Sunday, October 6, 2019

One Planet, One People

"Current Seen"
Rochester, New York
October 4, -- November 17, 2019

Betye Saar gave a long interview to the New York Times recently with art writer Holland Cotter, and this gem about politics caught my eye: "One Planet, One People".  This could be a bumper sticker or a chant at a rally.  In any case, this artist in her way, gave me a moment of hope in this climate of division and distrust.

You may want or need to turn your attention toward a more positive development in our area - so feel free to dig deeply into "Current Seen" an ambitious new Biennial for the visual arts that opened this past Friday here in Rochester.  I was listening to a radio broadcast when Bleu Cease, the director at RoCo, said that this was not a "festival", but it certainly seemed like one - when I went around on opening night!

30 Years of
FUA  Krew
Joy Gallery, 498 West Main Street, Rochester, NY

Beginning on West Main Street, I walked into the Joy Gallery to find: FROM UP ABOVE "30 Years of FUA Krew" which was spearheaded by Erich Lehman of 1975 Gallery fame.  Established as a group in the late 1980s, FUA represents a sector of Rochester devoted to graffiti arts.
Erich Lehman connects with this group in this rich selection of artworks some of which originated in the subway systems and recently presented in the hallway of The Memorial Art Gallery here in town ( see my post from this past June called: Exhibition Hours ).

FUA means What?
"From Up Above"

Graffiti has spread far and wide - wherever young artists have the space and the inclination to make their tags, and leave their mark.  At the Joy Gallery, documentary photos supplement the group showing of more than 22 artists with many works offered for sale. Immerse yourself in this experience and you begin to see how deep into our culture this art scene has become.

Zombie by Bile
Joy Gallery

I think that the concept of Wall/Therapy arose out of this graffiti movement here in town, maybe by giving the artists a greater legitimacy.  In any case, in this show the  recognition is welcome for these artists whose work was considered underground for a long while.

FUA  Krew at Joy Gallery

For me, it was time to move on down the road to see what was new at the RIT CITY Art Space, and it was alive!  The shows called: "Best Foot Forward" and  "Blockitecture" provide some sense of how arts and industry may develop a mutually beneficial relationship.  There on the walls of this gallery there is evidence that this is not just an academic exercise, here designers and artists put their thinking  caps on and develop things that will make our world a better place.

RIT CITY Art Space
Liberty Pole Plaza
Rochester, NY

I will return to my story about "Current Seen" in my next post too.  For the moment, I want to see more of what is going on in this Biennial, and then share my views.  Meanwhile, I can take a look at the little guidebook that was published along with the shows, and  spend some time on the website that acts as a guide to the locations for all the small venues.

Liberty Pole Plaza, Rochester, NY

"Current Seen" has been in the works for a while, and the timing couldn't be better -as an alternative to the usual schedule of art shows that come and go.  That there is a common structure that links the visual arts in this "image city" to the people who would and should support it is IMPORTANT!  I remember a time, talking with Ned Corman who dreamt up the Rochester Jazz Festival - and he told me that he was really interested in having an art and music affair, similar to what they produce in places like Aspen, Colorado.  Getting together a structure where both kinds of art would be offered seemed like a daunting prospect - how would you raise money for such a thing? - but you can see that the Jazz Festival has really taken off while the visual arts until now have lagged behind.  Maybe now that their is a lot more liveliness in the city center, the visual arts will begin to find a new and larger audience.  I plan to help when and where I can;  so show your support by being engaged too!