Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Re-creating a Lawrence Weiner

Using the helpful instructions provided by Temporary Services, Mike and Audra went to work the other night re-creating a Lawrence Weiner "removal piece." Temporary Services is an amazing organization based in Chicago and working world-wide.

Above is the process of removal in pictures!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Lucas and now Lawrence

Lucas Reiner spoke at his closing salon yesterday to an intimate grouping. Then we took down the show and now are batteries (for the drill) are charging to install "A Lawrence Weiner Salon" with reading areas, a re-creation of a piece from 1968, and a text "drawing." opening performance by Andrew Hurst that will suprise us all!


Pocket Utopia presents A Lawrence Weiner Salon; a reading room, a re-creation, and a text piece, Opening Fri. Nov. 2nd, 6:00 - 10:00 pm

with opening performance by Andrew Hurst

POCKET UTOPIA, 1037 Flushing Avenue (Bushwick), Brooklyn, NY 11237

Please join us for the opening of A LAWRENCE WEINER SALON
OPENING: Friday, Nov. 2, 6-10pm
DATES: 2 November- 25 November, 2007
DIRECTIONS: Take the L train to Morgan Ave. Exit from the front of train, leave the station on the right and you will be at the corner of Morgan Avenue and
Harrison Place. Walk south on Morgan Ave. crossing Grattan, Thames, and Rock Sts. Turn left at the light onto Flushing Ave. 1037 Flushing is the 4th building from the corner of Morgan Ave. and Flushing Ave.

Open Saturdays and Sundays 12-6 and by appointment, call, 917-400-3869

A LAWRENCE WEINER SALON; a reading room, a re-creation, and a text piece

Pocket Utopia is pleased to organize an experimental salon of conceptual art's key figure Lawrence Weiner. The salon will feature a reading room, a re-creation (“A 36” x 36” Removal to the Lathing or Support Wall of Plaster or Wallboard From a Wall,” 1968) and a text piece. Weiner has long pursued inquiries into language and art-making and posits a radical redefinition of the artist/viewer relationship and the very nature of the artwork. Here too, the venue or gallery and its relationship to the artist also gets redefined.

By transporting his investigations to Bushwick's Pocket Utopia, the viewer will discover a comfortable and unobtrusive means to read and experience Weiner's work and make their own assumptions about the nature of the art object. Working with the Weiner's grateful acknowledgment , Pocket Utopia democratizes access to his work. Although the artist here is all but invisible, the viewer will be able to see even farther, think a little more and read a lot.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Excuse me, you have art in your teeth" Closing Salon/Lucas Reiner Talk October 28th @ 4pm

"Excuse me, you have art in your teeth" Closing Salon/Lucas Reiner Talk October 28th @ 4pm

Please join artist Lucas Reiner at Pocket Utopia as he discusses his on-going fascination with trimmed trees -- and the photographs, paintings, drawings, and film that have resulted from this, refreshments served.

above Lucas Reiner, installation view

Directions to POCKET UTOPIA

1037 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, ground floor.


Via subway:

1. Take the L train to the Morgan Ave. stop (board the first car in the front of the train).

2. Exit the platform at the front of the train and exit the station on the right and you will be at the corner of Morgan Avenue and

Harrison Place.

3. Walk south on Morgan Ave. crossing Grattan, Thames, and Rock Sts.

4. Turn left at the light onto Flushing Ave.

5. 1037 Flushing is the 4th building from the corner of Morgan Ave. and Flushing Ave.

Via car from Manhattan:

1. Take the Williamsburg Bridge (inside lane) to the Humboldt Street exit.

2. Turn right onto Humboldt Street, go 7 blocks and turn left onto Metropolitan Avenue.

3. Go several blocks and turn right onto Morgan Avenue.

4. Follow Morgan to the point where it become a V, stay to the left, and turn left at the light onto Johnson Avenue.

5. Turn right onto Porter Avenue. Go 5 blocks and turn right onto Flushing Avenue.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pocket Utopia gets another post-studio artist in resident

I arrived at Pocket Utopia to find Libby Hartle, our artist in resident, hard at work. I sat near her in the back and began emailing out notices for Lucas Reiner's upcoming closing salon that will happen next Sunday, October 28th at 4:00pm.

I finished emailing just in time to welcome Christine Catsifas our other fall post-studio artist in resident on her first day. Christine and Libby will share the small table, the floor, the chairs, a tea, and ideas.

