LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
Another season of art world happenings, exhibitions, competitions nearly over.
In front of me is our 30th International Juried Competition that I had the good fortune - and hard work – of jurying this year. As always, Viridian makes a concerted effort to expand the opportunities for outstanding artists’ work to be seen and exhibited. For this season’s juried exhibition, juried by the gallery’s director – me - instead of having a Director’s Choice segment, the 30th Annual Juried will have a Part 1 & Part 2.
As always the competition selection was difficult, but especially so for the nature of art in our world today encompasses a wide variety of methods, materials and conceptualizations of what art is. More than 400 artists submitted over 1400 images; a daunting task, but the 60 artists I selected, I feel represents the diversity of what concerns and inspires artists and as always, there is much to be concerned about.
Earlier in the season, we had some wonderful solo exhibits of gallery artists: Renee Borkow who has been with the gallery almost since its inception; Ellen Burnett having her first solo with us and featured in Artsy; Mary Tooley Parker whose hooked rug-like wall compositions dominated Instagram for the month they were on our walls and Robert Smith, another long time Viridian Artist, whose photographs show us what we don’t see without Smith’s showing us.
With five Young Artists a part of our new Young Artists program, we had an exciting pop up show called FRESH that for just a week gave viewers a peek at the beginnings of five fascinating artists’ careers: Ana Guraieb Chahin and Sarah Jarrett, both seen first here in the 30 under 30 competition, juried by Donna Gufstason; Bamoozie, Gentry Pack and The Artist Known as X, all talking through their art about their view of life today.
We close the season with an exhibit of contemporary artist form Tokyo, curated by Sai Morikawa, up for just two weeks and then a few days of empty white walls until we again in September on the 10th with one half of our Affiliate program in a group exhibit of mini solos, along with two of our Alumni artists.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
How times fly! Viridian Artist celebrated it’s fifty (50!) years of existence last spring with an exhibition of current & past artists- not all, for some did not respond- but as many as we could reach showed recent & past art in the exhibit. Out of this exhibition we created a catalog of “50 Years of Viridian Artists” that is now available for just $10 each. In it are images of the art & the artists who created the work along with a statement about or by each. Too, there is a list by decade of all the artists who have been a part of the gallery. The catalog was conceived and designed by the director, Vernita Nemec, with research done by Jenny Belin, the assistant director; production by Catherine Armistead, Ellen Burnett and H.D. Tews & editing by Ellen Burnett and Bob Tomlinson. Just 300 copies were printed.
Our Affiliate program has grown by leaps and bounds and we now have 2 Affiliate exhibits each season, one in the winter & the other in the summer. We have also added an Alumni program for artists who were formerly part of the gallery to show a piece once a year & have a small portfolio on the gallery website .
Our new intern Mia D’Alessandro hails from Monmouth University and there worked on a fantastic project with the Anthropology Department as the “embedded” artist, sketching and drawing the bones and findings.
This season we are excited that four of our artists are having their first solo exhibits with us: Srividya Kannan Ramachandran, Toto Takamori, Mary Tooley Parker and Ellen Burnett. It will be the first time we’ve seen large bodies of work by each of them, though Ellen Burnett had a solo a few months ago at Artifact Gallery on the Lower East Side. Srividya’s solo occurred in November, and from our walls her art traveled to a solo at Farleigh Dickinson University. Toto’s art is on the walls now and since he joined 2 years ago, his ideas and methods have grown to include metal found objects on small canvases, as well as his ongoing series of tiny oil paintings with layers and layers of paint that take months to dry. Mary & Ellen will be showing their art in June and July and we look forward to exciting solos by each of them.
New to the gallery are Marco Lando who comes to us from last season’s Director’s Choice juried exhibit, Maki Hajikano a juried show winner and David Fitzgerald, the son of former Viridian Artist Dorothy Braudy. More about them later…
Viridian Artists has joined the online art platform ARTSY, so look there too, to see more work by all of our incredible artists.
Looking at and making art in the 21st Century has become an exciting exploration of new media and new ways of creating & presenting art. Artists are no longer limited to making just paintings, collages & sculptures with traditional materials, for art can be made from anything as well as be about anything. Viridian has presented exhibits with art made from trash, cardboard boxes, fabric strips, discarded manikins, plastic bags, newspaper, you name it; subject matter has included politics (definitely!), the environment, dragons, the past, present & future to name just a few of the topics our artists have covered.
Our 2018-19 season opened with John Nieman’s “Art with a Story”, complete with QR codes where you can hear the story as well as read it in the image. Bob Tomlinson, our October artist, will be showing a retrospective of a lifetime of art that will include his unique collage paintings. November brings us our first artificially intelligent (AI) artist, aka Srivida K Ramachandran.
In between we will be having a quick pop show of our newest artists, which will include Ernesto Ruiz Bry, Kiffi Diamond, Kazuo Ishikawa, Marco Lando, Nancy Nicol and possibly others who joined the fold in 2018. And in December, Viridian will invite a host of artists to join us with art that we feel will make perfect holiday gifts.
Last season was exciting in that we began new programs to make it more possible for “under known” artists to exhibit their art by creating a special category for artist estates and for artists under 30. We presented our 2nd "30 Under 30" competition juried by the wonderful Chrissie Iles from the Whitney Museum and our 27th international juried exhibition with Johanna Burton of the New Museum. These ventures are but a small part of our endeavor to make the art of outstanding underknown artists more visible. More recently, Viridian was part of a Paddle 8 online auction to benefit cancer patients.
Soon a catalog about the first 50 Years of Viridian Artists will be available. We are excited and proud to be among the first artist-owned galleries in the US, descendants of the artists and galleries of the 10th Street scene that were the predecessors of SoHo and our contemporary Chelsea galleries. Our forerunners include such notable artists as Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, Philip Pearlstein, Elaine De Kooning and Alice Neel, who all began their careers in the 10th Street galleries.
