Fall 2018 Open Studios
to Oct 13

Fall 2018 Open Studios

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Fall Open Studios
October 12 - 13

NARS Fall Open Studios, a two-day exhibition of international contemporary art, showcases the residency and studio artists working in our growing artist community. This Sunset Park-wide Open Studios event, co-presented with J&M Studios, invites the public to meet over 60 artists from all over the world and to experience the artistic process and the diverse range of artistic mediums presented in the intimacy of the studio environment.

Friday, October 12 | 6-9 pm
Saturday, October 13 | 12-6 pm

In parallel with our Open Studios events, NARS is pleased to host the “The Map and the Territory”, a group show curated by Tansy Xiao, showcasing international artists living in Brooklyn, and “Bone Black and Titanium White – Transparency, Colour and Light”a solo show by NARS Alumna Julie Trudel, with an artists' reception during Open Studios on October 12.

Featuring NARS Residency Artists:
Bernadette Despujls | Charlotte Lagro | Claudia Cortinez | Elizabeth Moran | Erin Gleason | Frederique Ulman Gagne | Jean Pierre Mot | Jemila MacEwan | Leah Hewson | Linda Loh | Miranda Blennerhassett | Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky | Sanie Bokhari | Shihori Yamamoto | Valérie Hallier | William Miller

Studio Artists:
André Eamiello | Andrew Schwartz | Bari Mohammed | Brendan Sullivan
Brian Stinemetz | Caitlyn McLaughlin | Charlotte Greene | Christopher Bradley
Dayana Romero | Elena Soterakis | Fatty Spice | Flora Wilds
Gustavo Prado | Hannelore Van Dijck | Homer Shew | Ioana Manolache
Jahyun Seo | Jenn Cacciola | Jon Levy-Warren | Julia Elsas
Julia John | Kat Geng | Katrina Chamberlin | Keren Anavy
Laura Hildevert | Lauren Anders | Lauren Cohen | Liza Sokolovskaya
Luke Luokun Cheng | Naomi Nakazato | Noël Harnden | Richard Gnann
Ruonan Yan | Saya Da Jung | Sydney M. King | Tadasuke Jinno
Tanya Steinberg | Tenaya Izu | Trina Merry | Walker Augustyniak
Xavier Alexander Petromelis | Zachary Lank | Zachary Lefitz

Directions: NARS is two express subway stops from Manhattan. Take the “N” or “D” to 36 St. Transfer to the “R” one stop to 45 St. Walk to 46th Street then make a right and walk down 46th street to the building on the corner of 46th street and 2nd Ave on the right.

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Spring 2018 Open Studios
to Jun 10

Spring 2018 Open Studios


Spring Open Studios
June 8 - 10

NARS Spring Open Studios, a three-day exhibition of international contemporary art, showcases the residency and studio artists working in our growing artist community. This Sunset Park-wide Open Studios event, co-presented with J&M Studios, invites the public to meet over 66 artists from all over the world and to experience the artistic process and the diverse range of artistic mediums presented in the intimacy of the studio environment.

Friday, June 8 | 6-9 pm
Saturday, June 9 | 12-6 pm
Sunday, June 10 | 12-5 pm

The Special Body Painting Performance by Trina Merry
Saturday & Sunday at 2pm NARS Main Gallery 4fl
Trina Merry will be open the doors to her studio inviting the public to view live demos, performances, and interactive installations. On display will be selected works from her “Lust of Currency”, "Urban Camouflage”, “Happy Little Trees”, along with new works.

In parallel with our Open Studios events, NARS is pleased to host the Spring Residency Exhibition fluid Currency, and Emotional Shorthand by Christine Rebhuhn, with an artists' reception during Open Studios on June 8.

