Category: Art

Ode on a Terran Urn – Online Premiere

My new video Ode on a Terran Urn is finally complete and is going up on youtube and facebook in segments. The first chapter was put up last Monday, and you can see it here below or by visiting my magstoriches youtube channel.

I also made a Metalmags fan page on Facebook which includes links to these videos as well as photos and video stills. Go “like” it!

E.S.P. TV, Episode 1 – January 28th

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A few of my short videos will be included in episode 1 of E.S.P. TV – a live taping and screening taking place on Friday January 28th at Louis V E.S.P. in Brooklyn. The show was conceived as a public access type variety show that includes contributions from many artists, including Dana Bell, Colby Bird, Elbis Rever, Ganjatronics, Kate Gilmore, KUNSOLE, Katrina Lam, Derek Larson, Erica Magrey, Rachel Mason, Sam Mickens, Bradford Nordeen, Andre Perkowski, Jonathan Phelps, Sophia Peer, Andrew Steinmetz, Jennifer Sullivan, and Brian Zegeer. The show is curated by Scott Kiernan, one of the proprietors of the space.

Always a fan of public access, I’m happy to have my videos included. The three that will screen are all bumpers from Awesome Music Videos, Vol. 1, a compilation I made of music videos from VH1 Classic, wherein I play veejay and create bumper skits to segue between songs. The compilation also features a xeroxed booklet with short essays on each piece. The three videos can be seen on youtube: Alien Lounge Scene, Untitled (HANDS), and Are You Experienced?

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If you’re in Brooklyn, check out the live taping! No one knows exactly how it will turn out, which makes it all the more fun. I’ll post an air date/time for MNN when I receive notification.

Introduction to my fellow iaab residents and local artists

I’m two weeks into my six-month residency in Basel, Switzerland, and really starting to feel settled. I wanted to take a few moments to share some information about the other artists in residence as well as a few others I have met since I arrived. Everyone is quite friendly, and I’m happy to have a great group of peers here.

A bit of info on the residency: it’s hosted by an organization called the iaab – International Exchange and Studio Program Basel. It’s an exchange program with Galapagos in D.U.M.B.O., so they host a Swiss artist during this same period.

Sami Lukkarinen is a painter from Finland who makes quite large paintings of Facebook profile images, though totally pixelated. I also recently learned of an annual group performance piece that Sami participates in which involves posing as a homeless person and washing windshields while cars are stopped in traffic.

Sami is accompanied by his fiancee Mari Koistinen, who is a freelance journalist and also belongs to a ukelele band called Pentelele. Sami and Mari are both lovely people and quite sweet.

Jan Henri Booyens is a painter from Pretoria, South Africa. He sports a cool curly-edged moustache and is definitely the badass of the group.

Georges Audet is a sculptor from Montreal who appreciates a good thrift store as much as I do. We can both be quite nervous and neurotic at times, a source of much amusement between us.

Taro Shinoda just arrived from Japan the other day – I met him but have not yet had a conversation, so can’t provide a detailed report. He has been videotaping the moon the last couple of nights which only adds to the intrigue.

I’ve also met a very interesting Swiss artist named Barbara Strebel, who also has a studio at iaab. Barbara has a project called ArtCast – a great archive of interviews with artists, including many big names, and she also puts out a newsletter with local arts listings in Basel. Barbara has been incredibly generous with her time, teaching us about local culture and even leading me on a tour of all the local fabric stores. She’s a very sweet woman and seems to know EVERYONE here! Pretty amazing.

One of the people I met through Barbara is an artist named Matias Huart. After meeting him, I checked out his website and saw that his work is quite nice and also very well known. He had a retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler (a modern art museum that’s about 10 feet from my studio) in 2009 and has shown at many of the museums here. In addition to his visual art he’s been involved in the music scene, working with John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno (!) and Nina Hagen.

I also met through Barbara a very cool gentleman named Seamus Hughes, a choreographer, director, and visual artist from Dublin. He’s a very sweet and wise man who feels like an old friend from the get-go. He was the founder of Fieldworks Performance Group in Australia and has had a long and varied career, which included working with Joseph Beuys. I found some of his work online, like this choreographed piece Scenes from a Prison.

