2011 Beethoven Festival Art Exhibit
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Statement from the Curator
How do I bring a man who died 200 years ago into the present? A man who lives on in multiple dimensions, a visionary, a genius who has perplexed and inspired great works long after the creation of his famous funeral mask. How do I breathe life into a subject already explored time and again over so many decades? I asked myself these questions as I first embarked upon my investigation for the Beethoven Festival 2011.
This Festival is about breaking down the barriers between music, art and film; between performer and audience; between the past and the present. It is about introducing Beethoven, the man and the artist, to a contemporary audience who knows little about the rebellious and courageous mind, body and soul of this incredible master composer.
I wanted to reincarnate Ludwig for a modern audience, for a new generation that would carry on his work and his spirit. Portraiture… recreating and multiplying Ludwig’s visage until he can watch us from every corner of the space. To build a man from fragments, from limited expressions; from symbols, lines and color; that was my challenge.
I started slowly, patiently, letting the project guide me as much as I pushed it forward. I inhaled and Ludwig greatness and intensity came through (Gail Stoicheff). His playfulness and mischief appeared next (Carly Ivan Garcia). The two portraits exposed the duality of Ludwig’s character – the master and the bad boy. I went back to the same artists and asked them to challenge their perceptions of who they believed Ludwig to be, and thus paint distorted mirrors of their first portraits. Beethoven’s youth and thorniness emerged (Gail Stoicheff), his fierceness was then unwrapped (Carly Ivan Garcia): a mirror of Ludwig’s own rebellion against society’s perceptions of him as an artist and a man. But there was something missing. Beethoven was famous for his passion, his reckless love affairs, and his soulful femininity (Rachel Monosov). And the tragic end, the death, the sickness, the sadness; all with incredible strength and honor (Mike Cuffe).
Once these elements were in place, his life and character before my eyes, it was time to bring dear Ludwig into the present. I found him on the streets on illegally pasted wheat paper (Hugh Leeman), in the dark corners of Stanley Kubrik’s violent films (Brian Leo), as a young music student in love with the Beatles (Amy Hill), and through the eyes of a dozen children (Edward J. Hines). Once Beethoven lived and breathed in these amazing pieces around me, I wondered how HE would see OUR modern society, our design elements (Maya Kalabic), our fetishism (Rhom), our everyday surroundings (David J. Eichenberg), and finally, our similarities with his own time – our ability to be classic, mature and beautiful (Anne Worbes), and the interminable attempts of our artists to understand, create and write the world (Amir Parsa). What would he be most impressed by? Maybe the invention of the moving image, in this case so brilliantly presented in its antithesis (Mostafa Heravi). I looked back at all this and Beethoven smiled with warmth and friendship as he entered my life forever (Danielle Lurie). Lastly, satisfied and thankful, I exhaled and let the spirit fly free (Amina Ahmed).
Born in Bucharest, Romania in 1981, Catinca Tabacaru moved to Toronto, Canada in 1990 and then to the United States in 1999. She earned her B.A. in Italian and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her J.D. and L.LM from Duke University School of Law.
Catinca is the founder of TincaArt, Inc., a curatorial and art consultancy company she she started in 2002. She curates around interesting concepts and social movements. Her most recent projects have included a mixed media exhibit focusing on civil liberties in the United States and a short-film festival focusing on women’s rights in Muslim-majority countries. She allows for great breadth to the pool of artists she works with and has a keen ability to work fluidly with most styles and mediums – just as easily negotiating her way through an antique art fair in Milan, as through a hip art battle in Brooklyn.
