words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Posts tagged “New York City

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New Landscapes: Fall In Fashion – Cardigan Sweater

New Landscapes: Fall In Fashion - Cardigan Sweater

It’s Fall season in New York City. My girl, Nancy and I are heading to the Sunday afternoon matinée at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The Next Wave Festival is in full swing until January. And we are very excited to see the work of Pina Bausch, and the legendary dance theater pioneer’s final work entitled “… como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si …” performed by her dance company the Tanztheater Wuppertal and inspired by the distinctive musical and cultural traditions of Chile.

A Sunday matinée in Autumn, in NYC definitely calls for a relaxed yet stylish Fall look. That’s why I’m wearing a gray cardigan sweater over a blue fitted button-up shirt with a striped blue and white wool tie, Gap original 1969 jeans, and kicks by Converse. My girl … she’s fine too. Relentlessy fine. It’s Fall. It’s New York City.


Weekly Movie-Making Moments In Film: HBO’s Girls and the Video by Robyn – Dancing On My Own

A moment to enjoy a little TV, finding creativity in the work of others….

So I am watching the third episode of HBO’s really cool new hit show “Girls”. During the ending credits, the song showcased is “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn. Okay, I don’t know if I am in the know or not (too much ambient electronic music) but I had never heard of Robyn prior to this song. Where’s my MTV when I really need it? But I digress, this song was way too cool. And when I watched the video, I was totally caught up in the strong, dynamic visual moves of her dancing and the editing with the live club dance scenes. And have you ever considered how interesting it is, when watching a rather good show or movie, the song or songs, during the ending credits can make all the difference? It keeps the mood going–bringing back the emotional pulse of the film. Last year, I was very much into HBO’s “Making It In America” and there was an episode that featured a group of the show’s characters biking after a roof-top party. Through the streets of New York City they trekked—at night. Now that is the way you live in the city. Which reminds me … I miss Philadelphia, the painting parties with artists and the late midnight runs with my boyz Trash (10 miles in 1hr 45 mins, in our twenties). But again I digress. At the end of the show the producers came up with another hip song to keep the flow. The song was “Midnight City” by M83. Pulsating, hip, cool. And yes this band I had heard of before (“Too Late from the CD Saturdays = Youth).

Music can make any art form feel prolific and elevate its content and mood….

I really like the programming on HBO. Everyone I am sure is familiar with their big hit “Game of Thrones” but I really do suggest you give “Girls” a look. And although “Making It In America” is not currently available on HBO demand, you certainly can get a hold of it.

Enjoy the video clips….

Girls – Trailer

http://tv.yahoo.com/girls/show/47563/videos/28822433

Robyn ‘s – Dancing On My Own

http://youtu.be/CcNo07Xp8aQ

M83’s – Midnight City Live on Carson Daly

http://youtu.be/q3w9mfk7D9c


Urban Contemplation: 11 – Music for the World Trade Center – an interview with sound artist Stephen Vitiello

The city series….

An interview with sound artist Stephen Vitiello – World Trade Center Recordings

http://youtu.be/PbkMBU2A9T8 – Stephen Vitiello


Weekly Movie-Making Moments in Film: Chelsea Walls

I thought I would start showing clips from some of my favorite films. Over the years, I have spent a considerable amount of time in theaters, and long nights viewing video tapes, and DVDs. And we cannot forget the ever consuming Netflicks via our computers. It is time to go deep, yes—very deep—and find those rare moments in classic film-making. These beautiful, intrepid, and visceral moments can be found delving into the issues of obsessive love, angst, betrayal, and tragedy (thinking of French, German and Asian films in particular). And what comes to mind when thinking of tragic French films? Well we can find the French catapulting our emotions in such films as: Un Couer En Hiver (A Heart in Winter) directed by Claudet Sautet, Damage with French actress Juliette Binoche and film direction by Louis Malle. And last but not least—my favorite French excursion into obsession is none other than the film Camille Claudel finely directed by Bruno Nuyten and starring Isabelle Adjani as Camille—the young but gifted sculptress full of artistic and romantic passion. Her love for the sculptor, Auguste Rodin—as you can imagine—will only end in pain and lost.

I hope over time to share from around the world some masterful works in cinema. However, to kick off this Weekly Movie-Making Moments in Film, I present what I think defines a good film moment i.e. strong characterization, heart-felt expression by the performer, and feeling as if you can truly relate to the scene or film in general. For this first challenge, I am selecting the “poem” scene in the film Chelsea Walls as recited by Rosario Dawson.

Tell me what you think of this moment in the film, and what you think of this concept in general. Do you have a favorite moment or film that has influence you in some way? Please share.

http://youtu.be/NUqRK8bwhwI


Weekly Photo Challenge: Colorful 02

The Brooklyn Bridge in NYC

Continuing the theme for this week’s photo challenge: colorful, is again an early digital work. This piece is one of the first to incorporate photography and digital manipulation. I am combining marble paper digitally altered and a photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. This piece was created in 1987.


