FiftyTwo Ft: Ander Mikalson

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Knockdown Center is pleased to present a new work, titled Scores for a Corridor, by Ander Mikalson as a part of the FiftyTwo Ft. series of commissioned wall-based artworks in the East Corridor.

Mikalson’s work often uses imaginative scores to incite performance, collaboration, and exploration as a way to discover new forms of knowledge. This will be the artist’s largest- scale visual work to date. For FiftyTwo Ft., Mikalson engages deeply and directly with Knockdown Center’s East Corridor space in a large-text based collection of scores that imagine the space in a myriad ways: alternately as a hallway, runway, tunnel, bridge, wormhole, salad bar, road, tightrope, aisle, plank, horizon, and more. Arranged in bands, the text pulls the viewer along the length of the hallway and around the corner as they read, creating a formal relationship between the architecture of the space and the wall drawing, propelled by a movement-driven encounter. The actions described in the text drawings may either be left as potential or performed with invited guests and audience members at some point while the work is on view. Some scores, like “A WOMAN RUSHES DOWN A CORRIDOR,” describe activities that routinely take place in the space, creating the possibility for the piece to be unintentionally performed by visitors to the space or activated by the internal movements of Knockdown Center staff. While the text is legible as language when viewed close up, from a distance it shifts into an abstracted graphic pattern, placing Scores for a Corridor in the nexus of a formal gesture, conceptual artwork, poem, and score-based performance.

About the Artist
Ander Mikalson is a Brooklyn-based artist playing across performance, sound, installation and drawing. Select solo exhibitions and performances include Art in General (New York, NY), The Kitchen (New York, NY), The High Line (New York, NY), Storm King Art Center (New Windsor, NY), The Art, Design & Architecture Museum (Santa Barbara, CA), Kate Werble Gallery (New York, NY), Queens Museum (Queens, NY), Temple Contemporary (Philadelphia, PA), Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, ME) and Tensta Konsthall (Stockholm, Sweden). Her projects have been supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant (2016), the Art Matters Foundation Grant (2013), College Art Association Professional-Development Fellowship in the Visual Arts (2012) and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Graduate Fellowship (2011). She has been an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2012), Queens Museum (2015-18), Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (2017), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space (2016) and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2018). She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA from the College of Creative Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. She is currently a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow in Washington, DC and an Artist-in-Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center in New York.

Open Call: Exhibitions + Main Spaces

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We are currently seeking proposals for Group Exhibitions in our gallery space, Solo Projects + Installations in our gallery space, and short-term Main Spaces Projects!

Review the guidelines for open calls for gallery exhibitions and projects in our main spaces, and apply by October 15, 2019! We are also accepting proposals on a rolling basis for Open Capacity – our space support program for artists and organizers.

Take a look at our proposal page for full details and guidelines.

Submit your proposal here.

Xandra Ibarra: Forever Sidepiece

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Knockdown Center is pleased to present Xandra Ibarra: Forever Sidepiece, the first NYC solo exhibition of Oakland-based artist and performer Xandra Ibarra, who also works under the alias La Chica Boom. The exhibition is rooted in Ibarra’s performance practice, extending to sculpture, video, and photographs made between 2012 and 2019, some of which will be on view for the first time. Charged objects like Tapatío bottles, nipple tassels, and cockroaches reappear throughout her work to confront notions of racialized desire and representations of Latinidad, femininity, and queerness.

Ibarra deploys a sharp-witted humor in her work to explore and exploit the condition of the “sidepiece”– a term for a woman whose relationships privilege the physical and take place on the periphery. For Ibarra, however, the sidepiece’s position in the margins enables her to sidestep grand narratives, and she claims the sidepiece as a charged position from which to act.

Performing a spectrum of affects, Ibarra uses her own body and associative objects to destabilize limiting identitarian tropes. In early works, she performs burlesque parodies called “Spictacles,” uses a custom Tapatío strap-on, and sheds a cockroach costume. For later video works, she moves in cyclical and fragmented states to challenge and exceed the gaze. A new body of sculptures combine things like mold, nipple tassels, stripper heels, fluorescent lights, and car parts in order to enliven the bodily attributes of objects, extending the thrust of her performance-based work to sculptural form.

Coursing through this multifaceted body of work is a nuanced conversation that employs humor to address race, sex, and gender, that create pathways for the radical and not-yet-known potentials that are waiting on the sidelines.