Beethoven’s Ear – A drawing in collaboration, 2011
31″ x 16″ x 1.5″ (shadowbox)
paper and pins
“The decision to make a drawing using the prints of the artists in the Beethoven Festival 2011 was made during a studio visit by exhibit curator Catinca Tabacaru. I was interested in the portrait of Beethoven based on his music. The thought that stayed with me when I tried to imagine Beethoven was that he was deaf. This is a tribute to his ear. The piece was made to the sound of Yo-Yo Ma Beethoven Cello Sonata no.2 in G minor 1st mvt adagio (1/3). The paper used in the work is prints of works by the artists in the Beethoven Festival 2011, Ludwig’s contemporary portraits, fragments of Beethoven’s sheet music and his handwriting. I am very grateful to the artists in this group for being so generous and especially for their trust in using parts of their work to make this drawing.”
Amina Ahmed was born in Africa and is a Kutchi Turk Indian. She grew up in England and has lived in Iran and the USA. Ahmed is a graduate of Winchester School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art. She received her MFA from the Royal College of Art (1991), where she specialized in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts and was awarded the Barakat Trust prize for excellence. A visual artist, educator, curator and activist. Ahmed’s projects are inspired by her interests in human rights and coalition-building. Ahmed is a member of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts NY. She is currently preparing for her first solo show in India, opening Nov 4th 2011 at The Seven Arts Gallery in Delhi.
Ludwig Van Beethoven, 2011
24″ x 30″
acrylic, oil, spray paint, and paper on canvas
“Beethoven has always been close to my heart as an composer, and I wanted to reflect his stern determination to reach perfection at his craft. It was within this determination that Beethoven often overly indulged in reckless recreational activities and heavy drinking. The skull in the background (which is literally a picture of Beethoven’s actual skull) has recently been forensically analyzed and shows that lead levels within the composer were 100 times higher than normal when he died. Modern theorists lead us to believe that abusive drinking played a role in his death, not from the wine itself…but from the lead cups in which he drank.”
Michael Cuffe is a contemporary mixed media artist best known for his collage styled paper works that are often painted in multiple layers. Cuffe spent 8 years in the Hollywood film industry working for Paramount Studios in feature film development and on various independent features. His fine art work first gained notoriety during the Obama campaign, when his painting “The Hopeful Hearts Club,” his take on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper Album, spread worldwide grabbing the attention of mainstream news media. It received a special White House invitational viewing, has been published multiple times in both books and magazines, and was part of Shepard Fairey’s Manifest Hope gallery exhibitions. Michael Cuffe currently resides in San Mateo, California where he also oversees the art based news site Warholian.com.
David J. Eichenberg
Beethoven no.1, 2011
15″ x 18″ (framed)
oil on panel
“This portrait led to some shifts in the way that I normally approach a portrait. The largest difficulty was the lack of a sitter from which I could create reference material. I chose to create a portrait without a sitter by using symbolism. I have included aspects that I feel are important and that led Beethoven to create the music he created. The four hearts represent the four known loves of Beethoven’s life, although he never married it was through these relationships that pieces such as his “Sonata No. 14” and “Für Elise” came into being. The three most well-known surviving portraits of Beethoven have been recreated as a simple photograph and brooches and place within the composition. The red string and brass pins create a family tree which tells of Beethoven’s family life. Starting at the top with his Grandfather Lodewijk, the string moves down to his mother and father, Johann and Maria. The string continues into 7 brass pins that represent Beethoven and his siblings. The pins with the black “X” on them are for the four siblings who died young. The string from C. A. K (Beethoven’s brother Carl) is significant because it was Carl’s son Karl that Beethoven would later adopt after Carl’s death.”
Born in 1970 in Toledo, Ohio, Eichenberg studied art and art history at the University of Toledo where he worked with renowned artists including Albert Paley, Tehrman Statom and Jim Dine, and upon graduation was awarded the distinction of Outstanding Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Eichenberg’s career moved from a focus on sculpture to painting and even included a two year position from 2005-2007 with the Toledo Museum of Art to spearhead the transition of their historic glass-working program into the Award winning Glass Pavilion. During this time, he also organized the visiting artist program which presented opportunities for him to work with glass artists such as Lino Taiglipietra, Fritz Dreisbach and Richard Ritter. In 2007, he returned to painting full time and was immediately invited to participate in several curated exhibitions around the country. Eichenberg’s highest honor to date, and the award which soared his European fame, is his inclusion in the prestigious BP Portrait Awards where he took 3rd place in 2010 and has been included again as a finalist in 2011. Eichenberg was also recently included in the Outwin-Boochever Portrait Competition 2009 at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C which chose 49 artists out of 3,300 applicants.