30-Day Song Challenge: Day 08

Day 8 of the 30-Day Song Challenge asks the question what is “a song that you know all the words to”?

http://youtu.be/jeEobpQMgD4     Philip Glass’s – Knee Play 1 from the Opera Einstein on the Beach

In 1984, the Next Wave Festival showcased the 4.5 hour (without intermission) opera, Einstein on the Beach at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I convinced some friends who had never heard of the Minimalist composer Philip Glass or Director / Set Designer Robert Wilson that it would be well worth the 45.00 ticket for admission. They nor I knew what to expect. But the avant-garde post modern opera / dance theatre did not disappoint. Indeed it was a thrilling, exploratory adventure into some of the most grandest forms of performance and art I had ever seen.

When the 30-Day Song Challenge asked the question: what song do you know all the words to; I came up with Knee Play 1. I really don’t know any words to any song in its entirety. But when you listen to Knee Play 1 you will quickly realize it is all about repeating a set up numbers. I think I can remember that 🙂 So from 1984 and the opening scene from Einstein on the Beach here is Knee Play 1.

day 01 – your favorite song – Stars of the Lid’s “Don’t Bother They’re Here”

day 02 – your least favorite song – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

day 03 – a song that makes you happy – Ivy’s – Edge of the Ocean

day 04 – a song that makes you sad – Trespassers Williams – Love You More

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone – Trespassers Williams – Lie in the Sound

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere – Isabelle Aubret – La Fanette

day 07 – a song that reminds you of  a certain event – William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops 1

day 08 – a song that you know all the words to


30-Day Song Challenge: Day 07

Day 7 of the 30-Day Song Challenge asks the question what is “a song that reminds you of a certain event”?

http://youtu.be/98grG7l8qgk     William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops I

There is really no other event more profound than “911”. When I read the day 7 challenge, asking what song reminds you of a certain event, I immediately thought of New York City on September 11, 2001, and the music of William Basinski.

I remember vividly the moment and the hurt that ensued.

When the news broke, on the morning of 911, William Basinski was transferring some analog tape loops into digital format. It is perhaps a coincidence, that William Basinski was unknowingly creating a requiem for 911 with The Disintegration Loops series. The process of playing the tapes over and over and the instability of the magnetic tape were causing it to literally disintegrate. Each time he would play the loop it would fragment more and more. Over time, the entire 4 hour, segmented piece would disintegrate into entropy and finally silence. The Disintegration Loops I–heard here (14 minutes in length) is an excerpt of the 1 hour and 3 minute piece. I believe there is a melancholy feeling in the sound that provokes great sadness and lost.

day 01 – your favorite song – Stars of the Lid’s “Don’t Bother They’re Here”

day 02 – your least favorite song – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”

day 03 – a song that makes you happy – Ivy’s – Edge of the Ocean

day 04 – a song that makes you sad – Trespassers Williams – Love You More

day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone – Trespassers Williams – Lie in the Sound

day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere – Isabelle Aubret – La Fanette

day 07 – a song that reminds you of  a certain event


In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 03: why ask questions about art

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What do you expect from art? How does art feel when it is
found? Where do you find art? Can art be here but not there? Is art on the
street? Why is art beautiful? Is art beautiful only when seen? Does art answer philosophical
questions? Does your child make art knowingly? Is art around the corner from
where you live? Do you dine near art? Is art inside your home, but not on your
wall? Can art be lost? Does art have longevity and sustainability? Is art your
religion? Is point A to point B art? Is art in an industrial park or in a
trailer park or in the park? Is art mobile? Is art agile? Is art sensitive unto
itself? Is art fragile? Does art have emotions? Is art dead?

What is modern art? What is post-modern art? What is
impressionism? What is expressionism? What is conceptualism? Is art abstract?
Is art figurative? Is art delineated by isms? Is art an analog tape loop? Is
art a digital sequence? Is art a light reflected? Is art a moment in time? Is
art a movement in contrast? Is art a reality unknown? Can art be more than it appears? Is
art a collection of artists? Is art a contract? Can art be voided, misplaced or
oppressed? Does art need to be more? Does art save the day? Can art save when it
has failed? Will art survive when it is destroyed? Does art breathe? Will art breathe
in us? Is art under water, in the sky, in a mother’s womb, or found bathed in silence?
Does art give birth? Is art alive?

What do you think? Why ask questions about art?

In the meantime enjoy the slide show: In the Reflective
Mirror / Various Artistic Influences.

