Making it as an artist in New York City has never been easy, but sometimes there are a few lucky breaks along the way. International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) hosted its semi-annual open studios exhibition last weekend, during which 25 resident artists and three resident curators from 21 countries opened their studios to the public.
The show took place in ISCP’s new East Williamsburg space on Metropolitan Avenue.
Each resident presented his or her studio and whatever finished works or works in progress there were. The artists stayed in their studios, offering wine, snacks and conversation to those passing through. Portuguese artist Joao Pedro Vale exhibited a large-scale installation piece, simulating a wire hung with dozens of pairs of red sequined shoes. Canadian artist Gabriel Reese’s works included several pieces of two-dimensional and three-dimensional street art titled “Eat Fruit and Die.” Andrea Van Der Straeten from Austria presented several pieces with stories written on them and several hand painted images of email icons, documenting the correspondence between her and fashion designer Marc Jacobs who put one of her original images on a dress in last year’s collection. Resident curator Esther Lu from Taiwan invited the viewers in for tea-time, to drink oolong green tea from porcelain cups and talk about the exhibition.
ISCP is a non-profit arts organization that offers notable artists and curators from other countries an opportunity to work in New York City, arguably the art capital of the world. ISCP’s Studio Program offers the artists, who are sponsored by governments, corporations, foundations and galleries a studio space in which to work for periods ranging from three to 12 months. The Curatorial Program allows a sponsored resident curator access to a private furnished office, a cell phone and a Mac computer, and sets them up with meetings with art critics and other professionals. Both programs encourage and provide ample opportunities for partnerships between artists, curators, gallery owners and other art professionals to further the careers of the artists and help professionals in the art world discover new talent.
“We’ve been very pro-active in networking and marketing,” said Dennis Elliott, the founder of ISCP.
The program, launched in 1994, has hosted artists, and beginning in 1999, curators, from countries on every one of the seven continents. Elliott said since its founding ISCP has helped launch the careers of thousands of artists and curators by providing them with opportunities to work, organize their own shows and acquire a variety of grants.
Last weekend was a smash success for ISCP. Black and White Gallery, which has locations in both Chelsea and Williamsburg, offered Japanese artist Kaoru Hirano a chance to show one of her pieces, a dress made of multicolored thread and hung from the ceiling. The show is slated to open in January 2009. Hirano showed much excitement with her eager smiles, but there were no words: Hirano doesn’t speak English, an example of the truly international nature of art.