Carly Ivan Garcia
Beethoven What?, 2011
30″ x 20″
mixed media on panel
“I’ve painted two portraits to render Beethoven’s radicalness from a gestural perspective. My intention as a Neo-Modern Abstract Expressionist is to capture the emotions and feelings including the serious intensity that must be present for any great master, like Beethoven, to inspire social change. That is the underlying message behind all my work as a contemporary artist.”
Carly Ivan Garcia is a self taught artist who has developed and evolved a unique neo-abstract style. Garcia’s language of imagery is translated through strong form and bold palettes. At the heart of Garcia’s creativity is a visionary outreach which is quickly putting him on the American art scene map as the contemporary abstract painter to be watched this decade. In the past 2 years, his work has been shown in numerous solo shows in California and Florida and over a dozen group shows around the country including during the prestigious Miami Basel and New York Armory weeks. Most recently, in May 2011, solo show “Citizen Garcia” opened at trendsetting gallery Driftwood Art Salon in San Francisco only to receive wide media acclaim around the West Coast. Through his work and his sense of self, Garcia is inspiring and effecting positive change that communicates art as a catalyst for awareness and action.
Your Mark, Your Muse, Your Beethoven, 2011
mixed media on panel
“When I was a child my Uncle Eddie who was a violist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, would take me to rehearsals. I remember sitting in the audience and was fascinated with the conductor. Watching his motions and the resulting sounds of the orchestra made me picture a painter painting. The baton, the paint brush; the orchestra, the palette: and the symphony itself, the painting. To this day whenever I hear a Beethoven symphony I am back in a CSO rehearsal.
Creation. This is where music shines. The sound of the music is fleeting, plastic, ephemeral and it exists at that exact moment. The traditional visual arts, on the other hand, are about viewing the product. The viewer interacts with what was created. Although interpretations and discussions can exists in the moment, the artist’s hand is far removed.
In my piece, Your Mark, Your Muse, Your Beethoven; my goal is to combine music and the visual arts. I created the score (the substrate) prior to the festival; using ideas, thoughts and musings about Beethoven. The the notes, motifs, rhythms and melodies are created by everyone during the Festival; using artists instruments like markers, crayons and chalk. Finally like a conductor leading an orchestra, the artist (myself) will create a final piece.”
“AFTER ALL IT IS NOT ABOUT MAKING ART, BUT RATHER BEING IN THE STATE THAT MAKES ART POSSIBLE…” -ROBERT HENRI
Ellen’s second grade report card said: “Ellen is a very creative child and you always can tell where she was working. She becomes surrounded in her supplies and gets lost in her thoughts.” Several decades later, not much has changed. Formally a teacher in the Chicago private school system, Ellen is currently creating mixed media art, artist books and providing unique artistic experiences for schools, groups and individuals. Understanding the power of the arts to transcend beyond the product created, her sessions engage the participants in experimenting with artistic materials, connecting with sources and finding their own creative voice.
Ellen Gradman has a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and Masters of Education in Art Education from the Champaign/Urbana campus of University of Illinois. Her work has been published in numerous art books and magazines, and she has exhibited throughout Chicago. She is an artist, teacher, thinker, and connector of people and ideas.
Young Beethoven Today, 2011
9” x 12”
medium on canvas
“The portrait of Beethoven, like her other portraits, places him in a contemporary setting, in contemporary clothing, specifically a t-shirt with a Beatles logo, playing what might be an electric keyboard. As in all her paintings, she transports him through time, examining the importance of context on the development and recognition of a genius.”