Written by Comments Off on Introduction to my fellow iaab residents and local artists Posted in Art, Music

Cover Version LP at BAM/Delia Derbyshire

If you’re in Brooklyn this evening, check out this group show I’m in at BAM called Cover Version LP curated by Timothy Hull, featuring a lot of friends and great artists. From the BAM site listing:

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In Cover Version (LP), curated by Timothy Hull and organized by BAMart, over two dozen diverse artists reimagine the cover art of albums they find influential. These unique reinterpretations of the iconic LP bring new life to the art that covers vinyl, highlighting the intersections of art and music.

Artists: Glen Baldridge, Kadar Brock, Colby Bird, Jessica Cannon, Mathew Cerletty, Devon Costello, Justin Craun, TM Davy, Langdon Graves, Joseph Hart, Elizabeth Huey, Scott Hug, Butt Johnson, Faten Kanaan, Denise Kupferschmidt, Josh Kline, Erica Magrey, Michael Mahalchick, Eddie Martinez, Dave McDermott, Keegan McHargue, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Nolan Simon, Colin Snapp, Jennifer Sullivan, Nick Van Woert, Ryan Wallace, Will Yackulic.

Opening Reception
Tue, Jan 11, 2011, 6—9 PM
Natman Room, Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn

For my piece I cheated slightly and created a cover for an as-yet-nonexisting album, the Lost Recordings of Delia Derbyshire. She’s been a bit of an obsession since I learned that she recorded the original Doctor Who theme song, a genuinely beautiful masterpiece of analog electronic music. Several more of her songs are included on a BBC Radiophonic Workshop compilation, including Zivzih Zivzih Oo Oo Oo, a creepy droney alien-sounding song where all the words are played backwards. After she died in 2001, over 250 tapes were discovered in Delia’s attic, and fans have been teased with the notion of the posthumous lost recordings release for the past few years. Here’s to hoping that by creating this cover, I can will the album into existence!

Here is the official cover, and an alternate below:

Delia Derbyshire, Lost Recordings
Erica Magrey
Digital collage
2011

Delia Derbyshire, Lost Recordings - Erica Magrey

The Lost Recordings of Delia Derbyshire (Alternate Cover)
Erica Magrey
Digital collage
2011

The Lost Recordings of Delia Derbyshire (alt) - Erica Magrey

Happy Feminist Halloween – Louise Bourgeois Costume at NADA Halloween Ball

Halloween 2010 seemed destined to come and go without the joys of costuming, as I had been sick all week and had no motivation to whip something up. But lo and behold, I heard the call for costumed artists for the NADA Halloween Ball, as my friend Brina Thurston was assembling well dressed artists for the occasion. Brina’s theme was feminist art of the 1970s, and I decided to recreate a costume from Louise Bourgeois’ A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts, a performance from 1978 that took place in her piece Confrontation. Many of the artists, led by Brina, posed as Valie Export in her piece Genital Panic, and they were a force to be reckoned with. The rest of us rounded out the posse as Yoko Ono (2 versions – “Cut” and 80s Yoko), Carolee Schneeman’s Meat Joy, Strawberry Switchblade, and Adrien Piper’s Mythical Being. My friend Jennifer Sullivan also came as a Picasso Masterpiece. See pics and links below.

Art in America article
Art Info article

A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts, 1978 – Costume from the Performance
photo of original costume next to me in my version:
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Performance at Hamilton Gallery of Comtemporary Art, NY
Photo by Peter Moore, c Estate of Peter Moore/VAGA, NY
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Group Shot – Brina Thurston and Valie Export of the Dolls (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Me and Jen (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Us posing with Upside-Down Guy (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Costume Design: Katja Loher’s Video Planets

Just wanted to share some information about a recent costume design project I did for a Swiss artist named Katja Loher. Katja’s recent work involves video projected onto weather balloons and shown inside video sculptures, respectively called video planets and miniverses. The video depicts activity from a birds’ eye view, involving choreographed movements that spell messages to the viewer. In this newest work Sculpting in Air, human bodies form letters that when composed into words and then sentences communicate simple questions aimed at the viewer or some unknown observer. Their movement takes place on a spinning hard drive which occasionally abruptly stops, and we are informed of a system error. The questions posed by the arrangement of bodies go unanswered as the divide between virtual space and reality cannot be bridged. Or at least that’s my interpretation.