Looking forward to seeing you soon,
Its been an eventful & exciting year for Viridian. This year we participated in our first art fair- Superfine. 8 VA’s elected to split the cost of the space and there were 2 sales- A painting by Kat King and a digital image by Wally Gilbert. Interestingly, because they were out of town artists, they did not sit during the show, though Wally did stop in briefly. In the future, when we do a fair, each artist will share in the sitting time or pay someone to do so for them.
We also presented our 2nd Young Artists competition, this juried by Chrissie Iles of the Whitney Museum. For our regular Juried competition, for the first time, we hired a curator from the New Museum, Johanna Burton.
We have gained many new artists, both full and Affiliate. Ron Moore switched from Affiliate to full in November of 2017, Nancy Nicol, a friend of Sarah Riley in Cape Cod joined in March and Kiffi Diamond returned that same month. Kazuo Ishakawa of Tokyo joined us in April, and Ernesto Ruiz Bry who lives in Florida joined in May. Among Affiliates we now newly have with us Charles Hildebrand and Barbara Hillerman.
Sadly we have lost Barbara Schwartz in the fall and Namiyo Kubo had a stroke just before her solo exhibit in April, but we look forward to her returning next season.
This summer we have a wonderful intern from Missouri, Marqusha Oliver who was a student of Katherine Smith, a former VA.
It also was a special year because it is the gallery’s 50th anniversary. The 50th Anniversary exhibit featured more than 60 current & past Viridian Artists and we hope to have a catalog in July commemorating the event as well as the longevity of the gallery.
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!
We say good-bye to 2017 with the hopes that in the new year art and reality will bring pleasure and enhanced understanding to all. The fall (and last spring) was filled with statement-making art and we opened the season with an invitational group exhibition entitled "Selfies Broadly Interpreted". We also changed our exhibition structure to a four week schedule, giving more time for visitors to see each exhibit.
October featured Wally Gilbert's color filled abstractions of towers and other fragments of reality altered. November brought our unique "Director's Choice" exhibit, a follow-up to our juried show and a testament to the vast numbers of outstanding artists we have yet to hear of.
Art in a Box, held their annual benefit for children at risk at Viridian on December 1st. A multitude of artists donated 11x14 inch artworks and at last count over 70 artworks were sold at $135 each. Viridian will host the benefit again next year.
The last show of 2017 is our annual Holiday show and in keeping with our charged political times, it was called "A Political and Apolitical Holiday Show", inviting artists to make whatever statement they felt fit the bill. As I said in the pr for the show,
"As we near the close of 2017, many of us are filled with a sense of trepidation and apprehension about the future of our planet, but we cannot give up hope. Though the populations of today's world are afflicted with anguish and fearfulness about the ever-pressing reality of war, starvation, political upheaval, religious intolerance, global warming and more, we must celebrate the good. Despite the bad, there is much in the world to celebrate.
In early, more primitive times, many cultures realized that the artist was the shaman who possessed the powers that could make us well, create wealth, power, destroy illness and evil. It was art, not science that soothed the spirit – it was art that saved us.
With the power of the creative spirit in mind, Viridian has invited artists to present their art to aid in the healing of your spirit, or perhaps to just remind you of what we must fight against. In addition, to aid visitors in finding gifts for those who matter in their lives, the gallery has created its annual Olde Arte Shoppe filled with artist-made gifts of prints, photography, jewelry, cards, etc. all priced under $100 for last minute holiday shopping or just for giving to oneself... Come, dress festively & celebrate the power of art within us. "
We look forward to sharing much new art with you!
DIRECTOR’S REPORT 2016-2017 VERNITA NEMEC
2016-17 was quite an exciting year for the gallery--new art and new programs. Having their first solo shows at Viridian were Henry Coupe and John Neiman, both presenting paintings of people they cared about--Henry's being old friends and family, and John's a series of poster paintings of famous people he admires. John's show was also accompanied by essays and a book available at the gallery and on Amazon.
We also presented our first “30 Under 30” exhibit which I had the privilege of jurying. The exhibit also brought us our first artist in this gallery program that offers artists who are under 30 years of age the opportunity to become a Viridian member at half the cost of those over 30. From that show, our first young artist is Phillip McConnell. Welcome Phillip! We have also begun an Alumni program for former Viridian Artists and Barbara Gerard is our first official Alum.
Jenny Belin and Mary Tooley Parker are in charge of our new website which also now has a store. Do check out your portfolios there and the store. If you have any images of your work that you want added, please touch base with Mary. Jenny is now officially our assistant director and continues doing her wonderful job of handling daily details at the gallery, spotting problems and posting on our Facebook and Instagram sites.
There were solo shows by our long standing members Virginia Smit, Susan Sills, Bernice Faegenburg, Arthur Dworin, May DeViney and Angela Smith who presented her second solo at Viridian. People, nature and politics were all well-addressed in these shows as well as in the group invitational "Unusual Politics: The Madness of Reality". Recycling and trash were addressed by another invitational for artists working with trash, the 17th "Art from Detritus" exhibition, also created by Viridian's director.
Finally, we are currently presenting our 28th Juried show, curated by Susan Thompson of the Guggenheim, and earlier in the season, we presented “Director's Choice”, an exhibit of artists who applied to our juried show last season but were selected by the Director, not the museum curator (excepting several artists selected by both). At Viridian we are constantly searching for new ways in which to give outstanding artists more opportunities.
