Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Biggers is BIG in New York + Noses at the Met + A Fall Dinner Party

SANFORD BIGGERS' postmodern explorations of racial identity evade classification and are often quite funny. 

Sanford Biggers at the Brooklyn Museum
Sanford Biggers at the SculptureCenter 
in Long Island City

Artist Sanford Biggers has a large-scale installation of his new work Cosmic Voodoo Circus at the SculptureCenter, in Long Island City (September 10-November 28) and a 13-piece mini-retrospective Sanford Biggers: Sweet Funk–An Introspective coming soon to the Brooklyn Museum (September 23-January 2012). Born in Los Angeles, Biggers currently lives in New York and is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Columbia University. 
The artist mixes disciplines including: sculpture, video, photography, music and photographs. He also mixes cultures: incorporating icons from Asian mandalas and slave quilts to hip hop and the YouTube music culture - Buddhist sacred rituals with African-American spiritualism in the urban culture. Biggers has been included in many impressive museum exhibitions including: Prospect 1/ New Orleans BiennialIlluminations at the Tate Modern in London, Performa 07, the Whitney Biennial and Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has also had many solo exhibitions across the US.

Cosmic Voodoo Circus
SculptureCenter has a new work by Sanford Biggers commissioned through SculptureCenter's "Artist-in-Residence" program. Merging modern and post-modern concepts, Biggers looks at historical and contemporary subjects and how the interpretation of these subjects is unique to the person experiencing the subject. Various subjects have multiple and different meanings based on the background and life experiences of the viewer. 

In Cosmic Voodoo Circus, Biggers uses the carnival aesthetic to address issues of identity, the power of objects and spiritual or cultural reincarnation. At the center of Biggers' installation is a new video titled "Shake", the second part in an odyssean trilogy about the formation or loss of identity. The video was shot in Brazil through a "Creative Time Travel Grant". Shake follows a Brazilian-born, Germany based, choreographer, clown, stuntman and DJ, Ricardo Castillo, on his transformative journey from the ocean through the shanty towns of Brazil, to a colonial palace and eventually returning back to the ocean as an androgynous silver-skinned figure. (The first video in the trilogy, "Shuffle", will also on view at the Brooklyn Museum  as part of the Sweet Funk show.) 

The installation will also feature several new sculptures including an empty trapeze swinging overhead like a pendulum, a suspended sculpture based on a pair of African spirit sculptures (constructed from fabric as diverse as seersucker and old quilts) and a billboard sized (minstrel - clown - Cheshire cat's) "toothy grin" which is a recurrent image in Biggers' work. 

Sanford Biggers: Sweet Funk-An Introspective
An exhibition - this selection of thirteen pieces, LA Born, New York-based artist Sanford Biggers challenges and reinterprets symbols and legacies of contemporary America. The exhibition is Biggers’ first museum show in New York City, and it will also mark the Brooklyn Museum's debut of their recently acquired Biggers work, "Blossom" (2007). "Blossom" is a large-scale multimedia installation incorporating far reaching references from lynchings to Buddha’s enlightenment under the bodhi tree. It also alludes to the ideology of artists such as Alfred Bierstadt and Frederic Church.
Among the pieces in the exhibition is "Cheshire" (2008), a sculpture which references both the disembodied smile of Lewis Carroll's "Cheshire Cat" and the caricatured grin associated with blackface minstrels. "Kalimba II" (2002), named after an African percussion instrument, incorporates a piano bisected by a wall; the bench invites visitors to sit down and play half of the keyboard, initiating a musical conversation or duet with an unseen visitor on the other side of the wall. "Lotus" (2007) also combines references to Buddhism and slavery. Biggers, 41, has been creating installations and performances for the past decade plus a few years. 
Biggers' resume is in the POSTSCRIPT section.

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052
(718) 638-5000
Wednesday - Sunday 
11-6 Thursdays until 10

44-19 Purves Street
Long Island City
New York, 11101
Thursday - Monday

"Noses" in Art!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has recently posted a series of videos called "Connections" where people talk about what they enjoy in the museum. A recent video created by Marsha Turchinskyis is based on prominent "Noses" in the Met Museum's collection. 
My family has what is called a "Roman nose".
A positive expression because
it leaves room for interpretation.