I had to leave the artists at their table and dash off to the lower east side for a Pocket Utopia gallery tour. Pictured above are tour participants at gallery Number 35 and at Orchard. Also pictured is a shot of the sand from Mike Nelson's installation at Essex Market. Mike Nelson's piece definitely set the tone for the tour, which ended with a group visit to Fred Gutzeit’s studio.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Seed Bombs Explode

Megan Whiteford's Green Bomb is exploding! Neighborhood kids stopped by thanks to a planting effort by Trees Not trash lead by the unstoppable Kate Gilliam. I can't wait until spring (even though it feels like July now)!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A visit to Fred Gutzeit’s Studio

On Friday, I visited Fred Gutzeit’s studio where he has been making art since 1970. He also lives there and has remained very engaged in the art community around him while continuing to mine his imaginary worlds. I will lead a tour to his studio after we make our way around some lower east side galleries. We might stop for Chinese food and catch Mike Nelson's installation at Essex Market.

My weekend has been spent at Pocket Utopia listening to the Leaves of Grass passage that accompanies Lucas Reiner's film "Trees." At the moment this is my favorite line, "Long have you timidly waded, holding a plank by the shore, now I will you to be a bold swimmer, to jump off in the midst of the sea, and rise again and nod to me and shout, and laughingly dash with your hair."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Matthew Miller reviews Lucas Reiner

Matthew, Pocket Utopia's intern and the "post-studio" artist in resident coordinator and curatorial assistant, has written a review of the current show, Lucas Reiner, below:

At the second ever Pocket Utopia show in Bushwick, a mid-career L.A. artist sheds light on the heavy-handed habits of his city’s municipal tree-trimming efforts.

Over the course of the past few decades, an wide assortment of trees have been imported from exotic international locations to the star-studded concrete desert of L.A. Lucas Reiner, a painter and photographer, takes note of the peculiar, if somewhat perverse, nature of the program. These adopted trees are nourished by the city’s acid rain and limited fertile soil. However, Mother Nature has never been much of a pushover, so many of the exotic transplants blossom into a gorgeous height and fullness despite the poor conditions of city living. Go trees.

Of course, city municipal workers - green thumbs with chainsaws – occasionally roll around pragmatically hacking the hard-nosed trees into overgrown bonsai formations. Reiner is satisfied to document the curious spectacle and integrate it into his art practice.

The show takes a contemporary multi-media format: a short film, a wall-sized computer print, a painting, and an editioned series of small hand-worked gocco prints. Reiner takes up the documentary role in the film (a survey flick of short clips dubbed over with elegant Walt Whitman prose) and the wall print (a banal shot of a tired tree pinned to a neighboring industrial building). The editioned print depicts a tree in litho-black silhouette against the atmospheric backdrop of hand-painted blue and gold hues. However, the centerpiece and strength of the exhibit is the large painting.

The painting is as puzzling as the phenomena of the city’s tree project. Most of the large-scale panel is rigorously worked up from it’s slightly visible underpainting into a texture which nearly evokes a sublime bluish ether, but is upstaged by the decorative surface resolution. The deftly painted tree with its thick branches—slashed and overgrown with new spring leaves—appears stamped onto the stylized ground. The collage idiom and the paint handling create a potent visual tension central to the work. Reiner mediates the molested tree with a setting in which it remains fundamentally displaced. Maybe the city is the only suitable habitat for this exiled tree. Or perhaps this tree is a metaphor, a sort of delegate, for our negotiations with the natural world. Go trees.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The post-studio artist begins her residency

After securing the perfect table at a nearby junk shop, Libby Hartle, Pocket Utopia's first post-studio artist in resident got down to work. I think I was more excited than she was after screwing the legs into the bottom of the table and then watching her make art.

I was also pleased with the response that Megan Whiteford's Green Bomb public art piece was getting, with folks picking up their seeds and planting them. Lucas Reiner stopped in and all was perfect at Pocket Utopia until it became a little more perfect when Jerry Saltz and Roberta Smith walked in and paid us an enthusiastic visit. For a short time my Pocket Utopia looked a little bigger then my pocket.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pocket Utopia inaugurates it's first public art project

Here are journal entries from Megan Whiteford's online journal describing the thoughts behind her greenbomb public art project and it's process to date.

The Green Bomb Project

the night before
Posted on 2007.10.06 at 00:23

1973: Liz Christy throws seed grenades made of vegetation, fertilizer, and water over New York City fences, sparking the Guerrilla Gardening movement
After 35 years the space she targeted is still managed and protected by the city park department

As an artist, I am interested in the relationship and distance between modern human and her/his environment. With this gardening piece, I hope to bridge that gap. An interesting and pertinent artist to check out is Kathryn Miller at Her pieces approach similar ideas to the Green Bomb Project, such as the issues of native species, habitat, and ecological concern. I feel that we are both concerned with the life support local communities, not to mention she had a similar project of seed bombing at Pomona College, one of my Claremont College alma maters.

