Thursday, December 25, 2014

David Ebony's Top 10 Most Memorable Artworks of 2014 David Ebony, Thursday, December 25, 2014


Uzi Parnes, photo installation, "Basra on First Avenue: Jack Smith's Last Apartment," (2014) at 80WSE Gallery.
Photo: Uzi Parnes.
5.) Uzi Parnes, photo installation, "Basra on First Avenue: Jack Smith's Last Apartment," at 80WSE Gallery at New York University," on view in New York, through March 6, 2015.You can't get much more public than this installation by photographer, filmmaker, performance artist, and actor Uzi Parnes. The work is visible from the street, at Broadway and 10th Street, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  There's the sensation of peering into someone's apartment, and that's what Parnes had in mind. A friend of the late avant-garde filmmaker Jack Smith, best known for his sexy and scandalous 1963 landmark Flaming Creatures, Parnes shot these photos in Smith's art and memorabilia-packed apartment the day after he died of complications from AIDS in 1989. The large blow-up images and the way they are installed here convey the crazy exoticism of Smith's intimate surroundings and his unique mind-set. This is better than most of the posthumous exhibitions of Smith's work I've seen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A few more images from Basra on First Avenue


On view at 80WSE Gallery’s satellite space at Broadway and 10th Street
The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development is pleased to present BASRA ON FIRST AVENUE: JACK SMITH’S LAST APARTMENTa site specific installation of photographs by artist Uzi Parnes. The installation will be on view from October 29, 2014 - January 26, 2015 at 80WSE Gallery’s satellite space, a series of five street-level windows located at the corner of Broadway and East 10th Street. The installation can be viewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Uzi Parnes first met Jack Smith in 1979, soon after beginning to collaborate with him on numerous photo shoots, which both staged and documented Smith’s work, up until his death from AIDS in 1989. Parnes’ dissertation, Pop Performance: Four Seminal Influencesdocumented and deconstructed Smith’s play I Was a Male Yvonne DeCarlo for the Lucky Landlord Underground. Upon being published in 1988, it quickly became an influential reference for scholarship around Jack Smith’s work. 

The photographs on view were taken by Parnes at Jack Smith’s 21 First Avenue apartment, shortly after Smith’s died. He began in daylight returning later with a film light to complete the shoot. At the time of his death Smith was transforming his home in to the set for a never-lensed  film titled “Sinbad in the Rented World,” a final project that was emblematic of the entirety of his creative practice and philosophical approach, where the boundary between art and daily life was non-existent. In this regard Parnes’s images stand as a remarkable glimpse in to the incomparable environment that Smith lived in: a studio, a home, an artwork, and the site for a future life. 

“When the film is long since over the apartment will be lived in and used with its kitchen in the style of a ruined sambucca, beached in a papyrus swamp and perhaps someone will be gazing at the Bagdadian sink instead of a T.V.  The apartment, the architecture entertains you, it soothes you. It helps you, it civilizes you, it is ‘BASRA’…”  Jack Smith, excerpt from grant application, February 5, 1982.

Uzi Parnes is a New York based filmmaker, curator, and photographer, who has been documenting the performers and architectural ruins of downtown New York City since 1978..Presentations of his work have been shown internationally, most recently in a career survey at The Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art (Berlin, 2012). Parnes was founder and co-director with Ela Troyano of legendary 1980's performance club “Chandelier,” later collaborating with Carmelita Tropicana as co-writer and director for four of her performances, including Memories of the Revolution 1986-87. From 2003 to 2005, he ran the Uzi N.Y. Gallery, in the East Village.  He has a Ph.D. in Performance Studies & M.A. in Drama from New York University.

Friday, December 12, 2014

BASRA ON FIRST AVENUE: Jack Smith's Last Apartment, through January 26, 2014

Now that the scaffolding at Broadway Windows at the N.E. corner of East 10 Street and Broadway has come down you can really see my installation of legendary artist Jack Smith's amazing apartment.