Despite last Friday’s freezing temperatures, more than 500 artists, buyers, tourists and hip young Brooklynites drank cocktails and contemplated walls covered with drawings as DJs settled in behind their turntables at Ad Hoc Art Gallery’s opening of three new exhibitions of “New Contemporary Art.”
According to Andrew Michael Ford, the gallery’s director, “New Contemporary Art” is a term that refers to the current art movement that encompasses many different styles including pop surrealism, lowbrow art, outsider art and underground art. Ad Hoc is currently showcasing three exhibitions: , “Delineations,” a group show featuring the works of over 75 artists, and two solo shows by New York artist Melissa Murray, and Tel Aviv-based street artist Know Hope, The shows feature elements of “New Contemporary Art” with examples of street art, fetish art, graffiti, illustration, tattoo, print-making and pop surrealism. Ford, who likes to work with types of art typically marginalized by the larger New York scene, said that this show represents the future of art here in New York City.
“This show is beyond contemporary,” said Ford. “New Contemporary” is where art is going.”
“Delineations” is made up of more than 150 varied types of drawings, depicting imagery ranging from elaborate scenes of fantastical carnage, bursting with color, to unpolished black and white doodles, appearing as if they have been ripped right out of the artist’s sketch book.
Paul D’Agostino, a Bushwick-based artist who sometimes hosts exhibitions in his apartment, shows two pieces from a series titled “Cosidetti disegni,” or “so-called drawings.” The series relates to cancellation of the creative agent, said D’Agostino. The pieces are both drawings of different aspects of human existence. Chemical equations of brain reactions that occur during a kiss and technical definitions of DNA cancel out the romantic aspect of love and life.
Queens-based artist Too Fly contributed portraits of Latina women, evocative of portraits drawn by street artists around Central Park. One of her drawings portrays a girl staring provocatively and pouting her lips, looking tough yet vulnerable with a rose in her hair. The caption under the portrait reads “Mama” in graffiti-style letters.
Gigi Chen illustrates her struggle with art in several colored pencil drawings of a girl, bounded and stuggling, set against a background of cartoonish insects and panda-like creatures. The colorful drawings are scaled-down versions of her paintings, which are heavily influenced by her background in animated film.
Many of the pieces in the shows are controversial and confrontational in message as well as aesthetics. Veteran graffiti artist Joe (EZO) Wippler showcases a piece depicting teenage actress Miley Cyrus’s almost-nude photograph for Vanity Fair magazine. In “Illegal Tender,” the actress sits wrapped in a sheet with her back bare, a gold halo on her head, coyly looking out from under tousled bangs. EZO said the piece shows how popular media diverts the public’s attention to nonsense instead of focusing on real issues. Artist Tommii Lin’s charcoal drawing on an unfolded Nike sneaker box features a shrouded man running with a missile that reads “Afghan Fixie.” He is wearing Nike sneakers on skinless legs made up completely of muscle.
The back room of the enormous art space hosts two solo exhibits. Israeli artist Know Hope’s show entitled “The Insecurities of Time” deals with the temporary nature of the human existence. The exhibit includes several collages mounted on pieces of cardboard boxes, and an installation. The show follows a figure through many lyrical scenarios of the human experience–lighting a fire, measuring time and looking for danger through binoculars. The installation refers to the natural cycle of life. A figure is knitting a scarf from yarn that comes from an eye of a bird, only to be unraveled by two other figures sitting opposite of the knitter. The words “Discarded Transmission Compose Coincidence” are written on large cardboard pieces above. On the other side of the room Melissa Murray’s surrealist black and white paintings depict the artist’s life experiences told through dream-like images.
All exhibits run through February 15, when another show of “New Contemporary Art” will take over.
“I like to show where art is going to be in five years,” said Ford. “I believe this is the future.”