Featuring NARS residency artists:
Bill Miller | Bonam Kim | Caitlin Berrigan | Carlos Franco
Elizabeth Moran | Erin Gleason | Freya Powell
Jason File | Ko Tzu-An | Levan Mindiashvili
Lihi Turjeman | Monica Mazonne | Maya Jeffereis

Alongside J&M Studio and Invited Guest Artists:
Aglae Bassens, Allison Reimus, André Eamiello, Andrew Schwartz, Bari Mohammed, Brendan Sullivan, Brian Lotti, Brian Stinemetz, Caitlyn McLaughlin, Carla Tomassini, Cecilia Jansson, Chris Bradley, Daniela Thomas, Danielle Ash, David Lindberg, Dayana Romero, Elena Soterakis, Flora Wilds, Gustavo Prado, Homer Shew, Hyunsuk Erickson, Ioana Manolache, Jaclyn Jaconetta, Jahyun Seo, Jeremy Herrmann, Jeffrey Kurland, Jeremiah Teipen, Jesus Benavente, Jisook Kim, Julia Elsas, Julia John, Kat Chamberlin, Kate Bae, Katya Grokhovsky, Keren Anavy, Kyoung Eun Kang, Lauren Maxwell, Liza Sokolovskya, Marian Blair, Mikhail Iliatov, Nadine Mahoney, Naomi Nakazato, Nikki Schiro, Nina Jordan, Samantha Morris, Sarah E. Brook, Sarah Sager, Saya Da Jung, Siyue Pan, Skye Gilkerson, Trina Merry, Walker Augustyniak, Yefeng Wang, Yi Xin Tong

Directions: NARS is two express subway stops from Manhattan. Take the “N” or “D” to 36 St. Transfer to the “R” one stop to 45 St. Walk to 46th Street then make a right and walk down 46th street to the building on the corner of 46th street and 2nd Ave on the right.

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8:00 PM20:00

Entrée / Encore: Jesus Benavente: I'm Not Dancing, I'm Struggling to Survive


Jesus Benavente: I'm Not Dancing, I'm Struggling to Survive
Friday March 23, 8 PM

Marking the closing of Alina Grasmann’s exhibition Paper Town, Jesus Benavente transforms the gallery into a party scene, replete with balloons, lights, and dance music. I'm Not Dancing, I'm Struggling to Survive is a performance installation that chafes gatherings and policing in our city streets against the Americana of Grasmann’s paintings. Filmed and found footage of recent marches, protests, and police surveillance and activity are projected around the quiet and unassuming town of Agloe, NY, the kind of town in whose name our cities are policed, black bodies, gunned down, and immigrants deported. This performance installation stages the distance between two competing images of America and its current socio-political reality, which feels like the end of a party, and invites you to dance.

Benavente is interested in parties as celebratory events that mark transitional stages in life, such as birthdays, weddings, going away/retirement parties, and even funerals, while also containing a sense of sadness and loss for what preceded it. Here party lights are replaced by flashing police sirens; white balloons slowly deflate on the floor; dance songs are intercut with anti-protest sound cannons; and singalongs become protest chants. The setlist, bookended by sad love songs, is composed of everything from hip-hop to doo-wop and serves to narrate the nation’s current state of affairs, ranging from cultural appropriation to police brutality. Dancing, Benavente posits, be it in the streets of the club, its political and emancipatory potential, is a means of survival and finding happiness in such a period of political transition and upheaval. The sense of anxiety, ambiguity, and danger each of the artist’s work poses, is undercut by a sense of the possible and energy of people in the street and bodies on the dance floor.


Jesus Benavente's artwork is founded in performance. The work expands into other mediums including sculpture, painting, video, and photography. As a Mexican-American from an impoverished community, he uses humor/comedy at his own expense to define and pressure the constraints of culture and convention. He works with his persona, BENAVENTE, to test and explore identity in a world pretending to be post-identity. Formal elements and an informal attitude shift throughout the work. Cars are bisected, working-class materials become artist materials, social interactions transform from mundane to aggressive. These divergent practices/mediums coalesce to create his worldview as a Latino living in Trump’s America. http://jesusbenavente.net/


This performance is presented as part of the Entrée/Encore series. Entrée/Encore, launched in Fall 2016, is a series of artists’ talks, discussions, and performances at NARS Foundation. The program presents residency alumni and artists and curators in-residence in dialogue with the cultural community in NY and abroad. This public program contextualizes multidisciplinary practices and perspectives within the languages of art and critical socio-political concerns.

