Steve Kelly & Joseph Palestina bring a forum for younger artists to Basemeant Wrx today. Owner Aimee Danchise said,”Montclair is just bleeding artists that have nowhere to go.” Today, they do.
Text & photos by K. Cecchini
Locked out, but not to worry. We reached through the bars with our iPhones to grab pics of Harif Guzman’s art at the Asbury Park Carousel House. The shadows? Three of my favorite girls; happy birthday, T!
Text & Photos by K. Cecchini
Pearl Jam tees wrapped in flannel. Glow sticks, dog tags, REM’s “Losing My Religion” and black light highlighting the lint on my sweater. AND Dwayne Wayne flip glasses.
Yes, people were partying like it was 1999.
To compliment its’ freshest exhibit, Come As You Are, the Montclair Art Museum balanced all of the retrospect’s introspect with a nod to the more irreverent side of back in the day, if y’know what I’m sayin’.
A D.J. kicked the night off with classic tracks from C+C Music Factory and M.C. Hammer to Nirvana. Leir Hall was lit with neon colors and adorned with large spray painted homages to 90’s pop culture. Even some of the hors d’oeuvres matched the decade with mini-Chinese take-out containers and a Cereal Bar.
Much of the crowd was already breaking a move, when a NYC tribute band came out to their namesake’s theme song. Representing some of the era’s styles from hi-tops and wide legged jeans to loud colors, Saved by the 90’s: A Party with the Bayside Tigers kept the audience bouncing while covering hits such as Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic”.
Overall, it seems like partygoers had a dope time. Whether it was 90’s nostalgia or a more accessible ticket price, it looks like the MAM tapped into an expanded fan base on Saturday night. According to a volunteer, the museum may be planning similar events to keep up the momentum.
Hey, we can always party like its 1999 without dog tags and glow sticks.
Come As You Are: Art of the 1990’s
Montclair Art Museum (MAM): Now-May 17, 2015 Montclair, NJ
Tonight at Dawn Coverage of Other events at MAM:
Tonight at Dawn just reached its 1st year anniversary and 200th article on Sunday (2.22: “Tonight at Noon“). To celebrate, we are presenting our largest (& favorite) milestones from the last 365 days. Thanks for taking the ride and stay with us as we evolve!
Tonight at Dawn: Favorite Posts by the Month
February: TaD’s 1st live coverage “The Man Behind the Curtain: Covering the VH1 Superbowl Blitz”
March: Japanese rainbows “Shinjuku, Block no. 2 (新宿二丁目)”
April: Live wire Lews Black Rants On: 7 Pieces of Advice
May: Get educated The Nigerian School Project
May (Indecision!) Montclair Film Festival Series
June: What’s threatening our democracy? Justice Reform Series
July: International collaboration Economy Decoded: Kesariya Baalam, Padharo Mhare des!
August: Give me the RED Light…District
September: Eco-tacular Meeting the 1st female prime minister of Ireland at NYC’s Climate March
September: (Indecisions, again!): Meeting Senator Cory Booker
October: Music reviews from @kraltunes make our stats POP! Pearl Jam (& my favorite @kraltunes piece)
November: The doctor is in! One of Dr. Nina’s “What you to need to know…”
December: ART! Margeaux Walter Has Got Heart (or a FAMNIG HJÄRTA)
January: “One small step for (wo)man” Peeing in the Shower (& Other Eco-Friendly Moves I’m Not Ready For)
February: Armchair activism via John Oliver: #Jeff We Can! #Jeff We Can! #Jeff We Can!
What’s next for TaD? More of everything! More @kraltunes, travel, Dr. Nina, live event coverage and real, current social and environmental issues. The next interview piece will be a sobering but hopeful conversation with a TED Talks speaker.