About the Artist

Xandra Ibarra, who sometimes works under the alias of La Chica Boom, is an Oakland-based per- formance artist from the US/Mexico border of El Paso/Juarez. Ibarra works across performance, video, and sculpture to explore abjection and joy and the borders between proper and improper racial, gender, and queer subject.

Ibarra’s work has been featured at El Museo de Arte Contemporañeo (Bogotá, Colombia), Broad Museum (LA, USA), Popa Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Joe’s Pub (NYC), PPOW Gallery (NYC), Anderson Collection (Stanford) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (SF) to name a few. She has been awarded the Queer Art Prize for Recent Work, Art Matters Grant, NALAC Fund for the Arts, ReGen Artist Fund, and the Franklin Furnace Performance and Variable Media Award. Her work has been featured in Artforum, Paper Magazine, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, ArtNews and in various academic journals nationally and internationally. Ibarra’s work has also been featured in several recent and forthcoming books by Juana Maria Rodriguez, Amber Jamilla Musser, and Leticia Alvarado.

As a community organizer, Ibarra’s work is located within feminist immigrant, anti-rape and pris- on abolitionist movements. Since 2003, she has actively participated in organizing with INCITE!, a national feminist of color organization dedicated to creating interventions at the intersection of state and interpersonal violence. As a lecturer, Ibarra has taught Ethnic Studies, Sexuality Studies, and History and Theory of Contemporary Art courses. Adjunct, full, and part-time teaching posts have included: San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts and San Francisco State University.

This exhibition is organized by Alexis Wilkinson, Knockdown Center Director of Exhibitions and Live Art. Exhibition and text support by Daniella Brito, Programs Assistant.

Temporary Allegiance

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Knockdown Center hosts Philip von Zweck’s project Temporary Allegiance, an ongoing open call for artist-made flags to be featured temporarily on our prominent 40 foot flagpole at the building’s entrance.

The project originated in Chicago as a platform for the freedom of expression on a public college campus. Although typically a stable institutional fixture, this flagpole offers anyone the opportunity for monumental visibility for a limited time only.

A flag can bear national or military emblems, mascots, warning signals, or propaganda, among others. In many countries desecration of the national flag is a punishable crime. Patriotic love or rage, fandom, competition, festivity, spirituality, mourning—these are some of the array of reactions a flag can engender. The term “temporary allegiance” legally refers to the duty of a non-citizen to obey all laws so long as he remains in that country. Implied is the notion of flux, that loyalty and identity can be reconsidered as the flag is hoisted and lowered.

Philip von Zweck would like to thank Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois Chicago for previously hosting this project.

Submission information:

– Each flag will fly for ~2 weeks

– Unconventional shapes, sizes, and materials are acceptable so long as safety considerations are met (weight, fastening, and wind durability)

–  Maximum flag size is 8 by 12 feet

– Flags should be attachable at a minimum of 2 points, 3 feet apart

– A sign within the building’s lobby will include information about the artist and flag design.

Flag drop off times: Thursdays and Fridays 2pm – 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays 2pm – 7pm

Devotional

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In conjunction with the exhibition Soft Territories, Sarah Zapata will perform a reading of recent texts that explore the limits and porousness of the body, and the interrelation between feet and femininity. Acting as a sort of guided meditation, Devotional will be a performance that engages the mind and body.

 

About the Exhibition
Soft Territories is a group exhibition presenting works by Victoria Manganiello, Simón Sepúlveda, and Sarah Zapata exploring the ways in which notions of movement, migration, and locality are expressed in contemporary textile practices. The warp and weft of the loom – the basic structure of textiles being composed of longitudinal and transverse components – echoes current critical thinking about verticality and horizontality in social and economic structures. In the artworks included, the intersection of the two planes of woven thread express ideas about politics, territories, technologies, and interactions, while enabling spaces of softness, warmth, and shelter.

Sarah Zapata makes work with labor-intensive processes such as handweaving, rope coiling, latch hooking, and sewing by intersecting theories of gender and ethnicity with pre-colonial histories and techniques. Making work with meditative, mechanical means, her current work deals with the multiple facets of her complex identity: a Texan living in Brooklyn, a lesbian raised as an evangelical Christian, a first generation American of Latin American descent, a contemporary artist inspired by ancient civilizations, an artist challenging the history of craft as “women’s work” within the realm of art. Zapata’s work has been exhibited at the New Museum (NY), El Museo del Barrio (NY), Museum of Art and Design (NY), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (NY), Boston University (MA), LAXART (CA), Deli Gallery (NY), Arsenal Contemporary (NY), and Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center (NY). Zapata has also completed recent residencies at MASS MoCA (MA), A-Z West (CA), and Wave Hill (NY), and is the recent recipient of an NFA Project Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. Zapata was an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2016.