  • The Whipping Machine, Collective Enterprises
    Productions 1989, Painted Bride Art Center
  • The Whipping Machine, Michael Davenport, Walter
    Smith, Van Grimes 1989
  • The Whipping Machine, Painted Bride Art Center, 1989
    Philadelphia Pa.
  • Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • Molissa Fenley and Dancers, Geologic Moments: Next
    Wave Festival 1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale, digital remix Walter
    Smith
  • Critics Pick, Solo Exhibition, Computer Art, Villanova Art Gallery 2001, Walter Smith & First Friday,
    Walter Smith, Robert Wulbrecht, Marita Fitzpatrick
  • 2 Men 4 Walls 1 Month, Highwire Gallery 1991,
    Walter Smith & Mark Stolte
  • Eiko & Koma’s New Moon Stories: Next Wave
    Festival 1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale, digital remix Walter Smith
  • Commodore Amiga Computer, Genesis of Computer Art 1985
  • Michael Clark and Company: Next Wave Festival
    1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale
  • Ash Ra Tempel, The Gatherings Concert Series, St Mary’s Church,
    University of Pa.
  • Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker: Next Wave Festival
    1986, Brooklyn Academy of Music 1986
  • Scenes from CIVIL warS, Act v – the Rome
    section, by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, original photo Peter Simon, digital
    remix Walter Smith
  • Steve Roach, Ambient Music, & Relache, Philadelphia Ensemble for Contemporary
    Music, 1987
  • John Cage: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy
    of Music 1986, photo Peter Hujar
  • Life and Stolen Innocence, Walter Smith, Highwire
    Gallery 1992, Philadelphia Pa
  • Philip Glass: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
    Academy of Music 1986, original photo Lynn Davis, digital remix Walter Smith
  • Robert Wilson: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
    Academy of Music 1986, original photo Peter Hujar, digital remix Walter Smith
  • Impossible Theater Social Amnesia: Next Wave
    Festival 1986, original photo by Erik Kvalsvik, digital remix Walter Smith
  • Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace  with scenery and costumes by Robert
    Rauschenberg, original photo by Jack Mitchell, digital remix Walter Smith
  • Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.13.2010.6:48.a.m.
    Digital Artist, Walter Smith

In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences 01: The Park

The Park 1997

The Park 1997

Lately, I have been feeling rather nostalgic and reflective.
The essence of being an artist, or just human, I presume. Because of this there
certainly has been a sense of longing for things past, their presence
resounding in the influence of various people, periods in time, and artistic
disciplines.

Presently, while writing this post, I am listening to a 10
hour playlist I created of four unique ambient sound artists: Chihei
Hatakeyama, Alva Noto, Sawako, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, all of whom weave found
organic sound samples and electronics to produce dreamlike soundscapes. I
mention these artists because they are currently what I find compelling in new music.
I will share excerpts from reviews about
their music in future posts. This brings to mind that half a lifetime ago in
the year 1977, while driving from NYC to Philadelphia at 4am, I came across the
WXPN’s (University of PA) Starsend electronic music program. Listening to the
surreal sounds of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schultz was the start of many
journeys into experimental music and avant-garde arts in general.

All of this became a reflective thought and ideas for
posting this past week when I saw the film “Smithereens” by Susan Seidelman. I
have not seen this film in years. I remember first seeing it in the early 80’s
when it was first released in NYC. I was excited about coming across the film, and the opportunity of stepping back in time.

But I have been thinking about other influences of the past
as well. How perhaps music, film, festivals, theatre, family, friends travel, exhibits
and art etc., have conceptually developed the artistic vision I have.  I hope to explore this phenomenon in future
posts as well. For this posting, I am including a work of art from 1997. It is
one of my all time favorite collages. It is a large 42 x 48 inch composition
depicting the remaining memories of family reunions, during Fourth of July
picnics at the park and in Glenside, PA in the 1960’s. The title of the piece
is “The Park” and my first major showing of the work was in NYC at Agora Gallery
in Soho in 1997.

So I would like to introduce you, my blog buddies and
readers to “In the Reflective Mirror / Various Artistic Influences.

Let me know what you think of the various postings, and
include your creative influences that stand out and reflect your life’s
history.

And up next a musical playlist….


Looking down from their ivy tower

The wealthy and the United States of Corporate America's historical assault on the middle class and the poor

I was communicating with a fellow artist who had indicated how frustrated she was with the state of our country, and decided to sell everything and move to Costa Rica to build a home, do organic farming, and participate in a re-foresting project. She is very happy, and I am proud of her for her commitment to the environment. But what about this assault on the middle class, on the poor, from Corporate America, the Tea Party, GOP and even some Democrats, and those who would strip the resources of our world, for their own self-gratification? How do we, the people, the true patriots fight back? I am appalled at the state of the union. And fearful. But not enough to stand down. The list of insidious machinations directed toward the dismantling of the middle class and the poor are many, and their origins date back decades even centuries.  At the very heart of it all is the elimination of all the social constructs that the New Deal, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay movement, and most importantly—the right for all individuals to be free. It’s a tough world out there now. Let’s stand together, voice our dissent and rebel.