Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ready Freddy and a New Print by Libby

Pocket Utopia is getting ready for Fred. And we've editioned a new print by Libby Hartle!

Monday, October 27, 2008

bringing art into the practice of living and vice versa.

This post is in memory of Ben Schaafsma, who was accidentally struck by a car in Brooklyn, New York while walking on the morning of Thursday, October 23, 2008. He passed away on Saturday, October 25, 2008.

In August of 2008, Ben moved to New York City to become a program director for Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and this where we met. Although we only spoke a handful of times, I was very impressed with his previous projects and was enthusiastic about possible future collaborations, in fact I wrote about him on this blog a little more than a a week ago.

There are several memorial sites up, and an obituary. By reading about his life, I found this fact summed up his generous spirit which will live on: at age 9, Schaafsma cataloged his personal collection of books, magazines and VHS tapes, and built a library in his basement for neighborhood kids to use.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the muse is in the house!

I returned to my studio this morning to find my muse waiting for me. It pays to go inspiration hunting.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Looking for...

After 3 days of open studio, I'm am trying to replenish the muse, that left the building after the unteenth time someone asked me, "why graph paper." I still can't manage a response, but I have found some muse juice out there to quench my thirst. Here's some refreshments, drink up:

Esopus Magazine, particularly Robert Guest's daily letters to his two children, 15 years worth! They're featured on the cover and above.

I discovered this magazine, with all its letters on the weblog hi and low, which is always visually inspiring (and they often use graph paper).

And, of course there's the community arts network, a grounding read,

and lots of Halloween-inspired treats on the crafty cow,

then it's off to roberta fallon and libby rosof's artblog,

more eye candy and worthy indulgences at aesthetic outburst's site,

and lastly, the New Yorker , so I can leave the studio well informed if not brilliantly creative!

From today's Metropolitan Diary

I love this...from today's Times,


To make room for a new sofa, my roommate and I dragged our old couch to the sidewalk one evening in hopes that an intrepid seeker of street furniture would pick it up. Since it was a nice night and the couch looked more comfortable than our stoop, we decided to sit on it for a bit to watch the world go by.

Drivers honked and passengers yelled, “Great idea!” Doormen from across the street waved, while kids giggled at the sight. We chatted with nearly every person who walked by, and many decided to join us. We brought out folding chairs to accommodate them, and soon the Upper West Side Couch Party was born.

One joiner was a lawyer from the Midwest who was on her way to a bar, but was easily swayed. Neighbors from our brownstone whom we’d never met stopped by. Two guys from down the block brought over a MacBook and a small set of speakers to provide music.

We ended up with donations of grapes, cherries, assorted snacks, beer, wine, Champagne and a stuffed dog.

Soon, our new friends decided to become recruiters themselves and called out to people passing by: “It’s the couch’s last night out!”

The impromptu couch party lasted until 2 a.m., and we managed not to get a single noise complaint.

By the next afternoon, the couch had been picked up. At least we know it had an incredible last night out.

Carly Blatt

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Protect the Vote

Volunteering for voter protection is truly working on the front lines of democracy!

In an election that is bringing so many new and first-time voters into the process, the help that lawyers and law students can provide to voters on Election Day is enormous and very meaningful.

A newly registered voter in Pennsylvania who said that he wanted to vote for Barack Obama wrongly assumed he couldn't because he had lost the voter registration card that had been sent to him by the County. Other folks think they can not vote for Barack Obama in the general election because they are not registered Democrats.

And with massive turnout expected and the voter suppression efforts under way by the McCain campaign, the need for a deep army of lawyers and law students to help promote and protect the vote is truly significant.

The campaign and DNC have set up an unprecedented voter protection program. More volunteers are needed. And there is a particular need for folks who live in or are willing to travel to Ohio. Folks are strongly encouraged to travel to Ohio for the weekend, do get-out-the vote activities on the weekend and Monday, and then volunteer as a voter protection poll observer on Election Day.

The sign up is here:

Voter protect in Pennsylvania here

more here

Friday, October 17, 2008

Open Studio at the Elizabeth Foundation

I'm a little behind...since it opened yesterday, but I am participating in the annual Elizabeth Foundation's open studio weekend. The dates, times, and address are as follows:

My studio is #706 at 323 w. 39th Street, btw 8 and 9th aves, near Port Authority, the Elizabeth Foundation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, October 17, 2008 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm and
Saturday, October 18, 2008-12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

There are over 80 studios and I'll tour and shoot photos tonight of some of them.

