Kianga Ellis Projects is hosting “Water, Water… 8 Strange Days in the City That Never Sleeps,” an exhibition organized by artist Edie Nadelhaft that considers how Hurricane Sandy, the superstorm that devastated the East Coast last fall, affected artists both in terms of their studio situations and their work. I remember watching from the seaside cottage I rent during the academic year as the storm raged, the tide rising over the nearby seawall, stopping short of my back door. The high winds felled several large trees, knocking down power lines and leaving us without electricity for six long days. Many boats broke loose from their moorings and landed on the rocks, but most of the homes in my neighborhood were spared.
Nasty and destructive, the storm prompted me to introduce soaking, tearing, and mending into my work. Nadelhaft has included two pieces featuring these elements in the show, along with work by Matt Enger, Elisa Bates, Ronnie Landfield, Edie Nadelhaft herself, Samantha Keely Smith, Bruce Stiglich, and Austin Thomas.
Our thoughts are with the victims of the recent typhoon in the Philippines.
Please come to the opening reception on Thursday, November 14, 2013, 6-8pm. Note that the show is only up for 8 days: Tuesday, November 12, through Tuesday, November 19.
Kianga Ellis Projects is pleased to host “Water, Water…8 Strange Days in the City That Never Sleeps,” a special group exhibition of works by New York and New Jersey artists whose work or practice has been deeply affected by water. “Water, Water…” was organized by Edie Nadelhaft to commemorate the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Mirroring the historical time span of the storm’s initial impact on the city, the show will last for just eight days, marking the time between the surge, and end of the widespread power outage and a strange, disorienting interlude in NYC history.
New Yorkers pride themselves on being impervious to many things, natural disasters chief among them. “Bad Things Happen When You Leave The City,” goes the Manhattan Mini Storage slogan (which is often paired with an exemplary image such as a car crushed under a fallen tree). But what happens when “bad things” are not held at bay? On October 29, 2012, many New Yorkers found themselves face to face with concerns that have historically been the territory of Gulf Coasters and residents of island nations. The arrival of Hurricane Sandy plunged much of the city into darkness, and ushered in a week-long period of suspended animation. The havoc wreaked by the storm was unprecedented in this part of the world.
Artists and galleries were particularly hard hit by the flooding on the West side of Manhattan; many of them are still struggling with the aftermath one year later. Over night, water was transformed from building block of life or backdrop for happy childhood memories, to a massive disruptor at best, something inspiring more respect than delight.
On a more positive note, the displacement brought about by the storm opened up an unusual gap in NYC’s collective calendar, making space and time available for chance encounters and unscheduled creative and social gatherings. Suddenly there was time for a couple of displaced artists to simply come together and draw for a few stolen moments, to commiserate on the endless bus rides up and down the island, or to share a moment with strangers while charging your cell phone at a bank or coffee house in the “power” zone.“Super Storm Sandy” caused many New Yorkers to reevaluate their own relationship to that most basic, elemental substance: water. This exhibition will serve as both a respectful acknowledgement of the power and indifference of nature, and a celebration of triumph over adversity and over-scheduling.
“Water, Water… 8 Strange Days in the City That Never Sleeps,” organized by Edie Nadelhaft. Kianga Ellis Projects, Chelsea, New York, NY. November 12 – November 19, 2013.