We will miss Matakia and Arthur Dworin who left the gallery this season. Matakia is focusing on creating an artists' retreat in the country and Arthur will be showing his work in 2019 at a Lower East side gallery. Also, Arlene Finger and Franz Fox will be Affiliates next season. Joining us from our Affiliate roster to become full Viridian Artists are Srividya Kannan Ramachandran and Toto Takamori. Welcome and good wishes to all! And we also welcome new Viridian Artist Mary Tooley Parker who seduced the selection committee with her wonderful images using hooked rug techniques.
To make our scheduling easier next year, we will be having four week exhibits, rather than three week. This will give Viridian Artists more opportunities to attend one another's shows as well. Also, gallery artists are always invited to present their work at Vernita's curatorial space at Sabay, a Thai restaurant in Queens. Our Affiliate program continues to grow as we continue to present two exhibitions of Affiliates in the summer and in the winter.
DIRECTOR'S NOTE JANUARY 2017
2017. Already! And everyone is wondering what this year has in store for us- in art and of course in real life. But all I dare talk about here is art for that is my job, my life, my mission- to tell you how important art is and always will be- to civilization and to humans. In New York City there are hosts of artists, writers, actors, poets, musicians who have come and have been coming for decades- to make their creations and befriend others who do the same. And perhaps, to make a difference.
Viridian began 2017 with a beautiful Affiliate exhibition- “Similarities & Differences”- a group show of mini solos of 6 artists sharing their latest. Rosemary Lyons & her beautiful gold leafed assemblage/ paintings, Toto Takamori’s tiny wet on wet oil paintings, Darryl Moody’s photos of urban walls, Jeffrey Greenberg’s photos of abstracted images of bits of reality, Sarah Riley’s homage to Camille Claudel, Rodin’s protégée and Meredeth Turshen’s lush abstract paintings on paper- just half of our outstanding Affiliate program. Be sure to see the other half in July!
Following that show was “Art from Detritus: Recycling with Imagination”, a group show of art made primarily from trash and all that stuff we must throw away, but as artists we cant for its too beautiful or contains memories or because we realize that too much is thrown away in today’s world and must be recycled or upcycled into art so that it doesn’t go into landfills or the oceans. I have been inviting artists since 1996 to participate in these important environmental shows. If you are an artist who uses stuff that would have otherwise been discarded for your primary media, send me some images and perhaps you can be part of the next Detritus Exhibit.
Perhaps up on our walls as you are reading this note is the gallery’s first “30 Under 30” exhibit of artists all under the age of 30. Why? Because we know how hard the life of the artist can be. The sacrifices, the dreams, the impossibilities that artists too often must confront to pursue a career in the arts, we know too well. For that reason Viridian has instigated a special opportunity for artists under 30. Check it out under opportunities & spread the word!
DIRECTOR’S NOTE FALL 2016
We have entered a time in history when making art is more important than ever. Art is a reflection of our times so Viridian had two politically oriented invitational exhibitions recently. In October, in anticipation of the election outcome, “Unusual Politics: The Madness of Reality” and last April, “Internal Politics: Great Expectations”. Art making & demonstrating are positive ways to react to “the madness of reality”, but there is so much to rebel against and speak up about that its difficult to know where to begin. Still, it’s important that we each find our cause and fight for it peaceably or nothing will change positively.
Art too can focus on good times and good people. Henry Coupe’s solo retrospective that opened our 2016-2017 season was filled with paintings of people ad memories of the past. Virginia Smit’s “Botanicals” monoprints of real & imagined plant life and John Nieman’s “Wanted Show” honoring the goodness of people, were all focused on the positive aspects of life.
Our annual Director’s Choice honored the outstanding artists who were not chosen by the museum curator during our annual juried exhibit last season, but as always, Viridian is intent on showing those who are “underknown” and overlooked too often, for their art deserves recognition.
And as usual, out holiday show “Once Upon a Time…” gives artists a chance to focus on whatever they wish and art lovers to gift with art at our Olde Arte Shoppe where all is available for under $150. Hand made jewelry, art cards & books, scarfs and small, inexpensive artwork to share or keep. A perfect place for last minute shopping!
As you may have noticed, we have redesigned our website and are especially pleased with the new look and that we can do it ourselves now! More to come so keep checking!
Lets hope that the craziness of today’s reality will help us to continue to search for positive solutions. Two new ideas at Viridian focus on the “Artist under 30” and older artists who have left our fold but still are making Art. Our Young Artist Program and our Alumni programs both give greater opportunities for showing art, so please check out the details or give us a call if you think you might qualify or know someone who does.
There is so much goodness available in the world still and though winter feels darker than usual, art will save the day.
Letter From The Director: June, 2016
It’s been another incredible season in the Art World & at Viridian. Sadly, the art world lost the sculptors Marisol and Rosemarie Castoro. Both were outstanding artists who first gained recognition in the 60’s. Marisol lived in my neighborhood and drank at the same bar and I confess that her art helped me realize my own dreams of becoming an artist when I was still in Ohio. Rosemarie and I became friends after I had attended a talk she gave at AIR Gallery in the early 80’s or maybe late 70’s. We traveled through Mexico together when I was invited to perform at the University of Mexico City and shopped at early Soho boutiques together looking for arty bargains.
And many others who became friends over the years are recently gone: Stephen Sorreff, Sal Romano, Corrine Robins – many you may not have heard of, but all serious and outstanding under-known artists. Look them up on the web. And then there are the more famous- Zaha Hadid the architect, Prince and of course, David Bowie, who created up until the end, reminding us all of his humanness and the power of art. Many are still crying.
At Viridian, Our Affiliate program continues to grow to the point that we now have two Affiliate shows a season.
We are offering two new ways to be involved with and exhibit at our beautiful space in the heart of bustling Chelsea:
Our new ALUMNI PROGRAM offers a special gallery affiliate for artists or the estates of artists who have been represented by the gallery in the past. If you were once represented by us, please see the details for this on the gallery website under the heading “opportunities”.
