Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Some images from Dar Williams' CD Release Party at Spire Studios, Sept 9, 2008

A bird's eye view of Dar's performance. Simon Draper is 'thinking' to the right.

One could say that holding an exhibit or event at Spire Studios is like putting lipstick on a pig, but as one draws closer to examine the effects of such a lurid application, one could catch oneself thinking, 'Man this lipstick wearing pig is looking mighty fine'. It could happen.
It might not be right, but it don't feel wrong, and one could come to the conclusion that one could have one hell of a time with this pig, briskly gussied up as it is. This might not be a universal truth, and it might reveal a bit too much about me. The point stands, though, that although this raw space shares less in common with a converted industrial loft in SOHO than with a cobbled together structure in a Palestinian refugee camp, when there's work on the wall, the lights go up, and there are people populating the corners, there's a sensation of relaxed, jovial warmth that is not duplicated anywhere else in town.

The space is inherently apotheosis of a beautiful exhibition space, but when I was speaking to Dar after her performance, she felt it was the natural place for her to hold CD release, given the humble, open, and organic qualities of the space which makes things happen there. Back in the early days when Spire Studios and Bulldog Studios were pretty new, BCF President Sam Yanes quipped about the informality of Spire and how even some of the studios had doors. This was true-a few artist's studios did lack doors for quite awhile, but what it did have that was generally absent from Bulldog, was a warm, inviting collegial environment. I'm partial. I had a space at Spire for three years, and the quirky aspects of the joint appealed to me immediately. Last week's event felt like a homecoming of sorts as that vibe present at so many of the parties and get togethers in the past was back.

The place has never been as packed as it was for Dar's performance, and the food provided was excellent. It was a great night.

Scenic Hudson was among the non profit groups represented during the evening.

After the crowd thinned, I photographed some of the artwork:

Sharon L. Butler's work on the left, the hanging sculpture on the opposite wall is by Maureen Beck.

my piece is on the left. Richard Bruce's and Marnie Hillsley's works are behind those people.

Sara Mussen's work in the background, Simon Draper's on the right.

(l-r) Simon Draper, Val Clark, Kathy Feighery.

Of course the focus of the evening was the release of Dar William's CD Promised Land, but it also served as a closing shindig for the Habitat for Artists project which has been parasitically habitating in the parking lot of Spire all Summer. Many of the artists involved in HFA have artwork featured in the liner notes of Promised Land. Though HFA will be closing this chapter of the project, a form of it will be present at the COTA (Celebration of the Arts) in New Paltz on Saturday, Sept 27 where it will be interfacing with another batch of artists, including Kathleen Anderson and Grace Knowlton who will have work inhabiting two of the PODS which will be making the trip North. Sharon L. Butler, whose been chronicling her experience of working in one of the habitats gave a final reflection on her Two Coats of Paint blog, last week. Andrew Revkin mentioned the Habitats in a post on the NY Times Science page that related to the economical and ecological effect of the small footprint.

It looks like Simon is back to blogging about HFA after a period of being knee deep in organizing all Summer. Finally, you have until the end of the month to view Simon's contribution to the Windows on Main St Exhibit at the Exit Drake Realty office in Beacon (412 Main St). As it happens, the Realty office is moving to Fishkill, and they will keep remnants of Simon's project up through the end of September, when the move happens. Some of the undercurrents of the HFA project are emphasized in the fliers marketing the Hab's alongside the the 'real' properties available through the agency. This WOMS piece has been particularly successful because is has the dual nature of a self standing piece and at the same time a reference and a document of another concurrent project in the community. Secondly, the seamlessness of piece in the windows gave pause to people stopping to look at the offerings, prompting some to enter the office and investigate what was going on. Finally, Simon's WOMS project reached a level of collaboration with a Main St. business that hasn't happened in any previous incarnation. Not only was Exit Drake willing to participate, but the staff seemed to really respond to the inherent humor of the work, and Nancy Rosaler, one of the realtors became integral to the creation of the work, collaborating with Simon on the wording of the marketing pitches for each structure.

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