Pigeonhole: The Life and Work of Bobby Alam

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Performance Schedule

June 29, 7:30pm – 9:00pm | DJ Black Helmet Performance
July 7, 6:00pm | Zaid Islam Performance
August 18, 5:00pm – 8:00pm | The Modern School Jazz Trio Performance
See below for performance info 

About the Exhibition

Knockdown Center is pleased to present Pigeonhole: The Life and Work of Bobby Alam, a new exhibition by Priyanka Dasgupta and Chad Marshall. Pigeonhole is a multidisciplinary portrait of Bahauddin “Bobby” Alam, a Bengali peddler and sailor and who arrived in the United States in 1918 and lived as a Black jazz musician in New York and New Orleans. The exhibition memorializes Alam’s career and explores his personal navigation of an especially precarious period in American history, prompting a reflection on the complexities of racial passing as a means for marginalized people to circumvent violence.

Alam is a composite of historical realities and imagined truths. His identity is inspired by the history of Bengalis passing as black in the United States, settling into communities of color in order to circumvent anti-Asian immigration laws, as recorded in Vivek Bald’s book Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America. The artists deploy these histories to bring to light the ways in which passing can function as a strategy for survival.

The installation portrays Alam’s dressing room, rehearsal space, and performance stage in the kind of juke joint where he would have spent his evenings constructing and performing his adopted identity. Objects within the installation highlight Alam’s life and career as a musician: a zoot suit embellished with Indian kantha style embroidery, old handbills and concert posters, musical compositions, video documentation from Alam’s rehearsals, and private recordings. Clues within each of these objects reveal, upon close reading, the staged and dual nature of Alam’s identity, which subtly trespasses the lines between reality and fiction.

Over the course of the exhibition, contemporary musicians inspired by Alam will take the stage and perform live, enabling the past evoked by the installation to live once again, while resonating with Knockdown Center’s function as a music venue. Additional elements of the exhibition will extend into Knockdown Center’s outdoor spaces, restrooms, and bar.

Pigeonhole: The Life and Work of Bobby Alam is realized through collaborations with Elias Meister and Hammarsing Kharhmar, celebrated through performances by Azikiwe Mohammed, Zaid Islam, Christopher Hall, Michael Howell and Leroy Willams and additional musicians. The exhibition supported in part by Knockdown Center, Smack Mellon, Materials for the Arts, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

About the Performances

DJ Black Helmet Performance
Saturday, June 29 | 7:30 – 9:00pm

Artist Azikiwe Mohammed will perform as DJ Black Helmet at the opening reception to kick off a series of performances over the course of the exhibition inspired by Alam’s musical career. DJ Black Helmet will play a DJ set infused with Alam’s influences, including the sounds of New Orleans Dixieland jazz, blues, and Baul music from West Bengal and Bangladesh. The set is inspired by Alam’s roots as well as his musical career in the United States in the 1920s through the 1950s, and also includes original compositions by contemporary musicians whose journeys and influences resonate with Alam’s complex history and hybrid identity.

Zaid Islam Performance
Sunday, July 7 | 6:00pm

Zaid Islam will perform selection of Bengali Baul songs on the performance stage, transporting the audience to these mystic sounds from the east that were an early influence on Bobby’s life and music, and which he carried with him through his time in the United States.  Zaid is a Bangladeshi artist based in New York, who has spent considerable amount of time and has strong bonds with Bauls and Fakirs from Kushtia (Lalon Fakir’s home) and other regions of Bangladesh, and India. Zaid is not a musician or an expert on the subject, but someone whose views and lifestyle have been greatly influenced by the philosophy and music of these mystic people.

The Modern School Performance
Sunday August 18 | 5 – 8pm

For the closing of Pigeonhole: The Life and Work of Bobby Alam, the jazz trio “The Modern School” will perform a selection of music on the performance stage in the installation, comprised of Dixieland Jazz and Dixieland inspired compositions, drawing on Alam’s career as a Jazz musician.