Text by K. Cecchini
Come As You Are: Art of the 1990’s
Montclair Art Museum (MAM): Now-May 17, 2015
If Pearl Jam, Wu Tang and, of course, Nirvana, are now considered classics, then I suppose the nineties is now ripe for retrospect. Alexandra Schwartz takes on the decade through art created between the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and 9/11 (2001). As Montclair Art Museum’s first contemporary art curator, Schwartz brings the prestige of debuting an exhibit to the New Jersey suburb that is not only ambitious in its scope but is also hailed as the “first major historical survey of art of the 1990’s”.
Come as You Are
Graduating from high school in 1997, the nineties was my coming-of-age period. I was seeking out my identity while steeped in the decade’s “sense of melancholy and loss” as described on the placard for Elizabeth Peyton’s elegy painting of Nirvana’s Kirk Cobain.
Now, steeped in nostalgia as a thirty-something, I was excited to examine the art of my era at MAM Member’s Preview on Saturday night. Having confronted the culture through other media at the time, it felt as if it was rounding out my own appreciation for the decade Schwartz refers to as “watershed” while perusing the pieces.
Borrowing its name from the Nirvana’s 1991 hit, Come as You Are is divided chronologically into 3 sections that each wrestle with love and angst on three fronts; the politics of identify, globalization and the digital revolution. Ultimately, the exhibit provides insight into how artists were reflecting and reacting to the social, political and economic upheavals at the wrap of the millennium.
Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be…
Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach, as I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend as an old memoria, memoria, memoria…”
Partly because I was a teenager seeking out my own identify during the nineties and partly because I was hyperaware of friends and other contemporaries struggling with identities inherently outside the mainstream, I was particularly fascinated by this thread in the exhibit.
For instance, Catherine Opie’s early nineties’ photographs documented figures who asserted their countercultural identity through body piercings and tattoos before body art became more ubiquitous and less “alternative”.
Although, “alternative” was a cultural notion that was prized in lifestyle and music and represented in style, it became commercially popularized and repackaged. Whether focused on the alternative styles of the era or other stereotypes, some of the curated artwork provokes typecasts.
A dominating piece, Lockhart’s large-scale chromogenic print features a young man standing before a window that reflects his high-rise hotel room and overlooks an urban landscape that lacks any indication of place; his generic surroundings appear to simultaneously echo and contrast his ‘alternative’ grunge style.
Appropriately, in this photo from the opening, the bean bag sitting area in front of Alex Bag’s video is layered in a reflection on the photo frame’s glass. In it, the artist assumes various typified roles reflective of her recent experience in art school that with a nod to the “‘head and shoulders, confessional shots'” that was infused into the emerging reality television genre.
Furtheirng the push back on conventions, Nikki S. Lee not only defied perceptions based on physical appearance but extended the conversation to more hardened stereotypes. In her late nineties self-portraits, the Korean-American artist costumed herself to match a variety of American typecasts including a pierced and dyed punk, a bikini-topped Latina and a white trash women under a Dixie flag. “By morphing through these disparate identities, Lee examines issues of gender, race, and class, while demonstrating the arbitrariness of these stereotypes.”
Given the dialogue and smart phone photographs around it, was Mendi + Keith Obadike’s “Blackness for Sale”, may have been the most popular piece of the night. Among one of the first viral phenomenon on the internet, Obadike infused a provocative conversation starter on racism into Ebay’s digital, global marketplace. Within the “Products Description,” the seller guarantees a Certificate of Authenticity and provides pointed “Benefits”: i.e.
7. This Blackness may be used for securing the right to use the terms ‘sista’, ‘brotha’, or ‘nigga’ in reference to black people. (Be sure to have certificate of authenticity on hand when using option 7).” and “Warnings” such as “1. The Seller does not recommend that this Blackness be used during legal proceedings of any sort.”
Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be
As a friend, as a friend, as an old enemy
Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don’t be late…
Of course, I may be biased, but this is a fascinating retrospective. Come for the art, come for the history or come for the bean bags chairs…