My job was to create the costumes for the piece based on the concept of a futuristic worker, keeping in mind that the work would primarily be seen from above. This meant that there was a greater emphasis on the shoulders and headgear to help shape the silhouette as seen from this vantage point. This was the first time Katja and I had worked together, as suggested by a mutual friend Gin, and we soon found that we were both space nuts and had a common understanding of the visual language of science fiction. Katja was great to work with and very inspiring as an artist and as a director. I had only a couple of weeks to design and execute the costumes before shooting started, but it all came together. Katja’s assistant Luke Emery was also incredibly helpful in gathering materials and completing the helmets. All in all, an excellent project that I feel super proud of.

The piece is now on view at the Maxxi Museum in Rome through December 2010. You can watch it online at maxxi.katjaloher.com. For a project description, the script, cast and credits, and more photos see Sculpting in Air.

Below: Video stills from Sculpting in Air and photos from the shoot taken by Marco Monti

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The Lounge – Online Exhibition

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Several of my videos are featured in an online show that opens today at No Commercial Value (.org) called The Lounge, curated by Natasha Chuk and Cat Mallone. The show will run for two weeks. Please check out the show description below!

This show is a presentation of work by six contributing creators and thinkers who uniquely probe the complexity of how we construct, inhabit, and share our living spaces. The body of work we selected collectively illustrates a collapse of one’s personal and private living spaces and the objects that occupy them. Individually, each work invites users to engage in a unique experience of mediated access and contemplation.

The term “lounge” was selected to describe a broadly defined space of relaxation, exploration, creativity, production, and domesticity, from which a range of activities and the allusion to a complex system of memory and objects emerge. The shifting contexts of living spaces are addressed through new and purportedly obsolete media as a means of channeling the dizzyingly abstruse notion of imagined and realized spaces of dwelling and habitation.

Participating artists include:
Amy Casey
Gregory Fenton
Brian Knauer
Erica Magrey
Hollis B. Thornton
Ann Toebbe

Best Worst Movie, Troll 2, and Nilbog finery

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photo courtesy of Kelly Sepulveda

For those of you who haven’t been blessed with at least one viewing of Troll 2, allow me a brief introduction: it’s a mesmerizing, god-awful, hilarious, bottom-of-the-barrel budget film of rare form. As kids, my brother Aaron and I screened it over and over, rewinding the tape to review favorite scenes of unspeakably bad acting, wardrobe malfunction, and the remarkably “special” effects. There are countless bad movies out there, but few are as captivating and bold. We felt we had discovered a secret little nugget of inept genius and that no one else had ever seen this movie; and yet, as it turns out, many, MANY kids had a very similar experience. Over time they indoctrinated others into the fold. And so began the rise of Troll 2 to cult status.

This past weekend, my pal Jen and I attended a screening of Best Worst Movie – a documentary about Troll 2 directed by its young star, Joshua (Michael Paul Stephenson). We were unaware that we’d be treated to appearances by members of the cast so were happily surprised to meet George Hardy (the dad) and Jason Steadman (Drew). (See photographic proof below.) At the center of the movie is Troll 2’s father figure George Hardy, a super friendly and likeable guy who has a successful dentistry practice in Alabama. He and some of his Troll 2 cohorts ride the wave of notoriety that’s kicked off by a Troll 2 screening at the Upright Citizens’ Brigade in 2006, and we witness their unlikely celebrity. The movie truly was very touching and inspiring in addition to being incredibly funny, and I feel confident in saying that viewers new to the trash masterpiece will agree.