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7:00 PM19:00

Performance/lecture by Umber Majeed: Atomi Daamaki Wali Mohabbat (The Atomically Explosive Love)

2017- ongoing , Animation/ Lecture Performance, 27:04

2017- ongoing , Animation/ Lecture Performance, 27:04

Friday March 23, 7 PM

Of Tongues and Hands closing performance lecture

Atomi Daamaki Wali Mohabbat (The Atomically Explosive Love) is a multi-chapter animation and lecture performance that chronicles the history of nuclear power in Pakistan, the first ‘Muslim nuclear state’. Umber uses state and familial archives to intersect specific historical moments, starting with the successful nuclear tests performed in the 1990s to the conception/destruction of a military-state monument, Chaghi Monument Hill. Chaghi is a motif, location, and historical moment that is reconstituted within religious-state logic and in digital space. The interface is used as a reflexive canon to view this recent past, the images of the monument, moment of the blast, and associations of nation looming, haunting in the present. The green screen represents Islamic orientalism, Pakistani nationalism, as well as a projection space for the populist imagination. Using flora as a metaphor for embedded violence, the script narrativizes the nationalizing of flower, beauty, and love. This is a technique deployed by state propaganda and the narration is written through the lens of a fictional populist contemporary Urdu poet, inspired by an actual poem written by a patriarchal academic from Punjab University, Pakistan. The character is a reflection on how science, culture, and religion all intersect in mainstream populism in Pakistan; state propaganda has penetrated into the aesthetic and content of the everyday. The reading through the female (herself), allows for a queering and alternative historicizing of South Asia in an age of global nationalist uprisings.


Umber Majeed is a multidisciplinary visual artist. Her art training in Pakistan, New York, and Lebanon has activated a mapping of her cultural hybridity to negotiate tactics of sociality as an American born and raised, Pakistani-descent Muslim, woman of color. She received her MFA from Parsons the New School for Design in 2016 and graduated from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan in 2013. In July 2017, she completed the HWP fellowship at Ashkal Alwan in Beirut, Lebanon. Majeed has shown in venues across Pakistan, North America, and Europe. Recent group exhibitions include; ‘The Divided Self’, The Slought Foundation, Philadelphia (2012), ‘Ornate Activate’, Shirin Gallery, New York (2015), and “The Museum: Within and Without”, The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg, Russia (2015), “welcome to what we took from is the state”, Queens Museum, New York (2016), and 'Promises to Keep', apexart, New York (2017). Her work has been acquired by several private collections, including the Lekha and Anupam Poddar Collection at the Devi Art Foundation in Gurgaon, India.

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to Mar 23

A Boat Date by Lu Zhang

It Takes Ten Years Practice to be on the Same Boat
by Lu Zhang

A Boat Date is a NEW dating experience that takes over Lu Zhang's artist studio during her residency at NARS Foundation in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In each date, two participants who have signed up for the same time slot, will meet on a traditional Chinese river boat installation in the artists studio for a date lasting for a maximum of one hour. The project creates a unique environment and framework for connection, romantic or otherwise.

Inspired by the Chinese proverb "十年修得同船渡" translated as “it takes ten years practice to be on the same boat,” the project builds the concept of yuánfèn in which one's good deeds in past lives will lead to the "fateful coincidence" of meeting another person in this current life, whether as friends, lovers or acquaintances. The proverb also implies that we be open, patient and appreciative of moments when we encounter each other.

In the current moment, and especially in big cities, it is common for love and friendships to be fleeting and transactional, even as we're connecting and meeting each other more and more through the convenience of technology. This connectivity, including dating apps, is predicated on data analysis and algorithms. Decisions on whether to swipe right, message, or meet someone are made based on a single image or information gleaned from a digital profile. For people who believe in the chemistry and energy of physical presence swiping and matching becomes a mindless neurochemical reward and connection elusive.

The date will not be recorded and participants' information will not be made public.

Sign up at the project site: www.ittakestenyearspracticetobeonthesameboat.com

“It Takes Ten Years Practice to be on the Same Boat” is a project by Wildman Clab. In 2017, Lu Zhang created Wildman CLAB, a lab/club for researching and proving the existence of primitive individuals. By providing activities and experiences within specific environments, WC explores the unknown and unexplainable part of human relationships.