“The Modern School” is comprised of Christopher Hall (bass), Michael Howell (guitar), and Kahlil Kwame Bell (drums).  “The Modern School” is named after the elementary school that inspired bassist Christopher Hall’s initial interest in jazz. Hall has been performing on the stage of the New Amsterdam Musical Association in New York City since 2003, and has been a fixture in the Harlem Jazz scene for over a decade. He has also performed on contrabass with the New Beginnings and Westchester Brassmen Drum, and Bugle Corps. Committed to teaching through music, Hall has worked with myriad cultural organizations including the National Council of Negro Women, the American Museum of Natural History, Concrete Timbre Performance Collective, and the 1st Stage Theatre.

An innovative and skillful guitarist from Kansas City, Michael Howell was inspired and taught by his father, noted guitarist, Herley Dennis. Howell has recorded three solo albums: “Alone” on Catalyst Records, and “Looking Glass” and “In The Silence” on Mile Stone Records. He also performed with musicians including Bobby Hutchenson, Hampton Hawes, Art Blakey, George Duke, Gene Ammons and Woody Shaw. Howell has also worked closely, and toured with one of the great bebop inventors – the music genius and master entertainer – Dizzy Gillespie.

Kahlil Kwame Bell, having made numerous recordings with musical icons and legends as well as with his own talented band, has been called “one of the most prolific musicians in the industry today.” Bell plays over numerous percussion instruments and has experimented with wood and clay flutes. His musical output varies from jazz to rock to hip hop; from European classical to world music; from spirituals to spoken word accompaniments. His layering of sounds and instruments, sometimes blended with unique rhythms, reflects his view of the unity of cultures through music.

About the Artists

Priyanka Dasgupta and Chad Marshall began collaborating in 2015. Their work is located in the gaps between history and story-telling, and draws from archival texts, sociological conventions, oral histories, postmodern theory and postcolonial studies, to examine power and privilege in the United States, and its relationship with image, and appearance. Exhibitions of their collaborative work include Pigeonhole, Dodd Galleries, University of Georgia (2019), Sunroom Project Space: Paradise, at Wave Hill, New York (2018), How to see in the dark, at Cuchifritos Gallery, New York (2018), Not an edge but a hinge, at Abrons Arts Center, New York (2018), In Practice: Another Echo at Sculpture Center, New York (2018), Loving Blackness and A More Perfect Union at the Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia (2017), Ornate Activate at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee (2017) and Shirin Gallery, New York (2015). Residencies include the Artist Studio Program at Smack Mellon (2018) and AIRspace at Abrons Arts Center (2018).

This exhibition is organized by Alexis Wilkinson, Knockdown Center Director of Exhibitions and Live Art.

Closing Reception for A Continuous Stream of Occurrence

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Join us for the closing of A Continuous Stream of Occurrence, with a sound intervention by Roarke Menzies, who will be engaging Luba Drozd’s installation.

Roarke Menzies is a New York City-based artist and musician who incorporates his voice, mouth and body with audio tools and toys to create electronic and electroacoustic works. His music has been described by The New Yorkeras “a layered electronic throb, coming and going, always enhancing but never overpowering.”

Menzies’s work has been presented at the Material Art Fair in Mexico City, the Spring Break Art Show in New York City, the Untitled Art Fair in Miami, VOLUME in Los Angeles, Quiet City in Vancouver, CHANNEL in Toronto, and many other venues. His music has also been presented on KCHUNG Radio, KFFP Freeform Portland, WNYU’s Bentwave FM, and on BBC Radio 3 as part of the series “New Year New Music: exploring iconic masterpieces, avant-garde experiments and the next generation of talent.”

About the exhibition
A Continuous Stream of Occurrence is an exhibition that brings together the works of Luba Drozd and William Lamson to explore how time manifests in natural and physical phenomena. The artists have created site-specific, time-based works that modify Knockdown Center’s gallery space into an uncertain laboratory, where architecture, light, piano cords, copper, salts, and glass create an ever-evolving environment that unveils time as materially constructed. By focusing on sound and vibration, or on crystallization and geological transformation, the exhibition invites visitors to experience the sensory elements that make up these living systems.

Soft Territories

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Upcoming Exhibition Events

June 23, 5:00pm – 8:00pm | Closing Reception
with jazz by the Rodrigo Recabarren trio
More details here

About the Exhibition

Knockdown Center is pleased to present Soft Territories, a group exhibition presenting works by Victoria Manganiello, Simón Sepúlveda, and Sarah Zapata exploring the ways in which notions of movement, migration, and locality are expressed in contemporary textile practices. The warp and weft of the loom – the basic structure of textiles being composed of longitudinal and transverse components – echoes current critical thinking about verticality and horizontality in social and economic structures. In the artworks included, the intersection of the two planes of woven thread express ideas about politics, territories, technologies, and interactions, while enabling spaces of softness, warmth, and shelter.