The following are some notes, not quotes, from Marsha's Connections video:

- My fascination with noses started with my father, who had a very strong nose and I have a prominent nose.  At the Met museum I noticed Emperor Constantine (shown with Marsha above) also had a similar nose to my father and because of this strong nose, I named my son Constantine.

- The nose is the center and anchors the entire face. 

- The expression: "It's as plain as the nose on your face." defines the nose as a clue  to people's personalities, ie: strong features make a strong person. 

- He fell from his father's nose, means you resemble your father and share his DNA.

- I would never alter my nose any more than I would deny my family's history.

in Russian,
"Nose" in English.

In the story "The Nose" by Gogol, a nose is missing and running all over St. Petersburg. The comment by Gogol  is: if you lose your nose - you lose face in society as well.

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol. 
The plot concerns a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own. [The title in Russian (Нос, "Nos") is the reverse of the Russian word for "dream" (Сон, "Son").

The operatic music, by Shostakovich, is a montage of different styles, including folk music, popular song and atonality. The full opera was given its first performance  in Leningrad on 18 January 1930. In 1929, the opera had been criticized as "formalist" by the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians. According to a review by British composer Gerard McBurney for Boosey & Hawkes "The Nose" is one of the young Shostakovich’s greatest masterpieces.

As the unreliable narrator himself notes, the story "contains much that is highly implausible", while an earlier version of the story ended with Kovalyov, the main character, waking and realizing that the story was indeed a dream. Without the awakening, however, the story becomes a precursor of magical realism, as an unreal element is woven into a realistic narration. The removal of Kovalyov's nose and its developing a mind of its own, threaten both his chances of acquiring a position of power and of being a success with women. In Russia, a version has appeared which substituted "..." for the word "nose" (нос) so that the reader would be inclined to misinterpret the deleted word as being penis, because Kovaliov equates the loss of his nose with emasculation.
In "The Nose", Gogol displays his extraordinary talent of making great comic art out of nonsense!

A Fall Dinner Party
We just had one, it is a great way to be with friends.
Company’s Comin’ Pork Stroganoff for the Entree! 
Fall is fast approaching and a dinner party both hearty and delicious sounds like a good idea. I originally was going to propose some more complicated ideas, like making a berry reduction from whole berries, herbs, water and sugar which takes hours of prep and cooking time for the wine cocktail and a seafood soup which could take another four hours. But then decided the following menu was more realistic. The stroganoff entree and the coconut cake dessert do take some time to make, but are very much worth the effort! 

“A Fall Dinner Party"

- Berry & Wine COCKTAIL with a crackers and a dip appetizer
- Arugula SALAD 
- Company’s Comin’ PORK STROGANOFF 
- Pan-Coated CARROTS
- The ultimate COCONUT CAKE with vanilla ice cream

Berry & Wine Cocktail
Prep Time Ten seconds.
Pour IKEA's Lingonberry Drink Concentrate into the bottom of a tall champagne glass, fill remainder of glass with BIG HOUSE WHITE wine = fancy drink for cocktail hour. Pour the wine slowly over a spoon to get a more layered look.

Serve with good crackers and tomato bruchette or the dip of your choice.

Arugula SALAD 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
A bag of Arugula, top with shaved curls of Parmesan cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. Make your own vinaigrette from 3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar, then mix in fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste.

Green Beans If available go with haricots verts. Prep then blanch beans in lightly salted water until crisp tender, (rinse in cold water to stop cooking or dip in an ice water bath) - drain until dry, then saute in olive oil with minced garlic. (Use red pepper oil if you want to make it very special.)

Pan-Coated Carrots  Over moderate heat, cook 1 lb of baby carrots in olive oil and 3/4 tsp ground cumin for 1 minute. Add 1 cup water, 1 Tbs lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. Simmer uncovered stirring and coating with a spoon until the liquid is almost evaporated and carrots are tender and glazed, about 20 min. 

These carrots and green beans can be served hot or at room temperature with the meat dish. A simple version of these vegetables is just to put them on a pan, drizzle with olive oil, and balsamic vinegar - cook in a 300 degree oven for  45 minutes to an hour. 

