I Never Make BIG Misteaks, courtesy Harley J. Spiller Collection
Frederick Weston, Blue Bathroom Blues #13, 1999, Collage on color photocopy, 8.5 x 11 in.
courtesy Gordon Robichaux, NY
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz
Frederick Weston: Blue Bedroom Blues
Ace Hotel Gallery
January 5–February 6, 2020
Opening Reception: January 15, 6-8pm
Gordon Robichaux is pleased to present Frederick Weston: Blue Bedroom Blues, a site-specific installation at the Ace Hotel Gallery. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Outsider Art Fair and coincides with Weston’s inclusion in Souls Grown Diaspora at apexart in New York, curated by Sam Gordon.
For Weston’s immersive installation, the walls of the gallery are painted entirely in the artist’s signature blue, within which he has installed a series of intimate paper collages from 1999 and a large multi-panel artwork. In the center of the gallery, Weston transforms a bench with a fabric cover that suggests a bed. “I make all my work in bed,” says Weston, whose apartment, which is also his studio, is crowded with a vast archive of binders and file boxes of materials spanning his years in New York. Before moving into his current apartment in Chelsea, Weston lived in SROs and hotels all over the city—the Esquire, the Senton, the Roger Williams, and the Breslin, now the site of the Ace Hotel. Much like the artist, filmmaker, anthropologist, and mystic, Harry Smith, Weston's years in residence at the Breslin provided affordable lodging in the heart of Manhattan among a community of like-minded creatives. Weston’s Blue Bedroom Blues brings his life and work full circle.
From a very young age, Weston began articulating his own subjectivity by collecting and organizing a seemingly infinite breadth of visual materials with personal and cultural significance: images from magazines and newspapers of money, food, skin, holiday, and religious imagery; toiletry and pharmaceutical packaging; photographs; fabric swatches; as well as Xerox duplicates. Weston utilizes his idiosyncratic, encyclopedic system to process, destabilize, and cope with a hierarchal, category-obsessed material world. His use of quotidian materials and garbage, too, reflects his insistence on accessibility and artmaking as a democratic process: “… when I saw Matisse’s Swimming Pool, I thought: Oh, he just cut paper; I can do that.” Weston embraces collage for its immediacy as a fluid form of tactile poetry.
The Blue Bedroom Ballads/Blue Bathroom Blues series is inspired by Weston’s experience living with HIV—he plays with the quiet velocity of blue: serene and cool oceanic images, cleaning products, medicine bottles, muscular bodies on the beach à la Tom of Finland, Yves Klein blue, “God is the color of water / God is the color of air.”
Gordon Robichaux is a gallery and curatorial agency founded by Sam Gordon and Jacob Robichaux in 2017. The Blue Bedroom Ballads/Blue Bathroom Blues is presented in partnership with the Ace Hotel and Outsider Art Fair 2020.
On Point: Pencils from the Harley J. Spiller Collection
Ace Hotel Lobby
on view January 15 - February 2, 2020
One day museum director and artist Harley J. Spiller realized how hard it would be to make a pencil from scratch. He began collecting this deceptively simple tool and has come to realize that at its origin it was the equivalent of today's smartphone. Come see highlights from his collection of vintage, unique, lovely, strange, funny, and bizarre pencils.
The Re-mark-able Pencil
Ace Hotel Lobby
January 15, 7pm
Join Harley J. Spiller for “The Re-mark-able Pencil,” an interactive performance exploring the history of human marking. To accompany the performance and exhibition, Harley has prepared "Pencil Essentials", a handwritten essay which will be available as a limited edition zine.
Harley J. Spiller is an artist and museum worker focused on singing for the unsung - he currently serves as the first Ken Dewey Director of the legendary avant-garde arts organization Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
Musical Performance by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz
Ace Hotel Lobby
January 15, 8pm
Inspired by the exhibition co-curated by Brett Littman and the Shipibo Conibo Center for OAF 2020, The Hummingbird Paints Fragrant Songs: Sara Flores and Celia Vasquez Yui, the renowned oud player Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, whose work merges the trance traditions of Persia, the Middle East, and North Africa with the downtown New York improv scene, will perform a solo set at the Ace Hotel. His performance of "ecstatic music" points to those states of mind and healing attained through the ayahuasca ceremonies performed by the Shipibo Conibo shamans.