CHAFA : Mexico City Contemporary
The SPACE 776 Gallery in Brooklyn presented CHAFA: Mexico City Contemporary from June 3rd through June 15th. The show was curated by ArtCubers Raquel Du Toit and Jeremy Schaller and featured an assemblage of Mexican contemporary artists connected via the digital commons working in Mexico City to embed Chafa strategies in the serious conceptual art field. Utilizing digital tools, performance and new media they bring the Chafa experience to the art world and media industry. Grappling with the same impositions of global trade, consumer goods and culture, Chafa gives voice to emerging economies on the global market.
A little about Raquel Du Toit (aka Ixtel)
MFA recipient at Pratt institute, Raquel has been installing, making sculptures and creating interactive performances in London, New York and Mexico. She is a recent fellow at the Vermont Studio Center. Raquel on a day to day bases works as a set designer for various fashion photographers and production companies. Before moving to New York she worked in collaboration with other artist around London and Seattle to create a non-profit called “What is Art” in which non-traditional art forms were pushed, challenged, and experienced in new ways. Raquel continues to create interactive sculptures performances and installations in order to remove the white walls of the galleries within her work.
A little about Jeremy Schaller (aka Kino)
Kino is a live cinema innovator, who works as a documentary and architectural survey photographer. He builds technical infrastructure to open conduits for media delivery informed both by the documentary craft and fast paced journalistic investigation. He strives to participate with the stories he tells, lending the topic being covered a level of testimony. The documents challenge cultural norms and speculate on crisis capital flow. Merging network technology and photography he performs and simultaneously provides coverage at Ars Electronica, European Commission on Science and Art, 320x240, MFRU, Digitofagia, and vBrooklyn. He gives live cinema workshops at international media festivals, performs in underground spaces, deforms the black box from Silicon Alley to the Roxy in Prague, and constructs surreal technologically driven environs.
What does Chafa mean?
A knock off, reclaimed, or repurposed imitation of something else. Props on the set of life, conceptual rather than simulated.
What is it about this new generation of artists that drew you to them?
Consumerism is on the rise and the idea of getting products suddenly and conveniently is growing. This ready-made reality is defining contemporary art today since this new generation of artists is easily influenced by urban art, used to compositing ideas, utilizing images and materials found while dipping in and out of the network.
What are some of the main themes of this exhibition?
Digital imaging, repurposing materials, consumerism and production, symbolism that is surreptitiously applied when stereotyping identity.
Do you think this exhibit was successful?
It was so much fun. Everyone who saw it was excited to see Mexican contemporary art represented in Brooklyn. It’s a very hot scene there right now. We encourage everyone to visit our great metropolis to the south! The show is on Artsy, so check it!
How did you do this?
I like to work while I travel. I’m always shooting a film or performing at electronic festivals or in underground spaces. I don’t like to be a tourist when I travel because I long for that collaborative connection. Raquel while finishing her studies was in touch with all these artists that are part of the hopping Mexico City scene. We thought why don’t we track some of them down. She started reaching out and we flew to Mexico City and we walked all over the city visiting galleries, meeting artists and soliciting work. A lot of the work we brought back on our return journey. A few of the larger pieces were shipped to us. Only three of the pieces we brought back to New York were framed, so we decided to check on ArtCube. ArtCube is an economy and we didn’t just want to post “give me give me give me”. We were really lucky that a large production wrapped a shoot set in Vermont and they had a bunch of frames they were tossing. We wanted to provide the service of reclaiming those frames. That was just the subtle difference of how we went about mounting this show with the help of ArtCube. We are so grateful it worked out this way. We love ArtCube because in the end sweat equity and reclamation helped us mount this international exhibition in a professional manner without having to solicit grants or donations or charge submission fees for artist to participate. That let us be more true to the concept we were trying to represent curating the show.
Together, when we build things, we are Luxury Blight.
