The Art Outlaws of “1(212): The City’s Summer Heist”

Forget “Pelham 123″—Heist Gallery’s “1(212)” is the summer’s anti-blockbuster art show. From fast cash vestibules to drag racers and talk show hosts, this series lays bare a fantastical, feral, fun and funky celebration of the city.

poster for

"1(212): The City's Summer Heist" Exhibition

at Heist Gallery
in the Lower East Side area
This event has ended - (2009-07-01 - 2009-08-30)

In Interviews by Evelyn Kim 2009-07-17 print

Peter Feigenbaum, ''Chop Suey.'' Courtesy Heist Gallery.
“1(212): The City’s Summer Heist” is a selection of New York-based artists and works that share the experiences of our metropolis. The four-part series began with Liz Magic Laser’s premiere of a film of her performances of “Man Equals Man” shot inside various banks around New York City. “The ATM vestibule spaces where I have set the play relates directly to New York City,” said Laser. “I see this space as akin to a public [place] that a diverse assortment of New York City residents and visitors must pass through. The ATM vestibule’s potential, as a socially interactive performance space, has driven this project.”

Part two of the summer series begins July 16, and features Tim Hailey and Milton Carter’s “A Summer Wasted,” a shout-out to motor bike stuntmen that offers a unique perspective on drag racing culture, motor fanaticism, and the feats of modern engineering. Following this exhibition is Jennifer Sullivan, who mixes art with the format of a talk show in “Manhattan Miniseries (With Sweaty Palms).” Finally, Peter Feigenbaum and Marissa Bluestone close the series with “Trains and Trips from Cement to Cemetery,” featuring Feigenbaum’s installations of barren neighborhoods created from photographs of models, and Marissa Bluestone’s paintings, which remind us of the darkness lurking in idyllic visions of nature. Together the artists of “Summer Heist” present a diversity of authentic perspectives on our turbulent, vibrant city. Recently NYAB sat down with “Heist” curators, Julie Fishkin and Matt Lucas from Metro Color Collision, to talk about the ideas behind this summer tribute to NYC.

Liz Magic Laser. Still from ''chase,'' 2009. Courtesy Heist Gallery.
What were some ideas behind putting this show together?
These were all New York-based artists. We wanted to create something really great for the summer in the city by its artists. Most people take vacations over the summer, especially the art world, and we were hoping that a great show like this would be something that we could do for our awesome city.

What was your process for selecting the artists for “1(212): The City’s Summer Heist”?
We had these artists in mind because we wanted the show to alternate between tongue-in-cheek and serious. Summer shows are tricky because everyone is away, so instead of doing a traditional show we decided on a summer series where whoever is here—we are, and a lot of people actually are—can just come and enjoy a fun show without being bogged down by a massive group show.

We’ve specialized curatorially in group shows and organizing shows, so we wanted to come up with a tight umbrella for the whole summer and do a series of one-person and two-person shows, so it is an organized oasis.

Tell me a little bit about the first show and Liz Magic Laser.
She staged scenes one through five of Bertolt Brecht’s play “Man Equals Man,” in which each actor played a different character in costume. Each actor would go to the home branch of their bank. In the ATM consoles, they would act out the lines that Liz Laser gave them. It included some singing, soliloquy—it was insane. Sometimes during the day people would come into the bank, go about business as usual. Whatever craziness ensued, she let it happen. At some point in Queens they were forced out of the bank.

…People had to interact—positive, negative, and neutral—and sometimes it was just hilarious. Some things people said fit in so perfectly with the written lines. The playbill becomes a project in itself as well, because [Laser] posed the question: Do you trust your bank?

Time Hailey and Milton Carter. Pictured left ''Bikinis'' and right ''Squeak Shine.'' Courtesy Heist Gallery.
Liz Magic Laser’s show presents mechanized entities and automated interactions as one characteristic of the New York experience. The second show about urban daredevils, by Tim Hailey and Milton Carter, I see highlighting the fact that every individual, no matter how obscure their interests, can find their subculture in this city.
Exactly, it is focusing on New York being so vastly eclectic. It’s easy to get lost in this giant sea of faces, yet people manage to have their own tastes, subcultures, and groups that are completely unique and novel. Specifically, Tim is doing something about these motorcycle stunt racing dudes. Milton is playing off that and integrating inspired site-specific themes that we are going to stage.

 Jennifer Sullivan, ''It's a Process'' video still. Courtesy Heist Gallery.
How about Jennifer Sullivan’s “Manhattan Miniseries (With Sweaty Palms)”?
She will have a huge installation that will incorporate video, some paintings, and definitely some performance where she becomes this talk show host—almost like “The View.” It becomes a way to engage people, but still in a very specific and direct manner in that it is pre-planned and choreographed. She is a performer. [Sullivan] takes on different roles, and will be inviting other artists to participate as well. So the solo show, de-facto becomes a group show after all.

And Peter Feigenbaum and Marissa Bluestone’s “Trains and Trips from Cement to Cemetery”?
This is our more traditional gallery show that we will end with. It is a dichotomy of New York, represented by Peter’s photographs of trains in the ghettos and Marissa’s massive paintings of nature. Both pieces are centered around New York, but one is a realization of an urban wasteland 20 years ago and the other is the dark side of the other world in the woods. We think in nature there is rest from the tumultuous city that we live in, and it is somewhat idyllic, but the show prefers strange doom. They are both dark visions of what New York could be. They are beautiful in different ways.

…Peter makes models of invented street blocks that look very much like New York City from the ’80s, and then photographs those little maquettes so he will have photos of his sculptures and installations as well. It is sort of like an improvement on David Levinthal. We get the impression that the constructed sculptures are real and perfect. They have such detail—like graffiti, and cars.

Marissa Bluestone, ''Moments in the Shadows'' (2009). Oil on canvas, 72'' x 90''. Courtesy Heist Gallery.
I had very conflicting responses to those pieces: Are they nostalgic or ominous? Do you think Peter and Marissa’s pieces lean more toward dreams or nightmares?
It’s almost like a nostalgia for something that was almost rotten. It is funny because people like to reminisce even now how great it was…10 years ago. People like to idealize the past. Romanticized New York versus really living here are very different notions, but we want to celebrate the creativity of all these artists and…say “Hey New York, we’ve gone through so much together. You’re still here and so are we. Thanks!”

Liz Magic Laser’s site
Tim Hailey’s site
Milton Carter’s site
Jennifer Sullivan’s site
Peter Feigenbaum’s site
Marissa Bluestone’s site

Evelyn Kim

Evelyn Kim. Evelyn is an aspiring writer, graffiti chaser, and the ultimate hobbyist. Based in NYC for now, she is on a mission to bring together creative individuals to form communities of the curious and talented. As a student of Media and Communications, she is constantly preoccupied with debunking the realities of an overwhelmingly technology-saturated society. Evelyn is often seen munching around various falafel carts or taking pictures of strange art in unexpected places. Naturally committed to a healthy mind and body, she brainstorms new project ideas, sweating them down to clarity while running the outer loop at Central Park. » See other writings


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