Hill’s portraits and narratives are contemporary versions of 15th century Flemish paintings, highly detailed and done with similar traditional techniques. She studied commercial art at Carnegie Mellon University, then moved to New York City and worked as an illustrator for such publications as Rolling Stone, the New York Times and Penguin Books. She became a full time painter after a successful solo show in the East Village during its boom in 1989. Since then she has continued to paint and her work has been shown nationally and internationally. Hill is currently represented by galleries in New York City and Chicago.
12” x 12”
acrylic on album cover
“My artwork is painted with acrylics on a record album found and bought at the Joshua Tree Swap Meet. The idea came as a functional and repurposed art project with emphasis on bringing past to present just as Beethoven’s music transcends time. The characters depict young Beethoven and his audience.”
Born in 1978 in former Yugoslavia, Maya graduated from The Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago with Fine Arts BA with a major in multimedia. Maya’s work embodies a vast array of colorful characters, scenery and symbolism depicting the beauty of her childhood memories of joy, diversity and unity in an undivided Yugoslavia. The influences of Bosnia’s civil war, and immigration to the United States are conveyed in her art with a sense of optimism and strength. Maya’s art fan base spans across the continents and she has exhibited her work in several galleries in Chicago as well as Southern California.
The Burning Reality of LIving Intense Dreams (in graphite), , 2011
28″ x 40″ (framed)
graphite and spray paint on stonehenge paper
“While creating portraits is the focus of my artwork, they are seldom created to depict the famous and influential. Beethoven on this occasion and again in the past has been an exception. While profoundly talented, it is in fact, his dedication and ability to continue creating after his health and in particular his hearing had begun to deteriorate that is most remarkable. When I created my first Beethoven portrait, he was to me then, as now, among the world’s most incredible musicians, over this time he’s come to personally symbolize an extreme dedication to the craft of creating that I am truly enamored by.”
Hugh Leeman is a self taught, San Francisco based artist. His gallery work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco and at The Museum of Mexico City. Recognized for his gallery portraiture which captures in raw emotion the lives of his subjects whom he meets on the inner city streets; though best known for his street art which has adorned walls from Varanasi, India to Indiana and from New York, London, Tel Aviv and the divided Palestinian Territories to Bogota, Colombia. Most recently Leeman created the first ever MLK mural overlooking his historic birth house. His subjects, often marginalized by society, are recast into potentially heroic roles before being pasted all over the world. His street art has additionally evolved into the “t-shirt project” in which he gives back to his subjects by printing his art onto shirts which they sell and keep 100% of the profits from.
24” x 16”
acrylic on canvas
“I worked from a portrait of young Beethoven found on-line. This image was perfect as I wanted to portray Beethoven as a young punk/rock/pop star-Jimi Hendrix-like-genius, and therefore decided to use vivid, psychedelic colors to enhance that idea. To further this subversive element, I included iconic images from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange in which main character Alex, is a charismatic, psychopathic delinquent whose only pleasures are Beethoven and violence.”
Born in 1976, Brian Leo lives and works in New York City. His paintings address global culture, contemporary politics and American identity. His work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions at galleries throughout New York and around the world. Leo’s work has received critical attention in The New York Times, The Miami New Times, The Korea Times, The Korea Daily, The Brooklyn Rail and other publications and most recently was up for auction in New York City at Phillips & Pury.