The questions of memory, identity, and borders are central to Zapata’s symbiotic practice of textile making and writing. Manganiello uses hand-spun yarn and mixed natural and synthetic color dyes to create hand-woven textiles that explore intersections between materiality, technology, geography, and storytelling. Sepúlveda mixes digital and organic elements to create tapestries –a historical artifact for narrating epic tales– that reflect on experiences of migration.

Past Exhibition Events

May 4, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Opening Reception
May 4, 6:30 pm | Curator Tour
Curator Carolina Arévalo will lead visitors on a tour of the exhibition
May 5, 5:00 pm | Devotional with Sarah Zapata
More details here

About the Artists

Victoria Manganiello is an installation and mixed media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited throughout the USA and internationally including at the Queens Museum, Tang Museum, Pioneer Works, and the Museum of Art and Design. Victoria was recently named one of Forbes list 30 under 30 artists for 2019. She is an adjunct professor at both NYU and Parson’s The New School. Exploring the intersections between materiality, technology, geography and storytelling, Victoria’s installation work, abstract paintings, and kinetic sculptures are made meticulously with hand-woven textiles using hand-spun yarn and hand-mixed natural and synthetic color dyes.

Sarah Zapata makes work with labor-intensive processes such as handweaving, rope coiling, latch hooking, and sewing by intersecting theories of gender and ethnicity with pre-colonial histories and techniques. Making work with meditative, mechanical means, her current work deals with the multiple facets of her complex identity: a Texan living in Brooklyn, a lesbian raised as an evangelical Christian, a first generation American of Latin American descent, a contemporary artist inspired by ancient civilizations, an artist challenging the history of craft as “women’s work” within the realm of art. Zapata’s work has been exhibited at the New Museum (NY), El Museo del Barrio (NY), Museum of Art and Design (NY), Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (NY), Boston University (MA), LAXART (CA), Deli Gallery (NY), Arsenal Contemporary (NY), and Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center (NY). Zapata has also completed recent residencies at MASS MoCA (MA), A-Z West (CA), and Wave Hill (NY), and is the recent recipient of an NFA Project Grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. Zapata was an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2016.

Simón Sepúlveda works on textile mixing bold graphics, with social and personal issues, like migration and identity. His work is a hyper-awareness of the precarious nature in trying to find a personal balance and also worldwide balance across migration, economics, and human rights issues. This worldwide perspective and artist direction within textiles has led him to fulfill a sense of purpose with his work. Sepúlveda’s work has been exhibited at the Chilean Museum of Contemporary Art (Chile), Museum of Fine Arts (Chile), Visual Arts Museum (Chile), and Aqui Gallery (Chile). Sepúlveda is currently living and working at San Francisco as a designer for Apple. Previously he has worked as a Designer at Sagmeister&Walsh (New York), Javier Jaén Studio (Barcelona) and Felicidad (Santiago).

About the Curator

Carolina Arévalo is a researcher and curator. Her approach towards the idea of image as a mental state is center in the fundamental concepts of forms: the reinterpretation and representation of societies explained through historical styles, as they occur in art, design, and architecture. All objects and images communicate and can be recognized as texts; artifacts weave the public and private aspects, social and cultural conventions and the way in which people and position themselves in a context. Currently, Arévalo is also curating Sheila Hicks: Reencuentros at the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (2019), which aims to establish dialogues between contemporary textile art and pre-Columbian textile art. Recently, she has published in Hilos Libres: Sheila Hicks (Puebla, Mexico: 2018), Jaume Xifra: Cat. Exhibit (Girona, Spain: 2018), and the article Anni Albers: Influjos Precolombinos y Legado (Goethe Institute, Colombia: 2019-upcoming).

Open Call: Exhibitions + Main Spaces

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We are currently seeking proposals for Group Exhibitions in our gallery space, Solo Projects + Installations in our gallery space, and short-term Main Spaces Projects!

Review the guidelines for open calls for gallery exhibitions and projects in our main spaces, and apply by April 15! We are also accepting proposals on a rolling basis for Open Capacity – our space support program for artists and organizers.

Take a look at our proposal page for full details and guidelines.

Submit your proposal here.

FiftyTwo Ft: Morgan Blair

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