Company's Comin' Pork Stroganoff
Cook Time Two Hours: 1 hour prep & saute time, 1 hour bake time.
  • 3 pork tenderloins – approx. 4+ lbs (all silver skin & gristle trimmed off) and cut into 1 “ wide medallions
  • 1/2 lb of thick bacon slices, cut into 2-3" sections
  • ½ - 1 cup flour sifted on top of meat to dust
  • Seasoning of choice (Lawry's Seasoning Salt) sprinkled on pork (one side)
  • Olive Oil
  • 16 sliced baby portobella mushrooms
  • 3 carrots, shaved and chopped
  • 5 T butter
  • 2 Large yellow onions, diced
  • 1 coffee cup full from jar of thick marinara tomato sauce (used Safeway select Arrabbiata pasta sauce)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 box of chicken broth, 32 ozs.
  • 1 cup sour cream mixed with dried dill (to taste) let it sit for 1-2 hours to soften the dill.
  • ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 16 oz bag of extra wide egg noodles
Preheat oven to 300°. 
Trim and slice pork, then dry with paper towels. Lay dry pork out, in one single layer, on a baking sheet with edges. Sprinkle seasoning salt over one side only of pork, pat in, then sift flour over pork, flip pork, dab dry again, and sift flour over other side. Mix and dredge pork in the pan to coat lightly and evenly and to cover any missed places.  Add olive oil, to coat the bottom, to a large ceramic over cast iron dutch oven and place on a stove top burner at high heat - when oil is hot, sear pork in batches one layer deep, until lightly browned (2-4 minutes per side or until browned). Remove pork from pot to a holding bowl, repeat browning adding small amounts of olive oil as needed. 
After all pork is browned and removed, add bacon slices to the pot just until fat starts to render, then add cut mushrooms and chopped carrots - sauté all, stirring often, until mushrooms look soft and cooked; remove all from pan to a separate holding bowl.  Melt butter in the potadd diced onions - sauté until translucent, stir occasionally.  Add tomato sauce, stir and cook 1 minute. 
De-glaze the pot with 1 cup of good red wineSIMMER UNTIL WINE IS REDUCED by half and all alcohol has cooked out.  Add chicken broth, stir, - layer pork, (stir) then mushroom mix, (stir) pork, (stir) mushroom mix (stir) back into the pot.  Cover and place pot into a 300 degree preheated oven - cook untouched for 1 (to 1&1/4) hour until pork is tender and all elements have blended. 
After pork is in the oven, cook egg noodles in a large pot of boiling water (water must be boiling, salted - with a drizzle of olive oil & the water depth must cover the noodles again by the depth of the noodles) stir after pouring noodles in and occasionally to keep noodles separated. Bring water back to a boil, and when they look soft, test for doneness, by biting - the noodle should be soft and silky. Overcooking noodles or cooking in too little water - makes them taste like flour. Drain and add some e.v. olive oil or butter and mix to coat. This keeps the noodles from sticking together.
1 hour before serving (to allow time for the dill to soften) whisk sour cream and dried dill together in a bowl. Add dill until there is a good mix, ie: it looks like "Dill Sour Cream".  

Serve this Stroganoff (stew) over noodles with a dollop of dill sour cream on top and a sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles on the side.

Serves 12

The Ultimate Coconut Cake
Cook Time 30-60 min
What makes this the ULTIMATE coconut cake? It is made with three  coconut products, coconut milk, coconut flavoring and shredded coconut. This recipe first appeared in ARTSnFOOD in Feb. of this year.


For cake
1½ stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 ¼ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coconut flavor
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup flaked coconut
For Icing
2 sticks butter
½ cup shortening
1 ½ pounds confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon coconut flavor
4-5 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ cups flaked coconut
For Garnish
2 ½ -3 cups flaked coconut (to cover cake)

Cooking Directions

To Make the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter liberally and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
In an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg whites until incorporated. In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, the baking powder and the salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until incorporated but don't over mix. Add the coconut flavoring, and the coconut milk until combined . Add 1 cup of flaked coconut.
Divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Let cool in pan on wire racks until cakes are completely cool, then carefully unmold. Using a serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally into 2 equal layers (creating a total of 4 layers).