Also, we invite everyone to become a Viridian Friend & participate in an annual exhibit with other gallery friends. This program gives many artists who cannot afford more, the opportunity to show a new work and helps us to continue our mission to show the art of outstanding “under-known” artists throughout the world.
Viridian has added two outstanding new artists to our flock- John Neiman & Franz Fox, both painters. Look for their work in upcoming shows as well as on our special office wall where we feature a work of each & every artist we represent.
2016 has been a year of politics and art with an invitational show of “Internal Politics: Great Expectations”. If you missed it, I’m sure we’ll do another next season to give more artists a chance to respond to events of the “real” world.
As the 2015-2016 art season comes to a close with our 27th International Juried Exhibit we look ahead to next season with both eagerness and trepidation, for the world seems to be more and more difficult for art, for culture and for peace.
Letter From The Director: January, 2016
The world is a mess yet art continues, so much so that we are overwhelmed, especially in New York City with new galleries, new artists, new interpretations of what art is.
Sadly or perhaps rightfully, the most innovative and de-humanized art is what gets critics’ and collectors’ attention, but despite all the madness & competition, artists with personal and humanistic messages inherent in their art, continue to create.
Creativity is an important part of what makes us human & what differentiates us from animals, though there are some who feel that cats can paint and whales make music.
At Viridian, now in its 45th season, the artists are continuing to follow their creative paths and as a result we have had some wonderful and fascinating exhibitions to close out 2015.
Our season opened with “Director’s Choice”, an exhibit exemplifying Viridian’s most important mission which to support & show the work of outstanding under-known artists. Each season we have a competition curated by an outstanding museum curator, following up with an exhibit gleaned from the same pool of artists, but selected instead by the gallery’s director, Vernita Nemec.
This outstanding exhibit was followed by solo exhibitions of our two newest gallery artists- Matakia aka Diane Root and Filippo Prandi. Finally we closed the year with our annual holiday invitational, showcasing the art of over 70 artists. The champagne reception was a festive event that will be remembered by all there and envied by all who couldn’t be there!
Sadly, three of our outstanding artists died in 2015 – Janet Bohman, with the gallery since its inception, Michael Miller, a Chicago printmaker due to have his first solo at Viridian in 2017 and Henry Coupe who came to Viridian after being selected by a Whitney Museum curator in a recent juried competition at the gallery. They will be sorely missed by us all.
So, it is with a spirit of hope and adventure, that we look forward to 2016 and seeing you here gazing in wonder at our art-filled walls.
Letter From The Director: Spring 2015
There are so many different artworlds and kinds of art occurring in the 21st century that painting and sculpture seem at times to be ideas out of the distant past. There are the “blue chip” galleries & auction houses where art shown is often made in factories based on the ideas and sketches of the creators.
At that level, art costing in the millions becomes an investment the buyer often doesn’t even see or want to, for they are only waiting for the art’s value to increase so that they can resell it for even more. Gerhardt Richter whose work sells for millions never receives any money paid at auctions for work he initially sold for thousands. Nor do most artists, for the collector takes all and feels the artists should be grateful that they are increasing the prices of future work.
Nothing much has changed since the days of a Rauschenburg being sold by the Sculls for many times what they initially paid the artist. Except now the prices are 10 or 100 times what they were in the 60’s & 70’s.
And there is also the artworld of pretty pictures or prints by the famous that people hang in their summer homes with pride thinking they have the real thing.
No, the artworld that most of us know is very different. Our artworld is one in which artists are exploring new media and new ideas often with political or personal overtones – like the Triennial at the New Museum with art from all over the world. Artists from a wide range of cultures are exploring concepts that many would not even regard as art but are, because art is a reflection of its times and our times are a’changing.
Or, like the Art from Detritus show at Viridian in March. This group show, founded by Viridian’s director, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary and has been showing throughout the country since 1994, espousing the idea of recycling.
Or the upcoming show in April of digital and analog images of self by Angela Christine Smith that explores ideas of online and off-line realities through photography.
She will be talking about her work on Saturday April 11, at 4PM, so hoping you will come and hear her take on creating in the 21st century.
But we haven’t forgotten our creative past at Viridian for Bernice Faegenburg continues her exploration of Asian brush painting in her solo show in May.
Fortunately, with spring and summer comes a sense of renewal & we have invited artists to respond to the concept of renewal and beginning again. The winter was long and harsh, but Art can serve as a haven for our pressing and difficult times. We look forward to seeing how the artists in this exhibition will respond to this need for “Renewal” that we all share.
Stay warm and feel renewed and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Letter From The Director: Fall 2014
Another season of the NYC artworld has begun. There is excitement in the air! As an artist as well as the director of this gallery (and of Artists Talk on Art in the past), I feel particularly sensitive to both the artist’s reality & that of the gallerist. It seems strange that in a time of such wealth in the world, only a handful of the millions of artists in the world are known by people outside the artworld and only a handful are able to make a living from only creating and selling their art. In these times, even galleries and artists with galleries are struggling to make ends meet. Each season, when the first gallery guide comes out, it’s hard not to check who is still around and who has gone out of business.
Which leads me to say that Viridian is celebrating its 45th year of existence! We are lucky, but it has been more than luck that has held us together. It’s the artists themselves who care enough about their vision to keep creating, regardless of huge sales or grandiose recognition. Too, we must thank the directors, assistants and interns we have had over the years that have helped to keep the gallery moving forward.
And to celebrate, we have two 45th Anniversary shows coming up and plans to show a work from all those past Viridian artists we can reach. Too, we will include work of our current artists.
Also, we hope to include a binder filled with memories of some of these years and invite you as part of our success – by being our audience or our collectors – to share some of your recollections. Feel free to email or even hand write a note telling us any fond memories you have.