You and Yours Fine Vintage
We sat down with Allegra Muzzillo, the owner of the shop You & Yours Fine Vintage (Y&YFV), located at 77 Franklin Street in the lovely neighborhood of Greenpoint, in Brooklyn, New York. Y&YFV has a great selection of quality vintage furniture, lighting, and home décor from the 1950s through the 1970s eras. Her shop is a great resource for ArtCubers especially since she’s extending a 10% discount to all our members.
“As a new business owner here in Brooklyn, I always find myself saying, ‘One foot in front of the other.’ It has become my mantra.” -Allegra Muzzillo
A little about Allegra
As a youngster, she spent weekends shopping flea markets, clothing shows, and estate sales, hunting for vintage treasures with her mother, a working artist and antiques dealer. (These trips gave her early exposure to the world of collecting and they helped hone her unique eye.) Today, Allegra still loves flea markets and estate sales and is always on the hunt for interesting pieces to add to her growing collection.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired a ton by the natural world, by color, other creatives, and everyday conversations I have with clients—the chats can actually be pretty deep! As far as my store’s styling goes, it’s color all the way. I live for mixing color, texture, and pattern.
How did you get started in the business?
I’m a writer and editor by trade. Back in 2011, while I was freelancing for several design publications I began to feel really disenchanted. By that time in my life, I had amassed a pretty strong collection of pieces that I wanted to showcase in hope that people would respond to them. I applied to the Brooklyn Flea, which was super-hard to get into, and was accepted. Being accepted and becoming a vendor really fueled my confidence and enthusiasm. I did the flea for a while, and it was good to me. After that, a studio/showroom seemed the next logical step. My previous space was over on Nassau, in the Morgan Fine Arts Building. It was nice start, and configuring that by-appointment space helped me realize that I could do more. This past December, I decided to try looking on Craigslist for a shop: I found this storefront in my first search! And I opened on February 20th of this year.
What is your favorite find?
I have a lot! Mostly my great finds have been artwork. One piece I really cherish is a super-huge signed work by Milton Glaser. I scored one of his Big Nude lithos for just $10. At the time, I didn’t know what it was—I only thought it was interesting and pretty great. What person would ever let something like that go?
What do you hope to gain from being a part of ArtCube?
I really like ArtCube’s sense of community and camaraderie. It’s clear that this network of super-talented artists and designers really work hard, and care deeply about what they do. Just judging from the forums, everyone is both passionate and casual, which is right up my street. I’m looking forward to the next meet-up!
We sat down with one of our favorite ArtCubers Erin O’Brien. Erin is a Prop and Wardrobe Stylist, Prop Master, Set Decorator and Window Display Artist. She has extensive experience in the NYC Fashion Luxury Industry where she has worked in areas such as Visual Display/Merchandising and also as a Wardrobe/Prop Stylist for major magazines, websites and ad campaigns.
“I think every window I do has a personal flair to it. There is a certain thing about the window that reflects me.” -Erin
What inspires you?
Music....110%. I grew up in not the happiest home, so a lot of my time was spent escaping through music.
How did you get started in the window industry?
I went to the University of Massachusetts and got a degree in French Literature and Marketing, which have nothing to do with windows (I worked for Chanel, so my French degree did come through). I was an art major in the beginning of college but got frustrated with my art, I wanted to get out there in the world but didn’t know what I’d be doing. Art is great but I feel like it’s not a taught profession.... you either have it or you don’t. However,I worked for Macy’s as a window trimmer during the holiday season and I just fell in love with windows.
What has been your favorite project?
There was a really small shoe store in the lower east side and I had a record player with shoes and broken records spinning all night, very punk rock but very cool. I love doing these small mom and pop shops.
What do you think about ArtCube?
ArtCube is cool because no matter what I do, I need props. The good thing about ArtCube is it is there for whatever industry I’m working in. I think even though we live in NYC and even though there is anything to buy for props sometimes you still have that crazy question. People that are totally experienced get to answer you. It’s just a great way to connect with people and find things that are hard, it’s just a great network.
#3 Ask the real-time think tank. Issues? Wish you could ask someone who has been down this road before? Email your Cubers. They will share their knowledge. Nine years of Art Cube has taught me, we feel each other’s pain and like to to be helpful.Read More