The new program director of the Elizabeth Foundation, Ben Schaafsma, hails from Chicago and InCUBATE. InCUBATE, is the "Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday," and they do a residency and an amazing project called Sunday Soup.

Look for more...soup and from the artists of the Elizabeth Foundation. Here's a look at my floor mate, Dorothy Robinson.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day! Blogs around the world are focusing on eliminating poverty. So, as I continue to "draw on the utopic...," I'd like to introduce an interesting organization that makes small grants to entrepreneurs to help lift them out of poverty, it is called Kiva. You can join a team and together your contributions add up to support small businesses, like cafes and seamtresses and bakeries. The name of the team I'm going to join is Team Obama!

Closer to home is the Robin Hood Foundation and they specifically target poverty in New York City. The Robin Hood Foundation does some amazing things, please visit their site. Grant fights poverty by donating the contents of one of his piggy banks (he has 3; one to keep, one to spend and one to give to charity) to The Neediest Cases fund. You too can give, thanks!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Saturday Salon at Pocket Utopia

Karina Aguilera Skvirsky presented a Saturday salon yesterday and showed her rough cut video and her ideas, and words. Her project titled "Memories of Development (MOD)," focuses on the psychological and cultural legacy of Latin America's "third world" status using her childhood memories of growing up in Guayaquil, Ecuador as an entry point. This is a work in progress and she presented a beautiful array of spoken word, film, photo and ruminations on race and class.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

listen to this

Mandatory listening on This American Life..the economy, mortages, and the financial crisis explained.

Download or listen to:Another Frightening Show About the Economy

Also helpful, an earlier program from This American Life:The Giant Pool of Money

Need more information, check out:Planet Money.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What do you Vote for...

Sal Randolph invites all of you to participate in a small public intervention, "Vote Change Write-in."

"Vote Change Write-in" is a pair of street stickers. One says "What do you vote for?" and the other, "What do you want to change?" Each has a large write-in box for public comment.

They are simultaneously a celebration and critique of electoral politics, a prod to vote and an invitation towards imagination and participation that go beyond a few minutes at the ballot box.

Put them up yourself, or pass them around to friends. Add your own comments, or leave them blank for public write-ins.

If you'd like to play with these, just send Sal your postal address and she'll put some in the mail to you pronto.

On this occasion we'd also to announce that Sal Randolph and Christine Castsifas are both Pocket U pals and are exhibiting this weekend at Good Children Gallery in New Orleans

Christine Castsifas "Territories," featuring collage-based work in which image and text are reassembled into incommunicable, internal landscapes.

And Sal Randolph's Library of Art

"Library of Art" is an eight volume set of books: "Material," "Process," "Structure," "Action," "Situation," "Duration," and "Color," each contain words or sentence fragments that can be combined to form an almost infinite number instructional artworks. An eighth book, "Participation" is left blank for anyone to record the works they create.

The beginning of an already-futile attempt to contain the world, the Library of Art looks at language as a magic trick - out of the immateriality of language you can make realities and then realities can collapse back into language. The thing and the name of the thing: we know they are from fundamentally different orders of being. And yet! Presto change-o! We can go from one to the other in an instant.

The Library of Art is inspired by algorithms and recipes, by Fluxus event scores, instructional works and the legalistic descriptive captions of conceptual art (the work of Barry, Cage, Kaprow, Knowles, Lozano, Ono, Weiner and others). By reanimating instructional art in the form of a library of possibilities, the hope is to open up authorship and let art be a game that everyone plays.

This exhibition of "Library of Art" was instigated by Austin Thomas of Pocket Utopia in collaboration with Christine Catsifas.

Good Children Gallery
4037 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117
ph: (504) 975-1557

Exhibition dates: October 11- 27, 2008
Opening reception: Saturday October 11, 6pm – 9pm
Gallery Hours: 12pm – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Two shows in Pocket Utopia's neighborhood

Opening out in Bushwick; one this Saturday and one next...the Laundromat Gallery and at Privateer! Below are the details. Very exciting!!