Beethoven Smiles, 2011
45” x 40”
japanese ink on paper
“I write my screenplays to classical music. It is the only sound that gives me more peace of mind and clarity of thought than silence alone. My film career began some ten years ago both righteously and earnestly, in sharp contrast to my light-hearted and joyful spirit, with my story lines having a heavy focus on the injustices in the world in my emboldened attempt to right them – to expose the human rights issue on the silver screen in order that the awareness it created might demand solutions. As I’ve lived with these dark story lines – about honor killings, wrongful imprisonment, bride abduction – I’ve tried to fit my whimsical nature into these somber worlds. This has been a bulky process, and things are shifting. Today, I’m in a creative rennaissance, allowing myself to tell lighter stories with more whimsical and magical heart – which more directly reflect that delighted way I see the world. Like Beethoven’s Symphony #2 In D, Op. 36 – 1. Adagio Molto, Allegro Con Brio, my career began with a heaviness and my work was replete with gravitas – but like the same piece it has changed and my work is allowing itself to take itself, and myself, less seriously. The more serious philosophical quandaries of life fascinate me, but I’m now portraying them with joy. When I began to paint Beethoven, I cranked up his Allegro Con Brio and let the ink loose. When I stepped back to look at the piece, he, like I, was smiling.”
Named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and a fellow of IFP’s 2011 Emerging Visions symposium, Danielle Lurie is a New York City based artist and filmmaker. The daughter of the artist and political cartoonist Ranan Lurie, Danielle has been drawing since the age of five, and was one of the youngest characaturists to have her own weekly publication in her city’s newspaper at the age of 13. While majoring in Philosophy at Stanford University, Danielle drew cartoons for the Stanford Daily Newspaper, and shortly after graduating created her first published comic strip, Silly Chase, about a precocious little girl who has her own imaginary audience. In conjunction with her fine art work, Danielle moved down to Los Angeles to begin her career as a filmmaker and photographer in 2001.
Danielle’s debut short film, In the Morning, premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and has won nine film festivals to date including ‘Best Narrative Short’ at the Oscar qualifying Nashville Film Festival. Since 2005, Danielle’s projects have included numerous highly acclaimed shorts, a documentary shot in Uganda where she lived in an Internally Displaced People Camp, and a feature length documentary following Sheryl Crow’s Global Warming tour through the deep south, produced by Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth). On the narrative side, Danielle has written screenplay adaptations of Jamaica Kincaid’s novel, Lucy, to star Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek) as well as an excerpt of Nicholas Kristof’s best selling book, Half the Sky, directed by Marisa Tomei and Lisa Leone, for a PBS series. Among several near future projects, she is attached to direct the film adaptation of Marina Budhos’s book Ask Me No Questions, produced by Jane Startz, as well as the feature of of her short titled Fortunate Sons to star Academy Award Nominee Emily Watson.
Immortal Beloved, 2011
30” x 20”
Monosov’s portrait is inspired by Beethoven’s letters to his “Immortal Beloved” which were found in Beethoven’s desk upon his death. The letters speak of longing, impossible love and hope for an improbable future. This portrait too is hidden, suffering, and yet incredibly powerful in both imagery and color.
Russian born, Israeli artist Rachel Monosov studied photography at the Betzalel Academy for Arts and Design in Jerusalem and the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is known for her radical self portraits and, although only 24 years old, her her work has been shown in galleries around New York, California and Israel. On September 6, 2011, she was the featured artist in a 3-woman show at the prestigious ST ART Gallery in Tel Aviv where she unveiled a life size sculpture commenting on the use of the female body in today’s global consumer society. Monosov’s work often draws attention to society’s objectification of the human form and of women in particular. The deception of appearance and the resulting assumptions made based on appearances can lead to misunderstanding and mistreatment. As a result, those that are objectified tend to recede into the background where they can retain a sense of self. Monosov’s art challenges the viewer to think about society’s invasive tendencies.
J. Thomas Pallas
Lu wi an B et hov n, 2011
18″ x 24″
scratch-off ink on ink drawing on paper
I have been using industrial scratch-off inks in my work lately, applying them as prints on top of my multi-media prints and drawings. The effect is that the pieces start their exhibition life as silver or gold monochrome paintings, but as the audience interacts with them through the act of scratching (like a lotto ticket), the image is slowly revealed. For the piece “Lu wi an B et hov n”, I chose to continue this process for a few reasons: to encourage audience activity, to create an artwork that visually mimics Beethoven’s impaired hearing, and to highlight the composer as a transitional, but still influential, player between the Classical and Romantic.