It’s going to be a special season (they all are!) with solo shows of new & long-standing artists in our stable, including Wally Gilbert, Susan Sills, Barbara K Schwartz, Angela Smith, Bernice Faegenburg, Oi Sawa & Tazuko Fujii and Matthias Merdan. It will be Angela Smith’s and Matthias Merdan’s first solo with us and the others showing are part of our long history together. We eagerly anticipate the surprises in store & look forward to seeing you soon.
Letter From The Director: Summer 2014
We are nearing the end of our third season at our wonderful 548 W28/ 547 W 27th St location. Two years to go! It has been a full season of 11 solo exhibits.
Renee Borkow (In the City), a long-standing member, presented her first solo show since 1999 (when I first came to Viridian as a gallery sitter!) Many of these solo shows received especially wonderful press coverage on the web by Wall Street International (WSI). All were unique and distinctly reflecting the wide variety of artistic approaches of the 21stcentury from paintings on canvas & board (Kawaguchi, Sudran, & Dorsey) to the mixed media work of Mielenhausen & Dworin, the installation by Kubo that filled gallery walls, to the photographs of Moody, Smith and Gaynor and the colored pencil drawings of Borkow.
Our annual holiday show “Once Upon a Time” was an opportunity for gallery artists to invite artist/friends to participate and to feature our ARTE SHOPPE, a corner of the gallery devoted to cards, books, jewelry & other small artworks available for holiday shopping at $99 & under.
Our Affiliate program is growing to the extent that we scheduled two Affiliate shows- in February & July/August. As our President, Susan Sills, says: two Affiliate memberships yield one full nearly, so it has proven to be a great addition to our exhibits and artists’ roster, as well as to our bank account. There are currently 15 or so Affiliates, with Lauren and myself being honorary Affiliates.
Our Juried competition, the 25th, was juried by Katherine Brinson of the Guggenheim Museum and our 2nd Director’s Choice Exhibit, culled from juried applicants and selected by the director have both become an important source of new members- including Angela Smith, Valerii Klymchuk & Darryl Moody, as well as many of our Affiliates.
And finally, we scheduled a beautiful summer show at the Acumen Gallery in the lobby of the Standard Motors Products Building in Long Island City that is rumored to be the best they’ve seen there yet.
Letter From the Director: December 2013
In my last Director Letter, I talked about the art scene historically a bit. Lots of people seem to be talking about how much in our world has changed and many are looking back to assert the contrast. The Observer online & Interview Magazine spoke with Paula Cooper, a Soho pioneer while a recent New Yorker article discusses David Zwirner as the hot gallerist of the moment. The contrast between Cooper’s & Zwirner’s ideals reflects how radically the artworld HAS changed from focussing on the art to focussing on the money.
In fact, Paula says: ”The art world has changed so much. It’s so international these days, and it just seems so endless and huge. I don’t know how one can handle all of this information. There’s so much to see and so much to think about. Sometimes it just seems so overwhelming, but at the same time, it’s incredibly interesting. I think I’m always optimistic about art, because what would happen to us without it?” Thank you Paula!
Another noteworthy change is the development of virtual web galleries & art fairs as rents skyrocket and our world becomes more and more virtual. Though many middle ( as opposed to high end) galleries have closed their spaces, Viridian is not yet ready to go totally virtual. You can both viewour art on the website as well as come to our brick and mortar gallery in Chelsea to see the art in the flesh. Many artlovers still crave to see and experience art in reality, not just look at an image of it and we plan to continue offering you those choices.
The only question I might add is “What is Art?” And googling that question, I found a few quotes that I want to share with the hopes that it will keep you optimistic about the future of art in our world!
Well, it seems that we are still asking “what is art?” and the answer is becoming harder & harder to identify. Today “what is art” has expanded to include everything but the kitchen sink and sometimes even that as well!
To be an artist in New York City is an incredible experience and the dream of thousands.
Here in the Big Apple, competition pushes you to create your best and forces you to be uniquely original, or as Picasso said, steal ideas but make them better. Curiously though, appropriation art, at its peak in the 80’s, made even that unnecessary, for an artist could just make something already identified as art, again and exactly the same.
Now perhaps the problem is different for all holds have been barred and as Duchamp famously said, ‘just call it art & it is”.
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” Picasso
“Life doesn’t imitate art. It imitates bad television” Woody Allen
“Creativity takes courage.” Matisse
“We have art in order not to die of the truth.” Nietzsche
“Art is what you can get away with.” Warhol
“A picture is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” Diane Arbus
“Imagination rules the world.” Bonaparte
“Life beats down & crusts the soul and art reminds you that you have one. “Stella Adler
“Art is the reason I get up in the morning, but the definition ends there. It doesn’t seem fair that I’m living for something I can’t even define.” Ani Difranco
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” Aristotle
“Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.” G.K. Chesterton
“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not to answer them.” Anton Chekhov
“If you really want to hurt your parents and don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is to go into the arts. I’m not kidding. the arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.” Kurt Vonnegut
“We work in the dark- we do what we can- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” Henry James
“God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things.” Picasso
“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” George Bernard Shaw
“A line is a dot that went for a walk.” Paul Klee
“Creativity is an act of defiance.” Twyla Tharp
“All Art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.” Oscar Wilde
“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.” Marie Antoinette
“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if its done properly.” Bansky
Letter From the Director: Fall 2013
Much like a school year, the Art World begins again each fall in New York with the best weather of the season for walking Chelsea streets & seeing all the new art. The humidity is down but the artistic and creative heat is hot.
At Viridian we are looking forward to our 44th season of shows, no small feat in this city of hundreds of galleries going in & out of business. Viridian Artists is still here and this season will be an exciting one, filled with the art of both veterans & newcomers.