George Hardy a.k.a. the dad in Troll 2!Jason Steadman a.k.a. Drew from Troll 2

We also had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Sepulveda and Kris Lozanovski who made these AMAZING goblin costumes based on the creatures in Troll 2. They became a part of the documentary as well after attending a Nilbog Invasion event in Morgan, UT in full regalia. Kelly was kind enough to share some information about how and why the goblins came to be.

Troll 2 replica Goblin masks

I was surprised to hear that the soon-to-be pharmacists had never sculpted anything before this ambitious undertaking (though Kelly does some embroidery, sewing, and scrapbooking). They started their journey with a mask-making kit from Monstermakers.com that included basic instructions. Using still images from the movie for accuracy, Kelly tackled the heads and Kris made the hands using plasteline clay. Here are some excerpts from Kelly’s note about the process:

As far as a technique for figuring out the sculpting process, it was basically trial and error…The sculpting tools I had never used before, so I just had to get used to which tools would be best in working with any particular part of the masks I was currently working on. I am pretty anal about my art, so I did want the masks to look as close as possible to the originals with the time I had to sculpt them…I actually sculpted one of the ears and then cut it off in order to sculpt the other ear so they would both look similar. The hair, eyes, and teeth were all purchased from ebay. The hair is goat/llama hair, eyes are real WWII prosthetic eyes, and the teeth are real shark teeth. I also sewed two burlap sets of shirts and pants and a pillow-case sort of stomach that you could strap around your waist to help complete the costumes. We made spears from some fallen tree branches and bought spearheads from ebay.

The pair met while interning together during college and found that they shared a passion for B-movies, and so Troll 2 came to play a role in their developing romance. When they heard about the costume contest at the aforementioned Nilbog Invasion, they got to work.

I’m all for tackling totally new mediums and am inspired by their story. And their artistry! In addition to the trolls, the couple has also made a board game called Alley Cat inspired by a cat they adopted from the streets. If the pharmacy biz doens’t work out, I’m sure you guys will have plenty of other options.

The goblins are touring the country to help promote the doc and have been seen in Austin and NYC with an upcoming stop in LA. Go see this movie!!
Awesome process shots of the goblin masks below courtesy of Kelly Sepulveda.

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Metalmags and the Alien Ambassador: Synchronicity

Lo and behold, the long-awaited sequel to An Opportunity for Social Engagement has arrived. Join our alien friends as they get down in the outer reaches of space. As always, the characters are played by myself and by Collin Cunningham.

Watch the video on my youtube channel, Mags to Riches.

View the growing Metalmags and Alien Ambassador playlist on my channel.

Two more Metalmags and the Alien Ambassador projects are in the works, so you’ll be seeing more of us! Look out for a preview of the upcoming long form project on my website.

Kate Bush Dance Troupe at The Kitchen

The Kate Bush Dance Troupe performed at The Kitchen November 5, 6, and 7 as part of Chase Granoff’s piece The Art of Making Dances. Chase’s piece featured himself and Jennifer Sullivan as the main dancers as well as a group of dancers who performed during several segments. Our contribution fell at the end of the piece and we performed just one song – The Dreaming. I made an additional costume for Renata, as she rejoined the group for this performance. The evening also included i need more by Nancy Garcia and was curated by Matthew Lyons. Matthew also conducted an interview with me, Jennifer Sullivan, and Samara Davis about The Kate Bush Dance Troupe that is included in the book Chase produced as part of his piece. The book is also titled The Art of Making Dances.

We were really stoked to be included in this show, and it was funny, because we had earlier joked that KBDT was blowing up and that we’d be at The Kitchen before we knew it. It was an awesome opportunity and really cool to perform in that space, so “big time” compared to the loft/party type locations of our previous performances. Unfortunately I don’t yet have any photo or video of the performance to share save for a mobile phone pic and some photos of us before and after the show. Check out the review from the NY Times and check back for more documentation in the near future.

Also see posts on our first and second performances.

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photo by Timothy Hull

Goofing off in the lobby of the Kitchen before going onstage

Kate Bush Dance Troupe, minus Cassie

Renata of KBDTSamara of KBDTKate of KBDTCassie of KBDTErica of KBDTJennifer of KBDT
pics by me and Collin

See the full set on Flickr HERE.