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Stories from the Asian Diaspora: Community Organizers and Activists
6:30 PM18:30

Stories from the Asian Diaspora: Community Organizers and Activists

Sheida Soleimani,  Maryam , 2017, archival pigment print on cotton, polyester filling, dimensions variable, image in courtesy of the artist

Sheida Soleimani, Maryam, 2017, archival pigment print on cotton, polyester filling, dimensions variable, image in courtesy of the artist

Stories from the Asian Diaspora: Community Organizers and Activists
Thursday, February 15 6:30-8:30
NARS Foundation Gallery

Thursday, February 15 | 6:30-8:30 PM
Roundtable discussion with community organizers and activists

Roundtable Panelists:
Mieko Gavia, independent writer
Monica Mohapatra, board member of South Asian Diaspora Artist Collective
Mark Tseng-Putterman, writer and PhD student, Brown University Department of American Studies
Ambika Trasi, artist, board member of South Asian Women's Creative Collective, curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Betty Yu, multi-media artist, educator and co-founder of Chinatown Art Brigade

Audre Lorde's essay Scratching the Surface: Some notes on Barriers to Women and Loving asks "in what ways have we been conditioned to view each other with suspicion, as eternal competitors, or as the visible face of our own self-rejection? What are the tactics of encouraging horizontal hostility that only extends sideways to becloud the real vertical lines of power or oppression?"

What horizontal hostilities do we extend towards other identities and bodies in the Asian diaspora? Or to other communities of color? How can we move forward to critique the real vertical lines of power and position ourselves as allies with the idea that our liberties are intertwined?


Mieko Gavia is a queer, multiracial writer, actor, and art model. She is the co-owner of Black Revolutionary Theatre Workshop and co-admin of an online collective for Asian leftists, artists, and activists.

Monica Mohapatra, is organizer and writer from Bangalore, India, living in Brooklyn. Her creative work, both visual and written, explores surveillance, migration, and text as material. She's interested in the diaspora as a channel through which solidarity is produced and in which uncertainties (queerness, lack of documentation, subjectivity) are celebrated. @cemicool

Mark Tseng-Putterman is a writer and PhD student at Brown University, where he researches Asian American social movements, coalitional politics, and comparative ethnic studies. He is passionate about Asian American political education and activism, having served as a co-advisor to the undergraduate student leadership program A/P/A BRIDGE at New York University from 2014 to 2017. He also worked as a media justice campaigner at 18MillionRising from 2015 to 2016, focusing on issues of surveillance, internet access, and media policy. During the trial of former NYPD officer Peter Liang, Mark worked with the group Asians4BlackLives - NYC to address misinformation in the Chinese American community and demand justice for the family of Akai Gurley. He is also active in the American Jewish anti-Zionist left and is a member of the Jews of Color and Sephardi/Mizrahi Caucus working in partnership with Jewish Voice for Peace. Mark's writing on Asian American racial politics has appeared in The Root, Truth-Out, Reappropriate, Race Files and elsewhere.

Ambika Trasi is a visual artist and arts organizer based in Brooklyn. She works across a variety of media to investigate the histories, myths, aesthetics, and poetics deeply embedded within ordinary objects in order to reveal existing traces and traumas of colonialism. Prior to joining the Whitney Museum of American Art as a Curatorial Assistant, Trasi was former Managing Director of Asia Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), 2013-2017, where she organized and assisted in the curation of numerous exhibitions and major innovative programs hosted at Asia Society (2014 & 2016), The 56th Venice Biennale (2015), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2015), Hunter College Art Galleries (2015), Seattle Art Fair (2015) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2016). As a board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), she managed exhibitions and public programs held at Queens Museum (2016) and Abrons Art Center (2017).