The art scene (& Viridian!) started on 57th St, then with Paula Cooper & Ivan Karp, the art galleries moved to Soho in the early 70’s. As rents increased and more & more artists came seeking fame & fortune, our scene grew to include Chelsea, Williamsburg, Harlem, the Bowery – anywhere the rents were not yet exorbitant. And as usual after, the artists improved each neighborhood, the rents go up and we must go searching again for the space to show you our hearts and souls.
New York City is still the center of the art world, even now that the Art World has become a global world. Much has changed over the decades, especially now that electronic media gives us all nearly equal coverage if we get our information out there, through our websites, social media & e-vites.
Viridian has an exciting season coming up. Four painters and a photographer will all be uniquely presenting their view of the world and perhaps the inner sanctum of their souls.
Soon we will let you know who our Juror will be for our next International Juried Competition- our way of presenting the work of more & more incredible artists.
Too, look out for our next “Art Meat” discussion and get ready to talk about where you are at creatively and where you think we are all headed – now that more and more people realize that Marcel Duchamp & Andy Warhol were right when they said that art can be anything you decide it to be and we can all be famous for 15 minutes.
Don’t forget to check our website periodically and get your email address to us so that we can invite you to our next exhibition.
Letter From The Director: Summer 2013
Another art season is nearly over. When you receive this, John Cullen will have just opened his first solo show at Viridian, our 24th Juried show will be coming up & we hope all of you will have an idea in mind for the art you will exhibit in the summer show that will close the 2012-13 season mid-August.
We opened the 2012-13 season with a member group show entitled “Yin & Yang: Fusing Complimentary Opposites” to honor our connections to our artists from Asia who now number five.
There were 9 solo shows scheduled this season but sadly because of Sandy’s devastation Bob Mielenhausen was forced to cancel and is re-scheduled for next fall. We extended Kat King’s show to fill the gap and compensate for the days we were forced to close because of the weather. Too we added an impromptu show of gallery artists’ work from the back room that was curated & installed by our trusty gallery assistant Lauren and our intern Michelle.
We also presented our third and last International Photography Competition curated by Nat Trotman from the Guggenheim Museum. It was a beautiful show but we feel that there is just too much work involved to have two juried competitions. Coming up July 2nd will be our 24th International Juried Competition featuring all media. Again we invited Elisabeth Sussman of the Whitney Museum to curate this exhibit and have scheduled the reception for July 18th.
In additional we had our usual holiday exhibition of gallery artists and friends and our Director’s choice show. Viridian initiated the Director’s Choice series with the realization that there are many more talented artists and photographers than the 25 selected by the museum curator.
As it stands at the moment, we have 29 ½ artists fully represented, a number we seem to hold onto consistently, though our schedule can hold 32 artists comfortably. Our Affiliate program continues to grow and will be scheduled annually in the February slot, in place of the Juried Photography Competition.We are excited that next season we will be celebrating our 45th birthday!
Letter From The Director: Spring 2013
It continues… the mad world of art… and will not stop despite politics or the economy, for art is what saves us. Chelsea continues to grow and is now a major New York City destination because of all the galleries, the Highline walkway and the wonderful restaurants and shops popping up every day.
When Viridian moved from 25 Street to 28th St 2 years ago – or was it three for time flies so fast now- we were at the north edge of Chelsea. Now the empty lot across the street is an almost finished apartment building and galleries and restaurants are filling the buildings and lots north of us, to almost the mid-town and we are back at the center of things.
Nearly all have recovered from Sandy and our shows, as usual, are filled with a variety of outstanding art. Already this year, we’ve shown a bevy of our Affiliate artists from as far away as Germany (Elvira Lantenhammer & Michael Rippl) and as close as Chelsea East (Sheila Smith). Joshua Greenberg & William Atkins & Renee Kahn are also new additions, coming as winners in our various International Competitions. Also, returning to our Affiliate program are Jeffrey Melzack, Katherine Ellinger Smith and Meredeth Turshen.
Viridian Artists Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff had her first solo show with us – a stunner filled with paintings and sculptures that carried a feeling of Voodoo powers- followed by the striking black & white digital photographs of Nobel Prize Winner, Wally Gilbert. His nearly sold -out show, filled with (dare I say) masculine overtones preceded Virginia Evans Smit’s stunning digital & mixed media prints of Flowers, Fish & Fragments (“F is for…”) with its (dare I say) feminine overtones and Asian influenced imagery.
Nobel Prize winner Wally Gilbert’s B&W Images sold well at his solo show. Another Nobel Prize winner, the memory biologist, Eric Kandel, author of “The Age of Insight: Memory, the Holocaust and the Art of Vienna” was a charming guest at the reception. He was recently on Charlie Rose and featured in the science section of the New York Sunday Times.
Coming up is Susan Sills solo exhibit, “Cutting Loose: A Walk Through Art History” in an exciting new installation. The Met, here we come! She will be interviewed by Cynthia Dantzic, author of 100 New York Painters.
Too, we’ve added to our flock! New to us is the photographer Daniel Victor (coming to us as a winner in our 23rd International Juried competition) and Matthias Merdan who comes to us from Austria. You’ll be seeing more of these artists work next season, but always feel free to look at members portfolios on the website.
Just a reminder, that although we always have but one exhibit at a time on view, it is still possible to see examples of all of our artists’ works on the office wall of the gallery and in the backroom. Too, many of our artists have books, cards and small works available for $99 and under, in Ye Olde Arte Shoppe in the corner of the gallery.
Stop in anytime and have a glass of wine as you – if you are looking for art to buy- decide what piece you might want to add to your collection or, if you are an artist, when you might want to submit your work for consideration as a Viridian Artist.