To Make the Icing
Cream the butter, shortening, and confectioner's sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Beat in the coconut flavoring and the coconut milk.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of the whipped frosting and 1½ cups of flaked coconut. Set aside.
Assembling the Cake
When ready to ice the cake, place the first cake layer on serving dish. Dollop 1/3 of the frosting with coconut flake added to it, and spread evenly with an offset metal spatula. Continue this process with each layer, smoothing over the extra frosting that may ooze out between each layer.
With the remaining frosting (that does NOT contain flaked coconut), frost the top and sides of cake. Finish by gently pressing the remaining 2 1/2 – 3 cups of flaked coconut on the frosted cake, covering it entirely.

Serves 12 - 24

(Sources: Goumet Magazine for the berry wine & vegetables, "Cuisine At Home" Magazine for idea of the Stroganoff, ABC News,GMA for the Coconut Cake.)

Until later,

ARTSnFOOD, All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © Copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images © individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.


(A resume)
Born: 1970 Los Angeles, CA 
Live/Work: New York City 

1999  Masters in Fine Art, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL 
1998  The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME 
1997  Maryland Institute of College of Art, Baltimore, MD 
1992  Bachelor of Arts, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA  
1991  Syracuse University (Department of International Programs Abroad), Florence Italy 

Selected Solo Exhibitions 
2011  Sweet Funk: An Introspective Survey, Brooklyn Museum of Art.  New York, NY 
  Curated by Eugenie Tsai 
2010 Moon Medicine, Contemporary Arts Forum. Santa Barbara, CA  
                    Curated by Miki Garcia (catalog) 
2009  Constellation (Stranger Fruit), Harvard OFA 
          Blossom. Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR  
  Curated by Bruce Guenther 
 Peculiar Institutions, Solvent Space. Richmond, VA 
2008  Sanford Biggers, D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York, NY 
2007  Blossom, Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO (catalog) 
2006  Freedom and Other Seldom Travelled Roads, Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 
          Notions, Kenny Schachter Rove, London, UK (catalog) 
2005  The Afronomical Way, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland  
                    (editioned custom catalog) 
          New Work, Triple Candie, New York, NY 
2004  Sanford Biggers, Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 
          Both/And Not Either/Or, Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH  
  (traveling to the Contemporary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD) 
2002  Creation/Dissipation, Trafo Gallery, Budapest Hungary 
 Afro Temple, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (catalog) 
          Psychic Windows, Matrix Gallery, Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA (catalog) 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