J. Thomas Pallas has worked on collaborative, community-based projects for the past 8 years, both professionally and artistically. He has teamed up with the late activist Beauty Turner for a series of Ghetto Bus Tours, where participants visit Chicago Housing Authority sites to interact with the residents for mutual understanding. He has most recently been collaborating with artist Joe Miller and the students at Unity Elementary School in East St. Louis. Through repetitive visits to the school, they have been able to create a variety of projects, some that stay at the school and benefit the community, and some that get translated into artworks exhibited elsewhere. In general, Pallas’ work occupies the intersection of the popular, the personal, and the political.
Hello Beloved, 2011
30” x 20”
The portrait embodies Beethoven in his prime: wild hair and bright eyes. In this image you find the literal interpretation of his life, his music, and illness. Striking the chords between history, past and the present.
An artist of many talents, Rhom’s work in the natural arts range from organically inspired, graffiti-style abstract acrylic painting on canvas, plexiglas, wood, walls, floors and line art to his hypnotic, record sampled beats that quiet the mind while provoking the soul. As an artist he is forever finding new outlets for self-expression.
The Prince (Luddie the Younger), 2011
oil and acrylic on canvas
The Gentleman (Luddie the Elder), 2011
oil and acrylic on canvas
To the sound of: Grosse Fuge
“The Grosse Fuge grabbed me immediately, contemplative and complex— the qualities of the greatest music, the best art and the most intriguing characters. The piece brought to mind thoughts of liberation versus restraint or, more specifically, liberation within restraint and the reverse. It was with these impressions and much listening that the portraits evolved over several months. It was a pleasure to spend this time with such an intense piece of music and to be rewarded, now, with a visual record of the conversation.”
Gail Stoicheff (born Lewistown, Pennsylvania, 1976) holds an MFA in painting from Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, NY (2005), and a BFA in painting from The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (2000). She has exhibited in the New York City area since 2002, recent shows include: Insider Brooklyn, NY (2010); Just Art NYC (2010); Brooklyn Painters, Rebecca Randall Bryan Gallery, Coastal Carolina University (2009); Gimme a Little Sign, Sister Gallery, Los Angeles (2008); Beyond Pastoral, Gallery w52, NYC (2006); Works on Paper, Gallery MC, NYC (2005); Despite the Sun, Foxy Productions, NYC (2004); Six, Supreme Trading Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2004) and The Warm Weather is Holding, UBS Exhibition Center, Red Hook, NY (2004). She was the 2004 recipient of the prestigious Dedalus Foundation Master of Fine Arts Fellowship in Painting and The Elaine DeKooning Painting Award, and was recently the featured cover artist for the New England Review.
17” x 12.5”
colored pencil on vat paper
delving into his music, his work and his nature
I sense this touching intensity,
the melancholy in his eyes,
suffering and passionate,
bearing the heavy weight of life, enduring it.
So often racked with pain of the body and financial needs.
A sensitive soul,
hurt, vulnerable, desperate, aggressive,
vigorous, impetuous, an outcry of agony,
indefatigable working far beyond the limits of power,
longing for warmth and shelter,
freedom, perfection, love,
his strength in all the weakness,
the explosive energy of this genius.
Anne Worbes was born on the 10th of May, 1966 in Jena, Germany. Formally educated in theological and pedagogical studies she currently lives and works in Leipzig and has three daughters. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museum shows around Europe including in Germany, Austria, Spain and Romania. Recently, Worbes made her US debut in Miami, Florida and continues to emerge on the American market with upcoming shows including this Beethoven Festival 2011 in Chicago.