Letter From The Director: Winter 2013
Fortunately the Mayan calendar has been misinterpreted and the WORLD, especially the Art World, continues. It is an especially important year for looking back and many artists and galleries are making note of it. It’s over forty years since Soho became the art world Mecca, much as Chelsea is today. And sadly though many are celebrating their 40thanniversary (SOHO20, Nancy Hoffman Gallery among others) many of those people who made all this happen are gone. We lost Ivan Karp this past fall, Nancy Spero, Leon Golub, Robert Rauschenburg, Pat Passloff and others during the past few years, all of whom were instrumental in helping to create all the good parts of today’s art community.
Forty years ago was a totally different time. The 70’s were a time of artists meeting and demonstrating about politics at home and abroad. The Vietnam War, and later Apartheid, was fodder for much political art. The Women’s Movement was born, and changed how and why art is made. Installations, autobiographical art and performance art became significant art forms. Women’s galleries like Soho 20 & AIR, cooperatives, artist-owned galleries and non-profits like Artist’s Space and MUSEUM, A Project for Living Artists were formed. Viridian had already come to existence, forming in 1968, first in Soho & then on 57th St.
Today our battles have changed and we are again feeling a need to communicate and feeling a lack of ways in which to do so. In part it is that there are so many artists, so many galleries, so many art movements that its difficult to know where and how to begin. Viridian Artists has responded to this need with ArtMeat, a bi-monthly gathering on Wednesday for those who want to talk with other artists and art lovers about their process, their inspirations, the value of showing on the web, what kind of art to buy and whatever else feels pressing at that moment in time. All those who want to come are invited.
I’d like to close these words of mine with some once written by Goethe that I think are appropriate for an art context:
“Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking”.
‘Til next time…
Letter From the Director: Fall 2012
Hello Art Lovers
Another art season has begun and already Chelsea streets are filled on Thursday nights with art, culture and wine lovers.
We’ve made a number of additions to the gallery in a variety of forms. We are pleased to welcome fine art photographer Angela Smith to the fold, a winner in last season’s photo competition juried by Jennifer Blessing of the Guggenheim Museum. To accommodate our growing numbers, we’ve also added a movable wall which can change the gallery layout with just a push or a pull.
And we are again incorporating artists’ talks as a regular part of our exhibition scheduling. In the past they were called “Coffee & Conversation” but to loosen everyone one up a bit, we are now having “Wine & Words” on the last Saturday of our exhibitions to give gallery visitors an opportunity to hear the artists talk about their art and inspiration.
Last but not least, Viridian will be the site of ArtMeats- an opportunity for artists to come to the gallery after closing and talk in a group about issues and concerns relative to their professional creative pursuits. Anticipate hearing more soon about these gatherings and when they will be happening.
Viridian Artists opened this season with a show of gallery artists and a theme that addresses the mutual influences artists have on one another: Yin and Yang: Fusing Complimentary Opposites. In this exhibit, the differences and similarities between Eastern and Western Art is the focus. Fusing the balancing of Yin and Yang in real life has become critically important in our global world filled with frequent cultural clashes and as always, art can sooth these wounds.
Following Yin and Yang will be Chicago artist Carol Brookes who will be having her first solo at Viridian. Following her will be Kat King, another Chicago artist who will be having her 3rd solo at this gallery. Both of these artists create intricate art- Brookes works with clay and mixed media creating wall works in high relief and King is a mixed media artist who has worked primarily with paint and collage on canvas and paper, but now has added three dimensional digital art to her oeuvre.
Right now politics is on everyone’s mind but we must remind ourselves how important art is and how it sometimes serves to bring clarity to an often overwhelming world of confusing and conflicting elements.
Til the next time…
(Director, Viridian Artists INC)
Letter From the Director: Spring 2012
Hello Art Lovers
Another art season is nearly over, but we still have a number of great, great exhibits coming up. 2012 has already been fruitful with our 2nd International Photography Competition juried by Jennifer Blessing the Guggenheim Museum. This was the first time we worked with her, but are looking forward to her jurying our 3rd, so start looking through your images now, for you know how time flies.
We are in the midst of pulling together our next 23rd Annual Competition of art in all media, juried by Chrissie Iles of the Whitney Museum and are looking forward to all the new and exciting art that will emerge out of her selections. The Director’s Choice Powerpoint show happening concurrently, is another example of Viridian’s mission to support as many outstanding artists of today as we can.
In that spirit, we will soon be instituting special membership programs for artists under 30 & over 80, so if you fit into one of those groups (and are willing to admit your age) stay tuned.
Since I last wrote here, Oregon artist Mary Wells showed her beautiful and incredibly complex collages, followed by our ever surprising and politically astuteMay deViney with her Madonnas, Monsters and Madame Curie followed by Bernice Faegenburg showing “Iris a la Warhol and…”.
We are finally happily settled in at 548 West 28th with yet another Chicago artist joining our fold- Michael Miller, a print maker and professor at the Chicago Art Institute. With Kathleen King, Carol Brookes and Darryl Moody, it brings our mid-west total to four. In addition, we have four artists from Tokyo, three from Massachusetts, one each from Richmond Virginia, Portland Oregon & Paris France with the rest from the New York /New Jersey area.
I love to collect and recommend books having to do with art & the artist, so in closing, another reminder of the power of art can be found in “The Gift” by Lewis Hyde.
Happy Spring and may flowers grow in your backyard or on your window sill!
(Director, Viridian Artists INC)
Letter From The Director: June 2011
Since last writing here, much has happened at the gallery. First, I am happy to say that we have added two wonderful artists to our flock. Darryl Moody, a former Juried Slide Show winner has become a Viridian Artist with his wonderful photographs of street walls. The painter David Dorsey has joined us with giant gumball painting and we are pleased to welcome them both. You will see their portfolios on the website soon. And when our “new artists” exhibit next happens, you will be privy to a teaser sampling of their artwork.