2010  Signs of Life:  Ancient Knowledge in Contemporary Art, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne,                  
          Resurrectine, Feldman Gallery, New York, NY 
          Reflection, Nathan A. Bernstein Gallery, New York, NY 
          Dead or Alive, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY 
          Who are you close to, JANE KIM/ thrust projects, New York, NY 
          Progress Reports - Art in an Age of Diversity, Iniva, London, UK 
          Spirit Up!  Event Notation and the Invocation of Spirit in Contemporary Art. CCS Bard,  
          Annadale-on-Hudson, NY 
         Curated by Daniel Mason 
          2010:  Searching for the Heart of Black Identity, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft 
2009  30 Seconds Off an Inch, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY  
       Curated by Naomi Beckwith 
          Americana, New Society for Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany 
        Curated by Frank Wagner 
          Passages, Revisiting Histories: Sanford Biggers + Andrea Geyer & Simon J. Ortiz, 
                    Lambent Foundation, New York, NY  
                    Curated by Niels  von Tomme 
          Intrinsic Trio: Biggers, Gilliam and Scott. Goya Contemporary, Baltimore, MD 
          Dress Codes:  Clothing as Metaphor, Katonah Museum of Art, Bedford NY 
          Jack Wolgin Competition Finalists, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 
          Carnival Within, Uferhalle, Berlin, Germany  
        Curated by Uta Grundmann, Sabine Russ and Gregory Volk  
          Hidden Cities, Stephen Vittielo and Perrgrine Arts, Philadelphia, PA 
        Curated by Christian Marclay 
2008  Prospect 1: US Biennial. Old US Mint. New Orleans, LA 
        Curated by Dan Cameron. catalog 
          Nippon in Black, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan  
       Curated by Fanon Che Wilkins. 
          NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, Menil Collection, Houston TX  
                    Curated by Franklin Sirmans. (Traveling) 
          Unknown Pleasures, Aspen Museum of Art. Aspen, CO  
       Curated by Matthew Thompson. 
          Into the Trees.  Art Omi. Ghent, NY  C 
        Curated by Lily Wei 
          Shuffle. Schloss Solitude. Stuttgart, Germany  
2007  Illuminations, curated by Lucy Askew and Ben Borthwick. Tate Modern, London, UK 
          3 Day Museum, Okinawa Museum, Okinawa, Japan 
          Performa 07;  The Performance Art Biennial. New York, NY 
          MANUAL cc : Instructions for Beginners and Advanced Players, Kronika Gallery,   
        Bytom, Poland  
          Pretty Baby, Modern Art Museum Fort Worth, TX 
          For the Love of the Game, The Amistad Center for Arts and Culture. Hartford, CT 
        Curated by Franklin Sirmans 
          Black Light/White Noise. Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX  
       Curated by Valerie Cassel 
          Paradise & Inferno: The Post Millennial Black Madonna. MoCADA & Skylight,New York,  
          Intelligent Design. Momenta, New York, NY  
          Urbanity. Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany  
2006  New York, Interrupted. PKM Gallery, Beijing, China.  
       Curated by Dan Cameron 
          The Black Moving Cube: Black Figuration & The Moving Image. The Tate Britain,  
         London, UK  
          Fountains. D’Amelio Terras. New York, NY  
          Twisted Roots. WPA/ Corcoran & DCAC. Washington, DC.      
          Everybody Dance. The Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts. 
          The Dalai Lama Portrait Project: The Missing Peace, The 100 for Tibet. (traveling) 
          Art Rock, Rockerfeller Center, New York, NY 
          Black Alphabet, Zacheta Gallery, Warsaw, Poland  
2005  D’Afrique d’Asie, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, New York, NY (traveling) 
          Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since 1970, Contemporary Arts Museum,             
                Houston, TX Curated by Valerie Cassel 
          The Here and Now, The Renassaince Society, Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL 
        Curated by Hamza Walker 
2004  Join Us (Calls of Ecstasy from the Edge of Oblivion), Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO  
2003  Somewhere Better Than This Place, Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati,    
   Cincinnati, OH Curated by Stacy Switzer 
          Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Kuti, The New Museum, New York, NY   
       Curated by Trevor Schoonmaker. Catalog, traveling. 
          Shuffling the Deck, Princeton Museum of Art, Princeton, NJ  
       Curated by Eugenie Tsai. catalog 
          The Commodification of Buddhism, Bronx Museum, New York, NY  
       Curated by Lydia Yee. catalog 
          Black Belt, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY  
        Curated by Christine Kim. catalog 
2002  Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (catalogue) 
        Curated by Larry Rindler. catalog 
          Family, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT (catalogue) 
2001  One Planet Under a Groove, Bronx Museum, New York, NY  
        Curated by Franklin Sirmans and Lydia Yee.  traveling/catlogue 
          Zoning, The Project, New York, NY  
       Curated by Sofia Hernandez-Choy and Tumelo Musaka 
          Freestyle, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY 
        Curated by Thelma Golden. catalog) 
          Rapper’s Delight, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA  
          Altoid’s Curiously Strong Collection, New Museum for Contemporary Art, New York, NY 
2000  Full Service, Kenny Schachter, New York, NY 

2009  New York Percent for the Arts. Eagle Academy, New York, NY 
          Marshall S. Cogan Visiting Artist in the Office for the Arts Public Art Program, Harvard,      
          University, Cambridge, MA  
          Hidden Cities, curated by Christian Marclay, Stephen Vittielo and Perrgrine Arts.   
          Philadelphia, PA 
2008  The Norton Family Christmas Project  
          Ahh Decadence... (Exhibition Designer). Curated by Lisa Wainwright. The School of The   
          Art Institute of Chicago, Sullivan Galleries 
          The Voting Booth Project, The Rema Hort Man Foundation, David Zwirner Gallery and    
          Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, NY 

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