality. These techniques are played out in, for example, the evocative series of dolls engaged in some activity: they are saturated with the queasy feeling of an emotional tempest just beneath the surface of each doll’s serene outer visage. Similarly, the photo Bird in the Window, Brown 3182+3184, Montreal, 2012, the chosen exhibition image, ambushes the mind with a series of disturbing questions in an otherwise pastoral scene: is it real or decorative? Inside or out? Lulling those of us on the other side of her window into sleep or wrenching us from a dream? In some frames shot while moving, she has watched elements change position around her until they smash into a startling composition; motion is evident but only tentatively stabilized, and we are destabilized to view it. She uses Olympus OM-1 fully manual analog 35mm cameras and lenses, and prints digitally. About 41 of the images were composed completely in the camera and printed full-frame, and 9 were digitally distorted, composited, or, “re-colorated,” as she calls it. For 12 years, she taught Photography at Parsons School of Design, NYC.
The 23-day exhibition at Galerie Protégé will be punctuated by two artist’s receptions, the first on Tuesday, June 14 (6-8pm) and the second on Thursday, June 30th (5:30-7:30pm). Rosenthal will read and record one chapter of the novel Wish for Amnesia during each reception, carrying on with another project that has evolved over the course of the last two years: the creation of an author-read video performance of the book. This floating composite performance video, begun at the launch of the first galley-proof, in Barletta, Italy in February, 2015, has been proceeding one chapter at a time via Rosenthal’s celebrated readings at literary and artistic events across the world, further demonstrating her uncanny ability to allow artistic work to flow seamlessly within various projects, even (or perhaps, particularly) when moving across media. Joining her to read from their own works will be some of the various curators of reading events in NYC who made Barbara Rosenthal’s composite video possible.