Three seems to be a magic sales number for us this past spring for both Dorothy Dierks Hourihan and Bob Mielenhausen sold 3 pieces from their recent solo exhibitions. In these hard financial times for all, this is a very good thing.
Until June 25th, we are pleased to be showing the urban cityscapes, subway images & Middle East temples & architecture of Alan Gaynor. Both framed and unframed, these images attest to Alan’s strong command of the photographic and print media. This is Alan’s first solo show at Viridian and is truly a strong beginning with us.
In his other life”, Alan is an architect and has been spearheading our search for a new gallery space. After being here at 530 West 25th for 10 years, we felt a need for change. We are pleased to announce that we will be moving in August to the 6th floor of 548 West 28th Street. Opening mid- September, our plan is to celebrate the move with a show of artworks of all our artists and perhaps even with some friends thrown in.
We close this season with our 22nd Annual International Juried Competition, juried by our favorite juror, Elisabeth Sussman of the Whitney Museum. It is going to be an exciting and diverse exhibit of a wide range of art, reflecting all the diversity of today’s mad art world and creative inclinations.
The first prize winner, Naz Shahrokh, did an internship with me when I was the Director of Artists Talk On Art, that ubiquitous panel series that we hope will never die. Her winning this competition, not only goes to prove the circularity of our lives, but also how successful my past interns have become as artists and gallery and museum personnel. May they will not forget me as they rise!
And speaking of interns, we have two great ones this season- Krystal Floyd, a fine arts transplant from Missouri and Wuraola Bamigboye, a design student from Nigeria. Both are fascinated with the New York Art World.
Hoping to see you soon… &
With warm regards,
Your director, Vernita Nemec
Letter From The Director: Spring 2011
April has been an exciting month at the gallery as we receive entries to our 22nd annual Juried Competition. We have extended the deadline for a week since we understand how we artists always need a little bit more time!
Sales have been happening for both the Wally Gilbert show last month and Robert Smith’s show of color photographs. His show, “The GRAND minute” already has 2 red dots. More are expected. Please try to get here & see the images in person. Then read the titles that with their whimsy and humor, make one see those images in a whole new way. My favorite (which was purchased by one of our collectors) looks like a Michaelangelo torso & is titled “Figure Study”. As I sit at my desk that’s what I see, but up close one sees the reality of what is there – worn pink rocks.
Coming up is a show of paintings by Dorothy Dierks Hourihan who showed at Viridian years ago when we were still on 57th Street. How times have changed since then, when 57th Street was the place to go to see the newest and the best… Now, for over 10 years, it’s been Chelsea that artlovers are willing to travel across Manhattan when they want to see the newest and the best. And spring is always a wonderful time to roam Manhattan on foot.
The gallery artists and I have all been busy showing and curating outside the Viridian space as well. Our VP & mixed media artist, Bob Mielenhausen was featured in the New York Times on Sunday April 3 with a photo of a piece at an exhibit in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Also, Chicago artist Carol Brookes and Boston artist Wally Gilbert have been showing in group shows & having open studios in their home towns.
There have been some changes and additions to our website that you might not have noticed, though the addition of the Director’s Letter you clearly have found! We have also added a Facebook button that if you click, will take you directly to FB where you will see photos of this season’s openings taken by Viridian painter & photographer Arthur Dworin. Too, as our Affiliate list grows, we have added a new portfolio section of our Super Affiliates. Not all Super Affiliates have gotten their images to us, but some are already posted.
WE have 3 new Viridian artists now too and more to come. They all showed in the New Members show last month, but you may not have taken a peek at their portfolios on the website. All will be up soon if not when you read this! Look for Young Sam Kim, a photographer originally from Korea, John Cullen from Florida & Rochester NY & Kiyoshi Kawaguchi from Tokyo.
Til next month &
With warm regards,
Letter From The Director: March 2011
After a 5 year hiatus, I have returned to the Directorship of Viridian Artists and I’m happy to say that it’s good to be back, for we’ve had an exciting season opening in the Fall with 3 great solo painting shows by Don Zurlo, Bob Tomlinson and Arthur Dworin.
Following those outstanding exhibitions was my pet project, “Art From Detritus: Recycling With Imagination”. I’ve been curating this exhibit of art made from trash and recycled materials for over a decade and I was pleased when Viridian invited me to present it. Over 60 artists presented a wealth of art reminding us that there are much better uses for trash than just throwing it away.
We just recently inaugurated our first Juried Photo exhibit, juried by Elisabeth Sussman who will return again in April to jury our 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition that includes all media. This is a great competition to apply to since Sussman is rumored to be jurying the next Whitney Biennial in 2012… need I say more?
We have reinstated our Affiliate Program and created new two ways artists can be affiliated with Viridian, in addition to full member representation which gives all sorts of perks. Check out these opportunities for showing your art with us on our website.
And, we have a wonderful new gallery assistant, Lauren Purje, an artist from Ohio University, my alma mater, who arrived in New York City just 6 months ago and here she is already in the center of the NYC Art World!
On view right now are some exciting digital images by Nobel Prize winner (in Chemistry) scientist/artist Wally Gilbert that he created totally in the computer. Coming up after that, we are featuring two of our newest artists- Young Sam Kim and John Cullen- along with our newest Affiliates.
In the spring, presenting solo exhibitions, we have photographer Robert Smith, painter Dorothy Dierks Hourihan, mixed media artist Robert Mielenhausen whose wall reliefs are inspired by architecture and architect/photographer Alan Gaynor. More about all those shows later.
Finally, this will be our 10th year at 530 West 25th Street, and our final season in this space. It’s been a wonderful 10 years and we look forward to continuing to present wonderful art in our new location – location yet to be revealed. Til the next time, happy art viewing and making and we look forward to seeing you soon…