My piece took on the name 'green bombs' but really I'm more concerned with getting people involved with their community of Bushwick and with gardening than with the history and science of green bombing. Before the concept of this piece I was completely unaware of the history of 'green bombing.' If these seeds aren't successful, I hope that everyone still keeps an interest in bringing native vegetation back to this city. Not every lot has to become American Apparel. This is a community-building piece and a push to encourage everyone to envision open spaces as opportunities for true growth, to take on space as their own (rightfully), and to challenge the notion of public space with active public participation.

Hope to see you tomorrow

The Beginning
Posted on 2007.10.03 at 00:20
The Green Bomb Project is brought to the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC through the mind of Meg Whiteford with the help of Pocket Utopia Gallery. This public arts initiative is a highly conceptual attempt to bring native species back to Brooklyn through guerrilla gardening. The idea is for folks to pick up a ‘bomb’ at Pocket Utopia, located at 1037 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn. They will then drop the ‘bomb’ in any desired location: preferably someplace partially sunny to sunny in an area that looks like it could use some flora! There will be a map at the gallery for guerilla gardeners to pinpoint the location of their plants. Gardeners are highly encouraged to take photos, write to and post to this blog! It is my hope that through this project, we can bring some green back to the city, to beautify our everyday lives, and to being to live backwardly again: from the root up.

Happy Planting

Nature of the seeds: Columbine

Columbine is native to New York City. Choosing native plants is highly important when planning a garden, as not only will they naturally thrive with minimal care, they won’t disturb other plants and wildlife. In addition, native plants attract pollinators to spread the seeds, propagating growth on numerous levels. Native plants clean the air, act as natural erosion control, and contribute to the general health of our ecosystem.

Only 62% of the original 2, 179 native plant species of New York City exist today.

Columbine will do well in the dry soil of NYC. Because it occurs naturally in our growing region (Zone 7), it can withstand the humid summers and freezing winters. Just be sure to keep the plant well watered and you should enjoy beautiful flowers, bees, birds, and butterflies.

The seeds like being cold so planting them around the first frost is a great idea. Hopefully, with a little patience and care, the plants will bloom in spring. If not, don't despair; many perennial (re-occurring) plants can take up to a year to bear leaves!

Just enjoy the process and I encourage you all to expand your gardens.

Posted on 2007.10.06 at 21:49

I installed the piece today at Pocket Utopia in Bushwick. The response was really encouraging. This gallery is such a warm and unique space that truly understands the social purpose of art making. The highlight was digging in the dirt directly outside the gallery with a pair of scissors and teaching a visitor the basics of planting. Hint to those who pick up a bomb: the seeds are on top so pour the contents gently into the soil and not too deep. Also, make sure to come back and map the location on the map! Overall, the buzz and positive engagements compounded my faith in Green Bombs. Bushwick is an untapped resource for art, not to mention greening. Just down the street is an initative called "Trees not Trash." The mission statement of this group is to plant trees throughout industrialized east williamsburg to provide public green spaces. check out

finally...Please stop by and pick up a bomb!


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Lucas Reiner making his print

Pocket Utopia editions its first print!! Using a Gocco printer and working in Rob Burke's studio, Lucas Reiner produced 20 beautiful prints. I love the picture above with Rob's big paintings in the background and Lucas at the printer in the foreground. I also love the print!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The road to pocket Utopia is a two-way street

Thank you Audra for the above picture. Thank you artists that call, email, and meet me halfway. I appreciate learning from you. More importantly, I am grateful to those of you who share with me. You understand that I am not a sole provider. Pocket Utopia is a place to give not take.

I also want to thank, Rob Burke, right here, for building out a beautiful gallery space, for that I am grateful. I also want to thank the neighbors Victoria and Yvette for bringing my family and I dinner last Sunday afternoon. Yum! And thank you, "great teacher", whoever you are next, for teaching me that the most important thing is for me to make my art!

Lucas Reiner completed the first ever Pocket Utopia print edition last night! Miracles can happen. Thank you, Lucas! There's an opening tonight, so come out!

Oh, and I almost forgot to thank Lawrence Weiner for calling me and saying "thank you!" So, if you're driving, don't go the wrong way on a one way street, it's not good for your art career.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cleaning, unveiling and talking

The last day of the first show started off by vacuuming the floor and fixing radiators and ended with Michelle Ha speaking so eloquently about her photo series titled "Universal Substances." She spoke so candidly about her process that I really need to go back to her Pierogi File and have another look. I kind of feel like that about all the Pierogi artists, that they are all really worthy of another look, and another, and another. They all do such interesting work that this is not the end of a show but the beginning of a collaboration, stay tuned. Also pictured above, Bill Gerhard unveiling his window installation. This is just the beginning.