Betty Yu is a multimedia artist, filmmaker, educator and activist raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Chinese immigrant parents. Ms. Yu's documentary “Resilience” about her garment worker mother fighting sweatshop conditions, screened at national and international film festivals including the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. Yu’s multi-media installation, “The Garment Worker” was featured at Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive. She worked with housing activists and artists to co-create "Monument to Anti-Displacement Organizing" that was featured in the Agitprop! show at Brooklyn Museum. Betty was a 2012 Public Artist-in-Resident and received the 2016 SOAPBOX Artist Award from Laundromat Project. In 2017, Ms. Yu was awarded several artist residences from institutions such as the International Studio & Curatorial Program & Skidmore's Documentary Studies Collaborative. In 2015, Betty co-founded Chinatown Art Brigade, a cultural collective using art to advance anti-gentrification organizing.

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6:30 PM18:30

Stories from the Asian Diaspora: Exhibiting Artist Panel

Sheida Soleimani,  Maryam , 2017, archival pigment print on cotton, polyester filling, dimensions variable, image in courtesy of the artist

Sheida Soleimani, Maryam, 2017, archival pigment print on cotton, polyester filling, dimensions variable, image in courtesy of the artist

Stories from the Asian Diaspora: Exhibiting Artist Panel
Thursday, February 1 6:30-8:30
NARS Foundation Gallery

Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin, curator of Myth, Memory, Migration: Stories from the Asian Diaspora, hosts a conversation between exhibiting artists: Amna Asghar, Dana Davenport, Umber Majeed, Tammy Nguyen, Sahana Ramakrishnan, and Sheida Soleimani

How does archiving/ storytelling resist dominant history and produce a collective archive that accounts for counterfactual worlds/ memories/ mythology/ futurity/ narratives?

What boundaries and erasures exist within the Asian diaspora? Who gets to be included/ excluded from the discussion?

How do the works speak about intergenerational trauma and if so, how does the process of archiving family lineages, reconnecting with oral histories, and working with found materials change our positionality and connection to family, migration, and memory?

As artists, how do we remain integral to the stories of our works without our bodies becoming instrumentalized and weaponized against us in white institutions? What are the dangers of representing Asian identity in simple regional representation or with the dominant focus on representational politics, adhering to the neoliberal standards of multiculturalism and the white agenda?

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7:30 PM19:30

Entrée / Encore: Keren Anavy & Valerie Green/Dance Entropy: Utopia

Keren Anavy and Valerie GreenDance Entropy.jpg

Keren Anavy/Valerie Green/Dance Entropy: Utopia
January 19, 7:30 pm
Free and open to the public

Where is Utopia? Is it a physical, external place—or, might it reside internally?

In collaboration with visual artist Keren Anavy, Dance Entropy Artistic Director Valerie Green explores the idea of an internal Utopia through dance and visual art in her newest evening-length work.

Anavy is an alumna of the NARS Foundation International Artist in Residency program and a recent recipient of the Asylum Arts Grant. She is turning her large-scale paintings into 10-foot cylindrical pillars to be used throughout the piece.

The pillars act as an extension of the internal world, constantly forming barriers, spaces, and other environments for the dancers to both react to and orchestrate. This dynamic art installation is in perpetual motion, being constantly built and dismantled.

The dancers’ internal Utopia explorations are unique. They might experience pain, chaos, compassion, suffocation, release, and intimacy. In a particular subtext, they feel opposing forces of safety/unsafety. These internal explorations manifest in solos, duets, and group sections.

Acting as both props and set, Anavy’s painted pillars contribute to Utopia’s striking energy and challenge the viewer’s conception of how art, dance, and design interact with and influence one another.

Performed by: Emily Aiken, Caitlyn Casson, Erin Gio, Kristin Licata, and Richard Scandola

"Anavy's site-specific environments cue us in on the realm that lies just beyond the traps we've set for ourselves. The images ask of us, what do we see, and from where we see, why are such worlds not possible?” -James Diaz, Anti-Heroin Chic

Keren Anavy, Visual Artist
Martyn Axe, Broadway Composer (Previous collaboration: Impermanent Landscape)
Deborah Erenberg, Costume Designer (Previous collaborations: Riptide, Hinge, Inexplicable Space, Succession)
Joe Levasseur, Lighting Designer (Previous collaboration: Impermanent Landscape)

Utopia has been/is scheduled to be performed at:
Dixon Place
NARS Foundation
APAP Booking Festival
Green Space
Movement Research

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