Laundromat Gallery 238 Melrose Street, 4th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Please join us on October 18th for Brooklyn-based artist R.J. Gallardo's first exhibition at the Laundromat Gallery. The artist will present a new installation exploring themes of adventure, calamity and survival entitled "Yes! I Am a Long Way From Home. Chapter 2."

R.J. Gallardo grew up in Colorado. He has studied Painting, Graphic Design and Sculpture, and received his M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia PA. His work has been exhibited in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.

And go to Privateer!

Location: 476 Jefferson Street, Ste. 211 Brooklyn, NY 11237

Opening reception Saturday, October 11, 7-9pm

Strangers: October 11 thru November 8. This first exhibition is a collection of unconventional portraits from 8 artists, with works from Jorge Julian Aristizabal, Rico Gatson, Jayson Keeling, Lynn Palewicz, Ryan Roth, Jose Ruiz, Julie Weitz, and Fred Wilson.

Strangers is a room of characters, as diverse as the artists who present them. Each of these characters are hidden or hiding. Veiled by masks, shadows and ornament, these elusive subjects are defined by the clues they reveal. Each stands side by side in an exhibition that uses the notion of "strangers" to affirm the role of the gallery. Many of these artists have never met, and do not know each other's work. This show, and the gallery in general are here to bring artists together, to draw links between diverse practices, and to provide a site where ideas can be shared.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Buy Fred on Etsy!

Byproduct is proud to offer up Vibescape, a rare opportunity to get a Gutzeit for only $20!! Vibescape, in a small package, is a good example of his continuing artistic practice of seeing and representing nature.

By observing nature and then drawing it, Fred works out fantastic patterns. His original sketches, often watercolors, might be of waterfalls and streams. Fred's final structured abstract prints reflect his passion of certain scientific theories of the universe.

The whole Fred world is in this print - get one.

Fred Gutzeit is an accomplished printer, artist, and teacher, please visit his website:

Fred lives in New York City and has an active studio practice.

This archival digital print measures 5x5 inches and is centered on 8.5x11 inch white archival paper. The inks are also archival and are pigmented in primarily blue and yellow with touches of red.


This print will be shipped flat in a sturdy board-backed envelope, in a plastic sleeve.

Fred's show “Love to Fred from Lee Lozano” will now open November 1st!

1 November – 14 December, 2008

Paying homage to, through a billboard-sized installation and painting, the late artist Lee Lozano, Fred Gutzeit turns Pocket Utopia into a walk-in cosmology of wave, particle and worm hole. In addition, Gutzeit will display preparatory drawings and relevant sketchbooks.

Salon at Sara Meltzer's

News Flash: Pocket Utopia is now open by appointment! Call or email before you come!

Being open by appointment, made it possible to go to another salon yesterday afternoon at Sara Meltzer Gallery. Although a little different than Pocket Utopia salons, with fancy chairs around and a filming crew, Anne Ellegood was on hand to discuss Terence Gower's upcoming project at the Hirshhorn Museum. Irving Sandler sat behind me!

Salons at Sara Meltzer are being organized by Doug Wada and will run on select Saturdays through October.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Our artist in resident

We're closing early today, for our artist in resident, Amy Lincoln, has an opening at Gathering of the Tribes. The show is titled At Home, and features:

Amy Lincoln
Christina Medina
Helena Wurzel

A Gathering of the Tribes
285 E 3rd st (it's an apartment, follow the signs)
New York, NY 10009

October 2nd through the 30th
Hours: Monday through Friday, 12 to 5pm, weekends by appointment
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 4th 6-9pm

For the month of October, 2008, A Gathering of the Tribes will present At Home an exhibition featuring work by three Brooklyn-based artists: Amy Lincoln, Christina Medina, and Helena Wurzel. The exhibition explores themes of domestic life through paintings, drawings, video installation, photographs, and collage. The work depicts the artists' relationships with their living environments as well as with those who share their space, whether they be roommates, partners, or pets. Interacting in close quarters, these modern urban families are created either by attachment or necessity of high New York City rents. In counterpoint to scenes of couples or groups, each artist also explores moments of solitary contemplation within a domestic environment, more often than not, in the bathroom.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Margo Hoff

On a chance encounter, I grabbed a book from the library at Grant's school last week, and discovered an amazing artist named Margo Hoff. The book I grabbed is called "Andy All Year Round."

Margo Hoff died in August at the age of 98. She lived a few blocks from me and in 2003 showed at a little gallery a block away.